Sunday, September 26, 2010

The dreaded runny nose

Fisher has his first runny nose and cold. No big deal,right? Well, this is something we have been dreading since he was born over a year ago. Fisher has very small nares (nose holes) because of scar tissue built up from his birth injuries. He has had four surgeries to try to increase the size of his nares. The ENT put stents in to stretch out his nose holes - it was not fun to say the least trying to take care of an infant that had plastic tubes sticking out from his nose. Anytime anything touched them (a shirt, toy,etc) he was in immediate pain. And would cry in a way that I haven't seen him cry since (thank goodness). There was no way he could take bottles with the stents in his nose, as the nipple would hit his stents. Luckily I was nursing him and had learned to nurse him in a way to protect his nose when he was first born. There was no nursing in public or snoozing while nursing Fisher with stents - I had to be very aware of everything or I would hurt his nose. And then there was the fun part of having to suction out the stents every 2 and night. Glad that is over for now and certainly dread doing it again in a year or two.

Fisher with stents

Within 48 hours of removing the stents the scar tissue around his nares shrunk back and now he again has very small nose holes. They are slightly bigger than they were before the first surgery. We discussed putting stents back in after his nares shrunk, but he was 13 weeks old and by this time most babies can breathe out of their mouths some (not solely). Did you realize infants are not able to breathe out of their mouths? I didn't. I quickly learned and spent many hours worrying about Fisher's nose and counting the days until he was 12 weeks old (the time when most babies can mouth breathe some). I think I exhaled for the first time when Fisher was 12 weeks old. By six month most babies can breathe out of their mouths like adults. That was another important "milestone" for us. Anyway - during all this time Fisher's doctors made it very clear to us how dangerous it would have been for Fisher to get sick. Even a runny nose would have put him in the hospital. Needless to say our plans to put Fisher in daycare were delayed. We only took Fisher into public for doctor's visits and even then we often kept him in the car until he was able to go into a room (some other day I will have to write about the time Shawn about punched a guy at a doctor's office who got mad at us for waiting out in the hall instead of the PACKED waiting room full of sick children in the midst of the flu outbreak last fall. We did not go back to that doctor and ended up going to a better one anyway!). We ourselves avoided public as much as possible because we were afraid of bringing something home. Not exactly the fun time showing off our new baby as I had envisioned, but I wasn't thinking along those lines at that time. We were just doing whatever we could do to protect our little guy. And I a happy to say it worked! Fisher was healthy his entire first year. By the way - after Fisher was 12 weeks old we slowly returned to a "normal" life and we enjoyed the little things like going grocery shopping as a family and eating out.
And then we started Fisher in shock that he has his first cold complete with runny nose. And though I am very thankful that he is old enough to breathe out of his mouth and I am not worried about his safety - dealing something as mundane and simple as a runny nose has been no walk in the park. His nares are small to start with - just to give you an idea, the bulb syringe that you use to suck snot out of babies is about two times too big to fit in his nares. And when someone has a runny nose, their nose tissue swells - which is something that most people don't notice or realize. Since Fisher has small nares to start with - his nares are now even smaller. His pediatrician explained that we need to keep his nasal passage as moist as possible, so we have been trying to use saline. However, his nares are way too small for the applicator on the saline bottle - so I end up trying to shoot the saline up his nose and it seems to go anywhere but his nose. Did I mention that Fisher FREAKS out anytime we get within a foot of his nose with anything - a washcloth, saline, tissue? Not fun. All weekend long I have been fighting him to wipe his nose and then squirt saline up there. I am pretty impressed that Fisher can put up such a fight against someone several times he size!
While this weekend has not been fun to say the least - I am so thankful that this did not happen a year ago. I am so thankful that his runny nose is an inconvenience and not dangerous. And in a weird way, I am kind of relieved. This has been something we have dreaded for over a year, something that his pediatrician and pediatric ENT both admitted they weren't sure how Fisher's breathing would be affected by him being sic. So I guess I am relieved that the big unknown isn't unknown anymore.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Daycare rocks!

