Monday, January 30, 2012

Perinatologist Visit!

I was discharged today from the perinatologist!!!! Let that sink in for a minute...

Suga is now 1 pound 13 ounces - growing well, and looking healthy. The brain, heart, kidneys, bladder, stomach, umbilical cord (all vessels), digits, spine - all functioning normally and looking healthy. My cervix is still over 4cm and very closed - even with some fundal pressure applied (the doctor pushes down on your abdomen relatively gently to see if any fluid is released or if the cervix changes in any way).

Our little one looked great and put on quite a show of grabbing his / her feet and putting them to his / her mouth...ok - really. I'm just going to refer to the baby in the male sense for the purposes of this post. We do NOT know the gender but it's getting a little tedious to continue making his / her references and "it" just doesn't do it for me...oh and **he didn't even cooperate during the last few ultrasounds anyhow so even if we wanted to know the gender now, we couldn't - ha!

The doctor even took a few 4D ultrasound photos for me - amazinf! We could see the facial features so well. In the middle of everything, the baby turned his head slightly giving me a profile view of an ear...DEFINITELY Daddy's ears! (so cute!)

After a full scan, I asked the doctor to review my chart to see if I could be discharged to only the care of my regular OB. The peri said he was fine with that adding that he would only want to continue to see me based on my history with pre-eclampsia. But if my regular OB was already doing in office ultrasounds to ensure proper growth of the baby (growth restriction, premature aging of the placenta and blood flow interruption or changes in the umbilical cord flow are signs of pre-e) he would discharge me and I could come back if needed in the future. He did question why I was still on B/P medication as my pressures have been quite LOW! ha! never thought you'd hear that right? I was 101/68 in the office today. Last time I was there, I was 90/50 believe it or not. I feel good though - not light headed - and the peri simply recommended I discuss things with my regular OB and think about trying to stop the medication as it's such an incredibly low dose that he thinks it's not doing much anyhow.

I'll discuss it with my regular OB as the peri requested, but I have a few reservations about stopping the medication - not the least of which is that I've tried stopping in the past only to have borderline readings start up again. I am taking 50mg of Labetalol twice per day though and have done well in the past with taking 50mg once daily instead so I'd bring up trying that first rather than weaning completely. My worry is that blood pressure naturally increases back to "normal" after about 24 weeks. I don't want to be weaning from medication at a time when my blood pressure would be rising anyhow and run into issues. So, we'll see about that...

Mary Louise and David are having a grand time playing with Mere and Pops who came in to help me for a few days as Brent had to leave for some training. I'm so very grateful to have some extra hands here! David has a few appointments concerning speech progress and re-evaluations so Mary Louise will even get some one on one time with the g'rents while David and run the roads. I'm sure Miss Sassy Pants will be more than a little pleased to have a little extra attention heaped on her!

25 weeks 1 day today!!!


I got a few

Friday, January 27, 2012

24 weeks 5 days...

Sound familiar?

Yeah - I was being told the babies would "have to be delivered to give them a chance" and "we'll do what we can" by a very solemn group of nurses, doctors, anesthesia associates, respiratory therapists...and I can't remember who else...this time in my first pregnancy. I wept quietly as I was wheeled down the hall to the section "suite" (something seems ridiculous about that name) and held my belly one last time feeling Kuylen wiggle gently, Mary Louise kick wildly and David give me little fish bites from the inside...

At birth, Mary Louise was given a 50/50 shot, David about 30% and Kuylen a 4% chance of SURVIVAL. We didn't even bother discussing morbidity rates - the mortality rates said enough. We were told by medical professionals and social workers alike to pray. We stared at our babies through thick incubator plastic, shown "the latest advancements in preemie care" (because they were being used to keep our little ones alive) and given updates on our little ones' health status almost hourly...and I pumped...oh did I pump...

Brent and I clung desperately to one another as we had to make decisions and face realities that were well within the realm of every parents' absolute nightmare...then we had to repeat that decision process over and over as new issues and situations developed.

All we really wanted to do was agonize over the silliness of nursery colors, how we would pay for NEXT months' diapers, and do yet another load of puke laundry. All we wanted was normalcy. What we got was perspective, new understanding of what's really important, insight into the moment, and new found strength we wanted nothing to do with...

So today, I am 24 weeks and 5 days pregnant. Today I feel good. Today I got an hour's nap while Brent took David to speech and even squeezed in a quick shower while they were walking in downstairs. I put Mary Louise's hair in pigtails and dressed David in his very debonair Polo pullover. Today, I celebrated and mourned over the most precious, albeit unwanted gift I've ever received: personal experience with extreme prematurity. I sat in awe for brief moments as I remembered so clearly the most delicate perfections I've ever seen, then looked at the stunning example of complete innocence standing before me. I thought of Kuylen...alot...

Today, we pajamas:

and Mary Louise and David proudly sang the first "fun" song they've learned:

Today was a good day...and the good was not to go unnoticed. We had fusses (umm - see the end of the singing video above) and Mary Louise and David pushed their limits just as much as they do every other day. But nonetheless, in my heart, today was appreciated for what it was - good.

Tomorrow, I will be more pregnant than I've ever been...


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dental check up #2

Mary Louise had their second ever dental checks this afternoon. I brought along a neighbor of ours for a second set of hands and we were off. 

