Monday, April 30, 2012

Momma and Baby Check Up Time!

I went to my OB for a follow up visit yesterday...or a therapy visit - whatever you want to call it...

Everett tagged along with me and Brent took Mary Louise and David to the park for a bit.

My incision looks good - is healing well - and overall, things are going great with my recovery. I have to say, this recovery has been about a million times easier than last. There are a few physiological reasons for this:

1. my abdominal muscles were moved aside rather than cut. No cut = less pain.
2. When my uterus ruptured, it "tore" along the old scar...exactly. No extra damage done. The repair was apparently very straight forward - almost as if the section sort of happened on it's own if that makes sense.
3. My OB said that Everett's placenta only partially abrupted. It did cause some bleeding. In the end, I lost a comparable amount of blood to a routine section.
4. I am not dealing with the muscle fatigue that occurred post bed rest.

I am not cleared to do any heavy lifting (though the MD understands that I have 2 toddlers here) or any (heavy) exercise just yet, but I'm headed in the right direction.

I asked a few, what the heck happened? ha.

In short - I had a complete uterine rupture along my previous section scar caused by a precipitous (very quick) and pre-term labor, expulsion of Everett's head and partial abruption of his placenta. When the MD made his incision, he moved my abdominal muscle aside and found Everett's head - out and in my abdomen - in a pool of blood. He didn't think Everett was alive as he was so pale. But, as quickly as possible, handed him over to the NICU team who reported a very good pulse while quickly intubating our sweet baby. Thereafter, Everett apparently pulled his own tube, got pretty angry and began "acting like a newborn" according to my OB.

My dear doctor had tears in his eyes as he told me the basics of what happened.

The time it took to assemble the team of NICU, surgical and OB personnel - including 2 OB's - and deliver Everett was 9 minutes from the initial code.

9 minutes. I don't even have words.

Statistically, a baby involved in a catastrophic (complete) rupture has about 16 minutes before either total loss or profound neurological damage occurs.

The repair took about 2 hours. Everything was checked and rechecked. I have 3 layers of suture through my uterine muscle and can already lean back without any pulling or pain (which I've had for 3 years...).


The emotional portion of the story is, of course, on going. Bits and pieces will come out over time and I am more than willing to wait. It's certainly been and will continue to be a process for us.


Everett had a well check up this afternoon. He was naked...well, he was wearing a diaper. We brought David to speech therapy first. Everett had a considerable code brown leak...second outfit utilized. I felt so organized that I even had a back up with me. We brought David home and were off to the pedi. As I got my little guy out of the car there, I noticed he was soaked up his back. Thanks kiddo - second outfit down...we had a blanket left. I figured it didn't matter much as the first thing they make a parent do at the pediatrician is undress the baby...(but it was a little funny).

He is 6 pounds 14 ounces!! (so gaining well) and doing everything appropriately. The pedi did note some heart murmurs normal for fetal blood flow (a PDA and PFO). (you might remember ML being put on O2 for a month for a patent PFO when she got home) These are also considered normal findings - especially when his gestational age is considered. The murmurs will be watched by the pedi until the age of about 6 months. If they haven't closed by then, we will be referred to the pedi cardiologist. As of now, they are not interfering with feedings (symptoms would be extreme fatigue associated with feedings or very heavy breathing) or with general activity (obviously not much for a newborn - but he does well when awake) so they are assumed to be small.

He had his first HiB vaccine while there and did really well with it all. I had declined it in the hospital (it is usually given when a child is born - or on discharge when in the NICU) as there was so much going on that I didn't want his system stressed anymore than it had been. Last night, he fussed a bit while I removed the band aid but otherwise, was his normal relaxed self (other than eating almost constantly before finally falling asleep around 10:30pm then eating a ton between 1 and 2:30 again


Saturday morning:
David snuggled up to me on the couch a minute ago, "here your foggie Mommy." He gave me one of his beloved Froggies (NICU positioners that he carries constantly). "My yuv you Mommy," he said while patting my leg and nestling his head under my arm.

Oh the moments I live for these days.

We ALL made it to church!! Mary Louise and David were, well, a handful. David was in GREAT humor, but left his "church whisper" voice at home apparently. If anyone made eye contact with him, he would wave a huge "window washer" wave and yell, "HI!!" with a great grin. The baby in front of us was in his infant carrier. If a sound was made, David would immediately climb the pew, lean over said baby, wave in his face and say (very proudly), "HI BABY!!"

The mom in front of us offered to share crayons with David and Mary Louise. Of course they wanted to change colors often and the mother obliged, using it as a quiet sharing lesson with her daughter. Every time David switched colors, he would say, "THANKS!" to the mom while she handed another over.

No way could I fuss at him! Honestly, that boy spent 4 mornings of last week in speech therapy sessions only to have me ask (beg) him to whisper for an hour on Sunday?! And the "thank you" - umm I've been on both Mary Louise and David to say please and thank you since before they could talk at all!
I'm pretty sure we'll just have to utilize the nursery sometimes - or split and take turns for church (which we've done many times when I just couldn't risk another sniffle, cough or sneeze).

I'd say it was a good day - even though I left feeling (and looking) like I'd had a great work out.


Monday: (look, I try to write on here often, but am having issues finishing thoughts, sentences...)

Mary Louise and David woke Everett (I'm not kidding here) 4 times before noon. Even Everett was getting irritated and found his voice through the ruckus. Mary Louise was running around making noise AGAIN when I said, "Mary Louise! Please shhh! You guys have interrupted Everett's sleep 4 times this morning already!"

ML: "Mommy, my can't shh! I sor-dee! I dus can't!" (while shrugging her shoulders) - very matter of fact tone.

All I could do was laugh.

David decided hide and seek was the game of the day. He repeated, "Meese! Meese! Um-out um-out where you are!!" Over and over while giggling. The funny was, he wasn't even looking for his "Meese." He was sitting down just calling her. He simply liked the rhythm of what he was saying.

Mary Louise and David are still so very sweet with Everett. They live to "hold" him on the couch. Mary Louise walks by and gives him gentle kisses. David strokes his hair and talks (softly believe it or not) to him. They both hold Everett's hand and let me know if they think he needs anything at all. They help with diaper changes, baths and laundry.

They are absolutely spell binding to me.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It just gets better...

3 years ago today, we cradled our Kuylen Stafford and said our goodbyes. 3 years without our first born son and it still hits like a tons of bricks when I allow that moment to surface and feel him in my arms again. Sweet Kuylen, love always...

Everett was fussing earlier while I was upstairs. Mary Louise was calling, "Mommy!! Mommy!! Baby Ev-it crying!" Brent was getting David ready for bed. I came back downstairs to find Mary Louise snuggling with Everett and holding his hand - talking to him gently. He was quiet and fixed on her angel face. "Mommy, Ev-it crying and I told him you were coming to hold him yike dis." She demonstrated what I affectionately call the "NICU hold" and put one tiny hand on his head and one at his feet. She was so proud to be able to calm him.

David has done more than his share of helping as well. He asks to "dus hold Baby Ev-ret dus myself" at least 5 times a day. He smooths Everett's hair gently as he passes. He waves to Everett (on the rare occasion sweet baby is awake) saying, "Hi baby!!" and grinning.

It's absolutely amazing to watch the 3 of them together.

3 babies 3 and under - phenomenally busy, amazingly beautiful. Loving every minute...even the total chaos ones.

Yesterday was a bit of a rough day. We were all adjusting to Brent going back to work, finding our routine, adjusting as needed.

David started with his new speech therapist yesterday and his home teacher (sort of our go to person now who rounds out his therapy and brings concepts together). He reacted well to both of them - and I really loved their techniques. They both focus on play therapy and take a very easy and slow approach. I also love how willing they both are to communicate with me on reasons for their games and exercises. We only have about a month of sessions before breaking for the summer - but by first impressions, I think the month will be a good one.

Mary Louise and David's birthday was celebrated twice: once during Easter weekend and once on their actual birthday (the 19th). Both days were beautiful, small, family celebrations. Mary Louise and David grinned ear to ear the whole time and LOVED their gifts and attention!

I made a carrot cake for Easter weekend and we treated our sweet littles to frozen yogurt on their birthday. Both, a hit - Mary Louise danced up a storm in the fro-yo place! So much fun!

It's amazing to think about how far we've come - as a family, as individuals - together and apart.

A few much needed photos:
First visit to the hospital (I just think my little Meese looks gorgeous here)

Uncle Collin got to hold Everett for a minute before leaving for over 2 months for school!

Car seat tests: BORING!!

Proud Pops:

the 3 littles:

Proud Mere:

Our sweet baby boy:

Kisses for Baby Everett:

He loves holding "myself!"

Birthday bats can double as telescopes!

Frozen Yogurt!

All the cool kids do it:

Lickin' the bowl clean:

Putting his birthday toys to good use:

Telling secrets:

The sleep photos:

Uncle Kyle's visit:

Birthday cameras!

Helping to bring in the diapers:

basking in the afternoon sun:


Friday, April 20, 2012

Settling in- hitting the ground running:

Realizing that I sort of left the blog world hanging...we went home Wednesday.

Life as we knew it, is totally over and we are trying to find our new normal with little Everett tucked safely in with our family. Mere and Pops stayed until today to lend a hand - taking Mary Louise and David to the park and Children's Museum, helping with meals, bed time, and entertainment in general. Uncle Kyle is making a quick weekend trip back this way tomorrow. Brent will (I'm sure) go back to full time work next week and the kids and I will have to hammer out our routine over time. I'm nervous, but excited about it all. I know, especially right now, I won't be able to keep things (house) in order so it will just have to wait while I enjoy such a special time with our sweet tiny addition.

