Five on Friday | Randomness

Kennedy’s 1-week checkup for her lip & tongue ties went great yesterday! The dentist said everything looks good. The next 2 weeks are critical in her healing process to ensure the tissues in her mouth don’t grow back, so lots of mouth exercises are in her future.

Which brings us to Friday! YAY! Here’s some Five on Friday randomness for you.

{one} Earlier this week, Maverick and I had a date, just the 2 of us. It was the first time since Kennedy joined our family that I have gotten to spend some serious 1-on-1 time with him. We went to the grocery store (not super fun, I know, but necessary evil) and then went to Sonic to share a milkshake and watch traffic (his favorite!). While I sat next to him, I realized how much he has grown in the last 2 months.

He has become the best helper at home. When I’m nursing, he’ll fetch burp clothes or pillows for me. He brings Kennedy blankets when she’s sleeping and he always asks, “Baby okay?” when he hears her cry.

I can’t believe he’s almost 2 and half & we are preparing for potty training & preschool already! That little boy of mine is everything to me and I will forever love the moments I get to spend watching traffic with him.


{two} I love shopping local stores and this week, the Kansas State shirt I have had my eye on came back in stock and on sale at localE. I ordered it on Tuesday and received it on Thursday! It’s just as perfect in person and I can’t wait to wear it soon. I’m also thinking I need to pick up one of their Royals shirts because can you really have enough royal blue in your closet? The answer is no.



{three} It’s almost May, you guys! Can you believe it? I simply can’t. At the beginning of each new month, Shawn & I try and sit down and map out what we need to get done that month. So far for May we have a potty training weekend, mini van shopping, his 20-year high school class reunion and hopefully a Royal’s game with the family!

{four} Next week I’m taking my first solo trip with the kids to Des Moines, Iowa. Shawn has to work there for the week so we are going to meet him the last part of his trip. While he works, the kids and I are going to do some exploring. I’m thinking we’ll do a zoo trip and maybe catch an Iowa Cubs game. It’s not the Royals, but it is baseball, so Maverick will love it!

{five} We’ve been trying to figure out who Kennedy looks like — Shawn or myself. Overall the consensus is Shawn, but once in a while we’ll get a vote for me. What do you think? I just can’t tell!

left to right: me, Kennedy, Shawn

Happy Friday! Have a great weekend!

All Things Lip & Tongue Ties

It’s been 1 week since Kennedy has had her lip & tongue tie revision and over the course of the last 7 days, Shawn & I have been flooded with messages from friends & family checking in her. She’s doing FANTASTIC! The difference in our little girl has been night & day. In fact, she’s such a different baby that Shawn & I have joked that someone must have snuck in in the middle of the night and swapped her out for a newer, less screaming version.


I’ve also received so many questions about everything that has happened with Kennedy in the last week and I wanted to take this time to address them all. Keep in mind, I’m not a medical professional (by any means!) and I can only speak to my experience with her.

What exactly is a lip and/or tongue tie?

If you run your tongue along the top gum of your mouth, do you feel that little piece of skin that connects your lip to your gum? You have that same piece of skin on your bottom lip and under your tongue. Those are supposed to be there. Kennedy had them too, but they were in the wrong place and were too short. The skin on her top and bottom lips didn’t connect lip to gum, like it should. It connected lip to between where her top & bottom front teeth would be. This made it nearly impossible for her to move her lips. In addition to being in the wrong place, they were too short. They didn’t stretch to allow her to move her lips. She also had extra pieces of skin connecting her lips to her mouth called “buckle ties,” which connects her upper lip to where her eye teeth would be. To put it in perspective, the dentist said, “Her lips were literally tied to her mouth.”



To make it even worse, she had a tongue tie. You know, that piece of skin connecting your tongue to your mouth? Well she had one, but it was so short, she couldn’t move her tongue to the roof of her mouth. Can you imagine trying to talk or eat without being able to touch the roof of the your mouth? It’s impossible.



Lip & tongue ties can create all sorts of problems for infants & older children (i.e, speech impairments & dental problems), but for Kennedy, specifically, she was struggling to get a sufficient latch while nursing. She could latch and get milk, but she was also getting a lot of air, which was creating major stomach problems. In addition, she was just in a lot of pain, hence the constant screaming.

How did we not know she had these problems?

