Friday, February 27, 2015

On the mend....

I think we're all finally healthy?  A few lingering coughs, but they officially went back to the cestpool of daycare.  I was down with this viral crud Friday night until Monday/Tuesday.  I managed to keep it out of my lungs, but my sinuses & head paid the price.

We have decided to start booster training the kids.  Eeek.  We are officially on the last height click on all our carseats.  {Little Logan could probably be down a click- but we seat share so much they are all cliked up.}  Hayden has about 1 inch left of torso height until he outgrows all our harnesses.  And the carseat people say to expect 1-1.5" torso height growth a year & I figure with our big growing boy I'm looking at 9-12 months give or take until he's boostered full time.  Since I have 3 to "train" to sit properly 100% of the time & with Kindergarten drop offs right around the corner  & no idea what our morning arrangements are going to be, I figured we should bite the bullet & start so I feel plenty comfortable with all 3 of them in boosters by fall.  (Just incase)  I only bought one booster for now & we rotate through.  And no booster seat riding when the roads are snowy.  So far they do well & sit well, but again "the carseat people" say they do well at first since its new & novel, then they get squirmy.  And we haven't had any chance to see how they do sleeping boostered yet.
We made some snow cream with the latest snow.  It was pretty good.  
And as all the snow was melting & the kids were feeling slightly better, Jeff took them out & built a snow man.
Some sales person at Target was handing out Fun-Dips for Valentine's.  Blue Fun-Dip powder is some serious business.  Ha!!

Jeff & I were able to take the kids up to daycare extra for a few hours so they could attend their Valentine's parties.  We helped a little too.  And it was fun to see them, just being them in their school environment.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The ER

In December, seemingly everyone at work had sick kids.  Influenza A was everywhere.  My grandma had just been given weeks left to live & I "bargined" with God that if he would just please keep my kids healthy until my grandma had passed on & the dust had settled... that we could be sick the whole month of February & I promised I wouldn't even complain.

The lesson:  Be careful what you wish for.

I literally blogged {this little blog} the the beginning of my shift Tuesday night.  Hayden had started coughing non-stop about 2pm, meaning I didn't get any sort of nap & was in for a day of up for 24 straight hours at work.  I figured he was getting what Livi had & we were in for a few days of sickness.

Little did I know 1am would find us in the ER.

At least the ER has stickers?

He is our croup boy.  He just can't shake it.  Its decreased in frequency with age, but ugh.  I can think of now 3 episodes in the last 7 months where we've had a run in.

Livi when she gets sick with respiratory crud, she gets wheezy & asthmatic.  That I can almost always comfortably treat with Albuterol at home.  She has a great response to it.  It makes a phenominal, unbelievable difference sometimes!  Hayden however, he gets the croup-upper airway constriction instead.  We do hot showers, freeze our butts off outside, saline nebulizer treatments & sometimes Albuterol as a last ditch effort.  But sometimes it just isn't enough.  After a hot shower, breathing in cold air, back to back Albuterol treatments... he slept briefly, but still sounded as though he was breathing through a straw & was retracting pretty hard.  I was at work, Jeff was calling for ideas & texting me videos of him.  After 45 minutes of "sleep" he again woke up in a panic saying he couldn't breathe.  He couldn't stop coughing long enough to catch his breath & Jeff felt in his coughing spells his lips turned shades of blue.  He was puking, gagging... couldn't stop.  So super dad packed up all 3 bodies & I met them in the ER.  He got a racemic epi breathing treatment & a shot of steroids.  Jeff then took the other 2 home & I waited another hour or so with Hayden to make sure he didn't rebound.  For a brief while during our discharge vitals, his oxygen sats were only 90%.  The nurse seemed like she was fine with that, but I was nervous... in times past {because we've had plenty of respiratory illness ER visits in times past} Children's Hospital ER always requires their sats to be 92%.  Then he wiggled around a little bit & his sats jumped up to 95%.  Phew!  Home we went.

The next morning (if you can call it morning after our sleeping version of night really only lasted 5am-9am) he still sounded so constricted.  I called the pediatrician to check in;  it had snowed, school was canceled... so they didn't want us to come in, but they did call him in a 3 day course of oral steroids.  I was also thankful that it had not started snowing yet by the time we left the ER at 3ish.

