Friday, December 30, 2011

2011, in review:

January: Caleb was diagnosed as Failure to Thrive due to insufficient weight gain and chronic dehydration.

March: Caleb was hospitalized for 5 days with RSV, a nasty stomach virus, and an ear infection, all at the same time. The day after leaving the hospital, at 16.5 months of age, he took his first steps!

April: We found out that we were expecting another little Purser!

May: Caleb was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Enteritis.

June: Caleb spent the afternoon in the ER for vomiting and dehydration. The next day he got an NG feeding tube and started his elemental diet.

July: We found out that Caleb would have a little BROTHER! Caleb had surgery to place a g-tube to take the place of the NG feeding tube.

August: We had a lovely vacation visiting my family in Minnesota.

November: Caleb turned 2! I made it to full-term (37 weeks)! Caleb had a clean scope--the eosinophil cells were gone!

December: Caleb started getting a few new foods to eat. Baby Russell joined our family, big and healthy and just in time for Christmas! Nate and I celebrated our fourth anniversary.

-------------------------------------

It's been quite a year. In January, Caleb was just barely starting to pull himself up and walk around furniture. He had just figured out how to go from a crawl to a sit. Now he's running everywhere and starting to walk up stairs! Caleb went from being 16 pounds in January to 18 pounds in July to 21 pounds in November. I won't tell you what happened with my weight. ;) He went from wearing size 3-6 month clothing to 12 month clothing! I can't even begin to describe how much has happened with his vocabulary and cognitive development.

A lot of good things happened in 2011. It was a pretty big year! Sure, we had two hospitalizations, two diagnoses (one quite major), and one surgery, but it sure is nice to end the year on a good note! We have two healthy little boys (relatively speaking) and a lot to look forward to.

I couldn't ask for more.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Russell's Birth Story


I know, I know, my baby is already four weeks old and I'm just getting around to writing his birth story. Can you blame me? I have hardly slept in the last month. It's a little crazy around here.

The Story:

Wednesday, December 14th: At my regular OB appointment the doctor stripped my membranes and scheduled an induction for my due date, December 21st. I was 3cm dilated and about 90% effaced.

Saturday, December 17th: I finished the last of my Christmas shopping. While buying Russell a bank for his Christmas gift, the lady at the check-out asked when I was due. I told her that I had an induction scheduled for Wednesday, and that I was too comfortable being pregnant to think that I'd be going into labor on my own. That evening, around 6PM, I went from having no contractions whatsoever to having really painful ones every few minutes. They were too painful and too fast to even be able to time them. Jenna was planning on coming to our house that evening anyway, and she got there just in time. I was ready to go NOW.

So, Nate and I left for the hospital around 7PM. When we got there I was dilated to 5cm, my water was bulging, and I was having very strong, regular contractions lasting at least 60 seconds and coming every two minutes. They admitted me right away and offered an epidural. Remembering how awful the epidural made me feel last time (and how it hardly even took the edge off of the contractions, anyway), I wanted to wait as long as I could before getting it. But my contractions were soooo strong that every time I would get one I would say, "I think it's time for an epidural!" But every time the contraction would end, I would be sooo happy that I could feel my legs. So I decided to get an epidural once my water broke, because I had heard that contractions were much stronger after that.


The nurse didn't think it would take very long at all for Russell to come. She thought he would be here before midnight since it was my second delivery and my contractions were so strong and close together. Our goal was to make it past midnight, since I needed at least four hours of antibiotics since I was group B strep positive.

About an hour and a half after getting to the hospital, the nurse checked me again and I was 6-7cm. Right after checking me, my water broke and the first thing I said was, "I want an epidural!" It took almost another hour before the epidural was in, but I guess my contractions were so strong to begin with that it didn't get any worse after my water broke. And the epidural was much better than last time--it took the pain away, but I could still feel and move my legs!

Then Nate slept, and I tried to sleep. The nurse checked me every hour and surprisingly I wasn't 10cm until about 3am! At that point she noticed that Russell was posterior (facing up towards the ceiling, not down towards the floor). Posterior babies are much harder to push out, because they can't descend down the birth canal as easily. That's why it took me so long to dilate even with those crazy contractions. So, then I got another dose of epidural, threw up, and the doctor came in and I started pushing.

After about 15 minutes of pushing with the doctor trying to turn Russell so he wasn't posterior, the doctor told me that I was pushing effectively, but that this wouldn't be a typical second delivery. :( Russell was big and he wasn't able to turn him, so I shouldn't expect delivery to be fast or easy. Sad! So, then the doctor left and I pushed with the nurse for the next TWO HOURS! Yikes! Two hours of giving it my all in the middle of the night. It was HARD WORK!

At that point, I needed another dose of epidural. And I started getting this excruciating pain by my left hip bone that didn't go away with the epidural. It felt similar to an ovarian cyst rupturing (which I've had many times), only much more painful. I couldn't think of anything but the pain. I had to press my fingers into my side to make the pain even somewhat manageable. I kept saying, "I can't...I don't..." thinking, "I can't do this any more! I don't know how much more I can take!" But I knew that I didn't have any other options.

Then I threw up again. The doctor came in and said, "How do you feel about forceps?" And I said, "YES, PLEASE!" So, after about two pushes with the forceps and a few more pushes otherwise, Russell made his grand entrance!

Eleven hours of labor and two hours and fifteen minutes of pushing in the wee hours of the morning, and I delivered my 8lb 5oz, 19 inch boy!

I got to see him get cleaned off and weighed, and I got to hold him skin-to-skin right away for about an hour. He was born hungry and had enough energy to nurse for over half an hour right after birth. I swear he's been hungry every second of his life. VERY different from Caleb!

And I'm proud to say that between all of my sisters, I now hold the record for the smallest baby and the biggest baby. :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Introducing:



Russell David Purser
12/18/11, 5:24AM
8 pounds 5 ounces
19 inches


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bye-Bye Eosinophils!

Caleb had another scope on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Everything appeared normal, just as it did on his first scope, when he was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Enteritis. After all, eosinophils are allergy cells, and you can't see cells with the naked eye.

So, the GI doctor took biopsies of every part of his upper digestive system (just as she did the first time) and tested them for everything under the sun (just as before). We got the biopsy results back on Monday morning and guess what...? NO MORE EOSINOPHILS! The diet of just an elemental/hypoallergenic formula along with apples, rice, grapes, chicken, tuna, white potatoes, and sweet potatoes (well, he basically only ate apples, grapes, and sweet potatoes for the past few months) worked!

video
"Bye-bye eosinophils"
"See ya [daddy??] eosinophils"
"No-no, all done, eosinophils"
You probably can't tell, but I'm happy to point out that he has cooked rice and pureed sweet potatoes on his chin and bib. :D

Now we just have to hope that he has gained enough weight to have a stronger small bowel so that he can fight off any new allergens as we introduce new foods. He has only gained three pounds in the last 4-5 months, and he's not even close to being on the growth chart, but the GI doctor thinks it's time to start new foods. I really hope that we're not moving ahead too soon. If he's not ready for new foods then we could lose all of the progress that we've made. I'm just scared that, if he isn't able to fight off the allergens, we won't know what the offending food is. After all, the only clues that anything was wrong before his diagnosis were occasional vomiting of huge amounts and refusal to eat. And even though at the start of his new diet those symptoms were completely resolved, they are now worse than ever because his body is rejecting the formula. So it's going to be hard to know what's going on.

