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Archive for August, 2008

When we were moving to Cincinnati from South Carolina, my children’s pediatrician told me that Cincinnati had one of the top children’s hospitals in the U.S.  Of course, I’m a pessimist, so naturally I think, “Greeeeaaat…God’s probably sending us there because our kids are going to need a good hospital in the near future!”  Well, my pessimistic outlook was right on, even though I should have looked at it this way.  “Awesome!  God is placing us right where we need to be in order for our children to get the best medical care possible!”  Yeah, I’m really trying to work on my attitude!

I have to say that our overall experience with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital has been a positive one.  Okay, truthfully, I can’t think of one bad thing to say about them!  I don’t think things could have gone more smoothly.

Dr. Elluru is absolutely WONDERFUL.  He is very friendly and personal and the first time we met him, I felt so much better about putting my child in his caring hands.  He didn’t want to rush into putting ear tubes in Madison’s ears, and monitored her ears over the last couple of months.  I was really impressed that he didn’t want to just jump the gun on that one!  I mean, more surgeries = more $!

He really is a gifted doctor in every way.  He even spent time holding little America before going into surgery with Madison.  He did keep trying to talk us into letting him take her home, but of course, we’re already too attached now!  (If he only knew what I went through to have this one!  I think I’m still a little traumatized by that labor, but that’s another story for another time).  The funny thing is, Dr. Elluru has two daughters, and they both share the same first names as our Kelly and our America, (not blog names of course!) spelled the same ways too. 

Anyway, we showed up an hour early for Madison’s surgery and they checked all her vitals.  When she started to show some nervousness, the nurse let her pick out a toy.  They brought us in a room where we spent the next hour.  They had a flat screen tv up on the wall in front of Madison’s bed and she was able to watch Sesame street while we waited.  They also brought in some toys for her to play with.

When the anesthesiology rep showed up, she brought in a doll (Madison called her Dora because she had dark hair about the same length as Dora the Explorer), and some masks.  She let Madison put the various sized masks on the “Dora” doll and then sprayed some “scents” on a paper towel and let Madison pick her favorite. 

Of course, during this time, we had several people come in and ask us the same questions over and over again, including, “What is Madison having done today?”  And then it was time for Madison to go back to another room for the anesthesia.  We decided beforehand that Scott would go back with Madison (after they told us what we can expect to happen when they start the anesthesia). 

It actually worked out perfectly, because I kept busy that entire 5 minutes getting all of our stuff together and putting the sleeping baby in her car seat so I’d be ready to be escorted to the waiting room when they returned.  In the meantime, Scott stayed strong as Madison started crying, fighting the mask.  It was only about 30 seconds before she was knocked out, but he came back looking…emotional.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen him with that expression on his face.  I was SO glad I didn’t go back.  No doubt I would have been bawling when I walked out that room.  I actually had a hard time not crying just letting her go anyway!

Anyway, we had to report ourselves at a desk in the waiting room where this lady gave us a pager just incase we wanted to go downstairs to get something to eat.  She told us it would be about an hour to an hour and twenty minutes.  “What?!?”  Dr. Elluru told us it was only about a 10 minute deal!   Well…the surgery itself was, but when you factor in putting in the IV and all the other stuff they have to do…yeah, it made sense.

So I called my mom and told her not to worry and that the surgery was going to be longer than expected.  I’d call back when things were done.  Then we decided it was just too quiet in the waiting room and decided to go downstairs.  They had a little food bar there and we each picked out a sandwich, I grabbed some chips, and drinks…oh, and Scott got a Broccoli/Cheese soup for us to share.  Way too much food, but picking it all out kept us preoccupied.

And we sat down to eat.  The food was actually pretty good.  If only they’d made the hospital food that tasty when I’d had Madison…maybe I wouldn’t have been in such a hurry to go home!  😉

Just as we were about to head back up, the pager buzzed.  (I’d asked Scott earlier if he had the “vibrator” where he could feel it and you know he didn’t let that one go…I was thinking “pager”, but that it was going to vibrate, and called it a vibrator.  MEN!)

Anyway, we headed upstairs where they escorted us to a consult room.  Dr. Elluru met us in there and talked about the surgery…and then he and Scott got into their Blackberry’s.  (Boys and their toys!).  We talked a little bit more about other things and then he left.  We were then taken immediately to the recovery room, where we found Madison propped up in her bed, leaning her back against the nurse’s chest.  I was a bit shocked at her swollen and dark mouth.  I know it makes sense to expect that, but I guess I just thought I’d walk in and her birthmark would look lightened and that’s it. 