Things went really well. I can't say enough about the efficiency, empathy and patience of their pedi dental office staff and doctor. Really - they are that amazing. 

Mary Louise was nervous, frowned a bit, but never cried. The discoloration (I've mentioned maybe once before - it's very light) on her front teeth concerned the dentist slightly. He noted it last time we were there and thought it best to start her on a topical fluoride treatment we'll do every evening to ensure any damaged enamel and possible cavities would stay the same rather than progressing over time. He didn't really know if the 2 questionable spots were definitely very tiny cavities - or if they were just slight discolorations as previously thought. But to really find that out, Mary Louise would need to be placed under anesthesia. As it's not an urgent - or even an overly concerning matter, I opted for the topical medication to help strengthen her teeth.  We are to put a few drops on a Q-tip and rub it on the back of her top front teeth each night for strengthening purposes. 

Considering her medical history, this is not at all surprising. She and David are both wonderful with brushing their teeth so that's no battle (thank goodness) and we'll continue along with that - only increasing frequency from one to 2 times per day to a definite twice daily process. I did discuss Mary Louise's breathing treatments with the dentist - as the steroidal one in particular can harm enamel. He said the nightly drops will help as well has making sure her teeth are rinsed after a treatment. She's doing well with them. We are down to about 1 every other day or so now - sometimes every third day. The warmer it gets outside, the more stable she is where her respiratory system is concerned. I'm still erring on the side of being over cautious so if there's a question, she gets a breathing treatment. I'm hoping that with some "well time", her lungs can heal and she can properly recover from the pneumonia way back when rather than things compounding like they have been. At any rate, I feel we really finally have safety measures in place to prevent utter panic and emergency situations again when snotty noses invade once more. 

But back to the teeth...

David, though his grumpy paw-paw self, did well too - AND his teeth are very strong and perfect! 

They both got new toothbrushes and trinkets on their way out. Re-check in 6 months. Overall, a good experience.

Brent got home this evening after a 3 day business trip. Mary Louise and David met him on the back porch waving their "noo toof-buses" in the air and yelling, "HI DADA!!! YEAH! DADA HOME!" They were so excited - jumping up and down...ok, so I wasn't actually jumping (uh - Suga does plenty of that for me), but it did seem like Brent was gone for absolutely weeks and I may or may not have been ridiculously excited myself...*and she grins*


Afternoon fun and fuss

If one were to question why I am so tired at the end of every day...I would call the below video: Exhibit A. This was taken AFTER a trip to the grocery, Petco, rearranging and cleaning the fish tank, watching a Curious George show - or 2, breakfast, lunch, laundry, cleaning, games, reading, jumping on the trampoline AND and hour into their "free play". If you're curious, this activity - and on again off again fussing went on for 3 hours yesterday afternoon. This is typical. At the end, they got scared because the severe thunderstorms we'd been watching and waiting for all day finally began to roll through...and of course they wanted "Dada"...who was at work.

Those are my dancing monkeys! They were SO GOOD at the grocery yesterday morning! They listened, they looked, they learned. We talked about colors, sounds and flavors. Then they asked to "see the ani-mules" it took me awhile - and a call to Brent - but we finally figured out that they wanted to go to the pet store. As it was really over cast and windy, the park was out, so I talked to them about behaving and came to an agreement and entered Petco after lunch.

They were great there as well! We even chose a couple of new fish for our home tank and we rearranged plants and rocks and cleaned a little (maintenance) when we got home. They LOVED watching their chosen "pichies" swim out of the bag and enjoy their new home. So far, they are settling in well - checked on by the kids first thing this morning.

I suppose I can mention the HUGE news of the week now that it's been a few nights with no going back...we are bottle free!! I know, I know, they are beating on the door of turning 3. I'm not going into the great explanation (or defense) at this time - only saying that it was the right time for them, discussed (with Mary Louise and David) ahead of time, made to be a fun endeavor - that they were ready for - and overall, a non-traumatic, non-event - no tears!!! They haven't asked - even once - for their bottles and though their sleeping has been slightly interrupted (we used the bottles during sleeping times only - open cups, straws and sippies the rest of the time), they seem to be adjusting well. It's helped with night time leaks (bed wetting) and I'm seeing a very very slow turn in day time eating - but not as much as I would have expected (and we all know David in particular can't afford any kind of weight loss...). Anyhow, the transition is going really well and I would be happy to go into more detail with out decision making if anyone is (respectfully) interested. If not, I'll leave it under the "we've made decisions that were best for us - meaning mostly Mary Louise and David" heading and move on...

More news coming soon!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012


So I took this a couple of days ago...I have no idea who Sissy is - Mary Louise has never mentioned a Sissy before nor after

Anyhow - it's a little funny to see her get irritated with my hovering and tell me, "I trying to talk on the phone!"

yep. hands full.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Milestone check off!

Well, we're legal. I am officially 24 weeks and 1 day pregnant this morning and I'm actually surprised at how excited I really am about it. I feel good - really in, if little Suga didn't kick constantly and his / her growth wasn't impeding on my ability to look down and see my own toes, I'd wonder if any of this was real. I'm still able to walk and exercise a fair amount - though I do take things very easy with pace and intensity. I gardened some yesterday, cleaned a bunch...and today, am not sore and don't feel over tired.

