Thursday, September 30, 2010

lessons learned...

I'm still learning -WAY more than I ever thought possible with these 2!! What a day...

I had an appointment with an internist this morning. I will be the first to admit that I am (ashamedly) NOT the golden patient all doctors hope for...alas, I've not made time for things like follow up visits and check ups for myself since the babies...(ok, ok, I wasn't all that great before the babies, so it didn't take too much arm twisting for me to be a full fledged patient on the lamb).

Anyhow, Brent was supposed to take the day off...*supposed to*. He had a tournament and was tied up at work. So off we went - the 3 amigos. Next time I'll just cancel my stinkin' appointment. I didn't because I made it over a month ago. That's right, over a month for a wellness checkup. So, we went. David of course bucked nap time (again) so he fell asleep in the 3 whole minutes (literally) it took to arrive at the office. (I hate waking sleeping David's!)

I nervously walked in a scoped out a quiet corner and tucked my wee ones safely away while I updated my information at the desk.

Enter Mary Louise's mouth...*screaming* - a sitter who had been with her client nosed on over to take a peek. Luckily, Mary Louise is not a fan of strangers (heck sometimes she's not a fan of family!) so she let out a warning yelp. I quickly maneuvered so that the stroller was facing 2 walls - away from chairs. Unfortunately, the disturbance was done and Mary Louise was in a complete panic to get out of the stroller.

Enter David, aka Mr. Green Eyes. I bounced Mary Louise on my lap while digging for crackers in the diaper bag and David felt HE should be allowed to join the fun OUT of the stroller.

My name was called...

The babies were WILD in the room. They quite literally dismantled just about everything there was to dismantle - paper on the table, magazines, Mary Louise pitched a fit because I kept her from banging on the computer keyboard. The staff had a good sense of humor about it all. I had to smile as Mary Louise squeaked her shoes around the office in search of her next paper victim.

We made it out, I was actually sweating from wrestling them back into the stroller. I needed lab work. We were already out, so I thought I might as well get it all over with, right? NO. Emphatic NO. NO in the loudest sense of NO. In the future, if I should get to a point like this again, I will cut my losses and go home. Today, I felt ambitious...

We pulled into the parking lot. Mary Louise pooped. As I was changing her diaper, I heard a click, didn't think anything of it, collected both babies as best I could and made my way to the front door.

IT WAS LOCKED!!! UGH! They actually locked the doors to the lab for lunch while I changed Mary Louise about 5 feet from the entrance. (hence the click I heard) Seriously. I stood there dangling 2 babies, insurance card in my mouth, Mary Louise grabbing at the keys I was just barely gripping with one finger, and gave the mirrored glass the stink eye until my arms started to go numb. Oh that's right, the stink eye. (and resisted the almost overwhelming urge to poop glue Mary Louise's diaper to the window...)

I put the babies back in their seats (much to their confusion and dismay), and we set off to kill an hour. Why? Because my bloodwork was to be done after a fast (and boy was I starving!). I'd been fasting since wake up time for the babies (around 7am) and it was now 12:30. One.more.hour...

We ran into the store to get diapers. David pitched an ENORMOUS fit there. Back in the car, I drove for a bit, the babies calmed, it was time for labs...

BACK to the lab (now open), we marched in, did the paperwork, and took a seat to wait. Thankfully, we were the only ones there. Mary Louise and David quickly honed in on the Kentwood fountain in the corner and proceeded to leak water on the floor. I smiled, exhausted, and remembered being that fascinated with things like that when I was little. At one point, I would have flooded the place with a smile and splashed in the puddles!

They were reasonably good while the blood was drawn...their attention was held by the fancy colored tubes and strange people really. I collected them and we were off. They fell asleep on the way home, slept for an hour in the driveway while I watched, and woke for family photos!!! (oh, that's right, when I over schedule a day, I really make it count!)

The photos went reasonably well. We got a number of full family shots and some of the babies together - and I'm sure a few separately.

It was beautiful outside, so after the pics, we stripped Mary Louise and David down to their skives and put them outside with the hose for some good old fashioned outside fun. A wonderful end to our ridiculous day. They ate ripe avocados and big chunks of peaches while playing in the water and flower pots. We all had a really good time and finished the fun off with baths in the kitchen sink - they were so so cute!

