Reincarnated As A Mother

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Home is where the Heart is...

I am soooo far behind in my postings. I have a gazillion pictures to get on here when I have more time. But for now-- here are a couple. My cousin Danny and his wife Shera Mae are in town from California. They stopped by yesterday with their little miracle boy-- 3 year old Andrew. We had so much to talk about and compare notes on. They were surprised with a Down Syndrome Diagnosis as well. Andrew has had many, many medical issues (you should see the battle wounds on his little chest and stomach)-- but it was amazing to be able to open up and see that we have shared such similar feelings and emotions. I just wish they lived next door instead of a few states away.

And now that we are home, here's a few pictures from Kean's stay at St. Luke's. I figure this won't be the first or last time we go back there for sleepovers. Just getting a cold put him down hard. Here he is getting oxygen to help him breathe. When we first got into the hospital, there were about 7 nurses and doctors working on him... this picture is taken on day two when things had settled down.
He's now on "Nebulizer" treatments-- abeuterol and a steroid to help his airways. He doesn't like it much, even though the facemask looks like a fish from NEMO. I was so dreading them putting an IV in-- but they got one in his arm after a few tries. I always have to leave and walk the halls.
As par for the course, his IV failed and they got one in his leg on the second morning. I was driving into the hospital when all that happened. This time around, I'm especially thankful they didn't have to put an IV in his head (even though they tried). He's finally getting some hair up there-- even though it looks like I've given him a mohawk!
After the little incubator cribs from Intensive Care-- he looks soo tiny in this big boy crib. But he liked the mobile they put up for him.
We came home in time for Thanksgiving and he's doing wonderful. We go in to the doctor's for a followup on Tuesday. Monday should be loads of fun. He has to fast one feeding before going in for an ultrasound. This is to followup on the growth he has on his Liver. Fun, fun.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Very Blessed...

What a wonderful Thanksgiving!!! He's home. Yesterday the bacteria came back as Strep--- but last night, they determined it's just the strep that's on all of our skin-- and probably just got in and contaminated the blood sample taken. Hope that makes sense. But suffice it to say-- it's the best possible scenario and they let me take him home last night. He's still wheezy-- but oh, so much better. I'm off to feed him then make mashed potatoes and other good stuff.
Love to you all, thank you for your prayers and HAPPY THANKSGIVING. We all have much to be grateful for, don't we?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Quick Update

I'm headed to bed... so this will be short. But Kean is such a little fighter. He had a rough night last night but seems to have turned a corner. He does not have RSV-- but does have a viral infection that caused him to have some pretty serious respiratory distress. He's had lots of breathing treatments and oxygen (and snot sucker treatments) and is finally getting stronger and looking better. He has tested positive for some infection (bacteria)-- so they are "growing it" overnight to see what it is and what's causing it. I'm not too worried. He's already on antibiotics and is getting better and better instead of worse. I'll know more tomorrow.
We are up in Pediatrics instead of Newborn Intensive Care. It's very different.


Here we go again.
Kean is back in the hospital. He has a virus-- may be RSV-- they are testing. Can you believe that? He's scheduled to get his first RSV shot in one week. Is that considered cruel irony?
Start the prayers again. He's one sick little man.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Yikes! It's Crazy Good.

I'll be off radar for a few days. I'm going to Phoenix (BY MYSELF) for a few days for the memorial service of my dear friend, Bianca. She passed away this summer while I was in the hospital. She had battled cancer for 7 years. We are remembering her on her birthday, which is Friday. Then Saturday I'm going to a KPNX-TV reunion-- which should be pretty darn crazy. I worked there back in the mid 90's and can't wait to see my old partners in crime. I hear there are a couple hundred people who have RSVP'd. I'll let y'all know how it goes.
Meanwhile, after a looooonnnnnngggg trip (my brother blew a tire on his trailer about an hour outside of Vegas and didn't have a spare with him)-- my parents have moved up here. They closed on their new house on Monday and many, many friends showed up to help them unload the trucks.
The house is beeyootiful. Really gorgeous! Holland wants to trade houses.
Anyway, every spare moment has been spent making arrangements, unpacking boxes and moving furniture. It's sooo exciting.
Oh, by the way, on the Kean front: Nurse Nancy came this morning for the very last time. He's doing well enough that the therapist (Libby) will just monitor his weight etc. Nancy put him on the ol' scale and he is now... drum roll please: 9 pounds 12 ounces. Whew. Lugging him around-- there's hope for me to rebuild all that muscle I lost in the hospital.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Nurses Extraordinaire

Here they are... the best two nurses in the world. At least in my opinion. That's Deanna on the left and Liz on the right. In fact, I should do testimonials for St. Luke's-- I can't speak highly enough about the hospital or the staff. And geez, I should know! Who says Nurses don't make house calls anymore???

