Friday, July 31, 2009

Avoiding the blog too long results in a rediculously long blog. Be prepared.

I'm not sure why, but I haven't felt much like blogging lately. I have been on a bit of a roller coaster of emotions and feelings since my last post about BBZ's progress. One day is bad, the next is good, so by the time I sit down to blog, I almost can't decide if I am happy about how things are going or not! It sound confusing, I know, which is why I have avoided writing it down. Plus, things are going pretty well, so I really don't want to rock the boat. My first week back at work (July 20th) was really rough. I actually had to close my door a couple of times to cry about something that stressed me out that I just couldn't deal with the same way I usually could. Everyone at work did an amazing job at doing as much of my job as they could, but there were some things that just didn't get done, so the pile got higher, and higher, and higher and was ready and waiting for my return. I am happy to report that I am completely caught up! Many phone calls and energy assistance applications and case notes and trainings and meetings and letter writing later, I felt fantastic closing the door to my office today knowing that I am caught up. It is way too hard to make up for 2 unplanned weeks off...let's not do that again, okay? So BBZ took us on a wild ride. There was one night that he literally woke up every 2 hours. Then I had to go to work. It sucked. That morning I got so frustrated because he would cry if I held him and cry if I put him down. There was no soothing him. I put him in his crib and slammed the door. I ran into our room and just cried. Poor Nate, not only does he have a crying baby to deal with, but also a crying wife. He is amazing though...he encouraged me and assured me that I can handle it and this won't last forever and I am a great mom and BBZ loves me even when I get frustrated etc, etc. He knew just what to say. I love him. BBZ's teacher was out of town his first week back to school, but the other ladies did a great job trying to sooth him and get him to nap. The first day back he only slept for 15 minutes, and that was from the doctor office to school, so he actually went all day on that 15 minute nap. The next day a wonderful girl spent all day hugging and cuddling him because as she put it, she loves clingy babies. She was magically able to get him to nap mid-day for about 30 minutes. Still not great, but better than Monday! By Thursday he napped for an hour, so we knew he was on his way back. The teachers were so supportive. Not one of them criticized his need for comfort. They all said that he obviously needs extra attention and were more than happy to give it to him. This place is worth every penny we pay for it, and let me say, there are lots of pennies going to them! His primary teacher is back this week and he was back to his old self. He took naps and ate and even started table foods! I think he is completely done with baby food. We tried wild blueberries and pears that Papa bought him when they were in town last, but he was not having it! He knows real food when he sees it! We also went to the post-operation appointment with the surgeon on Wednesday. It seriously took longer to sign us in than it did to talk with the surgeon. He had absolutely no concerns and said he had no need to see us again. I was a little worried about something I could feel under his incision, but the surgeon assured me that it is a few stitches that haven't dissolved yet and they will soon be gone. He also told me that they looked at everything they removed under a microscope and everything looks normal, which leads him to believe this whole thing was caused by swollen lymph nodes. It is possible that his ear infection caused them to swell and put pressure on his intestine, which could have caused the intussusception. This is all speculation as they really have no idea what causes this. I am just happy things around here are getting back to normal. BBZ is sleeping now, so peacefully. Another thing I have noticed since this happened (I'll try to explain it as best I can) is that when BBZ and I are together, something will stop me and get my attention and tell me to really look at him. Really look, and realize that this could have turned out differently. It's not a sad feeling, it just makes me stop, look at him, look around and realize how happy I am that he is here, that he is healthy, and we have so much more ahead of us. It is sad to think of what might have happened, but also quite nice to be reminded of it while in the middle of our day and take the time to look down at him, kiss him, and be utterly grateful that he is in my life. Something else I was reminded of while walking in the hall at work in my office is that on more than one occasion, I was walking down that hall and a strange feeling came over me. In 2008, there were probably 15-20 babies born to people I know between people at work and personal friends. The strange feeling was followed by a thought...
...with all of these babies, how can all of them be healthy? One of them will have to have some problem, right? I wonder if it is mine.
At the times this happened I just blew it off as one of the negative thoughts that try to weasel their way into my psyche, but looking back, I wonder if it was more than that. Maybe it was some kind of mother's intuition. Either way, it's weird. So here we are, 3 weeks post operation, and things are pretty great. I even got the last of the gdiaper orders I needed to get the $100 gift card! I'm getting my hair done tomorrow, then having a play date with my neighbors before sharing a yummy dinner, then the 3rd first birthday party of the 2008 pregnant crew. I cooked a yummy chicken dinner with couscous, steamed broccoli and tomato/mozzarella salad. Mmmm. Happy Friday again!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Last day to get $30 off gdiapers!

