Another Mystery Solved

Micah has not been a fan of school. This year he seems to have made peace with reality, and has decided that it's not entirely horrific, but it was a long road in getting here. School stressed him so much that he would get physically ill. He was sent home from school numerous times with diarrhea, and on occasion he'd wake up in the morning with it at the mere thought of going to school. For this reason alone, I heavily contemplated home schooling that boy this year, and had a plan in place to send him a partial week to see if that would help.

But then at the start of the school year,  Micah decided that he loved his teacher and aide.  And yet, he developed that much-dreaded loose bowel thing. Generally by the midway point of the school year the stress has gotten to him and he started with the weekly illness induced, but this year it started within a few weeks. And he still loves going to school, so I had to deduce that it wasn't stress causing him to be sick, after all.

Back to square one, we were. And quite baffled to be there. Also grateful that he wasn't really that stressed over the years, because that was quite a concern for me.

I had a plan over summer to systematically take random foods out of his diet to see if perhaps he had a food allergy, based on the frequency of his sick bouts toward the end of the school year. But then summer happened and I completely forgot about my plan, and didn't think of it at all until it was nearly time to start school again. When I did remember, it occurred to me that Micah had been healthy all summer long. Not once did he have diarrhea. And I'd know, because he still requires me to wipe him when messes of this nature happen.

This made me seriously contemplate what on earth was  going on at school that wasn't going on at home. What food was he eating, what was he in contact with, what on earth could be causing him to develop diarrhea so frequently. And it generally hit toward the end of the week. That last piece of the puzzle finally clicked with me. It was a build up of something. And that's when I remembered that Micah is lactose intolerant.

Please don't judge me for subjecting my son to illness needlessly for a few years. In my defense, Micah hasn't had issues with lactose intolerance since he was about 5. When we weaned him off the bottle (at a year old), he would only drink milk and nothing else. No juice, no water, no kool-aid. Just milk. And it bothered him, so we had to purchase special milk for him to drink. But about 6 years ago he finally decided that water was the preferred drink and has since completely turned his back on drinking dairy. He has had regular whole milk on his cereal (that he eats daily) for the past 5 years with no ill effects, as well as all the cheese products and ice cream. I just forgot that lactose intolerance is a thing for him. It's a mild case, but my mom, my sisters, my daughter and myself all have this exact same pattern. We can't drink a glass of milk without paying the consequences, but we can have all the cheese we want. It's weird, but it's the way it is. Micah suffers the same fate. Clearly, it's genetic.

I had to sign a few papers and make several phone calls and stop at the pediatrician's office. I talked to the cafeteria staff and Micah's aide and the school nurse. It was a week long ordeal that should never have been as difficult as it was, but we have finally taken milk (and milk only) from Micah's school diet. After questioning how much milk he was getting, I learned it was 2-3 cartons daily, so it's no wonder he would be sick by the end of the week.

I waited a week. Two weeks. Three weeks. It's been a month now, and Micah has not been sick since we took his milk and replaced it with miniature bottles of water or juice. I think we finally have a breakthrough, and perhaps he can attend school more this year than ever before.




Triplets!

We have a brand new litter of very healthy french bulldogs. This makes me happy, because PUPPIES. But even happier is the fact that Margo made this happen naturally. I had high hopes of her, of all dogs, being able to give birth without medical intervention. That hunch was a good one.

When we were deciding on the french bulldog as a possible addition to the family, research told us that the breed as a whole doesn't do much on it's own. We learned that c-sections were a very common thing, and we were okay with that because we had experience with C's with the corgis. Not our choice in birthing puppies, but not a bad choice either. So we knew, going into this adventure, that surgical births would be a thing for us. And yet, my vet and I agreed that giving each girl a chance to have puppies on her own might be a good idea. Two out of three dogs ended up in emergency surgery, so we know to schedule them in the future. But Margo is the exception. Good old Margo.

Good old Margo can also let herself out of her crate at will. I am working on teaching her that when I put her somewhere, I expect her to stay there, but dogs are like kids and live for the moment you turn your back so they can then do that one thing you said not to do. And much like a toddler, Margo is ridiculously proud of her misdeeds. She'll greet me at the door, prancing like a unicorn, and smiling from ear to ear, because she is that proud of herself for escaping from the prison I locked her in. Zero concept of shame, right there.

I knew Margo was in labor Saturday morning. She shredded the pillow I had in her crate and she was panting profusely. I also know that labor takes a long time, and it being her first litter, it may take even longer. I had an errand to run and figured I'd run out immediately to get back and have the rest of the day to hang.

If there's one thing I've learned over the 15 years of raising dogs, it's that I know nothing.

Turns out, Margo is one of those lucky women who don't mess around when it comes to childbirth. When she decides she's having children, she gets the job done and doesn't dawdle. As I was heading home from the errand, Josh called. "You need to get home. Now. Margo is having a puppy on Luke's coat."

I probably don't have to tell you that I panicked a whole lot, as I was driving. Of course, it was far more like I PANICKED A WHOLE LOT, OHMYGOSH. There is so much that can go wrong. There is so much that you can't describe to someone. There is so much that you just have to learn from experience. THERE IS SO MUCH, and I wasn't there.

"You'll need to get the scissors from the big yellow whelping box on top of the shelves in the laundry room. They need boiled. Don't put them in the pan because they're nasty.  Just pour boiling water over them."

"Mom, ain't nobody got time for that. This puppy is here."

"OHMYGOSH!!! OHMYGOSH!!! Okay, don't panic!" (I said pretty much to myself.) "If she doesn't get the sack off the puppy you'll have to do that. It'll suffocate if not. Give her about 20 seconds to get the job done. If not, intervene."

"How?"

"The scissors. But if they're not sterilized, don't use them. Infection can happen. Rip it. You can do it."

"Mom, that's gross."

"Yes, it is. We're talking life or death here. It needs done. There's no argument about it. And the cord will need cut. She should also do that. The scissors will need boiled."

And then I lost phone service because we live in the mountains and I went over a hill and around a turn. OHMYGOSH.

Turns out, the boys did a pretty good job of things. I had a beautifully live puppy when I got home, they moved Margo and her new daughter back into her crate where she belonged (silly escape artist) and were cleaning the floor where the mess happened. (Birth is messy, yo.) I'm proud of those boys.

"That was the nastiest thing ever. I almost threw up. For real."

I guess it really is nasty. I stopped thinking about that a long time ago. I've actually taken my dinner with me to a nursery crate and set my sandwich aside for a minute as I assisted mama, sneaking bites in as I can. Clearly, very little puts me off my food. And Margo feels the same way. I've not had a mama eat as heartily as she does postpartum. But I'm not complaining. She birthed 3 incredibly healthy and strong babies all on her own this weekend. And they're absolutely darling.