Oh - about that has been ridiculously humid here over the past few days. In the deep south, just so you know, if I am even bothering to remark about the humidity, rest assured it's basically been raining without visible drops - that damp...and warm. What does that mean for us??? (other than some pretty hysterical hair do's) mildew. gross.

The green funk invaded our shed in a mere 72 hours - and settled right in on my beloved BOB jogger stroller and bike trailer. I can only imagine that this hasn't happened before because the stroller was used at least daily and stored under a carport rather than enclosed...but no matter. BOB needed a bath - something fierce. Boy, did he get a good scrub down...Brent and I tackled BOB, and also scrubbed down a single jogger we picked up at a consignment shop over the weekend (great condition, $60, and will allow us to get out as a family after I recover a bit and the baby is ready for some stroller touring). Anyhow, it's no BOB - but the new to us find will serve it's purpose I think. Then we cleaned the bike trailer and planted our lettuce, and new herbs in the previously prepped areas around the patio - so exciting!!

It seems quite a bit drier and cooler out today so hopefully, the mildew will stay away for a bit...just part of living in the south - and I can't say that dear BOB didn't need a serious overhaul and a bit of love anyhow. 350+ miles with Mary Louise and David in tow is more than enough reason for a proper deep cleaning and greasing of the wheels. I even got out the screw driver and took off the relatively removable parts to wash in the washer. (don't laugh - I can work a screw driver if I have to)...I hope I can figure out how to put the parts back on now!

On Saturday, we had a great family day walking, stopping to explore the farmers' market, playing at the newly built park by the lake and walking down the promenade. There was a huge sportsman's show at the Civic Center so we walked and looked at boats, the helicopter that was offering fun rides and watched the ducks on the water. The kiddos were enthralled.

Uncle Sean left Saturday afternoon to head back to New Orleans.

I must also send some mad props to Brent for helping so much around the house lately. He vacuumed the entire house while I took Mary Louise and David on a walk and did a few little jobs that have been lying in wait for some time around the house. He's done whatever he could think of to make things progress a little smoother during my days while he's on the road and I don't even have the words to describe how much I appreciate him stepping up- and stepping in...

So 24 weeks on Sunday along with some serious cleaning and outside time - Mary Louise and David even got to play with water a bit while watering the plants in and had some nakey time for the first time in a while - they were so very excited!

While I am way too aware of what a birth at 24 weeks physically and emotionally still feels comforting to know that we are more than half way through, I am at home, doing well, and Sugs is growing perfectly. While we really have no reason to believe that this will be a pregnancy ending prematurely, I can't help but mentally check off milestones like this as we bump along...2 pounds, 28 weeks, 32 weeks, gads! 36 weeks?!!!! It's all gravy from there!

I administered my progesterone shot this morning. I'll continue this every Monday until about 36 weeks (I think I stop at 36 weeks - not 37 - but I'll have to ask again). From there, I just wait for labor! So, 12 more shots. I haven't said much about them because, as it turns out, there isn't much to say. I did have a number of hip and round ligament issues early in pregnancy - and my right hip still hurts if I do too much. Early on, the added injection pain didn't do me any favors in the comfort arena. But now, with stretching and resting a bit, the joint and ligament pain subsides quite easily as opposed to lasting about 2 days before. The injections are certainly much easier to take than most vaccines and without any noticeable side effects (it's a dose of a hormone that naturally occurs during pregnancy), I'll happily self dose the shot even if it's efficacy is still a little questionable in some medical circles.

There is one HUGE exciting thing happening with Mary Louise and David right now - but it's only been one night - so I'm hesitant to put it in writing until we have a few more siestas under our belts...I'll talk about it really soon though...I'm confident it's something most people thought we had covered long ago...but we didn' just wasn't time...the time MAY be upon us now though...and I'm ridiculously excited about the mere possibility - never mind the success of this latest adventure in "all in their own time" preemie-dom...


Friday, January 20, 2012

Bubble Blowing fun!

It was quite windy outside today and after watching a crew finish up the road work in front of our house for a bit, we went outside again on the patio to do some bubble blowing. Mary Louise finally got it! Her first time successfully blowing bubbles! David is still working very hard to catch on - he did get it a few times but had a hard time getting his mouth to pucker the way he needed.

It was loads of fun while it lasted. Inevitably, David gets tired, dumps out his bubble solution, and pitches a least he's consistent. I did redirect for a bit to play in the vegetable garden dirt and slide down the slides a number of times though.

He's off this afternoon for his private session of speech while Mary Louise, and Uncle Sean hang out with me here at home.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Compliments and Normalcy

David did really well during his home speech therapy this afternoon. His therapist - typically VERY reserved with compliments said a few really remarkable things after the session:

David is becoming much much easier to understand AND his vocabulary (as it turns out) is amazing!- she predicts he will quickly surpass expected average vocabulary for his age once his annunciation gets a little better.

She feels his improvements in the short few months she's been making weekly visits are impressive and he's doing very well!

I'm so excited and proud of my little string bean guy!