This ends tomorrow! I'm only 1 order away from a $100 gift card! gave me a code as a dedicated gdiaper user to help spread the word about their everyday g's, regularly priced at $70. Use the coupon code below and get $30 off! This is a free way for me to spread the word about this environmentally friendly disposable alternative. Use with flushable inserts or try the new gcloth. This deal ends 7/31/09! My code is:
I have been using gdiapers for about 4 months now and I absolutely love them! Give them a try! If I get 10 orders I get a $100 gift card, and I am only 1 away! WOO HOO!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Baby Boy Z is 10 Months old!!!

We did a whole lot this month!
Like take our first ride in a gator while at Nikki's farm for his very first 4th of July...
Checked out this big donut toy...
Kicked it with his friend, P.
They are only 6 weeks apart! You wouldn't guess that BBZ is the older one! We practiced the ukulele...
Practice makes perfect!
He got this odd visit from our ancestors on the Z side from the Civil War era. Hmmm... Then there was that trip to the hospital. I think most of you know about that, but just in case, click here for the long story.
Mama watching over him.
Hoping I would see him feeling better soon.
His precious little feet covered in hospital bracelets and an IV.
A gorgeous plant from our best friends with an added decoration from Jake.
Finally a smile on Day 3!
This picture just cracks me up!
Home at last after 4 long days!
Eating What intestinal surgery???
Our many friends who are new moms. This is the group from this post...all together at last for little A's first birthday!
Look at those big ol' teeth! He's cutting 2 more too!
Such a cute little gBottom!
Scrub-a-dub-dub in the tub...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mr. Redlegs writes back!

N sent this email to the Cincinnati Reds after BBZ's hospital stay. If you haven't read this post, please do first so you get the full effect of the response... Dear N, It just so happens that I was the one in the suit. How happy I am to hear that your little boy is doing well. After the numerous visits I have made over the years to the hospitals, I haven’t ever had a response so funny and heart warming both. Glad that I was able to give you a little comic relief and thank you for your patience. Please send me your sons name for the autographed photo and such… By the way, sorry for the delay in the response. Thanks again and much love to you all, Mascot Coordinator/Special Events Intern

Funny stuff!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Happy Friday!

So things are getting better and better. I took BBZ out yesterday because he seemed to be as ready to get out of this house as I was on Wednesday. It was weird taking him out though. It seriously reminded me of when he was little and I was nervous about how he would do. Would he cry the whole time? Would he need to eat? Is it too much for him? And of course, he was fine. He sat in the Target cart and took in everything around him. We also went to visit N at work. The elevator at his work had a mirror on the door just like the one in the hospital, and I wondered as he looked strangely at himself if he remembered being in that elevator just 5 days ago. I know he will not remember this on a conscious level as he grows up, but I wonder if he remembers it now, since it was just last week. His naps were a little better yesterday, and he only got up once last night at 1am. Things are looking up. My Le Leche League meeting was last night and I was unsure if I was going to take BBZ or not. It starts at 6:30pm, which is pretty much his bedtime, so I always make it a game-time decision. He did go to sleep right at 6:30pm, but my mom was here, so I went to the meeting alone. It felt very strange being there without him since the whole point of going is to have a comfortable place to bring your baby, but I must admit, it was nice to have their support without having to keep track of BBZ. The ladies were so concerned and supportive of me and BBZ. One of the leaders even said that her 3-year-old refused to take his pacifier at around the same age as BBZ. She said one day he just wouldn't take it anymore. She remembered feeling like I do...that it is a good thing, but how do you satisfy his desire for the paci if he won't take it!? It was just nice to hear that this does happen. You always hear about parents who have to do all kinds of crazy tricks to get their kids to give up their paci or their thumb, it was nice to hear that sometimes they just give it up for no reason at all. I know I will look back and be so happy that he quit sucking his thumb now! We took a walk today up to BBZ's school. His primary teacher won't be there next week, so that sucks, but his other teachers will do great, I am sure. He seemed a little confused at first and was very snuggly with his primary teacher, who he loves very much. He eventually played on the floor with his friends and seemed to do OK. I took the bandage off of his incision today and showed everyone what it looks like. It is bigger than I thought it would be and I wonder if it will continue to grow with him or if he will keep growing and it will stay the same size. Either way, it is healed, which is symbolic of this whole situation. He has more healing to do, but he is stronger and stronger everyday! My dad is on his way here from the far, far North right now. He is driving here both to see BBZ and to pick up my mom, who has been here since last Wednesday. Her being here has been wonderful! It makes me wish she lived closer, but grateful that she is able to drop everything and be here when we need her to be. BBZ is napping now, which was harder to get him to do than yesterday, but easier than the day before. I'm sitting in the living room with the windows wide open and the breeze blowing my hair. It is 72 degrees and absolutely zero humidity, which is extremely strange for my part of the Midwest. This weekend is going to be gorgeous and I can't wait to spend most of it outside!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What is normal?