So. We're going to take a leap of faith. Our GI doctor has seen a 100 percent cure rate with this type of eosinophilic disorder, so I've got to trust her. And it will be nice to have a head start on all of this by the time the baby comes.

So, what comes next? New foods! We will add one new food every three days and see how Caleb reacts. We've already started our first new "food"--a non-hypoallergenic formula. Instead of using a medical formula with completely broken down proteins that is impossible to be allergic to, we are now using Nestle/Gerber Goodstart (it's an infant formula that you can get at any store). It has partially broken down proteins, so it's still very gentle on his system. We're in the middle of day five on the new formula and we've already seen major improvements!! He only threw up once in the past five days and his appetite has increased! He is (kind of) swallowing food again and the other day he wanted me to spoon feed him an entire jar of applesauce!

I don't know which food we will introduce next, or how we will go about introducing the most common offenders (like dairy, eggs, wheat, and soy). But the GI doctor and I decided to wait for two weeks to offer another new food, just to make sure that he will continue to tolerate the new formula. After that, we will probably go with the "new food every three days" rule...depending on what we see, I assume.

And at some point, depending on his symptoms, he will probably have another follow-up scope to make sure that the eosinophils are under control.

I had no clue that motherhood would be about watching your baby suffer day in and day out. It's not supposed to be like that. You're supposed to watch them suffer when they get an ear infection, or a stuffy nose, or the 24-hour flu, or their first vaccinations...not when they take a bite of food. Not when hunger pains are more tolerable than eating pains. Not when they're so dehydrated that their lips crack and bleed. Not when they get surgery so that they can do one of life's most basic functions--eat. Not when projectile vomiting becomes a part of everyday life.

I'm just so thankful that my valiant little guy's happy spirit hasn't been effected by this disease. Today we went to the store and for no apparent reason he just couldn't stop laughing. He may be wild and crazy and uncontrollable at times, and his medical issues are certainly trying at times, but he is almost always happy. He loves to do things that please me. He hardly ever throws tantrums, and if he does, a quick time-out cures everything. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect child, medical problems and all!

37 Weeks!

Yes, I made it to full-term! I may be 3 weeks away from my due date, but at this point, the baby is considered "full-term" and wouldn't be considered a preemie if he was born now! To my understanding, his chances of needing to be in the NICU are the same now as they are three weeks from now.

There is a very, very good chance that I will get the four things that I have really wanted from the beginning: to hold my baby after he's born, to hear him cry, to take him home from the hospital with me, and to be able to feed him without a feeding tube and/or stress/feeding therapy/medical concerns.

AMAZING!!!

In fact, my new goal is to give him nothing but breast milk for the first four months. After all, getting formula too soon is our best guess as to what caused Caleb's feeding problems. If we have children with weak digestive systems, I'd rather be safe than sorry. Yes, Caleb was under three pounds when he first got formula (as a fortifier to the breast milk), so of course it was hard for him to digest it, but still. Can you blame me for being paranoid? We've been living a nightmare. I'd do ANYTHING to keep my next little baby from having to suffer like Caleb has.

It's so nice to know that he has such a good chance at not suffering.

Nate and I celebrated by having pizza, wings, and cupcakes. :) I know that sounds so unhealthy, and that I look huge in the picture (who am I kidding, I AM huge!), but my weight gain is right on track, so no worries! It's worth the cupcakes!

37 weeks!

So, last Friday I had strong, painful contractions, every three minutes, for three hours. Then they went away. BUT!! Apparently they were kind of the real deal, because I am now dilated to 1.5cm and 60 percent effaced! Ever since 26 weeks I've been dilated less than 1cm and 50 percent effaced. So, it's nice to know that I won't be pregnant forever, and that some day in the not-too-distant future I will get to meet this little guy! I'm so excited to see him!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The 2-year-old Cal!

  • Weighs 21 lbs 1 oz (not even close to being on the charts)
  • Is 32.5 inches long (8th percentile! Woohoo!). If you go by the old wive's tale of doubling a child's height at age two and you'll get their full adult stature, that would mean that Caleb will be 5'5". One inch taller than me. That's not so bad.
  • Has a head circumference in the 31st percentile
  • Wears size 12 months clothes
  • Wears size 3 diapers during the day and size 4 at night (although he's so dehydrated lately that we can probably put him in size 3 at night now)
  • Has officially outgrown his infant car seat! (By the height limit, not the weight limit. The height limit is 32 inches, and the weight limit is 35 pounds.) He can still rear-face in his new convertible car seat for a LONG time--until he is 45 pounds or 45 inches. Perfect timing so he can hand his infant seat down to his little brother!
As much as I wish my toddler was bigger, healthier, and eating on his own, I do enjoy getting to have such a small little guy for so long. He'll get big some day. For now, I love him just how he is. :)

World Prematurity Day

It's World Prematurity Day today. Say a little prayer of thanks for the healthy babies in your life, and say an extra little prayer for the babies who suffer because they were born too early.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The (not-so-lovely) Bucket.

I do believe my child is now trained to vomit in his "throw-up bucket." Sad, isn't it? And also quite wonderful, in a depressing way? When he coughs just a bit, he runs and grabs his bucket and holds it in front of his face. (He always coughs before vomiting.) He hasn't successfully thrown up in it without help, though. But it's just a matter of time. He calls it his "throw-up bucket" and everything. I mean, it's sad enough that my 24-month-old's vocabulary contains the word "throw-up." But I think my life just became a little bit easier. Less wardrobe changes, thus less laundry. Less scrubbing of the floor on my hands and knees. If vomit must be a part of our everyday life (which it has been for the last two months), then this just made my life a little bit easier. Thank you, Bucket.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A lovely afternoon at the aviary!

My dad (who is a pilot) had a 4-hour layover in Salt Lake City, so Caleb and I drove up to meet him and spend a few hours at the aviary! It was INCREDIBLE! Caleb liked it more than the zoo! I liked it more than the zoo, too, because we were the ONLY customers there! Caleb learned how to say "eagle" and "peacock." And his favorite part, other than just spending time with Granddad, was feeding the ducks:

video

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Happy Dayday Cal-ba!

(That's how Caleb says, "Happy birthday"--"Happy Dayday.")

My little boy turned two years old on the 12th! It was a wonderful day. I did everything I could think of to make it special for him, since he couldn't have a birthday cake and since I didn't feel comfortable having a "party" for him if I couldn't serve our guests food, and there was NO way I was going to serve food if the guest of honor couldn't have any!

As I was saying, it was wonderful. We woke the birthday boy up by presenting him with balloons (an obsession of his). He LOVED them, and they'll stay floating for a while, so he will get a lot of enjoyment out of them!
video

Then, after filling his tummy, we hopped in the car to drive to the Rec. Center to swim with his friend, Nash! He threw up in the car (thankfully in a bowl, so he didn't get his fancy birthday outfit yucky) which was nice, since he inhaled some pool water later and had a few good coughing fits. I did NOT want him to throw up in the pool!

The pool at the Rec. Center was incredible! They had a great little toddler area where Caleb could comfortably wade. They had water slides that were perfect for him to go down with Auntie Jenna (Nash's favorite part). I was swimming, too, but I don't have enough lap space lately to be able to go down the slide with Caleb. :) Caleb loved to just stand by the end of the slide and get splashed by everyone who came down. He laughed and laughed! And we enjoyed a lovely little lazy river. The hour that we were there just flew by! We'll definitely have to go back. It was really affordable, too, especially for how much they have to offer!