With Hayden's last few croup-episodes, I had started to question if he had a type of cough variant asthma.  I had randomly discussed this with one of the respiratory therapists at work about a week before this episode.  And SHE happened to be the RT that came to see him & give him a treatment in the ER.  She said his actual LUNGS sounded great (though he had just had 2 Albuterol treatments, so that may have changed things?) but that all his constriction was upper airway.  Which on one hand is nice- meaning he probably doesn't have a cough variant asthma.  But on the other hand- croup sucks, I wish it was more at home treatable with meds.

Thursday Hayden was still pretty coughy & it seemed to start to settle into his chest like Livi's had.  He's had a Hayden version of a fever, like 99.2, but nothing much.  His activity & appitite are down slightly, but he's ok.  And Livi, despite going on day 5 of fever (never very high, just 99.3-100.5) said she felt "So much better."  So I figured she was on the upslide.  However, she woke up Friday morning still febrile & said her ear hurt!

So Friday, day 6 of all this we took her to the pediatrician.  Surprisingly her ears look ok (though she still claims they hurt, especially when she blows her nose).  Her lungs however, apparently still sound like crap!  I hadn't given her a breathing treatment in a good 24 hours because she was so improved.  But the ped (not our regular, he has Friday's off) said she sounded so tight she was tempted to give her a treatment right there!  OOOPS!  I said "Really?  She is SO much better!"  Wonder what they would have thought of her on Sunday/Monday??  And then I gave Livi a high-5 and said "Way to work through this out of the hospital this year girlfriend!"  Rock those strong 5 year old post-preemie lungs!  So we got a bronchiolitis diagnosis, and scripts for 5 days of oral steroids, a kiddie version of a z-pac & a recommendation to do Albuterol at least twice a day through the weekend.  Poor girl!

They were apparently having a special on appointments for newborns at the pediatrician's office that day, there were SOOO many of them there.  So I bribed my kids with Sonic slushies to wear masks our whole visit.  I felt maybe we shouldn't share this crud there.

A qick trip to Walmart to pick up a few necessities & the prescriptions... was apparently too much.  Hayden was so tired & said his breathing hurt, but after an Albuterol treatment as soon as we got home, he was up & running (while still coughing) again.  If his lips look slightly purple here- they are, compliments of a grape Sonic slush.  He's a little tachypnic here & there, but working through it all pretty well.

So tonight was Hayden's last steroid dose.  I'm giving him Albuterol, an expectorant to hopefuly keep him clearing out his phlem, and motrin as needed for cough induced headaches.

Liv is day 1/5 of steroids, day 1/4 of antibiotics, with Albuterol 2x a day, expectorant, & Motrin for fever &/or ear aches.

And Logan... he of course is fine.  It baffles me all the time how he was our sickest NICU baby, who couldn't shake his O2 need... and the respiratory stuff just doesn't seem to hit him like it does Hayden & Olivia.  My nurse brain always wonders if its just him, his genetic luck?  Or if the difference in their courses of NICU stays has impacted their lung outcomes?  Hayden was never intubated or never received surfactant.  Just 1 day of CPAP, a little High-flow, and was on room air by like day 3 of life.  Olivia was intubated at about 18 hours of age & got surfactant.  She was extubated, failed, re-intubated & re-surf'd over the span of her first 3-4 days of life.  Then progressed through CPAP, High-flow, and low flow oxygen.  Logan was also intubated at about18 hours of age for surfactant & weaned slower that Olivia from the vent.  Because Olivia failed extubation, the just let him "ride" on the vent an extra day or so, but he never got a second dose of surfactant.  He was extubated about the same time as Olivia was her second time.  Then progressed through CPAP, High-flow, & low flow... only finally coming off low flow 10 days before discharge.  Seriously, I thought he was taking that 12.5cc of O2 to Kindergarten!  Very different respiratory courses in the NICU, very different 5 year old issues.  One will never know, yet I will always wonder & analyze, what of it is genetics & what of it is their initial respiratory course causing their outcomes??  Except I would expect it backwards.  I would expect Hayden to have no issues & Logan to be our worst respiratory kid.  Yet it isn't at all that way.  Who knows....

