Correcting Tongue and Lip Ties

I've thought about writing this since Ender was small.  I wondered if anyone would care, if it was worth sharing, and so on, even though when I was researching this myself there is precious little information out there about it, so by default I should have thought about sharing to raise awareness.  Anyway, I was going through Ender's old pictures and found a pre-lip-tie-fix photo and it just took me right back to those really hard days, and I thought, what the hell, it's time to share.

Tongue Tie 

So I actually got kind of "lucky" on this.  Allyn was an adult with a tongue tie.  Before I met him, I thought "tongue-tied" was a colorful expression.  But nope, it just means that your tongue doesn't lift properly and is "tied" via skin to your lower jaw.  In the case of a mild lip tie, maybe nothing changes.  In an extreme tongue tie, which Allyn had, things like touching one's tongue to the back of one's teeth is impossible.  This meant no ice cream cone licking for Allyn, for most of his life.  He had the tie corrected in his 20's, and it was painful and a long healing process.

It's interesting that breastfeeding is the new FRENZY CULT and yet not a lot of education is out there about tongue ties and how it affects breastfeeding.  I'd done all my duties and read up on proper latch and blah blah blah boring who cares god I don't miss ANY OF THIS, but when Ender first tried to breastfeed I told the nurse that it hurt really bad and her response was "yep. it hurts. that's life."  I'M NOT EVEN JOKING.  She was awful.  

But I pushed and asked the lactation consultant, who had no clue what I was talking about until I explained it and then said "oh yeah! I knew a woman who had that once and she had to have her tongue cut when she was an adult! Supposedly it's really painful!" UGH THANKS.  The worst part? "You know what helps bruised nipples? Rub a little breastmilk on it!"  I'm sorry, but breast milk is literally fat and sugar.  Do you want me to put cookies on 'em too? Butter them up maybe?  What other bodily fluids should I apply to my contusions? So dumb.  I absolutely hate that breastfeeding is this new pseudo-science-mystic-healing-powers bullshit.  So over it.  Anyway, that was also a bust and I'm getting off track.  She was no help is my point.    

Sooooooooo I pushed again and went to the hospital pediatrician, who I have mixed feelings about.  I'll explain why in a minute.  She was the first person who actually had experience with tongue ties, and after hearing my suspicion, she poked Ender to get him crying (keep in mind he was like 2 days old and I was very sad to see him cry like that.)  The minute he opened his mouth she said he had a severe tongue tie.  I was happy I stood up for myself and my son, but annoyed that I had to ask three separate people and it was me asking instead of the medical professionals during whatever checkups they do, but whatever.  

I didn't know what to expect since Allyn's experience had been so painful and traumatizing.  I guess it isn't so when done on a baby, because Ender didn't bleed, he didn't scream, he was just annoyed at having a little spatula in his mouth to lift his tongue up.  Unlike circumcision, which is a completely unnecessary cosmetic procedure, this was a cut on an infant (haha) that I feel like really truly helped him.  Allyn was a little jealous that Ender would get to go through childhood without the trauma of not being able to speak or eat properly.  I was just relieved and thought we'd fixed the problem.

Lip Tie

But Ender was still having problems.  I noticed that he had what I called a "turtle lip" and I suspected it was the cause of his bad latching issues.  When he was only a week or two old I took him back to the pediatrician with again, suspicions that he had a lip tie.  A lip tie is bad because it also prevents a good latch, which whether the baby is sucking down from a boob or a bottle, they get extra air, they have reflux, and so on.  They can contribute to later problems as well, although since that was the "survival mode" of motherhood all I was worried about was the eating and latching.  The pediatrician looked and said yes, he had a severe lip tie, BUT (and this is why I have a mixed opinion of her) she was very haughty about correction of lip ties and stated that "maybe a dentist would do it, but would they be doing it for the right reasons?"  Implying that money was the only reason you'd want to remove such a feature.  She urged me to wait it out and see if things "got better" WHICH IS THE WORRRRRRRRST ADVICE to a new mother with severe PPD but whatever lady, I'm sorry the dentist hurt you.