We planned on getting back home with enough time to give Caleb a horse ride, but we spent too much time swimming! So next we opened presents with Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunties. Caleb has really improved his present-opening technique! It was so fun to watch him. He got a lot of books (which he wanted to read right away) and some great toys that he isn't even tired of yet!! Amazing, isn't it? We all did a great job giving presents. :)

Then we put two matches in an apple and sang "Happy Birthday" to him! Caleb knew just what to do (we had practiced blowing out matches), and when Daddy was lighting the matches, Caleb blew the flame out! So we had to light it again. When he blew the matches in the apple out, and we all cheered, he clapped with us with a big ol' grin on his face and said, "again?"

After nap time we went to a church dinner, then came home and played with the new toys. :) Right before bed, Caleb helped Daddy unload the dishwasher--another one of Caleb's favorite activities. :) I planned to have the dishes clean and ready for him to put away, as a special birthday treat! The only thing that I could have done to make the day better would have been to fold a load of laundry with Caleb's "help," too, but I was just too tired for that one.

It was such a wonderful day for all of us! Even if Caleb won't remember it, I will! And he certainly enjoyed it as much as possible for a little two-year-old! In fact, he didn't even need to go in time-out a single time! I don't know what these "terrible two's" are that everyone talks about...psh.... ;) (No need to tell me "just wait"...I know, I know! Everyone gets their time!)

Stay tuned for updates on Caleb's growth and such. He has a well-child appointment with the pediatrician on Thursday, so I'll update you after that! For now, I'll leave you with this thought: all of his clothes are size 12 months. :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

The things that make motherhood so sweet:

  • I opened the google chrome browser and Caleb saw the Angry Birds icon and said, "Angy Birds!" How he learned what Angry Birds was, I may never know.
  • Caleb loves to count. More specifically, he loves to identify when there is more than one of something, i.e., "TWO puntins!" (pumpkins). Sometimes, if there is more than two of something, he'll say, "A lot of puntins!" Just yesterday we realized that he knows that when there is more than one of something, you put an "s" on the end. "A dog" vs. "Two dogs."
  • The other day he looked out the window and saw the horses. He knows Hank's name, and when he saw Laci, he said, "TWO Hanks!" It reminded me of the time when my niece was little and said, "I have two Auntie Jenna's, only one's an Auntie Anna." (Remember, Jenna is my identical twin sister.) Too cute.
  • Caleb is getting very good at forming more complex sentences. A few common examples: "I see d temple!," "Where'd d temple go?," "A puntin with a face!," "Uh, oh, I dropped d pad," "Uh-oh, I made a mess."
  • He is in love with LDS temples. We have a picture of a Temple on a small card, and every time he finds it he brings it to me and says, "Adain?" (again) because he wants me to sing the child's song "I love to see the temple." While I sing, he carefully puts the picture on the floor and looks at it as he dances (more like sways) to the gentle music. One day, after it was dark, we decided to drive by the brightly-lit Temple to see what he thought. He recognized it right away. From then on, every time he would see an LDS church building (they are all over the place, and they have spires on the top), he would shout, "I SEE D TEMPLE!" He has since learned that it's a church that he sees, so now he excitedly proclaims, "I see a church!"
  • Nate has a co-worker named Pearce. Every time Pearce comes over, he will find an item (a blanket, a box, a book) and ask Caleb what it is. Caleb will answer correctly, and Pearce will say, "No, it's a hat!" and put it on Caleb's head. Then he will ask Caleb what the item is again, and Caleb will usually say, "A hat." A few days ago, Pearce was visiting along with a friend. His friend asked Caleb what the dog was, and Caleb answered, "A hat!" Ummm...I wouldn't suggest putting Meggie on your head, Dear Caleb, although it was very clever of you to make that association.
  • Caleb loves to look at my belly to say "hi" to the baby. After saying "hi," he will wave to the baby and say, "Bye-bye, Baby. Yuv you." (love you) and give my belly a kiss and insist that I pull my shirt back down immediately. The other day, Nate was bathing Caleb, wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and Caleb was copying everything that Nate did. So, Nate took his shirt off and did a nice, loud Tarzan impression, banging his chest with his fists while singing/shouting, "OooooOooooooOooooo." Caleb watched him do this, and when Nate was done, in a very unimpressed tone Caleb said, "Bye-bye, Baby," and continued to play in the bath. Yep, he wanted Nate to put his shirt back on immediately.
  • Caleb has become a little bit of a snuggler lately. He's been much too busy most of his life to make time to snuggle with Mommy, so I've been enjoying it. If I am laying on the couch, as I often do, he will come to me and say, "Up?" So, I pick him up and lay him in front of me, sort of in a spooning way. He will lay there for about two seconds and then say, "Uh-oh, blanket," or, "Uh-oh, cup." Then he will hop down, grab his blanket and cup, and come back to me and say, "Up?" He must snuggle with his blanket and cup (even though he hardly ever drinks from his cup).
  • He has learned the difference between little and big. He loves his "yittle blanket," (little blanket), a soft blanket made of four blanket squares. He also loves to put his two pumpkins next to each other and identify them as Yittle Puntin and Big Puntin.
  • Caleb pronounces all of the "L" sounds at the beginning of words with a "Y" sound. Yittle, Yight, Yeaves, Yove.
  • Caleb loves to identify things that are "yuty," (yucky). We have a mesh laundry bag of dirty button pads (the soft fabric pads that we put around his g-tube to protect the skin from the booger-like discharge), and he loves to point to it and say, "Yuty pads." Just today he noticed some dirt on the floor and told me it was, "yuty." When he throws up and we have to change his clothes, he says, "bye-bye yuty shirt." We always know when he's done throwing up because he says, "Bye-bye, yuty."
  • One of Caleb's favorite games is, "Where'd Caleb go?" He will run behind the couch and say, "Where'd Cal-ba go?" When he comes back around to the front of the couch he explodes with laughter and quickly runs away to play again. And yes, he pronounces his name "Cal-ba." It sounds a lot like "cowboy."
  • When I sneeze, Caleb says, "Achoo, Mommy." I think he thinks he's saying "bless you." Close enough, right?
  • He loves the movie Finding Nemo lately. He calls it "Nemo Fish." Now he calls our pet fish "Sunshine Fish."
  • Caleb can identify, almost flawlessly, the following colors of crayons: blue, green, orange, yellow, purple, red, brown, pink, and silver. But he can't identify the color of anything that isn't a crayon. He tries, but he gets it wrong almost every time.
  • Caleb knows that the baby's room is the baby's room. When he walks by the door, he says, "Bye-bye, baby room."
  • He knows that "bye-bye" and "see ya" are synonymous. He also uses dog, doggie, puppy, and puppy dog interchangeably. Same with horse and horsie; rabbit, bunny, and bunny rabbit; etc.
  • When we are doing something to Caleb that hurts him (wiping him after a dirty diaper when he has a diaper rash, cleaning around his feeding tube when it's sore), he cries, but he says in a very tough way, "Bye-bye OWie! See ya, OWie!" over and over, through his tears, as if he's demanding that the owie go bye-bye. He is one of the toughest, strongest people I know.
  • He knows that a kiss always makes an owie better.
  • When we tube feed him in the middle of the night, sometimes he wakes up just enough to look at us and smile. We whisper, "I love you," and he whispers back, "Yove you." Melts my heart.
:)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Another random pregnancy update!

33 weeks 3 days (today)


There is no rhyme or reason to these updates. It's just when I think about taking a picture and actually get around to finding time to blog (ok, ok, I could find time if I made time, it's just harder to prioritize these days).