“I am in love!”  Kathy told us.  She started bragging about how Madison was a model patient and then distracted me from feeling bad about Madison’s swollen mouth.  She wanted to keep Madison.  She said she woke up and immediately looked her her hand with the IV which was taped to a board. 

“I stuck!”  She told the nurse.  “Help me! I stuck!”

Kathy got such a kick out of that!  So she took out Madison’s IV and held her while she waited for us to get in the room.  We went over some stuff with Kathy, she answered our questions and gave us instructions on caring for Madison, especially over the next 24 hours.  And then we were free to go! 

So we drove Madison home and let her relax to her favorite movies.  I eventually took her up to my room for a nap and after she woke up from her nap, she sat straight up again and looked at me yelling, “I stuck!  I stuck!”  She must have thought she was back at the hospital.  The only way I could convince her she wasn’t stuck was by making her look at her hand. 

“No you’re not.  Look!  Look at your hand!”  I said. 

She looked and realized she wasn’t really stuck, and then she was ready to get up! 

So everything went very smoothly.  The worst part was that night when she woke up screaming bloody murder.  I don’t know what it was all about, but Scott jumped out of bed and got her and brought her into bed with us.  She kept telling us the “snake” bit her, and grabbed her neck.  The poor girl was shaking, I don’t know if it was from fear, pain, or being cold.  I pulled her up to me and grabbed the Tylenol.  She put her hand on her mouth and cried out, saying it hurt.  But 30 minutes later she was calmed down and drifted back to sleep, alternating between me and Scott with her “cuddles.” 

So, Madison is doing well.  The swelling has gone down for the most part.  She did wake up from her nap yesterday with some swelling and told me to “get it off.”  But after I gave her some Tylenol, it went back down and she was fine.  Today she’s the same little rascal she’s been the last 4 months…she’s reached her terrible two’s early…not fun!

Anyway, I’m so thankful for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the great nurses and staff, and Dr. Elluru.  God certainly did place us where we needed to be at the right time.  We’ll decide with Dr. Elluru in 3 -4 months if Madison will need to go back in for another laser treatment, but for now, we are just letting her heal and enjoying our last week of summer before school starts up again!

Now, I have to brace myself for Kelly’s turn.  She still needs surgery on her hand…and that one is probably going to be longer than an hour.  Ugh!  My poor little girls!

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The surgery went well.  Thank you all for your prayers.  As mentioned before, the doctor performed a frenulectomy (clipping her upper frenulum up to the base) and laser surgery on Madison’s birthmark.  I’ll blog more about our experience later, but I did want to post some pics for now and let everyone know it all went well!

This is where they had to clip.

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Half The Kids

Things really have been crazy.  On top of all the stuff I mentioned in my previous post, Dwight broke out in hives this last weekend and is still suffering from them.  It looks terrible!  Yesterday he woke up and his face was all red and swollen.  We let him stay home from church because I figured he might be a little self-conscious about his appearance (and miserable from all the itchiness!).  I think he is stressed out/feeling anxious about school.  We haven’t been able to find anything else that could be causing the hives (besides stress).

If only we could get him to listen to us!  He’s fifteen, so he thinks he knows better.  So when I tell him not to put any lotions or anything on his skin?  What does he do?  He puts lotion on his skin after an oatmeal bath.  ARGH!  We tell him not to scratch, but his legs show obvious signs that he’s scratching…bleeding, scarring, etc.  It’s actually quite gross to look at.  I want to put socks on his hands!  I already made him cut his nails but that apprently didn’t help.  Poor guy.  I know how bad it itches.  I broke out in hives twice due to stress and it is not fun!  The worst part is just waiting it out.  It took me over a month one time to get rid of my hives.  It was miserable!

On top of that, America has thrush.  So do I.  I think it spread to my breasts and I also have it on my tongue.  I read it is pretty easy to get thrush when on antibiotics, so I’m also taking a probiotic, and even rubbing some of this friendly bacteria on myself and America’s tongue.  It seems to be clearing up the infection – slowly, but surely.  But yuck, yuck, yuck!

