Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Double Dating

It's a delicate balance managing two cardiologists, in two different locations, at the same time. Of course, they know about each other, so it's not like I'm two-timing them. They exchange information with each other. They coordinate amongst themselves regarding the direction of Kimble's care. They give me things, to give to the other doctor...like an echocardiogram session, burned on a cd. They even speak very highly of the other.

So when I see one, inevitably, the other wants to know all about it. Sometimes I feel like I'm stuck in the middle, and am getting pulled in both directions.

Yesterday we saw our cardiologist here in the springs, Dr. Brames. It was a good visit, and we talked about what the next six months will bring for Kimble: another surgery for sure; more procedures; a lot of watching the right ventricle to see what it's going to do; making sure he remains healthy and strong and growing.

The slight problem remains with his scar that runs down the middle of his chest. It's got two spots, on top and on bottom, that remain open and irritated. He was actually seen last week up in Denver, regarding these two wounds. We've been treating them with some saline gel stuff to cleanse it out, and keeping sterile bandages over the top of the wounds. Yesterday, it seemed that the wounds were getting red, and possibly infected. So Dr. Brames prescribed some antibiotics, just in case, and a followup visit in a week.

Per my instructions with the Denver team, if the wounds changed at all for the worse, I was to let them know. So after my appointment with Dr. Brames, Heath took some pictures of Kimble's chest scar and we emailed them up to Denver to see what they thought of it. In turn, they wanted to see Kimble today to have the Surgeon look at him.

When we got up there, the overall consensus was that the wounds did NOT look infected and they agreed that they would NOT have prescribed antibiotics.

Thus lies my dilemma of seeing two cardiologists with differing diagnosis. I said to Dr. Campbell, our cardiac surgeon "Well, you know we are dating both of you, so tell me which one of you to listen to." He chuckled a bit at my analogy, then said "We'll compromise, and you can only do the antibiotics for half the time as prescribed."

Looks like I just have to keep on double dating, and let them figure everything out. I just do as I'm told.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

If Your Name Is Shavonne...

...and you are my sister,
...and it is your birthday today,

Then don't look at this post!

Today is Shavonne's birthday! She is the sister just younger than me. She has red hair and blue eyes and likes to knit, bake, and go Letterboxing. She has a cat named Mitch, who thinks he's a dog and likes to fetch things. She has a husband who likes to eat tomatoes and wear cologne. She's been working at her job for many many years, as a Labor and Delivery Nurse. When she was a little girl, she was afraid that lava would get her. She likes to read, go on cruises, and make jewelry. In short, she's pretty much one of the coolest people I know.

So for her birthday, I made her a little something. I made a pretty scarf for her, which is decorative, soft, and matches her eyes.

I wore it to church on Sunday, just to make sure it was up to snuff for her. It is. I was tempted to keep it....
...'cause I felt so pretty wearing it, but instead, I sent it out in the mail to her. Hope she loves it! Happy Birthday Savonay!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Santa Cards

Before the kids went to bed Christmas Eve, they all made a card for Santa Claus, and left them on the counter, with a plate of cookies and a glass of milk. They saw where Santa was on the NORAD Santa Tracker, and went to bed as Santa's journey turned him from some South American Islands, towards North America.

Here is part of the card that Kolby wrote, which said "Santa, thanks for best Krismis". I absolutely loved his picture of Santa Claus.


Kamy documented her card the same way she starts off her entries in her journal, with the date and time. I remember when I use to do that too.



Keaton likes to identify everything in his pictures, so he labeled the dishes in the background, as well as the cookies in Santa's hand.
Georgie told Kamy what she wanted to write, and Kamy wrote it for her. Then Georgie said she wanted her best friend, Teralynn, to be in the picture too. She chose her two favorite colors, pink and purple, and colored the pictures.



In turn, Santa left a note for the kids that said "Thanks for the cookies, kids. Merry Christmas! -Santa Claus" He ate three cookies, leaving crumbs on the plate, and drank all but a few drops of the milk that we left out for him. Hope you had a safe journey back to the North Pole, Santa!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sledding Fun

Christmas Eve was cold!! Temperatures were in the single digits, but we had snow on the ground! So we took advantage of it and went in our backyard to go sledding. We have a little incline of a hill, and so we enjoyed about 5 1/2 seconds of sledding down the hill, before we ran into the fence.





