Well A is now 5 years old. We celebrated on the 13th with so many people! And thankfully the rain held off and it was a good day to be outside. I was really excited that his little girlfriend was able to make it. She has not been able to come to one of his birthdays yet as she was usually not well enough to attend. A big thanks to everyone who came out and made the day so special!
***Pics will be within the next couple days…still organizing***
In some SUPER DUPER exciting news about A….he has finally gained weight!!! Yep, you read that right. He is no longer the 25lbs that he has been since pretty much December of 2007.
After we received his biopsy results in April, I had told his dietician that IF they were negative I was going to a blended diet. Well guess what? The biopsies were negative so on April 30th I started him on just blended food. NO formula at all.
I had done the blended diet in the past, but I always used formula as the base for it. I could never understand why he still didn’t gain and on the blended diet group he seemed to be the only one still having issues. Well some great people there told me that they didn’t see a difference until they got rid of the formula completely.
So April 29th was his last day of that junk.
A is doing AMAZING on the blended diet. He gets rice milk, blueberries, green beans, peas, avocado, honey, half and half cream, whipping cream, hemp seeds, almond nut butter, applesauce, orange juice, yogurt, chicken or beef, oatmeal, ancient grain cereal, eggs….pretty much whatever works.
When he was on formula, the quickest that he could take food on his pump was at a rate of 160mls/hour. Now on the BD he can take 280mls/hour. I still can’t believe it.
So I assume you want to know his weight right?! Well the other morning he weighed in at 29lbs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I NEVER thought this child would grow!
And to make this BD even more exciting, I have now gone down on his prevacid to a dose that he has not been on since he was a year old! He is on 15mg right now and hopefully I will be able to take him off it completely soon. This child has NEVER not been on a reflux medication so this would be great in itself!
Some other great A news. He is now doing things that he has not done or didn’t do as much. In the past he used to roll over maybe a few times a month but it never seemed purposeful. Well he is a rolling machine. AT LEAST give times a day! He is also learning with his PT and OT to be in a position on all fours and doing most of the work himself. Yes, thank you again tracheostomy! 🙂
In some not so exciting news, school. I again was at the school last week to meet with everyone involved. It was the first meeting at the school that he will be going to. The principal absolutely rocks and I love that he is so genuine about wanting to have A at his school.
Every meeting goes fine until we get to the nursing issue. I hate hate hate the fact that he even has to have a nurse with him at school. But because of the trach we do not have a choice. However all of you know that have spent so much time in hospital that just because you are a nurse doesn’t really mean much.
Sure, when you are new to the hospital system you usually think of a nurse as a nurse. Well not me. I have had SO many issues with nurses over the years that I have learned that you can have the schooling but it doesn’t mean that you should be allowed to be a nurse.
Well my nursing agency just seems to make this really difficult for me. I am not getting the nurse that I requested (after they were all for it), but instead they have gone and hired a nurse that she thinks will be wonderful. My view….I will believe it when I see it.
So once I got over the fact that she had hired a nurse specifically for A I asked when they would be starting. I really think that anyone that is going to be working with A without me around needs A LOT of time to get to know him. He is not an easy child to get to know and he can make things difficult.
I was told that the nurse could do Monday, Wednesday and Fridays for six hour shifts. Starting end of July. This would go until October when he would then be entering the school system. Okay, perfect.
Well two days later I get a call from my case manager. She never approved that. And in the big picture, she can’t.
I am sorry, but what the hell is this nursing agency thinking?! This is just not okay. You should not tell a parent something until you know that it is something that is going to work FOR SURE.
This lady I deal with does not impress me at all. Has not impressed me since the night I met her. (See, I do read people well!) So needless to say I called to ask her what the heck to do. One month is NOT long enough at all for a nurse to come in here and learn to be with A. “But she is an RN”……for crying out loud, THAT MEANS NOTHING!!!!!!!!!! Anyone can go to school and get “training” but that doesn’t mean when you come to do it on an actual person that it is easy! And especially with a child that has such severe cyanotic episodes.
Anyways, I am thrilled beyond belief to say this. We met his school nurse the other night and she is perfect! I have been VERY good with feeling people out and I knew the minute I saw her that this would be a great thing! She really reminds me of Ashton’s primary nurse from the NICU which is kinda funny but I am just soooo excited about this!!!!!