Everett is an absolute joy. Comparatively, he's the best sleeper. ever. (because comparatively, it really couldn't get much worse in the sleep department than the Meese and D!) He did "party" a bit last night - but honestly, this boy rarely cries. By rare, I mean he's fussed about 3 times since getting home- and 2 of those times were because I was trying to get the darn car seat straps to tighten correctly - what kid likes that? He grunts and roots when he's hungry (which today is about every 1.5 hours), sometimes stares at ML and D while they sing to him or give him kisses and otherwise sleeps, and poops. He still looks a little yellow, but it's not getting worse and his dirty diapers have gone to the "average" breast milk poops rather than the horrible bili poops so I'm hoping his little system is really up and running now. We have his first check up next Friday.

He nurses like an absolute champ AND takes a bottle of pumped milk with no problem. Upon leaving, the neonatologist wanted me to continue to follow up with pumped milk to help flush Everett's system for another 4 days. I've done that (well, I'm doing it)- but I'm over-producing. Alot. Like up to 15 ounces per day extra alot. So pumping is a necessity though I'm trying to cut down on the time of the session and number of sessions per day in an effort to curtail a little of the engorgement. A little ironic that I stressed for 2.5 years over producing ENOUGH for Mary Louise and David only to have an (almost) term pregnancy followed by the best flow. ever.


Mary Louise had a check up with the cardiologist last Wednesday (yep, in between getting one home, Brent brought one to have her heart checked). I'd totally forgotten about the appointment (imagine that!)but they called Brent to remind him and he took care of everything (swoon! my hero!). Mary Louise still has a coronary artery fistula (a small vessel that branches off of the coronary artery stealing blood from the heart muscle and leaking it into her lungs.) The fistula was noted during her initial checkups along with her PFO (patent foramen ovale) which closed not long after she got home from the NICU (when she was on home O2 for 1 month). So, the fistula was small - not warranting surgical repair but certainly needing a close watch. We were told that normal activity was fine, just to watch for her getting winded too easily. So far, she's been great. The re-check went well. Brent said they actually had a hard time even finding the fistula. The size is actually smaller than last year! (Last year, it was estimated that the fistula leached up to 5% of her heart's blood supply, so I don't have a number this year, but it's less than 5%). She will still be checked annually and as she gets older, this is something we need to keep in mind should she show interest in a very strenuous sport - track, CC, etc. - something with alot of running or cardio activity. She would need a cardio check up first just to make sure she can handle the added stress. Bottom line, she's doing well!


I made some wellness appointments with our (new) pedi for today as ML and D were turning 3 and I wanted to get the appts out of the way before the baby got here - HAHAHA - best laid plans.

Issues, well, they came up (more issues than just me hobbling in with Everett in tow rather than in belly):
1. the pedi doesn't see more than 1 child at a wellness visit AND she only leaves 2 slots for wellness check ups per day - 1 before lunch, office gets closed, one after lunch. oy. I took both thinking we'd just bite the bullet and get this done. In theory, this policy does work - I mean what kind of a nut would have 3 kids needing wellness checks in the same week?! It also allows for extra one on one time with the child. It just sort of stinks for me.

2. Our insurance is, well, a little unorthodox? We have our primary policies through Brent's work. When ML and D left the hospital, and the great denial of 2009 occurred and culminated with David being dropped from our private policy altogether and was then deemed "uninsurable" by the major (and minor) companies, I did some very serious homework. What I found was a very tiny clause in the Medicaid system - the buy in plan. We pay for a supplemental policy for ML and D- approved because of their extremely early births, extremely low birth weights, extremely high medical bills (they are slacking now) and of course, their extremely irritating (I like determined better though) mother who was out for a bit of blood where insurance was concerned. The policy picks up where our ins. leaves off. (ML had just over 100K left on her old primary policy when we left the hospital. We needed to find something for her as well) BUT, it is part of the Medicaid system. We, therefore sometimes get caught under the rules of the Kid Med program. This. is. a. pain...and it so happened today.

So, under the Kid Med program, the kids are supposed to see a Kid Med nurse for wellness. Not a doctor. I wanted them to see the doctor. That, and I brought them out (read as I went to a hell of alot of trouble getting us to the office) for a doctor's appointment - I even had a list of questions to ask!

Note to office staff: do not mess with a woman who has obviously JUST had a baby. Especially if said baby was born because the woman's girly organs just spontaneously decided to explode.

Yeah. I may have, uh, reacted strongly - especially since I discussed this appointment (and our insurance) with the staff TWICE this week.

Resolution: After clarifying each of our children's insurance policies with the office manager, the appointments were switched to "sick" appointments so that I could discuss my questions with the doctor. We have to go back to for the well appointments, BUT, they have been scheduled at the same time...only in June - because that's the first available appt. I could get with ML and D together. It'll work out. I'm learning the new office...and they'll likely dread their days when they see our name on the schedule from here on out...OK, I don't think I'm that effective - they might mumble under their breaths a little for like our next appointment or something...

The visits went well. I discussed Mary Louise's breathing treatments as she has had a number of mid-night coughing fits lately - waking her up, and either Brent or myself up. The breathing treatments via nebulizer are just ridiculously long and with her needing them more often (I assume because of the INSANE amount of pollen around our house right now), she is getting less and less cooperative. We are to try the same medications - but Flovent rather than Pulmacort and add Singular when we feel she is having flares. The treatments will be given via a spacer now. We tried it this evening and it will take a little time, but I think she'll get the hang of the technique before long. We also have the neb treatments on hand should she get "very tight" in her chest or actually get sick. The spacer medications are more for prevention. There is still a chance that she can outgrow much of this. In newest studies, severely premature children have shown new lung tissue growth through age 10 years. So, my goal remains to prevent as much as possible and to keep all of the kids - but her in particular - as healthy as possible to ensure that she has the very best chances she can.

Brent ended up bringing David back to the office. I was just done when I got home so Mary Louise and Everett and I enjoyed a bit of snuggle time on the couch.

The doctor fine tuned our routine as far as David's digestion is concerned. Right now, she feels much of his issue may be habit and fear surrounding bowel movements that have, in the past, been so very uncomfortable for him. She feels that with potty training (when he's ready of course) will help. Until then, we are to adjust his diet according to results and administer Miralax every other day, reducing the dose as needed for proper consistency (enough poop info right?). If things continue and he complains of abdominal pain, we will have xrays done to ensure that his abdominal surgeries have not caused a stricture secondary to scar tissue build up.

Still loving our pedi - don't worry - just an off day.


I met with David's new speech therapist with the state programs this week as well! Phew! are you exhausted yet??

After getting a very bad taste in my mouth over her pushiness by phone - she would call me no less than 4 times within a half hour. Then when I returned her call, she wouldn't answer. So, I would leave a message stating good times to call me. She would disregard (or not listen) and call 4 more times during a stated feeding time and leave nasty messages about disruption of services, non-compliance, blah blah blah.

As it turns out, she's a little old...and more than a little formal...and very very confident in her abilities. No, she doesn't leave a good impression. at. all. by phone. But, in person, she's a bit better.

Most importantly, David seemed incredibly comfortable with her approach and presence. Thankfully, this seemed most important to her as well.

We warmed up to each other pretty easily and I appreciated her spending extra time with me and explaining in great detail what she would be doing with David during sessions - and why she would choose the particular activites.

She will use a play therapy approach. Less structure. Lead primarily by David with encouragement from her. Steering, not correcting. She offered to write down specific areas to work on for me so that Brent and I can reinforce and practice with David. She also offered to communicate with his private therapist so that they can coordinate his care - especially during holiday and summer breaks.

She originally wrote that David was to be seen in a school setting. I requested services be home based only. I'm not sure she's all excited about me changing her plan - but she's not giving me a hard time about it either.

So, I'll take that. We'll have services with her through May then break for the summer. She'll be back in August.

I think that's the general run down here. Good golly, I can't believe I even remembered this much...Time to feed the E!!!

Pics to come - had to get the writing done lest (again) I forget it all...


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Possible Homecoming!!!!

Everett had a good night - his bili levels this morning were a whopping 11!!!!!! So so hoping that means our ticket home is in the works. The nurses are getting final test (PKU, etc) together. The doctor is making rounds at all the hospitals today so it will likely be late this afternoon when we receive a yay or nay on the discharge front. Just the short which we've absolutely lived a lifetime...and our sweet Everett is just beautiful and amazing and nothing short of a miracle...I've lost count of our miracles...


I just met with the school board representatives. The paperwork for David is now signed. I had read, over and over the care plan and my few questions were answered. Somehow, I feel that if he were school age, things would be a bit more complicated. But for a 3 year old, goals are pretty straight forward (I'm also hoping I don't have a false sense of confidence about all of this - I know I have rights to call another meeting in the future should I feel goals are not being achieved. I also requested names and phone numbers for supervisors in an effort to learn at least some of the chain of command should (ha - should) there be an issue.

David was listed to receive services in a school setting. I requested they be in home only. I was warned that the speech therapist may or may not take issue with such a request...and judging by her awesome voice mails and failure to return my call, I'm bracing myself, but still hoping for the best. We've all gotten off to a bit of a confusing start and it will take time to settle in...or learn rather, a new system. I also voiced concerns that specific goals (nesting cups, learning colors, numbers) set the bar a bit too low for David. With me, he can do many, if not all of these things on command...but obviously did not cooperate so well under pressure. I was assured that goals would be progressive and left open ended to accommodate development. Also, paperwork takes month (obviously) to complete in such a slow system so they assured me that it is considered that David may have mastered some goals by the completion of his file.