Poor old Ender was having a rough go of it and I got so mad about the doctor visit that I switched pediatricians which is the best choice I could have made.  Ender's new doctor took everything I said seriously, checked his mouth and was stunned at how "glued down" his lip was, and he called in another doctor who had extensive practice with the procedure.  They asked if another pair of doctors could witness the procedure and I said sure, have at it.  It was just the same as the tongue tie; took a few seconds, shed a few tears, and bam, a HUGE problem was fixed.  And almost like he was reading my mind about the gall of the other pediatrician, the doctor said "We'll see if we can look up some codes for this to bill it as cheap as possible since this was medically necessary, at this point."  Guess not every lip tie fixer is in it for the money EH LADY?  I was and am, very, very grateful for these compassionate and understanding men and wish they would have been around for my traumatizing birth and first three weeks, ha!

I don't know how well I have helped Ender medically speaking; I know that he could eat better but still had reflux most of his early days.  I know that we only breastfed for a month and I attribute a lot of that failure to the lip and tongue ties and the idiocy of the medical team "on my side" or whatever, and I know that according to Allyn, growing up with a tongue tie was completely miserable and I've spared Ender years of pain and strife.  I also think it's likely he could have had speech problems with the combination of a "severe" tongue and "severe" lip tie, and now that's one less thing he has to worry about maybe?  When we got home and I saw how full and luscious his lips were without the frenulum holding his lip down I cried because he has my lips and I had no idea before that.  Just have a look at the before and after. (The before is the photo that prompted me to write this entry) 


Summer in Progress

I can't believe the last update I made was in May.  That's absurd.  Summer just kind of steam-rolled me and I'm still feeling the effects of it as we're maybe halfway through, but I had to give at least a small update and recap.

I had a huge Midsommar party and it was a blast.  I keep meaning to upload photos, but it just hasn't happened.  I'm bummed because I didn't take a ton of photos in the first place, but it's really hard to be an event planner, host, participant and photographer.  It was everything I dreamed it'd be, though! We had all the classics including jordgubbstĂ„rta and the symbolic opening of surströmming (which I thought was going to make Allyn divorce me).

I don't even know what happened all of June.  It just blurred by, and July has been even worse.  I can't go into too much personal detail but something completely unexpected happened--good, but stressful, and when I say stressful I mean the kind of shit that most people don't survive without some kind of mental breakdown.  Luckily, I was already mentally broken down so I have cruised through everything and seemingly FINGERS CROSSED, August looks to be less...intense.

The above photos are from probably my favorite day all summer...I went to Butterfield Canyon with Allyn and Ender.  Our plans to go down the other side were washed away in the rain, so we turned around and came home, but it was so amazing to get out of the city and be in the rain and dirt and trees.  Why don't I do this more often?  It's a form of self-care and it just doesn't happen nearly enough.

I decided in May that I was going to try handwriting in a journal, mostly for Ender, because there are things I want him to know that I just don't care to put on a public blog, and also because that will be something he can continue to keep track of when the nuclear apocalypse inevitably happens.  But I can't seem to find the right journal to do it with.  They're all so small and obnoxious.  Or they're not lined.  Or they're not pretty enough.

I did buy a small journaling pad and though it's been nice and I've gotten a few good sketches out of it, I've decided I need something bigger.

Follow my instagram art page!   @haifisch_art

Haha, I just noticed these two are both skellyton-ish....well anyway.  The purple haired girl actually comes from a "game" I'm obsessed with...it's called Choices, and it's an app where you do a choose-your-story IT SOUNDS SO LAME! and the stories are definitely geared toward more young-adult fiction, but they had a "scary" book that was just so moody and haunting it reminded me of those days playing Silent Hill 4 or reading Goosebumps and Spooksville...yeah I was super obsessed with scary young adult books, so much so that I'd love to write a few myself.  