I don't know why it took two kids to push me, but nevertheless, I went down the bunny hill too. Luckily, I had an excuse to get back inside the warm house because Kimble was inside, so I didn't have to endure the cold temperatures for long. As much as I love sledding, I was happy to get warm again.
We took a few pictures before I escaped inside, though.

Hopefully next month will bring some great snowfalls so we can find a real sledding hill and make a day of it. Who wants to join us?

Christmas Celebrations

You may remember our Christmas Eve Tradition of taking a family picture dressed in our Christmas Pajamas. Here is our picture for this year.

Someday, we'll get a tripod. Then, maybe we will be able to take our picture without balancing our camera on books and boxes, and in the process, managing to cut our heads out of the frame of the picture. At least I managed to get myself and baby in the picture, after pushing the timer on the camera and running back to get myself situated in the 7 seconds before the camera clicks a picture. Now that, I'm good at.

After we took pictures, we let the kids open up one gift before they were sent to bed. Somebody did a "Secret Santa"' for us, and left these four gifts for the kids, as well as a package of diapers, and some food for us. So the kids chose to open up those gifts.
Georgie got a My Little Pony...
The boys both got a bakugan, and Kamy got a barbie. They were thrilled with them!


We certainly love taking pictures of Mr. Kimble! He was alert and happy for the evening, and seemed to enjoy watching everything happen. The jammies he was wearing were worn by both Keaton, and Kolby, on their first Christmas too. We were thrilled to carry on the tradition.


Christmas morning was exciting for the kids. Among the legos, connector building toys, and art supply stuff they got, everyone got a robe. They've been asking for a robe for many months, and Keaton has wanted one for years. So I found robes for all of them and they were very happy. So happy, in fact, that they have yet to take them off....


Kimble enjoyed sleeping in on Christmas morning.


Keaton got a fun race car track and we all enjoyed putting it together and crashing the cars into each other around the track.

Those were all the pictures I took Christmas day. We had a great holiday, simple and quiet, which was perfect for us. We are all together. We are healthy. We are truly blessed. Hope your Christmas was fabulous as well.

Guard Dog

I came upstairs after doing some laundry, to find that Kimble was not alone. Don't worry Giraffe. I don't think he's going anywhere.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's Christmas Eve!

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday! We are thankful that we are all home together, and that we are healthy and well. As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we reflect upon this past year, and recognize how truly blessed we are. May you have a very merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Growing like a weed!

If you blink, you might miss seeing how fast this little guy is growing! He has had 4 doctor's appointments in the two weeks that he's been home, and has been weighed at every visit. Currently, he is gaining half a pound per week. That is super impressive to his doctors, who often witness a "failure to thrive" with their cardiac patients. Kimble now weighs in at 8 lbs 3 oz. At least, that's what he weighed on Monday. It's been two whole days of him eating nonstop (I'm totally not kidding) and I feel him get heavier everytime I pick him up.
When he is not eating, he loves to watch what's going on around him. He has yet to smile on purpose, although he gives some sweet grins when he's sleeping. He is definitely showing his personality, and letting us know what he wants, when he wants it. By definition, this means "I want my binkie", "I want to eat", and "I want you to cuddle me to sleep".
He actually enjoys his daily baths, and seems to particularly like it when his head/hair gets scrubbed down. He has three medications he takes daily, and he is amazingly adept at swallowing it all down without gagging, choking, or fussing through it.

We just love our Mr. Kimble, and consider it a blessing everyday that he is with us.

