Friday, December 17, 2010

Silly faces



Elliot already has many silly faces that she makes.  Like this one...


I think she is already practicing the clueless look of "I didn't do it!".  I don't know how I am going to scold a cute face like that.  I am sure when I have crayon all over my living room wall it will be much easier.

This is the look of, "Mom, that flash is way too bright!".  



This next one is one of my personal favorites...



 It says, "Yeah, I'm cute.  So what?".



And last, but not least...




"Listen to me scream!" 



Gee, I wonder where she got it from?



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hip Dysplasia

At Elliot's 3rd well baby visit her pediatrician discovered a click in her left hip.  He said that it could be nothing, but we should get it checked out and he referred us to an orthopedic surgeon at a children's hospital 3 hours away.   We had our first appointment with the orthopedic surgeon at the end of July and sure enough he diagnosed her with left hip dysplasia.  He assured us it was a common thing and can be treated.  The first step in our treatment plan was a Pavlik Harness.       

 
This is the actual picture shown on the packaging of the harness.  Me and my husband thought "well that baby is happy, it can't be that bad"...wrong!  The nurse put it on her and she screamed her head off the whole way through!  Then they decided that one was too small and took it off and put a bigger one on her.  Oh, it was terrible she was screaming, I was crying.  The doctor and nurse kept telling me that it wasn't hurting her, that it was just different and she won't remember it, all while she is screaming bloody murder in the background.  About 45 minutes later we got her calmed down and were able to get her in her stroller and leave the hospital.  After a few days of screaming fits and me having a few breakdowns, things did get better.  Now, if you are someone who stumbled across this blog because your child is going through the same thing and you are looking for reassurance that things will get better and I am not really helping much, but trust me, they do get better.  Elliot got used to the harness within the first week of having it on.  She slept a lot at first and wouldn't take her bottle that well in the first few days, but a week later she was pretty much back to normal.

We returned back to the orthopedic surgeon's office exactly one week later to check the progress of the harness.  The harness actually has a 90% effectiveness in correcting this problem  when caught this early.  Elliot fell into the 10% and after an ultrasound and showing us that her hip was completely sitting outside of the socket, the harness was removed and the doctor talked to us about the next step.

This was so frustrating! A week of putting my daughter through what seemed like torture was a waste?  I felt like a horrible mother at this point.  I know we had to go through that to figure out what to do next, but it was just awful!

An arthrogram was our next procedure.  She would be put under anesthesia and they would inject a dye in her hip to see if there was anything (tissue) blocking the head of the femur from going into the socket.  If not, they would perform a closed reduction on her hip which would involve them putting her hip into place and then placing her in a cast for 3 months.  If there was tissue in the way we would be sent home and wait until she was 6-9 months and she would have surgery to remove the tissue and set the hip and then be put into a cast for 6 weeks.

So, we came back about a month later for the arthrogram.  She did really well and the procedure was pretty quick, too quick actually.  As soon as they inserted the dye they could tell that she had a large amount of tissue in the way and that is why the harness was unsuccessful.  We were able to take Elliot home cast free, but we knew that the day would come that she would have to come back and have an open reduction and placed in a cast.  But at that time we were able to go home and enjoy our happy baby! And that is exactly what we did!

November 12th was her surgery date.  The surgery took about 2 hours and went really well.  The first 2 days were rough.  You could tell she was in pain and her voice was hoarse from the tube being down her throat from surgery.  I hated giving her drugs that just made her fall back to sleep, but it was better that she just slept until she healed a little.  After 2 days she no longer needed the pain medicine and she was once again her smiling self.  She is in what they call a spica cast  and handles it way better than the harness.  I think it helps that she is older and can understand a little more and not be as confused as when she was only 3 months old and in the harness.  It just amazes me how well she is handling this and it helps me out tons that she is taking it so well.

This is a picture about a week after her surgery.  The left leg as you can see is completely in the cast.  Only her toes stick out. 






Her right leg is only casted to just above the knee.  She can kick that leg freely and she takes huge advantage of that.  She kicks the right leg and wiggles her left toes. (sorry these pictures are so bad, don't know what happened there!)