I'll go back to the doctor to discuss the results of the labs, and the results of a stress test in a few more health news later...


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Goals accomplished!

I participated in my very first duathalon on Saturday. I set goals to complete the route (2 mile run, 10 mile bike, 2 mile run) in under 2 hours...goals accomplished. I completed the race in 1 hour and 36 minutes with a smile and a giggle. I felt great - a little thirsty, ok, alot thirsty, pretty tired, but definitely not miserable. I even enjoyed going to the Saints game the next day (even though they!)!

So, I'm pretty proud...considering that just over a year ago, I could barely walk 100 yards after my hospital bed rest. If I can do this, I swear, ANYONE can!

The best part? Brent, the babies and family at the finish line, grinning from ear to ear and cheering me in for those last few leaps. It was great!

The weekend went well. We visited Mommom and Pops and MaMere so we got our doses of the doting grandparents. The babies had a ball - hugs and kisses over and over and lots of "big kids" to play with.

It's been a bit of a wild job putting David and Mary Louise to bed this evening - I'm pretty sure it will take a day or 2 before they realize that they're back in their own bed...Ms. Abbey is scheduled to come and meet them for the first time tomorrow. She will be helping me with them once or twice per week so that I can get a few things done around here - and maybe rest a little here and there.

Mary Louise is just about running now. She just began really walking a week or 2 ago but boy, did she really take off with it! David is just behind her - walking tons as well! It's truly amazing - and so surreal to think about how far they've come...

On the topic of speech - Mary Louise has started giving "lectures". If I asked David to do something, she is right behind me "repeating" the rhythm and length of whatever I say (in a very serious voice I might add). If I look at her, she grins her toothy grin and simply continues. She'll even point a finger and occasionally stomp a foot if the dogs are misbehaving. She's quite a trip that one! (and I do believe my hands will be more than full - absolutely overflowing- when attempting to handle my pseudo-momma!

David isn't quite as wordy, but can hold his own and get his point across when he really wants to. So, I'd say that they are both making progress, but no more discernible words just yet.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

(Squeak) Did you say something? (Squeak)

Mary Louise and David are hip and with it once again with their very own squeaky shoes (courtesy of Ma Mere and Pops). They came in yesterday, we put them on (though David's are a bit too big, he stumbled for a minute or 2 in them anyhow). They LOVED them. Mary Louise loved them so much this morning that she ran into the table. She was staring at them as she walked and giggling about the noise they made and wham! (sometimes they forget how tall they are now...a few weeks ago and that table would never have come into play - they are growing so so fast!).

I'm not sure why this one is upside down, but I'll post it anyhow - it's cute, and you get the idea...


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I'm no superman...

I finally did it. I've asked for help. Well, I've asked a few times, but this time is a little different. I have a friend who has agreed to come and play with Mary Louise and David once or twice per week so that I can get things done around the house, pump, nap, SHOWER! (ha!). Between the "momma momma momma" all day without breaks, and the "wah wah's" at night sometimes as often as once an hour, I'm just exhausted. The laundry is piling, the housework is mounding, and the little projects seem never ending.

Our family has helped and awful lot, been very very patient and accommodating, but it's time for us to find a go to person in town rather than putting them out every time we have an issue. Also, maybe Brent and I can have a date night here and there if things work out?!

Mary Louise actually tried running today!!! Ok, so it was actually chasing (can you guess who it was that she was trying to catch up with?), but she moved those little muscle legs faster than she's ever done before to try to catch me! David is walking more and more now as well. He still prefers crawling, but has begun to chose to walk short distances when he's already standing rather than getting back on the floor and crawling.

The high chairs are working out well - though David can scale his and stand on the tray in about 2 seconds flat so we cannot take our eyes off of them when the chairs are in use. Issues with eating are pretty much the same. David did try a bit of my blueberry bagel with cream cheese this morning and really seemed to enjoy it. Mary Louise said "no thank you" in so many gestures and wouldn't even play with the pieces I put in front of little watermelon queen. The sippy cup introduction has more bad or indifferent days than good right now - but that's ok - all I can do is keep trying. I am careful not to push too hard as I don't want them afraid of the darn things!