Madison goes in for surgery tomorrow.  I had to take her back to the pediatric office I hate going to, but it wasn’t so bad today.  We were in and out so fast!  (yay!)  The only irritating part of the visit this time was when the doctor kept saying, “…hopefully nothing goes wrong…”  He was talking about keeping food and drinks from her prior to the surgery and her going under anesthesia, and how he needed to include the one time she required a nebulizer when she had croup…just in case something goes wrong.  “But hopefully nothing will go wrong…”  He said.  I can appreciate his honesty, but I would have appreciated him only saying that once, not three or four times like he did.  Ugh!  Does he realize what a nervous wreck I’ve been about this surgery???

She has surgery scheduled at 10:30 so we will be there an hour early.  They will be doing laser surgery on her birthmark and then clipping her frenulum so that we can actually brush her two front teeth.  I hate to put her through this, but I know in the long run it will be worth it. 

Anyway, if you could keep her in your prayers, I would appreciate it, and I’ll definitely post an update tomorrow!

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Irresistable Charm

We took a nap after church today, and then Scott woke me up to let me know it was time to get ready for Joshua’s Cub Scout picnic.  I got up and immediately dug into the two piles of unfolded laundry in the laundry baskets on my bedroom floor.  It’s just been too hard to keep up! 

I was looking for a pair of shorts.  Not sports shorts.  No, I wanted something less frumpy, and that narrowed it down to 3 pair of shorts – two maternity shorts and then my one pair of black shorts that stretch with my post-partum body.  And I couldn’t find any of them!  Maybe that’s because I haven’t been able to keep up with the laundry.  I was doing so good after my mom left, but lately, it’s just been impossible to keep up. 

Scott came in the room and asked me what I was doing.  For a minute, I felt like a kid.  Like I was caught goofing off when he was ready to go.  I told him I was looking for some shorts and he decided to “help.”  And by help, I mean he opened my dresser drawers (the ones I already looked in), and tossed around my clothes, finally pulling out the other three pair of shorts that barely fit.  You know, the athletic ones that stretch, only they still fit tightly around my belly and butt.  “What about these?”  he asks.

I explained to him, frustrated of course, that those just wouldn’t do.  Frumpy was not the look I was trying to achieve, especially meeting these moms for the first time.  So as I watched him do a half-assed job at refolding the shorts he pulled out and tossing them back in my drawer, I gave up.  He told me he was taking Madison down stairs, which left me alone in my room to cry. 

He has no idea what it’s like.  Mom’s you know what I’m talking about.  That post-partum body you are trying hard not to hate.  The squishy belly and lost muscle tone – the extra weight.  It’s summer time and earlier today I couldn’t help but noticed all the tanned, skinny people at church.  Even the other moms seemed to have lost weight to compliment the nice golden tans they’ve achieved over the last couple of months.  And here I am pale and pudgy.

Of course I don’t want to go out feeling frumpy!  And that’s exactly how I felt.  And with the hubby making me feel rushed with his intentions of “helping,” I decided I’d be better off staying home and doing a load of laundry.  I felt defeated and unappreciated.  I mean, does he realize what it’s like for me to get a basket of laundry put up?  It’s usually during my free time.  You know, when the baby is napping?   And if I’m not putting it away while she’s napping, she’s crying while I put it away, because she thinks she needs her mama 24/7.  Try doing all your chores with a screaming baby.  I know for me, I can only take so much. 

And I try so hard to make sure he has clothes in his drawer.  His clothes are a priority because I hate it when he’s trying to find a pair of underwear or socks at 5:00 in the morning.  I feel like I’ve failed him when he’s getting up so early, working so hard.  So needless to say, I felt a bit unappreciated as I refolded my shorts and put them back neatly in my drawer.  I tried hard not to get angry.  After all, he didn’t know that I spent a good hour a couple weeks ago reorganizing my drawers so I could find the few pair of measely clothes that actually fit! 

But angry I was.  So I sat on the couch and cried as they left.  Part of me knows what I’m dealing with.  I went in for my post partum check up on Thursday and my doctor asked me how I was doing emotionally.  “Ask me in a couple of months,” I answered.  There’s just too much going on right now, and it all seems overwhelming.  My mom had us spoiled rotten for 6 weeks, taking such good care of us, and now that she’s gone, we are having to fend for ourselves.  It’s like feeding wild animals and then leaving them to look for their own food after they’ve been trained to wait for their human friends!

Top that off with Madison’s upcoming surgery, school starting, the kids’ sports, and all the other craziness going on in our lives (Mastitis!), and it’s just too much to take on certain days.  So, I’m depressed, and I told my doctor that I know I am. 