Grandma's been gone a whole month & I think the universe is telling me its ok to still just sit on the couch & snuggle... even if its sickness induced.  {Though I do hope we're not really sick the WHOLE month of February!}

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


We finally got some real snow!!  We did have a dribble of snow here & there, but this was our first big dump of the year.  We got around 9 inches according to the National Weather Service & more is supposed to be on its way Tuesday night into Wednesday.  

Jeff had been out of town visiting some friends, so the kids & I did a little playing in the snow Sunday.  Liv's fighting a respiratory bug so she didn't play much.

 There were drifts big enough to build a fort in. 
 And of course snow angels.
 They shoveled off their slide.  And the next day shoveled off the trampoline with Jeff, who was home on a snow day from work.  The boys then had fun jumping off the tramp into a big huge pile of snow.  Liv got all dressed up Monday, went out & just sat in the garage.  She wanted to play so bad, but felt so icky.  I offered her a hot steamy shower instead... and she quickly decided to come in.  You know you feel bad when at 5 years old you choose a shower over playing in the snow :(
The drifts in the back yard & driveway were impressive.  No getting in the play house door!
 Since Jeff was gone over the weekend... the kids & I had to scoop enough of the drive way for him to actually even get home!  The roads were icky.. and I think at the end of the driveway by the road the snow was 2 feet deep!  My pathetically out of shape self thought I was going to have a heart attack... but about 2/3 of the driveway got done & Jeff made it home.

Miss sicky Liv has officially discovered the beauty of a hot steamy shower.  And I think we are on the verge of her being a shower-on-your-own, no more bath kid.  She's taken 30 min showers about every 8-12 hours the last few days!  She's got a fever, breaths fast, works a little hard, but she's ok.  She just had such a bad, non-stop cough her body got so achy.  She couldn't sit up from laying down!  She said "It hurts to talk, it hurts to cough, it hurts to sit, it hurts to lay..."  When I give her meds (Tylenol, Motrin, Cough meds, etc) she specifically asks what she's getting.  She's such a little nurse, she knows what is what & likes to stay up to date on her plan of care.  Her cough was better today, well its deep & rattly in her chest, but its less frequent anyways.  Just lingering fever & aches, so hopefully she's on the mend.

Hayden has had a mostly night time cough, which I contributed to the warm weather & playing outside & his allergy-post nasal drip issues.  It cleared up for like 3 days & now today he's got the constant cough... so I'm guessing he's getting what Liv has & Logan will probably be on track to have it this weekend.

All in all though we've had a pretty healthy winter.  Outside of the perpetual sickness that was August/September, we've been pretty well.

Onward February...

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Just a few kid funnies I wanted to write down as to never forget:

Livi has 2 boyfriends now at preschool.  Greyson & Brody.  She's been "dating" Greyson for quite some time & has expressed concerns that she doesn't know his parents' names.  Because how can she not know her future kids' future grandparent's names!  She did tell me today that neither Greyson or Brody have other girlfriends... which is good... but if they do marry someone else, she guesses she'll just marry Owen.  My 5 year old daughter has a "back up plan."  Phew... I was worried :)  She's just too much.

A few weeks back Hayden discovered his scrotum.  I'm surprised I guess he didn't know it was there before?  I was at work & I'm not exactly what conversations were all had about it.  Except this week he told me:

"I'm glad the doctor doesn't have to cut my pee-pee open to get babies out."  "I'm glad my babies just get in the mommy's tummy a special way & then the doctors can cut them out."  Yes I had a c-section so currently my kids think all babies are born via that form of exit.

He has moved on as of very recently from the future goals to live with me forever.  He is concerned though which days will be his "at home days."  And if it is Saturday & Sunday like dad, he will come visit me every Saturday & I am to visit him every Sunday.  Hope he plans to live close ;)

He has also asked me if I could write my whole name down for him.  He wants to make sure he can always find which rock I am under when I'm dead.  I am glad he wants to come visit me.  Post-funeral life with 5 year olds is hard.  Such a big concept for such little beings.

Well, it's February

Time is just ticking right along.  Its February already.

Life is so busy.  
So many ups & downs & life just feels boarderline chaotic.