I know you are thinking, "How do you change her diaper?" .  That is usually the first question we are asked.  As you can kind of see, there is a rather large hole where the diaper goes.  The diaper gets shoved up into her cast and pulled snug from the top.  She has what they call a diaper strap that fastens around her cast and then comes up between her legs and fastens in the front.  We haven't had any major accidents yet!

She cannot sit up in this cast though.  So finding comfortable positions for her can get tough.  We found this lifesaver of an idea online and I don't know what we would have done without it.


It's a beanbag!  Who knew they even made these still! She sleeps on this, eats on this and spends the majority of her time onthe beanbag.  I do try to do a lot of tummy time with her, but she gets frustrated that she can't go anywhere and bangs her head on the ground.  She can twirl herself around with her hands, but she hasn't mastered pulling herself around yet.

The cast itself weighs about 5 pounds and she weighed 17 pounds the day she was placed in it.  It's more awkward then anything and that makes it heavy.  Since she can't wrap her legs around you anymore it is a lot of work to carry her around.  We don't go anywhere!  We did go to Thanksgiving at my Aunt's house, but of course the beanbag came with!  Other than that, she stays home.  Which is fine with me, it's cold and snowy and I am just fine staying at home.

I couldn't ask for a better time of the year to go through all of this.  The holidays always fly by, so the 6 weeks has been going by quick.  It's cold and snowy outside, so I wouldn't want to have her out and about anyway and I dislike the cold as well.

We go back December 30th to see if her hip is staying in place.  They will then decide if she needs to be put back into a cast, move to a brace or not need anything at all.  Of course we are hoping for a cast free baby and it would be even better if she came home with nothing at all!

She is handling things like a champ, but I know she is itching to get moving!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Crawling out from under my rock

Hello again blogger world! I have been in hiding for some time.  Elliot is now 7 months old and changing everyday.  The other day I picked her up and she just looked so different from just the night before when I laid her down to sleep.  It is crazy how fast they change.  She does something new every week! In the first days of having Elliot home I couldn't imagine her being any different or doing the things she does now.  Today, I have a hard time remembering what it was like when she was so fragile and I had to support every part of her.  Now, she is a wild woman throwing her toys and practically feeding herself!  We are eating peaches, pears, peas, sweet potatoes, prunes, well you get the point, anything pureed and found in the baby food isle.  Her favorite is bananas and oatmeal for breakfast! She loves to cuddle with blankets when she falls asleep and she always has a smile on her face (except when she is hungry!). 

This year on Darcy's birthday we all 3 went to her grave site.  We tied her pink happy birthday balloon to the shephard's hook and we let 2 balloons go for her second birthday. 

I often think about what the future holds for my little girl.  When she is asked in school if she has any brothers or sisters.  How does she answer that?  Will she feel the need to explain it like I feel the need to explain it?  Will she hide it as a secret and only tell her closest friends?  Will she just say "no" when a person that isn't that close to her asks, because one is sure they are just asking to be friendly?  When is even the right time to tell her?  Do I wait until she is old enough to understand about death?  Wouldn't that be lying to her up until then?  All these questions make a lap around my brain every once in a while and I never can find the answers for them. 

She has some things that we bought for Darcy and now we have given to her and I tell her that it was her sisters.  We do talk about Darcy around her, but one day she is going to be old enough to ask who Darcy is and I don't know how to answer that one either. 

 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Birth story...finally!

The last few months have been crazy! As you all know by now, I had my darling little girl.  She came about 7 weeks early on April 25th and has done wonderful every since.  At 33 1/2 weeks my water ended up breaking and I was admitted to the hospital.  Two days later she was brought into the world after emergency c section.  Three weeks later we both got to come home.  She did great.  Never needed help with breathing, just needed to be on BiPAP for a few hours after birth.  Had a little issue with jaundice, but that cleared up after a few days under the light. At birth she weighed 4 pounds and 5 ounces and was 18 inches long.

