Friday, January 7, 2011

Recharging my Batteries - Nap times

I won't lie.  Today was almost completely unproductive.  All those late nights have finally gotten to me and so I got almost nothing done. 

KC and Courtney sleeping April 2009

Once the kids were taken to school, I had one hour to tidy up the house before the dietitian came over to check on Jacob's progress and to see if any changes needed to be made to his diet.  She got to experience first hand his gagging fits and seemed quite disturbed by the whole incident while I sat there with a towel under his chin just trying to catch all the saliva and bile he was throwing up.  She mentioned that she would see if she could put in a good word for us to get the liquid Prevacid rather than the tablet form or see if we can be put onto some other form of medication.  It would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath. 

About an hour after she left, Courtney was kind enough to decide she wanted to take a nap and she went down without incident. Plus, bless her heart, she slept for 3 hours!!!!! I'm lucky if this little girl will stay in her bed for 30 - 45 minutes on most days.  30 minutes after Courtney fell asleep so did Jacob while I was rocking and burping him.  He'd been fitful all day, so I just let him stay on me and the entire house got a 3 hour nap.  It was blissful.  We were awaken by Elisha coming home from school at 3PM and the normal everyday after-school life began.  But it was nice to accomplish nothing but get a nap in today.  It was a great battery re-charger.  I'm hoping that it will have recharged my batteries long enough to get through this weekend. Yay!
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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bang! Bang! You've Been Shot! - RSV shots and immunizations

Why is it that everything seems to take four times longer than it used to 2 years ago? 

2 Years ago, I was working out 3 1/2 hours a day, lost 75 lbs, my business was on tap to break six figures in sales and I could fill most of the orders in 3-4 hours a day, I was in the Young Women's Presidency, carting  Nathan and Elisha to all of their various activities, and a full-time mom.  Now, 2 years (and 2 more children) later, there are days when I'm lucky to get changed out of my PJ's before KC comes home from work in the evening.

Today was one of those days - and I had KC home helping me out!  It was shot day for Courtney and Jacob.  Courtney came first.  Because of Jacob's birth in October, we missed Courtney's 18 month visit (and shots) with the pediatrician.  When things finally calmed down, it became very apparent that I couldn't put off immunizations forever and a date was set.  When we pulled into the doctor's parking lot this afternoon, Courtney assumed it was another "Jacob visit".  When I told her that this visit was just for her - today was "Courtney Day" she squealed with delight!!!  I didn't have the heart to tell her she'd hate me by the end of the visit. 

When we unstrapped her from her car seat, she quickly ran to the front of the office building where they have large buttons for persons with disabilities to push in order to have the front doors automatically open.  Pushing the buttons and watching the doors open is one of Courtney's favorite things to do at the doctor's office.  So, she immediately ran to the doors, pushed the button, ran through the first set of doors, pushed the second button and ran through the second set of doors.  Then, she ran to the other end of the lobby where the other children were playing and cozied up to one of the kids like they had been friends for decades.  It was the cutest thing!  We let her play in blissful ignorance until the nurse called her name and Courtney proudly ran to the nurse to present herself to be whisked off to her room.

Once there, she new the procedure.  We undressed her and took her to the scale to be weighed (nearly 30 lbs), she laid down to be measured (35 1/2 inches), and then we brought her back to her room to wait for the doctor.  As we were waiting, I made the mistake of telling Courtney that Daddy and I had had our shots yesterday and I showed her the hard, red bump on my upper arm from the flu shot.  One look at my arm and you could immediately tell from Courtney's face that she knew EXACTLY why she was there.  Her face changed to shock and horror, she grabbed her thighs (where past needles have been inserted for other immunizations) and ran screaming to the other side of the room.  It was all down hill from there and she didn't even attempt to be sweet for the rest of the visit. 

She took the 4 shots to her thighs like a trooper and screamed for only a few seconds, which was quickly stopped by letting her know of the Allred family tradition:  She who gets shots also gets ice cream!!! 