My hope is that this will supplement his private therapy and simply throw another "professional" opinion in the hat. David acts more like the David I know and adore with his private therapists. With the school board people...not even close. But in time, I am hoping we will all feel slightly less threatened. If not, I can say we tried. We utilized all resources and some just didn't fit. Simple as that.

Just wanting to provide our children with the resources they need to be the best they can be...make their own decisions and gain a great sense of autonomy and self confidence. They are absolutely amazing and have every ounce of leave that locked and to not put forth effort when I feel we've hit a wall, would be such a disservice not just to them, but to others. Mary Louise, David and Everett: you can do great things sweet babies. Absolutely you can...and for me and your Daddy, you certainly already have.


Everett lost one ounce of weight last night. I'm not sure what this means as far as his pending discharge. Again, my gut feeling is that he'll do just fine once we can settle in at home and feed on HIS schedule rather than the NICU's more regimented one. Last night's nurse wanted me to nurse him for no more than 20 minutes then follow up with a bottle and be done at 30 minutes. While I understand that this "by the book" request makes sense in clinical terms, it's a little difficult, not to mention stressful, to watch the clock so closely while simultaneously relaxing enough to allow proper let down. None the less, Everett nursed like a champ and pooped at least a little at almost every feeding sweet boy...(still wondering where that ounce of weight went? out with the cursed bilirubin I'd say) His day nurse allows me to feed for longer periods - especially since he's just in an open bassinet now as opposed to the lights. He nurses for about 35 minutes or so before just falling asleep. Then he sleeps pretty much until his next feeding. Diaper change, swaddle, unswaddle, nurse, diaper change, sleep, repeat. Angel face, starfish hands, rooting can you not smile just to think about it?

So wanting to type out some earth shattering good news in a few short hours...many many thanks for the thoughts and prayers.


Oh P.S. I found out this morning that I had a placental abruption as well. Makes total sense - I mean how on earth could Everett get "out" and into my abdominal cavity without yanking his placenta along with him? Anyhow, as I said, I haven't been quite ready to ask too many big questions just yet - only focusing on getting our little one home. I know I'll get a more complete story at my OB follow up...but the amount of trouble we were in...just mind blowing to even consider.

My leg and ankle (ha - can-kle) swelling looks like it's just about resolved this morning. Feeling a little better everyday...and I got to keep my lady parts as well! ha. I'm a lucky lucky gal.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Prayer Warriors, Super Heroes and Happy Thinkers UNITE!!!!

Umm this just in:
Baby Everett could COULD (just might) come HOME tomorrow!!!!!!!!!! Criteria for discharge are as follows:

Everett's bili-lights were turned off after his 5pm feeding. He will have his bilirubin levels tested again at 5am. If the resulting level is the same, lower or only very slightly higher than today's level of 13.6, Everett will be discharged tomorrow (evening most likely).

I'm so excited...but trying not to be... at the possibility that we may all be under the same roof as early as tomorrow evening!! I just can't even believe it!!

As for David's IEP...
Long story short: those women are coming to the hospital tomorrow to get their stinkin' signatures. Beasts. I kid you not, this group is full of more hullaballoo and hot air than a group of teenage mean girls. Uterine rupture? "awe - but you missed our meeting and we HAVE to have one before the third birthday".  Baby in the NICU? "Yeah too bad - we need to meet before Thursday for David to receive services without starting over with evaluations" (never mind that those numb nuts gambled and "just couldn't fit me in" until 1 week before said third birthday KNOWING that I was at the very end of a pregnancy). Then my favorite part: "come to the hospital?!" " errr umm....would that be putting you out?"

At any rate, we'll get things squared away tomorrow morning.

Oh, did I mention Mary Louise has an appointment with the cardiologist tomorrow? Yeah - that one missed my calendar as well. Brent is going to cover (thank goodness). Oh and in between? David's home therapist would like to start to catch up on his home sessions she's cancelled or missed...or I've had a baby during...or whatever...I think she's supposed to come 4 or 5 more times.

Awesomely over booked...but so so SO excited about my E coming home (maybe, probably, perhaps?!) Thinking about BIG bili-poops and low bili levels until then...


P.S. I'm still doing ok as far as healing. My doctor called today all concerned that some of my test results came back showing I am pretty anemic (really shocker, I know). I am to make sure to continue iron pills and prenatal vitamins. I've had some pretty wild swelling in my lower legs too. It seems to be resolving a bit now, but is considered normal post pregnancy and is expected to take almost 2 weeks to resolve completely. Otherwise, I'm getting around pretty well and have minimal pain without pain meds (I still take occasional Motrin for that though).

More detailed game plan

Everett is free of all IV's!!! No more fluids as my milk is in full force and he's more than hydrated during our feedings. No lipids, no electrolytes and no D10. I'm really excited about the no IV access part as he was moving so much that he needed up to 2 different IV's per day. Sweet baby has compression bandages all over his arms and feet from IV's gone bad- not to mention those heel sticks...yuck.

His nurses keep telling me how well he rests between feedings for which I am so thankful. He seems relaxed and is more than happy and ready to nurse when he's wrapped up and "let out of his box" every 3 hours. So far, he'll take either nursing or bottle feeding - whatever gets the goods to the tummy. But with me, he certainly prefers the "tap" method and sort of fiddles with the bottle a bit before settling into his supplement part. During his 2pm feeding, he just nursed really actively for 35 minutes before passing totally out and we skipped the bottle altogether. His nurse who has had him for the past few days said it was fine as my milk is obviously "in" and he must be getting plenty during our sessions.

I spoke with the nurse practitioner this afternoon concerning Everett's plan of care from here on out. She said that typically, the doctor waits until the bilirubin drops below 12 to discontinue the light. From there, it is at least 24 hours of watching to see if the bilirubin is going to come back up or go down without the lighting. In short, Everett will not be discharged until his bilirubin is definitely stable. So we'll be here for at least a couple more days.

David's IEP meeting was on the 13th. Needless to say, I missed it and am having to try to catch up to the school board team before David's birthday (Thursday ahhh!) to ensure that we don't have to start over with everything. This, my friends, has proven to be a rather irritating task. But I'm trying. I've left 2 messages with various people at the school board office and one with some woman who is a ST who just left 2 rude messages on my voice mail during a feeding AFTER talking to Brent at home who told her what we had going on and asked her to wait 20 to 30 minutes before calling (me).

Will post more as I hear more. Hanging in there...


(a little) closer to fine

Everett's 8am feeding went well. Though he got tired really easily, he nursed for about 20 minutes then took 25 mls from a bottle. I took a little nap through the 5am feeding and his nurse reported he took in 52 mls of expressed breast milk!! Way to go little Sugs!!

His bilirubin did drop again. It's 13.6 this morning down from 14.5 yesterday. So, we're still headed in the right direction. His weight gain has not been great - he lost 2 grams yesterday and gained 4 today. But my gut feeling is, that if it's not that big of a deal to the doctor now and can be discharged, once we're home, he'll be ok and eat ad lib like a total champ (this schedule thing is brutal!).

I'm not sure if they'll turn his bili light off today as his bilirubin is not yet at 12. Hopefully, I can speak with the NP at the 11am feeding and get a better idea of what his lab results will dictate as far as his care plan is concerned.

Again, the NICU staff has been way more than accommodating and supportive in my nursing. The nurse yesterday assured me that even if they had to close the NICU for an emergency or admit, they would still let me sit in the little room off to the side and feed Everett. It really makes this a whole lot easier to have such support behind us.

Mary Louise and David have made a few tiny trips to the NICU to see Everett. The staff loves to get a look at their hard work 3 years later - and I can't say Mary Louise and David don't just eat up the attention. They are just enamored with their little guy:

ML: Momma? Can baby Everett watch Monkey George and Caillou with me?
Me: Of course Meesey!
ML: (whispering) be very quiet and see baby Everett? My go and see him?
David: Mine get a new froggie?

hahaha - ok, so David, it seems, can take Everett or leave him right now - but loves the attention from all of the "hot NICU nurses" and flirts accordingly.

Everett still gets pretty tired mid feeding and it does take some effort to wake him enough to get a few more gulps of the good stuff in...but he seems to be doing well - looks good - and his highlighter yellow color is fading slowly. He has longer periods with his eyes open and is making facial expressions and practicing looking around. He also likes to hold a finger while he eats and "searches" for my hand with his as he so sweet.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Everett Update:

Everett's bilirubin levels have finally dropped a bit - down to 14.5 this morning (from 16.9 I think yesterday). I am still waiting to speak with the doctor, but have seen the NP who agreed to hazard a guess for the general plan from here on out: if Everett's levels continue to decline as of tomorrow's lab results, the bili light will be removed and fluids stopped (I think - regarding the fluids). The following day (Tuesday), if his levels continue once more to drop, he will likely get to go home!!! His bilirubin must be below a 12 to get discharged.

He looks really good today. His little rash seems less angry as compared to yesterday and he has been a little more alert for longer periods during his feedings. Nursing is still going well. I missed the 5pm and 5am sessions yesterday as I dashed home to help with baths for Mary Louise and David and to have dinner with the family for the 5pm and was so desperate for sleep that I sat out for the 5am. So, I have been nursing 6 to 7 times per day and pumping 6 times per day. Right now, I am actually producing much more than Everett needs in an effort to provide enough to supplement with bottles. We nurse for 20min to 1 half hour then bottle 30 to 40mls. He is certainly full by the end of it all and his nurses report that he sleeps pretty well between sessions.

