Thursday, September 27, 2007

Happy Birthday (The Story of AJ)

I was never good with babies and kids. I was the baby myself, and spent my whole life around people older than I was. Babies made me nervous. I knew even less about little boys.

Imagine my surprise.

I think we were planning to take a vacation somewhere. It occurred to me that I couldn't remember the last time I had a period. I wasn't too concerned since they weren't that regular anyway. But we decided to take a pregnancy test. It immediately came back positive. I had recently started a new job and didn't have insurance yet. Fortunately, we have a friend who is an Ob/Gyn and he agreed to examine me. Hubby and I figured that I was about 4-6 weeks along. Doc started with an internal ultrasound. To his amazement, he found a HUGE head! He quickly removed the wand and got the regular ultrasound set up. As he measured, he asked how far along we though I was. Looks like we had it all wrong -- I was measuring 12 weeks pregnant! Apparently I had missed my entire first trimester...I was due on New Year's Eve.

Since I'm diabetic, we spent the next few weeks going to see Doc twice a week to set my insulin doses. I'm too chicken to give myself a shot, but Hubby was all too willing to tell me to "assume the position" twice a day so he could give me an insulin shot in the butt.

Everything seemed to be going fine. My sugar was fine, but Doc and I discussed the possibility that I would need a C-section because babies of diabetics tend to be on the large side. An ultrasound at 23 weeks confirmed that it was a boy. We decided on the name Anthony James (AJ for short). Daddy didn't like the name "Tony", so this was a nice alternative.

At 6 months my feet started to swell a little. Hubby was monitoring his blood pressure at home, so I started checking mine too. One Wednesday evening, I was checking my blood pressure while Hubby was getting ready for church. My pressure was a little elevated. Hubby mentioned it to Doc at church that night, and was told to have me stop by his office the next day.

On September 24, 2004 we went to his office after work. He did a short examination and left the room. When he came back in, he told us that I wasn't going home that night and asked me which hospital I wanted to go to.

We went home and grabbed a few things before checking in at Memorial Hermann Katy on Thursday night. I was put on a monitor for the night and was not allowed out of bed. By about 5:30am the next morning, the hospital decided I should be transferred. They were too small to handle a potential high risk delivery.

It was a Friday morning during rush hour, and they didn't want me off the monitors long enough to ride to the hospital. A tropical storm was due to hit the Houston area that day, so all of the Life Flight units were hangared. They found a small medical helicopter out of Conroe that was in air. They picked me up and took me on the 8 minute flight to Memorial Southwest.

Friday was a flurry of neonatologists and high risk specialists. I apparently had low anmiotic fluid along with my borderline pre-eclampsia. AJ kept compressing his cord and cutting of his circulation. I was given a bed and informed that I would be there for the rest of my pregnancy. A blood pressure cuff took readings every thirty minutes. Nurses came in to draw 6 vials of blood every 6 hours, then every 12 hours. I was started on steroids and surfactant to help with lung development in case we had to deliver and magnesium sulfate to prevent the risk of seizures from the high blood pressure. (P.S. Mag is some NASTY stuff and would require a post of its own!) I settled in. We brought in pictures and things from home to make the hospital room more cozy.

On Sunday afternoon, Doc visited me with news. He said he couldn't explain it, but all of my bloodwork had gone in completely (good) the opposite direction than they expected. I might be able to go home on bed rest in about three weeks instead of three months. The high risk specialist would be back on Monday to check my progress.

Monday's ultrasound was not good. AJ was now getting reverse flow through the umbilical cord. He had not grown much since the ultrasound three weeks earlier. He was becoming growth-restricted. The doctor said we would need to deliver now. The neonatologists at Memorial Southwest were on call, but could take up to 20 minutes to arrive when needed. The decision was made to move me again.

We were on the road again - this time to the "mother ship" - Memorial Hermann Medical Center. This time I was transported in an ambulance with Hubby and my parents following behind. I was checked in at 2:00pm on Monday, September 27th. Within a few minutes, a nurse informed me that I was next in line. WHAT?!