I didn't realize how big I have gotten until I saw this picture that Nate just took. Ummm...is that a torpedo hiding under my shirt? When did that happen?

And I'm pretty sure the baby has "dropped," whatever that means. I woke up one morning (actually about a week and a half ago) and I felt like my belly had changed a little bit. I could tell just by looking in the mirror that the baby wasn't sitting as high as he used to. I'm not worried about it being a warning that I'll go into labor soon, because I certainly didn't drop with Caleb until I was in labor and started pushing. I carried him really high the whole time.

Speaking of labor, my doctor told me that my progesterone shot at 32 weeks 5 days would be my last one. I was under the impression that my last shot would be at 36 weeks, but I was too excited thinking about not having to poke myself in the rear with a needle every week that I didn't think to ask any questions. But everyone I've talked to says that their last shot is/was at 36 weeks, and it seems that most people deliver 2-2.5 weeks after their last shot. Soooo, I'm not comfortable with having my baby next week. I think I'll go ahead and give myself just one more shot and go from there. That should take me to 36 1/2 weeks, at least.

Speaking of not having a baby yet, I'm totally not ready to have a baby yet! I mean, technically I'm ready. I have diapers and clothes and a place for the baby to sleep. But I'm just not uncomfortable enough to want this to end! Sure, there are times when this little guy naps in my ribs (but I just push him right back out, he gives an objective kick, and then we both settle into a more agreeable position). And sure, I have a hard time sleeping (but seriously, it's not because I'm uncomfortable. I just can't sleep!). But it's really not bad. I'm in no way miserable. I'll have to reevaluate that one in a few weeks too, I suppose. :)

Well, ok, there are two parts about being this far along in my pregnancy that aren't all too enjoyable. One is the pelvic pain. Youch! It's like the whole 26 pounds that I've gained is resting right on my pelvic bones and whenever I'm vertical it just aches. The other less-than-wonderful part about being this far along is that I can't bend over. If I try to put my socks on, I have a contraction. If I try to pick up the crayon that Caleb drops on the floor, I have a contraction. If I try to get up off of the couch, I have a contraction. I have to think about what I do before I do it, because it just might cause yet another really painful contraction. I feel a little bit like an old woman who can't get up if she bends over. But the nice thing is that some day, most likely in a month or so, I won't feel like an old woman any more! I will be able to play on the floor with my little boys and keep up with them and not think "ugh" every time I have to do a little task! That doesn't happen if you really are getting old! I get to be young again! Isn't that splendid?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I made it to the 30s!

Taken today, at 30 weeks 3 days.

I'm in the 30s! That's a big deal! All of the doctors and nurses say, "As long as you can make it to the 30s...." I can't believe that I have less than ten weeks left in my pregnancy! I can't believe that I have less than seven weeks before I'm full-term! I can't believe that my baby weighs over three pounds at this point!

Nate and I are getting to the point where we're really excited to meet this little guy! We're patient enough to wait ten more weeks, but still!

I've felt him hiccup twice now, which is something I never felt Caleb do.

I'm having a hard time crossing my legs and putting my socks on.

I had the gestational diabetes test, which I never had with Caleb, and I passed! I was honestly a little worried, because Caleb was a bit big for a 27-weeker, but since he was born with his eyelids fused shut they thought he might actually be earlier than 27 weeks (although I'm pretty sure his due date was right on and he was just one of the few 27-weekers who couldn't open his eyes). Anyway, in the back of my mind I was worried that I had gestational diabetes with Caleb, and that I could have it again. But I don't! Whew! That's a HUGE relief, because I'm having a hard time putting down the candy corn!

I'm genuinely having a difficult time sleeping. Part of it may be that I have to use the bathroom in the night (at least once, sometimes twice). Part of it may be that I need to give Caleb an extra feeding at 3-4AM. Part of it is definitely the sore hips--sometimes I'm glad to get out of bed in the night, because walking around makes my hips ache less. Sometimes it's the heartburn. Sometimes it's the nausea. Sometimes I'm just too darn hot (I don't use blankets any more. Nate gets them all to himself). But most of the time I just can't sleep. I don't know why. I'm not really uncomfortable. I just toss and turn. It's a pain. I'm seriously considering sleep aids.

I'm slightly anemic. The nurse said that they like to see iron levels at 60.1 or higher, and mine is at 54.6. It's weird; I've never had low iron before! She said that some people can be so anemic that they're on the verge of needing a blood transfusion, and not be able to tell at all. But some people can be slightly on the low side, and have no energy whatsoever. I thought I was tired because...well...I'm pregnant and I have an almost-2-year-old who has unlimited energy. But if I can get some more iron in my diet and subsequently get some energy, wouldn't that be nice!!!??? So I've been eating lots of iron-fortified cereals and trying to eat more meat. And I'm still tired. I plan on talking to my doctor this week about taking an extra iron pill.

I'm on the quest for another doctor again. This darn receptionist made me cry for a second time! She scheduled me for the 17th, but told me that my appointment was for the 10th. She even wrote me a reminder card that had the 10th on it. So Nate worked from home so he could watch Caleb and I got up early and drove 20 minutes, just to be turned away. It was very frustrating. And the doctor that I've seen for my last two visits seems a little...absent-minded, to put it nicely. He told me two completely different things at each visit, and on two different topics, too. I'm not convinced that he knows what he's talking about. AND he forgot to listen to my baby's heartbeat! Umm...that's pretty much why I go to these appointments! There has GOT to be someone out there who cares about me and my baby a little more than that office does.

Anyway...at this point, I feel like we could handle having a baby early, if that's how it had to go (although I would really, really like to go at least another month or two). But only once we get Caleb's vomiting problem under control. I don't think I could handle anything extra on my plate until the vomiting stops. I'll be calling the GI doc again on Monday to see what to try next.

Wish us luck! With the vomiting AND the pregnancy!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Will it ever end?

Pre-diagnosis, Caleb's only symptoms of anything being wrong were an unwillingness to eat, occasional vomiting of huge amounts, and poor weight gain (which goes hand-in-hand with the prior two symptoms).

During the one-month trial with appetite stimulants (pre-diagnosis), vomiting increased. After the one-month trial with steroids (post-diagnosis) vomiting increased to the point of needing IV fluids.

After going on the elemental diet with the NG tube, vomiting almost completely disappeared. After g-tube surgery, vomiting was practically nonexistent.

After getting a very tiny cold, vomiting increased drastically. After the cold went away, vomiting continued. After waiting a few weeks, we decided that we couldn't sit back, do laundry, and scrub the carpets in hopes that the vomiting would go away on its own.

We tried a medication for vomiting. We tried slowing down the rate at which his feeding goes into his stomach. We tried making sure that he NEVER had more than 7 ounces of formula in his stomach at a time (that's the cool thing about the g-tube--we can check the residuals from his last meal and see just how fast he is digesting his food, so we can make sure that we aren't overfilling him). We tried elevating the head of his bed so his reflux wouldn't be so bad while laying down. We stopped giving him foods orally, because every time we did he would throw up. Calories and weight gain are more important at this point than eating skills. We'll work on eating later. And today we tried doing a continuous feed (where I keep him attached to the feeding pump all day so the formula can be slowly pumped in). So far he has thrown up twice in the past few hours.

I'm lost. I don't know what else to do. I thought this would solve all of our problems, not create new ones. I don't know how much longer I can handle watching my child projectile vomit uncontrollably.

