Friday, June 26, 2009

David's Journey: Part II

We checked into the hospital on October 4, 2006 for a c-section. We knew that David would go straight to the ICU, but we still were unsure of what to expect. The doctors couldn't really tell us how he would do after he was born. We also knew that within the next few days, our brand new baby boy would be undergoing a major open-heart surgery. I really was terrified, I didn't want to admit it then, but I can now.

His delivery went well, aside from the fact that it was a section and that TOTALLY freaked me out. I heard him cry and saw him for a second then they took him to evaluate him and warm him. They brought him back in and Cecil got to hold him for a second. I got to give him a kiss,

and they took him to the PICU. I didn't get to see him again until the next day, because I couldn't get out of bed. Cecil would go back and forth between my room and the PICU and see how he was doing. All the nurses and doctors kept saying how wonderful he was doing, his stats looked great, he hardly ever cried. He had IV's and central lines and spent most of his time under a little hood to keep his oxygen levels from getting too high.

The next 7 days were pretty uneventful, we couldn't stay in the ICU so we stayed a couple night at a friend-of-a-friend's condo in New Orleans, and a few nights at the hotel at Ochsner, so we could be close.

I finally got to hold him on October 8! On my birthday!! The nurses had no idea it was my birthday but it was such a special present. She said I could hold him for about 10 minutes then we would have to put him back under the hood. Cecil had just taken the bags down to the car, we were going to run home to get some more things, and the camera was in the bag. But even without a picture, I will never forget it.

The day came too fast, but I knew it had to be done. When he was only 1 week old he went in for his first heart surgery, called a BT shunt. They say your heart is about as big as your fist and I looked at his 7-day old fist and imagined how tiny his heart must be. It was just amazing that his doctor would be operating on it.

A couple days later, one of the nurses, Stephanie, had told us what to expect when he comes out of surgery. She said that he will probably be swollen, possibly so much that we wouldn't recognize him. He would be sedated and probably on a respirator. She even brought us to see another patient who had had the same operation a week before. She was still sedated and on a respirator. So we were prepared to see David, well, sort of. I don't know if you are ever really prepared to see your baby like that.

Throughout the surgery, we had family and church family with us and we waited anxiously trying to keep our minds occupied. Then the finally called us back and told us that David did beautifully and we could go wait at the elevator to see them bring him up. We saw him for just a second and got to give him a kiss. Then they took him to get him all hooked up in the PICU, so we waited a little longer.

When we finally got to go in, they had changed his room and we walked right by that room because the baby that was in there was crying and squirming and had his arm raised up, we knew that couldn't be David. But it was. He wasn't on a respirator or anything. They said he did so well they were able to take him off the vent before he left the OR. We were so relieved and thankful.

Within 3 days we left the PICU and stayed about 4 more days in a regular room then David got to go home for the first time. He never had any complications and progressed and developed as it nothing was wrong with him.
At about 8 months we started preparing for his second surgery.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Menu Planning

If there is one thing that saves us time and money around here, it is menu planning. I try to make a menu each week of what we will have that week, and do my grocery shopping based on the menu. It helps cut down on us eating out, which is awfully expensive for a family of 6. It keeps me on track and I don't wait until 4:30 to decide what is for dinner, only to realize that everything we could eat is still frozen and won't be defrosted in time for dinner.

I have recently started trying to make my menus based on what is on sale that week at the store. That has been really difficult in the past because I just didn't have time to do that much research. But I have over the past couple of weeks, come across some very helpful tips and sites on the web. I will share those in a later post.

Here is our menu for the week:

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Turkey/Cheese wraps
Dinner: Roast, Mashed potatoes, carrots

Breakfast: Pancakes
Lunch: BBQ Pork Sandwiches (made from Monday's roast)
Dinner: Pork Chops, Rice/Gravy, peas

Breakfast: Pancakes
Lunch: Cheese Quesadillas/Salsa
Dinner: Chicken Pot Pie, Salad

Breakfast: Cinnamon Toast
Lunch: Tuna Sandwiches, Apple Slices
Dinner: Spaghetti, Salad, Texas Toast

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: PB&J
Dinner: Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Salad or Carrots

Breakfast: Wafflewiches(sandwiches made of waffles with bacon, eggs, cheese, and syrup)
Lunch: Tuna Sandwiches, Apple Slices
Dinner: Leftovers

Breakfast: Cinnamon Toast
Lunch: Turkey/Cheese Melts
Dinner: Lasagne, Carrots

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Hobby?

I saw this fabric in the store and fell in love with it. I said to myself that would be such a cute dress...maybe I can make one. Now, I don't really sew, or at least I didn't. I did make my girls' comforters and curtains for their room. But that is just a lot of straight stitches. I was really surprised that I pulled this one off. I'm not really crazy about the pocket in the front, but I'm leaving it because I just love polka dots!
This was actually really easy and I have already bought more fabric and another pattern to make another.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

David's Journey

This summer, as most of you know, David will be going through his third open-heart surgery. His surgery is scheduled for July 10 at Ochsner. We will be using this blog to keep family and friends updated on David's status and recovery. But since we have made so many new friends since David's journey began, I wanted to give a little background on how we got to where we are today. And believe me, I know this path has been made a lot easier by so many prayers from people who love us.