Holiday Menu

These are the treats I made for the Husband to take to work: Cranberry oat cookies, Peanut butter fudge, Reeses, Sweet and Spicy Nuts, and Puppy Chow (peanut butter and chocolate chex mix).
For our Christmas Eve Candlelight dinner, we are having Ham, mashed potatoes, crescent rolls, green beans, fresh pineapple, and Sparkling Cider. For dessert, Pumpkin roll and chocolate mousse with strawberries.
For our Christmas morning breakfast, we are having ranch potatoes, sausage gravy, sausage patties, orange juice, eggs, and orange rolls.
Then we eat leftovers for days.
What are your menu plans for Christmas?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Halfway

Today was one of those days where I had big plans. There were things that I needed to get done today.
.
*My room seriously needed some attention since I couldn't see the floor anymore.
*I did lots of holiday baking last night, so the husband could take treats into work, and even though I did many a load of dishes last night, I still had tidying up to do, as well as goodies to arrange in baggies to drop of to friends.
*I have new neighbors that go to our church, and I had planned to stop by today and introduce myself.
*I haven't done laundry in a few days, and even in those few days, the laundry has totally piled up, especially when my newborn likes to spit up on everything.
*I was going to help the kids make beaded necklaces today.
*A few bills need to be paid, as well as a few checks to send to the bank for deposit.
* All the clean laundry that the kids put away on Saturday is currently sitting atop their dressers, because they say their drawers are too full. I need to go through and sort out the stuff that doesn't fit them anymore. If I don't get to it soon, all those clean clothes are going to end up on the floor and trodden over, then returned to the dirty clothes, which makes my laundry load even bigger.
.

However, Kimble had different plans. He wanted me to hold him All.Day.Long. Now, I seriously love holding my baby, but I really needed to get things done today. Everytime I went to get something done, Kimble would cry and cry and cry. I would feed him until he was in a milk-induced coma, then I would lie him down, and just when I was getting going on one of the items on my "to do" list, he would start crying.
.

Normally Kimble sleeps for some good chunks of time, and I am able to do all the other mommy stuff that I need to do, but it seemed like today, Kimble just needed his mommy all to himself.
.

I got halfway through one load of laundry...
halfway through picking up my bedroom...
halfway through cleaning up the kitchen...
halfway out the door to take pictures of my big kids playing outside in the backyard...
halfway through my stack of bills...
halfway though my cup of hot chocolate...
halfway through drying my hair after my shower...
.

...before Kimble's cries could no longer be ignored.
.

So I stopped what I was doing, put on a movie for the older kids (Mickey's Magical Christmas), and settled down to give my baby all the love and attention he desired. As I sat there, feeling his chest rise and fall against my own, as his hand curled around my shirt and his face turned up towards mine, and watched him give a little smile in his sleep as his eyes drifted closed, I had a moment to reflect on what was really important right now.




My baby needs me, and I need him. If he wants love, I have it in abundance. Times like this won't last forever. Sometimes, it's ok to have a halfway day, as long as the important things don't get shortchanged.

Who Knew The Doctor's Office Could Be So Fun

Last week I took Kolbers and Georgie to the Pediatrician for their birthday checkups. Kolby's birthday was in August, and Georgie just had hers a few weeks ago. Really, this checkup was over a year late, since I never took them last year. I figured it was time.

They had a blast wearing their paper dressing gowns, while waiting for the doctor to come in. It was good entertainment for me, to see what they would do next.

It's amazing what a simple paper outfit can do to help pass the time. In terms of the kids' growth, Kolby is exactly 50th percentile, in height and weight. He weighs 45 pounds (all lean muscle, that kid is built like a runner or a soccer player) and is 46 inches tall.
Georgie is exactly 10th percentile in height and weight. She's been tiny her whole life, so she's right on track with her history. She weighs a whopping 28 pounds and is 37 inches tall.
Next stop: Dentist.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Wish


Keaton leaned over to me in church yesterday, and said "Mom, wanna know what I want Santa to bring me for Christmas?"

"Tell me." I said.

"Well, I want a First Alert!"

"What's that?" I asked, perplexed.

"Well, it's this cool strap thing that you wear around your neck, and if you need help, you just push the button, and people will come help you! Like, if I've fallen, and I can't get up...someone will come rescue me!"

I had to hold back a laugh, as I tried to explain to Keaton that a First Alert is meant for older people that might have difficulty getting up if they fall, or otherwise might need medical care quickly and can't make it to their telephone to call 911.

He was a bit sad to learn that Santa probably had something different planned for him.