:(

Thursday, September 22, 2011

27+1!!!

I DID IT! I made it to 27 weeks and one day! I'm not on bed rest, in the hospital, or in labor! And I won't be tomorrow, either! Or the next day! Or the next! I very well could go all the way with this one! Or at least into the 30s!

Today I celebrated my pregnantness by having a 3D ultrasound done. Now I have pictures of both of my boys at 27 weeks and one day! I'd show you, but our CD drive doesn't work. I'll show you later. Let me just tell you, the new baby has cheeks! And his chin doesn't seem as pronounced as Caleb's was. And his feet aren't as long and skinny as Caleb's were. And he's adorable, just like his brother.

Then I celebrated by having a DQ ice cream cake!
(Forgive me for failing to photograph the lovely cake before making the first cut....)

And now, here I am at 26 weeks 4 days with Caleb:
At 27 weeks 1 day with Caleb:
And at 27 weeks 1 day this time:
Looking much better, huh? As in...not in LABOR!

At this point, I'm certainly bigger than I was last time. I have two new, tiny stretch marks on my belly to prove it (last time I only got one tiny stretch mark on my belly, and it came when Caleb was TWO WEEKS OLD! Not fair!). I'm gaining weight in places other than my belly (I think), which isn't my favorite thing. I don't have sciatic nerve pain like last time, but I do have awful back aches. I can tell that this baby has recently reached the level of my ribs, but he is kind enough to only kick outward, not upward. Caleb kicked upward into my ribs a whole week before he was born, and I wasn't able to breathe. I still have to take half of a zofran pill every morning around 6AM for nausea, or else I can't fall back to sleep. I don't have an insatiable hunger like last time, but I crave all sorts of unhealthy things. I'm workin' on not giving in to every single craving. It can be hard.

And judging by the picture, I'll probably have the biggest pregnant belly you have ever seen if I make it to 40 weeks! Don't you think? I'm going to do my best to embrace it. I'm SO glad I'm still pregnant!

Friday, September 16, 2011

A week of doctors

On Monday Caleb had a weight check at the pediatrician's office.

On Tuesday he had his first ever g-tube button change at the surgeon's office in Salt Lake. (From now on we'll be able to change his button on our own at home when we need to.)

On Wednesday he had a flu shot at the pediatrician's office.

On Thursday he had a follow-up appointment with the GI doc in Murray.

Yesterday he went to the NICU Follow-Up Clinic. He was assessed by a developmental pediatrician, an infant psychologist, a nutritionist, and a speech therapist, all in the same place, all there to follow the development of micro preemies born in Utah in the last four or so years. It's pretty cool. This was Caleb's third time going. He graduated from needing to see the PT and OT last time because we didn't have any concerns.

This is what we found out yesterday:

Caleb's head circumference is in the 40th percentile! WOW! He is 31 inches long, which is in the 10th percentile! HIS LENGTH IS ON THE CHARTS! YAHOO! His weight (20 lbs 1.5 oz) is just barely off of the charts, which, let's be honest, is pretty good!

And...Caleb's cognitive development is absolutely incredible. One year ago, he was at the level of his adjusted age, and a few things were slightly advanced to his actual age. Today, he was very advanced from his actual age. The psychologist said that he would be "challenging" because of his curiosity and how fast he learns things. He said that a year from now, between 2.5 and three years of age, he will be very, very advanced. He said that "kids like this turn out to be the top of their class."

Then...the speech therapist, who was in a completely different room, doing a completely different evaluation, said that he will be "challenging" because of how smart he is! That it will be a lot of work to keep up with his learning and energy. She literally said that we'll need to look into charter or private schools for him so that he can continue to be intellectually stimulated. He's currently expected to be at a 19-month-old level with speech (even though he's 22 months), but he's at a 24-27 month level.

I always knew he was smart, but I really never expected that THIS would be my "challenge!" I mean, this is the kid with BRAIN BLEEDS! He had an MRI, and we know he had actual "brain damage!" I am so proud of him, and everything that he has done and gone through and continues to do. I'm so impressed by him every single day. And now I'm a little overwhelmed. Two doctors in one day tell me that he will be "a challenge?"

Heaven help me if this next baby is born with a healthy brain.

Monday, September 12, 2011

22 Months and PROGRESS!

It's probably about time for another update. At 22 months (19 months adjusted) Caleb:

  • Weighs 19 lbs 15.5 oz!! HOORAY! He gained half an ounce shy of two pounds since getting his g-tube two months ago. It took six months to gain two pounds before getting the feeding tube. Here is what his glorious "button" looks like (with a button pad on it, to soak up all of the discharge and goop that comes out of the "stoma," or the hole where the tube enters his stomach):

  • Wears some 6-9 month clothes and a lot of 12 month clothes! FINALLY!
  • Wears size three diapers during the day and size four diapers at night. He gets 6-10 oz of formula through his tube while he sleeps, so he has a very wet diaper by morning.
  • Has all of his teeth except for the second set of molars in the very back. I think they're coming in, because he's been drooling and always has to put everything in his mouth as far back as possible. He has been chewing on his left thumb (the one he sucks), and it got a scab and then a blister, which he popped. Gross, I know.
  • Is finally putting a hard consonant sound on a lot of his words. "Book" used to be "bu," but now it's "bup." Much better. :)
  • Uses quite a few small sentences.
  • Can use a fork and spoon to feed himself. He cheers every time he spears a piece of chicken or tuna with his fork and gets it successfully into his mouth. I cheer for him, too.
  • Can ask for whatever food he wants by name. He'll be eating sweet potatoes, and when they're gone he'll say, "bape?" (aka, grape). He asks for juice, grapes, raisins, sweet potatoes, apples, chicken, tuna...yeah, that's basically all he eats.
  • LOVES to count! He knows his numbers, but only once has he gotten them in the correct order by himself (1-4). When you count to ten for him, he cheers for you by clapping and saying, "yay!" :) Makes ya feel good. Today we were counting the grapes on his high chair tray, and when I was done counting them I went into the kitchen and he kept saying the numbers on his own, all jumbled around.
  • Loves to play "Ring Around the Rosie." Somehow I think it may be unwise for me to be swinging myself in circles and throwing myself to the ground, so this morning I sang the "Rosie" song and let Caleb spin around the room on his own. His favorite part is falling down. :) He says, "DOWN!," laughs, and gets up saying "adain? adain?" (again?, again?).
  • He also loves football, like all little BYU cougars do:
video
  • He also loves somersaults:
video
  • He also loves to put his stacking rings on his feet and wear them around the house like high heels. Seriously. He can RUN with these things on! Cute little weirdo. :)
video
  • He also knows that his dog's name isn't "Dog." It's "Meg." And he's learning that his aunties all have different names, too, but they're harder to pronounce.
  • Knows that when the credits roll at the end of a movie or TV show, the show is over. He says, "Bye-bye, show" while waving at the TV.
  • Recognizes so many words that we have to spell things when we don't want him to know what we're talking about. "Nate, are we going to go o-u-t-s-i-d-e right now, or later?" "Are we ready to give Caleb a b-a-t-h yet?" He gets a little bit too excited to go outside or to take a bath or to go bye-bye, so we can't let the thought into his head until we're ready, or else we're just asking for a bit of a fight. On Sunday morning I put his shoes on him too soon, and he wanted to go to church (which he can say) that very moment, which would have made us very early. So, we put him in the stroller and walked very slowly to church. :) Let's hope he isn't an early speller.
  • Tries to hold "light" in his hands:
  • Likes to watch TV (and other things) with his hands clasped behind his back. Especially fitting for Jane Austen movies:
  • Loves getting and giving kisses. When you want to give him a kiss, just say so and he'll put his forehead against your lips.
  • When he gives you a high-five, he has to give one to everyone in the room. He just gave me a "five" and immediately afterwards shouted, "Auntie? Five? Five? Five?" (she was in the other room), until she came and gave him a five. :)
It's amazing to see how much he can learn when we just take the time to teach him. He's learning so fast these days! At every stage, I think "this is the funnest stage of them all!" and it's true, this stage really is the funnest!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Just some cuteness!

video

We practice in the high chair, because Caleb needs to be confined in order to keep his attention on one thing at a time.

