Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Drew's Bug and Maddie's Big!

We have had another fairly quiet week at home this past week. Drew is still struggling to get fully better from his stomach bug. It is taking every bit of two weeks (and then some) for him to get it out of his system, so we have stayed home most of the time. We keep thinking he is getting better, and then it comes back. It has been a bit frustrating!
I called the pediatrician about Drew's bug again this week, and they said that it sounds like he is getting to the end of it. He is supposed to keep taking his Culturelle. We went to the doctor today for Maddie's 1 month well-visit (more on that a little further down), and they gave us some cups to take a stool sample from Drew. If the symptoms persist, they can check for parasites. We are hoping not to have to bother with any of that!
I have a few pictures to share from this past week. Here is Maddie in her crib. She is five weeks old now - it's hard to believe!Drew always asks to hold Maddie. He looks to be enjoying it a little more than she is!
He truly loves his baby sister. I heard Drew singing a little made-up song yesterday about how cute Maddie is and how much he loves her. That made my heart happy! :)Maddie was pretty worn out today after her doctor appointment. She got her first shot (you can see the little band aid on her thigh), and she was quite upset about that.I have moved Maddie up to some of her three month sized clothes this week. It has been warm here, and most of her smaller clothes are too warm for this weather. Some of them are also getting pretty snug on her. I was surprised to see how well the three month clothes fit her - and then it all made sense when she was weighed at the doctor today. She weighs 10 pounds! She is in the 63rd percentile for weight. What a difference from our preemie son! When he was this age, he was in the negative percentiles, and we were talking about feeding supplements at all of his appointments. It is so nice to have a healthy baby this time!
I talked to the doctor about Maddie's fussiness. She gave me the name of an baby antacid that we can try to see if Maddie has a mild case of reflux. She said that from Maddie's symptoms it sounds more like colic, but it could also be a bit of reflux, and the antacid might give her some relief. We are hoping that it will help her!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


We have a five year-old in our house now! Drew turned five last Friday, and we had a fun day of celebrating his birthday. He had preschool that morning, and on the way, we went through the drive-through at Tim Horton's to get Drew his favorite - a Boston Cream donut. Drew got to take cupcakes for his class, and he got a little gift from his teacher. He loved celebrating at school. After school, we met our friends at McDonald's for lunch. Drew was excited to get a present from them - the jet from Cars 2!

Drew ate his favorite lunch - nuggets with ranch, fries, apples, and chocolate milk.

Then the boys played.

I really wanted to get a picture of Drew showing me that he was five, but it took a lot of instruction and work for some reason.

Jim was amused by my efforts, so I took one of him!

We celebrated with Jim's mom by going out for dinner. Maddie was a good girl for most of dinner.

We went to Bagger Dave's for dinner. They have burgers and sandwiches, and Drew loves the train that goes around the top of the restaurant.

Drew got some new Wii games. He loves Sonic, and a couple of the games had Sonic in them, so he was excited. I think that Drew really enjoyed his birthday. It was kind of low-key, but we tried to make it special for him. Drew is having a birthday party with Jim's side of the family in a few weeks.

The weekend before his birthday, Drew came down with a stomach bug. He had a fever, and he threw up several times. He seemed to be doing better during the week, but he had diarrhea a few times toward the end of the week. This weekend and so far this week, he has still been struggling with diarrhea. I called his pediatrician to see if there was anything we could do for him. They told me that diarrhea can last for two weeks sometimes. We have been giving Drew something called "Culturelle," and we've been feeding him bland foods. We are praying that he can get rid of this bug totally very soon.

I found Drew lying on the love seat the other day, trying to play the Wii. We know he isn't himself if he is lying down, especially while playing the Wii!

I have a few recent pictures of Maddie. We brought Drew's old swing up from the basement the other day, and Maddie really likes it. She takes long naps in the swing, and I can rest or get a few things done when she is in it.

Here is a picture of Maddie awake. She has been very fussy this past week, and when she is awake she is usually crying if she isn't eating. I caught her in a rare moment of contentment here.

The past week or two have been a challenge with Maddie's fussiness and Drew's sickness, but we are hanging in there! The weather is getting nicer, so we have lots to look forward to once we can leave the house again. :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Maddie's First Doctor Appointment

Maddie went to see her pediatrician the day after I was released from the hospital. She was born at a different hospital than the one where our pediatricians work, so she saw a hospital staff pediatrician while we were in the hospital, and then I was supposed to get her in to see our pediatrician as soon as possible after we were released. I made and cancelled two different appointments for her since our stay at the hospital lasted longer than we had planned. We finally made a third appointment, and we planned for Jim to take her by himself if I was not released. I ended up being released the afternoon before the appointment. I was happy not to have to miss it, and Jim was relieved not to have to handle the appointment all by himself!
Here is baby girl, in her girly car seat. After we answered some health/family questions, we stripped Maddie down to her diaper and took her out to the hall to be weighed and measured.

Maddie weighed 7 pounds, 6.6 ounces at birth, and her weight had dropped to 6 pounds, 15 ounces in the hospital. At her appointment, her weight was back up to 7 pounds, 7 ounces, so we were happy that she is gaining weight and eating well.

Getting measured. She had grown a quarter of an inch - 20 1/2 inches.

Having her head measured.

Having her temperature taken.

Checking for jaundice.

Because of all the scheduling changes, we ended up seeing a different pediatrician than we normally see, but he was nice. He checked her out and told us that everything is perfect.