She quickly got dressed after that revelation, we stopped off at another office for Jacob's first Synergis (RSV) shot - 1 shot in each thigh (ouch), once a month for up to 5 months - picked up Nathan from school, then stopped at the local Dairy Queen for Courtney's much anticipated ice cream - Chocolate extreme blizzard!! 

Once she had some ice cream in her belly, those nasty ol' shots were a long lost memory and she was onto bigger and better things like, say, playing in the melting snow!!! :)  By the time we'd made our 3 stops, it was already nearly 5PM and our day had slipped away.  Hmmmm.  I guess I'll try to be productive again tomorrow.
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Hangin' with the Cardiologist - Preparing for heart surgery

Today was the much anticipated day to visit the cardiologist.  We had been told by Dr. Jensen to expect to set a hard date for surgery and to maybe even meet our surgeon.  K.C. took time off from work, I found a very VERY wonderful woman to watch Courtney for the day (bless her heart!) and we took off to the cardiologist to see what fate had in store for Jacob.

Amazingly, we were on time - in spite of the snow and leaving the house 20 minutes late.  In past visits, we usually got to wait in the waiting room at least 45 minutes to an hour before being seen.  Today, I think we were in our room in less than 10 minutes.  We were greeted by a warm, friendly nurse who proceeded to TRY to get his blood pressure (to no avail! - he just wiggled too much!) and to check his oxygen levels -still hovering around 90-91%.

We were whisked down the hall to check his weight - a whopping 10 lbs 2 oz. and then across the hall for his echo cardiogram which told us that he has only a slight leak in his valve. This apparently means that repairing his valves will have a much higher likelihood of being successful the first time around.

After that, we had the "too many cooks in the kitchen"  experience again.  This doctor wanted to have surgery in 6 - 8 more weeks rather than Dr. Jensen's 2 weeks.  She also upped Jacobs formula mixture to 28 calories per ounce and his intake to 28 mls per hour (even though Dr. Wagner had been excited by his weight gain 2 days earlier - "not too much and not too little").  K.C.  politely but firmly informed this doctor that we had been told to expect 2 weeks for surgery and she complied with his request.  A consultation with the surgeon has been set for next Wednesday.  We will meet with him, he will check Jacob out, and he will choose a time in his schedule for the surgery.  After that, we will meet with the cardiologist the day before surgery for a panel of blood tests, another echo cardiogram, and a series of other procedures.  From the sounds of it, this will take several hours.  I'm not sure whether to be excited that Jacob's surgery is finally here or to be scared out of my mind.

It helps to know though that in spite of the communication quirks, we really ARE working with an amazing group of doctors and specialists.  I know that Jacob will be in good hands and I've been told by many that our doctors are some of the best around. 

(Jacob on the way to visit the cardiologist - checking out the new snow fall!)

As I sat contemplating what we had in store for us over the next couple of weeks, I couldn't help but notice how much my baby has changed even in the last few days.  He has finally begun to grow hair, he has gained control of his hands and uses them often to bat away our hands as we try to give him his Prevacid orally, and he's so expressive with his eyes and mouth.  It's like he's come alive!  He's checking everything out around him and has cut his sleeping time in half.  We've even caught him trying to roll over - and almost succeeding - a couple of times!

I find myself unable to resist picking him up for no apparent reason and just looking into his big blue eyes, marveling at what a fun personality is beginning to emerge from his tiny little body.  His zest for life. His ever-present patience with us (you'd think we were first time parents with the way we bumble around with him!) and those around him, his amazing curiosity to see everything around him, and so much more.  I know that life as we know it is just a hiccup.  Jacob will be scurrying around with us in tow in just a matter of a few short months and all of this will be just a distant memory. 

Oh, I can hardly wait!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Counting My Blessings - Jacob is not a trial

Quick Note: OK, I fell asleep last night with Jacob in my arms and didn't wake up again until 4 a.m.  Soooo even though the time stamp says it's Monday, just think in your mind that I'm typing like it's Sunday! ;)

Today was my turn to go to church with the kids.  K.C. got to stay home with Jacob and I got to be spiritually enriched this week.  I think of all the days so far, today was the day I needed it most.  I'm not sure why, but I'm sure that the fact that I haven't made it through an entire 3-hour session in nearly 4 or 5 months had a large part to do with it.  I used to think that sacrament was the only hour that truly mattered, and that the other two hours were basically 'fluff' for the adults but more geared towards giving the children and youth the time they needed to learn what they needed to grow to be spiritually strong adults.  But today, I felt like this time around I was recharging my batteries in each of the classes and came home ready to tackle the world.