And he loves his Dada.

:)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

B-Town Vacation!

The three of us went "home" a few weeks ago to visit my family. It was absolutely wonderful! We planned our trip around the county fair. I might be biased...ok, I'm really not...but the county fair where I grew up is the most impressive county fair of all time. It's better than the Utah State Fair. No kidding. It was a big part of my life growing up, and it was shameful that Nate and I have been married for almost four years and he had never been to the fair. It's like he never really knew me. Shameful, I tell you.

And it was the perfect time to bring Caleb, since he can identify every farm animal there is, and tell you what sound it makes. It was wonderful for all of us.

Here is what we did:

We hung out with the cousin at horse shows:
Caleb rode a horse in his very first ever horse show! He's a REAL cowboy! And the tough look on his face proves it:
This is Caleb actually showing in the horse show:
We took naps in the camper. Sometimes we took naps in the car. Sometimes we didn't take naps at all! Eek! What rebels! It felt good to have a little bit of flexibility of schedule:
Caleb got his first cowboy hat. Doesn't it look like it just belongs on him?:
We watched my oldest nephew win Reserve Champion (second place) with his dog, Belle: (he's the boy in the red plaid shirt with the black and white border collie)
We watched my youngest niece win Champion in Junior Swine Showmanship (meaning she presented her pig to the judge better than any other kid in the Junior age group. It's a very impressive accomplishment! I won when I was a junior, too. :) )
I helped my oldest niece prepare her horse, Dixie, for the horse show. This was only her second year showing horses (she's 12) so I gave her a lesson a few days before the fair, I helped her groom Dixie, and I helped her put her "look" together by bringing my show shirt for her to wear, getting her a stylish belt and jewelry, etc. Did you know that horse showing is like a pageant on horseback? It's true. It starts with first impressions and how good you look, and then it goes to real talent. If you have real talent but you don't look good, you don't win. It's pretty sad. But since I've been there, I know every trick in the book when it comes to looking just right. So I made my niece my pupil and I made myself her personal groom, and I also gave her tips on how to improve her real skill. And do you know what? She did AWESOME! She was one of the top horse showers in the whole county, and she earned a trip to the State 4-H Horse show! She's not going to go to state, because she still has a lot to work on, and it's expensive, (and she's going to take her pig to the state fair--see below), but she'll get another chance when she's older and then she'll kick some butt! (I wish I had a better picture, because they really looked good...you've never seen such a shiny horse! But I was too busy being her groom, so it was hard to be her photographer, too.) :
We watched that same niece win Grand Champion with her January Gilt (in farmer language, a female pig born in January). You can't see the girl very well, but that pig sure does look nice! These two are now at the Minnesota State Fair!:

It was a lovely vacation. Caleb's favorite parts were the Kiddie Barn where he could see the pigs, chickens, rabbits, and miniature horses all at once, and the sandbox outside of the Kiddie Barn. :) His favorite "real" barn to be in was the sheep barn. He would point to each sheep and say, "Baa, baa, baa, baa!!!" with such enthusiasm. I love my little animal lover. :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

23 weeks! It's time to party!

(Please forgive the poor angle of this picture. I took it myself about 60 seconds ago.)

I have been counting down to this day for...oh...about 19 weeks (aka, since I found out I was pregnant).

If premature delivery is a problem for you, you know that 23 weeks is a very magical number. It's where the pregnancy becomes "viable." Well, some would argue that 24 is the week of viability, but a baby born in the 23rd week has a 17 percent chance of living (found on my good friend's blog, here), and that's the point at which I would feel comfortable demanding that doctors resuscitate my baby. I personally know a 23-weeker who was born shortly after Caleb, and who was in the same hospital as him. If you think Caleb is doing remarkably well, then she's doing extremely remarkably well! Seriously, that girl is amazing. It gives me a lot of hope in case this pregnancy doesn't go as long as I'd like.

(I might be crazy, but I've gotten to the point now where every day that something doesn't go wrong I breathe a huge sigh of relief. I can't shake the feeling that if something does go wrong, it will be some time in the next 4 weeks, because that's when things went south with my last pregnancy. Nate even said yesterday, "Wow, this pregnancy is going so much worse than the last one!" Yikes. Let's hope he's wrong. So, I'm trying to take it easy while at the same time enjoying the fact that it's "safe" to still do fun things. So, if you want to hang out with me some time, you might want to do it soon, just in case!)

Just in case you're interested, here is the chart from my friend's blog:

Survival Rates for Preemies:
23 weeks: 17%
24 weeks: 39%
25 weeks: 50%
26 weeks: 80%
27 weeks: 90%
28-31 weeks: 90-95%
32-33 weeks: 95%
34+ weeks: Almost as likely as a full-term baby

I still plan on at least getting farther than last time. Into the 30s would be nice. :)

So, to celebrate the possibility that Little Purser could live if he was to be born any time now, I think I'm going to have a piece of cake. Well, probably two. :)

By the way, did you know that this week my baby is almost a foot long and weighs just over one pound? Isn't that amazing? I've seen babies that size! In real life! Cool.

Monday, August 22, 2011

If I wanted to be a nurse, I would have gone to nursing school!

Instead, I get to care for a child with some odd (although not terrible) medical needs. I'm not complaining, because I'm really glad that I can take care of him how he needs me to, and I know it could be much worse, but seriously--who else has had to put a tube down their child's nose? Who else has a night time routine with their little one consisting of gauze, steroid cream, and endless supplies of q-tips? Who else has "call medical suppliers" on their to-do list? Who else has a 21-month-old with "button" and "tube" as a daily part of his vocabulary?

Nate says I'm perfect for the job, because I like lists and routines. I do things the same way, at the same time, every day, and I kinda go a little bit nuts if everything isn't perfect. I guess you have to be a little bit like that to deal with these things.

I guess I do a good job. I really don't mind it, but I certainly would rather not have to do it (more for Caleb's sake than for mine)! It's just part of my job as a mom. Not what I envisioned being a mom would be like, but it's part of the deal and it's 110 percent worth it.

And now...part of being a mother of two is giving MYSELF a shot! It must be done. I'm taking care of my unborn son by doing it. Hopefully this will keep me from needing to use my past medical knowledge (aka, NICU and feeding stuff) to care for the littlest Purser. But man, it sure isn't fun!

The shot of which I speak is 17p, the progesterone shot that must be administered weekly in order to (hopefully) prevent preterm labor. I live 35 minutes away from the clinic where a nurse could give it to me, so instead of wasting over an hour every week, with Caleb, (not to mention the gas that my truck guzzles), I have been giving it to myself. I thought, "Hey, now that I've done this, I could totally be a nurse!" My good friend said, "Hey, now that you've done that, you could totally be a druggie!" Nice. :)

So, for the second time so far, I shot myself in the patootie. How many more times I have to shoot myself depends on how long I stay pregnant. I hope it's at least two or three more months.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Just for kicks...week 18/19

Today I am 19 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I've taken nausea meds twice today. Thankfully my heartburn and headaches haven't been too bad in the last few days.