She just finished nursing school last May and is currently working in our home hospital on the surgical floor. However she just did a mission trip and realized when she came back that she wants to work with children. When she saw the ad for a school nurse needed for a child with special needs she applied right away.
The young thing really freaked me out at first but then I got thinking. The young ones are still learning. They are not set in their ways. And I think will be more fun for A.
She has never worked with a child with special needs, let alone one that has a feeding tube and a trach. She will be doing her trach training with A’s RT on July 8th and hopefully will start coming here on the 26th of July. We just have to figure out the private nursing thing.
I was very clear with her about what we want and what we don’t want. I don’t want a perfectionist. I don’t want a nurse that is TOTALLY by the book. I don’t want a nurse that is all about his medical needs and so focused on them that she cannot enjoy him.
Anyhow, I think this is going to be just great!!!!!!!!!!!!! She definitely has a lot to learn with A but she did say before she left that she is very excited to do her training, to learn about A’s history and get to know him. I just know she is going to fall in love with my little guy and they will be a great team.
Five years ago today A came into this world at only 24 weeks. I remember it like yesterday. I remember how scared I was. How oblivious I was to what was happening. I remember my midwife checking me and looking at me with sadness in her eyes telling me that she was sorry, but it looked like I would be giving birth that day. Of course I had NO idea that at only 24 weeks a baby could survive. I cried. My mom cried. I thought I would be saying goodbye to my baby. I remember seeing A for the first time. The love that I felt was just incredible. I never knew that a love like this was possible.
Since that day five years ago my little man has proved over and over how he has an amazing strength and fight in him. There are many times that he has defied the odds and survived. Many times we were told that he wasn’t going to make it, and he has.
I remember one time in particular, he was about a month old and I walked into the NICU and there were many people around his bed. His main doctor looked over at me as I washed my hands and just shook his head. My heart was pounding. The tears started to come. I knew it wasn’t good. A was very sick. His kidneys were shutting down. A was doing some “weird” things that they had never seen before. I was told that there was basically no hope that he would recover because of how sick he was. I sat beside that bed and prayed. Around 10pm that night he was settled and stable so I went back over to the Ronald McDonald around midnight to get some sleep. They would call if there was ANYTHING.
I never got a call. I went in the next morning and again his doctor was at his bedside. Only him though. When I walked over to him he was shaking his head again. This time in amazement. A was already a lot better than he was. My boy. My tough tough boy.
This child has been through so much. 227 days in the NICU. Hernia surgery, g tube surgery, countless pokes, IVs, antibiotics, scopes. Kidney failure, domperidone toxicity, severe dystonia, group B strep, sepsis, spinal taps, catheters, code blues.
Only home five days before being readmitted and ending up in the PICU on a vent. GJ tube surgery, CT scans, PIC lines, cut downs. Diagnosis of cerebral palsy, severe reflux, being legally blind, profoundly deaf. MRIs. Cochlear implant surgery.
Many hospital stays full of tests.
88 days in Sick Kids to try and figure out his “blue spells.” Ph probes, sleep studies, bronchoscopies, lung wash, fundoplication surgery, hiatal hernia repair. Helicopter ride after being intubated and in respiratory failure.
Skin biopsies. Muscle biopsies.
Surviving basically being on his death bed here at home as I cared for him. Holding him during the night crying my eyes out telling him that he needs to breathe. Begging him to breathe. Telling him I love him and how sorry I am for what he goes through. Telling him I try to get help but no one does anything. Knowing that he is TRYING to breathe but he is struggling SO much because he is so sick. Wondering if he is going to take his last breath while I hold him in my arms.
Struggling through those exact times where I know he needed help but not getting any. Laying side by side on the couch for two weeks as I make sure he has enough oxygen, doing deep suctioning, breathing treatments, watching his turn blue countless times. Holding him, crying, being beyond tired. Feeling his body stop moving countless times as he survives yet another blue spell. Almost begging his doctor to admit him but not being done.
Going into ICU for a trial of bipap to help with his severe sleep apnea. Ending up with a tracheostomy.
AFTER ALL OF THIS, HE IS HERE. HE IS ALIVE. HE IS MY LITTLE MAN.