I've been in kind of a winter-post funaral slump & we haven't really gotten out much.  At least I have this cutie & her sense of style to keep me smiling.
 Jeff's car also quit working.... again.  We had to take Jeff to work & pick him back up one day.  A lot of extra driving.  We got to sneak in & watch a little bit of middle school girls basketball while we waited for him to finish working concessions.  Logan was pretty into it!  Well, except for the loud buzzer.  Jeff's got it up & running again & we're hoping it can limp through for a while yet.
 Luckily we've had some nice warm days to get out & enjoy the fresh air... our spirits have needed it.

 The kids are keeping up their responsibility of their laundry.  Infact 2/3 of them can officially fold their socks together!  The last just sticks the match one inside the other.
 I caught her trying to learn to roll her tongue!! 
 And while she doesn't have much for tongue rolling skills- the girl is a spelling & reading genius.  She was playing waitress & taking orders one day.  I think she's ready for Kindergarten.
 Batman, or I mean, Logan is on the cusp of sounding out words too.  He does pretty well with sounding out or writing simple 3 letter words.  And he has a pretty good bank of sight words.
 Our dishwasher was not working & we went without for 3 months.  Infact... of all the things that have gone on in the last 3 months, it wasn't that bad.  Jeff did get it working now... just in time for one of the guide wheels for the top rack apparently fall off & get lost.  Now the top shelf sits crooked when you pull it out.  At least we only have 4 more months to pay for daycare.... then maybe new appliances are on the horizon.  And/or a new car.
 Got a nice snuggle nap in with Livi one afternoon... only for her to wake up at 3am with a terrible cough.  No wonder she needed the nap.  Our first respiratory crud for her of 2015...  her & I are snuggling on the couch tonight.

We're working on Kindergarten registration.

We're workin on coordinating a schedule that works for Olivia to do vision therapy.  (And I'm trying to work extra to finance it all.)

Our ice maker is broken. (See above wish for new appliances.)

Hayden has grown out of velcro shoes.

I need to organize our taxes.

There's that ole' infertility thing thats been on the back burner of my mind & life for 9 months or so now.

Our daycare had a possible measles case, which lead to a 9pm Friday night phone call from daycare & a Saturday morning of rushing to get the kids their second MMR per the Douglas County Health Department's recommendation.  Said case was later found to be negative.  At least now we only need 1 shot at their Kindergarten well visit.

Life's just ups & downs.  And its so up & down right now that sometimes I stop & think there was a time in my life the level of stresses I'm processing right now would have surely kept me confined to my bed for a week.  Yet we're still ticking, some days with minimal grace (just ask the kids about my 2 year old style tantrum I threw when the dog poop covered shoe was the straw that broke the camel's back), but tickin none the less.

Doesn't every one have a pile of "spy glases" building a tower on their bed side table? 

 I guess one man's trash is another mans treasure.  May we make the most of the happy & the hard moments.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Liv's eyes.... the ongoing saga!

{I wish my grandma was still here.  She loved to talk about Liv's eyes with me.}

Incase you don't know her story, when Olivia was first born we joked about her crossing her eyes.  In a "man she's trying so hard to see....haha" kind of way you do with newborns.  Given her prematurity, she had a scheduled eye exam at 6 months of age, at which point it was becoming a concern she wasn't growing out of this eye crossing.  That eye doctor refereed us off to a pediatric ophthalmologist.  I found a second, and we had 2 visits back around August 2010.

Livi was diagnosed with strabismus.  Specifically, intermittent alternating esotropia.  Meaning her eyes take turns intermittently turning in.

Shortly there after, she started wearing glasses.

For a while, it seemed to fix things. 
Then that ended.  And we noticed mostly her left eye turning.
So she started wearing a patch.

The doctor felt she was at the best place she could be with her actual vision, both her actual vision & the frequency of eye turn was equal in both eyes.  Yet her eyes still turned, both with & without glasses.

So we scheduled surgery.  Which was a terrible experience.  It was a hard week after.
 But the end result was this.  So we were pleased.

That was August 2011.  Here we are 3.5 years later...

We started noticing somewhere around a year ago some turning again.  We saw it as turning in.  But our eye doctor corrected us, her eyes this time were alternating turning out!  We were just expecting an inward turn, so we completely misinterpreted the direction she was looking!  They also deviate vertically with the outward turn.

