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Friday, May 28, 2010

Today is our 5th Anniversary!

I have a perfectly delightful secret that I have been keeping from my husband!! I have been teasing him about our anniversary for weeks. We are going somewhere, in that direction, we will be there for the length of time it take to be there and we will be home when we are done. We are wearing the clothes that we need to be there, and changing when we need to be somewhere else.

All of this is ending up to be waaay to much fun. I love surprises and the anticipation is all part of the surprise! So we are off for the....amount of time that we will be go do what we are doing when we get there ;)

See you...when we get back.

5 years ago I convinced my husband to have a Fairy themed wedding. It was tons of fun!! My husband may divorce me after I show you this picture, but he did it for me and shaved his head shortly after our wedding.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thankful Thursday

 I am here, really. I have not gotten lost in the land of many children and I did find my way back from the Mended Little Hearts Convention in Minnesota with very little trouble. I only managed to miss one flight out of four, and that is not too bad for me!

I had a fabulous time at the Mended Little Hearts convention!! There were so many awesome CHD advocates there, just as excited as I was to absorb every little bit of juicy knowledge they had to offer us. I finally got to meet many of my online friends In Real Life, and it was amazing. This group of people has so much energy and compassion, I am honored to be part of such a fabulous group. I am so Thankful for Mended Little Hearts and the opportunity to go meet up with everyone and take all of the workshops, listen to passionate speakers and be once again reminded that I will never be alone, that no matter what happens, there will always be someone who understands exactly how I am feeling.

There was so much that I got to learn about, I don't even know where to begin, even after being home for 4 days! I have been pouring over my course outline and notes trying to organized all of my thoughts. And still, there is so much to process and I trying to let it all soak in.

We are already planning a family vacation for next year's MLH Conference, it was just that much fun...and educational. Education is always better when it is fun!

So that is it for this week. I had a great time, but I am Thankful to be back home with my family.

As always, I am Thankful for my happy, healthy, wild little beasties that run around my house all day long driving me crazy, I am Thankful that my husband has a job, we have a roof over our heads and for our wonderfully supportive group of friends and family and all the ways they help us.

So what are you Thankful for today? It is so easy to join in and tell everyone.

Here is how Thankful Thursdays works:

1. Post your Thankful Thoughts on your blog. Somewhere in your post please mention Welcome to the Nut House and/or so that your friends, family and visitors know where to find other Thankful Thoughts. You can also grab my Thankful Thursdays banner and link to that. Once you have done that you can come back here and add your post to MckLinky.

Not every one has a blog, so:

2. If you don't have a blog, you can leave a Thankful Thoughts comment in the comment section.

3. You can show your Thankful Thoughts any way you like, as a list, as a story, as one word, one sentence or just a picture.

Have fun!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Whoa! Today totally got away from me!! I completely forgot it was Thursday.

I am very Thankful for two major things today.

I took E Nut to the Dr with a red and puffy swollen eye that I thought was pink-eye. Turns out he just has wicked bad allergies. We walked out with some samples of allergy medicine and he was able to go to school.

The stomach virus that mostly likely was the rotavirus is finally gone and today is the first day in 12 days that our house is not rotten with things so gross I have no words to explain. I am so Thankful that is Over!

Today has been a crazy whirlwind of chaos and that is about all I can think of at the moment to be Thankful for. I don't even have time to set up MckLinky, so just leave a comment and share your Thankful Thoughts.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Spy with my Wee Little Eye

Wing Nut - "I spy with my wee little eye, something skin colored." 
Little Nut Nut - "Me, me, I am skin colored!"

Little Nut Nut - "I spy with my wee little eye, something mommy colored!"
Wing Nut - "Mama!!"

E Nut - "I spy with my wee little eye, something with little tootsies"
Me - "Wee Nut!!"

Yay! This post has been brought to you by totally random nonsense.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Having Some Ducks Over for Lunch

It has been raining for days. DAYS! We had HVAC over today to finish up the heating/cooling in the addition and clean out the vent system in our old ductwork. We have lived in our house for almost 7 years, and have not ever had the ducts cleaned. And by the condition of the house when we bought it, I would guess that none of the owners in the past couple of decades did either. We had some heavy rain last night, and it has been raining all day. The are also calling for flash flood warnings until later tonight.