Despite his tough life, despite his challenges A is amazing. He is happy. He is loving. He is determined. He is strong. He is a fighter. He loves life. He has taught me so much. It is him I can thank for the person that I am today. I cannot even imagine what my life would be like without him in it. Sure there are times that I wish he was running around and doing what a “typical” five year old would do. Sure there are times I wonder why on Earth he goes through what he does.
But in the grand scheme of things, he is perfect the way he is.
If he was not born early, if he had not gone through what he has in his life, I would definitely not be the woman I am today. God definitely has a plan for us and so far the ride has been bumpy but it has also been full of happiness and joy. Learning and love.
He has stengthened the love, devotion and relationship that J and I have. The midwife told me when A was born “June 10th….that means he is a gemini….an air/wind sign. You and J are both Sags….fire signs. The wind always makes the fire stronger.” I will NEVER forget that. That was about five minutes after A was born. Thank you Martha!
I am one of the luckiest moms in the world. I was chosen for this path and I know that God made the right choice when he gave A to me.
Thank you A for being the child you are. Thank you for your smiles, your cuddles, your laughs. Thank you for being so strong.
And don’t ever forget. I promised you the day you were born that I would fight for you. I have fought and will continue to do so as long as I live.
The happiest little boy that I know.
Happy 5th birthday monkey.
I love you.
So since my last post everything is pretty much the same. We went and saw neurology a month ago as we haven’t seen her in almost a year. I have to admit that she really has come a long way from way back in the day. I think it has been very difficult though as she has been A’s neuro since day one. So for years she blamed all of his issues on being a “preemie” and it wasn’t until we have seen her the last two times that she truly feels that he is missing another “diagnosis.”
Today we talked about A and how tight he is with his legs. We are going to get him fitted for “gators” that he will wear when he sleeps to help stretch his legs out. He used to have a very low tone over his entire body however over the last year or two things have changed and he is spastic most of the time in his lower half. A perfect example is how he sits HORRIBLY in his wheelchair and it is very odd to see him “relaxed” even while sitting. Arching is definitely his thing!
I mentioned that we are in the works of getting him a stander which she thought was great. She did tell me that he should spend at least 90 minutes a day in the stander to give him the effects that we need to give him.
Disappointed yet again.
It never fails that we truly seem to get the shitty end of things for A. Neuro wanted to know why he doesn’t have these things already? Had PT not talked to us about using gators? Hmmmm yet again I have no idea. I had asked his PT in the past about getting some sort of braces for his legs and I was told “he doesn’t need them.” So what am I supposed to do with that? These people are supposed to know what they are talking about right? HA! I should have known from our history that this isn’t the case.
Stander. Well *I* asked to first try one a LOONNNG time ago. I think A was about 15 months old the first time we tried one. We don’t have one yet because they are SO slow and keep messing around. We don’t have one because nothing ever seems to work for A the way that it should. And these standers are NOT cheap. The one that we just got the quote on is almost $5000!!! It is absolutely crazy and makes me sick to think that we as special needs families are totally taken advantage of!
Heck, A is almost 5 and we have YET to get a seating system for in the house. We have YET to get his wheelchair the way that it should be.
We will be going to her spasticity clinic in July. She will have her therapists there to look at A and we will go from there.
However on a good note we also met A’s new PT a few weeks ago. It was a blessing actually because his most recent PT was as useless to us as it gets. She however has left the company hence our new PT. She actually seemed to know what she is talking about. We really miss our old PT who moved away!!!
Next a dreaded word for me.
This has been the biggest stress in my life lately. Now don’t get me wrong, I really want A to go to school HOWEVER I am really really concerned, worried, scared…just about any word you can imagine.
J and I had a meeting about a couple of months ago with A’s homeschool. It was the first of a few that we will be having. So my biggest thing the last few years is that I don’t want A to have a nurse at school. However now with the trach we do not have a choice. Fine. But I told them that the ONLY way that he is going to school is if he has a nurse AND an EA. Period. No ifs and or buts. They said they could probably work that out.
Even still I am nervous. We were told that any time that A is to have an “episode” they have to call 911. I am sorry, but I don’t want to be called into the school everyday or the hospital for that matter because of his episodes. Now I did tell them that I do have an EA that I would like to work with him in school but they just say over and over that I can’t choose his EA. I realize this, but would you not be more comfortable with someone that KNOWS A and how to handle him then to have someone learn? Yes they would. I won’t be giving up my fight. I think they got the idea at the end of the meeting just how much I fight for this little man!