Me on the other hand did not handle things very well.  My water broke around midnight Friday the 23rd and things progressed very slowly through the weekend.  Sunday evening they decided that I needed to be taken back for a c section.  The c section went well and little miss Elliot came screaming into the world.  It was the greatest sound I have ever heard.  I had a horrible time recovering from the c section and could not make it down to the NICU until that next evening.  I was released from the hospital the following Wednesday and then readmitted late Friday night due to a fever.  I was also majorly swollen, but was told that it was normal after birth.  Everything pretty much snowballed after that.  My c section incision ended up being infected and I had another infection in the fluid that was backed up in my abdomen, which in turn damaged my liver.  After spending 2 more weeks in the hospital I was released and we were able to bring our daughter home the next day. Weeks later, after a follow up appointment with my cardiologist I was told that I suffered from acute congestive heart failure while in the hospital.  I tell everyone that she did better than me in the hospital, which is the honest truth.

All is good now.  I am finally healed up and back to myself.  Elliot is now 3 1/2 months old and 13 pounds.  Looking at her, you would never know she was premature.  She looks very much liker her Daddy and has blue eyes and brown hair like her Mommy.

I knew life would change, but I never understood how much until now.  I wouldn't change it for anything though.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Will update soon!

So, you all are probably wondering where I have been. Taking care of a baby, that's where I've been! I will tell the long version of the story when I have more time and am not so tired. The short, short version is our daughter came early at 33 1/2 weeks. We are home now and doing just fine.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Back to work

My 30 week appointment went well yesterday. I actually lost weight this time! Don't know how I managed to do that. I made a batch of cookies last week and I pretty much polished them off myself. I'm not complaining!

Today I'm going back to work for the first time in a whole two months. I don't really think my doctor was too fond of my going back, but I really have no choice right now. If I didn't feel like I could do it, I wouldn't, but I have been feeling pretty good and he seems to think I am doing great this go around. My FMLA is almost up and I need to hold onto my job as long as I can until this baby is born. I'm pretty sure my boss has an evil plan to let me go as soon as she is legally able to. So, as you can guess I am looking forward to going back! It's just for about 7 more weeks or so. I can do that.

I actually got up at the first buzzer this morning when the alarm went off. Wonder how long that will last? It probably helps that falling asleep isn't a simple task anymore. At least I have been getting some sleep. I expected that I would feel like a beached whale by now and staying comfortable would be next to impossible. But, I'm sure my day is coming.

Off to work I go!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Oh, what a day

I'm feeling a little blah today. It's beautiful outside and I am stuck indoors. Maybe I will go sit out on the porch for a little bit this afternoon. Technically it is indoors since the porch is glassed in, right? This is going to start to get hard now since it is getting so nice outside.

My Aunt loaned me her full disc set of all the seasons of the show "Friends" a few weeks ago. I didn't realize there were so many of them! I'm a little halfway through and have made it a personal goal of mine to get to the end. Then next on my list is "Desperate Housewives", which another aunt loaned me.

I've moved away from my reading phase. I don't know what it is, but I have always been like that. I will read like crazy for a straight month or so and then stop cold turkey for who knows how long.

Hopefully the baby bedding comes in tomorrow like it is supposed to so we can, well more like so Chris can go get the paint for the walls in the baby's room. I want to clean so bad! It's either spring cleaning fever or nesting setting in. I escaped down to the basement this morning while Chris was out on a job and swept the floor. Yeah, I got scolded for that when he came home at lunch time. At least I didn't scrub the floor with bleach like I really wanted to!

It also feels like a Friday. I don't see how that is possible since I really don't have a concept of time anymore. So, I guess I do? I do know that whether you are working or not working the weekend seems to fly by fast, always!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Week 28

I'm 28 weeks along and seem to be doing great. My doctor still has me on bed rest, which I am bummed about. I would really like to go back to work. At this point I'm not sure if I will have a job to go back to, but my little growing girl is what is important to me. I can always get another job.

In a way the weeks have flown by. I have put so many weeks behind me as I look at what I have accomplished. Then I look to the weeks ahead and it still looks like a long road. I have 9 weeks until my cerclage comes out, but then break that down into months and that is still a little over two months! I am sure it will fly by though.

