Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ball, Bye-Bye, Up, Nose??

A switch has been flipped in our little Eli. The monkey went from having mature jargon and speech at a 9 month level a month ago to all of a sudden adding words at lightning speed. Sunday Eli learned that he could communicate and get what he wanted faster if he used words instead of screaming, grunting, pointing, or babbling. WOW. What a realization this was for him. He hasn't stopped since. This morning his speech therapist was blown away at the progress he had made. Debbie ended up evaluating him again since his skill level had changed so drastically from a month ago. After about 45 minutes of play and teaching, Eli tested and performed at a 15-18 month level.

If I wasn't so drugged up on Percocet and immobile from my hysterectomy I would have jumped for joy! Eli started clapping right on cue when Debbie was telling me how well he was doing and you could not find a more proud mom than me. All in all today Eli probably picked up about 10-12 new words including a few two-word phrases like "push here", "up please", and "bye-bye dog".

Going from only saying dada and dog three days ago to this new language explosion is such an exciting time. Most parents can't wait for their children to say those first few words or to learn new skills. Most parents also don't have a 25 weeker. Eli has beaten the odds and it is such a gift just to see him be able to learn to speak. Al and I didn't know if we would be able to watch him ever say his first words so these moments are even more sweet.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Home and Sore

Surgery was a success! I'm happy to say that I am writing this post from the comforts of my own home in a brand new pair of fleece Victoria Secret pjs and out of the hospital. I was in the OR for almost 3 hours for them to repair my extensive adhesions which did end up involving my large bowel, bladder, ureters, uterus, tubes, colon, and abdominal wall. By the grace of God and the skill of my ob, I was able to save both of my ovaries so I am not thrown into immediate chemical menopause at the age of 23. This actually put a slight smile on my face in recovery even though my bp was very low, I was tachycardic in the 120s, and they busted my lip wide open while intubating me for anesthesia.

Post-op in the hospital was a lot harder than I expected it to be and I had many hurdles to jump with the after effects of anesthesia that I've never dealt with before. My bp wanted to stay low (around 80/40-50s) and my heartrate stayed in the 110-120s for about 6-8 hours post-op. I also had several pretty bad de-sats in recovery so I needed to stay on 2L of oxygen for 24 hours after surgery. I have a 8" incision that goes from hip bone to hip bone. They closed with sutures so I don't have to deal with staples and staple removal this time around. I was unable to stop throwing up for three days post-up even with ice chips so IV hydration and a fat lip from intubation was all I had in addition to dry heaving with a fresh incision and a migraine on day three. But, by day four I was ready to eat, not throwing up, no more headaches, onto oral narcotics, and having no more fevers! YAY! They discharged me. Too bad I got extremely sick on the way home and threw up right as walking in to the house. After a few Phenegan and some more Percocet I was knocked out well enough on the couch and woke up a few hours later to enjoy some football and being home with the two lovable, cuddly boys that I missed more than anything in the whole entire world.

Thank God for my in-laws and brother-in-law who came up from TN to help out with the boys. Carson and Eli had a wonderful time with them and I didn't have to worry about anything at home. My parents and little sister also helped out tremedously in helping to occupy the little monsters and cook a yummy Thanksgiving dinner that I unfortunately missed. I special thanks needs to be said to my Aunt Ty for all of her help with the boys the day of my surgery. I know what a handful the twin terrors can be and it was such a relief to know they were safe and happy here with you enjoying their special blue drinks, snacks, and "Aunt Ty" time. I'm am truly blessed to have such special, amazing family members. Thanksgiving is a time for thanks and the things I am constantly thankful and grateful for in my life are my two miracle boys and the endless support, love, and help that everyone in our family provides us. We would be lost without each and every one of you!