So it is too muddy for HVAC  to come into our backyard with the heavy truck to clean out the system, and the hoses that they would run through the house would get muddy and drag said mud all over my house. So they will be coming back out to finish that some other time.

All the rain brought some visitors, though and they decided it would be nice to stay for lunch. Good thing they like crackers, we have lots of those around here these days!

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Impossible Update

I try to keep things light around here, but I did warn a few weeks ago that you might just come across some whining and complaining this month. I am full of whine this week, unfortunately it is not nearly as fun as being full of wine.

This week has been an emotionally and physically draining week. And I feel like whining.

I have sat down every day since Saturday to try to write a post, but all I am left with is 6 started posts that I never finished.

Saturday was the beginning of the evil and vicious stomach virus at our house. I hate the stomach virus. A lot. It has invaded my home and taken away all of my energy. And I haven't even gotten it. Yet. I know I will though. The anticipation is maddening. So far all 5 of my children have had it. We have had several combinations of diarrhea, vomiting and moderate to high fevers. My children are germ infested, cranky, smelly, gross little beasties. It is all driving me crazy. Only 1 of my little Nuts have recovered, and so far the minimum for this bug is 3 days. THREE DAYS. For a miserable little stomach bug. How can something so small cause so much trouble. One little Nut has had it for 5 days, another for 4. I am not sure how much more of this I can take.

Aside from the stomach flu, the biggest thing for me this week, that really emotionally drained me is that Owee's 2 year sugeriversary of his first Open Heart Surgery was on Wednesday, May 12th. Last year I feel apart after his first birthday and was caught completely off guard by the rush of emotions flooding me as I remembered his time in the hospital after he was born. I explained it last year in this post. I thought this year was going to be different, I thought I was prepared. I wasn't though, I was a bit of a mess. Nothing like last year, but still, I kept finding myself going back and forth between crying as I remembered  how I felt just before his surgery and crying as I remembered how I felt after the surgery was over and he was alive.

I have had the stomach bug to distract me from being too emotional, but at the same time, I think the stress of the flu may have made me more emotional. I had special things planned this week to honor and celebrate Wee Nut, but none of it got done. I have spend weeks organizing my entire house to get ready to move the kids into the addition in the next couple of weeks, but everything is falling apart. I don't have a minute to myself without some child doing something gross and stinky. My hands are dry, cracked and bleeding from all of the washing and sanitizing. I have washed a months worth of laundry in the past 6 days and I have no intention of putting any of it away anytime soon. I am tired and cranky and ready for this bug to leave our house.

So there it is, a big, fat, annoying, whiny post. It was either that or nothing, and I have done nothing for far too long.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thankful Thursday, Owain's 2nd Birthday Edition (part 4)

So what are you Thankful for today? It is so easy to join in and tell everyone.

Here is how Thankful Thursdays works:

1. Post your Thankful Thoughts on your blog. Somewhere in your post please mention Welcome to the Nut House and so that your friends, family and visitors know where to find other Thankful Thoughts. You can also grab my Thankful Thursdays banner and link to that. Once you have done that you can come back here and add your post to MckLinky.

Not every one has a blog, so:

2. If you don't have a blog, you can leave a Thankful Thoughts comment in the comment section.

3. You can show your Thankful Thoughts any way you like, as a list, as a story, as one word, one sentence or just a picture.

Have fun!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday Owain!! (part 3)

This slideshow is where the music on my blog is coming from, you can pause the music if you don't want to hear it. I had never heard this song before today, I just typed in Hero in the search box and this is what came up. I thought it was perfect.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday Owain!! (part 2) The Day I Became a Heart Mom

At 6:30am, 2 years ago today, I put my 13 hour old baby down to sleep. I had been up with him off and on all night long, trying to nurse him and hanging out with him. We were in a quiet little room. I was enjoying my first night with my Little Owee and I knew I only had one more night alone with him before heading home to the rest of the family. We were having our special bonding time and I was basking his newborn cuteness.

He didn't nurse well, which was frustrating. He kept acting like he wanted to nurse, but then after a minute, he would fall asleep. I poked at him, nudged him, gave his little toes gentle pinches, pinched his nose, rubbed his head, rubbed cheeks, picked him up, undressed him, switched sides, played with him, changed his diaper, called his name, everything I could think of to keep him awake for long enough to nurse. He didn't want to eat, he just kept falling asleep as soon as he started nursing. As long as I was poking at him, fussing with him and playing with him he was awake. We hung out, staring at each other many times that night. I would look down at him and he would smile at me, stick his tongue out at me and wrap his little hand around my finger. As long as I was looking at him and playing with him, he was smiling and playing.