We've now seen 2 very different specialists this month- on 2 very different ends of the spectrum.

We were referred from our eye doctor back to the surgeon.  He diagnosed her with dissociated vertical deviation (DVD).  I read somewhere that "DVD is to strabismus as fever is to infection."  That a DVD is somewhere around 50% likely to occur after strabismus surgery.  And some research I did tonight said that without surgery prior to age 2, the incidence of DVD is as high as 80%.  So I guess this shouldn't be a surprising place for her to be.  He recommended a prescription change, and a follow up in a year.  He said the severity of her DVD was mild & not surgery worthy.  And that her vision in both eyes is great!  If anyone out there would have pushed for surgery it would have been him.  So since he saw no need, I feel confident that surgery isn't the route to go.

I also got recommended the name of a vision therapist, and have done a bit of research regarding it.  Vision Therapy (VT) seems to still be a pretty newly accepted thing, and in fact many people in the medical community don't believe in it at all.  They told me that only one insurance carrier in NE will even accept claims for VT.  Luckily that's the insurance we have... unfortunately its still extremely expensive!!

The doctor at this focuses more on the neurological side of strabismus, rather than just the muscular side as a surgeon would.  The Dr. at this office feels that Olivia is very rarely using both of her eyes together to see anything.  She has great vision in each eye, but she is almost always suppressing one or the other.  Try walking around your house, or reading, or doing simple tasks alternating closing one eye or the other.  They believe that is how she sees.  I am shocked!!  

We've done one practice run to see if Olivia is old enough to be capable of doing VT.  Vision Therapy is essentially training your brain on how to correctly use your eyes.  Through watching her do some of these exercises, I do agree, she is very often suppressing one eye.  BUT it appears she CAN actually fuse them both together & see the whole picture.  Which is what VT would ideally teach her how to do & control.

The problem is at age 5, lots of kids aren't capable.  Not that they aren't smart, or physically able.  But that A) 5 year olds lack the communication skills & vocabulary to communicate to you what they are seeing.  and B) 5 year olds try to hard to please you.  For example, they did one test with Olivia with some glasses & had her point out what she saw.  They then TOLD her they turned the glasses upside down, (however in truth the glasses stayed the same) & again asked her what she saw.  She had 2 pictures to choose from to point at.  Given that they told her the glasses were upside down, she though she should see something different, so she pointed to the other picture even though that's not what she really saw.  She just wanted to be right.  If you can't be 100% honest & communicate effectively what you see, it won't work.  We also did some test runs with a therapist who also has an early childhood education degree & Liv seemed to do better with those.  So she's kind of on the fence.  We're going to go ahead & TRY... see how it goes.  And if we get a few weeks in & see its not going well, we'll stop & try again in 6-8 months. 

Liv & I discussed honesty & not being shy if we do this.  And she came to the conclusion she would be able to be less shy if I waited for her in the other room.  So I think when we go back next week we'll give that a try.  If in fact she can handle going-it-alone it would make the whole process easier.  I could tote the boys along then.  If I have to sit with her the whole time (no idea how long a session truly lasts) I'm stuck trying to find help with the boys every week!!

 How the brain & eyes work is simply amazing.  And even these few diagnostic appointments with the vision therapists have been so eye opening into her world.  Its amazing actually that her motor skills are fine, that she's reading, etc.  I wonder sometimes if her shyness is somewhat a side effect of her vision?  I know that's not completely the cause, but it could play a part?

So here we are.... hopefully we can  have success with this!! 

Holiday Programs

We really talked up school programs this year trying to break our shy munchkins out of their shells.  And we did awesome!!

First, they had their Sunday School Program & did so well. 

Then their Preschool Program was next.

Hayden started out kind of timid, lots of finger twiddling.
 But he really knew & liked his second song & he got into all the actions.

P.S.  Lighting for pictures in theaters is terrible!!

Olivia was a rock star!!  The boys had "tattled" on her about not singing in the gym for practice at school so we had a talk about having fun & not caring about anyone else.  And she rocked it.
 Might of helped that she got to stand by her boyfriend Greyson :)

Logan always seems like Mr. Stoic up on stage.  You wouldn't guess he's such an ornery, squirly being.

Analeigh came to watch & they all got to see Santa afterwards!