Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Attachment Parenting a Child with Lice - Part II

Day 1: Sasha hardly napped. I worked on her head some (as I said in my previous post in this series), but she was restless by the time I got to her head and didn't sleep long. I didn't get much.

Day 2: Sasha slept until nearly noon! By 7 o'clock, she finally went down for a nap (I am going to be up all night with her!). She even rolled onto her belly, so I had good access to the back of her head. There aren't SOOO many. I wound up mostly using a normal fine tooth comb and picking lice out by hand (even the tiny ones). I kept having to pick them out from beneath my finger nails to flick into the hot soapy water. Ew. Every once in a while, I'd tug a hair and she'd roll her head over. That was convenient. Except once she rolled it, I saw a large louse, and then she flipped her head back. Ugh.

Day 3: We got Sasha up early (around 8) to go grocery shopping. This meant that she fell asleep a couple hours earlier than usual that night! So I got to work on her head again without staying up all night. Once again I did the picking by hand. I really hate when a couple of strands of hair cross over each other because it looks like there is a louse where they cross.

Day 4: Snow Day! We get snow and ice here in Oklahoma, but overnight we got about 2 feet of it!! Our city was not equipped for it at all. My work (along with the US Postal Service, the local malls and several other businesses) was closed! This meant I could use nap time to work on Sasha's head. I had Elmo bring me the supplies and then I was able to work on her head while she nursed. I actually got her off of my nipple, but eventually I flipped her to the other side. I let her nurse back to sleep and then I was able to work on the other side of her head. I found about 3-5 adult lice. I also picked out several tiny lice or eggs, they were so small I couldn't be sure which. Picking while nursing has its conveniences, but I sure get a crick in my neck from leaning over so far to see the back of her head!

Day 4: Snow Day! I only found one adult louse while she was nursing in my lap, but I was literally falling asleep as I picked through her hair.

Adult LouseAdult Louse on Notebook Paper

Day 5: Snow Day! The light that plugs into my USB is really bright and helpful! Leaning over a nursing (or just sleeping in my lap) baby is very rough on my back! Focusing so hard to see such tiny things really wears out the eyes, too. No one said this would be fun, though, right? I didn't have water handy, so I'm using a blank notebook page. The louse I found can not get around on it and now I can tell that the other specks are definitely eggs or nits, not lice. I believe that the entire left side of her head (including top / front / back) is currently completely clear of lice, eggs, and nits. UGH. It feels like this will never end. We're half way through our 2nd attempt at ridding her of them. I did manage to get her switched back to the other breast and work on her right side. I found a nest of specks on the top, but even after scraping them off I couldn't identify whether they were tiny lice, eggs, nits, or just scalp. Nothing else on the paper seems to be moving, though!

Lice and Nits on PaperLice and Nits on Notebook Paper

Day 6: OMG I am going to go cross-eyed! If eggs/nits were the theme of the day yesterday, today it is baby lice! Ugh! Still finding nits and eggs, but found a nest of babies and did find one adult. I wonder if they are attracted to the "soft spot" are out of extra warmth. I also wonder how tender her scalp might be. Mine is sore and I don't even HAVE lice! I swear I have touched every single, individual hair on this poor child's head. Oh, strike that, three adults. I just don't know how I'm ever going to get them ALL. I am feeling really discouraged. I am giving this to 10 days straight, but if they're not gone she is going to have to lose the hair. :-(

USEFUL TIPS: You may be able to FEEL adult lice as you slowly run your fingers through your child's hair. I suggest sitting under a bright light AND using a flashlight pointing at their head. Sometimes the eggs will glimmer in the light and you can see them contrasting against the hair shaft.

Day 7: Did I mention that my daughter sleeps with her hands in her hair? So I got her down for a nap on the boppy on the couch and started combing. It woke her so I got her back on the breast and had to go through her hair by hand again as she maintained "about to wake up" status. I had to wrestle for clear spots of hair as she would run her own hands through it. If I saw something I'd have to pin it down as she moved her hands so as not to lose it. And most of that I did sitting on a flippin' step stool which I was going to use for better height for her on the couch, not in my lap! I found very little. I don't know whether to be worried or thrilled. Maybe it is because I got so much yesterday or maybe it is because I wasn't on my game today. I don't know, we'll see how tomorrow looks...

I had gone to just hand-picking through her hair, but I think I'll pick up the comb again.

Day 8: Important point on using the lice comb, you really must use some sort of detangler or conditioner. Those suckers pull. I'm thinking I may not give up at 10 days, I may wind up adding days for the ones I hand-picked instead of combed. I don't know, I just don't want to give up hope. I don't want to have to chop her hair off. I know it is JUST hair, but damnit we're in the middle of winter AND she twirls her hair. She would miss it! I asked my husband if we would all shave as a sign of support. He said everyone but me. (I actually had a shaved head when we met.) The combing went well and I think I got nearly every square inch of her head. I found about 5 live lice, I think. They were tiny!

Day 9: I am so frustrated! She sleeps with her hands on her head. Then I started pre-combing with a regular comb and she stirs. I lie in the tiny space next to her and let her nurse while I hand-comb her hair. Daddy even looked through and saw the baby lice today (but doesn't have the nails to grab 'em). I think part of the trouble is that they aren't on her hair, they are on her scalp! Literally, I have to scratch them off of her scalp. I got 10 in as many minutes! I am searching for options now and considering doing olive oil on her to kill the live lice. How long will I have to do it? Eggs obviously keep hatching! I'm contacting The National Pediculosis Association®, Inc. for further suggestions as well. They don't mention olive oil on their site at all.

Lice on ScalpLice on Scalp
You see those specks of dirt?
I scrape them off with my fingernail, and then I see them move!
Not all of them, I think some of it is dirt or... lice poop?
Seriously, I dare you to click & see the bigger picture.

Day 10: You remember I sent a desperate email to The National Pediculosis Association®, Inc. last night? I got an automated (I would guess) reply at 2:30 in the morning asking for my phone number so they could call to troubleshoot. It also offered me a phone number if I would rather call them (long distance, but who doesn't have service these days?). By 7:30 I got another, real, email from them!

Hi Jorie. We would like to expedite a complimentary LiceMeister® comb to you for your family this morning. Need an address or phone number so we can get the mailing information. In the meantime we are here to talk you through it. Please call 617-***-****. Looking at your blog we have little doubt that you already know to avoid the chemicals for head lice no matter what - – but we need to remind you nonetheless. Olive oil may help condition the hair for combing but you still need an effective combing tool!! It’s the critical factor.

First, they actually looked at my blog! Second, they're sending me a free tool to help with my problem! AND they're offering me support by phone! I am SO impressed. The NPA is a non-profit organization independent of lice treatment manufacturers. Proceeds from the LiceMeister comb, kit and educational resources support its programs of outreach, prevention and research. I checked and there is not a SINGLE store in my town that carries this comb! The nearest store that carries them (in a suburb) is over 20 miles away from me.

So I responded thanking them for the comb and discussing schedule for a call. They said they'd get the comb out to us, then send us info on how to get in touch. By 2:30 this afternoon, they had expedited a comb to me, it will be here by noon tomorrow! AND they sent me a tracking number, their schedule, and the phone number again. Strangely, I don't think any of their emails have been signed, but I'm impressed with what they're doing all the same. By the way, this comb retails for about $10. I hope it is the solution! Their site has videos on how to use it, too. I'm going to go watch those and otherwise... I've decided to take the night off from trying to comb her hair with a less-than-adequate comb. Instead, I'm going to study by watching their video.

Stay tuned for a Part III post, which will hopefully have the happiest ending!

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