The best were these three-story collections called "Fright Time" that I would get from the dollar store....I've always intended to rebuild my collection via the wonder of Amazon.  Another great series was "Shivers" which had SO many great tales, my favorite of which was titled "Night of the Goat Boy."  You laugh now but that thing was terrifying!!! Come to think of it, I think it's time for another Amazon books buy.  A random sidenote is that way back in the early, early days of Facebook I happened to track down M.D. Spenser, the author of the Shivers series and I gushed to him about how much I loved his work and how the books ignited my imagination as a younger kid, and that he was one of my author inspirations.  He was very gracious and encouraged me to write.  Pretty cool. 

Anyway, a bunch of other stuff has happened, I went to two pinup contests, and joined the Battlin' Betties, which seems promising.  Also not documented anywhere on my instagram or Facebook is the fact that since April, I've been doing on and off keto--I LOVE IT.  The "off" part has been mostly due to unfixable circumstances and heavy stress, but goddammit I'm committed, again, and can't wait to get back in ketosis.  To sound cultish for a minute, my aches and pains pretty much disappeared, I had energy in a way I've never had energy before, I had stunning clarity and better moods...and obviously a lot of weight came off.  I'm ready to get back into those feels please! 

In August, we have:

-My birthday
-Hot Air Balloon Festival
-Zombie prom and walk (and I have an AWESOME makeup unveiling!)
-......my birthday
-Salt Flats racing!

For real, I'm trying to keep the "doing" to a minimum because I'm just exhausted.  I've "done" enough in the month of July and I'd just love to sit around for my birth month and enjoy my family.

Here's a Currently:

reading:  A whole lot of Reddit.  Now that I wrote this post I'm getting into buying more young adult horror to traumatize Ender with, and it's going to be amazing.  I still have my two books to read to Allyn on my kindle but that hasn't happened yet :( 

watching After the third person compared me to Lagertha (I still am not sure why) I finally started watching Vikings.  The funny thing is that I listened to Wadruna, who does a lot of their music, yeaaaaaaaaars ago.  It's weird watching a show that has all this weird folky Scandinavian music in it that you've heard a lot.  Anyway, the show really fizzled out after the first two seasons, but those two seasons were phenomenal.  Very artful, incredible acting, and lots of ancient languages including my absolute favorite--Anglo Saxon!  Well done History Channel good job 10/10 in the beginning there.

Other than that?  Just a lot of murder and crime TV.  What else is new? 

thinking about my health.  I'm 30 and I feel 90.  There are so many things I want to do but these changes last if they're implemented slowly and the best place to start is my diet.  I WAS on track there for awhile and then life punched me.  I still am thinking a lot about my health these days.

wondering how to make more money.  Wondering WHY I have to make money.  Hating society.  Feeling stressed.  Wondering if I can make it by digging out a nuclear shelter and just eating platain for the next twenty years until I die.  I really, really hate modern society and I don't care how cynical I sound.  I'm so over it.  I'm so over both Allyn and I having to break our necks with this work-obsessed culture where wealth is something the average American will never achieve.  I'm just sick of it.  Wow this got dark huh?  Always on my mind though, lol.

enjoying Ender.  He is such a good baby.  He's so smart and strong and wonderful.  He hasn't quite gotten attached to me in the way where he loves on me, but he does scream blood-curdling monstrous screams if I walk away from him, so there's that.  I've been going a little nuts on the pinning of baby birthday stuff, so that'll be our next big party for sure.  


2018 Rat Fink Reunion

I had a random trade day at the beginning of June and decided it would be a fun "small" getaway for the family.  I was looking into car shows and found out that the Rat Fink Reunion was taking place that same weekend!


Rat Fink is the above grotesque, ugly character created by Ed Roth.  Rat Fink and a bunch of other equally disturbing illustrations (haha I really do not like how they look) are kind of synonymous with kustom kulture--special and unique vehicles, artwork, hairstyle, fashion..the whole nine--from the 50's and onward.  Ed Roth was a great artist and made some pretty famous vehicles, including custom motorcycle builds, and as it turns out he traded his partying ways for Mormonism before he passed.  He moved to Manti, Utah and that's where the reunion is held.  There's also a museum dedicated to Ed in the town.