I went to the doctor today and he said everything looks great and I am doing great. The baby's heart rate was around 150 where it usually is. I return in 2 weeks for another check-up.

My shower is 3 weeks from Saturday! I am really getting excited! I escaped from the house a few weeks ago (shhhhhh) to buy a couple dresses for her on my birthday. Hey, I thought I deserved a little fresh air on my birthday, right?

We are such slackers on the baby room though. Chris has been tearing down wall paper and trying to clear out the room. We really don't have anything to put in it yet until the week of the shower, so I haven't been too stressed about it. We are waiting for the bedding to come in so we can pick out the color for the walls.

I was going through some pictures the other day and came across some pictures of Darcy. It's hard to look at them and think that this baby in my stomach as surpassed what she had to go through. In a way she gave her life so her little sister could have the chance to grow and the extra weeks Darcy would have needed to survive. If our new baby were to be born today she would more than likely survive. It's a huge relief to be at this stage. However, I hope she stays in there and flourishes to a healthy full term baby. I have faith in her that she will. She's a strong little fighter.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

In my opinion

Being on bed rest has made me a reading fanatic. I usually read, but in the past week I have went through three books. Well, I am almost done with my third.

As I mentioned last post I had been reading "Behind the Bell" by Dustin Diamond.
I was a big "Saved by the Bell" fan in the 90s and this book supposedly told the "backstage secrets" that nobody knew about, told by nobody other than Screech himself. If anyone took the time to watch Dustin Diamond on the VH1 show "Celebrity Fit Club" they could tell what kind of treat they would be in for with this book. The stories he wrote about were pretty bogus and hard to believe, but maybe I'm wrong. You can always pick up a copy and decide for yourself. I just find it a little far fetched that he has been with over 2,000 women as he claims in one of the later chapters. To each her own I guess.

I am now reading the newest release in my favorite series of books. "U if for Undertow" by Sue Grafton.
 
If you like to read mysteries, I highly recommend this series. For those that are not familiar with her series, she started with "A" and worked her way down the alphabet.  I started reading this series in high school and caught up with her and now I have to wait every year or so for her to release a new one. They are entirely worth the wait though!

Besides reading I had some great company over the weekend to entertain me. On Saturday my Mom and her sisters came by. My Mom is one of seven in her family. Six girls and one boy. Poor boy huh? Most of them live close except for one sister and the brother living about six hours away. 

So, on Saturday my Mom and four of my Aunts came over and cleaned the house and brought me pizza! We really had a great time and I got some laughs in that I needed. They are always a riot when they get all together. At least my Saturday went by pretty quickly. 

I can't say being on bed rest has been a total horrible experience. I just hope that tomorrow at the doctor he releases me. I was only down for a week. I might change my mind if it's for a couple of months!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Unexpected trip to the doctor

  Tuesday I woke up to a lovely visitor named spotting. ugh what the heck? I really wasn't too worried. I have a cerclage in, stuff like this isn't supposed to happen, right? So, I argued with myself until about 10:30 on if I should call the doctor or not.

The thing that convinced me was this is how it started with Darcy. I spotted the week before I went into full blown labor. Here we are, a week before I hit that date and look what happened. So, I called.

He had me come in that afternoon to check things out even though he thought it was nothing. So, about 2:30 my husband and I found ourselves at the doctors office. We love our OB. He delivered Darcy and knows what we have been through. He is so sincere and wants the best outcome for us. You can tell he really loves what he does and cares about his patients.

He said he sees nothing wrong with my cervix or any signs of bleeding or labor starting. Since it's a critical time in my pregnancy (week 21, I went into labor with Darcy at 21w5d) he wants me to stay off of my feet until I see the specialist February 3rd. Not too bad, only a week. He will then decide if I need to stay on bed rest or if I can go back to work an all that jazz.

Chris is being really great about this all. I have a little bed on the couch equipped with all necessary needs to get me through the day. It helps that Chris works from home and is here a good part of the day when he is not on a call.

I must confess, there is only so much daytime T.V. one can take. I resort to reading a book when the T.V. I finished "Here's the Deal, Don't Touch Me" by Howie Mandel.

A good book. I recommend it. Funny and interesting. I actually couldn't put it down and read it very fast.