This question is the hardest one to answer because as a mom, I beat myself up for NOT knowing. I didn’t know for 2 months! But according to Dr. Nick Prater, the pediatric dentist we saw, this should have been caught when she was born and it wasn’t. The pediatrician & the Lactaction Consultant missed it. Not to mention, it was overlooked the 4 times I dragged my child back to the doctor’s office demanding someone see her because I knew it my gut something wasn’t right. I just didn’t know what. Apparently, neither did they.

But didn’t she have problems breastfeeding?

Yes and no. Breastfeeding was rough. She constantly latched, unlatched & screamed. Every feeding was a battle to get her on the boob and to stay on the boob. But my milk supply was more than enough (hello oversupply!) and she was gaining weight without supplementing. She gained 4 pounds in 4 weeks and doubled her birth weight before her 2 month appointment! So while we fought to get her to eat, once we got there, there wasn’t any issue. So I never called Lactation to have her looked at again because I didn’t think nursing was the problem. I thought she was just being a pain in my ass when it came to eating.

So why did I take her to a chiropractor?

I had already been to the pediatrician 4 times. I was told it was because I had too much milk (which was true, but not the problem). Then I was told she had acid reflux and finally that she was simply just colicky. Every time I took her to the doctor, I told them I was concerned about her lack of pooping. She met the wet diaper requirement each day, but she didn’t poop. She maybe pooped once a week; however, they didn’t seem concerned. I was though and because the screaming wasn’t getting better I became convinced that was the problem. So like every person searching for answers, I went to Google and found that sometimes babies need their hips adjusted following birth to relieve constant constipation. So I found Dr. Racheal McCrackin, a chiropractor that specializes in babies & children, and made an appointment.

Not only were her hips out of alignment but Dr. Racheal caught the lip & tongue ties by simply looking in her mouth and watching her nurse.

PS If you are wondering, she did adjust Kennedy’s hips and she has been pooping daily! 

So how is a lip and/or tongue tie fixed?

Dr. Prater specializes in revising these ties. Once he confirmed the diagnosis, he then used a laser to cut the skin that was holding her lips and tongue from doing their jobs. Prior to our appointment, I did a lot of research and there are 2 methods for revising ties: cutting them or using a laser.

The laser method is preferred because it decreases bleeding & recovery time, as well as lowers the risk for infection.

Unfortunately, they did not use anything to numb or sedate Kennedy prior to the procedure, so it was pretty painful for me to watch it happen to my baby girl. The bright side though, it was less than 10 minutes (probably less than 6 minutes, but it felt like FOREVER) and Kennedy was over it before we made it to the car to head home.

What happens if you don’t get a lip and/or tongue tie revised?

In our case, the dentist said we would have had to get it revised. He said eventually we would have figured it out because her specific ties would have kept her from eating solid foods and/or talking. Thankfully, we caught it before it got to that point.

What’s the recovery period like?

Dr. Prater said the first 3 days following the procedure might be rough; however, Kennedy had no issues! I think it’s because the pain from recovering was pale in comparison to what she had been feeling. I did, however, give her some Tylenol for the first few nights to help her sleep. She seemed to be in more pain at night.

For the next 5-6 weeks, we have to perform lip & tongue stretches on Kennedy. This is to ensure that the tissues in her mouth don’t reattach and grow back. She HATES them and Shawn & I take turns doing them because it makes us feel like the worse parents ever. Basically we have to pull her upper and lower lips away from her gums and hold them for 3 seconds, 3 times and then we have to stretch her tongue to the roof of her mouth for 3 seconds, 3 times. We also have to rub the areas that were revised to keep the tissues from growing back. And yes, it’s all as miserable as it sounds. Fortunately, the areas in Kennedy’s mouth are healing really well, so she’s not in pain when we do these stretches anymore. She’s just annoyed that someone is messing with her mouth…again.

In addition to the mouth exercises, Kennedy is headed back to the chiropractor! Because her lips and tongue couldn’t work as they should, Kennedy compensated in her own little way in order to nurse. However, this started to create a deformation in her soft palate in the roof of her mouth. So for the next couple of weeks we will be seeing Dr. Racheal so Kennedy can get her soft palate reshaped. Incredible, right?!

What does the chiropractor do for an infant?

Personally, I have never been to a chiropractor, but in my head, I envision a lot of popping and jerking. Let me reassure you, she does NOT pop and jerk my baby. It simply looks like she is touching Kennedy — holding her hips, touching near her spine, holding her jaw. I know the chiropractor is applying pressure at certain points, but you couldn’t tell if you didn’t know. And for the record, no it doesn’t hurt Kennedy, but yes she cries simply because she’s being bothered.