Grungy and not-so-normal is the vibe, and that's exactly Allyn's jam when it comes to cars.  He and I have different tastes but that's one aesthetic we agree on, and we knew there would be cool stuff to see.  I was also eager to get the EEFFFFFF out of the city for a night and enjoy small towns again.  What's with me, right? I'm so old, haha.  I remember being 22 and saying "I LOVE living in the city!!11!1" NO MORE.

We spent the night in Gunnison, an adjacent sleepy town. I considered the one motel in Manti, but the motel sign literally said "CTR"on the sign! and I am so not into that.  (The motel in Gunnison had a big huge picture of Jesus from the Book of Mormon in the lobby, but still...it's better than on the actual outside of the motel, right?)  The "town" of Gunnison is so small and quaint, it almost felt like being back in Goodsprings, except the prison was literally a stone's throw away.  I love the strangeness of small towns in the west--they're their own enigmas. 

The next morning we got all doody'd up and went to Manti, a short drive away.  On the way to the "town" is this ridiculous, obscene-looking temple.  It was actually pretty cool and I enjoyed looking at it.  Don't get me wrong, I despise religion and have no love for LDS history, but I can appreciate fine architecture, and it will be quite the hideout in the desert once the apocalypse comes.  It's odd but none of the photos online do this ominous, towering structure any real justice.  Here's the best I could find.  But have no fear, when the aforementioned apocalypse comes and we take over, I'll be sure to take a lot of photos.  I do have some pretty severe megalophobia and this building had me pretty uncomfortable.  I dig it!

Onto the reunion, though--Allyn had been saving this awesome steel-bodied "Beetle" for his hypothetical child whom now exists.  I say "Beetle" because this company made toy cars in the 70s and never approved their design through Volkswagen, so Volkswagen put a stop to it and now these rare, illegal cars are pretty valuable.  They're push cars, but Allyn took it a step further and made it into a moving RV car.  He controlled the remote, and we sat Ender in it so he could drive around!!

Now I will say, at first I was terrified of this thing.  Ender is only nine months, this was a push toy made for older kids, and never meant to be a remote controlled vehicle.  But I got over the jitters quickly.  Ender was a natural.  I don't even think he cared.  In fact, he fell asleep a few times, LOL!  But he was one cool dude.  We were driving him around and parking him by the cool cars for photo ops.  The funniest moment was when we drove him under this HUGGGE monster car and heard the people on the other side laughing when a kid just popped out from under the vehicle with no warning!

As expected there were a ton of cool cars.  Allyn got an awesome printed tin sign with a rat rod on it and I got a rat fink hairbow.  I do think the characters look atrocious but I wanted something to help me remember the event, and it did the trick.  I almost wish we could've spent two or three days there because we got so tired, so fast, that we didn't get to see everything, including the museum.

But it was a great family outing, and our first time away from home with Ender since we went to Tennessee last year.  Whole different ballgame with a moving, crawling baby--I much prefer the lumpy newborn stage!! Travel is going to be different from now on, but that's okay.


Best and Worst Phases of My Life

Today I'm answering a double question from my journaling prompts: "What was the worst phase of your life/what was the best phase of your life?" 

The Worst

Worst?  Aw shit I love negative topics. Easy.  BET YOU THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO SAY FOSTER CARE DIDN'T YOU?  Well, it's surprisingly not.  That was maybe the hardest phase of my life, but it wasn't the worst.  I learned unwanted, valuable survival skills and I made the longest lasting friendships in my life during that time.  Plus foster care was a very long experience, peppered with so many different phases in itself I could break it down by home or by event and I don't care to.

No, when I read 'the worst' one era of my life sticks out like a sore thumb.  I think it's pretty standard that people who have broken home and family lives try to reconcile maybe past the point of reasonability.  I had stayed away from my family dutifully, for years, and around this time I just missed them I guess.  I'd gotten in contact with my absolute favorite aunt, my mom's older sister Doris.  I spoke to my sisters on social media.  I was in a long distance relationship with a sailor who had just been stationed in Virginia, a mere hop skip and jump away from my home state.