Now, back to the couch for more resting and more Percocet.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Surgery Day for Me

Well, the big day is upon me. It's after 11pm on Tuesday night and I'm getting a bit anxious about my surgery tomorrow morning. Al and I will leave for the hospital at 7:15 to be at the hospital by 8. My adhesion repair and total abdominal hysterectomy w/ possible BSO (ovary/tube removal) is scheduled for 9:30. It should take 2.5-3.5 hours depending on complications arising with my adhesions. They involve my large bowel, ureters, uterus, tubes, ovaries, abdominal wall, possible bladder, and possible colon. YIKES! Lots of serious complications can happen and I'm trying not to think of them right now. But at least I will finally be out of the constant pain and bleeding that I've had for the past year that has basically trapped me inside my own body.

So, if you are the praying type, please say a little prayer for me tomorrow morning that my surgery goes well and my 6-8 week recovery won't be too rough. I'm depressed about missing my favorite holiday but sometimes we just have to suck it up a bit. My in-laws are coming up from Tennessee for Thanksgiving and to help with the boys. My little sister will be home from college too. I think Al is starting to realize that he's going to be in charge of all the child care for the next 6 weeks and that is intimidating to say the least. Maybe I'll get a little more appreciation out of it though :)

Good news from this week.....I passed my nursing final with flying colors! Carson is still coughing his little head off (yes, this is in the good news section) but they think that it may be his asthma being WAY out of control causing the 3 month cough that won't quit! He's now on Flovent, Singulair, and Albuterol to try and calm things down. Cross your fingers that it works. Eli is getting better with the croup but has a nasty secondary infection he picked up at the hospital. Coughing with wheezing and a runny nose. Lovely. The good news is his g-button cultures came back negative so the spreading red area is just irritation from the extra discharge and acid draining from his cold. YAY....no IV antibiotics needed! So.....to wrap things up, surgery for me tomorrow, Carson getting massive asthma treatments, Eli has a secondary respiratory infection w/ wheezing but no g-button infection, and I nailed my nursing final! Whew....did I get threw it all??

Now, I only have to fall asleep and make it to the morning without being incredibly anxious, nervous, scared, and feeling like a little kid again before a major surgery in the morning. Wish me luck and send prayers!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

1 Tired Mommy + 2 Cute Sick Boys

I just love this picture even though it truly shows what an exhausting week we all have had. I'm still in my scrubs from clinical, Eli is sleepy, Carson is worn out, and it is definately time for a warm bath and a nice bed time story. It's great to finally have a picture of me and my boys (I think the last one of all three of us together was in the NICU) even if we all look a bit beat up!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Prematurity Awareness Day and an Update

November is Prematurity Awareness Month and November 14th is National Prematurity Awareness Day. The March of Dimes is constantly doing research to look for answers to prematurity in terms of prevention and how to help these tiny babies survive when preterm birth is inevitable. This year more than half a million babies will be born premature. Please stop by the March of Dimes and check out the astounding statistics on prematurity and it's impact. As a mother of two preemies, a 30 weeker and a 25 weeker, I completely understand the preemie experience. Unfortunately it's almost impossible to understand what a family goes through after a premature birth if you have never experienced one or been close to one. I'm going to 'borrow' a poem from a fellow micropreemie parent and blogger, Liz, to help explain the preemie experience a bit better (stick around b/c there is an Eli/Carson update after the poem!).

Eli at 2 days old on vent

The Preemie Experience

The preemie experience is the shattering of all your dreams
For a normal, healthy delivery,
Of the ability to carry home a beautiful squirming bundle
After a short stay in the hospital.

It is lying there in your hospital room listening to
The happy sounds of whole families joined
Together by the birth of a grandchild, cousin, niece,
Or nephew, and knowing that your
Child is miles away and may not survive long enough
For you to see or simply touch.

It is that first glimpse of a skinny, scrawny, not much bigger
Than a Barbie doll child
And feeling, fear, awe, and joy for such a fragile soul.

It is sitting by your baby's "bedside" day after day,
Week after week, month after month,
Alternating between the emotional high of "Look, her eyes are open," or "She's crying!"
And the lows of "I'm sorry, Mrs. Moore. Something has
Shown up in Lauren's ultrasound,"
Or even "There is nothing we can do ..."

