Sunday, February 28, 2010

Another Weekend Update

We had a great weekend with Brent's parents. Happy birthday to Ma Mere!!! It has been a beautiful day here today so we went to the state park to walk with the little ones for an afternoon hike.

This evening during playtime, Mary Louise was just fascinated with her rattle. It looks like she finally figured out where that noise comes from...

We've had so much fun over the past few (comparatively) boring months simply enjoying Mary Louise and David for what they are - babies. Who knew such a simple blessing would be our greatest wish and some of our dearest memories. Each morning just before I open my eyes, there is a moment in which I wonder if they'll still be there - warm and snug- right beside me. Each day that they are, I open my eyes and smile.

Photos from the weekend...
ma mere birthday 2010


Thursday, February 25, 2010

The State of the Union Address...

David has an awful lot to say these days...

And the little old lady's reaction?
From David post op - end of Feb 2010

Many of the album is repeated from other days, but the end is new...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Follow-up

I'm a might late in posting about David's follow-up. Geez - I lose full days without even realizing what's happening!

He did very well at the surgeon's office. Actually, David does really well each time he sees the guy. David grins a huge grin when the doctor walks in the room, giggles through the exam, and sits up and grins again before he walks out the door. It'd be one thing if David did things like that for everyone -but he just doesn't. The doctor thinks he's one of the happiest babies ever.

So, David still has a bit of swelling. It should go down over the next month to several weeks. He still has a hydrocele (pocket of fluid)on the more involved side. He is hoping that David's body absorbs the fluid over time. Apparently, babies usually don't have an issue with such - adults usually need surgery or at least have to have the fluid drained. (I swear - nothing can ever just be cut and dry with these kiddos!)

Anyhow, the swelling, etc. doesn't seem to bother David in the least and I am watching it carefully to ensure its resolve.

Miss Mary Louise has been quite busy doing strength training and can even pull up to a stand now. She only does so on me though! She army crawls up to me and pulls up on my shirt and grins a wildly huge grin when she is standing tall - so proud of herself! She has also figured out how to close things - like the little compartment on her play table and the toy that has doors that pop open. Finally, she has learned the sign for "more" or "eat". She is very proud of this skill as well -though I'm not quite sure if she has made the connection that doing the sign is actually asking a question. (We're working on that part).


P.S. another Mary Louise feat - I went to check on them after we put them to bed - Mary Louise was restless, picked her bottle up and drank from it and put herself back to sleep - without any help!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Happy Monday!

Mondays are notoriously difficult in this house. The babies are usually wild with fussiness after having 2 parents over the weekend. I do my best to maintain their schedule but I know it's a bit smoother with an extra set of hands. So, as we muddle through Monday, I know they get a bit frustrated with one lap, one set of hands, one person to focus attention on 2 babies.

This Monday is no different. David woke at 5:15 and absolutely refused to even play quietly much less got back to sleep. So, coffee pot on, Mary Louise now awake, we trudged to the playroom for morning playtime fun. It went as well as could be expected with 2 exhausted babies and one ridiculously tired Momma. They didn't want to rock, be swaddled, or pacified in any way, so we worked out their tiny bit of energy for an hour and a half until they FINALLY conceded to lie in their swings and nap for a bit.

Refreshed, we had our mid morning play time followed by our usually breakfast feeding. Green bean day...both enjoyed it but David insisted on sitting in my lap the whole time. I didn't really mind - a change of clothes for all of us is usually needed post feeding either way. He did a nice job spray painting my arms and legs with green mush. (see previous post with video; note David's new favorite trick-fart noises; picture said trick loaded with green beans; realize David has a nondiscriminatory line if fire.)

So, after a half jar or so, they seemed to loose interest. "Fine, I'll run the bath water and just rinse them there." Mary Louise proceeded to smash remnant green beans into her hair (what little hair she has) and her ear. Super. I turned the faucet to the "on" position. Nothing happened. I tried the bathroom sink, nothing. Feeling a bit a dread and reexamining our situation (yep, still covered), I went to the kitchen and other bathroom. Nothing. Nothing from the hoses outside either - not sure why I tried though I would have definitely used them had they worked...

Phoned the water company. They must have heard from everyone on our street. "Are you off of __ in this area?" the voice on the other end of the line said. "Yes." "They're tying in another line. It'll be another hour or so." "Awesome. Thanks very much for the notification." "What?" "Nothing."

So, here I sit, blogging rather than bathing. I can confirm that baby wipes do in fact have limits to what they can and can't clean. Sometimes actual water is required. (I did mention that Mary Louise has green beans IN HER EAR right?!)

