Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

We woke up this morning and realized our boys are growing up so quickly. I decided to take time to post a few comparision pictures from Halloween last year so everyone reading can see how much Carson and Eli have changing in the past 12 months. Carson has lost his baby cheeks and looks much more grown up. Eli is bigger, stronger, and much more interactive than the 4.5 month old we had last Halloween. I will post pictures later this week of the boys in their costumes from Trick-or-Treat night (if it stops raining here in time) but for now enjoy these four pictures from last year and this morning.

Carson last Halloween as a doggie

Today as Woody from Toy Story at his Preschool party

Eli last Halloween in our pumpkin candy basket

Eli this morning in the same 0-3m sweater and the same basket!

Random Mommy-Eli pic

This was taken two weekends ago at the campsite in Eastern Ohio where Gigi and Bobpop took Carson camping. Eli and I went up to visit on Saturday for a campfire and some good times with Grandma Helen, Papa Wes, Gigi, Bobpop, and Carson. It was 45 degrees and wet out after the sun went down so blankets and coffee were a must! Note the wet knees of Eli's pants from crawling around in the grass. Eli thought Grandma Helen's cane was a toy and played with it all night long much to Carson's annoyance. Carson kept telling Eli to "give Grandma Helen her 'pole' back". Priceless.

More camping photos to come.....

Friday, October 27, 2006

I'm It!! What are you reading???

Well, Laura tagged me today for this fun little meme so I must comply promptly or be outed as the procrastinator I truly am....

1. Grab the nearest book. If you are currently reading something, that'll be fine too.

2. Open the book to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the text of the next 4 sentences on your Blog along with these instructions.

5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet I know that is what you were thinking!

6. Tag 5 people

"He sat slouched in the camouflage jacket with Velcro closures, steeped happily in disaster. He talked about the snow, the traffic, the trudging people. He speculated on how far we were from the abandoned camp, what sort of primitive accommodations might be available there. I'd never heard him go on about something with such spirited enjoyment."

~ Don DeLillo, White Noise

I tag Billie, Jill, Amanda, Liz, and Christy
because I want to see if you guys are plagued with the procrastination curse as much as I am!!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Beautiful Mature Jargon??

Eli had his first speech therapy session on Thursday. It went well and I really enjoyed his speech and language pathologist. Eli's normal PT and OT (physical therapist and occupational therapist) have been recommending speech therapy for him since about July but Al and I wanted to wait and see if his language would progress on his own. He has done well on his own without speech and babbles constantly and is the most social child I've ever seen but the process of actually forming words is slacking big time. Debbie came and assessed Eli using the Rossetti Infant Toddler Language Scale which placed him at a 9 month level for receptive and expressive speech. She said his strengths are that he is incredibly social for his age and that he has "beautiful mature jargon". I guess it sounds better coming from the SLP instead of me saying Eli sounds like a "little German dictator" all the time! HEHEHE.....what a lovely mother I am ;)

Our homework assignments to work on until Eli's next speech appt in a month are as follows.

1.) Help identify body parts functionally (i.e. "give me your foot, I'm washing your hands, blow your nose, etc.")
2.) Hold up objects that Eli wants by our mouth, say the name of the object, then give him the item.
3.) Imitate silly sounds, exclamations (i.e. "uh-oh, whheeee, oh-no"), animal sounds, and environmental sounds.
4.) Try a few simple words like eat, ball, and hi.

And what does Eli have to say about all of this??

"Dadaddadadadad.......nanamdnadmadfkaoing , adfodign! adfkdngians....babkdieng?" All with a smile and flirting with anyone in a 10 foot radius. Life is fun!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Advice on Ghosts?

It seems as though we have a visitor in our house. Carson has been telling us for about 8-10 months that there is a ghost that lives in the vent in his room. At first the ghost was his friend and he would tell the ghost goodnight before bed while looking up at the vent in the corner of the wall. Over the summer the so-called-ghost started being not so friendly. Carson started waking up frequently overnight and screaming. He would never actually be awake during these screaming fits when Al or I would go into the room. Then Carson began telling us more and more about the ghost. He told us about a month ago that, "Mr. Ghost is covered in red paint." Of course this freaked us out. Where would a three year old who is not exposed to horror movies come up with a ghost story including a phantom covered in blood-like substance?!! Now Carson keeps telling us that, "Mr. Ghost flies around my room above my bed, all around in circles, and never lands, but he doesn't have wings". Creepy. No wonder he keeps coming into our room in the middle of the night and asking to get in bed with us. I keep walking him back to his bed, tucking him in, kissing his head, kissing doggie blanket, and getting back in my bed but the night wakings have to stop.