I have worked on them a bit with wearing shoes. Although they don't particularly enjoy the experience, they will let me put shoes on them for short periods now which is a vast improvement from the extreme fits, kicking and screaming I was getting just a few weeks ago. (I don't even bother with socks anymore - it's just futile).

Yesterday, I asked Mary Louise to bring me a "ba ba" for David. She smiled, toddled over and handed me hers. It was amazing! She really got it! I was so so proud of her. Today, I asked David to please stop throwing a plastic plate around in the kitchen and he smiled and stopped! They may not say much that everyone (or anyone) can understand, but they sure are taking it all in. (I'll have to remember that - no telling what will come out of their mouths when they do start talking!)

So, anyhow, I'm feeling a little defeated today, but I'll get over it, get my energy back and be the best momma I can be for those 2.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

This week's review...

Let's see...

Mary Louise is walking rather than crawling now. She walks pretty large distances (think 20 feet or more) regularly and crawls only to "get the rest of the way" when she looses her balance but has a mission in mind.

She found David's right ear and belly button one day...and proceeded to tug on both for a full 12 hours despite David's best efforts at warding her off.

Each morning now, I wake to Mary Louise smacking me in the mouth with her noggin. As it turns out, she learned the "lean in for kisses" on her forehead very very well - and loves to request them by ramming people repeatedly. It's very endearing really and I can't help but smile...even though I'll likely look like I've had collagen injections until I can teach her the word (and action) "gentle".

The reflux bug has continued and it seems that most nights one or both of the babies need their Zantac now. I hope their symptoms taper off again soon - but honestly, I count my many many blessings each day that this is our most immediate medical issue.

Eating is going pretty well. Mary Louise and David change so quickly and so often that it makes my head spin. One day, they want bite sized morsels and the next they are grabbing for utensils and breaking food up for themselves. Currently, they both like to bite off and chew many things - especially soft fruits (pears, mangoes, peaches) I rarely peel things anymore and they love it when I leave thicker skins on (mangoes)so that they can bite the fruit off for themselves. This week I gave them whole slices of watermelon with the rind still on and they really had fun! I think that the only major foods that they haven't tried are nuts (no peanut butter, etc), citrus and tomatoes. They have had food containing or processed with nuts though so I'm pretty sure they won't be a problem and I was just waiting on the tomato and citrus items as they are higher in acid and with reflux as an issue already, I'd like for their diet to not compound the problem.

David is just beginning to proudly walk rather than crawling. He will take just a few steps but is still and little unstable. He is making progress though so it's just a matter of time before they are both running around here! We're just so very thrilled about it!!

David has also officially started to call ME "Momma". Both he and Mary Louise have known the sound "Ma" for sometime, but they are both now assigning it to me when they want something. They also point to things they would like to see, hold, etc.

We have been working with both David and Mary Louise on scooting on their toys. David is really catching on well and kicks his legs so happily when I put him on his firetruck toy. I love that we were able to find a few things that fit our little guys! (Mary Louise is MUCH happier walking behind the toy and pushing it that way - though we're still encouraging her to coordinate her legs to scoot along while seated on the toys).

I still worry a bit about David's temper, but he is a little more directed with his tantrums. Most of them are a cause and effect situation (he was playing with something, Mary Louise took it, he pitches a fit). We are working hard with both of them on learning to let things go, finding a new direction and adapting to changes in circumstance (a lesson Brent and I can use as well).

October is pregnancy and infant loss month. I know, there's a month or day for everything these days right? I think of sweet Kuylen all. the. time. still. I'm actually amazed at how well I remember him. His perfect soft face. I can trace his little nose, ears, hands, and toes in my mind just as I did when I told him "goodbye". A piece of my soul is forever with his...just gone - and I still feel like I'm reaching for it, for him...

We are to officially sell our old house next week. We are still waiting on the final "clear to close" however so we're just keeping our fingers crossed that everything pans out and we can be over and done with the moving, and get on with the setting up of our new place.

Finally, poor Brent has been having some knee pain off and on for quite sometime but lately, it has gotten worse. He went to the doctor and there is a good possibility that he'll need surgery (a scope - so it's considered "minimally invasive" as if digging around in one's knee can be a minor procedure - ha!). We'll find out more about that next week!