But his response was encouraging.  He said the fact that I’m talking openly and honestly about it is good.  He seems to think I’ll pull through okay too.  I assured him I’d call if I’m still feeling depressed in a couple of months.  I suffered from post-partum depression with my first baby and I will NOT allow myself to suffer 3 long years through that again!  In the meantime, I’m trying hard to think positively, and focus on what God is doing in our lives.  There are some things I have to look forward to, but I have to wait patiently for the right timing, and right now, in the midst of all this craziness, it’s so hard to do that!  I’m so spoiled!  I want what I want and I want it NOW!  🙂

Anyway, with God doing His work in me, I am trying to be content where I’m at.  So after the hubby and kids left, I decided to get done what I could around the house.  It wasn’t much, but you know what?  When my husband called to check up on me, I couldn’t help but NOT be mad at him.  He has this irresistable charm that keeps me from staying mad.  He didn’t say anything special.  He was just himself.  He was talking to me and I couldn’t help but smile.  How does he do it? 

And not 30 minutes later, I smiled again.  My husband was still at the picnic with 3 of our kids.  The thunder came rolling in, and the rain began to pour.  I couldn’t help but smile.  Baby and I were happily keeping dry indoors.  I imagined being stuck out in the middle of the park with America in my arms, getting drenched.  I would have ended up looking frumpy regardless! 

“HA HA!  I’m glad I stayed!”  I thought, as if I somehow defeated fate itself.  Sometimes things do work out for the best!

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Expressions

I had to get up and take one of our dogs to the vet yesterday morning and had Dwight ride with me so he could stay in the car with the two littlest ones while I dropped the dog off inside.  I’m sure I’ve made a point to share that I am not a morning person, but just in case, I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON!  And since I’m not a morning person, I’m not one for constant chatter first thing in the morning – at least, not when the subject consists of the following topics: politics, religion, or military/war.  And Dwight?  Well, Dwight very rarely keeps his mouth shut (even in his sleep).  And just about all of his “conversastions” are about the three topics above. 

He doesn’t quite know how to read people either.  Like when I kept giving him short answers while he chatted away.  He never got that I did not feel like talking.  And for a moment, I actually caught myself thinking, “God, just kill me now!”  Isn’t that horrible?  (And I even had my coffee already!) 

But then Dwight said something that made me laugh.  He recently went to a Reds game with our church youth group and after the game they had a huge firework display.  So Dwight recorded this firework show on his cell phone, and has since shown it to anyone who will pay him any attention on the matter.  He is quite impressed with his little cell phone video, and doesn’t notice when people don’t seem to be as intrigued by the show he shoves in their face with his cell phone.  But people are nice enough.  They let him talk all about it and try to get away when the opportunity allows.  (Because he’ll talk about it for.ev.er)

So when I got back in the car after dropping the dog off, Dwight tells me, “I was showing Madison the firework show on my phone.” 

Greaaaaaaaaaaaaat.  Here we go on that one (again). 

“The fireworks were really loud there.  It was a huge show.  I bet they would have hurt Madison’s ears if she had been there.  They were as loud as a howitzer…you know like the ones they shot off at West Point?”

“The ones at West Point didn’t seem to hurt Madison’s ears.”  I said.  “She’d probably be fine with the fireworks.”

“Oh, but these were really loud.  I think they would hurt her ears.”  He argued. 

“Okay.”  No sense on continuing that one.  His mind was made up.  The fireworks would hurt her ears.

“They really had a lot of fireworks at the show.”

“Yup.”  I agreed…and I think this is about the time I asked God to strike me…and instead, I got this:

“No.  There were A LOT of fireworks”  He must have thought I didn’t believe him.  Maybe he thought his next line would convince me.  “Yeah…I really think that they probably spent all the money they made from the game on the fireworks.”

“I doubt that.”  I disagreed, thinking about how they wouldn’t squander all their profit on fireworks just to please the crowd.

Dwight let out a little sigh, and tried to hide the rolling of his eyes, as if I did not get it.  “It was JUST an expression, Ma’am.”  He mumbled as he stared out the window.  At least he was respectful about it.

I couldn’t hide the smile (although I was able to contain the laughter).  Maybe I’m a little slow, but I’d never heard THAT expression before!  I must be so lame!  I’m glad God knows better than I do…if God would have struck me when I’d asked, I would have  missed out on that expression!

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Pain

I got up at 6:30 this morning so that I could get ready for Madison’s appointment with the pediatric plastic surgeon.  She had to be in at 8:30 so we could have her ears checked again to determine if she will need ear tubes, and to discuss laser surgery for her birthmark and having her frenulum clipped.