I hope he's not too terribly disappointed with legos.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Jealousy

Inspired by my friend Sara, who owns Spongyfeet, and makes amazing vintage baby blankets, I made my friend Margaret a blanket set, with three matching burp cloths, out of cute pink polkadot material and backed with soft chenille, for her baby shower.

I was totally jealous of it. The only thing that stopped me from keeping it for my baby instead of hers, was that it was pink.

So I made one for myself...uh, I made one for Kimble. Merry Christmas Kimble!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Wrapping

Before I was married, my friend Jen gave me a gift for Christmas. It was wrapped in a cloth bag, Christmas material, and tied with a bow. I thought it was so clever. What a great way to re-use Christmas wrapping year after year.

That year, after Christmas, in January, I went to the craft store and bought tons of Christmas material, all 80% off. I made all manner of different sizes of bags (basically like pillow cases, with one end left open)...bags to fill something as big as a tv, and bags to fill tiny presents, like jewelry.

Every year, instead of messing around with wrapping paper, we just get out our cloth bags, put the gift inside, and tie the top with a ribbon. I even have little wood tags that I made years ago, painted, and wrote the names of different members of our family. So now I just have to loop the ribbon through the little hole in the top of the wood tag, finish tying the ribbon pretty, and viola! Completely re-usable gift wrapping.


I usually have much prettier ribbon, with big bows, closing the tops of each gift bag, but this year, I felt happy just to get the gifts under the tree.

I encourage you to get some material next month, when all the Christmas material is on clearance, and start your own tradition of cloth gift bags. You'll never go back to paper wrapping again! (If you are even more ambitious, a set of these bags makes a great gift to help your loved ones start their collection of gift wrapping.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Medical Staff

I need to take the time to document all the FABULOUS people that have been with us on this journey for the past few months, and will continue to be with us for oh, the next few dozen years.
First off, I had the best OB ever. Dr. Weary. I told him from my first appointment, when I was 9 weeks along, that "there is just something about this baby". I was worried and paranoid, and he was extra calm with me. He did an ultrasound, showed me the heart rate, and said things were great as far as they could tell so far. I said "Good. But there is just something about this baby. I don't know what it is, but this baby is different." Turns out, there was definitely something different about this baby.
...
Up until 25 weeks of pregnancy, I told Dr. Weary that I was going to be his easiest patient. In and out. No problems. Well, all that changed when I got the diagnosis of the baby's heart defects, and I went from "easiest" to "high risk" immediately. As far as the pregnancy went, there were no complications. Dr. Weary continued to see me for the regular checkups, but the responsibility of my care was taken out of his hands, and into the TEAM of doctors that saw me through the rest of the pregnancy. Anyway, I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Weary. Even though he didn't deliver the baby, he was a major part of this journey.
...
There are some more people involved, that I have yet to get a picture of, but these people include Dr. Muench, our Perinatologist, and Dr. Brames, our Pediatric Cardiologist. These two men gave me my diagnosis at 25 weeks along in my pregnancy, and continued throughout the pregnancy, at each ultrasound, to explain everything, teach me, comfort me, and support me. Dr. Brames is currently Kimble's Cardiologist, located here in Colorado Springs.
...
Dr. Adel Younoszai is our Pediatric Cardiologist in Denver. We met him about a month before Kimble was born, when he did a fetal echocardiogram. He did an amazing job explaining things to us in a way that we would understand them. He was gentle and supportive, and compassionate.
...
After Kimble was born, Dr. Adel was with us every step of the way, explaining new procedures, telling us the different roads that we could take regarding Kimble's procedures, as well as coming by every few days, just to talk with us and see if there was anything he could do for us. He even called Heath at home, to explain some procedures that would be happening to Kimble, because Heath wasn't at the hospital at the time. We have such a deep respect for Dr. Adel.
...
Jake was on rotation in the Cardiac ICU when we got there. He is on Fellowship and was so amazing and personable. He rotated between nights and days the entire month we were there and we got to know him pretty well. Being Kimble's doctor there, he was with us through many ups and downs. We knew that Jake worked hard to help Kimble through different struggles before and after his surgeries and procedures. I always teased Jake that we were his favorite patients and that he just couldn't stay away. By the end of the month, he had no choice but to agree that we were his favorites. We were so glad to have Jake with us for that month.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.