I was amazed at how he smiled and played. He was overdue, I would say 2 weeks, my midwife would say about 1. I have never understood why there are some who say that newborns don't smile. I have 5 kids who have all smiled at me before we ever left the hospital. But my Wee Nut was amazing, he had the biggest smile, over and over, and he kept sticking his tongue out at me.  And as long as I was smiling at him, he was smiling at me, and if I stuck my tongue out at him, he stuck it back out at me. I was in awe. He was so perfect and sweet. As long as we played he was awake, the moment I tried to nurse him, he fell asleep. I have since learned that this was a sign of things to come.

My husband's great grandfather was Italian. His great grandfathers entire family was from Italy. After that there is no Italian, and I am fairly certain that there is no Italian in my family. When Owee was born, he seemed darker to me than my other children. He also had a full head of dark hair and dark brown eyes. All of my other three children before him, and his baby sister after him all had fair complexion and bald little heads. I remember asking anyone who was close to me, "Doesn't he seem dark to you?" The nurses kept telling me that he was fine. They would turn the lights on him to prove it. They told me he was OK enough times for me to start thinking that he was going to have a recessed Italian gene, one that was going to give him the dark hair, beautiful eyes and a darker complexion like his father. But I still felt like something was not quite right. I still felt like something was wrong.

At 6:30am, 2 years ago today, I put my 13 hour old baby down to sleep. I had been up with him off and on all night long, trying to nurse him and hanging out with him. I was tired and decided it would be best for both of us to just give up and try to get some sleep. I changed him and leaned over to his crib beside my bed, laid him down, gave him a quick kiss with a smile and a nuzzle. Then I rolled over myself and fell fast asleep. I woke up an hour later when a pediatrician who was filling in for our regular pediatrician was standing by Owain's crib. We had a few quick words and while he started his morning exam, I laid in bed trying to wake up.

I saw the look on his face change as he unwrapped my little boy. As he unwrapped him, I saw his little blue hand fall out of the blanket. It was so dark. Suddenly I was wide awake and the pediatrician was asking me how long Owain had been blue. "I don't know. He wasn't like that when I put him down. I put him down an hour ago and he was fine." I was then told the reason for his blueness could be 1 of 2 things. The first could be that there was something going on with his lungs, like if there was fluid in his lungs and that they could suction it out. The second was if there was something wrong with his Heart. The pediatrician then asked if he could take Owain down to the nursery to find out what was going on. I said Of course, I will get dressed and be down to the nursery in a minute.

If it was my first baby, I probably would have run down to the nursery with them. I would have stood watching, in my pj's, morning breath, doing the pee-pee dance. But I had already experienced similar situations with my 3 older children. All three of them had been rushed down to the nursery for trouble breathing. They all had some suctioning done and been given some oxygen and they had been fine. They all spent a few minutes in the nursery for observation and returned to my room with me. One of my children had so much junk in his lungs that the nurse scooped him up and ran down the hallway with him, I couldn't even keep up with her. But in the end, he was fine. They were always fine. Always.

Why should I think that this time was going to be any different.

I started getting dressed, spend a few quick minutes in the bathroom, brushed my teeth, had a quick snack. While doing all of this I called my my husband to let him know there was something going on, Owain was blue, there was something going on, but I wasn't really sure what it was. I was starting to get really worried, but I didn't want to worry my husband too much, I didn't want him freaking out and driving to the hospital frantically. But I wanted him with me NOW. My parents were at my house with my husband and the other kids and he was able to come right over to the hospital. It only took me a few minutes to get ready, as I was finishing up, the pediatrician came back into the room and gave me the news that changed our lives.

This sweet man who I had never met before, who was just filling in for our regular pediatrician came into our room and told me that it was not Owain's lungs, that it was definitely his Heart. His oxygen levels were down to 40 percent when they took him to the nursery and got down to 38 percent before they got him stablized. The University of Virgina's Children's Hospital had already been notified and the NETS* van was already on its way. My little Owee was going to need Heart Surgery.