I had a bit of a hard day yesterday as things are slowly beginning to sink was absolutely surreal to leave the hospital, once again, with empty arms... insane to go through the motions of our evening routine without a newborn or a big pregnant belly to contend with... I've just barely scratched the surface with my questions: was Everett breathing when he was delivered? Did he cry? What was his color? What were his APGAR scores?

Apparently, Everett was breathing - but had already aspirated so was working extremely hard when he was delivered. He was crying and his heart rate was 100 (all good things). Again, my uterus suffered a full rupture along my previous section scar (again, from what I understand) and Everett was "out" in my abdominal cavity when he was "found" after the initial (external) incision. His APGAR scores were 2 at 1 minute, 5 at 5 minutes and 8 at 10 minutes. Certainly not perfect, but again, considering, they are really pretty remarkable.

I feel lucky. Lucky that we got to the hospital when we did and that I spoke with my doctor on the way there so he knew we were coming. Lucky that a whole team of very experienced nurses came to my rescue upon figuring out very very quickly what had happened. Lucky that my doctor likely drove like the blowing wind across the hospital parking lot AND was able to secure a second doctor to assist in such an emergent surgery to save Everett and me. I feel lucky that so very many people prayed for a blissful outcome for our family concerning this wonderful pregnancy. I did have a really great pregnancy and that blissful outcome might just happen - just not in quite the same way (I'm sure) for which everyone was praying. I was aware and present every moment (ha with the exception of the actual delivery...for which I am thankful), shared the experience with Mary Louise and David, I have snapshots in my mind of them putting their little hands on my belly feeling the baby kick and roll. I actually enjoyed my 101 ultrasounds and even felt lucky that I had things like "too much doctor attention" to whine about.

BUT (there's always a but), I can't help but want to cry out filth and foul at falling into this ridiculously minute category once more. I can't help but stomp my feet in the most spoiled brat fashion and yell, "but I don't WANT to be the face everyone thinks of as they consider pioneering toward a VBAC! I don't want to be the screaming voice in the head of the personnel who were in on my delivery...everyone begging Everett and I to just. be. ok."

The scrub tech walked my bed to the NICU to meet Everett not long after I'd woken up from anesthesia. I was beginning to panic as I heard the bells, alarms, and smelled the sterile smell of the NICU. Mostly quiet, maybe a little cry...then Everett. I heard him from around the corner and knew immediately that was my son. I saw him through 2 other patients and knew it was my baby lying there in the warmer. I began to cry. Then I heard the scrub tech, "what were you trying to do?! VBAC at home?!" (I didn't answer right away, trying to process what she was asking)..."My daughter wants to VBAC. She keeps asking the doctor, I keep telling her no."

I saw the fear in her eyes as she looked at me. I smiled a little. Sad, because I knew I'd done just what my doctor and I had discussed so many times. Every time, in fact, I'd asked about delivering vaginally...

He would say, "I'm just not comfortable recommending a VBAC. The chance that something would go wrong is so small, but the outcome should a rupture happen...the outcome would likely be catastrophic."(That's a word I use for things like Hurricane Katrina and Rita - not childbirth...).

I couldn't tell this woman that I was some crazy patient gone rogue with doctors' orders. I came in when my contractions were obviously regular. I knew I needed attention and my contractions were just over 10 minutes apart. That's the thing about that 1%. Someone has to be it. If there were signs on foreheads, I suppose that'd make life much more predictable...but there aren't. We just do the best we can with the information at hand...and we pray.

I don't want to be the face of the 1%...but I am. That's just how it worked out. I'm still here though, and so is my darling Suga...and Mary Louise and David just walked day just got infinitely better...


I had a good visit with Mary Louise and David. Mere and Pops have come in to assist in the wrangling as Brent needs to work a bit this week and Mommom, Collin, Kyle and Sean all have work, school and various commitments. It was time for a great switch out!

The doctor spoke with me about Everett's care plan from here on out:
If it bilirubin is 12 or below in the morning, the bili lights will be discontinued and his electrolytes will be changed to D10 (a dextrose solution given IV). The fluids will then be weaned aggressively and Everett will be in a radiant warmer once more, then an open crib, then HOME!!!!!!!! (well, ok, he said, "then it's pretty straight forward. He'll be fine.") So, that puts us hoping for Tuesday and aiming for Wednesday I think. I'll have more in the morning as I'll hear his lab results by around 8am.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

total picture post

Photos taken of Everett et al over the past 3 days or so...

Everett gets a Froggie:

Look Ma! no Oxygen!!:

Finding his thumb:

First time Momma got to hold me!!:

Eyes open:

First time the kids all meet:

"He's so cute!" "what the heck?!":

Proud Papa:

Milk drunk - happy man (no tape):

First bath time:

Lookin' at Dada (Dada gives the BEST first baths!!):

Slick little jammie man:

In ma tannin' boof:

Post meal:

I asked Everett's nurse if they typically send NICU babies home with a bili blanket or home lighting. She said, "no not typically." I will follow up with the doctor as I'm not sure if there might be something else he wants to just keep an eye out for concerning our little one.

Everett is feeding pretty well today all things considered. Mary Louise and David were able to pop in for a quick visit mid morning as well. It was so good to have our mega busy family together even if it was just for a few minutes.

I have been officially discharged from the hospital so am able to leave (ha - but not cleared to drive). I will go home for a little while this afternoon to have dinner and help with bath time and bed time before returning for feeding time at the hospital. I have been able to relax just a little knowing that I can (sort of) be in 2 places at once and knowing that I can continue to stay on top of building a nursing relationship with Everett who is doing so well.

Everett has developed a little rash - baby acne. His medical team is not concerned at this time. I'm just glad it won't serve as another little set back and will plan (ha) to worry over it when he can finally come home...just can't wait.


Weekend Pass

Everett's bilirubin level increased slightly as of this morning's lab results. Yesterday, it was 15. Today's value was 16.5. Though disappointing, I am trying to take comfort in the fact that the level increase has slowed (as opposed to doubling which is what it had been doing for a full 2 days).

I haven't asked about a home bili light. However, I get the feeling that Everett is being watched for other possible issues - any signs of respiratory distress, and electrolyte imbalance. So far so good on everything but the bilirubin levels.

I had a bit of an exhausting night when my alarm didn't go off for the 2am feeding which was to include Everett's bath. The nurse had already bathed him and was in the process of feeding him when I called. I was in pain so I called for medication only to wait in bed another 15 minutes before going to find my nurse at the station chatting about what she'd had for dinner. Needless to say, I had lost my sense of humor about the whole thing...

I am to be discharged sometime today.

My nurse informed me that they were having more discharges than admits and that she didn't see any reason for me to have to go home this weekend. So, I get to "hotel in" this weekend to be close to Everett and continue to nurse on his feeding schedule (every 3 hours). Nursing is going well considering our circumstances. I limit our time as much as I can so as to maximize his time under the bili lights. We are still doing a half hour of nursing provided he is actively sucking the entire time. If he stops, I switch sides, try the other for a few minutes and offer supplement via bottle if neither side works. He is tired - secondary to his bili levels not to mention NICU life in general I'm sure, so obviously, this is not the most ideal situation for nursing. However, I am able to take him into a tiny room within the NICU for privacy, low lighting and quiet. There is a rocker and a breast feeding support pillow there for me. He and I get a little moment together to pretend we are "home" and let all else melt away. I love it. He seems to relax in my arms (ha - sometimes a little too much) as soon as we get in there.

Mary Louise and David are still hanging in there. Brent is bringing them up here (to the hospital) shortly so I'll get to visit with my little bugs a bit before the 11am feeding. Brent spent last night at home with them and Mommom stayed with me. Brent reported last night as uneventful - pretty normal and routine. I just can't wait to hug Mary Louise and David a bit and give them a few snuggles.

It's so hard to have our family separated like this...

Here's hoping that bilirubin drop like crazy over the weekend!!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Evening update

So things happen fast in NICU time and I want to write it all...lest I forget the fast things that are happening...alas, my mind is long gone and a vacant stare is all that lingers sometimes...

I talked to the neonatologist today:

1. Everett will be kept on a very low dose of TPN and fluids to combat dehydration while under the bili-lights.
2. he will be kept in the isolette - also to combat dehydration
3. His electrolyte levels will be checked in the morning to ensure proper balance
4. I am allowed to take him out of the isolette every 3 hours for a total of 30 minutes for feedings. This will maximize his time under the bili-lights.
5. He has had 2 tachypnic episodes today. (tachypnea = breathing very rapidly). His temperature was elevated at the time of the episodes and has since been ok. They are still watching closely to make sure he does not get too warm in the incubator (he's a big boy to be in "the box" as the neo calls it)

Bottom line: From what I understand, Everett's bilirubin levels must drop below 12 for him to go home. That's it. That's what we're waiting for. His other medical goals have been met.

Long term: Judging by Everett's general behavior, willingness to feed and especially nurse, and his 5 minute Apgar score (I'm not sure what the value was), the neonatologist does not feel that Everett will suffer long term effects (i.e. cerebal palsy) from his traumatic birth. There is no way to be certain of this - we can only watch him grow and develop and go from there. As far as long term respiratory issues, the doctor was not concerned.

Today, Everett is absolutely perfect and I think it'd be impossible for Brent or I to be any more enamored with Everett or any of our children.

I have had pretty significant swelling in especially my lower limbs today. I am keeping them elevated as much as I can in between NICU runs...but it's still very much there despite efforts to resolve. I am hoping for a nice block of rest after feeding and bath at 11pm to help me feel and look a bit better...but this is definitely not out of the ordinary for post partum patients in general and I have been told that the fluid excess in particular can take up to 2 weeks to resolve completely.

