Saturday, February 26, 2011

The results are in

Looks like I no longer have amoebic dysentery. I am so happy that I will not have to stop nursing Siena right away. It is a blessing to be feeling better!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Honor your father and mother...

One thing I've learned in India is respect for the elderly. This is evident throughout the culture here.

  • 80% of the elderly here live with their children.
  • Older employees are always referred to as "sir" by their younger counterparts.
  • Someone who does not care for his parents is looked down upon socially.

US nursing homes are such a sad place. The sad shuffle of feet, the listless gazes of the occupants, the confusion that abounds in a strange, sterile environment.

I guess this means we'll need a bigger house in a few years...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

God is good, even when circumstances are not

On Sunday morning when Siena woke up she looked at me ready to nurse. I have never felt more sure of God's purpose for me than I have when giving birth or nursing my children. It is humbling and amazing that God has equipped me as a mother. It completely broke my heart knowing that I couldn't satisfy my daughter's need in that moment. A million thoughts were going through my head, "She isn't even one yet. She is still a baby. What if Siena weans herself?" It felt like the special bond was ending.

I had to go in another room while Travis attempted to feed her a bottle of formula. She screamed louder than I have ever heard her cry. It was a very long day. She refused formula from a bottle, so Travis attempted to feed her formula mixed with cereal. She eventually took a couple tablespoons of it, but that was it. She ate mostly Cheerios all day. A big thanks to the Garity family for sending them our way! :)

My sweet Travis is brilliant. He said we should send an email to all the doctors advising me in the practice. On Sunday night I received a call from our primary doctor. He had just returned from being out of town and said he wanted to call me immediately after seeing the email. He was so sorry for any miscommunication and inconvenience, but he strongly believed I was wrongly advised and that nursing Siena would be fine because the medication is considered safe for breastfeeding mothers and their infants. He said stopping the breastfeeding now is more harmful for her than the small level of the medications in my breastmilk. He said that he is confident that she would do fine and shouldn't be weaned so quickly. She was very relieved. It had been a traumatic day (really for both of us.)

On Monday night, we went to the clinic to see our primary doctor. He told me that this medication is safe, but the one I may have to take in a week or so (if this one doesn't clear up the infection) is not safe in nursing. My heart sank again, but at least I can move forward in preparation for that day, if need be. We have started introducing Siena to more table foods to hopefully make the transition go more smoothly if she won't take formula again.

When we got home that night, I felt intense nausea all over again. This week I feel like I have been improving a bit, but the progress seems slow.

Today Travis is back at work. I am so thankful that he was able to be here while I was feeling too weak to take care of the kids. Today I am still feeling pretty tired, but my spirits are up. I am scheduled to finish this medication on Sunday. The plan is to wait a week and repeat tests. At that point, the doctor will decide if the other medication is necessary.

It's interesting that one of the main reasons that I considered not going to India in the first place was because I was told that I couldn't continue breastfeeding and take anti-malarial medications. It was something I didn't want to give up.

At times I have wondered if this is it. Will I die of amoebic dysentery? Are these the final moments that I will have on this earth with my husband and children? God has my attention. I am listening.

I don't know what the future holds, but I am confident that God's plans are bigger than my own. I feel so blessed with all that I have been given. God is good, even when circumstances are not. It is awe-inspiring the way He uses our circumstances to bring us closer to Him. I am treasuring this time. When I am weak, then I am strong.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Today's post brought to you by the letter "F"

Michelle is sick, so I stayed home to help out.

It was my turn to do school, so we worked on the letter "F". It is very cool to see how excited Ansel is to learn.


Amoebic Dysentery

After not fully recovering from my last bout of sickness, I had a recurrence of symptoms: diarrhea, fever, and the nausea, which never completely subsided. Today I was diagnosed with amoebic dysentery. I have started antibiotic treatment, but I am informed that the medicines which I am taking pass into the breastmilk at a level that will be unsafe for our 9 month old. I will have to stop nursing her on Sunday and discontinue breastfeeding for at least 11 days. After the 11 days more tests will need to be done to determine whether or not I will need a second round of drugs. I must admit I am very thankful for our doctors who were able to diagnose me fairly quickly, but I am disheartened about not being able to feed my baby girl. I nursed my son until he was 18 months. I guess things could be worse, but this feels like more than I bargained for. Still I know God has a plan in all of this. Now I just need to trust Him.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Having a housekeeper isn't so bad...