I've been feeling swollen a lot in the last few days, too. They say that it's normal to have swollen feet by the end of a long day, but my hands and feet are most swollen when I wake up in the morning! They tend to feel a little better by the end of the day. Weird, isn't it!? The same thing happened with my last pregnancy around this time, and the doctor seemed to think it was odd, but nothing to worry about.

I've been getting weekly progesterone shots for the last three weeks, and they're going well. I was told that they can be very painful, but so far they're not so bad! I can feel the serum going in, and it doesn't feel pleasant, but it's never all that bad and I'm never sore afterwards. Yay!

I've been having "contractions" since about week nine (which seems crazy early) and they sure haven't let up. Since starting the shots, I'll have a few days a week where I'll only have one or two contractions. But some days I'll have five or more. And the average contraction lasts at least three minutes. Today I had one that lasted for over 15 minutes. It was insane.

I have another ultrasound on Friday, so we'll know if these crazy contractions are effecting my cervix at all. At this point I'm not too worried because my contractions are completely sporadic. Then again, that's how they were last time, only I didn't have as many. :S Last time, I would have maybe four a week. Ok, now I've scared myself a little!

Caleb now knows where the baby is, and loves to give him kisses. He likes to lift up my shirt and kiss my bare belly, and then he waves at my belly and says, "Bye-bye, baby" while pulling down my shirt. It's possible that he thinks my belly button is the baby, though...I'm not entirely sure. Either way, it's sweet how much he loves his little brother already!

It sounds weird, but I don't really feel like I'm pregnant. I think it's because I don't feel him kick very often. I felt Caleb kick at 15 weeks, and it seems that by now he was kicking up a storm. Maybe my memory is failing me, though. I know it's normal to not even feel the baby kick until 20 weeks, although I have been feeling this baby kicking for a few weeks now. It's just very faint and unpredictable. Sometimes I'll go a whole day without feeling any kicks. Mostly it just feels like I have a spider crawling on my tummy in the same spot, over and over again, for a few seconds. Sometimes it feels like a goldfish is inside of me, and its tail keeps hitting the side of my stomach in the same spot. It was never that faint with Caleb. It's just weird that these two pregnancies can be so very different in some ways, and so similar in other ways!

However, one thing that isn't so different is my size!

This was my pregnancy with Caleb at exactly 18 weeks and 4 days:
This is me this time, at exactly 18 weeks and 4 days, wearing the same shirt and pants:

It's ridiculously similar, isn't it?! Crazy. I just look more...tired. Can you blame me?

But I must say, I love what an over-sized belly does to my, um, rear end. Everything's just a little more...balanced. :)

And I kinda miss my long hair.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Surgery


I know, I know. It's been eight days since Caleb had surgery. I used to be so good about blogging a few times a week. And for that matter, I used to be somewhat witty. Now it's all medical and milestones, and I can hardly find the time/energy to keep up. Sorry.

So:

Caleb's surgery went well, which was to be expected. It was simple and pretty quick. They gave him versed to calm him down and keep him from having any recollection of the event, so he willingly went to the anesthesiologist and left us for the OR. I didn't even cry. Later, the anesthesiologist said that he reeeeeally fought having the mask with the anesthesia put on, and to never let anyone do anything like that without first giving him versed! I can't imagine how bad it would have been without being drugged first! Poor babe.

After knocking him out, they went in laproscopically through his belly button to the side of his stomach. Then they made the hole and popped a "button" in it. Then they covered his belly button with steri-strips, and the surgery was done!

He spent about 24 hours in the hospital, only needing pain meds once, which was a good thing. Why? Because Primary Children's Medical Center, one of the nation's leading pediatric hospitals, doesn't have dye-free children's Tylenol! RIDICULOUS! You can get it at Target!! Next time I'm bringing my own dye-free tylenol.

Anyway, he was a tiny bit tender for a few days, and by four days post-op he was 100 percent himself again!

This is exactly what his "button" looks like:

AMT Mini ONE®  Button

The round bottom part is inflated with water and is what goes into the stomach. Yes, Caleb literally has a water balloon in his stomach. You deflate it when putting the button in or taking it out. It's there to keep the button from coming out of place. The top part opens up so I can attach an extension tube to feed him through.

I'll show you a picture of what it looks like from the top (what you see when you look at Caleb's belly) when Caleb doesn't have to have it all taped down to keep it in place any more. Right now there's just too much going on on his little belly. It's hard to make sense of it all. And I have to get around to taking pictures, which is much harder than it should be.

We're all adjusting well to the new "norm." I'm still a little intimidated by the tube (will I know if something is wrong with it, like an infection, irritation, or unhealthy skin growth? Will I know what to do if it comes out within the first eight weeks after surgery--I'm supposed to take him immediately to the hospital after putting a special tube in the hole!). But overall, it's easier than the NG tube.

And I'm pretty sure Caleb LOVES it! Not that he loves being fed through it, he loves the tube itself! He now knows how to say "button," while pointing to his new button. The extension that attaches to the button that we feed him through we call his "tube." Whenever he sees it he says, "tube!" He chews on it or plays with it and when the tube comes open he says, "uh-oh!" When the feeding is done and we put the tube away he says, "bye-bye, tube." And other than his night-time feeds where we hook him up to the feeding pump, we "gravity feed" him using a 2-oz syringe. You take the plunger out of the syringe, attach the syringe to his tube, put the formula in the syringe, and hold it higher than the button and the formula just flows right in! Well, Little Cal loves to play with the syringe plunger. I "bop" him in the belly with it, and it is now known as the "bopper." He says "bop bop!" every time he sees it, and loves to "bop" himself in the tummy with it. Too cute, too cute. It might be weird that one of my son's favorite toys is a syringe, but I don't mind.

So, everything is going pretty smoothly at the Purser household. Caleb was weighed the day before his surgery and weighed 18 lbs exactly. I can't wait to see what he weighs next! Our feeding therapist wants him to be weighed twice a month...I think mostly because she's curious. :) I'm curious, too. He seems hungrier than ever before! He LOVES the seven solid foods that he's allowed to eat, and he can ask for most of them by name! It's so nice to know that, for the first time in his life, he can eat without being in pain. It makes the pain of the surgery entirely worth it.

And we just love seeing him without a tube taped to his face!
And we love seeing him loving food!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's A Cowboy!

Yep, that's right! We're having another BOY!

I'm very surprised, since this pregnancy is so different from the last, but I'm OH SO HAPPY!

We already have virtually everything we need for another boy.

If (ok, ok, WHEN) this baby reaches Caleb's size, they can share clothes. If it was a girl passing up Caleb, it would just be sad. It's not so bad if it's a boy.

They will be only two years apart, so they can do all sorts of things together! They can do team roping, team penning...both are rodeo events, in case you didn't know. ;)

Caleb will take after his daddy and be pretty much the best big brother in the world.

Another Purser boy to carry on the name. (Did you know that out of all of Nate's Purser cousins, only three are boys? Good thing those three boys have a total of seven male offspring, including this new one!)

The only problem is that I'll be WAY outnumbered!

Oh, well. I love my boys. I couldn't ask for anything better.

Although I'd really like a full-term baby.