I. Am. Exhausted. BBZ was up a lot last night. He has completely stopped sucking his thumb. While I realize that this is probably a good thing, I don't understand why he chose now to stop. He can no longer sooth himself AT ALL. He cries at the drop of a hat for what seems like no reason, and if you know BBZ, you know he is literally the happiest baby many people have ever seen. He clings very tightly to me and is only soothed by nursing. I feel like he is a newborn and we have started all over again.
Last night he woke up at 3am. I was tired, but ok with getting up. He had peed through his diaper so I changed him and threw a waterproof liner on the top of his sheets so I didn't have to change them again (N and I changed him and the sheets once already at around 10:30pm). He ate and went back to sleep. He was up until about 3:45 and woke again at 4 or so. I tried to see if he would settle himself down and gave him about 10 minutes. N went in to see if he could calm him down, but no, all he wants is me. I went it and tried for a very long time to get him back to sleep. Finally he did. He woke up around 6:30am and I brought him into bed with me, but we didn't go back to sleep.
Nap time is even worse. It has taken at least 30-45 minutes to get him to sleep at each nap. I nurse him and he starts to drift off, but as soon as I go to lay him down he wakes and seems like he is ready to party. I know he needs to suck his thumb, but he just won't. It's like I have taken a pacifier away from a baby who NEEDS his pacifier to sleep. But I didn't take it away, his thumb is right there! I don't want him to suck his thumb forever, but I do want him to as long as he needs it!
So after his 9am nap this morning I kind of broke down. I didn't understand why he had changed so much. I realize that he had surgery, but the surgeon said he can go back to daycare whenever he is ready...shouldn't that mean he will be ready soon? They also took him off of the every 4-hour Tylenol, so does that mean he shouldn't need it anymore? Is he relying on me because he is recovering or should I be encouraging him to self-sooth? I talked to my mom about it and decided to call his pediatrician. The surgeons at the hospital did very little to prepare me for what his recovery would be like. When I asked his doctor when I should expect him to be back to *normal*, she said it would likely be about 6 weeks. This completely surprised me! I realize that it was major surgery, but I have nothing to compare it to, I have never done this before! She also said that he will likely need Tylenol off and on for the next 2 weeks. I know this could be different as all kids are, but it is so great to have some expectations!
One good thing that came from my breakdown is a little shopping spree! I had to get out of the house. I had not left the house other than going to a doctor or a hospital in over a week. I also had not been away from BBZ for more than a shower the entire time. I desperately needed some *me* time. So I went to Kohl's and bought some super cute clothes. I have lost weight since I had BBZ and very few of my clothes actually fit. I found jeans that I don't have to wear a belt with, 2 tops and a really cute Simply Vera Wang jacket! I also picked out some really cute red shoes for my mama. It was some serious shopping therapy that I was well overdue for.
So I guess his waking throughout the night is his normal for now. His nursing to sleep at naps is necessary and I will just have to get used to it. MckMama talked about her new normal when she brought little Stellan home from the hospital. How her life had to adjust to their new normal. I was grieving our old healthy, never crying, thumb sucking, non-scar having, independent sleeping, non-medicine taking, always happy baby boy. He is still in there, and I hope he will continue to get better and be back to his old self, but I do not expect least not for at least 6 weeks. I plan to nurse him on demand, try to convince him to love his blanky as much as he loved his thumb, expect bedtime to take up to an hour, and know when to take a break. I guess this is our new normal, at least for now.
You would never guess this carrot-covered baby had surgery 6 days ago, would you???