I just hope the water comes back on in time for us to get cleaned up for David's follow up surgical appointment. "No Doctor, that's not an infection nor oozing. It's just green beans from this morning. See I have them all over me too!"

Happy Monday.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Wiggle Worms!

Just a fun video that shows how much the babies can move and wiggle now- they are a mess though! I took it at the end of feeding time...on the menu? sweet potatoes and yellow squash!


Friday, February 19, 2010

Curse you Nonaps!!!

Mr. Nonaps has struck yet again...oh my poor David - so exhausted- so unwilling to shut those eyes. It has been a trying few days as it seems that I am the only person here who really wants a nap! Mary Louise - though willing to snooze every now and then, is also quite a busy body and doesn't want to miss anything. Hence, Mr. Nonaps, our unwelcome guest, keeps us all wired and bleary eyed.

Other than exhaustion, we're doing just fine. David's incisions look really good - edges approximated sans redness - and the suture glue actually stayed on a bit longer than anticipated - almost a week rather than 3 days- before it began to wear off.

So finally today (this afternoon in fact), I pumped and didn't hear a peep from the playroom- after 2 days of wailing everytime I was out of sight, I became a little concerned. I stopped short in the doorway as Mary Louise was playing quietly and David was...


Mr. Nonaps had stealthily exited as quietly as he crept in leaving my sweet snuggly David to his all too happy momma.

The rest of the photos from the past few days...


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Going bananas!

Well it's been almost a week since David's dreaded hernia repair and he is doing just amazingly well. His incision sites are both healing nicely and he's even started to roll on the floor much like he did prior to surgery. He's not spending quite as much time on his belly just yet, but adventures out a bit more each day.

The feeding of solids was full steam ahead last week but with David spending the night in the hospital after such an ordeal, and Mary Louise's routine at home being a bit askew, we took a step back and eased up a bit on the progress. They did try peaches last week and decided that they'd prefer never to try them again. After having a taste myself, I have to say, I agree - once fresh are in season, they can try those...I typically use fresh fruits and veggies when I can, but keep a selection of stage 2 foods that are sodium free and only have fruit or veggie and water as ingredients. It seems to be working well for us so far...BUT (as if you didn't know that was coming)...we've had a new, ummm, experience as of late...

We'll just call it what it is - forget semantics - that's right, the dreaded constipation. We sort of touched on it when they tried apples - 2 days in- lots of gas, late night discomfort, stopped the apples, symptoms subsided. Now, it's bananas; and there's no tiptoeing around anything - it's full on diaper pebbles being birthed every few hours complete with fits like I've never seen.

Pretty stupid on my part I must say. I'm well versed in the (ha) ins and outs of the BRAT diet both from school and post delivery. Ridiculous Heather. In my (feeble) defense, I've never had to deal with constipation before - these babies are breastfed. It'd be next to impossible I think for a breastfed baby to have anything but gas (and boy have we had our fair share of that beast - see colic era). Anyhow, back to the babies...of course they've played with bananas for awhile but have recently started taking in much of what they play with - hence the digestive change.

Enter operation, "make these babies poop now!!" To make a long story short, my day was filled with belly massages, warm baths, stroller rides, tandem rocking, straight breastmilk bottles, ones with probiotics, pears and finally, (drumroll...) prune/ apple juice - about a half ounce in a few ounces of breastmilk, a relaxing walk in the sun post warm bath and tummy massage...voila - THE LARGEST POOP DIAPERS I'VE EVER SEEN!!! and MUCH happier babies. My goodness. What a day.

Today (Wednesday) has been very busy but better and happier than yesterday. Mary Louise and David are starting to show more and more individuality with their playing together and getting along well for the most part - for the most part I said. Mary Louise has a not so sneaky tendency to steal toys from David which consists of her leaning in, seeing the toy she wants in his hands, shoving him face first into the play mat (thank goodness for the foam) and taking said toy and playing with it quietly acting as if she doesn't hear he poor befuddled brother wriggling about and crying in front of her. David still has quite a temper - though it's a bit more directed now. It pretty much goes in order - "I want..." "I can't have or get to..." and "I will pitch a fit now." He kicks his legs and flops about on the floor like a kid getting told "no" in the candy isle at the supermarket. All I can say is at least the 2 of them are rather easily diverted with some cradling, feeding and toys that light up and make noise.