 And to start this shitty phase off right, I'd quit my job as a teacher and was feeling entirely lost, jaded, and depressed.  My students were my world and I still haven't enjoyed anything quite like teaching.  The experience really prompted me to look elsewhere for happiness and it seemed logical to go toward home.  I was very 'Jack Dawson' in my early 20's and just kind of flitted around everywhere, which isn't a bad thing in itself, but it definitely was when what I needed was stability and security.

I moved back home.  After spending a few weeks with my then-fiancee, I moved in with my Aunt Doris who had completely hidden the fact that she was bedridden and suffering congestive heart failure.  She was such an amazing, powerful woman and to see her incapable of even standing was....not the best.  We were isolated, in the deep Georgia forest, with her dementia-ridden husband and abusive daughter in law.  Again, not the best.

We hunkered down and suffered through a tornado.  I went to a southern church again and remembered how mild the rest of the world is with their deity worship.  I walked around in the Appalachian foothills like I'd done as a girl, but I did not feel at home for one second.  I had some good old fashioned yelling matches over the phone with my fiancee.  Doris got hospitalized and declined quickly--the EMTs taking her away on the ambulance marked the last straw before I pursued my own medical education.  I remember feeling so powerless the entire illness.  I didn't know what to do.  I didn't understand what her body was going through.  I didn't know how to help.  I begged a foster sister to come drive me the 200 or so miles to my real sister's house, and while I was settling in there, Doris passed away.

Living with my younger sister, who was also in an unfamiliar home waaaaaaaaaay out in the country, did my mental health even less good.  She flew into a rage one day and started throwing everything but the kitchen sink at me, so I clocked her...not because I wanted to, but it was the only thing I could do to stop her tantrum.  She went to Doris's funeral with a black eye.  Again, not the right place for me.  I went to my other sister's house and got into yet another altercation there after a few weeks, which ended with her getting pissed at me and calling the cops to remove me from her apartment.

They were pretty stumped at what to do with me (as was I!) so I just had them drive me to the bus station, figuring I'd take things from there.  Let me tell you, a police backseat escort to the greyhound station, complete with them popping the trunk and handing you your luggage, is the BEST way to ensure that nobody at the bus station fucks with you.  Those bus station dwellers scurried away like cockroaches and stared warily at me until I was on a bus to Virginia.

As you might expect, I got to Virginia and was greeted by a failing relationship.  There were actually some peaceful, happy memories there, because I lived in a hotel next to the beach (you think I'm kidding?)  We explored colonial Virginia, which was all new to me...we went to the aquarium, we went to civil war battlefields, we ate a lot of seafood and drank good beer.  The fond memories, like everything else during this phase, were peppered in with some of the worst and most devastating fights and relationship turmoil that I've ever had.

I had moved down south in January.  I moved back to Utah in July.  I lasted six months through all of this terror, post-teacher-dom.  It was a HELLISH six months and for awhile I had severe PTSD symptoms and crippling anxiety.  Things settled down eventually, and that awful road was followed by a really lovely portion--moving to Sweden--but I'll never forget 2011 as being the absolute worst year of my life in every way.

The Best

Just like answering 'the worst', this one is incredibly easy.  And it makes me happy to say that.  The best is now.  It's better than it ever has been.  There are many reasons why.  First, I do have that relationship with my family that I sought out for so long.  My mother died and I have made peace with our horrendous relationship.  My dad and I have never been closer, and though I worry about him, I also get to talk to him frequently and send him pictures of his grandson.  I'm close with my sisters and I know I always have people and places to crash when I'm in Tennessee.

My job is the best job I've ever had.  It's unique, it's the right environment and place for me, and it has given me opportunities I never thought I would have, like becoming an EMS instructor.  I've met some amazing people around the globe, and I'd like to brag that I have some of the best relationships in the world, friend and otherwise.  I have Flemith and Allyn and Ender.  I enjoy being a mom, I enjoy being who I am and I live with people who respect and appreciate me.  It hasn't been perfect; for god's sake we went through a flood and evacuation (and subsequent purgatory/homelessness) my labor was traumatic, I had HORRIBLE post-partum depression, I still need to lose another 30 or so pounds of baby weight and I regret chopping my hair off every day, but in the grand scheme of things  I am so, so happy.