When I was pregnant we planned on putting Fisher into daycare when he was about three months old. However, because of his birth injuries his doctors instructed us that is was very important we keep Fisher healthy and day care was not an option. Not to mention he wouldn't have been able to go to daycare while he has nasal stents in his nose (that really sucked BTW). So Shawn and I have been juggling Fisher for the past year and it has been wonderful in many ways, but stressful at the same time. We were finally able to start daycare this week and he loves it! I am so happy and relieved. Even the teachers can't believe how easy his transition has been. He hasn't cried when I left yet and when I come to pick him up his is playing happily and then sees me... And for those of you that send your kids to daycare you know how awesome it is when they run up to you smiling and give you a hug. Makes my heart melt!
Since I am sleep obsessed (I admit it) I was very worried about him being able to nap at daycare. You see Fisher is somewhat of a sleep diva. He sleeps in his room, in a crib, with a fan running, usually a humidifier, in a house with plaster soundproof walls. I am sure this contributed to him being a very light sleeper and only wanting to sleep in his crib. He is not one of those kids that will fall asleep in the stroller, or on your lap, or anywhere other than his crib. So yes, he is a sleep diva (I know I created that, but hey - it works for us!). I was concerned about how my sleep diva would do taking a nap in a room, with other kids and distractions, and on the FLOOR! With no crib to contain him.
Day one - I got a report that he sleep 25 minutes. On the mat, on the floor. I am stunned.
Day two - He sleep 35 minutes. Again, I am stunned.
Day three - he sleep one hour and fifteen minutes! Woo hoo! I am impressed and happy and relieved.
And the best thing so far about daycare? He comes home SO happy! He is happy to see us, see his cats, eat dinner, play with his toys. I know he is tired but he isn't fussy at all. Shawn and I have enjoyed our afternoons and evenings with him and then he goes to bed with no problems.
And me, well I have been able to go to the gym and workout THREE DAYS IN A ROW! That is huge. And I feel a lot less stressed about work. While Shawn and I were juggling I would often have to work after Fisher went to bed to make up for time I couldn't work during the day. So I felt like I was always working and never got a break. Now, I am completely finished working by the time I pick up Fisher from daycare and the rest of the evening is mine to do what I want with it.
So I am going on the record saying daycare is not that bad. In fact, I have to say that for Fisher it is great. He seems to be having a great time, comes home a happy boy, and his mama is so much less rushed and stressed all the time. Other than the cost, I think it is a win win situation!

Monday, September 20, 2010

So many firsts!

In the past week Fisher had his first birthday, his first birthday party and went to daycare for the first time. That is a lot of firsts for any mama to handle!
I took off work on Sept 14th to properly spoil Fisher on his first birthday. We went to the park and then met his Daddy at McDonald's for Fisher's first Happy Meal. He loved his nuggets and didn't dig the fries. After a nap we took Fisher to Toys R Us where he picked out his own birthday present and then my husband decided that we needed to take Fisher out for his first steak dinner. Because every one year old deserves a steak on their first birthday right??? Well, we happen to have a one year old that is a human trash compactor and will actually eat a steak on his first birthday. So we went to a steak house and ordered him steak tips. Because he was wearing a shirt that said "Babies first birthday" the waiters came and sang for him. He clapped. We smiled. We ate steak. Good night.

Fisher's first birthday party was Sunday. We had such a good time hosting friends and family at our house. Fisher loved the balloons and spend a long time running around the house with his cousin Emerson playing with them. He also enjoyed opening presents and was genuinely excited about each one.
I decided a few months ago that I was going to make Fisher an owl cake for his birthday. Not for him, for me. I love owls so I figured since Fisher is too young to ask for a specific cake, then I got to make the choice. I think the cake turned out pretty good - it was a first me me to try to make a cake. It was supposed to stand up, but I ended up laying it down because I didn't feel like it was sturdy. Regardless, Fisher loved it and tore into it.

And today...Fisher had another first. He went to day care for the first time. No, I didn't cry...and neither did he. He was pretty excited about having the chance to play with other kids. I set him down in his room and walked away with no tears shed on either of our behalves. Though I did wonder what he was doing all day and I was tempted to call and check on him more than once. When Shawn and I went to pick him up he was happily playing and we got a great report from his teachers. Like everything else in life, he seems to be taking daycare in stride.

I am finally sitting down to relax and breathe. His first birthday is over, the party is finished (though we still need to finish cleaning up!), and he seems to really like his daycare. I am a happy and proud mama tonight :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Fisher!