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Coming home from the hospital

These were taken on Day 4 (Monday). We knew he was feeling much better when he stayed sitting up when we sat him this way. He still needed us to be nearby, but his strength was slowly coming back!
I love how he has his legs spread in this picture! I'm sure it was so he could hold himself up. Plus he has the cute little Elvis lip that he has been sporting since he stopped sucking his thumb. It's Tuesday morning and still no sucking!
N was an amazing photographer during this whole ordeal. He took the picture on this post that has become one of my very favorites. I think I wanted to pretend this never happened and N wants to remember it as part of his life. I think he has the right attitude. Such a little trooper! He likes to play while I am holding him because I think he is still a little sore.
Home sweet home!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

N's email to Mr. Redlegs

Dear Reds, On July 11th, Mr. Redlegs visited St. Louis Childrens' Hospital in St. Louis. My nine month old son was a patient on the children surgical floor. My son had had surgery the day before and the morning of the 11th he had a mild set back that concerned my wife and I and the surgeon. Unfortunately, right as we were discovering this Mr. Redlegs strutted into our room. Under normal circumstances our son would have loved to see Mr. Redlegs, as his favorite toy is a white and red baseball that resembles the mascot's large head, of course his ball does not have facial hair, but its hoping to grow some soon. Mr. Redlegs was just a victim of unfortunate timing. We wanted to apologize to Mr. Redlegs as I am sure he felt uncomfortable as no one acknowledged his existence. Which is quite striking considering the awkward absurdity of man with a giant baseball head standing over my son's bed between an emotional wife and concerned surgeon. If it was a Youtube video the hits would have been in the millions. Luckily everything with my son turned out great and he is recovering well. Looking back on that moment, it gave my wife and I a constant moment of laughter over the next few days. So even if Mr. Redlegs did not cheer up my son, he did cheer us up and for that we appreciate his effort. It will make a great story some day to tell my son, although he is still a Card's fan at heart. I mean we have Albert Pujols and you don't. Of course I will tell him that Eric Davis was a Red first and Cardinal second. Not sure if it is possible, but I would love to purchase an autographed photo of Mr. Redlegs to hang in my son's room so we an always remember the day the abnormally large cranium mustache man in a baseball outfit visited him in the hospital after his surgery. Thank you.

Home, sweet home

We are home! I must admit that I feel very teary since we got home. I think I expected everything to be the way it was before BBZ got sick, but he still has a lot of healing to do. He tried to crawl toward his toys, but cried when he realized that he just couldn't. He doesn't want anyone to hold him but me, so I suddenly feel the way I did when he was a newborn. He refuses to suck his thumb, which I suppose is a good thing, but it is his only comfort and since he isn't doing it he cannot comfort himself. I walk into the various rooms in the house and see things that remind me of the 2 days we were here and he was sick. I set pillows on N's side of the bed so when he was sleeping with me he wouldn't roll off the other side of the bed. I had my 2 favorite pairs of flip flops on the floor in my bedroom to be washed because he had vomited on them. There were dirty burp cloths in his room that I used to clean him up throughout the night. It is all very surreal. I thinkI hoped to come home and pretend none of this happened, but it did, and it still is happening. He is sleeping now in his own bed, but it took nearly 20 minutes to get him to sleep and he basically cried himself to sleep. For those of you who know BBZ, this is completely out of character for him. I just want my happy little healthy boy back! I want him to crawl up on his new tool bench that I bought him on Monday night that he didn't get to play with before he got sick. I just want things to go back to the way they were. I know, I know, they will be soon.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pictures fom the hospital.

Day 2 (Saturday), his many stuffed friends were watching over him while he slept.
His first drink since Thursday morning. He overdid it just a little.
This is what happens when you overdo it... When the tummy finally settles, you get to snuggle with mommy and read a very strange book about Sloths. And try to play your ukulele, but it's so hard!
Day 3 (Sunday), yes I do realize I have the same shirt on. Give me a break, I haven't been home since Thursday morning. He loved playing with this straw...
And thought it was hilarious to turn and put it in my mouth! Yes my friends, that is a smile on his face! We sure missed that!
There is that talented Ukulele player!
He smiled, giggled, ate well, held all of his food down, pooped a lot, and slept at his regular nap times. We are so ready to go home! We'd love to tonight, but I think tomorrow is more realistic. We can't wait!!!

"Now is not a good time, big headed baseball man."