I went to my regular OB later this after noon for an ultrasound and check up (aka - chat with the doc). Uncle Sean got to tag along as he's in town visiting for a few days. My cervix remains normal - over 4 cm. very closed and very stable. The baby is growing beautifully - just above average at 1 pound 7 ounces...that's right, kiddo number 4 is already bigger than his or her siblings' birth weights. (Mary Louise was 1 pound 6 ounces / 12 inches; David was 14 ounces and 10 3/4 inches and Kuylen was 10 ounces and 9 3/4 inches just as a refresher). The baby's heart rate was 157 - normal and average for him / her. The position was head down facing toward my back which I found odd and unsettling at first - but I was quickly assured that it's very normal and the fluid and everything else about the ultrasound was just fine - and really, the way this kiddo has been kicking and dancing, an odd position isn't all that surprising. The doctor felt the ultrasound was totally unremarkable (having nothing to say in medicine is typically a GREAT thing). My blood pressure was good - a little higher than it normally runs at home but within normal limits just the same. A little higher in office after being moved around a number of times for ultrasounds and change of rooms isn't really surprising anyhow.

So, things are coasting along right now. My cervix is no longer a concern for the OB and he has cleared me to not only stop seeing perinatology if I choose but also come back in 4 weeks to see him!! A whole month?!?! crazy! I discussed keeping my appointment with peri in 2 weeks and then stopping with them. He (my regular OB) feels that's very reasonable and is confident that he can handle my care from there.

I spoke with the doctor about delivery. I hadn't wanted to bring it up with all of the other monitoring going on but it seemed appropriate to discuss today. I have a classical uterine scar from my previous section and wanted to understand the risk vs. benefit of another c-section. It was an interesting conversation really...

Apparently, the risk of uterine rupture when attempting a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) is about 1 to 2% for BOTH classical and low transverse cesarean scarring. So, no increase in risk with my type of scar. However, 1 to 2% when considering there are 10's of thousands of births everyday is a considerable number. My doctor used to do and encourage VABC's until 6 years ago when he happened upon a rupture in progress while rounding on the L/D floor. The woman had a cesarean for her first birth, then 2 subsequent vaginal births - remarkable because it has long been an opinion that one successful VBAC would mean risk of rupture on future deliveries was lowered significantly - almost negligable. It just so happened that this woman already had an epidural in place, and the section suite was available and directly across the hall. Baby and Mom were saved simply because things happened that way - but had she not been in the very right place and the very right time, things could have easily turned out tragically different. (story of life right?)

So, my doctor no longer recommends VBAC's - but seemed to want to leave the final decision up to me (well, he wanted to, and legally, he sort of has to). At any rate, he seemed to genuinely understand and respect my concern, questions, and history...

I have never really discussed the babies' delivery in detail - and won't now - but to say that the very very short story is, the annesthesia did not work. If I said that wasn't a small concern of mine in going into another section, I would really be lying. But my biggest concern is, by far, the safety of the baby.

So, we have found a middle ground:

My doctor has said from the beginning of even discussing another pregnancy that he would "allow" things to progress as naturally as possible as long as we (the baby and me) are stable. He would love to see 39 weeks of pregnancy before scheduling a delivery. I am ok to go into labor naturally - but he would advise against allowing my labor to progress further than the beginning of regular contractions. This would mean that the baby is definitely "ready" and the subsequent surgery (section) would significantly reduce our risk of emergency.

So that's that. I'll continue to take things one day at a time and appreciate every thump and wiggle of our little one. But the tentative best case scenario plan is something that I really needed to wrap my mind around  - and I feel at peace with it all after our discussion today.

24 weeks on Sunday! Of "legal" age little one! Keep it up!


Oh and P.S. thought you might enjoy my facebook status from this morning: My wake-up courtesy of Mary Louise: ‎5:45am: Mary Louise sits up in bed, grins, and "performs" The Wheels on the Bus complete with hand motions and 2 verses- the wheels go "wound" and "up and down". Life's sense of humor: demonstrated daily in giving me the most extreme version of "morning babies"...what can I do but laugh?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

So grown up!

Though I'm scared writing this down might end a few of the WONDERFUL things Mary Louise and David have done over the past few days, they totally deserve some mad props for their behavior improvements:


They both tried and liked a low sodium, low fat, gluten free lasagna Brent and I made the other day. It had tons of veggies, fresh sauce Brent made from scratch and fresh mozzerella (lower sodium than preserved) on top. It was really delicious (before you read all of the stuff it DIDN'T have and think - YUCK!) but something so mixed and confusing tends to cause a bit of panic in the little ones. Once they tried it though, they were hooked and did so well with eating!

I made some whole wheat biscuits this morning. Now, Brent pokes fun at these as, when left out for a day, they literally turn into hockey pucks. But fresh out of the oven with a little fresh marmalade and butter? fabulous - and so satisfying. I add a bit of vanilla, cinnamon and turbinado and the recipe smells so fantastic it's really hard not to at least try. Mary Louise and David each ate half of a biscuit and a bowl (about half a cup) of fresh berries for breakfast. As for the speed in which the baked goods stale? I question what they heck is in that white bread that makes it not mold for months and stay soft - in the dryest of dry environments.

Yesterday afternoon, I was totally exhausted. Not at all uncommon - especially these days. It was almost time to finish up dinner and start their bath and bed routine but Mary Louise requested one viewing of "Monkey George" (they love Curious George). I conceded to allow them the 25 minute show so that I could set up their jammies, etc. upstairs. They were so good that I jumped in the shower, frantically washed, and threw my own pajamas on...Brent was gone on business for the night and I knew this might be my only 3 minute window to actually perform my own basic hygeine - welcome to motherhood. They were just where I left them!!! I could hardly believe it - thinking the whole way down the stairs that I'd surely just bought myself a night of cleaning up something- or many things - methodically smeared over any surface within reach. In fact, Mary Louise barely realized I'd gone. David was nervous - but just waiting at the bottom of the stairs. Amazing.