The babies are also MUCH more mobile with Mary Louise appearing to be on the verge of CRAWLING!! David is not far behind and in the meantime has fine tuned his ability to roll where he wants to go. Gone are the days of them staying put! Exciting times here at the LeBlanc house.

Mommom was a great help while here. She stayed through the weekend, waking for early morning play time and keeping Mary Louise happy while David received some extra Mommy attention. I can't believe it's already been a week since the surgery...

David (the poor boy) also got his Synagis shot today. When it rains it pours for him! He did well - he weighed in at 10 pounds 13 ounces which is up from surgery time!! Mary Louise is 11 pounds 15.5 ounces. Hard to imagine we'll soon have a 12 pounder in our house!! In addition to that news, each baby only has 1 more Synagis shot for the season!!! YAY!! I've been forewarned that IF they are approved to receive the shots next season (the if is a whole different issue), it will be much worse as they'll recognize the nurse and the shot amount goes up with weight so they will receive larger doses (insert frowny face here). Having said that, I do sincerely hope we'll somehow get approved for it...


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Doing just fine...

David's recovery is really amazing. He seems to have developed quite the sense of humor post op. I kept asking doctors over the months concerning whether or not his hernias could be a contributor to his constant fussiness, or to his discomfort related to reflux (they did, after all, involve his intestines). Until just recently, the answer was always, "no, of course not." Then, as the first of the year came and went, one of them started pushing the repair saying, "it'd probably make him a bit more comfortable."(though I was concerned about exposure to illness during major flu and RSV season and as I understood it, it would be fine to wait until such time had passed and the risk was decreased). So I scheduled with the surgeon for a consult just to see what he would say...

And we know what happened next...

Was I at least a little right? I still feel it may be too soon to tell, but first impressions...unequivocally, YES. David has been a different little boy post op. Still a little clingy with his momma (which I can almost hear the mom veterans saying, "that's just boys- or that's just babies." But, overall, he's been much more easy going- especially considering he had a major surgery a little over 2 days ago. To give an example, the surgeon came to see him the morning after the surgery so he could evaluate him and decide on a discharge time. He said (direct quote), "that may be the happiest little boy I've ever seen." The nurses who worked with him all said the same (along with saying he was so cute and funny, etc.- I of course agree...)

So, to us (me and Brent), he is much less guarded and quite literally seems quite a bit MORE comfortable - even with the rather large incisions that are currently well into the healing process.

He'll have quite the collection of abdominal scars though - we'll just have to think of a really amazing story for his swimming pool and playground days - or we could just tell him to say what really happened (umm - as 14 ounces and 10 3/4 inches long to growing, smarty pants cutie pie little boy is quite amazing enough don't you think?)

To give you a better idea of David's healing progress, here are a few videos taken at different times post op. If you're wondering, he only had a few doses of Children's Tylenol for post op pain.

3am - about 18 hours post op...

Right before we left the hospital just under 24 hours post op...

And today - 36 plus hours post op...doing just fine...


Friday, February 12, 2010

Home again home again...

We arrived home early this morning and have had a lazy day filled with naps and feedings. Mary Louise has had a bit of a pooping problem I'm afraid over the past few days, but things - uhem- cleared out nicely after a few straight breastmilk bottles and some baby yoga exercises. (ahh - Breast milk - the all round fix everything elixir - like the Windex on "My Big Fat Greek Wedding").

David is doing well - hanging in there. He has a little swelling around his left incision which was the more involved side. The surgeon noted it this morning and thought all was within normal expectations and was pleased with last nights' report from David's apnea, very little fussing. We are to return to him for a recheck in 2 weeks.

So, all systems go in this house now! We are moving forward, cautiously advancing back to regular diets and playing as tolerated.

Must run - David is crying...


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Say "hi" sweet David!

David's hernia surgery 2-11-2010

It's 9pm. He's had a good day overall. He just dozed off again a few minutes ago. He's doing amazingly well on just a dose or 2 of Tylenol and was even grinning and blowing raspberries with the neo who dropped by a while ago. He's certainly not completely up to par, but working on it.



The surgeon was very pleased with the outcome of David's hernia repair. The hernias were a bit more involved than anyone anticipated - his intestines had attached to some areas causing adhesions that had to be removed. This will cause more swelling in recovery but as of right now, he looks wonderful and is sleeping soundly after a meal.

As it turns out, the adhesions and extent of intestinal involvement made David's situation a bit more serious than originally thought. The surgeon also reported however, that all vessels were intact and none were blocked from blood flow. Therefore, he doesn't anticipate any long term complications from the hernias or the surgery.