If you know me, you know that I am very rarely at a loss for words. But I am now. There really are no words sufficient to express all I am feeling today on my son's first birthday. What a rollercoaster of a year - so many highs and quite a few lows. I don't think most people realized how low some of those lows were - I had a lot of fears that I didn't express too often to too many people. But the highs, I loved sharing the highs with everyone like only a proud mama can do!
So today is Fisher's first birthday. He was born at 2:47 am on Sept 14th 2009. Born to parents that loved him and wanted him so much, but had a lot to learn! We did it though - together the three of us learned and grew. We survived the first year as parents and Fisher survived his first year having us as parents.
Fisher is now a happy, healthy toddler. He walks around smiling and pointing at almost everything. When he wants to know what something is, he grabs my finger and points at it. He loves cats, dogs, balls, and his cousin Emerson. He giggles and runs from you when you chase him. He has added something to my life that I didn't even know was missing (hence waiting until I was 30 to have my first kid! lol). Happy Birthday Fisher! As Shawn said, we look forward to celebrating many more birthdays with you in the years to come!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The impact of September 13th 2009

One of the things in life I have always looked forward to was going into spontaneous labor. There are so few surprises in our world and not knowing when you are going into labor just seemed so cool (and it was!). I enjoyed that every time I called my family or friends right before my due date I had to answer the phone with "I am not in labor."
One year ago from today I got my moment of excitement. My due date was 5 days away and I had been walking a lot to try to get things going, naturally. It was working - I was having tons of Braxton Hicks contractions and had found out at the last several OB appointments that things were progressing. On Sunday morning, Sept 13th at about 4:45 am I woke up because my water broke. It wasn't a gush, but I had NO doubt that is what it was. It was weird to be so sure about something you have never experienced, but I was. So I got out of bed, didn't wake up Shawn, and went to the bathroom. I just took a moment for myself and had a HUGE smile on my face - this was it!!! I was soooooooo excited, I was suddenly more awake than I had ever been and kept thinking that our lives will never be the same. I walked back into the bedroom and said to Shawn "My water broke!" He wears a CPAP mask to sleep and was mumbling with the mask on. He was so out of it and so asleep and he kept talking through the mask, I finally said "you might as well take your mask off because we are having a baby!"
I remember all the details so vividly from that morning - the excitement in our voices as we showered and got ready to go to the hospital. The moments we relished before we called our family, knowing that we were the only ones that knew at that moment our son was officially on his way to make us a family of three. I remember forcing myself to eat a little breakfast on the way to the hospital because I knew they had a no eating policy (so stupid) and I also knew I needed energy. When I think back to these seemingly insignificant details I can still feel the rush of excitement and joy in all of our moves.
Though I remember the good things and the excitement, I can't help but be reminded that one year ago my precious,perfect baby boy was getting the crap beat out of him and no one knew it. With every contraction I had his face was being smashed and crushed into my pelvis. Instead of his chin being tucked against his chest and his crown presenting (coming first), his head was flexed and his forehead was coming first. And no one knew it. Malpresentations (presentations other than crown first - such as breech) occur in less than 4% of labors. And the brow presentation is the rarest of all the malpresentations. So in reality there is a 0.001 chance of having a brow presentation. As rare as it is, the consequences of brow presentation going undiagnosed can be dangerous as we soon found out. And at the same time I feel so incredibly blessed because with the way my labor was managed Fisher could have fared much, much worse.
I look at my son today who is one day shy of turning one year old and I am so impressed by him. He has taken everything in stride from even before he was born and just seems to deal with the cards he has been dealt. When the doctors and nurses told us that he wouldn't be able to eat and would most likely need a feeding tube - he proved them wrong. When the nurses explained that he probably wouldn't breastfeed after his nose surgeries - he didn't listen. When the doctors told me that he would likely be delayed on some milestones due to us having to restrict his movement the first four months - he taught us to not underestimate him.
So many factors that have been apart of this first year of Fisher's life were set for him on Sept 13th, 2009. The day before he was actually born. While Fisher will most likely have a few more surgeries in the future, I pray that his birth injuries will be completely behind him before he is old enough to really remember the surgeries. But me, I know for the rest of my life I will think back to Sept 13th 2009 and be flooded with memories - both the good and the bad. Hopefully as the years pass I can focus more and more on the good, innocent memories of walking into the hospital in labor, holding my husband's hand, feeling the cool fall air, and hearing the birds greet us, knowing that when we walked out of that hospital our lives would forever be more full and rich.