Carson says the ghost doesn't try to talk to him. I guess that's a good thing. He has a nightlight in his room so it's not dark and scary. We have never read a book or watched a movie with ghosts covered in blood or anything similar. Yet Carson is scared of Mr. Ghost that lives in his vent and flies over his bed with no wings and is covered in red paint. Great.

Any advice from my faithful readers?? My mom decided we needed to light a white candle and tell the ghost to "go toward the light and out of the room". So she did on Monday. Carson said, "Go to the candle Mr. Ghost but don't get burned, it's hot". I thought it worked but he said Mr. Ghost was back again last night. Al and I have tried praying in Carson's room too and so far, no luck. I need help, and sleep. At first I thought it was just a normal kid imagination thing but the red paint and no wing parts have me a bit squeamish. Thanks in advance for the advice......Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Renewed faith in Vaccinations

Although yesterday was one of my more hectic days in quite awhile, it was a day for good news. Oh how I cherish the good news days! First of all, Carson DOES NOT have pertussis. My faith in my child's immunity is renewed. What a relief it was to hear our nurse say that his test came back negative. Now we just need to figure out why he continues to cough like a dying emphasemic for hours upon end. But he doesn't have whooping cough and I will take that result any day. The house echoed again overnight with Carson's song and his voice is beginning to sound hoarse but overall he is feeling a bit better. Hopefully the coughing will stop soon so we can all get some much needed rest.

Now on to the other good news from yesterday......

Eli had his routine scheduled neonatal clinic follow-up appointment yesterday at 10:30. They periodically bring him in and make him perform like a small monkey, measure him from every angle, scrutinize him for possible defects, analyze the events that transpired between visits, schedule tests, and make diagnoses at these wonderfully *short* 3 hour appointments. Eli did splendedly. I was one proud mama bear! We always have the same developmental pediatrician and PT doing the assessment on him and they were quite pleased with his progress since his last visit. He scored well on his Bayley Infant Neurodevelopment Screening Test which ended up placing him at his adjusted age for development!! This means that Eli is at a 12 month level for most of his developmental skills. He is four days shy of being 16 months actual, 12.5 months adjusted. This is big news for a parent of a micropreemie and for us because 6 months ago he was 3-5 months delayed for his adjusted age. So, all in all, Eli has made up for about 4 months worth of developmental delay since his evaluation in April!!! Now, I know that he is still 4 months delayed for his age and that the day he turns 2, they will no longer give him the extra 3.5 months of adjustment for his prematurity......BUT, to have him be at his adjusted age yesterday was wonderful! They only downside to this was that if his assessment was two week earlier, Eli would have scored with the same 3-5 month delay he was showing in April. Due to Eli learning how to clap, point, wave, stand, and walk all in the past two weeks he majorly boosted his score.

I don't care.....the numbers aren't for what he could do two weeks ago, they are for what he is doing now! They also mentioned that Eli most likely has an extremely mild form of CP that is not and will not affect his movement function. We were expecting them to tell us that so it was not a huge surprise. As parents of a 25 weeker, coming out of the NICU alive is amazing but having a walking, babbling, smiling, 12 month developmentally appropriate 16 month old......is nothing short of a miracle. I'll update more on Eli's NICU appointment later but I have a huge critical care exam on Monday and my textbooks are calling my name. Although I do tend to complain a bit (okay a lot sometimes), all I need to do is look around me and see how truly blessed we are with our two special boys. What would I do without them?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Can I get a Whoop, Whoop??

Two nights of no sleep due to a sick, uncontrollably coughing three year old being present in our bed led me to take Carson back to the pediatrician to see what else they could do for my poor baby. The cold that took hold and required steroids and endless Albuterol treatments seemed to be getting better last Friday in Tennessee. Tissues filled with snot were no longer carpeting our house and the boys were back to their usual fighting and playing. Then Carson started increasing his coughing again on Saturday night/Sunday morning. By Monday morning Carson was barking like a dog in spurts. Monday night was terrible and we thought Carson was heading down to Children's Hospital for another fun visit again. He spent the entire night plastered against me in bed violently coughing for 4 hours straight, right in my face. Ahhh, the things we put up with to comfort our children.

By 5:30am Tuesday morning Carson fell fast asleep and stopped coughing. No fever, no runny nose, no wheezing. He woke up at 7 wanting to go to school. After nap on Tuesday he had another 3 hour coughing fit where he couldn't catch his breath or stop coughing for the life of him. Then it stopped. Peace and quiet. He started playing like nothing happened. Until 11:30 when he crawled into bed with Al and I and proceeded to vibrate and cough himself to death for a record 5.5 hours.

"Mommy, I don't feel *cough, cough* good *cough*."

"I know baby. We're going to see the pediatrician in the morning."