Yesterday was a long day. So long that I didn't blog or return any phone calls. The surgeon came in during his morning rounds and said BBZ looked great so he could start eating. The nurse came in later and gave us 2, 2 ounce bottles of Pedialyte and said that the surgeon put no restrictions on his intake and he could eat however much he wanted. This seemed strange, but I figured he knew what he was talking about. BBZ ate both bottles very quickly and started screaming for more. The nurse brought us 2 more and I tried to wait a little while before giving the 3rd but BBZ was just so mad and hungry. So I gave him 2 more ounces. He held it down. The nurse came in a little later and gave me the go-ahead to bring him to the breast. I was happy to hear that, but leery because I wouldn't know how much he got. I decided instead to pump and the give it to him in a bottle. He drank 5 ounces of breast milk.
Then he was very upset. He cried a lot and complained and I laid him down to change his diaper. He rolled over on his side and got the same look on his face that he had 2 days ago. A very blank look, didn't suck his thumb and his belly was distended. I started to freak out. We called the nurse who called the doctor in, he later came and saw the same thing I was seeing. They hooked him up to a monitor to keep track of his vitals signs. The doctor said he probably just got too much too fast, but he might order an x-ray to make sure his stomach isn't in intussusception again. They left and I started to cry, pretty much uncontrollably. I felt like we were right back where we started 3 days ago. What is the next step now? Another painful enema, more surgery? I didn't know how much I or my little boy could take.
I needed to do something to feel better so I took a shower. It actually did wonders for me. I felt refreshed and while I was still scared, I realized that if something was wrong with his tummy, worst case scenario is anostomy bag. While the intussusception is life-threatening, where he is now with it is not. That was a big relief. N had gone to get lunch at Pappy's , which is simply the absolute best BBQ north of Memphis. Neither of us felt like eating, but I kind of talked us into it and it and we both felt much, much better.
During the above ordeal, we were standing around BBZ's hospital crib facing the door to the room. The surgeon was facing us with his back to the door. In walked this...

Now I realize that we are in a Children's Hospital so things such as large mascots walking around is to be expected. What I didn't expect was his absolute inability to read the social cues of the room that said "now is not a good time big headed baseball man". He waddled in with the big mustache smile and walked over and stood next to the surgeon. He peered at all of us waiting for a reaction. My eyes were full of tears and we must have all had very somber looks on our faces. He stood there for what felt like a really long time, then finally realized that no one was going to smile at him or even talk to him, so he turned around and waddled away. Looking back it was a pretty funny scene. I bet he tells the story of how awkward he felt as I am telling the story about how bad his timing was.

If the mascot had come by about 2 hours later it would have been perfect. BBZ woke up in a much better mood! I decided to give him breastmilk through a dropper at about 1-2 ounces an hour. He definitely wanted more, but he was satisfied getting this little bit at a time. I was angry at different intervals yesterday at the nurses, at the surgeon, but today I am going to focus on how well he is doing.

I got a good night sleep from about 9:30pm-4am then back to sleep until around 7am. He was awake for a while, ate some milk from the bottle and laid down for a nap around 9am. This really resembles his regular schedule, so maybe he is already getting back into it. I plan to try a bottle with him when he wakes up, but am trying to take my time. I want him to be eating from the breast before we head home. We have to stay here at least one more night, and hopefully will be heading home tomorrow! I hope that we will soon be able to put all of this behind us.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Advocacy and AMA Forms