Phew! Busy busy house! (but we're having so much fun!)


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bless her little heart (again)

Mary Louise had a check up with the pediatric cardiologist today. She was very upset about the whole thing - to say the least. She wouldn't let them do her EKG (she wouldn't even allow the stickers to be put on her little chest!) She panicked about even being put down on the paper...

I tried to sit with her, holding her...she didn't want any part of that either...we did somehow get a weight on her - a whopping 17 pounds 10 ounces!!! She's still gaining beautifully! She was so upset by the stethoscope that the Dr. couldn't listen...we had to hold her down for a clear ultrasound (thankfully, that is the most detailed of the tests and is the only one they could actually get clear results from so we didn't leave empty handed.)

After all was said and done, the doctor felt 1. she handled the stress of it all very well and without obvious symptoms - no blue around her mouth, she wasn't out of breath, etc. and 2. he didn't note any changes at all in her coronary artery fistula meaning it is still there, and still needs monitoring, but does not need intervention. 3. her PFO (the hole in her heart she came home with that she needed oxygen for last year) has officially closed (it was very tiny, but still open at our last visit). So, she has been cleared until April of 2012!! She and David will both be seen then for checkups. If David is still doing well, he will likely be discharged altogether. Mary Louise will likely have checkups every couple of years as long as there are no changes - though I can still hold onto a little hope that the stinkin' fistula will just disappear on its own...

So, luck and blessings have hit our house one. more. time. My lovies are home, safe and sound, and for once, there are no surgeries, procedures, no therapies looming over head. Tomorrow, we play, we stroll, we bike ride, we smile...we just enjoy.


P.S. I am excited (and nervous) about signing up for my very first duathalon! (run 2 miles, bike 10 miles, run 2 miles) My goal is to simply to show up and finish. It's in 2 weeks so please send a bit of strength and stamina my way so my old legs will hold out and carry me through! yay!

Friday, September 10, 2010

*sigh* It's that time...again

Really, you all knew this post was coming. I've drafted it in my head several times but avoided actually typing it out...maybe I was hoping it'd keep the general population feeling spry a bit longer...but it really is time...

So, it's RSV season again...

We are buckling down slowly at Fort LeBlanc. Let's be honest, I'm the only one who really has any (social) issues with the whole isolation thing. I love the argument that people spit forth about somehow stunting Mary Louise and David's social skills by keeping them away from crowds and strangers for a few months out of the year. I'm pretty sure they don't mind missing out on a cart ride or 2 at the grocery - or staying home to play rather than sitting still through a Sunday sermon. Alas, I'm the one that wants to go.

Ah well, with a clean health record - but for a few sort of questionable days here and there - and excellent growth and development, Brent and I have opted to err or the side of leaving our system well enough alone ("if it ain't broke, don't fix it" - and that might be the ONLY time you'll ever hear or see the word "ain't" come from my mouth!).

The plan for this year (in general of course)...

To our visitors: we don't mind if you come over, but please please wash your hands really well upon entering (this means rubbing vigorously for about 30 seconds- or the amount of time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice. The temp of the water doesn't matter nor does the type of soap. The success of a proper hand washing depends on technique).

Also, only come if you are feeling well, sans cough, no dripping noses, no wheezing, no colds, no sinus infections, no respiratory illness of any kind. Please use your best judgment on this. If there is a question, don't come. If you have been around someone who is or has been sick during the week prior to a planned visit, please stay home.

We are planning on taking part in outdoor activities. This is the same policy we adapted to last year (walks daily, etc.) This year, we will also participate in a running club on the weekends. Again, it's outside - and adult runners - so we feel the risk is minimal. We will try going to early church as long as we can (i.e. nice weather and not in the thick of rsv/ flu season which means we'll likely taper off in Dec. and especially Jan through March). Anyhow, a couple of changes - we'll see how things go - but essentially, we'll be observing the same guidelines as last year.

Our only concern is protecting Mary Louise and David as best we can. We've had such incredible support and absolutely amazing success thus far, and wish only to keep it so. Getting them through this flu and RSV season healthy will give them another year of growth concerning weight, height and lung tissue - all areas extremely important for their long term well being. The latest research states that children grow the majority of their lung tissue during the first 3 years of life. If that new growth is undamaged, we can ensure that Mary Louise and David have the best chance possible at warding off (specifically) respiratory illnesses throughout their childhood - and into adulthood. It is likely that a cold will never be very mild or simple for them, but the bigger and healthier they are when they do pick up their first bug, the easier time they'll have fighting to overcome it.