On Tuesday we had the much dreaded/feared appointment to get the results for his muscle and skin biopsies. All was NEGATIVE!!!!!!!! Actually the doctor said that A’s mitochondria is the best he has ever seen on a biopsy. Go figure eh?
He did however send me up for bloodwork as well as he is concerned about my repeated miscarriages. He thinks there is a possibility that I could have what is called Anti APL Syndrome. Long story short, lets just hope I DON’T have this. I am not sure when the results will be in.
Wednesday night we spent the night in hospital for a sleep study. His last one was in 2008 when it was done at Sick Kids. This should be very interesting to see the results to compare them to pre-trach.
There has been a lot more going on but I will get into that on my next post. I think this one is long enough already!
Oh where do I begin?! Well we have been home now for about five weeks and I have to say that things are going AWESOME! I really don’t know why I was so afraid of the “trach talk” way back when, but really it should have been a LONG time ago. And by a long time ago, I mean before A even came home from the NICU.
It breaks my heart to think that for four and a half years he has basically been suffering in silence. Unable to tell us that he cannot breathe right. Unable to tell us that his sleep was so crappy and he was up so many times a night because he would wake up needing air. The sad part is, is that all of this was KNOWN to the hospital where we spent 88 days back in 2008. They knew his sleep was horrible. The sleep study showed that he obstructed every five minutes. But yet they didn’t feel the need to tell me this as his mother? Instead I was told that “it wasn’t that bad.” I would hate to see then what they would consider BAD.
Feeds are going pretty good. I now have him up to a mixture of half and half with the two formulas, which gives him 37.5 calories per ounce. However he is still sitting at about 25lbs which is not really where we would like to see him. Weight is something that he definitely needs to gain! The hope is that now that he is not using so many calories to breathe that he will start gaining more. We are also only giving about 1200cals per day which his doctor feels is enough. So we will se and maybe have to up him a bit if he doesn’t start gaining something soon.
SLEEP. WOW WOW WOW is all I have to say. This child SLEEPS! I cannot believe the difference that the trach has made with just this alone. Do you know how odd it is to put your child to bed and he goes to sleep within about ten minutes? Do you know how odd it is to not be going up and down stairs fifty times before you even get to bed yourself? Do you know how odd it is to peak in at your child and they are satting about 95 CONSISTENTLY? Do you know how odd it is to not listen to his alarm go off pretty much ALL night? This is ALL so very odd to me!!!! For four and a half years I have been constantly getting out of bed. Constantly silencing his saturation alarm. Constantly trying to console him to go back to sleep. And now I do basically NOTHING. My little man can finally SLEEP. Finally get a good rest. Just flippin amazing!
Feeds. They are going okay. It is so weird after feeding A for his whole life during the night to be doing NO feeds and night and just feeds in the day. Right now I have him up to a rate of 155mls for a total of 230mls per feed. And he gets four in total.
Reflux. He seems to be doing okay reflux wise. He is down to 30mg/day of prevacid from 45mg.
Daytime. Everyone asks me if he seems better in the day since he is getting such a goods night sleep. And I have to say no. But this is only because A has always been such a happy wonderful kid. I used to wonder where he got all of his energy from when he slept so crappy at night! And to this day I cannot answer this.
Mommy and daddy. We are better than EVER. I feel like since coming home that I have a brand new son and a brand new husband. J has been helping out more than ever and it is so greatly appreciated. We had a long talk shortly after A came home and he told me that he realized after all that just went on with A of how close we were to possibly losing him. And now with the trach it is a whole new world for us. I never thought I could love J more than I did, but another WOW! Life is just awesome now!!!
A also had biopsies done on January 18th for the mito/metabolic issues. We will not be going back until the 20th of April for the results. My heart is kind of heavy knowing that we are so close to maybe discovering what could be going on with A. I am VERY scared but I try not to focus on it to much and just live each day with him as if it is our last. Life is too short to worry about things that may come up and even things that do come up are not always the “worst” thing that could happen.
I think I am scared too because J and I have been talking about having another baby. Well trying to anyways. And to be honest I would do ANYTHING to have another child. A healthy child. I think it would be so good for all three of us. But I know that I have to wait until we find out the results from the biopsies and go forward from there.
February 7th A got to skate with the Toronto Maple Leafs! Here are some pictures!