That's it for now...


Mid-day update

I went to feed Everett and met with the lactation consultant for a bit of reassurance on his nursing. She showed me some great positioning tricks and confirmed that we were headed in the right direction with his nursing.

Things have changed a little (as expected) with his care:
1. he has been placed in an isolette rather than and open warmer as a bili light was prescribed to help him process his excess (his level was 4 - 2 days ago, 9 yesterday and 14 this morning. I am hoping HOPING it has peaked and will now start to go down. He is not critical, but the rise does need to be stopped before it becomes an issue)

2. The staff - including nurses, doctors, nurse practitioners - everyone - has been unbelievably supportive with my breast feeding efforts. The lines of communication are absolutely amazing and I am so comfortable with their care and honestly. I'm sure part of this is because we are familiar with one another already - but they are certainly making every effort to accommodate Everett in NURSING not just getting breast milk. It just means everything to me to have the opportunity to actually nurse as much as he can. I'm more than willing to put the time in - but they are more than willing to allow for such time in between assessments, bathing, caring, medications, taking him in and out of bed, hooking and unhooking monitors, checking temps. This is an obvious priority for all involved. Thank you.

Everett did really well with this nursing session. I limited his time a little - 15 minutes on either side - to allow for more time under his lights in hopes of him processing the excess bilirubin a little faster. He actually seemed very satisfied at the end and didn't want to nipple from the bottle much at all. I try to let him completely empty one side, then follow up with the other and alternate the starting side each time. He needs to get to the "hind milk" which has a slightly different (yellow) color, more fats, proteins and higher caloric value to help him to gain weight and to help him (again) process his higher bilirubin.

He has been placed in an isolette to try to minimize water loss from the lights and warmer. The warmer is on very very low - if at all. He seems to maintain his temperature very well - but with the bili-lights, he needs to be in minimal clothing (diaper only with eye protection of course) so his nurse is checking his temp every half hour for now to make sure he's warm enough. His TPN is at a very low rate and the NP was waiting on the neonatologist's assessment before weaning further. His IV fluids have been continued for now, again, to minimize risk for dehydration because of the bili lights and warmer.

He looks very very good and did have all tape and stickers off with the exception of his basic monitor and temp stickers. He now has little velcro circles on either temple for his "sun glasses" to stick to though. They tried to avoid putting them on, but the gauze wasn't staying put and eye protection trumps adhesive reaction in this case so I'm just left hoping for minimal skin trauma as it is thought that if he can spend as much time as possible in his little "tanning booth" he should be able to "come out" again in a couple of days. (sigh).

I will go back in a couple of hours to feed again. I have been taking pictures, but time seems to really be getting away from me these days and I haven't gotten them up just yet. Exhaustion is setting in a bit and I admittedly got a little weepy seeing Everett in that isolette...I'm sure I'll process all of this a little more each day or week or month...sometimes it'll be that brick on my shoulder, sometimes it'll just whisper in my ear. Don't think for one second that I'm not aware of just how lucky we are to have survived this... with our darling son nursing away, whining about nothing but a little old bili light and a few days in the NICU. I know. We are blessed beyond any sort of question or explanation...(umm- hear that?? I know. I do get it. I don't need any more reminders. Really. Please and thank you.)

Having some lunch a little rest before getting a good snuggle in at 2!


Baby Everett: Day 4

I have been nursing Everett every 3 hours since yesterday. I sat out for the 5am feeding as it took us an hour to finish the 2am session and I was just totally exhausted. As it turns out, he'd had enough after nursing for so long and didn't want anything else at 5am. So, when I returned at 8am, he was ready to go once more and nursed almost an hour before taking an extra 10mls of breast milk from a bottle and konking out for a nice nap.

My milk has come in and I have been able to keep up with Everett's demands by coming back to the hospital room and pumping after he eats. Thank goodness I am producing enough to cover his eating plus extra for the nurses to keep on hand for supplementing as needed. I have had great support from friends, family and breastfeeding mothers offering to help us with donor milk as necessary. I know this is a taboo subject for some, but I really want to thank these mothers for their selfless generosity and empathy for our situation. To breast feed in the NICU is, at best, stressful. There are no bedside sessions, wires, tubes and tape must be moved, monitors go off constantly, stickers come unstuck, and babies are often unable to cooperate at all due to medical circumstances. The mother's milk doesn't always come in on time - or at all - despite best efforts. I feel very lucky that I can even create this opportunity for Everett and myself. To have other mothers offer their wonderful nourishment in an effort to provide the best possible nutrition for our baby is absolutely humbling. Thank you to those who have offered. I will keep your offers in mind, but for now, our little one is doing very very well drinking "straight from the tap" so I'll keep things as simple as possible in hopes that his great eating continues.

Having said that, his billirubin levels are elevated as of this morning. Yesterday, they were at a 9 and today, a 15. None of this is at all surprising. Breast fed babies often have elevated billirubin for a few days - and even up to a week post birth. Add to that the trauma Everett faced and his aspiration followed by 48 hours of nothing at all to eat and it's absolutely understandable that jaundice has come to visit. (understandable does not mean it's not concerning or a little frustrating - this set back could easily cost us a few more days...). At the time I left this morning, Everett was still just swaddled in a blanket. However, the NP hadn't finished her rounds just yet so he may be under a billi light when I return. I am hoping that I will still be allowed to nurse though as his levels are not critical but we'll see. As I've said before, whatever it takes (within reason of course) to get us all under the same roof again...With him eating so well, he may just be able to process the extra billirubin and get through this quickly...or, if his levels continue to rise, it could easily interfere with his eagerness to feed and set us back there as well...

I think I am doing well under the circumstances. Obviously, this caught me off guard. I had about a 1% chance of rupture should I have push to full 1%. That's a bit mind blowing to even think about. Many l/d nurses never see a uterine rupture at all - many physicians see only 1 or 2 in their life time. I had an awful lot of pain during the first 2 days but am feeling a little better all the time now. Comparatively speaking, the pain of the section is peanuts compared to the pain of the rupture so I think that, along with the fact that I have a HUGE incentive to get up and go with Everett in the NICU and Mary Louise and David needing their Momma back asap has helped my recovery along nicely.

I haven't had any major swelling, my blood pressure is surprisingly stable and my belly is going down a little more each day. I am walking to and from the NICU as well as ambulating around the hospital and room as necessary so I am certainly able to do much for myself already.

Brent has been here most of the days and each night to help me as well. Tonight, Mommon is coming to stay with me and Brent is going to spend some time with ML and D who, I think need a little parental attention after a few days of separation.

Of course I have lots of questions about all that has happened and am starting a list to go over for my follow up appointment with my regular OB. Right now, I am just focused on making sure our sweet Sugs is getting what he needs to continue his wonderful progress.

Must run - feeding time!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Baby Everett: Day 3

We had SUCH a BIG day today!!

1. Everett has been weaned off of all oxygen supplementation!! I got to see his sweet face for the first time this morning! Though he still has an oral-gastric tube in which is taped to his chin, he no longer has tapes and tubes across his little cheeks. It makes a world of difference! His oxygen saturation has been wonderfully steady as well. The pediatric intensivist made rounds today as it was the regular neonatologist's day off. He warned not to be alarmed if Everett gets tired over the next day or 2 and needs to be put back on oxygen for a time as his birth was extremely traumatic for his respiratory system. He added that his gut feeling was that Everett would be ok with the wean, but wanted to let me know that it's not uncommon for a baby that took such a hard respiratory hit to take a little step back after making such progress.

2. I was offered a first attempt to breast feed! I think it went well. Everett latched on very briefly a few times and seemed to have a good grip on the whole "suck swallow breathe" rhythm. However, after 2 days of fussing about not eating and taking comfort in a pacifier, we still have an awful lot of work to do. I can continue to try every 3 hours to nurse him and will follow up with a bottle of breast milk. He did take some milk from the bottle today after nursing for a bit. He took 25 mls. Not too shabby for a first feed. I am hoping this will allow him to rest comfortably and make our subsequent attempts to feed a little more successful. Whatever happens, I know I can get the milk to him somehow - regardless of the mode of transport. (though, don't think for a second that I won't fight tooth and nail for us to figure out actual breast feeding. We can do this!!)

Brent had gone to the house this morning to do some laundry, check on the kiddos and have a little break from hospital life. Mommom came to the hospital to visit with me and to sit with Everett for a bit. It was really special to have her there while attempting to nurse. I am so grateful for that time, her advice, and un-ending encouragement.

3. After the feeding, I found that Brent had returned with Mary Louise and David in tow. The nurses in the NICU were more than happy to allow us to just pop in with our wee ones so that they could meet their little brother. All were in awe of how big Mary Louise and David have gotten. They were both very good - David got a little restless but didn't bother anything. Mary Louise was totally enamored with Everett: "das ma yittle brother Everett! Da baby in Mommy's bel-yee wite dere!" Everett had a case of hiccups while they were there which concerned Mary Louise to no end. She was also concerned about all of the monitors and stickers on his little body. "baby have a yittle bo-bo and Mommy have a yittle bo-bo." "Mommy in da hospital cause she has a yittle bo-bo."

David's first words about Everett? ha - "Das a foggie! Mine have it?" Everett received a most treasured NICU treat today: his first Frederick T. Frog positioning bean bag. David has 4 and has one with him at all times still today. It was funny to see how pristine, white and crisp they once looked. David's are so dingy and stained from "helping" with gardening, riding in wagons, assisting with Play-doh time, and whatever else David decides to get into.