I changed their diapers downstairs and sent them up bare bummed for baths. Here's the mistake - too much credit. I popped out onto the driveway to throw the dirty diapers away and went right up behind them. They had listened intently to my request and gone straight to the bathroom. I knew as I reached the top of the stairs that they were entirely too quiet...then I heard the giggles. I found David COVERED - hair, face, belly, arms, legs, and toes - in Desitin. Mary Louise? yeah - just the palms of her hands were covered. Really. Guess who the culprit was. Eh - at least their skin was well protected for the night...

They did really well for bed time and fell asleep on my burgeoning belly as has become their usual routine. Sweet babies - we really did alot yesterday:

We walked to the vet clinic to pick up the dogs from their weekend of boarding. Then, I took the whole crew back to the house, watered the dogs and let Chester stay in the yard while I walked Lizzie (and Mary Louise and David) to the bank and back home again. about 2 miles done in all- my high average now- ha.

We then pulled some weeds and planted a few flowers after removing some spent annuals from the pots and patio beds. Mary Louise and David were so excited to get their hands dirty again! It was sunny and warm outside and I was happy to let them run around and play a bit before the next crazy weather flip. We went inside, got cleaned up and spent the afternoon doing housework and coloring with markers- a new favorite (they "help" clean with the sweeper, and "fold" laundry now, and I give them baby wipes to clean tables and surfaces they can reach).

Mary Louise finally finished her round of antibiotics this morning. She seems to be doing well - still just slightly congested - but her appetite is good and she's certainly playing and active as usual. We are continuing her breathing treatments as needed - typically one combo treatment in a 24 hour period now - and keeping watch for any changes. I've heard of a number of cases of toddler and infant RSV in our area so we'll continue to keep to ourselves as much as we feel is necessary for awhile longer- Lord knows we've had puh-lenty of exposure this cold and flu season!


Monday, January 16, 2012

Vision check 2012

We made the trek down to New Orleans for Mary Louise and David's yearly eye exam. I made sure to discuss the trip with the pedi when we were there for the recheck and he ok'd it - as long as we took the kids' 8000 medications with us - seriously, the "med bag" was bigger than our clothing bags... I was really concerned about a set back in Mary Louise's healing, but in discussing things with Brent and the pedi, decided it was best to keep our appointments (we make them a full year ahead of time!) as IF there was an eye issue starting, it's best not to leave these things to fester.

We stayed with Mere and Pops as they are just about an hour outside the city. The trip USED to take just under 4 hours - but with a baby constantly beating up my bladder, and Mary Louise and David being the amazing travelers they are, it now takes closer to 6 hours...long day. But, overall, Mary Louise and David did well - and I **only made 3 bathroom stops (ha.).

Pulmacort is doing really well with Xopenex for Mary Louise's breathing treatments. I started with twice per day - again - worried that the stress of travel, interruption in routine, and a HUGE weather change (from the 60's to the 20's) would upset her system again. But the evening dose of Pulmacort proved to be too much for her system. She complained of stomach pain half way through and gagged and vomited a bit the first evening- we didn't know if it was the things she'd eaten during the day or something else, so we kept the med schedule the same another day. The second night, we just stopped the treatment halfway through and she felt better after a bit. She has since been fine. We gave the combo treatment in the morning only and used Xopenex mid day and evening if needed. Yesterday, she only got one treatment. So, she's certainly improving. She has a tiny bit of congestion in her sinuses but her chest sounds great and other than some remnant coughing if she gets too excited, she's back to her feisty self - telling us all what to do.

David started yet again with a slight runny nose with the weather change. Not surprising at all. Again, he faired well with it and it doesn't seem to be turning into anything more - in fact, the drainage is lessening and he's never even slowed down in playing or getting into things!

The eye exams went very well. As always, it was essentially an all day affair - waiting 2 hours to see the doctor...doing circus tricks in the tiny exam room while they dilate Mary Louise and David's eyes...always fun. The doctor's student was very nice this time - wonderful bedside manner - and as always, his nurse was beyond pleasant. David was not at all happy about any of it - but the doctor is so efficient, he can see what he needs to, I kid you not, in the time of a quick blink so really, the exam was over in no time.

Mary Louise watched and I calmly explained what was happening, telling her they were just washing their eyes so things could be seen a little easier. She nodded sweetly and asked questions: "David crying?" "Dada hold David?" "Yook in David's eyes Momma?" "No scared."

She cooperated beautifully - no crying - no fuss- and even allowed the student to gently take a peek as well. (They didn't even bother asking if the student could see David's retinas - ha - angry little guy).

We left, grabbed a bite to eat with Uncle Sean and went on to Mimi's house for a short visit and to give Mary Louise a breathing treatment. Mary Louise and David were wild at Mimi's. But sweet Mimi couldn't have cared less. She played catch with them...inside, let them rearrange her throw rugs, allowed them to feed her snacks (read as smash crackers and whatever else they dug out of her pantry into her face). In short, she was an incredibly great sport about everything and giggled at their antics the entire time.