Want another fun fact? According to Dr. Racheal, Kennedy is what is called a “bullet baby.” During birth, most babies sit in the birth canal for awhile while the mother pushes the baby out. This allows the baby’s body to adjust during the birthing process. Kennedy, however, was born really fast (2 pushes, less than 5 minutes) so her body never had time to adjust. It’s similar to being in a car wreck, where the inertia carries you forward, even after the car has stopped. However, adults who are in car accidents have muscle tone & muscle memory to help their body realign. Babies don’t have muscle tone or muscle memory so they just stay out of alignment, which was the problems with her hips and the reason behind the lack of pooping. MIND BLOWN!

How’s Kennedy doing now?

Like I said, it really feels like someone swapped out the Screaming Kennedy for the Kennedy we have now. She’s smiling & cooing, things that didn’t regularly happen before, and she’s content to just sit in her bouncer or on the floor while I cook dinner or get ready for the day. Those may sound like nothing, but when it’s been 2 months of constantly consoling a child who only stopped crying to sleep (in 2 hour increments, mind you) those are BIG moments. Granted, she’s still a newborn so it’s not all rainbows and kittens. But she’s better and not in pain anymore and really that’s all that matters.


Today, Kennedy has her 1-week follow-up appointment with Dr. Prater and I’m anxious to see how it goes. I’ll be sure to update tomorrow!



Five on Friday | Silver Linings

First things first, here’s an update on Kennedy: Yesterday, we went to see the pediatric dentist and guess what? That poor girl did indeed have a mouth full of ties. She had an upper lip tie, buckle ties on the top (or a tie on each side of where her eye teeth would be), a bottom lip tie and a front tongue tie. In the words of the dentist, “I have no idea how you have managed this for nearly 3 months.” Clearly, he didn’t notice the black bags under my eyes and the Venti Triple Shot Caramel Macchiato in my hand, but that’s besides the point.

He laser cut the ties right there in his office. I cried harder than Kennedy did as I watched them hold her down and laser the webbing out of her mouth, but I kept telling myself it was for her own good. It was definitely one of those moments that as a mother, your instinct is to say, “NO! You can’t inflict more pain on my baby,” but you have to make the tough decision to allow it because you know in the long run it’s worth it.

The procedure lasted less than 10 minutes and immediately after they asked me to nurse Kennedy. She latched on like a champion and ate for a solid 15 minutes. Prior to all of this, I didn’t think I had pain while breastfeeding, but after they cut the ties yesterday and she latched, I felt a difference immediately.

We still have 5-6 weeks of mouth stretches & exercises and 2 follow-up visits, but already I’m seeing a difference. For example, last night she nursed to sleep for the first time in her life! And while playing on the floor with her brother, she was cooing, babbling and smiling. Just look at this cute, non-screaming face:


And as Murphy’s Law would have it, as soon as I started to feel like I’m finally seeing the light at this very dark tunnel, Maverick ended the evening yesterday with a 100.6 fever. I, too, am not feeling 100% so I pulled out my Neti Pot last night and lathered up in some Vicks in hopes of keeping germs at bay.

With all this stress, it’s easy to get caught up in the negative. So here are 5 silver linings that I’m focusing on right now:

{one} Last weekend, my sister moved back to Kansas City from Orlando!! I am SO excited to have her closer and that was only made better when she offered to babysit Maverick while I took Kennedy to the dentist. That was literally the BEST thing to happen. Not only could I focus 110 percent on my baby girl, but Maverick got to spend a Thursday morning with his Aunt Haggie and boy did he have fun!


Eating cookies in his diaper


Under Aunt Haggie’s bed so he could play with her cat

{two} Motherhood can be so isolating and when something is wrong with your kid, that feeling is multiplied by 100,000. Yesterday, I received several text messages from friends and family wishing Kennedy well and telling me that I was a good mom. That last part–the good mom part–was the one that got me through the day. I didn’t know if I was making the right decision to have her ties cut, and quite frankly, I may not know for a while if I made the right call, but having a cheering squad of people I admire tell me I’m doing a good job was everything.