Brent took Mary Louise around a bit in the NICU to show her where she was given her very first bath, her first bottle, her first bed. She listened very closely and actually told me all about it when we returned to the hospital room.

It was amazing to see our little ones together.

I spoke with the NICU doctor today about goals for discharge for Everett:
1. He must be able to maintain his temperature on his own (as of now, he is still under the radiant warmer)
2. He must maintain his blood sugar. Though his birth weight was great, he's not eaten for 2 days and is down to about 6 pounds now. He must be able to eat full meals and maintain his own blood sugar. Since he is starting to feed, they will now begin to wean his TPN (total parenteral nutrition) until he is no longer on it at all.
3. He must be regularly gaining weight - approximately an ounce daily. Currently, he is to nurse as long as he wants. Then he is offered a bottle of breast milk. There are no set amounts he has to take in - they are just seeing what he can do. He is eating every 3 hours. I tried to nurse at 2 today - he did pretty well - latched a few times (as I said above)- but was very tired. I gave him a bottle and he nippled very well taking in 25 mls. I went back at 5 for another round and he nursed like a total rock star! He fed for about 20 minutes from each breast then followed with just over 20mls of bottle. At that rate, he'll out weigh Mary Louise and David by the end of the month!

In addition, when I returned at 5, the radiant warmer was off! He is swaddled in a soft cotton blanket and has one of Mere's totally famous and awesome NICU knit hats on but is otherwise maintaining his own temperature! His nurse for the day told me she has this weekend off and wanted to tell us goodbye and best wishes as she doesn't expect to see us here on Monday when she returns!!

Brent and I are going back at 8am to feed again and give Everett his first bath! What a day!!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Our Little Everett: Day 2

Everett had a great day today. His chest xray was repeated this afternoon and showed cleared lungs - no more infiltrates on his left side. His breathing has settled to a relatively rapid, but clear rate. His oxygen is still via cannula at 21% but the volume has been reduced to just 1.5 liters. The plan is to wean as quickly as possible in hopes of Everett being clear of all respiratory support by tomorrow afternoon.

Great news: I get to try nursing tomorrow (as long as Everett remains stable of course)!!!!!!! The doctor felt it was important to allow a full 48 hours to pass prior to an introduction of nutrition to his gut. Reason: the gut is not protected during a stressful event. If a person is experiencing trauma, blood is shunted to the super organs - brain, heart, kidneys - the gut is sort of last to get support making continuous perfusion questionable. To allow time for recovery and insure proper blood flow to the area, 48 hours is the optimal time to keep the gut sterile. So, that would be tomorrow. I will nurse and then he will be offered a bottle of breast milk (provided I can produce that much). I'm not super excited about the bottle supplementation but at this point, whatever it takes to get us all home and in one place is what I'll do. If he can get to eating full meals, he can be weaned off of all IV supplementation bringing him one more GIANT step toward the exit. The neonatologist is extremely supportive of my breast feeding beliefs and efforts so it's really nice to be on the same page with Everett's care team.

Mary Louise and David seem to be handling things fairly well. I haven't seen them since yesterday morning and miss them terribly. I talk to them on the phone though so that's something...they have had a great time playing with their grandparents and with Uncle Collin. Mere and Pops left today to take care of some things at home and plan to return at the end of the weekend. Mommon and Uncle Collin will stay until then. Brent goes back and forth between the hospital and home. It's a bit of a mess, but the best we can do for now.

One day day soon...we will be together again...many many thanks for the prayers and support throughout.


Photos to come - uploading now...

35 weeks 2 days... laid plans...thinking you have some sort of control...the luxury of decisions...being in that super low minority - REALLY ?! 1%?!

I got up very early with Mary Louise yesterday as she needed a breathing treatment. We sat on the sofa together, watching a few cartoons, and doing the "teet-mint". I started to feel pretty nauseated. I am used to feeling run down the day after a progesterone injection so at first I didn't think much of it. Then it got worse...I felt as if I might have eaten something that just didn't agree with my system on top of the injection reactions I normally get...still - didn't think all that much about it but instead decided to take things easy and lie next to Mary Louise in the sofa.

I got up to use the restroom around 5:30am and felt a sharp pain. It lasted a few seconds and stopped. I made my way to the bathroom and didn't have any other pains or feelings until closer to 6 - but I did continue to feel nauseous. I took some Tums and felt quite a bit better for a time.

When the nausea returned, I sent Mary Louise to get Brent who was still sleeping up stairs. I was having more regular pains - cramping - and thought it might be contractions but they were not consistent and still very far apart (upwards of 20 minutes in down time) and no bleeding or discharge.

About 6:30 or so: Brent came downstairs and I went up to lie down for a bit. He brought me a piece of toast and I ate that and drank water - felt a little better and rested awhile without discomfort - but the contractions were still happening occasionally.

8am: I called the hospital but didn't get an answer. I called my OB's answering service but the doctor on call didn't know my history at all and the office was to open in less than an hour so I opted to wait to speak with my doctor directly. I knew I would likely need monitoring to be safe, and didn't know if they could just monitor me in office rather than the hospital.

Contractions started coming every 10 to 13 minutes and worsened with activity. I called Brent who got the babies dressed while I threw some clothing together for myself just in case...

I called my neighbor who'd said many times to call if we needed anything. Thankfully, she was home and was more than happy to let Mary Louise and David play at her house while Brent took me to the doctor.

I spoke to my doctor and told him I felt I should go directly to the hospital - that my contractions were predictably coming every 10 to 13 minutes and had been for just over an hour. He agreed and said he'd call to let the nurses know I would be there soon: I think we need to just hook you up to some monitors to make sure everything is ok. Sounds like today might just be the day Heather. It's a little early, but you're at a very good point in your pregnancy.

I hung up with him.

We got to the parking lot of the hospital and I told Brent to hurry - something felt different - in a really really awful sort of way. I could barely get out of the car and into the wheel chair. Some old lady tried to stop us when we went through the emergency room. I yelled at Brent to just go and that we didn't have time for the lady to "look up my information" or "call to make sure they were expecting me...

We got to the second floor.

The nurse who took care of me when my labor started with Mary Louise, David and Kuylen happened to be standing in the hall. She asked if I was visiting. Ha.

"I think I'm having a baby." I said, "but I have to have a section."

It was all I could even get out of my mouth.

She brought me to an empty room and was going to help me get into a gown. I tried to stand out of the wheel chair. The pain was absolutely excruciating. I started to wimper which quickly turned into yelling when she tried to check me and put monitors around my lower belly. I started to bleed.

"I think you're rupturing," she said with an absolutely terrified look on her face.

Codes were called and within seconds, 8 nurses surrounded me in a room. Within 10 minutes, I was in the section suite and somehow, my doctor was there and ready to go.

I could barely breathe - very very wet and shallow breaths were all I heard. I felt the baby kick twice - It was absolutely awful - but I knew he was still there. They couldn't find any heart sounds.

A mask was pressed tightly on my face. Brent had gone to get our car out of the emergency line and came back to find me already in the OR. He popped in to tell me he was there with me and was handed scrubs to don and told to wash up so he could be with me for surgery.

I was put under general anesthesia as soon as possible.

Brent never made it back into the surgical suite.

Everett Baily LeBlanc was born on the morning of April 10th, 2012. 6 pounds 8 ounces and 19 inches long.

As soon as the doctor cut, little Everett popped out. My uterus had ruptured completely along my old incision line. Everett was free and in my abdominal cavity. He and I literally did not have one more second to spare.

The doctor was able to stop the bleeding and repair my uterus. Everett showed left lung infiltrates yesterday on his chest xray (due to aspiration or prematurity or both.) He was ventilated very briefly, given Surfactant and extubated. He spent most of the day yesterday on a high flow nasal cannula working very hard to breathe. By last night though, he was weaned down to 21% O2 via cannula (the equivalent of room air).

I haven't been able to hold him just yet but can touch his feet pretty easily. He is in an open bassinet under a low radiant warmer. He has 2 umbilical lines from which they draw labs and administer antibiotics and fluids. He is currently on TPN nutrition but the staff told me they were hoping to be able to gavage feed (through an oral-gastric tube) today. I spoke with his night nurse this morning and was told he had a good night, still on 21% O2 and doing just fine. He is having another chest xray today. If the infiltrates were from aspiration, it is expected that most would be gone today.

I have been pumping diligently...disappointed that I don't have my little nursling snuggled by my side, but knowing I can give him the next best thing. My milk hasn't come in just yet despite best efforts but I am getting tiny drops of colostrum so that's better than nothing.

Surgical recovery is going pretty well too. I have some bruising and am certainly very achy. But as long as my pain medications arrive on time, I do ok. I had been up and visiting in the NICU via wheelchair, but this morning was able to walk down the hall after a shower.

I'm very tired but did get some sleep last night in between antibiotic doses, vital signs, and pumping of course. Ha - everyone knows the hospital is no place to sleep right?

We have been told to expect Everett to be here until his due date (May 13th). I am very very much hoping to bring him home sooner though. We'll see how he does today. That should offer more of a long term prognosis.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Never Normal

All Heather wished for this time around was a normal pregnancy with a c-section at the end of 38.5 weeks to 39 weeks when the doctor said it was time.  Well she did not get her wish, but we did get a beautiful baby boy named Everett Baily LeBlanc @ 9:48am this morning.  He weighs 6lb 8oz and is 19 inches long.  Heather is resting in the Hospital, and feeling much better considering.  Everett is in the NICU getting a little respiratory support and great care from the staff at Women's & Children s Lake Charles.  I can not say enough about how awesome these people jumped into action to save my wife and child today.