Finally, there were several of you who wanted me to let you know about "Brighton" Jewelry night at Flynn's Saddle Shop. It's this Thursday (Nov. 19th from 5 to 7:30). My brother owns Flynn's and every November they have a big night at the store devoted to all things bling. There are Brighton give-aways, free gift cards with purchase and the unveiling of the new line of purses and jewelry(plus free massages, food and prizes). It's tons of fun. (My brother did not pay me for this plug-- but he should, huh?). Ha, ha. Hint, hint. Jewelry is always nice....

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Quiet Saturday.

Wow, you take one kid out of the mix and it calms down considerably around here. Byron took Holland to Vegas for the weekend. They went with my brother, Doug and my nephew Derek to help my parents load the ol' U-Haul and drive much of their stuff up here. We are soooooo excited to have De and Dee living close by. Too bad it turned really cold here yesterday. They'll probably have some second thoughts about leaving balmy Vegas this time of year.
Yesterday (Friday) was a great day. Two of my very favorite nurses (and people) in the world came over to visit for the afternoon. Liz (who took care of me the most during the days and was my nurse during Kean's delivery) and Deanna (who took care of me during my nights and is a whiz getting an IV in my vein challenged arms) came over to see Kean and catch up. It was a lovely, lovely afternoon. I'll always feel very connected to these amazing women since they were very much there for me during such a challenging time. Deanna took a picture or two-- so when I get those, I'll post.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Yay... adult conversation!

Since I've been pretty much on house arrest with Kean being quarantined-- some of my friends have taken pity on me. Yesterday, my good friend Joanne brought over her new baby, Ruby and a very yummy lunch (Sushi and stir fry). It was such a lovely way to spend the afternoon. Reese, of course, took the role of little mother to baby Ruby. So other than making sure she didn't smother her, we were able to relax. I'll tell you what was shocking to me though... was to see Ruby with Kean. She is only a month older than him-- but boy is she alert, active and in much better control of herself and her body. It was jaw dropping. I thought, here I've been thinking Kean is doing so well and then to see him next to a "typical" baby-- it was a little discouraging. However, Libby his occupational therapist (who may have to take a paycheck for being my mental therapist) told me he is really two months behind her (since he is a premie)... and at his age a month or two is monumental. So I feel much better about it all.
Just so you know, Ruby is darling and I hope she comes again and brings her mom. We felt since they've been staying home a lot-- it was safe to have them over. I mean, c'mon, how many germs can a baby (who can't even sit up) carry?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Birthday To Kean.....

Guess who is three months old? Obviously not me-- Mister Miracle is hitting that milestone. I had to share this picture with you. His favorite thing to do is lay on the couch and lick the corduroy pillow. It is the funniest thing. Something about it just fascinates him. I'll scoot him back... and he'll somehow make his way over and up against the pillow. Kissy, kissy. And here's a series of Little Miss Spunkmiester, Reese. If only we could capture half of her personality in a picture. She's quite the busy body.

Other than the constant noise of kids, it's been pretty quiet around here. We had a rough day on Monday with the cows being butchered. One of the cows, Brownie was quite the bully. So we're not too sad to see the monster gone. However, it was a bit of an emotional day. Along with us, my brother and my parents will be swimming in meat for quite a long time. One cow weighed 998 pounds hanging-- the other was 1098. We'll be having lots of BBQ's when Kean is off quarantine and the weather turns nice again. Thankfully, Ron, Elly and Mark came over Monday night-- and Ron who is a retired Fire Chief from the Bay area... took the kids from room to room and had them figure out and practice an escape plan if there was a fire. The girls were really into it-- crawling around, feeling doors and walls and then trying to climb out windows. It was great fun! Reese is a real expert at "Top, drop and Roll".

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Adios Amigos

Tonight will be our cows' proverbial "Last Supper". Tomorrow Brownie and Eggplant are off to butcherland. We've been warning the girls all along not to get too attached... so we'll see if there is much crying and gnashing of teeth come tomorrow. Just so you know, we did try and get them to name the cows Hamburger and T-bone. But we were over-ruled by the kids and their cousins.

Since today was Sunday, my wonderful friend Danielle Bingham came over this morning to stay with Baby Kean so I could go to church for an hour. In case you didn't know this little bit of sweet trivia-- Byron works in our church as a Nursery Leader (he's over the 18 month olds to 3 year olds). He thinks it's the best-- playing with toys and eating snacks and hanging out with Reese. Today he was teaching a lesson on God's creations and decided to take Roxy, our pet rabbit as an object lesson.
Roxy was quite the hit. This must be how celebrities feel... surrounded by the paparazzi.
Holland ditched out of her class to serve as Roxy's chief handler and stylist.
And I just had to add this picture. This little boy-- we'll just call him "C" (to protect his identity)... evidently, he and Reese have a little "thing" going on in Nursery. According to Byron, they already act like an old married couple. He constantly follows her around and plays with her while she just yaks and yaks incessantly and he mostly ignores what she is saying. Yikes, sound familiar?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hit The Road Jack, Don't Ya Come Back...