Believe me, I needed that recharging.  We're in the late session now, which means that church starts at 1PM and we don't get home until 4:30 p.m.   So today I came racing home, made dinner, took Elisha to some Stake Youth Choir thingy at 5:30, came home and tried very hard not to scream at small children and husband
while I tried to eat my dinner, prepare FHE, get the house clean, and make sure Jacob got his meds before the Carpenter Family came over for  FHE at 7:00.  Luckily, wonders never cease and I even had 2 minutes to sit down for a second and breathe before the doorbell rang and our guests arrived.

All the time the Carpenters were here holding Jacob and spending our much-needed time together I kept looking over at Jacob and marveling at how much he has begun to grow.  He's no longer the itty bitty little baby (although he is still pretty small - still in his newborn clothes!) that used to scream FRAGILE every time you looked at him.  He's finally chunking up a little bit, and beginning to take on the look of  'baby'.  He doesn't look like he's going to break by merely looking at him any more.  And I have begun to think that maybe, just maybe, he will be strong enough for his surgery in just a few short weeks. 

The idea of having them open up his chest and work on his heart horrifies me.  I'm not quite sure  how I am going to react.  But at least I've had months to prepare myself emotionally for this event.  I'm not stupid enough to think I won't cry when I see  him.  What I'm shooting for is to just not absolutely freak out and go into uncontrolled sobbing.

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Today in Relief Society the lesson was on Enduring your trials and I felt like all eyes were on me (of COURSE I'd chosen to sit in the front row).  Weirdly enough, in spite of everything - all my rants of frustration. All of the tears and fears.  Today I didn't think of Jacob as a trial.  I look at that little boy and all I can think of is how lucky we are to have him!  How blessed we are to have this adorable little spirit in our home to remind us of the importance of patience, endurance, love unfeigned, innocence, and how screaming when life gets hard really doesn't do anyone any good.  Jacob has taught us how to have peace in the midst of a storm.  How to love someone with all your heart.  How to forgive when you've been hurt. How to optimistically hope for a happier day. And how even a simple smile can brighten anyone's day and lighten their load - even for just a moment.  Yes.  I do believe that Jacob has taught us so much.  He has never been a trial.  Only a blessing in our lives and in our home.  I would take 100 Jacobs in a heart beat if I could.  Each day with him teaches me to be a better person and to count my many blessings - count them 1 by 1.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

1 Step Forward: Finding a Solution to Jacob's Reflux issues.

Down Right Living: Jacob hanging out with his daddy
Is it strange of me to revel in the quiet days? Today was soooo nice.  It seemed almost normal.  Elisha spent the day at a friend's house sledding.  Nathan spent the day reading another book from the Lightning Thief Series. KC is spending the evening watching Band of Brothers with Jacob on his lap and smiling every time Jake smiles in his sleep.

The last few days have been pretty nice with Jacob since we've been able to get him to take his Previced. We'd experienced weeks of him throwing up literally everything that went into his mouth along with any juices or saliva he was creating on his own only to discover that the Previced was not dissolving in the milk we were using (not to mention Jacob hates the taste of the Nutramigen formula).  So, we talked to the doctor who instructed us to crush the Previced pill as much as we can, then wet our finger and place it in the pills granules.  When the granules stick to our finger, we are to place it inside his cheek and let it set there for several minutes to absorb.  After a day of doing this, we discovered that not only was Jacob's gagging drastically down, so was his vomiting.  In fact, Jacob has begun to nurse and has begun to keep it down for the last 2 days.  I try not to get excited for fear that we'll back slide again, but I can't help but be extremely appreciative of the little bits of progress we make when we make it.

What a great start to our year :)