When I woke up, I noticed the pain immediately.  I had a clogged milk duct.  Funny how it works – I was just thinking about how good I was doing so far, not getting any clogged milk ducts yet. 

I figured I’d offer that side throughout my day to America first and hopefully she would help me unclog it.  I’ve done this before.  I also made a mental note to sterilize the breast pump before we left for Scott’s company picnic. 

Only Madison’s appt. took longer than planned.  She had to do another hearing test and then we waited forever to talk to the doctor about the results.  The great news is that her hearing has improved even though she still has some fluid in her ear.  So we went ahead and scheduled her for surgery for her birthmark and frenulum for later this month, but hooray, no ear tubes!

By the time we left the Children’s Hosptital though, I was in a good amount of pain, so Scott stopped by Kroger to buy some cabbage.  I’ve heard that if you put a couple of cabbage leaves around your breast, it will help unclog the milk duct, but I’ve never had the guts to try it.  I figured it was worth a shot, especially since we were not going to have time to disinfect the breast pump before we left. 

No, I ran inside, washed a couple of cabbage leaves, applied, (Shameful confession – it felt so good)!  And we headed off for the picnic.  We got there about noon and had a great time.  We ate burgers and hot dogs and BBQ chicken, while the kids ate more candy, icecream, and cookies than meat.  We got to meet Scott’s boss and talk to several people on his team, and the kids (and Scott) played a few games. 

In the mean time, I started feeling increasingly worse.  I wanted to tough it out though, because I went against Scott’s suggestion of taking two cars just incase I wanted to leave early.  (Good thing too, because I would have left almost as soon as we arrived when America puked (okay, it was spit up but it was enough to be like puke) all over my shirt and pants.  The bottom half of my shirt, and top half of my pants were soaked in yucky-smelling milk. 

Anyway, I didn’t want to pull the kids away from all the fun, so I toughed it out.  As we toured Scott’s work building, my body started to ache.  By the time we were done, I started getting chills and felt groggy, feverish.  I had goosebumps all up and down my arms and my head started to pound.  By 2:00 I was definitely ready to go. 

It took us 20 minutes to gather our belongings and round up the kids who were off hoola-hooping, and then we headed home.  Only we discovered that the highway we had to take in order to get home was closed.  CLOSED.  So Scott had to take back roads.  In the meantime, America was screaming and I forgot a pacifier (which only works about 30% of the time!), so I did the only thing I could think of.  I offered her her baby blanket.  Thank God, it worked most of the way home. She sucked on a little corner of her blanket until we were about 20 minutes from the house.   Then she screamed the rest of the way home. 

When I got home, I ran to the bathroom, relieved my bladder, then grabbed the thermometer.  It was 100.4.  I got online to see what I should do and tried calling my OB.  His office was closed.  So I took my temp again and it was 100.9.  I knew I’d be tempting fate if I tried to tough it out through the night.  So I woke Scott up from his nap and told him I needed to go to the Urgent Care Clinic.  I was miserable!

So we get to the clinic and I’m shivering.  Scott fell asleep on the chair while we waited for me to be called back, and I worked on keeping Madison out of trouble.  Sometimes kids can be a great distraction during a time of misery! 

Finally, the nurse called me back and took my temperature.  102.9.   So I knew I wasn’t just imagining things! 

Sure enough, the doctor confirmed what I suspected.  I have an infection – Mastitis.  He prescribed me some antibiotics, and gave me some tylenol.  So far the tylenol has brought my temp down to about 100, so I’m not shivering like crazy now! 

So my weekend plans are out the window, but I suppose I should be thankful this happened today, and not Monday while Scott was at work.  At least now he can help me out  with the kids and make sure I get some rest.  Speaking of, that is what I’m supposed to be doing right now, but I snuck my laptop to my bedroom.  I better get off here and try to take a nap, or just sleep through the night…whatever my aching body desires!

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Relaxation?

Kelly, Patrick, and Joshua were talking during lunch today and I got the best laugh out of their conversation.  Kelly started off by saying she didn’t want to be a mom because she doesn’t want the doctor to “take the baby out of her tummy.”  Apparently, at the tender age of 5, she already understands that childbirth isn’t exactly completely fun. 

Joshua said something along the lines of, “Yeah, if you are a mom, you have to do that.”

Patrick said, “Yeah, lucky for us, we don’t have to go through that!”

“Yup,” Joshua added, “We get to get married and then relaaaaaaax.”

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