At about 3:30am,BBZ's nurse came into his room and woke me up. She said that the doctor has ordered a shot of antibiotic to treat BBZ's ear infections. She said she asked if they could wait until tomorrow to give it orally and the doctor said no that he needed it now. She suggested we wait until 4am when he was due for his vitals and I said ok. When she walked out I woke up completely and started thinking...he has an open IV line, why would he need a shot? So I laid here and thought about it for a while and decided that he does not need another thing to stress about and went out to the nurse's station and told her that I did not want him to have the shot. She was so nice and explained that she would talk to the doctor, but she had already asked about delaying it and he said no. She said she would tell him my concerns and let me know. Let me back up just a little bit. When BBZ was admitted on Thursday, he had a double ear infection. He was supposed to get a shot to treat the infection (through the IV) at the second ER we went to. The issue with his stomach took charge and I think everyone kind of forgot about the ear infection. During yesterday's rounds at about 3 or 4pm the doctors came in and I reminded them of his ear infection and asked if anyone had looked at his ears. They looked as though they had no idea what I was talking about. They said they would come in and look later because they didn't have the thing you use to look with them. I guess the surgical floor doesn't have them in their pockets like pediatricians do. A few hours pass and no one came in. Around 9pm (I think, I know it was dark) the doctor came in and looked into his ears. He confirmed the ear infection and talked about trying oral antibiotics tomorrow (today). I told him that I didn't want the first thing in his stomach to be medicine and hoped we could wait and give it to him after we see how he does with the liquids he is hoping to start today. He basically said we'll see. So when I came back into his room after telling the nurse I didn't want him to have the shot I got all fired up thinking of all the reasons he should not get it. All of a sudden at 3am it is an urgent situation? It sure didn't seem urgent when they were dilly-dallying around waiting to find the thing to look into his ears. And there is a perfectly good IV line right there waiting for the medicine to slip slowly into his little body without him ever knowing. I channelled the intense advocacy skills of my office mate and started to rehearse in my head what I would say if the doctor said no to my simple request. She always says, bring me the AMA for (against medical advice) so that was definitely part of my protest speech I was writing in my head. But I didn't need to throw around any fancy words or give my good speech...the nurse came back into his room with the medicine and hooked it up to the IV. It is going into the little man as I type and he is none the wiser. When she came in at 3am we talked about having a chair ready for him to sit in with me because he would probably need to be held an comforted for a while isn't this a better outcome? I learned a lesson in my birthing class and from my advocate/office mate, always ask what the harm is in waiting, does this have to happen right now and are there any other options. Because of this, one less traumatic experience happened for my little boy today. Today will be a good day.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Chicks Dig Scars

The first day post surgery has come and gone. He was sleepy most of the day, but was awake longer and more alert at each waking time. He still gets tylenol every 4 hours which seems to help him a lot. I held him for a while, which he loved, but he must have loved being held by N even more because he pooped out of his diaper while N was holding him! This is huge because it shows that his intestines are working and things are moving along. They plan to take out the catheter tomorrow, so we hope that will help him be able to move around more freely. I know he is hungry, but he doesn't seem too fussy about wanting to eat. I think he is just still a bit overwhelmed by it all. I am so proud of him! He is such a great spirit and a good baby. He is just rolling with things and barely cries during the times the nurses mess with him, and quickly goes back to his cute, thumb-sucking, contented self. He is now sleeping peacefully and will hopefully rest well all night. Thank you so much for the nice comments, emails, stuffed animals, offers of help and prayers you sent out to us and to BBZ. We are so lucky to have so many people loving us. I consider myself a worrier. I have irrational fears and have always been afraid of what I would do if this happened or that happened, so for those of you moms and dads who are reading our story and think to yourself, I don't know what I would do if that were my baby, believe me when I say that you will do whatever your baby needs you to do, you will stay strong when you need to and let down when you are able. You will hold onto your partner for strength and advocate for yourself and your baby. It is scary, but it is not impossible. You will take on one minute at a time and do whatever you can to make sure your baby has the best care. You will take the time to ask every question of the doctors and make sure they ask you everything they should. So do not worry about what could happen, know that if something bad does, you have strength to handle it and loved ones to lean on. And let's face it...chicks dig scars...

The long story.

On Tuesday around 12:30pm, BBZ's teacher called and said he was pulling on his right ear. I noticed him pointing at it while in the bathtub both Sunday and Monday nights, but I figured he just found another cool place to put his finger...kind of like how he found my nose and my ears recently. I picked him up from school and by the time I got there he had thrown up everything he ate that day, which hadn't been much. I took him straight to the doctor and saw one of the nurse practitioners.

She diagnosed an ear infection and said the vomiting was likely from drainage, but he didn't have a runny nose. I drove to the pharmacy and got his medication and took him home. He was absolutely miserable. N was out of town so I was pretty much stuck in the house. BBZ refused to nurse, so I had my friend bring us some pedialyte to try and keep him hydrated. He was vomiting about every hour or so. My friend also let me borrow her pump which was great since he just wouldn't nurse. He also stopped sucking his thumb, which was weird to me.

After he had vomited a few times I got worried and called the nurses exchange. She said that I should watch his wet diapers and if he didn't pee for 10 hours I should take him to the hospital for IV fluids. He was up pretty much all night either crying or wanting to be held. I packed a bag for the hospital just in case we had to go. I was so scared! I called my mom and cried a lot about not being able to tell whether he was just sick or if something was really wrong. I felt like something was, but also didn't want to be over paranoid.