A parade of social workers, specialists, and neonatologists came in to give us an update. The scenario -- few babies this small survive; the ones that do survive have severe medical and developmental problems. There were risks of deafness, blindness, brain bleeds...the list went on and on. It seemed pretty hopeless. I was terrified. Hubby and I asked for a few minutes alone to consider saying goodbye to our little one.

At 6:00pm I was taken in for an epidural. At 6:34pm, tiny little AJ was delivered. He weighed only 18 ounces and was 10 inches long. Hubby heard a small sound from the next room while they were working on him. He assumed it came from somewhere else, because how could something so small make any noise? Turns out it really was out little guy.

It was late the next evening before I got to see him for the first time. A week later I was able to hold him for the first time.

The next two and a half months were spent driving from Katy to the Medical Center every night. At six weeks old, AJ finally reached 2 pounds. He was fed through a tube until he could be taught to suck, swallow, and breathe at the same time. He had an umbilical hernia and two inguinal hernias. His thyroid was not functioning properly, so he needed medication for that.

On December 8, 2004 the doctors decided that he was basically just taking up space. They were a little nervous because they had never discharged a baby who was still so small, but they couldn't find a medical reason to keep him. At the doctor visit the day after he was discharged, he weighed exactly 4 pounds.

He had surgery at 6 months old to repair the inguinal hernias. The umbilical hernia repaired itself. He takes one small pill each day to assist his thyroid. His eyesight and hearing are completely normal. He is testing developmentally within his age range.

As of a week ago, he finally made it to 28 pounds. He's still a little small for his age, but he makes up for it with a lot of spunk.

He makes me laugh; he makes me cry; and he frequently frustrates and infuriates me. And he melts my heart when he looks at me and says, "I love you, Mommy."

Happy Birthday, my little miracle! God must have something really special in mind for you...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Who Lives Here?!

There has been a flurry of cleaning and organizing around our house lately. Most of it in preparation of AJ's birthday party this Saturday. Some of it because I'm tired of looking at all of the clutter. One of my projects this weekend was cleaning out the cabinet next to the refrigerator. This is where we have kept all of our alcohol. Please let me preface this picture with the disclaimer that we never drink. We have maybe 2 drinks a year...but for some reason Hubby keeps bringing home bottles from our vacations.

We look like a bunch of alcoholics!!

Even AJ decided to hide!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Accidents (Weak stomachs beware)

Why is poop so fascinating to kids?

Anyone familiar with AJ knows that he's kinds of scrawny and small for his age. Unfortunately, that makes it hard to find clothes (and underwear) that fit him. His clothes tend to be baggy enough that anything in his underwear has the potential to fall out. More than once he has left a "trail of rabbit pellets" behind him on the way to the potty after an accident.

Last weekend, I left him playing with toys in the living room while Hubby was working on the laptop and I was cleaning another part of the house. I returned to the living room to find AJ smashing something onto the top of his Duplo blocks. He looked up to tell me he was "making dots". It didn't immediately click with me what he was doing until he showed me one of his Little People dolls and informed me "Derek poo poo on hisself". To my horror (and disgust) I realized that he had taken out what he had deposited into his underwear and stuffed it inside the hole on the bottom of his Little People. This apparently was also what he was using to "make dots" on his Duplo table.

As punishment for not paying attention to what he was doing in the same room, Hubby was left to clean up the toys while I cleaned up the toddler.

I am SO hoping there are no surprises left for me to discover at a later date....

Totally nasty~~~~~

More randomness

Saturday was spent on another round of cleaning to prepare for AJ's birthday party. This day brought us outside again to pull all of the dead weeds out of the back flowerbed. AJ got bored after about thirty minutes of "helping* us" and decided "I hot. I wanna go in my house." This is a phrase he would repeat OVER and OVER and OVER until we finished weeding...