The book I am working on now is "Behind the Bell" by Dustin Diamond.

 I will have to finish this one all the way before I tear into it. I have about another 50 pages to go.

I apologize for the quality of the pictures, I couldn't find any that were that great.

I am determined to get through this week. My little girl has been more than happy to let me know she is okay. She's been kicking around a lot, giving me reassurance. Right now, I know she is safe and sound in there.



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Back from Florida

I am happy to say that I am home! I have been for about a week now, but I haven't had enough energy to sit in front of the computer and try to put together something interesting for you all.

Florida was fun, a bit chilly, but way better than the below zero temperatures home, here in Illinois. Before leaving for Florida everyone insisted on informing me that "it's going to be cold down there". Now, why would you not just want to be happy for someone going on a vacation? Why would you want to try and convince someone that they are going to have a terrible time? I just kept saying "warmer than here!" and called them jealous under my breath.

Despite all the comments about the weather I had a great time sleeping in every morning and taking my time getting around and not having to worry about anything except what I was going to eat that day for a whole entire week!

It was in the 50s during the day at the beginning of the trip and gradually warmed up through the week making it to 70 on our last day. On Wednesday my friend and I ventured down to the beach. Chris stayed upstairs in the condo and was the photographer.


I think this one is funny cause you can actually see my belly from our room on the fifth floor. I'm the one in the black hooded sweater looking much like ET if you couldn't tell. 
 
 

I actually did get in the water (just my feet) so I could say I did get in the ocean. Where we were staying hit a record low that they haven't seen in years. I am pretty sure it was like that everywhere though. Cause, back home it was negative 11 one day. If we would have waited to take our trip this week we would have enjoyed lovely 70 degree weather! Ah, well.

BABY NEWS

I'm 20 weeks today and getting larger by the minute! We had an appointment yesterday and found out several things. I had my blood work done the week before we went to Florida so it would be back in time for this appointment. My blood work came back great, except for one test. I came back as having an increased risk for having a baby with spina bifida.

I was at a risk of 1/172. My doctor wasn't too concerned. He said that my AFP number, which was 2.78 was just slightly above the normal range. I believe the normal for my particular criteria is 2.50. He said that he has never seen a defect with this low of number. During the ultrasound he checked the baby's spine and to him everything looked normal, but if I wanted further testing to be 100% sure, he could set that up. (he was 99% sure everything developed like it should)

I wasn't too concerned because he walked Chris and me through the whole process of checking the spine. More than once. He looked from the baby's neck down to the tailbone and described what he was looking for and that it would most likely be at the bottom portion of the spine. Which he saw no sign of any malformation or break in our baby's spine. He said it was a very healthy looking ultrasound.

He is sending us to a specialist anyway. Not cause he is unsure of himself, but the baby's heart will need to be checked anyway. Darcy's heart was checked and this baby's heart will be checked just like her's was. And I hope that just like Darcy's heart, this baby's heart will be healthy also. The reason for this is when I was born I had a heart defect called Transposition of the Great Arteries. I am the only one in my family that has had a congenital heart defect and I hope it stays that way. But, there is always a small percentage of if being passed on (very small). So, it's just a precaution of course.

The specialist will also look at the baby's spine. Then we will have more reassurance than we already have that out baby is healthy. Even though I know this baby is very healthy weighing in at 13 ounces already!

Darcy was born at 21 weeks and 6 days, she was 12 ounces. I think we are going to have good size baby on our hands. That is fine with me though! As long as the baby doesn't try and out do mama or papa. I was 11 pounds and Chris was 10!!! I think I might be in trouble here...

And yes, we found out the gender. So, last, but not least!

IT'S A GIRL!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Vacation

Sorry, I haven't been udating much. We are in Florida with some friends enjoying the warmer weather. Everything is well and when we get back we have our appointment that will let s know boy or girl! I have wanted to started buying things already! I've picked out a few green and yellow things at the stores we have been arond to down here, but I end putting them back after Chris reminds me that we are so close to finding out girl or boy! lol Well, this is a really quick update and I hope to post some pictures when I get back!