I think I am adjusting to having a housekeeper. I started feeling really sick this evening and was disappointed when she left. She is great with our kids. Our son follows her all around the house watching her clean. He tells her, "Ms. Jack-ween, kween (clean) everything all up, okay?" Is that what I sound like? I hope not. From the mouths of babes! It is truly eye-opening to hear.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Yesterday Ansel played with a 3 year old boy named Will at a play space called Peek-A-Boo. It has a dress up box, a rock-like structure for climbing, a huge sandpit, and soft-play toys perfect for Siena. Will is from Australia and it is incredibly cool to listen to him talk with his sweet Aussie accent. They have been in Bangalore twice as long as we have. I had a great time chatting with Will's mom, while the kids played at the cleanest, most delightful play space I could possibly imagine in Bangalore.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Little Armenian friends for my kids

I met a lady with a son a year younger than Ansel and a daughter six weeks younger than Siena, just like Siena's little friend Galilee back home :) Upon meeting her, she said her daughter was napping but we could meet her when she woke up from her morning nap. We stood at the front step and talked a bit. She said that her son looks more like her husband who is German and her daughter looks more like her father who is Armenian! I was caught off guard. I can't believe I met an Armenian who lives practically around the corner from us! It is nice to have found someone who has a son and a daughter to play with Ansel and Siena, and she holds a playgroup every week!

A Birthday Party

Saturday night we attended a birthday party for Travis' coworker's one year old son. It was so exciting to celebrate a 1st birthday with a very sweet couple and their precious son. It made me realize that in just over 2 months we will have a birthday celebration for our little girl. Time is going so fast!

We arrived at the party's start time. In India things start on IST (India Standard Time, better known as India Stretchable Time). The other party goers and the family didn't arrive until half an hour after we did. It was fine to relax and play with our kids while we waited.

The "cake ceremony" began soon after the party started, where the parents held their son and foam was sprayed into the air while music played. The parents cut the cake with their son's hand and the parents fed him cake with their hands. In the same way, the parents fed each other cake. It was sweet to watch and reminded me of wedding receptions back home. Then the parents fed cake to their parents and siblings as well.

The presents were taken to the child one by one, by the gift's bearer. Each party brought the gift to the boy and then the group posed for a photograph with the birthday boy holding his gift. He didn't open the gifts at the party.

After cake and presents, an unusual game was played. It was called "Where's the Bomb." It was basically like musical chairs, except when the music stopped you had to stop at one of four corners. In each corner stood a chair with a sign bearing the name of an international city. The hostess called out the one of the four city names saying, "The bomb's in _________!" Everyone who was not standing by the city name that was called cheered.

After the game, party favors were distributed to the children present. I was embarrassed because I mistakenly received the present for my daughter with my left hand. The birthday boy's mom was gracious and didn't seem too alarmed. Maybe she was being forgiving of the foreigner.

It was really neat to see how people from another culture celebrate a birthday.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Complete Misery

Before our weekend excursion to Nagarhole National Park, we went to visit our doctor group. They were suggesting that I loosen up a bit. Let my kids eat more foods out. "It will be good for them in the long run, the more germs they are exposed to the stronger and healthier they will be." Okay, so in the back of my mind I keep playing that conversation over and over again in my head. I remembered my husband saying that at the resorts proper precautions are taken to keep foreigners healthy. At the rustic resort Ansel was eating raw fruits and I thought, hmm, maybe I'll try a salad. Let's jump right in. I felt fine the whole time we were there and then driving home my stomach was in knots. I knew diarrhea was on its way. We got home and I was pretty sick. At 3am on Monday I woke up with a fever. We called the doctor and he said it sounds like a "welcome to India" sickness. He recommended antibiotics, probiotics, fever reducer, 2.5 L of fluid, and lots of rest. I was pretty miserable as it was, and then came nausea. The intensity of the nausea was increasing. I was sure I was going to die, and then I vomited. I felt 10 times better. I called the doctor and he told me to take anti-nausea pills. The main concern was that I could keep the medicines down. The nausea medicine took the edge off but I was still pretty nauseated. All I wanted to do was sleep. I ate nothing but a yogurt from Sunday night to Monday night.

Tuesday I felt a little better by the end of the day. That said I still don't feel fully recovered. I am still weak.. Even Friday in the car on the way home I was feeling very nauseated. I guess I'll avoid salads after all...

Nagarhole National Park

This weekend we were at King's Sanctuary Resort at Nagarhole National Park. It was a quiet and peaceful weekend away. We were thankful for the adventure of a safari, where we got to see three tiger cubs, and the time we got to spend as a family relaxing by the pool. We went on a nature walk. Ansel shot paintballs and rode a bike at the resort.

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