BTW, the ultrasound today was to check my cervix, and everything looks great at this point, despite all of my contractions!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

P.S.--I'm still pregnant.

Photo taken at 15 weeks 4 days
I'll be 17 weeks on Wednesday. I'm getting huge. I'm getting heartburn and headaches galore.

And I still have morning sickness.

Yuck.

I take zofran at least once a day still.

On Monday I get my first progesterone shot, which I will be getting every week.

I've been having a lot of contractions (2-4 a day, sometimes lasting 5 minutes), so I'm going to request biweekly ultrasounds to make sure my cervix is holding up fine. Hopefully soon we'll find out the gender. :)

The other day I got my first stranger saying something about me being pregnant. That felt good. I like looking pregnant, not just like I ate a big lunch.

I may have felt the baby move once or twice. I could have sworn that I felt kicks, but they were too high up to be the baby, so now I keep second guessing myself. They say that you feel it earlier if it's not your first baby, but I felt Caleb kick at 15 weeks (because I had a cyst on my left ovary and he wedged himself in that corner and kicked and kicked and kicked for weeks. It hurt. I still felt bruised a week after delivery) and you can't get much earlier than that.

I feel bad that this baby is already in Caleb's shadow a little bit. Hopefully by the time he/she is here, Caleb's stuff will be a little more figured out and he/she will get the attention that he/she deserves.

Remember this?

How ironic.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

New News!

7/13/13:  I've edited this blog post as we've learned more about this disease.  We were given a lot of bad information at the start, and although I want to have a clear record of exactly what we knew (or thought we knew) at the time, I didn't want someone to find this blog post through an internet search and think that the information was reliable.  The edited parts are in red.

So, after our ER visit on Sunday, I called the GI doc and she said it was time to start an elemental formula (a formula in which the proteins are broken down so they are easy to digest and there is no way a child could have an allergic reaction to it--it's brand name is Elecare) and use an NG tube (a feeding tube that goes in through the nose and into the stomach, and gets taped to the face to be held in place) because the formula tastes nasty and Caleb won't drink it. Seriously, he won't even take a sip. While he's on the formula he can't have anything else, because we need to get all of the allergens out of his diet.

What an NG tube looks like:


I knew she was going to say that, and that's what I wanted her to say because I knew it was the only way for Caleb to get better, but it made me very sad. It changes a lot of things. We can't eat in front of Caleb any more, because he'll want to eat whatever we're eating, and he's not allowed to. And NG tubes are traumatizing for babies and toddlers. It's terrible to be pinned down while someone puts a tube down your nose. And I thought that Monday would be his last day of ever eating a chocolate chip cookie or a piece of pizza, because he's sure to be allergic to either eggs, gluten, or dairy. I think I cried more than I have ever cried in a day.

Caleb's last chocolate chip cookie (for breakfast, while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse):


Caleb's last supper--Panda Express noodles:


So, Monday night Caleb got an NG tube and we discontinued all foods other than his formula. Tuesday morning he had pulled his tube out, so I put it back in. I brought him to WalMart so I could confine him to the shopping cart long enough for his feeding pump to pump in all of his lunch. And I bought myself a sandwich and ate it in the parking lot in the front seat of the truck while Caleb was in the back seat. Pregnant women gotta eat, too! Tuesday afternoon he pulled the tube out again, so I put it back in. It was miserable for us both. I'd say it was probably the third worst day of my life.

Wednesday wasn't so bad.

On Thursday we visited with the GI doc. We talked about a lot of things, and we got a lot of good news! Here is what we talked about/what is going on now:
  • Along with his Elecare formula, Caleb can have green or clear gatorade, tuna, chicken, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, grapes, apples, and rice. The only thing we can add to any of these foods to flavor them is salt.  This is an arbitrary list and I have no idea how the GI doctor decided that these foods were ok.  Plenty of people react to these foods, so we're lucky that Caleb didn't react.
  • Give him less formula at breakfast because he's more likely to throw it up, and give him 10+ ounces over the course of about 4 hours while he sleeps at night. Give him a total of 28 ounces or more in 24 hours.
  • Keep him on the special low-allergen diet until he gains enough weight to be in the 5th percentile for his adjusted age. She said that he'd have to gain eight pounds at least. I don't know what chart she's looking at, because it seems normal/pretty good for a 17-month-old to weigh 26 lbs. At any rate, it'll take him a while to gain eight pounds (like...at least a year, I'm thinkin') and by then he'll still be small for his age. Either way, once he gains lots of weight we will add back one normal food every 3-4 days and see how he reacts. If he doesn't react well, we will see an allergist.  I don't know how the GI doctor decided this...two years later, at 3 years 8 months, Caleb still weighs just less than 26 pounds. We started adding foods back into his diet one at a time after he had a scope that was free of eosinophils.  His weight had nothing to do with it.
  • Caleb will need a g-tube (a surgically-placed feeding tube that goes through the side of the tummy and straight into the stomach). It will be much less traumatizing for him and for me to have a surgery and one night in the hospital than for him to have a tube constantly down his throat and taped to his face. I was surprised how happy I was to hear that he would need a g-tube. I thought I would be scared, or feel like a failure. I mean, everything we have done ever since Caleb was 2 months old was with the goal of keeping him healthy without a feeding tube. He went a whole year without an NG tube. It's almost like we're back where we started, but really we're making huge strides! So, next week we have a pre-op appointment and the week after that is the surgery. Yay!
  • Eosinophilic Enteritis is NOT hereditary!  Not true.  It is hereditary.  What a horrible lie to tell a patient.  I love our doctor for many reasons, but I've learned not to trust her.  That's sad, isn't it?  We just, once again, defied the odds and ended up with a major medical problem! (Did you know that there is a less than one percent chance of delivering a baby before 28 weeks? Yep. I think the odds of getting this type of EE are even slimmer.) Other types of eosinophilic disorders are hereditary (and more common), but not when they are in the small bowel. It's likely that he had a trauma to his small bowel at some point that irritated the lining of the bowel and it was never able to fully heal, making it vulnerable to the eosinophils, which are allergen-triggered. I'm willing to bet that the trauma occurred when he was about three weeks old and the NICU doctors wanted to add fortifier to his breast milk feedings. He couldn't digest it yet (he was too young and small) and he got filled with so much gas that his intestines got pushed up to the level of his nipples. Very sad. He cried a bit (which was weird for him) and he spit up. He almost perforated a bowel! They had to take him off of all feeds and put a tube into his stomach to suck out all of the air and food from his intestines. It was very serious, and very sad.  It's possible that this trauma was the "trigger" event that caused this autoimmune disease to start, but no one knows exactly what causes EGIDs, so it's just a theory.  Either way, trauma trigger or not, EGIDs are hereditary.
  • Caleb's type of EE is NOT PERMANENT! YAHOO!  Lies again.  This doctor needs to read up on this disease.  This false information caused a lot of heartbreak.  This was the best news of all! Our GI doc gets about eight patients a year with Eosinophilic Enteritis, and she has had a 100 percent cure rate! Most patients get cured easier than Caleb, it seems, but she's still confident that he'll get over it with time and with the right nutrients. So, he WILL get to have chocolate chip cookies and pizza again some day! Yay!
So, there is a very detailed and somewhat long-winded explanation of where we are at now (and where we will be for a while).

Playing in the dirt while getting an afternoon "snack" through the tube:
He can carry his feeding pump and his formula on his back in this handy backpack (as long as there isn't a lot of formula in there to make it too heavy for him):