(*Helping us consisted of filling up the bed of his Tonka dump truck with the pulled weeds and rolling them to the trash can for disposal.)

Hubby and I were working on something at the side of the house when we heard a loud CRASH and scream come from the garage. AJ was apparently trying to climb the 10' ladder in the garage, fell off and pulled it over on top of himself. I took him in the house and put ice on his head, because that's where he said it hurt. It wasn't until later that day when I was helping him potty that I saw the big red scrape and bruise on the middle of his back.

On Sunday we almost had a wreck on the way to church. While driving down the freeway, a spider fell from the headline of the car and landed on the steering wheel. Anyone who knows us, knows that Hubby is EXTREMELY arachnophobic. He just about had a stroke and ran off the road yelling at me to do something. I finally managed to chase it off the steering wheel, across his lap and onto the floorboard. I imagine we were quite a sight to the other drivers on the road.

(Completely on a side note: AJ is either becoming modest or more independent. I took him to the potty yesterday and he told me to leave the room before he would pee.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


We went out of town for Labor Day weekend. Hubby and AJ picked me up at work on the way out of town. AJ was singing "We Are Family" over and over again until he finally fell asleep.

AJ's new word for this week: "Empire". He was watching "Star Trek" with his Daddy and picked it up from the show. Now he wanders around asking me what the empire is doing.

Plans are coming together for AJ's birthday party on the 29th. Hard to believe he's going to be 3! I think the party may be a little extreme. There's a 5 in 1 moonwalk, catered fajitas, pinata, and a margarita/slushie machine. What do you think? Too much?

Sunday afternoon we decided to get brushes and bleach and scrub the hardiplank on the back of the house. AJ played with his "water table" in another part of the backyard while we scrubbed. When we finished, I started pulling wees from the flowerbed. While bent over in the flowerbed, I got a shot of cold water on my backside. Apparently AJ figured out how to use the sprayer nozzle at the end of the water hose. He sneaked up behind me and shot me in the butt! When I screamed and turned around, he was very proud of himself, standing there laughing. Daddy came up about that time, and I thought I would have to pick him up off the ground because he was laughing so hard...

Monday, I took the day off work. My back was hurting so much I had to have help getting out of the bed to go pee.

We are still trying to book the last cabins for the group cruise out of Galveston in February...all deposits have to be in by October 1st.

Things are getting busier and busier...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wardrobe Malfunction

There seemed to be a little confusion when we picked AJ up from school yesterday afternoon. He was wearing someone else's shorts and underwear. The little boy who owned them was wearing AJ's clothes. We were a little concerned about how this could have occurred until we remembered that they had "splash day" yesterday. The teacher must have switched their clothes when they changed out of their swimsuits. We needed to switch them back before we left the school, and AJ decided that I should do it. Then we had a minor meltdown because he liked wearing the Scooby Doo underwear...

He never seemed to stop chatting from the time we got home until he went to bed last night. He barely even ate any of his dinner because he had so much to say. He's getting a bad habit of repeating what he wants about 912 times. I had a headache, and told him "I understood you after the first 47 times"... Daddy fell out laughing at me. I however, just needed the incessant repetition to stop...

I know I have been getting more sporadic with my posting, but work has really picked up and there hasn't been much time.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Nine Words Women Use

I like this, so I thought I would share it.

1) FINE: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

2) FIVE MINUTES: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

3) NOTHING: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.

4) GO AHEAD: This is a dare, not permission. Don't do it!

5) LOUD SIGH: This is actually not a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of nothing.)

6) THAT'S OKAY: This is one of the most dangerous statements a woman can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

7) THANKS: A woman is thanking you. Do not question or faint. Just say you're welcome.

8) WHATEVER: Is a woman's way of saying &*^$ YOU!

9) DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT, I GOT IT: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing herself. This will later result in a man asking "What's wrong?" For the woman's response refer to #3.