It is hearing the alarms go off for the twentieth time in less
Than fifteen minutes because your
Child's heart rate keeps hitting zero.

It is watching children dying around you, wondering if
Your child will be next.
It is hearing your child's cry of distress as the nurses
Insert yet another IV and do another
Round of daily blood tests.
It is meeting other parents of children who are doing far better
And wondering, "Why me?"
And meeting parents of children who have just died,
And praising God for His mercy
To your child and feeling guilty because your child is alive
And someone else is grieving for theirs.

It is days of nightmarish testing and coping with less
Than positive results to the tests.
It is days of joy at seeing the first eyelash appear,
The child gain a whole ounce in one day,
And two bright shiny eyes look at you and into your soul,
And knowing that your child now recognizes you as Mama or Dada;
Or perhaps looks at you and does not see you at all ...

It is that final hurdle before coming home!
It is the sorrow of waiting for the monitor company
Representative to show you what to do
If the alarm sounds when your child is choking,
Gasping for breath, or simply dying.
It is the joy of just being away from all those nurses
And tubes and wires and beeps, and
Walking into the nursery you hastily prepared because, after all,
The child wasn't due for another three months!

It is thinking the nightmare is over ... only to realize it still
Continues in the form of
Such acronyms as PVL, RSV, BPD, CP and numerous others.

It is the final realization that those developmental delays
Have to be dealt with,
That reflux is a normal and unfortunate occurrence in most preemies,
That the constant fight to gain weight is in direct proportion
To a preemie's ability to do so.

It is watching a child struggle to pick up his or her head, sit,
Crawl, or walk.
It is witnessing only silence when the child should be babbling,
Because the child cannot hear.

It is the mental images of a child running and playing
And communicating with others in a
Perfectly normal manner that are marred when you face years of therapy
In order to simply get the child to eat by himself or herself,
To talk or walk and then run.

The preemie experience is a journey...
A journey through your soul in order to find the faith and strength to cope,
A journey of the mind when you face the emotional weariness,
A journey of the heart ... to accept that, no matter what,
This child is yours,
And you will love this child no matter what.

-- Sandra D Moore

Carson at 2 days old on vent

This week our preemie experiences are hitting home even harder. Carson has been struggling more with his ADHD and SPD in the past few weeks. He hasn't been able to shake this croupy cough for the past three months and needed to go back to Children's Hospital urgent care on Thursday for epinephrine breathing treatments and some Decadron to help his breathing. Eli's BPD is being complicated by his continued aspiration. Carson then shared his latest round of croup with Eli and on Sunday Eli ended up being admitted to Children's Hospital in severe respiratory distress. He is finally home now but still having stidor and wheezing after needing oxygen, epinephrine/Albuterol/Atrovent, and many rounds of Decadron. We need to get his lungs in order in time for his big surgery on 12-4. The effects of prematurity (especially extreme prematurity) last far beyond the birth and NICU period. If anything at all, please don't ever say to a preemie parent, "But your child is fine and healthy now....their prematurity doesn't matter now". That is like a knife in their heart.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Costume pics

Halloween night was a cold and rainy fourty something degrees here in Ohio so the boys had many layers of clothing stuffed under their costumes. They had a wonderful time trick-or-treating around the neighboorhood. Carson and his little girlfriend who dressed up as Buzz Lightyear (he was Woody) had a blast shouting "Trick-or-Treat" at all the neighboorhood houses. Eli still didn't understand much at all but decided that pointing to things worked well for him. They both brought home a small bounty of candy and toys and went home for a warm bath, bedtime story, and bed. Does anyone else think the extra clothing under Eli's costume makes him look like the Stay-Puff Marshmellow Bee??? Hehehehe....enjoy the pictures!

Sitting on the porch waiting to trick-or-treat

A bee sneaking something sweet!

One serious Woody cowboy and an bee excited about pumpkins