Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm not that interesting.

I want to be a good blogger.  I want to document my life and the interesting things that occur every day.  Each night I realize that I feel very run-of-the-mill and ordinary.  I wonder who would want to read about my daily life?  But there are a few things that I know in a few years I would at least like to look back on and think about, so I figure I'm going to try my hardest to keep writing. 

Tomorrow, bright and early, we're headed to a magnet school in the district to learn about their philosophies and how their enrollment process works.  I'm not really sure, but from everything I've read, I think it would be a good fit for the Monkey as he starts kindergarten next year.  To be completely honest, the realization that hubby and I are responsible for setting the stage for our sons' educational futures and successes in life is absolutely overwhelming and scary.  I wish we had lots of money and could invest in a perfect private school (I'm still hoping they'll be able to go to private school around age 12).  I think public school for the elementary years is good, but I just don't know.  I can't believe I have to think about this already and feel like the decisions I make now are going to set off a cascade of results leading through all the years of education. 

And that I'm going to have to analyze it and decide if what I do for the Monkey is the best for Small Fry and then the best for Split Pea.  I love having children, but I feel like I know less and less as they grow older.  They're starting to get out of my realm of control, starting to be influenced by friends, educated by teachers that are not immediate family or friends, and it scares me.  Not that I feel like I know what I'm doing or would have the first idea how to instruct a 5-year-old in the ways of the world, but just the fact that I guess, that he's GROWING UP is really frightening. 

So tomorrow, hubby and I will drop the older boys next door, take Split Pea with us, and go to a new school to learn about their mission and educational style.  And I'm going to have to figure out if it "fits" for the way I believe my son should be educated.  It's pretty cool that these choices are available for us, but at the same time, scary.  I don't feel old enough to be making these kinds of decisions, these are the decisions adults and parents make.  Oh crap.  I am an adult and a parent.  I have no idea how that happened. 

That's where my head is at tonight. Now I'm off to do some more work as always and think about sleeping for a few hours. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Split Pea's Babysitter

I often get asked how the Monkey and Small Fry like their new brother. 

Small Fry LOVES his brother, but he's not as into taking care of him.  He's 2 1/2 (almost 3!), and a little rough with him.  He loves giving kisses and keeping his binky in, and "bouncing" the bouncer for him too. 

The Monkey on the other hand, is a natural.  He wants to hold Split Pea, feed him (I've got quite a story to offer about that incident), rock him, sing to him, carry him, etc.  We have to set boundaries for safety reasons (as in "PLEASE do NOT take your brother off the bed and bring him to me!), but they get in plenty of cuddle time.

Yesterday, Monkey thought it would be fun to sing some songs to his little brother.  It's a silly video, complete with some 4-year-old humor.  Enjoy!

(Oh and I apologize for the fact that the Monkey was being more like a chipmunk and storing some fruit snacks in his cheeks the whole video!)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Guess Who?

Thought it would be fun to see what each of the boys looked like when they were between 6 and 8 weeks old.  WOW.  How time flies.  Looking at the pictures though, I clearly can recall each moment in time. 

I'm still amazed I'm a mom of three...and three BOYS at that. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Our routine

Life with Split Pea is really quite similar to life with a normal newborn, we just have a few extra steps added in our day (and special things to look out for when he's sick or stressed). 

This was a recent night after bath.  I was giving Split Pea a oral dose of hydrocortisone, an injection of growth hormone, and testing his blood sugar level. 

He takes hydrocortisone (1.2 ml) by mouth every 8 hours.  (It tastes a little like cough syrup, but he doesn't mind.).  We have it mixed at a compounding pharmacy at the hospital every 30 days.  It is only good for 30 days at a time, and must be refrigerated.  He will need this (or an oral pill like prednisone) for the rest of his life.

At night, he also gets an injection of growth hormone (currently .18 mg/day).  We were trained by a special nurse on how to use this computerized delivery device, how to insert the needles into the device, how to mix the hormone, etc.  The vials of hormone come in a powdered form with a system to mix the vial into a liquid.  Once mixed, the hormone is only good for 21 days and must be refrigerated at all times or it will break down. 

The injection is really quite easy and he rarely cries when getting it (we rotate clockwise from each upper thigh to each butt cheek).  When he gets older, he can even do it himself.  He will need this every day until he's done growing, and perhaps occasionally as an adult. 

Approximately twice a day, before he eats, I test his blood sugar.  The steroids he takes, in conjunction with the growth hormone help regulate his blood sugar, and when it's low, that can signal a problem.  (That's why I carry a glucagon injection, just like a diabetic).  This is a heel stick and a little test strip that is read by a computerized meter.  The endocrinologist can download the meter information at each visit and get an overview of his sugar levels.  Very high tech. 

So it's overwhelming sometimes, but in only 2 1/2 short months, it feels pretty 'normal' to us.  I'm just thankful everyday that all of this medication exists, and that Split Pea is going to be able to live a healthy and productive life thanks to the amazing marvels of science and medicine. 

The Arrival of Split Pea

September 2, 2010

I'm not going to write a long birth story because, well, I don't want to.  The labor and delivery was uneventful.  It was similar to my others, but longer.  I was induced about 8 am, but Split Pea didn't arrive until about 4 pm (I have the exact time somewhere, but things are a little disorganized these days).

We held him for quite a while after birth and finally the nurses got their hands on him so they could take him to the well-baby nursery and check him out.  I hadn't seen him for over 2 hours and asked my sister to see if she could find out what was going on.  The next thing I knew, my pediatrician entered the room and delivered the life-changing news.