When I was 5 months pregnant, Cecil and I went to see the Dr. hoping to find out whether we were having a boy or a girl. We both said it really didn't matter what our baby was, and said, like a lot of parents, "as long as he/she is healthy". As we sat anxiously in the ultrasound room with the tech, we watched her check all the anatomy and she told us that we would be having a little boy. We were both, of course, very happy. However, I felt like something else was going on. She kept going back to the heart and looking closely, as if she wasn't quite sure about something. She stopped and calmly said,"Ok, I am going to go get Dr. S and let him come take a look. I knew something was up and I told Cecil that something was wrong with the baby's heart. I had seen enough baby hearts on ultrasound to know that you see the little "cross" separating the four chambers. That wasn't there. Plus, Dr. S. doesn't come in to look at the ultrasound, normally.

So, he came in and scanned me and told us that he suspected that, in fact, there was something wrong with the heart. He immediately called Ochsner and got us an appointment with Dr. W., a pediatric cardiologist, that day.

We arrived at Ochsner and Dr. W. did a fetal echocardiogram. He was so patient and so nice. He was with us for well over an hour. He was able to tell us what was wrong with our baby and what would have to be done about it. It is just amazing the things they can see, even while the baby is in utero.

He told us that what our baby had was very serious and would require surgery. David was diagnosed with a single-ventricular heart, transposition of the great arteries and pulmonary atresia. This essentially means that he only had one pump, whereas everyone else has 2, the aorta and pulmonary artery are switched, and his pulmonary valve did not develop. We were also told that this(these) conditions would require three surgeries; that his heart could not be repaired, but that it can be fixed so that he could survive; and that I would not lose this baby while in utero, since I was essentially doing all the work for his little body, it would be after he was born that we would have to be concerned.

With that, we left and went home and tried our best to explain all this to our family, when we didn't fully understand it ourselves. We saw another Dr. in Baton Rouge who also diagnosed David with Situs Inversus (all of his organs are flip-flopped or a mirror image of where they should be). The next four months were a whirlwind, and yet it seemed like a very long four months. I spent many hours in the Dr.'s office being monitored and having non-stress tests. We saw specialists in New Orleans often throughout the pregnancy. David would be delivered at Ochsner by one of the high-risk specialists there. We made plans to deliver David on October 4, 2006, by C-section since he was breech. So we anxiously and very nervously awaited his arrival....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What's in a name?

Some of you may be wondering what the name of my blog means...thought I would elaborate just a little.

I am a working mom of four children, needless to say I get very busy, like most all of us do at times. Let me say first off that I love my job as a third grade teacher. And the environment in which I teach is really wonderful.
However, while my job is great and I plan on being there for a while, my heart is still at home with my babies. I still want to do the things that I feel like I could better do, if I was at home. I try hard to make the most of every free moment we have, which sometimes isn't many. I strive to have a smoothly run home which encompasses many different aspects-from establishing routines, to organizing all our "stuff", to meal planning and working hard to cook for my family(I will be honest, during the school year we eat out far more than I care to admit), to doing the little things with the kids like making play-doh, or making them homemade goodies.

I know there are some out there who can pull off the job and all the "stay-at-home duties" without a cinch. I have to work at it. And I guess that is kind of what this blog is all about. I get asked countless times how I do everything I do. There are times when it gets really stressful, but I try to keep everything in perspective (my husband helps with this one). I don't know everything, in fact, I'm sure I don't know much at this early stage in my life as a mommy. But I hope to share a few things that work in our house---and things that don't. So stay in touch and leave a comment if you stop by, it will make my day.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Don't Miss the Story

David (2yrs) brought home a little bookmark made out of his precious little (but ever-growing) footprint with a cute little poem on the back side of it. It was meant to be hubby's Father's Day present. The little handprint and footprint artwork he brings home from preschool is so very special to me. I just love's like a piece of him immortalized in his project.

Cecil gave me a long hug and David apparently wanted all the hugs for himself. He grabbed the ribbon that was tied to the footprint that Cecil was holding and tore it off, leaving a tear in his precious little foot. I got upset, asking Cecil why he let him tear it apart and resisted the urge to ask David why he had destroyed Daddy's present.

Cecil in his loving, patient, and calming way said, "'It's I have a story behind this present. I was loving my wife and David wanted our attention and tore the foot." That changed my focus immediately and I realized that the foot was still useful as a bookmark, but with an added memory tied to it where the ribbon had once been.

How many times do we miss the story behind the things that go wrong. There are so many times that I don't have my cool, level-headed husband there to help me see the memory that is being made, or more importantly, to help me shape the way the memory is made. It is a constant goal of mine to see things, my actions and reactions especially, the way my children see them and the way they will remember them.