Again, many thanks for the thoughts and prayers. It's definitely a bit odd to be back at this hospital - and this time with an actual baby in the room! I am hoping he can rest comfortably today - such a tough little one.

At any rate, I'd better get a little rest while I can.


David Update...

David was taken to surgery just after 7:30. It is expected to take about an hour and a half. He will stay the night for observation to ensure the anesthesia does not cause any apneic episodes.

Things this morning went as smoothly as they could have gone. We are so nervous, but the staff gave us a little corner in their world so that we could have a quiet area, a place for me to pump, etc. which is making things just that much easier. They have promised to return my little guy to me as soon as he starts to wake up. He was so sweet this morning. Hungry as he was, he still managed a smile or two and playtime with Mom and Dad. He's been up (with me) since midnight (as if an alarm went off in his head when I took his food away) so I expect we'll both crash eventually.

Will post again as soon as we are settled in a room. There is of course no phone service here so this is really my only way of getting the word out that we are doing ok and things are progressing nicely.

Many thanks for the thoughts and prayers this morning and for the early morning visit from Father Jack!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pre op

David had his pre op work done yesterday. It went well. We got most of the paper work done. So, we'll just have a last consent in the morning and then he's off. Not eating after midnight worries me though.

He was just fascinated with the lights and sounds of the hospital. He clung to my front like a little monkey while looking all around, grinning, blowing raspberries and cooing. Then came the bloodwork...ha - the little guy made so much noise that people were searching down the halls for "that screaming baby". He was fine as soon as the poor phlebotomist got what she needed and let his hand go (it was a finger stick). His old respiratory therapist stuck her head in the room to see what was happening and was quite surprised (and very excited) to see who it was. We also saw a few of his NICU nurses and some of my labor and delivery nurses who were amazed to see how he's grown (and to know that they are almost 10 months old!).

Probably needless to say, David fell fast asleep on the way home - and didn't even wake when I took him out of the car! He took a nice nap and was back in action in the evening.

We are not looking forward to tomorrow, but know he is in very good hands. I emailed their neonatologist when we scheduled the surgery to see how he felt about it. He knows these babies better than anyone else from a medical standpoint. He has earned our trust ten times over and I just wanted to get his stamp of approval on our plan of action. Thankfully, he agreed wholeheartedly -telling me he felt David was big, strong and healthy enough to go through the surgery at this point. He even offered to stop by to check on us.

Mommom (my mom) is here helping with the little ones for the week and is going to stay with Mary Louise while we are at the hospital. When David and I got home yesterday, Mommom and Mary Louise were napping together - all I could think of was those nights when I would sneak across the house and crawl into bed with (my) Mommom. She always smelled so sweet - of lavender, roses and Dove soap. She would smile when I would creep into her room and say, "come here darling, of course you can sleep here! There's plenty of room!" (of course in her flawless songbird British accent). I would snuggle into her wool blankets and down pillows and sleep so much better there than anywhere else. Ha - you'd think I was really little right? I did that until I was about 9! Some of my favorite memories...

Please think of little David tomorrow as he braves through one more preemie ordeal.

Many many thanks.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Superbowl Sunday!!

As our beloved Saints (finally) play in the Superbowl, I thought I'd give a little comic relief for viewing during the commercial breaks (or whenever you get around to it!) Photos from the past week...

Superbowl time 2010

Who Dat? and Go Saints!

Friday, February 5, 2010

PT Friday

The physical therapist just left after giving glowing reviews to the babies' progress. She tells me what they did this time (in PT language) then goes over specs from last time to compare. I must admit that although I do seem some progress, I don't realize quite how big their strides are until I hear where they were developmentally just a month ago.

They can both sit for a long time (minute plus) on their own. They can get toys in front of them while in the sitting position. They reach up and around over head for toys. David is very good at catching himself on either side when loosing his balance while sitting. Mary Louise is more stable in the sitting position.

They have no evidence of any musculo-skeletal issues and remain on target for their adjusted age (around 6 months).

Homework: place things just out of reach for them to get while in the sitting / floor position; work on extension of their arms in various positions; encourage them to put their hands open and flat on the floor while sitting; work on the transition from sitting to all-fours.

Major future goal: getting stable in all-fours position and rocking back and forth there. Coming soon...CRAWLING!!!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

David's surgery

David is scheduled to have surgery for his inguinal hernias on Thursday the 11th. The meeting with the surgeon went well - all behaved.