A also made the Leaf website on video from the skate. Go here and watch at about 38 seconds to see him being pushed by Bosak.
In other family news, my brother Shaun and his wife (my sister in law) Andrea were on the TV the other night. Andrea has been dealing with heart failure and in October of last year her life was being measured in hours. It was at this point that she had an LVAD placed (a mechanical heart) to keep her alive. She has been on the transplant list now for over 100 days and we all pray she will get it soon!
Please go and watch this. Just go HEREand on the right hand side click on the video Hope For Heart.
And today, 17 years ago I lost my Grandma C. I remember it like yesterday. One of the worst times of my life. I still get emotional when I think about her. I just wish she could have stayed to meet A and just be the wonderful part of my life growing up that she always was. RIP Grandma, I love you SOOOO much!
Just a quick post to let you know that we are HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Soooo happy to be here and can’t wait to start our new journey with A! He is breathing SO much better, sleeping awesome and NOT desatting at night. I will update in the next few days with LOTS of pictures.
A big thanks to all of you for the thoughts and prayers over the last 40 days. It means alot!
Well it has been a very tough couple of days for me. A was taken off of the vent on Sunday and did okay until about 5pm. He then started with his morphine withdrawals AND blue spells. I was just beside myself.
Anyhow, the one stitch has come out of the right side of the trach. This is of course the side that is a bit wider open than the other. We had to change his trach tie Monday night and he did NOT like it. He was crying his eyes out and was very very off colour. I don’t even want to see this kid when we have to do trach changes!
There is a chart at his bedside where the nurses are to record all blue spells/desats so the doctors can try and figure out WHY he is still having them with the trach.
Monday I probably cried for three hours straight. I just am SO tired and just want things to be fixed and go home. There have been alot of tears shed this week!
On a positive note, he is sleeping BEAUTIFUL. I don’t want to jinx things, but so far so good in that area. The only exception was last night which he was up from about 12am until 6am. I was finally able to see his sleep study that he had done almost two years ago while we spent 88 days in Sick Kids. He had a total of 58 obstructive episodes which came down to one every five or six minutes. Those are obviously gone now with the trach.
Why on Earth I was told by his team at Sick Kids that his sleep study was not that bad is beyond me. His RT here said that his sleep study was “scary.” To me this is something that should have been dealt with almost two years ago.
He is breathing better in the day and does not have the nasal flaring that he has always had and the hard work of breathing.
We had a team meeting Tuesday and the issue now is his feeds. He is aspirating (we got formula out of his trach Monday-not 100% sure but pretty sure it was) and we are trying to figure out what to do. I was told by the docs that I am NOT allowed to have any say in feeds right now and they are trying to work them out. This is VERY hard for me as I am a 24/7 hands on mom. So they want to feed him straight peptamen 1.5 at a rate of 20mls/hour from 8am-10pm. Today he is up to 40mls/hour for the same amount of time. This makes me ANGRY. He has to sit in his chair this whole time. I know it is only temporary, but I am stressed out after watching him in his chair for ten minutes with the trach.
The doctors said that I am probably emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted and therefore they are taking some “burden” off of me. However I did say that I am the one sitting there all day with him, not the dietician. I am the one watching him reflux. I am the one dealing with him being upset because he is NOT comfortable in his chair.
Yesterday and today from about 12pm until 2pm he is just CONSTANTLY turning blue and just not happy. I really don’t know what to think of it but I just hope that this stops.
Just another day…..I really need to start seeing a light because I am already stressed to the max! Here is a picture I took last night myself of my little man and I.
Well A went into surgery last night for his tracheostomy about 6:30pm and at 8pm we got word from his ENT that all went wonderful. We were able to see him in the PCCU very shortly after. He is on a lot of medications for sedation however he is NOT sleeping.
Right now he is currently on the ventilator (life support) but is taking some breaths on his own above the machine. They want to keep him very sedated and pretty still for another 24 hours before they even think of weaning him off the meds and the vent.
I have a lot of emotions right now but so far I feel okay with what has gone on. It was a VERY tough decision and I hope that I never ever have to make one like this ever again in my life!!!!
Here is my tough little guy….
Keep the prayers coming….we have a LONG road ahead of us. He has been a very good boy though for mommy so far on her birthday which is the best birthday present EVER!!!!