Exhausted, we went home mid afternoon just in time to fit a little playtime, reading time and dinner time in with Mere and Pops followed by a much needed sleeping time - I fell asleep with them! (I'm pretty sure I earned the title as sleepiest house guest ever during our trip...I may have earned that title long ago though...)

We left on Saturday for the trip home - stopping at a park just over half way to stretch our legs and let the kids run. I can't say any of the travel was wonderful or restful. But we made it. Mary Louise and David's eyes looked wonderful - no glasses needed - and there's a good chance that they'll compensate for any loss of peripheral vision long term so really, they couldn't be doing any better!

We go back next year for another check up.

In other news, David counted to three this morning!!!!! We've been working very hard on counting, colors, and phonics. Mary Louise and David both seem to understand the concepts - there are numbers and a pile of many things can be counted, they can pick out colors when asked and outright name many of the eight basics consistently, and they "get" that letters make up words and that is what I read in their books at night. But they haven't been ready to count past 2, or say the alphabet past C (though Mary Louise can blurt out "ABCFG!" on occasion. I realize that tons of kids their age DO know things like counting and alphabets - but I think Mary Louise and David are doing just fine nonetheless. They are amazing with their understanding of outdoors - leaves, rocks, fruits on trees, equipment at the park. Mary Louise can put together her own nebulizer treatment and understands when it is finished. She has asked to use the "big potty" - and done so successfully - a number of times over the past few days. They both taught themselves to pedal tricycles in just a few days. Anyhow, point is, they are maturing and have always done things in their own time. David counting to 3 this morning - and understanding the concept rather than just memorizing the number order - is great progress! Congratulations smart boy!!

I do have a number of photos to upload - but have been having computer issues that I need to get fixed first. So, will add later.

Must run - the kiddos are on the move!


P.S. 23 weeks yesterday!!!!!!! woot woot!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Our Game Plan

We went to an early morning pedi appointment today for a follow up visit for Mary Louise. She is doing well- and has gained an entire pound since SUNDAY!! (thank you steroids) but has bitten David twice on his back - really bad bites out of no where really. Mood swings and temper tantrums...uhem. thank you steroids...

I spoke with her regular doctor at length about her most recent illness. He had read her chart prior to coming into the room which was really really wonderful. I asked him how he felt about her going on a daily medication at this point - considering her ventilation history and this winter season which has been rough to say the least. He prescribed Pulmacort for us to use in conjunction with the Xopenex treatments we are already doing via nebulizer. It *can* be used as a daily med. We are currently using it twice per day and can reduce to once daily as Mary Louise's congestion clears. After which, we can stop the neb treatments and use them as needed as soon as a runny nose or any other indication of an issue begins.

The pediatrician felt as if the added med might do the trick in keeping symptoms under control - but did not feel that a daily medication was warranted at this time as Mary Louise has shown no signs of environmental, food or contact allergies (other than her brief sensativity to adhesives during her NICU days - she can since put an entire box of Band-aids on sans issue...and often does!) If this does not work, rather than simply prescribing a daily med, he would like to refer us to an allergist or pulmonologist depending on her symptoms.

All of this was said without me evening whispering my opinion on daily control medications- which, at this point is, we must find something that works. The panic I feel every time that child has a runny nose is just over the top. I can still see her struggling to breathe just hours after we'd left the doctor - so much worse over night that it warranted immediate hospitalization.

Anyhow, we agreed on our game plan and I have plenty of refills on nebulizer meds and can call anytime for more.

During her exam, her chest was clear, sinuses stuffy, ears still had a bit of fluid - but getting better. She has 1 day of steroids and 6 days of antibiotics left. We started the Pulmacort this afternoon - after I switched pharmacies...

CVS - your pharmeceutical services are no longer needed. Thank you. In short - demanding over 24 hours to fill an in stock medication that, by the way, needs nothing more than to be removed, in box, from the shelf and verified by the pharmacist, is absurd. Being unable to fill a respiratory medication within the day is just bad business during cold, flu and RSV season. I mean really. I've written to your constomer service department and will be filling our truckload of medications elsewhere. This may not bring your empire down, but, after the eye rolling and rudeness I witnessed from your staff this morning, I feel I'm taking the high road in this matter.

Kroger, congratulations. You get to deal with, and profit from the LeBlanc family in yet another way. You provide over half of our groceries, gas up our cars, and now fill our meds with a smile. I feel I should have your people over for dinner or something.

At least our sweet ML is getting better!


Monday, January 9, 2012


Brent got on the road early to attend his grandfather's service and spend a little time with family. Mary Louise woke at 5:30am and didn't hesitate to let me and David know immediately that she was not at all happy...

enter poop sheets.

Yep. she did. Apparently the antibiotics - or one of the other many many meds she's on didn't agree with her tummy.

Lights on. Sheets stripped. Mary Louise and David calmed and cleaned. Momma in tears...

Breathing treatment started. Thankfully, sweet girl agreed to hold her own mouth piece (with a few threats of using "the mask" dun dun dunnnnn if she didn't. I tidied up last nights party area (our beds, meds, kleenexes, dose syringes, med garbage and packaging, etc.) and sat down to read books while Mary Louise's treatment was in progress.

Sounding clearer and feeling a little better, we made our way downstairs for an early start on morning chores. Laundry started, Mills (the cat) let out - food and water freshened, dishes put away, new sink of hot water set, breakfast started.