The Story:  This morning at 3:15am Mary Louise wanted to sleep with her mom, so i sent her in to Heather's room (I was sleeping on the single bed in the kids room). At 3:30am Mary Louise had a coughing fit and needed a respiratory treatment.  Heather brought he down stairs then, to keep from awaking the beast David.  At 5:30 am, I heard Mary Louise fusing down stairs, then I heard her at the top of the stairs calling for Dada, Dada, Dada.  I jumped up, and she told me momma needs you.  I rushed down stairs and Heather was not feeling real well.  She told me she was nauseous and had some pain in her lower abdominal area.  I said lets go to the Hospital, but She told me to slow down a minute.  She went upstairs to lay down, and i brought her some toast and water, and went back to taking care of the kids, dogs, and general house stuff.  I checked on her from time to time, and she had her phone to call me if she needed me.  About 8:30 she called me and said we needed to get things ready to go to the hospital.  I dressed Mary Louise and David, brushed there hair, and got them in the car while heather packed her bag and the baby bag just in case.  We went to CVS to get disposable diapers and dropped the kids off at a family friends house.  We then made our way to the hospital, and as I drove Heather had more severe pain, so I put my flashes on, and got to the Hospital as safe and fast as possible.  We rolled in about 9:30 and I ran into Emergency and got a wheel chair.  I got heather loaded in the chair and went straight up to Labor and Delivery.  One of  Heather's L&D nurses from the triplet pregnancy was working and though we were visiting when Heather crunched up in pain and asked for help.  They immediately got her into a room and got monitors on her.  I ran down stairs to move Heather's vehicle out of the emergency entrance and park it.  When I returned upstairs to the room, there were 8 or so nurses, doctors etc in the room moving heather to an OR bed and the doctor told me to they had to do an Emergency C-Section.  They gave me some scrubs and said they would be right back to get me.  A nurse came back a few minutes later and told me that I had a baby boy, and that he was heading to the NICU, and that Heather was stable.  I was in awe.  I wanted to cry, get angry that I missed the delivery, since it happened so quick.  a few minutes went by and another nurse came to get me and explain what was going on.  Heather's Uterus Ruptured along the old section scare and the baby was sitting in her abdominal cavity when the opened her up.  The doctor told me that he didn't have another minute to wait and that he was sorry that I missed it.  He did what he had to do to save momma and baby.  Everett was delivered @ 9:48am and we got to the Hospital @ 9:30 and in a room about 9:35.  That gives you an idea of how fast tings happened.  Everett id doing well besides having respiratory support.  the doctors feel that he may have aspirated some fluid and blood wile in the abdominal cavity.  They will do another x-ray in the morning to see what the condition of his lungs are.  This will determine if it is premature lungs or fluid.
We are in the room, and Heather was asking to pump while still in the recovery state.  I ran home and got her pump and some new bottles.  When I got back the Lactation Consultant was there and we got things started. Heather has gotten out of bed and made the trip to the NICU to see her Sweet baby Boy.  Everett and Heather are doing much better now, and we pray that that continues to be the case.
Today has been a whirlwind, but at the end of the day, I have a beautiful wife, a sweet Mary Louise, a handsome David, and a Strong willed Everett.  Thank you God for all your blessings, I just wish you would quite testing us so much.  I want to thank all our family for their support and quick response, Mere & Pop, MaMom, Collin, and Father Jack was right there to say a pray when it was all over.
I will update tomorrow with pictures.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

34 weeks 3 days!

I made my weekly trip to the ultrasound tech on Wednesday. The news was excellent!

The baby is still in the "head down" position - expected to stay there until delivery. However, little one did flip sides so that he / she is kicking and punching my left side now, rump just under my ribs. Sugs is stretched from one end to the other of my abdomen and curled around into the classic fetal position. Again, no peeks at the face, but we did see a nice gorgeous halo of fuzzies around the back of the head. Oh that's right: baby LeBlanc #4 has hair!! I have no idea what color it is of course, but it's certainly there on ultrasound. It took Mary Louise and David a full 2 years before we even thought about breaking out a comb or brush for their tiny bits of peach fuzz!

Measurements: right on target at an estimated 5 pounds 11 ounces. This week, the baby was measured (femur length, head circumference, abdominal girth) so the weight is more accurate (than last week's). Heart rate was 134 or 135 - within normal range. On the fetal growth charts, our little one isn't so little - still measuring between the 53rd and 57th percentile!

I met with my regular OB as well and will do so every week from now until delivery. He was extremely pleased with my health status as well as the ultrasound measurements and outcomes. My blood pressure is still very steady and my UA continues to be "normal" (I do one every time I go in for a MD visit).

I will finish my Asprin therapy this Sunday!! No more baby Asprin after 35 weeks. This allows my platelets to return to a normal range prior to the delivery. It typically takes about 3 weeks for platelets to recover.

I actually had the triplet section while taking Asprin. It was full on awful...the bruising...I should have taken pictures. The nurses kept offering to "scrub the Betadine" off of my incision area. I kept telling them I was perfectly capable of performing my own personal hygiene and that these particular shades of yellow, and purple wouldn't come off with any type of Hibiclens scrub anyhow. After 3 days of watching the bruises spread, I remember asking Brent to mark them to ensure the bleeding would stop. It did - but man, the rainbow of colors - impressive.

Anyhow, stopping Asprin on Sunday. Oh. my. gosh. last progesterone shot with be Monday!!!! (and the angels sing here. or happy dancing can commence. whatever you prefer)

Now, stopping the progesterone is not without SOME worry. Trends show an increased risk of labor after stopping progesterone. Of course, one must keep in mind that the women taking the stuff are, to begin with, believed to be predisposed to preterm labor. It's another small area of debate with me as to whether or not I am, in fact, predisposed to such. So, I'll be covered until 36 weeks with progesterone doses (a dose lasts anywhere from 7 to 9 days. I will do my last dose at 35 weeks 1 day).

The doctor mentioned delivery at 38.5 weeks (which, if you're doing the math, would put it about May 2nd) as long as both the baby and I remained stable. I didn't argue...yet. But, it will need to be discussed a little further should I find us in the happy position of being totally stable, no signs of labor, and 38.5 weeks along. Some conversations are best had when necessary right? Again, I just want to make the most informed decisions possible and explore all possible options to ensure the best (safest) route for our sweet little one.

(ha - after badgering the mega leftist ICAN group and hearing, "well, you COULD push for a vaginal delivery, but your risk would be considered significant" I tearfully said fair- the- well to a totally natural birth. I mean really, if the mega hippies and extremists would think twice about it, maybe I am unfortunately in the type of situation for which a section is actually warranted? It HAS to be better than last time right?)

At any rate, my doctor is well aware of my wants, needs and ideals and has been very understanding and more than attentive with me throughout. In short, he knows no moves are made without a very thorough discussion and without my total and ridiculously type A understanding - ha.

Also, if you're counting, we could be meeting our baby in as little as 3 weeks. gah!!!!! lee!!!!! I'm so nervous, and excited, and nervous, and happy, and nervous, and...well, a little nervous...

Mary Louise and David and I made it to our very first La Leche League meeting today! It was packed - much busier than I thought it would be...I should have considered that the kiddos were hangin' round the house for Easter break...

Mary Louise and David had SUCH a good time! Mary Louise, upon arriving and scoping out the kids, the toys, the chaos, looked up at me and said, "my go play now Mommy?"

She joined right in - finding a toy phone and preceded to make a few "business" calls while mingling with new friend possibilities.

David stayed by my side for about 5 minutes longer before he spotted an empty box. He went for it - quickly turning said box into a car "driving" it through kids and saying, "hi" to all in his path.

They ate. Lots. David ate 2 pieces of the banana bread I'd brought while Mary Louise ate about half a piece and some fruit. They also ate full lunches once home.

It was a great meeting - a nutritionist was the speaker today. In case you're wondering about the goings on at these secret society's a bunch of granolas with boobies out singing camp fire songs while holding hands and feeding babies...

ha - no...

It's a great mix of mothers - all kinds - new, experienced, pregnant, and "done with all that" - just supporting one another and sharing experiences. It's actually really nice and comforting. The meetings here are once per month. All kids are welcome to tag along (very nice for me!). They have some sort of guest speaker to discuss a topic (today: nutrition), then there is time to socialize a bit and lactation consultants as well as LLL leaders are there to answer any specific questions breastfeeding mothers might have. Simple, relatively informal, VERY flexible. My kind of group.

We stayed for just over an hour prior to heading out to "yook at da fountains!". The exterior of the hospital (the meeting was in the education room at a local women's hospital) is lined with really beautiful fountains. David and Mary Louise threw pennies in while making "bufday wishes" and were just fascinated by the flowing water.

David also had speech this afternoon at the private care facility (super busy day). He did really well and had a HUGE grin on his face as he showed me his 3 tiny Easter eggs he'd "found"  and the cookies he decorated with his speech therapist.

The kids then went to a neighbor's house for a couple of hours to play while Brent helped me do a bit of house work.

We've all had a long - but happy happy and productive day. I must acknowledge that since David's week-o-fits, he's been increasingly happier by the day. I love these moments. My sweet boy. I missed him.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mail Call!!

It's no secret that Mary Louise and David LOVE opening mail! Mere and Pops make sure to use any and every excuse to send cards their way. Excited doesn't even begin to describe their moods when they find out they have their very own mail on a particular day (as opposed to Mom and Dad's boring old junk mail!).

When Mary Louise first opened her card, she told me it said, "birthday cake". She and David are well aware that they have a birthday coming up and have been asking to make cup cakes for over a month now. Cup cakes it is kids - cup cakes it is...