"**cough** Okay *cough* *cough* *cough*."

Back to sleep for another few hours with the random single cough here and there but nothing serious until I woke up to call the doctor in the morning. Appt at 10:45. Great. I'm going to miss my last (and very important) lecture before our big exam on Monday to take Carson to the doctor. Oh well. Again, with the sacrifices.

We get to the doctors and his lungs sound great. I already knew that. They rule out pneumonia. Then I hear what I had been fearing...... PERTUSSIS, aka "whooping cough". Lovely. Wasn't he vaccinated against that with his DTP series? Oh yes, yes he was. Great. They shove two long swabs with metal handles up Carson's nose to send to the lab. Carson gets a bloody nose. To add insult to injury, in comes the RN to give him his flu shot. Ouch. At least he was able to pick which leg and pick out a blue sport car toy out of the treasure chest box. We'll know tomorrow if he does in fact have whooping cough and if we can expect another 2 months of this lovely cough and a nice round of antibiotics to go along with it. Wish us luck. At least we can enjoy the periods of calm between the coughing storms and cherish the fact that Eli doesn't seem to be affected at all!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sweet Southern Livin'

We spent the last four days in Tennessee visiting family and friends and it was wonderful. There is just something special about the south in the fall and getting away from the stress of home, school, doctor appts, and work. Al wrapped up his career with Bob Evans Farms Inc. on Wednesday and we had the opportunity to pack up the boys and make the 6+ hour drive to visit Granny and Papaw on Thursday. Carson and Eli were surprisingly well behaved during both long car rides. I was armed with snacks, fun toys, books, travel magnadoodles, songs, and silly games in preparation for distration but somehow the little monsters both slept and/or occupied themselves most of the way! I know that will come back to bite me in the butt in the future but Al and I were just happy to live with a semi-stressfree trip.

The boys were still trying to recover from being sick so we had an entire bag of meds in addition to Eli's tube feeding supplies. We could have passed as a traveling pharmacy with all of the drugs and guaze and tape shoved into the corners of Al's Corolla. Carson and Eli didn't seem to notice as long as their toys weren't missing. On Saturday we went to a small country town's fall festival. Carson rode a John Deere tractor and was able to get inside a military issue Hummer. Being the nice Mommy that I am, I forced him to ask the Army officer by himself if he could get inside the Hummer. I have to build up Carson's confidence and social awareness somehow ;) Eli was a riot at the fesival. He wanted to walk everywhere and thank goodness Uncle Aaron was happy to follow him around and pick him up every couple of feet when he would topple over. At one point there were clog dancers in a circle and a band. Eli started walking and clapping his hands to the music and trying to get into the circle. That's our little ham! The high point of the festival for Carson was when three trains came through the middle of the town about fifteen feet away from where we were standing. One of the trains had a blue engine and Carson insisted that it was Thomas the Tank Engine. After a snack from a vendor for being well behaved at the festival, we carried two very tired boys back to Uncle Aaron's truck for the ride home.

Our whole visit to TN was great and it was a much needed break from all of the stressors that have been surrounding us here at home. Al starts his new job today and it is looking to be a move in the right direction for our family and for him career wise. After relaxing and enjoying time with family and friends in TN, it was hard to come back home and get into the swing of things again. Laundry was waiting, papers need to be finished, studying calls my name. Medical bills were in the mailbox, papers from central scheduling for Eli's surgery arrived over the weekend, and we are thrown right back into therapy sessions and life. In 2 hours I get to pick up Carson from the bus stop and hear about all of the exciting things he learned about at school today and that joy in his eyes can't be matched. In 3 hours Eli's OT comes and he gets to show her that he learned to clap and release objects since she was here last. It's a good life.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Update on the 'Roid Boys

Carson was feeling well enough to go to school this morning but he was loaded up with meds prior to getting on the bus with Mr. Smith (his bus driver). He had his usual Adderall XR and Flinstone vitamin with a lovely combo of Orapred, Motrin Cold, Delsym Cough Syrup, and 2 puffs of his Albuterol inhaler. I felt like a pharmacy dealing out drugs to my 3 year old!! His cough is still nasty but getting better and he isn't needing Albuterol as much. When Carson came into our room this morning he said, "Mommy, I can't laugh anymore because it makes me cough. What if I have to laugh at school today?" It's hard not to smile at 6:30 in the morning when your 3 year old comes up with a comment like that. I told him it would be okay to cough if he laughed as long as he covered his mouth.