My mom was scheduled to come in town today actually for my friend's shower, but she changed her flight to land Wednesday morning. She could tell how scared I was and N coming home just wasn't an option. Why would I ask him to if all he had was an ear infection anyway? BBZ had a wet diaper at 10:30pm, so no emergency room for us. He woke about every hour and either vomited or just repositioned. The times he didn't vomit I gave him a 1/2 teaspoon of pedialyte. It was a very long night.

Wednesday morning my mom came in around 9am and I went to pick up my pump from work. She sat with BBZ. He held down most food all day and didn't vomit. I called his doctor around lunch time and explained what was going on. She said to bring him in if he doesn't seem better. He actually did seem better although he had this very blank look on his face. He didn't smile and he showed very little emotion besides crying screams I had never heard out of him, even when he was brand new. I took him to the doctor anyway because of his weakness. He could barely hold his little arm up. She looked at him and did not like the way he looked. She asked us to take him to the emergency room for IV fluids. She said she thought he was dehydrated and acidotic. He was tolerating sips of pedialyte and hadn't vomited all day. We went to the ER.

He saw a nice young doctor who did a physical exam and determined that he was not dehydrated. BBZ drank 2 ounces of pedialyte and held it down. There was no reason to believe that he was not getting better so he sent us home. The doctor said that he thought BBZ was a very sick baby, but not a critically ill baby. I have learned in the past few days that doctors are people who go to work every day, just like I do. Their work is different from mine, but they are not all-knowing. They do their best to make the right decisions, but do make mistakes. This doctor was wrong about BBZ, and while I am upset that he ignored my pediatricians recommendations, I do feel that he thought he was doing what was right.

When got home I nursed BBZ and he vomited all of it up. He did this twice so I called the ER doctor and told him that he was no longer holding anything down. He again reassured me that this is to be expected from a sick baby and asked me to follow the plan we set earlier that included a trip back to his pediatrician Thursday for a re-check. BBZ had also lost 1 and 1/2 pounds in 24 hours. The follow-up visit was to also check his weight. Wednesday night was a bit better than the night before...BBZ slept for about 4 hour stretches. He woke and 3:30am and drank 2.5 ounces that I had pumped. I figured he was getting to much when he nursed so I did bottles. He was so excited when he saw the bottle. It was the first sign that he showed that was even close to his personality. He was otherwise blank and very much in pain, from what I thought was either his ears or his tummy from the vomiting. He was crying and reaching toward the empty bottle so I figured he was still hungry. I gave him 2 ounces of pedialyte that he drank way too fast and also vomited up. I brought him to bed with me where he slept for about 20 minutes at a time and would wake and be uncontrollably irritable and scream out in pain.

At 9am I called the doctor and scheduled the follow-up for 9:30am. I went un-showered to the appointment and she took one look at BBZ and sent us back to the ER for fluids. She was very upset that the doctor sent us home the night before. She called ahead and spoke to a different doctor at the ER and insisted that they begin IV fluids for dehydration as soon as we got there. We walked into the ER, again, and they brought us back to the same room he was in about 15 hours earlier. The nurse stood at the door and watched him as she asked us to tell her the whole story. After I was done she just stood there and watched us. She watched how BBZ would pull his legs to his chest, scream out of pain, then crash to sleep from exhaustion about every 10-20 minutes. She was eventually the one who diagnosed the problem and told us exactly what would happen, and was exactly right.

They got him set-up on IV fluids and ordered an x-ray of his abdomen. They were concerned because a stomach virus often has vomiting and diarrhea, so since he didn't have diarrhea they were concerned something else was going on. The xray confirmed that BBZ had a bowel obstruction and possibly intussusception, where the inside of the intestine sort of turns in on itself. It was exactly what the nurse thought it was, just by watching his behavior. Every 10-20 minutes or so his intestine would try and push out his bowels and couldn't because they were turned inside out. This is why he was puling his legs toward his chest and screaming so regularly. They transferred us to the ER at Children's Hospital because although the original treatment didn't include surgery, they knew that surgery was a possible outcome and wanted pediatric surgeons on standby. I rode on the ambulance from the hospital and N and my mom met us at Children's. N finally came back in town while we were at the doctor so he had met us at the ER. Children's admitted him, did an ultrasound and confirmed the diagnosis of intussusception.