We are so thankful for our healthy girl! I am thankful to be continuing to get better as well. I had another doctor appointment this past week, and my blood pressure is getting better. I was able to drop my second medication completely, and for the next few weeks, I am going to be able to just call my doctor with my blood pressure readings instead of going in for appointments. He will make any adjustments over the phone. I also lost 2 more pounds in the past week. I was surprised about that since nursing makes me so, so hungry, but I was happy to be continuing to lose weight. Everything is moving along in the right direction, and we are very thankful!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


After a wonderful c-section on Tuesday and a good day of recovery on Wednesday, I was feeling pretty good on Thursday when one of the doctors from my OB office came through. He told me I was doing great, and he asked if I wanted to be released from the hospital that day. Even though I felt good, I was still very tired, and since my mom wasn't getting into town until the next day, I decided to stay an extra day. The doctor mentioned that my blood pressure had been a little high, so an extra day to rest and watch my blood pressure at the hospital might be a good idea.
Later that afternoon, a tech came through to check my temperature and blood pressure (they check every four hours), and my blood pressure was 198/100. I thought for sure it was just a bad reading, but when she retook it, it was just as high. Because of my history of HELLP syndrome, the nurses were quite concerned. That evening, I developed a very bad headache that traveled across my head and down the back of my neck. Between the high blood pressure reading and the horrible headache, I was pretty sure that I was developing Preeclampsia or HELLP again.
During the night that night, I had more high blood pressure readings, and I had to have a fast-acting blood pressure medication pushed into my iv. On Friday morning, one of my doctors came through and increased my blood pressure medicine. My parents, sister, and brother-in-law arrived from South Carolina early that afternoon, and soon after their arrival, my nurse came in with the dreaded news that I had been diagnosed with Preeclampsia and that I was going to be started on a magnesium sulfate drip right away. Magnesium is used with HELLP and Preeclampsia to slow down the central nervous system. It allows your body to reset itself, and it helps prevent seizures.
When Drew was born, I arrived at the hospital with full-blown HELLP syndrome, and I was put on magnesium right away. I knew from my prior magnesium experience that my next 24 hours were going to be awful. Magnesium makes you hot, and it makes everything blurry. I was dizzy, and I had trouble focusing my eyes and talking clearly. I was put on a liquid diet, I was not allowed to get out of bed without help from the hospital staff, and someone had to be with me at all times to help me care for Maddie. I was on the Magnesium through the night on Friday and most of the day on Saturday.
On Saturday, I was assigned a student nurse. She was very sweet, and she tried to be helpful, but I was frustrated to have been given a student nurse when I was feeling so sick. One of her assignments was to give me a head-to-toe assessment. I was assured by my regular nurse that the assessment was going to be just like the ones the nurses do at shift changes (checking vitals and checking the incision). When the student nurse's assessment started by checking my hair with a penlight, I knew that I was in for something different from the normal assessment. We made it through her entire list, and then the last thing she wanted to do was check my bottom. When I asked why, she told me that she had to check for hemorrhoids. At that point, I drew the line! None of my other nurses had even asked me about hemorrhoids, much less checked for them. I told her I was refusing the bottom check! Thankfully, she let it go without a fuss.
I went off the magnesium at 3:00 on Saturday afternoon, and within a few hours, I was feeling much less fuzzy. Unfortunately, my blood pressure did not really come down that much. It continued to be high through Sunday and Monday, in spite of increased and added blood pressure medications. By Monday, I was feeling pretty discouraged. My body was not responding to the medications. I knew that many, many people were praying for me, and though I knew that God was in control, I was frustrated that we were not seeing progress. I was afraid that I was going to have a stroke or that I was going to have to go back on the magnesium. All I wanted was to be healthy and to go home. Maddie had already been released from the hospital and was staying with me as a boarder.
Tuesday morning, I had my lowest blood pressure reading in days. A few hours later, I had an even better one. Things had turned around, and when my doctor came through, she told me that she was releasing me to go home. I was thrilled that God had answered prayer and that I was going home.
We have been home since Tuesday afternoon, and it has been wonderful! I have been able to rest and recover. My mom was here for the week, and she took great care of us while I rested. My blood pressure has been very good since I've been home. I've had very low energy because of the high doses of blood pressure medicine, but Jim and my mom have been such a help to me. Drew has been adjusting well to his new role as big brother, and Maddie is such a good baby. She has done great at home.

One of the pluses of Preeclampsia and magnesium was weight loss. This is a picture of me the day after I came home from the hospital. I came home from the hospital 31 pounds lighter than I was when I went for my c-section. I am back in normal clothes, and that has been exciting!

I went to the doctor on Friday, and I have already been able to decrease one of my blood pressure medications by half. I am hoping to be able to get back to the low dose I was on during the pregnancy and to get off the second medication completely.

At my Friday appointment, my doctor told me that during my c-section, he found a growth, which he removed and sent for a biopsy. At the time of the surgery, he was pretty sure that the growth was cancer (based on its location and type -a sarcoma). He received the report the morning of my appointment, and he was shocked to find out that the growth he had removed was not cancer, but Endometriosis. He told me that in all his years of practice, he had never seen Endometriosis in that location before. He thinks it is probably something that happened after my first c-section, and it is something that should not be an issue for me in the future.

I am so thankful that he chose not to tell us about the growth until he received the report. I'm sure the stress of possible cancer would have made my blood pressure even worse.

Our easy c-section turned into a very difficult week, but God was good to us through it all, and we have so much to be thankful for. We are very blessed!