Monday, September 6, 2010

What a difference a year makes

As Shawn and I creep closer and closer to Fisher's first birthday I am reminded more and more how different our lives are from one year ago. Actually, this entire past year I have thought over and over again "This time last year I was doing...." I heard "having a child changes everything" ad nauseum. But like many of things that I grew tired of hearing while I was pregnant, I have learned for myself that this too was true.
So this time last year I was very pregnant and very excited about meeting Fisher. He was strong and healthy kicking away in my belly. Shawn and I were relishing the last few days of just the two of us by watching lots of college football. We were hoping that Fisher wouldn't make his appearance until after the first football Saturday. Which he was nice enough to oblige to. He actually waited and let us enjoy two football Saturdays before starting his long and dramatic entrance into this world on a Sunday morning.
Shawn ended up getting really sick and I had to take him to the Emergency Room in the middle of the night the week before I went into labor. I will never forget sitting in the ER with Shawn having the strongest Braxton Hicks contractions I had ever had worrying that I was going to go into labor and Shawn was going to be in the ER. That didn't happen - again Fisher obliged and let Shawn get healthy before his appearance.
A year ago I woke up whenever I felt like it. I got up and did what I wanted without considering anyone else. I would pack for work trips in 15 minutes and take off without thinking twice. Being gone for weeks at a time was no big deal. A year ago my daily schedule didn't include being at home for nap time. I would go work out whenever I felt like it. I was able to fit everything Shawn and I needed for a weekend into a duffel bag - now when we go somewhere for a weekend we fill up the trunk.
This time last year I knew that I would love being a mom. I knew that I would love Fisher. A year ago though - I had no idea how much.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Parents say the darndest things....

Sometimes I say things to Fisher and even I can't believe they come out of my mouth. And what I find the funniest is that I say them completely calm and rational and then it hits me what I said.
Today I have had a few gems of ridiculousness. The following things have come out of my mouth (directed at Fisher - who incidentally enough is only 11.5 months old and hopefully has no clue what I am saying)

"Don't pull your penis off, you may need it one day."

"I am sure there are many babies in Africa that would love to have a clean diaper."

In other news - Fisher is now a walker. I have found from my own experience (n=1) that there is a gray area between the first steps and when the kid is a walker. When I was calling around to daycares the last few weeks they inevitably asked me if Fisher walks. And there was this awkward moment and then I said "yes...well, kind of" because he was walking, just not all the time, or even most of the time. As of today I have decided that that awkwardness is over and he is officially a walker. He still crawls some, but he is definitely preferring the walking and has actually just spend the last 30 minutes parading around the living room showing off his skills.

And Shawn just said to me "You ought to write in your blog how you have a good husband that cleans the house." And so I did.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I drove 9 hours round trip today to pick up one raccoon. Not very efficient but it needed to be picked up (to be tested for rabies). I drive a lot for my job as I work in both Kentucky and Tennessee and log many miles in those two states. I have found that driving through the mountains in Eastern Kentucky especially is very cathartic to me. Most often I am driving on curvy two lane mountain roads where I have to actually pay attention to the roads and not zone out completely like I do on interstates. I have noticed that this time I spend driving really centers me. Lots of times I listen to NPR. I am such a dork I always try to have NPR podcasts on my Ipod to listen to when I drive. I have been doing my current job for three years now and I have come to really look forward to my drives. When I am not in the mood for NPR I will play some tunes from my ipod and sing along. All of this driving time is time for my brain to not think about a million things at once, I can't check my email, or make phone calls (no cell service in most areas where I go). I really need this time to decompress and just let my brain rest for a bit. I have noticed that when I am not trying to do many things at once and just drive and listen to music I can often calmly and rationally think out situations and problems. If I feel stressed or angry about something, calming down and thinking things through is usually just as simple as getting in my truck and hitting the road for a few hours.
Today I planned the next month and a half in my head. I planned a trip to Knoxville next week for work - figured out how Shawn and I would juggle Fisher and then went through everything I need to do in Knoxville for work and to visit my grandmother. Then I planned out all the cleaning I have to do this weekend to get ready for Fisher's first birthday and then planned and set up his party. I went through several more things coming up and came home from the drive in a good mood, feeling somewhat refreshed. And then I walked into my house with dirty diapers waiting to be washed, emails needing to be read and responded to, dinner ready to be cooked, Fisher wanting some Mama time (which I love!), and Shawn needing to run some errands. So relaxation is over until the next Eastern Kentucky drive.