We played and watched Curious George ("Monkey George!!") until the doctor's office opened and I attempted to phone them for a follow up appointment for Mary Louise. She (ML) didn't appreciate my efforts. My call waiting signal went off. It was Mommom's neighbor...

Enter super stressor number whatever of the morning...

Mary Louise screaming, I am holding her trying to calm her, I had been on hold with the appointment desk for about 5 minutes anyhow - ridiculous for someone who obviously has young children (really, why else would I call a pedi office) so I just hung up on them and answered the other line...

Lizzie and Chester had gone to Mommom's house earlier in the week as I was anticipating making the trip over the weekend - or at some point - with all of the arrangements for Granddaddy being in that direction. They are much happier there in a huge yard rather than a tiny vet kennel and Collin had agreed to give them a lift when he left here. Brent is to retrieve them today on his way home...

The neighbor was frantic. Apparently, the dogs had found a way to get out of the yard. She'd put them back a number of times and they of course didn't stay and she was concerned about them getting to the nearby highway. Good golly.

I tried to explain the situation and ask her to put the dogs in the house (over ML's screams) to no avail. She's a HUGE dog rescuer and kept fussing that Lizzie and Chester were STARVING and neglected and that no one was home because she'd knocked on the door and no one answered. (this news after I'd explained where everyone was).

Now, I absolutely appreciate her help and phone call. The situation has since been remedied. But, please know, Chester, at this moment could literally not eat for a week and he MIGHT recover his waistline after the past few months of Mary Louise and David giving him "teats! Momma!" (treats). That dog looks like a sausage on 2 inch sticks. Lizzie is a weimariner - inherently slim by genetic nature - but again, by no means emaciated- not even close. They may be muddy from mucking about at all hours and a bit alarmed by the do-gooder chasing them around, but they are by no means, no how, neglected.

Someone was checking on them - the night before and this morning - but they got out after she'd left I assume. Really, Mom and the boys just left yesterday. I'll leave the other details of the conversation out, and only add that, again, I truly appreciate the help and was and am responding only to the stress of the morning and of life in general here at this point...and I know the neighbor's main concern was the dogs.


We needed some serious play time. With Mary Louise's activity restrictions and the torrential down pour outside, we took to the play room downstairs. With a few tiffs - one including a horrible bite mark dealt to David's back by an animalistic Mary Louise - we smoothed things out and somehow the kids got over their whines and wants to play outside and at the park. We had loads of fun with the doll cradle - Mary Louise and David took turns lying in it - legs dangling - and rocking one another back and forth while pretending to sleep. I read books of choice to them. We counted fingers, toes, fish in the tank, pictures in books, and more. We had snacks on Mary Louise's tea set followed by tickle time and snuggle time.

Every 4 hours, we made our way up the stairs for a change of scene and a breathing treatment. Once, Mary Louise waited for about 4 and half hours - but started a congested cough at that time and meds were needed. Her poor tummy is awfully upset from the medications. But she is drinking, eating, and not complaining. I have her on probiotics and have Niastatin creme on hand just in case our friend yeast comes to visit...Her cough is much wetter today and it sounds as if her congestion is breaking up rather than seeping deeper into her chest. She is amped up and ready to play at all times and her fever has remained at bay all day. - all good things and small improvements. Her biggest complaint is actually the steroid injection site on her leg. She keeps calling it her "boo boo" and asking for kisses. She was also very dismayed when the bandage washed off in the bath today...

I thought I needed some "me" time today. I thought I'd never be able to function. I thought I needed a quiet bath and some time to think and focus.

What I got was relatively typical chaos - with a few surprises thrown in...a shower that was steaming then freezing and cut short because the babies kept flushing the toilet and turning on the sink. Then they opened the door to Brent's office and helped themselves to dry erase markers. There was no quiet, no rest - only rocking, humming, reading and coaxing 2 super sleepy and grumpy babies to shut their eyes - even if for a minute or 2. There was Suga kicking and rolling, Mary Louise rubbing my belly, David exclaiming, "Momma baby" over and over while pointing. There were snacks spilled and rubbed into floors, tantrums thrown, "owies" kissed and many many "lovies" dished out.

As I read them to sleep this evening after a wild bubble bath, Mary Louise slept on my belly - Suga kicking and nudging softly, then settling - David in the crux of my arm, I smiled. Sometimes, those kiddos are so smart and I feel I don't know a thing about anything.

They were just what I needed today.

As she was playing, Mary Louise insisted on carrying around a book she'd found. It's a little paper back that (I think) my mom gave me just after my dad passed away. Name: Grief Therapy. I know - a little odd in the subject matter for a 2 year old - but if it makes her happy to carry it around, then so be it. She calls it, "my tiny book". Today, she brought it to me and for the first time ever, wanted me to actually read it. She opened it to page 18:

"Mourn not just for the loss of what was but also for what will never be. And then gently, lovingly let go."

That is one wise 2 year old...


Sunday, January 8, 2012

So, she didn't get better...

As a mom, I must admit defeat by the germs when presented with a big brown paper bag upon picking up medications at the pharmacy. Actually, I've never even seen a big brown bag at the pharmacy...until this morning that is...