{three} During all of this, Shawn has been in Portland. Not only is he not here, but the 2 hour time difference is near impossible when constant communication needs to be had. Luckily, he comes home today and I think we are all looking forward to a infamous Shawn Brack hug!

{four} In case you forgot, it’s Easter weekend and I have done nothing. The kids don’t have outfits. We have no plans. I have half of Maverick’s Easter basket ready and flat out gave up on Kennedy’s (she’s 2 months old, she’ll never know!!) and dying eggs is laughable at this point. But you know what? It’s okay because we’ll be together as a family. And that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself when my Facebook feed blows up with everyone’s perfect pictures.

{five} It’s been on the calendar for 2 months now, but Shawn & I are supposed to celebrate our first wedding anniversary on Saturday. We had big plans to go to a fancy restaurant and spend a night out on the town, but after this week, I think we are scrapping those plans and sticking with what we know–comfort food & cold beer. It won’t be fancy and we’ll be home right after we eat to take care of our sick kiddos, but I’m looking forward to enjoying a hot meal without having to bounce a baby on my knee.

Happy Friday everyone and Happy Easter!

Trusting My Gut

So remember when I said that Kennedy has been nothing short of a nightmare? We tried the acid reflux medicine and it did help…until it didn’t anymore. The last couple of weeks Kennedy has reverted back to being an absolute disaster and I am seriously at my wit’s end.

I can handle a crying baby. I get that babies cry. This isn’t my first rodeo here. But what she does is so much more than just crying. It’s an ear-piercing scream. She screams so hard and so loud that she literally turns red. Her whole body tenses up and her little fists are clenched so tight her knuckles turn white. She’s impossible to calm down and when she does stop screaming, it’s usually because she has screamed herself to sleep. After an hour, she’s up again, screaming.

It’s painful to listen to, it’s painful to watch and it’s draining me of what little sanity I have left. Not to mention, breastfeeding has become a battle all its own. I breastfed Maverick for a year, no problems, and felt confident I knew how to do it with Kennedy too. But every single feeding, I have to fight her to eat. She’ll latch on, but within minutes of starting to nurse, she unlatches, arches away from me and starts to scream. This goes on throughout the entire feeding and it’s exhausting.

I’ve been debating whether or not I should just give up and wean her, but my intuition has been yelling at me that something bigger is going on here. So yesterday after some soul-searching (i.e, having a complete breakdown and a good cry), I listened to my gut and called a pediatric chiropractor. I don’t know why, considering I have never been to a chiropractor myself, but something told me this is what needed to happen and luckily, I had a referral from fellow blogger friend.

The chiropractor got me in for a same day appointment (thank you Jesus!) and within minutes of talking to her and describing what was happening, she asked if she could watch Kennedy nurse. I whipped my boob out without hesitation, desperate for someone else–especially another nursing mom–to witness this nightmare. And without fail, Kennedy latched, suckled, unlatched and the screaming battle began.

The chiropractor recommended a pediatric dentist to access Kennedy for a lip & tongue tie. I left her office feeling very unsure of the whole thing, so I called my Lactation Consultant. Now, why I didn’t call them before all of this is besides me. Let’s chalk it up to exhaustion, okay? Anyways, I had to leave a message, but by the time I got home my gut was once again yelling to just call the dentist.

So I did and guess what? They suddenly had an opening for today, so I took it, and within minutes of getting off the phone with them, my Lactation Consultant called me back and confirmed that yes, it sounds like we are dealing with a lip & tongue tie.

But my intuition wasn’t done yelling at me yet. I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of clipping the tie, but I had this nagging feeling that I needed to ask fellow moms and what better way to do that than Facebook? So I posted a status and guess what, moms that I know had AMAZING things to say about the same dentist I was referred to and the procedure in general.

In less than 24 hours, I had seen a pediatric chiropractor, spoke with Lactation, made a next-day appointment with one of the most respected pediatric dentists in the Kansas City area and got confirmation from fellow mothers that this is the right move. And you know what, my intuition that had been screaming at me all day suddenly quieted.

I’ve been a wreck for the last 2 months. I am beyond exhausted. I am cried out. I have spent endless days trying every trick in the book to calm my daughter. I am literally at my wit’s end with nothing left to give, yet today I feel more at peace than I have since we welcomed Kennedy into this world and I truly believe it’s because I trusted my gut.

We’ll see what happens today at the dentist, but if I listen to my intuition, I think this is it. I think this is the answer to my prayers. Wish us luck!