*Neonatal Emergency Transport Service

My husband still wasn't there, I don't think he had even left the house yet. I had only gotten off the phone with him a few minutes before that. I called him back and told him to get to the hospital NOW. I don't remember if I was able to tell him what was going on over the phone, I think I cried. I was so confused. The whole floor was running around. Nurses were in and out of my room. One of my midwives was there, my door was opening and closing, nurses in the hallway, everyone was talking. There was so much going on. I went down to see him. They wouldn't let me in the nursery. I had to look at him through the window, through all of the nurses. The NETS team was there, they made the half hour drive in a matter of minutes. My husband was finally there. There was so much information. Suddenly they were rushing to discharge me. We started calling family, trying to figure out what to do next.

The NETS team told us that after he was ready for transport, that we would have 10-15 minutes with him before they took him to UVa Children's Hospital. While I was talking to the woman and signing papers, they got another call for another Heart baby down in Richmond. We got to see Owain for just a few minutes and then they took him away.

It was close to 12 hours later before I was able to see my Little Owee again.

After a whirlwind discharge, we stopped by the house. My parents were getting the kids ready, we all packed up for the day and headed to UVa. My husband was in the truck with my father, I was in the van behind him with my mother and the 3 older kids. I remember looking down at the speedometer and we were racing towards Charlottesville at close to 90 miles per hour. It took me only a second to realize that if we got pulled over, we would not only get delayed, but we would probably both get tickets. Thank goodness for cell phones! I really wanted to get to the hospital, but I didn't want to add getting pulled over and tickets into the mix.

By the time we got to UVa, my mother in-law was already there. And there all were, sitting around in the NICU waiting room, with very little idea of what was going on and no idea when we were going to be able to see our newborn again. The day was a blur, doctors were in and out to the NICU waiting room, telling us about Owain Heart, how it was supposed to be, what it actually looked like, what they were doing to keep him alive, what needed to be done in the next couple of days.

By the time we got to see Owain again, it was late. We had already eaten 2 meals in the cafeteria, but aside from that, I really don't remember much else. He looked terrible, he wasn't blue any more, but he was covered from head to toe in tubes, monitors, IV's, he was on a respirator, and way too many meds. We couldn't even hold him, he was too agitated, in too much pain. I felt so helpless. There was nothing we could do. All I kept thinking was how bad I wanted to be back in our room at the other hospital, I wanted everything to be normal. But this was the first day of our New Normal, and it ended very different than it started.

We were now parents of a Heart Baby. We were now parents of a baby with the most common birth defect. Congenital Heart Defects affect 1 in 100 babies born. Of that 1 percent, the defect that Owain has is complex and rare, affecting about 3 percent of all babies with a CHD. Owain's CHD is Double Inlet Single Ventricle, with Pulmonary Atresia and Malpositioned Arteries.

Here is an image of a normal Heart. I found the image Here. The blue blood is used blood coming from the body, the oxygen has been used and it goes into the Heart's right chambers and out to the lungs to get oxygen. Then from the lungs, the blood goes into the left chambers and out to the body.

This is the close image I have been able to find of a Single Ventricle Heart. With his Pulmonary Atresia and Malposed Arteries, the rest of his heart looks much different from this image. I got it from This Website Here. When Owain was born, his blue blood went into his one ventricle, and right back out to the body without ever going to his lungs.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday Owain!! (part 1)

Today is a very exciting day at The Nut House! My Little Owee, My Wee Nut, My Hero, Owain is 2 years old today! Today is a good day. Today is a Great Day! We are having a great time, and getting very little done. We are doing a good job of finishing up his birthday cake from yesterday and playing with all of his new toys though, and watching his new videos. Who needs to wash dishes when there is so much birthday fun to be had! Owain is doing a great job at figuring out that his birthday is all about him. He is getting just about anything he wants, and we may be creating a monster. Oh, what a cute monster he is though!

A cake with candles is so exciting!

Happy 2nd Birthday Owain!

Kicking back in his new Toy Story 3 chair.

Owee got letters for his birthday.
We are feeding his alphabet obsession ;)

A  is for Awesome!

Working on becoming a professional present unwrapper.

Numbers are the newest obsession.
Duplo number blocks are perfect for that!

Baby girl is joining in on the fun.

Sporting his new Froggie Boots, and back to the alphabet.

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