Upon examination, it was found that he had not one, but 2 inguinal hernias - one communicating (involving intestines) and one non-communicating (fluid filled) hydrocele. He will have both hernias repaired in an operation lasting approximately an hour and a half.

Typically, someone as young as David and with such a history would be kept over night for observation post operatively. We will plan on that with the knowledge that if the CRNA sees fit we may be allowed to go home. It depends how he does during the surgery with anesthesia.

The surgeon performed David's emergency surgery when he was just 10 days old and is very well respected here. We have chosen to request a CRNA to administer his anesthesia as we know one personally and trust him. Having said that, we are terrified.

Of course there are quite a few (rather rare) risks to the operation. Topping the list are future fertility issues and/ or testosterone deficiency which could cause growth restrictions. As I said, these are considered rare and although the operation is at this point voluntary, it is very necessary and if done under emergent circumstances, becomes much more risky.

So, that's the story. Though it is a (routine) major operation, he is expected to recover quickly and I am told many babies act "fine" and are back to playing by day 2 or 3. May I muster up the strength and courage to hand over my little one once more and may he have the strength to not just endure, but continue to thrive...Ugh! I'm just not looking forward to being back on that side of a hospital setting!

We have applied for a private policy, and I have researched a few other companies. I need a few denial letters to make a case to the state system so that we may get the best shot possible at getting insurance for David. Meanwhile, Mary Louise's policy is quickly dwindling. I have spoken to the state insurance commission's office and they have little to offer. I will keep searching - it's all I can do. No matter what happens, at least I know I've left no stone unturned.


P.S. Sweet green peas results: David says, "they're wonderful!" Mary Louise says, "Meh, good enough. I'll try anything as long as you don't give me that skanky cereal EVER again!" (Their words - I swear!)

Monday, February 1, 2010

I've been tagged...

I just found out that my very wonderful friend McCall tagged me sometime ago to answer 5

Instructions:1) Answer five questions with five answers.2) Tag five people
1. Where were you ten years ago?
Taking one of a few hiatus from school.

2. What is on your to-do list for today?
Ha- the same things that are on it everyday these days...playtime and pt exercises with babies, feeding time with them, laundry, dishwasher, what's for dinner?, shower at some point, have a full conversation with Brent, bath time, massage time, bed time - and the goals for everyday: go on a walk (usually happens - weather permitting) and afternoon nap time (usually doesn't happen - but is nice to think about anyhow)

3. What five snacks do you enjoy?
1. either red delicious or gala apples and vermont cheddar cheese- if Creole tomatoes are in season, they Trump the apples any day (I actually am that specific), 2. natural peanut butter - because it's just good, 3. hummus, baby carrots and Ack Mack crackers (and any kind of berries or fresh mangoes when they are in season), 4. goldfish crackers, 5. (the ultimate vice) Kleinpeter ice cream - current favorite - sweet potato pie - sounds weird yes, but is so worth a try (yumm!)

4. Where are five places you have lived?
1. Houma, 2. Lafayette (tear and sniff), 3. Baton Rouge, 4. Luling, 5. Lake Charles

5. Name five things you would do if you were a billionaire. I don't even like this question. Having billions brings endless possibilities- and of course there are tons of things I've dreamed of doing- but honestly, I love my family, I love working - when I work- and staying home while I can...I have a good life. I'd love to know that no matter what those most important to me are taken care of - but much of the salt in life is finding your way through it if you ask me. Of course a billion dollars may in fact solve our little insurance problem...

So here you go McCall - better late than never!

Happy birthday Mom!

Today is my 30th birthday. That's right - the big 3-0. Though I still think of myself as a little kid most of the time, I must admit that there is a huge part of me that has aged immensely over the past year.

I woke up this morning to a beautifully decorated king cake - made from scratch by Brent. He'd stayed up late insisting that he had to finish "your present from the babies". As it turns out, "the babies" made me a fantastic card with photos of the 2 of them holding the foam letters from their play mat spelling out "Happy Birthday" and the number 30. To say that it made me smile...such and understatement.

Brent got me some new exercise clothes. I had to laugh at myself for asking for a king cake (I never dreamed he'd make it from scratch though) and exercise clothes! I'm pretty sure one cancels the other out right? Ah well. I love it all anyhow.

Mary Louise reached out for me to hold her this morning. It warmed my heart. It was the first time what she was asking for was absolutely unquestionable. They are growing so fast and learning more everyday.

Morning nap time is over so I must run...some photos - lots of photos- to follow...

Oh and squash? a great success!

January play time