Many thanks for your support and understanding.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Revisiting Reflux

Last night David had a rather significant episode of reflux. I'm not sure if they are teething or not, but I am sure that both Mary Louise and David have been a little out of sorts lately...

They have been refusing solids again over the past 4 days or so. They have been increasing their bottle intake and also refusing their sippie cups that I had begun to really introduce and move towards in an effort to rid the house of 1. night feedings and 2. bottles over the next couple of months. We'll get back to the sippie schedule when they are feeling better...

So last night, I was resting next to David after a very rough few hours. He would wake and seem uncomfortable every so often and I ended up just falling asleep next to him at one point. It was about 4am, he started to fuss, then cough, then gag. I sat him up and he continued, spitting up a few times, coughing, retching and finally settling back down. I gave him a dose of Zantac and the gagging, etc. didn't happen again. He did, however, have a low to moderate fever throughout the day today.

I had been weaning them off of the Zantac very slowly. When they came home, they were on .5mls up to 3 times a day with extra medications available on the really bad days (mostly for David). They are now down to about .3mls 4 to 5 times per week at night. The dose they are taking now theoretically shouldn't do anything at all - but if you recall during their NICU stay, this was typical of the weaning process of every single one of their medications. I have attempted to get them off of the Zantac completely twice. They can go for up to a week without incident before starting again.

From what I understand, reflux related to intubation (i.e. muscular damage of the esophageal valve) can creep up at any time - even years after stopping medications. So it is something we are on the lookout for all the time.

My sweet David did scare me though. He got very pale after this episode. I watched him for a few minutes to ensure proper airway clearance and oxygen exchange. He began to "pink up" almost immediately really but my good ole' fear was back and in full effect. I couldn't help but flashback to the NICU days when he and Mary Louise would alarm or turn blue during a feeding, holding, or heck, a staring!

Of course, this whole thing could be blamed on the almighty teething that seems to be a constant with them, reflux, or a little viral bug. They have never been sick - nary a sniffle nor ear infection - so this would be a first here for David. Mary Louise had a questionable bout of Roseola a couple of weeks ago - that could have been a skin irritation due to our use of Skin-So-Soft prior to our early morning Saturday run...either way, this (so far) and her rash / run down day or 2 have been amazingly mild and minimal- I mean, we don't even really know that they had or have anything at all! They are playing as always - just a tad fussier and clingy - and as I mentioned before, it's been quite hard to entice them to eat anything other than their breast milk. (and for now, I'm ok with that).

Anyhow, we've had an exciting and busy few days getting a few more things done at the old house and having Uncles Collin (who is in from Medical School for a few days) and Kyle, and Mommom here for the weekend. The sale of the old house is moving along slowly. All is set to close though and we've not hit a significant bump with the inspections or appraisals as of yet. As always, the babies thoroughly enjoyed their visit with their uncles and Mommom (and I was all too excited to squeeze in a nap or 2!)

Mary Louise has really taken off with her walking. David is still quite timid about it and would much prefer to crawl. Mary Louise however, is beginning to choose to walk a few steps first before lowering herself down to a crawl. I definitely have to be on my toes at all times with them. For instance, as I'm sitting here, Mary Louise was going somewhere she shouldn't, I reprimanded her, she turned, laughed at me, and kept right on going. I made my point after the second time, but they are constantly testing us these days. I love their everlasting curiosity about their environment though. It makes for some really fun moments with such mundane every day items around the house...a basket of laundry is such a favorite.

Hopefully, David especially but both in general will be back up to par soon and we'll get back to exploring new eats and treats at meal time...which reminds me...(Granny, this is for you!) - we now have (and use) HIGH CHAIRS!!! I've bucked the conventional system of doing things for months as they were very small and just didn't have the attention span to sit and eat. I felt they were ready recently, ordered a couple of chairs, and voila - family meal time! It has been a really fun transition for us and for them and we are truly enjoying the new routine!

Must run - they are having a fuss!