Dr. Campbell, the man in the scrub hat, was the Surgeon who performed Kimble's surgeries. He was a man that reminded both Heath and I of my dad, and we had complete confidence in his abilities as a surgeon. I think he had been doing this job for over 30 years. He knew what he was doing and we trusted in that. John, the other man in the photo, assisted with the surgeries.
...
Dr. Campbell was often seen around the ICU sort of swaying back and forth...humming to himself...as he listened to the report of whatever patient he was attending to. He had a motto, written on the wall of his surgical room, saying "We are here to work". He is a very impressive surgeon.



.
.
.
...
The night after Kimble's surgery, where Dr. Campbell placed the BT Shunt, and then a few
hours later, when Dr. Campbell had to take Kimble back to surgery because of some complications, Jesse (standing next to me) was the Fellow who was Kimble's doctor during that shift. He was on rotation in the Cardiac ICU, along with Jake.
...
That night was the worst night for Kimble, who coded more times than I could count. It was Jesse who called the shots, and saved our baby's life again and again. We are so grateful for his level-headedness, wisdom, and intuition that night. We were so very impressed with him, and couldn't stop thanking him for the amazing job he did.
...
Next to Heath is Dr. Eduardo Da Cruz. He was the Cardiologist on rotation the last week we were in the ICU. He spoke something like 7 languages fluently, was brilliant in his field, and yet, he took the time to chat with us as often as time allowed. We trusted him explicitly.
...

Along with the amazing Doctors, our nurses were extraordinary! I never had any complaints with my nurses. During my 5 weeks there, I came to know many of them personally.
...
Pictured here are Ryann and Lindsey. They were with us the last few days in the Cardiac ICU, when Kimble was recovering from his very rocky post-surgery.
.
.

.
.
.
...
We only had Jamie as a nurse once or twice, but we continued to see her all the time, as she cared for other patients. Also, when Kimble had that terrible post-op night, Jamie was one of the nurses that came over to assist with everything. We loved her.

.
.
.





...

Suree was our very first nurse, and we had her again intermittently throughout the month. She was a ball of fire. We loved her personality. She knew what she was doing, gave us confidence, but also helped lighten the mood.

.
.
.
.
.
.
.



...
We had Gill intermediately throughout the month as well. She was from Scotland. She certainly came to love Kimble, just as we came to love her.

There were many more nurses who were wonderful, but I didn't get pictures of them all. Everyone treated us with such respect and love and I'm so thankful that they were with us through all of our ordeals, recoveries, and the quiet times between.
.
.
.
.
...


Ryleigh was the secretary in the CICU. She was always willing to do anything for us, and she always had a smiling face for us. She even carried up my 40 pound bags of frozen breast milk up to the 9th floor, when we transferred out of the unit. We loved Riley.
...
Heather (not pictured) was also one of the secretaries on rotation. She, too, did everything in her power to make our stay comfortable. I am so impressed with the staff there.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

...

Ryleigh's Aunt, Peg, was the Welcome Coordinator for the Cardiac Unit. She came to see us all the
time just to check in with us, and often ended up staying for a long time just to chat with us, find out about our family, talk about her family (she is also one of 10 kids) and overall, making sure that we had whatever we needed. She was always smiling, always had a positive outlook, and just seemed so fresh and alive. She made me feel like I was her only focus. I loved that. Peg is a true gem.
.
.
.
.
.
...

Ester, in the scrubs, is a surgical nurse for the ICU. She is the one that reports to us, throughout
the baby's surgeries, on how he is doing and what is going on in the surgical unit. She was also the one that gave me the tour of the hospital, before the baby was born.
...
Alison is one of the Nurse Practitioners that I met before Kimble was born, and she is the one that I have all my followup appointments with. She, and Shanna (not pictured) did an amazing job of following up with me every few days, just to make sure I was being taken care of, and to talk about Kimble's care. They were so nice and supportive not only to me, but to Heath as well.
...
I know this was a long post, but I simply cannot say enough good things about the medical staff at the Children's Hospital in Denver, as well as here in the Springs. The level of care that we have, and are, receiving is top notch. They made an experience that could have been terrible, become something that I am proud and blessed to have been a part of.