I am celebrating in the streets!! Norco picked up Kean's monitors yesterday. So for the first time since he entered this world nearly three months ago-- we have a "wireless" baby. No more ear piercing alarms going off in the middle of the night. No more plugging the little guy in!
Nurse Nancy came and weighed him and he is now a whopping 9 pounds even. He's doing great. I will say, as he grows, we are starting to see more of a Down's look. One of his therapists told me the other day that as he gets bigger, I'll also notice more of his "limitations"-- right now as a newborn, he's not doing much. But we'll start noticing more as he grows. That was a bit of a deep breath moment for me-- but I'll keep planning on our little guy proving the experts wrong and beating expectations.
One final thing worth mentioning-- something that has me a bit hot under the old collar. Last time I took Kean into the doctor's office, Dr. Sandstrom mentioned that she was going to put in a request with his insurance to see if he will qualify for a series of shots called Synagen. The shots are to help keep him from getting the dreaded RSV. RSV (before Swine Flu) was the big worry for premies and babies with compromised immune systems each winter. It's a nasty viral infection that attacks the respiratory system and hospitalizes tons of babies. Anyway, she mentioned we'd have to see if the insurance company would approve the shots-- since it is very expensive.
So yesterday, I get a phone call from some specialty pharmacy back East saying he's been approved which was a big deal. And that the shots would be completely covered. I happened to ask how much the shots cost and are you ready for this???? She said 3000 dollars per shot. He's been approved for five. That's FIFTEEN GRAND. I'm like-- what in the world is in this shot? Interestingly, she said the shot creates a false immune system in the baby to ward off RSV specifically. That's great- but 3 grand?
I asked our home health care nurse about it-- and she says its a great shot. (And yes, I'm relieved he's getting it) but it still sounds ridiculously overpriced. Nancy said when they first started giving the shot 10 years ago-- it was "only" $500 and they thought it was overpriced then. Don't tell me the ingredients in the little vial have gone up that much in a decade. Nancy said it's only one company that makes it and has the patent.. so they can charge whatever they want. No wonder insurance premiums are so out of control. All together now, can we spell GREED? I just find this a bit insane. Something definitely needs to be done to overhaul our medical system-- I just don't have much faith in the clowns in Washington to do it right.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Halloween!!!

Byron and the girls are pumpkin carving machines! They crafted this collection and the tiniest one at the end is for Baby Kean. Sweet, huh? Do you have any idea what a mess we made trying to get three girls ready for Halloween? Hair, make-up, clothes... whew! Here's our mangy crew:

Holland, if you can't tell was a Gypsy this year. Greer went as a mermaid -- with a Dolly Parton looking wig, don't you think? And Reese was a -- no surprise here-- a princess.

This year we hooked up with Sally and Jonathan and their girls-- aka Dorothy and Caspar and my other good friends, Jeannie and Mary K. Byron hung out with the Keanster-- so I could go. I'm not sure that was the best idea. I had a blast but completely ran out of gas by about 8 pm. Reese did too-- so I could use her as an excuse to cut it short. Lame, I know.

I almost forgot, we also hit two haunted houses, stopped by Ali and Joannah's, Craig and Missy's (Byron's brother) and then ended the evening at our neighbors-- Nancy and Jacqui's home. It has become a tradition to stop by and model the girls' costumes for them. They of course spoil them with extra treats. Every year, we take a picture of the girls with them on the couch. Nancy is on the right of the picture. Reese is about to fall asleep-- and did within minutes of getting her home, in her jammies, her makeup off and her teeth brushed. Next year, Kean will get to go!

The Sound of Music...

In our attempt to reverse years of tone deafness on the Leavitt side of the family... we have enrolled Holland and Greer in music lessons. With my "gig" in the hospital, they got off to a late start-- but started piano and voice lessons the first week of October. So with only a month of lessons under their belts-- they had to belt out a performance at their first recital. It happened to be on Halloween Eve-- so they were asked to wear their costumes. Here's Greer playing a song called "Triple Play". She then favored us with that old Nat King Cole standard-- L.O.V.E. You know, L is for the way you look at me. O is for the only one I see..............

Holland played a number called "Raindrops" and did it very well, if I do say so myself.
And then she sang a song called "Deliver Us".
Not that I'm biased or anything, but they both have beautiful little voices and some darn good stage presence. My friends-- Ali and Joannah Shoustarian (Holland's 3rd grade teacher) were there to see their daughter perform. And being the super star parents that they are-- they brought white roses for their daughter, Sara and for our girls too. Isn't that cool?


It snowed here on Thursday-- nothing big... no white stuff stuck. But darn't if Reese didn't do her darndest to catch a few on her lizard-like tongue. She'll hate this picture someday... heh, heh. This is Libby, Kean's Home Health Therapist. She comes to the house each week and works with him. This week-- we're focusing on his swallowing, his tone around his chest and mouth and neck and keeping his tongue in his mouth.

And finally, on Friday, Reese had a little Halloween party with her Pre-school class. They all dressed up and decorated cookies and played games etc. Good practice for the big night.