Showing off their VIP mail (for the record, they were very sweet Easter cards...that are quite broken in now as once the kids open their mail, they don't set it down for hours and "read" it over and over and over):

Thanks Pops and Mere for the happies!


Monday, April 2, 2012


Over the past week or so, David's tantrums have gone from pretty intrusive concerning our day, to down right unbearable. He'll pitch from 20 minutes to upwards of an hour - full blown, yelling, screaming, inconsolable. I hesitate to even write this on a public forum for I know the "old school" hard nosed "experts" would quickly recommend discipline.

It's not a discipline problem.

Now, I don't really think I need to point out that I'm not that big on hard core discipline or corporal punishment - whatever works for others - but here, it's just not what we do. I feel consistency is key and early boundaries are necessary. Otherwise, Mary Louise and David are pretty free to play and express - within the set boundaries: no hitting, eating at their little table - NOT on the sofas, pick up after themselves, please and thank you requests and responses...we add more as we see fit and as the kids mature and push the set boundaries.

Tantrums, however, are not (to me anyhow) a time for imposing a strict discipline. The only person that seems to serve is the frustrated parent. From what I've seen (and obviously, this is case specific), trying to discipline during a tantrum is totally futile. Ridiculous even - for the parent typically resorts to yelling and balling their fists, grunting and stomping just like the kid (who, P.S., is still pitching a fit)...umm - not that I've done this like 100 times or anything.

I have to find my happy spot...and I have to write this down to remind myself of what actually works to get my sweet David back. We've been trying to hang on by a thread to our sanity - and it's just not working...

So here are a few problems I've identified:
David's digestion: he still battles with pretty severe constipation. Identified irritants are: anything white potato (French Fries, tater tots, baked potatoes, chips...he doesn't love any of these things or get them regularly - but in a pinch, and as a treat, we've offered, he's eaten, and we've paid for a minimum of 2 days - it typically ends in a heart wrenching suppository only increasing the distance between diapering and potty training as he associates discomfort and suppositories with using the "big potty" now), processed meats (he is allowed 2 slices of bacon after which only whole grains and fruit are offered - and he get said bacon at most, once per week, he's not a big fan of ham or deli meats, but if offered, they are in minimal amounts), cheese - and my word, does this child LOVE cheese. We limit it as much as possible and offer it with fruits and veggies - I also try for hard cheeses like fresh parmesan - that pack alot of flavor in a tiny serving. Apples, bananas, any white starch - basically, the BRAT diet. A few slices of apple with peanut butter, about 1/3 of a banana and no white rice - the fruits are not offered on the same day. White flour - just needs to be avoided whenever possible. Essentially, his diet must be balanced with very very little flexibility to keep his system working properly. Even doing this, and pushing fluids constantly, he still has issues. Issues = very grumpy David. Also, he needs food offerings very often during the day. If I can keep him from getting hungry in the first place, I can at least eliminate one small reason for the fit. The eating, though, depends on the functionality of his gut on any particular day. If it's not working properly, he won't eat properly, which allows hunger to compound his building digestive discomfort. Gah - even I'm tired reading this...

In addition, he seems to be going through another mental growth spurt of sorts. But his mental abilities are growing while his expressive speech is lagging. He's making general improvements in both areas, however, the gap is a pretty constant source of struggle and frustration. With a jump in maturity and reasoning, frustration has increased with verbalizing.

Another contributor may be his sleeping pattern. Mary Louise and David both get pretty tired in the afternoons. We've tried naps lasting anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour - to even a bit longer. Whatever we do throws off their night sleeping which, if sound, would be more important than napping. I wouldn't really mind if they would actually go to bed a bit later. But a 20 minute nap earns us about a 2 hour struggle in the evening routine. So. not. worth. it. Oh - and the grumpies post nap are worse than the tired grumpies. Again - no win.

David has been waking more regularly during the night, however, and when he doesn't wake completely, can be very restless. The other night, I heard him yelling - loudly. I went to check on him and he was talking in his sleep - which is by no means unheard of for him. He'll toss, turn, fuss, grunt, whine and finally settle...maybe. But he has not been sleeping soundly.

Of course David's changes are only compounded with the general feel of our changing household at the moment. We've been organizing and moving things around quite a bit in an effort to streamline (uhem) operations before our new bundle arrives. That and well, I'm flat exhausted much of the time. I need about as many breaks as I can get and as much rest as I can muster in between cooking, cleaning, laundering and rearing which hasn't been much fun for the kiddos.

And finally, they've been having pain associated with cutting molars for weeks if not months now. It's off and on - but it's been going on so long that I sometimes forget it could be a likely culprit.

We have been able to get outside a TON more though so that has been wildly nice as I can get little rests sitting on the patio and watching play time before joining. Also, even though Mary Louise and David don't nap, they do need down time - a 30 minute Curious George or reading a few books does wonders for all of us when the sun beats up the outside mid afternoon. Park time is better as well - we can go on off hours while other children are in school. Odds are, the park won't be too busy and if it is, the kids there are similar in age to Mary Louise and David. They have great fun there and don't need me to hover over them as much as they used to so, at times, I even get to stand back and take pictures and videos!

We (thankfully) had a really good morning today (Saturday). We walked to the local farmers' market and then to the park by the lake. It was still quite early so the park wasn't crowded at all. As Uncle Collin is in helping out once more, he and Brent took the kids around the whole park (even the "big kid" side!) while Lizzie and I sat by the water to rest. Mary Louise went down a really high tube slide ALL BY HERSELF!! She was so excited to tell me about it - such a big girl. David did really well too - with all of the new toys.

I offer choices whenever possible and applicable, offer outlets for creativity daily - even if it's just practicing cutting paper or fabrics with safety scissors (they LOVE their scissors - and thankfully have not turned to cutting hair just yet!) or playing with Play-doh. During David's home speech this week, Mary Louise and I spent an hour putting wall decals around their room - she thought it was great fun! "Momma, my put tickas on da walls?" "yook pretty Momma?" "boo-ti-full!"

Brent spent all day Sunday cleaning out and setting up the shed / work shop the way he's been wanting it. Uncle Collin played outside with Mary Louise and David and I cleaned out linen closet, upstairs bathroom and pantry. These were small projects - but all I could handle after a huge laundry over haul on Friday.

David did really well all morning. But (you knew that was coming) when they came in for another application of sun screen, some got in his eyes and he just couldn't recover (I know it hurts and after the fact, think we may not be using water babies at all anymore as Mary Louise didn't do very well with it either - we usually use California Baby but as I said, I was cleaning and the Water Babies just happened to be at arm's The only thing I could think of was to rock poor David to sleep. He napped for an hour, did ok in the afternoon, and pushed his bed time back almost 3 least those 3 hours were fabulously pleasant.

He woke at the same 6am hour this morning and we had a decent day and even got to play outside after a rain storm this afternoon. He ALMOST shared with Mary Louise!!

So, today was better - sans nap. We'll see what works. Admittedly, we've had the same or almost the same routine for quite some time now so it might just be time for a little growing and tweaking. We'll find our groove again...hopefully soon.

34 weeks yesterday!! That means less than a week of Asprin left, and after this morning's progesterone shot, only 2 more to go!! Holy moly! I'm getting nervous! (and excited...but really nervous...and also excited there are only 2 more shots left - those things have become increasingly difficult to take complete with about 48 hours of feeling borderline fluish after having one.) I see the doctor and have another ultrasound on Wednesday then start weekly checks with both the doctor and ultrasound...oh. my. goodness.

I have now passed the point of being "allowed" to travel. Brent and I talked early on and opted out of any non-necessary travel throughout the pregnancy to reduce stress and prevent diet and sleep fluctuations. But to make it to the point at which the doctor is recommending we stay close to home because I might (happily) go into labor soon (as in at least 3 more weeks Sugs!! at LEAST) is so surreal. I am doing things like kick counts and packing hospital bags. Brent and whimsically discuss setting aside time to install the new car seat (umm - yep - 3 car seats), and have washed newborn clothing and put it in it's place. We talked today about setting up the co-sleeper and I've already bought extra parts for my trusty pump just in case...what luxury! What a feeling of excited anticipation!

Mary Louise asks at least daily, "Momma? My see da baby in da tummy? My touch it?" She sweetly cocks her head to the side as she puts her tiny hand next to my belly button and waits for a kick. "Momma? My see da jel-dy on da bel-dy? Peese?!" She loves it...but still maintains that she will, in fact, be a big brother.

Adore them all and am so thankful for their insight into some of life's simplest, but most profound moments...


P.S. In an effort to try to gain interest in the use of the "big potty", Brent got in on the training (or lack there of) this, Mary Louise kept going back and forth to the bathroom over and over:
Me: Mary Louise, what are you doing?
ML: My tee tee in da potty Momma! My tee tee a-yot!
Me: Oh wonderful Meesey! Would you like me to take your diaper off so that you can really use the potty?
ML: No Mommy. My al-weady use it...(and she walks back to the bathroom)
Me: curious, I follow. She doesn't notice I'm watching. She walked up to the toilet, stood in front, lifted her dress, got on her tip toes in front of the commode, made a "tss tss" sound, pulled her dress down and turned to exit the bathroom.
ML: (noticing I'm standing there laughing - puts on an impish grin) "see, my tee tee in da potty myself!!"

Close but no cigar kiddo. Really, I'm cool with your tinkling from a stand if that's what it takes, but we'll have to employ a step stool for the attempts to truly be successful.

Thanks Daddy, for you contribution to the potty training effort. There's no where to go but up now right?