Eli went to the pediatrician this morning while Carson was at school. He was already scheduled to get his flu shot so they squeezed him in for a check-up to make sure the steriods were doing their job. He now has a double ear infection and is coughing up some lovely dark yellow mucus so they put him on a 10 day course of Amoxicillan to make sure they kill any nice bugs that may be growing in his respiratory tract and ears. We are leaving for TN on Thursday afternoon for a short vacation and I don't want to visit any emergency departments while we're down there. Eli got his flu shot for the season and did not even cry a tear. That's our boy! Hundreds of shots, IVs, and procedures preformed on him over the past 15 months have kind of desensitized him to pain so a little flu shot is a drop in the bucket to him.

Thanks for checking up on the boys. Now I'm praying that this scratchy feeling that is creeping in the back of my throat isn't the beginnings of Carson and Eli practicing "sharing" with their mommy!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Sick boys and Steroids

Carson brought home another lovely cold from preschool again last Thursday. On the way home from clinical Thursday afternoon I called my mom to check up on the boys and see how they were doing. She told me Carson had a runny nose and was laying around. Now anyone that knows Carson knows that this kiddo doesn't just lay down. He is active 24/7. Friday the barking, nasty cough started. By Saturday Eli had a runny nose and Carson sounded like a chain smoker. Carson was wheezing and on Albuterol every 4 hours. Saturday night was terrible. Eli developed a cough quickly and it came on bad. He was wheezing and I had to use his Albuterol every 2 hours. Sunday morning they both had temperatures and our house sounded like an emphasema clinic. Al came home from work early Sunday afternoon and we took them both to Children's Hospital to get checked out due to Carson's asthma and Eli's BPD (broncho pulmonary displasia--preemie lung disease) and their wheezing.

The doctors said that it was just your regular, run-of-the-mill cold but due to our boys both having lung issues, it had hit and affected their lungs hard. So, in addition to the 'round the clock Albuterol treatments, alternating Tylenol/Motrin, and lack of sleep, both boys are now on a 2mg/kg dose of OraPred for 5 days. OraPred is an oral steroid to help their lungs with the inflammation caused by the "cold". It's only the very beginning of October and both boys are already on steriods for a simple cold.....it's going to be a long winter. Thank God Eli was approved for a second season of Synagis and the boys are getting their flu shots tomorrow!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

What makes a woman, a woman?

Hopefully it's not a uterus! On Monday I had my post-op visit from my surgery and I was incredibly anxious about what would be said at this visit. I tried to prepared myself ahead of time by researching the possible options out there for my condition (severe adhesions and adenomyosis). Those of you who know me in real-life know that I overly prepare for things so it was no surprise when I had a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C, all lined up in my head for possible ways my appointment could go. But, as we all know, life doesn't always go as we plan it even with the best preparation.

My ob walked into the exam room and said, "Hi Kellie. So, How are you feeling? I guess it looks like you're going to have a hysterectomy in the very near future".

I think I had time to gracefully retrive my jaw off the floor before continuing the conversation but I'm not quite sure. Out of all of my "plans", a definate and immediate hysterectomy at age 23 wasn't one of them. I knew that a hysterectomy was an option but I thought it was in a time frame more like 5-10 years down the line.......not in terms as "How quickly can we schedule this?".

As it turns out the adhesions (aka scar tissue) that they found when they went in with the scope are one of the most severe cases my ob has ever seen. He has been practicing for over 30 years. I was able to see the pictures from my laporoscopy and they were amazing. The adhesions are classified as severe and involved my uterus, fallopian tubes, large bowel, possible ovaries, and possible bladder. They could not determine if my ovaries and/or bladder were involved b/c the adhesions were so severe that they couldn't see them. The involvement with my large bowel is especially worriesome and can cause many complications which I don't even want to mention or think about. All of this scar tissue is the reason for the pain I've been in lately. It accompanied with my adenomyosis calls for an immediate abdominal total hysterectomy and possible removal of both ovaries (depending on their involvement once they get in there).

I am devastated and am having a hard time dealing with all of this on top of caring for the boys, struggling in my marriage, and fighting my way through my final year of nursing school. My ob wanted to do the surgery asap but I have to wait until my quarter at school is over. This means my surgery date is the day before Thanksgiving, November 22. I will be in the hospital over Turkey Day, my favorite holiday. I do have so much to be thankful for though. My two little miracle boys who shouldn't even be here but are thriving and beating all the odds. My husband who drives me mad and we have to work so hard through our issues but he means well in the end and loves me more than anything. And all of the support I have from everyone else. It's just hard to deal with it all and hold it all together when it seems like things keep piling one top of one another for 4 years straight. This wasn't meant to be a pity party post (sorry about the alliteration!) but I had to get my feelings out a bit. This operation is going to be a trial in my life and I hope the 6-8 week recovery goes quickly and that I am able to get back into the swing of things and out of this funk I've been stuck in for way too long.