Mary Louise worsened over night (again). To recap - she started with a basic runny nose on Friday afternoon. Saturday, similar runny nose (or a bit less discharge) but Sat morning, she had a bit of yellow nasal discharge that quickly turned clear again once a good nose blowing was done. Saturday afternoon, she started coughing - and I started regular breathing treatments as she seemed to be a bit more congested - with still a bit less discharge. Saturday night, I was up much of the time with her - breathing treatments every 4 hours, OTC oral cough syrup, low grade fever for which she got alternating rounds of Motrin and Tylenol. The breathing treatments worked...for a time - she's prescribed every 4 hours and at first only needed help every 6 or so. But overnight, her needs slowly increased to every 4, then really, she needed help and was restless every 3 or so.

Thankfully, her pediatrician office has an on call physician in office on the weekends for emergencies. I phoned the nurse this morning and got an appointment for within the hour.

The verdict? despite best efforts and following of orders, it seems we (or Mary Louise) was once more being systematically defeated by the common cold virus. She was wheezing, with chest congestion, and was showing signs of fluid behind her ear drums. The doctor was very serious and agreed that it was a good time to bring her in as our home meds were working, but she was still on the verge of another bout of pneumonia and in need of a round of steroids to relieve her bronchial swelling. She most likely as asthma related to (or exacerbated by) respiratory illness.

Medications she is now on:
1. she had a loading dose of a steroid injectable in office. It has successfully transformed her into a cross between a singing Merry Maid and a total psycho beast. Just do as she says and no one will get hurt. With 5 more days of oral steroids to look forward to, about the only thing I'm looking forward to is the consquential binge eating and the possibility that she might break the 26 pound mark (she was 25.4 pounds today after not eating for a little over a day - we've been focused on fluids).

2. Antibiotics for the starting ear infection and chest congestion.

3. Xopenex via nebulizer. I have been cleared to give a treatment as often as every 2 hours as long as her heart rate doesn't get too high.

4. OTC Robitussin CF - expectorant and decongestant

5. alternate Motrin and Tylenol for pain at injection site (expected this evening and tomorrow) and for fever.

But, she gets to stay home (provided the host of medications work) and we'll follow up at the pedi in a few days. We will then discuss a daily inhaler to prevent further wheezing attacks.

David is doing much much better and his runny nose has pretty much stopped (I wiped it twice yesterday and once today). No coughing, no fever.

So, on the day both of our grandfathers are to be buried, I will be quietly paying my respects at home in between med dosing and breathing treatment administering. I know they would thoughts are and will certainly be with our families as we all bid our final goodbyes to such wonderful men.

Welcome to life - full of unexpected twists and turns, ups and downs, smiles and tears. I suppose we can't have one without the other...but at this point, it seems we've been getting a HUGE dose of "other" and I'd like a dash or 2 of "one" mixed in very very soon...

22 weeks today - there's a smidge to smile about...*sigh*


Friday, January 6, 2012

The terribly good and terribly...terrible.

Much has happened since my last post. I feel as if I could have written something every 5 minutes and would have had to edit the statement immediately after posting. So, here's a run down (in no particular order really though I'll try to focus on the really really great - or not so bad first off):

1. Brent got to feel our little one kick for the first time on Monday the 2nd of January!! He never felt Mary Louise, David or Kuylen kick so it was really a special moment for us. Since then, I'm pretty sure little Suga hasn't stopped moving (and I love love love my little nudgy reminders of *his or her presence)! (so much for our relaxed little one the second (or fourth) go round right??)

2. Brent and I celebrated 8 years of marriage on the third. Uncle Collin and his girlfriend Lhee have been visiting this week so we were able to manage a really wonderful meal together and a little time away after Mary Louise and David's bed time. Bonus - Mary Louise and David LOVE Lhee - and she seemed to have a good time playing with them and welcomed them as a distraction to her studying (she is also in medical school  a semester behind Collin).

3. I had an absolutely wonderful, stunning, and totally uneventful perinatology visit yesterday. Cervix: fine - "very long, very closed". Baby vital organs (heart, brain, kidneys, bladder, umbilical line) - all forming "normally" all parts noted and accounted for. My b/p was 90/60 believe it or not. AND I didn't gain a pound in the past 3 weeks - BUT our wee love sure did! 1 pound 1 ounce - 53rd percentile for weight. The amniotic fluid looked great and the baby was right on target for growth in general. Quote of the day, "judging by your exam today, it would be highly unlikely that you would deliver anytime soon - as in over the next few weeks or month," love, your friendly neighborhood peri.

Let the flip side begin:
1. On January 4th, Brent received news that his grandfather (Granddaddy)  - Mere's father - had passed away the night before. Though he was ill for some time with Alzheimer's disease, this news is (obviously) never easy...but Brent seems to be quietly coping and clinging to precious memories. Sweet gentle strength.

2. David started with a runny nose yesterday - very runny - like wipe every 2 minutes runny. He seems a bit better today - but I am keeping an eye on him.

3. Mary Louise woke during the night coughing with the same (or similar) profuse runny nose. She looked quite puny today - but hasn't spiked a temp or continued coughing during the day. I am begging for her to improve by tomorrow. Begging. Begging. Begging. We really haven't gone anywhere for goodness sake.

4. My dear sweet Papa (my dad's father) succumbed to pneumonia this afternoon. He was admitted to the hospital over New Year's weekend, quickly worsened and just couldn't recover.

My heart hurts.