They explained the treatment plan that first included a non-surgical method of reducing the obstruction and un-twisting the intestine by using an air-powered enema. They said the success rate of this method was 80-90%, but a little less for BBZ because his blockage was fairly large. They brought him into the room and I had to hold his arms as he laid on his back while they did this procedure. They tried for about 20 minutes without success. The whole time I had to hold him down and talk to him to try and keep him calm. I had to look at his face while he screamed cries of absolute terror and pain for 20 minutes. It was probably the most horrible experience of his life, and I had to share it with him.

My poor baby.

And it didn't work.

The doctors were so disappointed and I tried to stay positive, but I just lost it. I knew surgery was the next step and that terrified me. I held him in my arms as he slept better than he had in the last 2 days. I can't put his exhaustion into words. The traumatic experience he just had knocked every ounce of energy out of his tiny little body. He slept soundly on my chest and I stroked his soft skin scared to death that this was the last time I might even hold him. I was allowed to keep him on my chest and ride with him up to where he was having the surgery. They explained all the worst case scenarios, because they have to, so as they rolled him away I felt that I would never see him again. Perhaps this was over-dramatic, but I was thinking the worst.

How could a doctor, just another human being, be able to use his big hands and go into my baby's tiny little body and fix what was wrong? There is no way he will be ok.

Then suddenly it happened while I was in the waiting room with my mom and N, an overwhelming peace came over me and I knew he would be ok. About 2 hours later the surgeon came in and gave us the best news...the surgery went great! Their original hope was to open him up, massage the obstruction, undo the twisting and allow his bowels to move as they should. BBZ's case was a bit more complicated. They ended up have to remove a piece of the intestine that was affected, his appendix, and a small pollup of tissue that included a small mass of acidic tissue that could cause ulcers down the road. Removing the piece of intestine was the best way to ensure that this won't happen again. If they had massaged the obstruction and it has passed through the intestines, he would likely be able to eat today and be home in a few days, but now he has to let the intestine heal completely before he can eat and has to eat before he goes home, which will likely be 5-7 days.

We all slept ok last night and BBZ is resting quietly now. He still has a very blank look on his face, but he started sucking his thumb again, which makes me think he is almost back to his old self. The last few days went by so fast, but feel like the longest days of my life. I started to think about why I didn't do this or do that, and maybe if I had done something sooner the surgery could have been avoided, but it's amazing how things really do just work out. If it had been sooner N wouldn't have been here at all, and if he didn't need the surgery they wouldn't have found the small mass and removed it. I have faith that things are ok and can't wait to see my baby boy smile at me. Thank you for your love and prayers...we know how very lucky we are.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Almost everything I have done since my last blog...

It's been almost a week, so here it goes! This week I...
Worked a 2-day work week.
Visited with Laura and her little munchkin.
Got my car washed and tipped the guy very well since it hasn't been washed since BBZ was born.
Missed my husby like crazy while he was out of town for work.
Got a taste of what it is like for single mommies.
Finalized some details for Laura's baby shower.
Took BBZ to his first concert...John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan.
Held BBZ in my arms and danced to Bob Dylan until he fell asleep.
Nursed in public with no worries.
Didn't have to pump for 4 days!
Unplugged for 48 hours! No TV, phone, computer or Internet.
Drove to Nikki's farm for the weekend.
Took BBZ swimming in the lake.
Got my feet taken right out from under me by a very excited dog...while holding BBZ in the sling! Don't worry, we are ok.
Ate lots and lots of delicious snacks including, but not limited to, German chocolate cake, a cherry pudding dessert, 3 or maybe 4 chocolate muffins, 2 chocolate chip muffins, pop tarts, and bacon-covered Imo's pizza.
Camped successfully with a 9 month old in a tent. Luckily the tent is big enough for his playpen.
Enjoyed a great round of karaoke with N and his blues songs and a top-notch version of "Bust a Move". Seriously, I wish I had my video going.
Found a new home for Quincy. If you don't know who Quincy is, don't ask.
Was super excited for the fireworks, but disappointed that N had to work at setting them off rather than sitting back and enjoying them with us.
Knew BBZ would wake up when the fireworks started, but didn't expect him to fall asleep in my arms while they were still going off!
Was very happy that Delilah did not get into any fights this weekend!
Used disposable diapers all weekend.
Gave BBZ watermelon and pulled pork...I am slowly getting past my fear of him choking.
Got tickets to see The Allman Brothers and Widespread Panic in Chicago for my birthday!
Made babysitting plans for the night so BBZ can come with us...many thanks to the Powers family!
Took some great photos, but I am too tired to post them. Okay, okay, but just my 2 favorite ones...