Her news was a laundry list of things that were wrong and ranged from his extremely low blood sugar (19!) to his weak femoral pulse (which she chose to tell me could indicate a problem with his aortic arch and may require heart surgery).  (For the record, none of the laundry list was as dramatic as she'd made it sound.  I'm still angry about how it was all presented to me.)  Needless to say, once she left, I lost it.  Hubby had left the hospital to play in his weekly poker game (when he left we all assumed everything was fine), and it was just me, my sister, and my nephew.  I freaked out (I think silently, but was clearly bawling).

My sister was amazing.  She called hubby and told him to get back to the hospital and asked my mom to come back too.  About midnight, they wheeled me into the NICU so I could see Split Pea for the first time since after he was born.  He was under an oxygen hood, had heart leads, a temperature monitor and a dextrose drip.  I could only touch him.  I hated being in my post-partum room that night, all alone.

The next morning, I went to the NICU again and this time he was on a nasal cannula, off the oxygen hood, but still on the dextrose drip.  I got to nurse him (or try), and then feed him a little bottle.  It was wonderful holding him, and I held him for as long as they would let me.  The NICU even allowed the boys to come visit, and they were immediately smitten with their new brother.

Small Fry giving his new brother a tiny kiss

Split Pea had ultrasounds, chromosomal tests, blood tests and most importantly, an MRI of his brain over the next day.  The results showed that his pituitary gland never completely grew together and therefore wasn't functioning properly.  The official diagnosis is "Panhypopituitarism", aka "Pan Pit".  The pituitary gland is the "master gland" in a body that sends out signals to all the other glands.  Everything downstream is functioning well, it's just the master gland that is not working.  

Once we got the diagnosis and met our new best friend, the endocrinologist, we started meds to stabilize him.  (Side note: The endocrinologist took a few days to talk to us, and when she first met us the first two things she said were, "He's going to be fine", and that she took a few days because she wanted to have ALL the information before talking to us.  THAT was when I knew she would be an amazing doctor for us).    He was able to leave the NICU after 6 days.  Although I wouldn't wish the NICU on my worst enemy, the nurses and doctors were absolutely AMAZING.  I cried a whole lot there, and they were always willing to offer up a hug, an encouraging word, or just make me laugh.

We left the hospital after filling more prescriptions than I'd ever filled for both the other boys combined.  When we left, Split Pea (aptly named because the pituitary gland is pea-sized in adults, and his is "split"), he was taking hydrocortisone three times a day.  I was also testing his blood sugar with a glucose meter before each feeding.  We were given dozens of things, including an emergency injection of glucagon in case of hypoglycemia, and an injection of Solu-Cortef, in case he couldn't ingest his dose of hydrocortisone. 

In the weeks following his discharge, we visited a doctor or lab every single day.  We had visits with the regular pediatrician, the urologist (he received testosterone injections), the endocrinologist, and visited both a regular lab and a pediatric hematology lab for blood tests. 

I had a whole different plan of how things were going to go with our Split Pea, but I think he just wanted to make sure that we never forgot about him!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hey! I have a blog!

I think about my blog all the time, but that's about as far as it goes.  All intentions toward actually writing seem to get pushed to the bottom of the ever-expanding to-do list.  Then lately I started thinking that there is SO much going on, especially now, that I want to remember it all in say, just a year from now.  I feel like the past few months have gone in the blink of an eye, yet were packed full with some of the most life-changing events ever. 

So to catch up...I posted last in February, after posting some "Monkey-isms" (a feature I've decided to continue), and after the announcement of our newest addition. 

Winter and Spring were fun.  We took our annual Steamboat ski trip and decided that week that we'd move Small Fry out of his crib.  When we got home, my parents offered us a bunk bed that was in their guest room.  In 24 hours, we painted the Monkey's old room so we could move in the bunk bed.  Just a week or so after getting back from vacation, the boys were sleeping together in the same room.  Small Fry's old room would remain the nursery. 

The Monkey also started in a soccer program with the local rec center.  It was okay.  Not great.  He didn't care that much, and we had no coach.  It was very disorganized, which I guess is to be expected with 4-year-olds, but I just didn't feel like we really got our money worth.  Plus we had to drive almost 25 minutes to get to the fields, and we had a lot of snowed out games.  Needless to say, we aren't going into organized sports again for a while. 

As Spring gave way to Summer, we continued preparing for baby, but enjoying our time as a family.  I started getting excited for Small Fry to start pre-school at the same place as Monkey.  They would be doing a summer-camp program and attending 3 days a week for 3 1/2 hours each day.  Small Fry was ready.  He wants to be exactly like his big brother, and I often (really) am asked if they are twins.  People are shocked when I respond that in fact, they're 23 months apart. 
A quick picture as we headed out for the first day of summer pre-school  
I had nothing to worry about.  Small Fry loved preschool and it was incredibly nice to have a few mornings each week to do my own thing.  The time always seemed to pass too quickly though.  Also in June, hubby decided to leave his job and pursue a new opportunity.  I was excited, because the insurance change would kick in when I was 35 weeks pregnant, just in time to deliver at the hospital of my choice and use the doctors I'd previously used with Monkey and Small Fry. 

The rest of the summer was busy with keeping cool (pregnant in a house with no air-conditioning is not so fun), swimming at the club pool, visiting the zoo and enjoying the outdoors as much as possible. 

As August wound down, we knew our newest addition was just over the horizon.  The boys were anxious to meet their new brother, even shouting at my belly, "COME OUT NOW BABY!".  Due to high blood pressure and being just a few days away from my due date, I chose to have an induction. 

Our Split Pea was born on September 2nd, and his arrival would affect our family in ways we never expected...