Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Is the stork coming?

We might be having a baby :) Yay! Please keep us in your prayers tonight and tomorrow!

(Of course, Ty could just be messing with my head... Either way I guess it's finally time to pack my bag!)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Still no baby :)

Tomorrow makes 38 weeks, and Tyler's still tucked away :) My last ultrasound on Thursday he was wearing my cervix like a skullcap, and I wake up every morning feeling like I spent the previous day horseback riding, but there are no signs of him making any immediate arrivals...

I'm reminded of the road trips we took when I was a kid, and we'd ask mom "Are we there yet?" and her reply was always "We're closer than we were."

(Just in case you were wondering where my annoying sense of humor came from...)

At any rate, we'll keep you posted as things progress...

On a different note, tomorrow is Dax's 1 year corrected birthday, of course meaning that he officially counts as a 1-year-old now... You may remember that Baby Boot Camp Part Deux was directed towards the goal of him taking independent steps by tomorrow... And we have officially not met that goal. I will give him extra credit points for climbing the stairs every day at least once, and he is able to take some steps behind his little walker, even if I'd have to call them sloppy at best. He better be glad he's so stinking cute ;P

And at this very moment he's standing at a new toy, dancing, and has his bottom lip poked out so far it might get stuck in his diaper... Better go... Love you all!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Three random facts

1. Not only have our medical supply companies ticked me off enough to switch, our bank and cell phone companies are officially history, too. Regions bit the dust just today after another mistake, and we finally left AT&T for Verizon last week... Whatsit with all the crappy service from everyone lately?

2. Dax can now climb the stairs like a pro. It is one of the coolest things to watch that I have ever seen.

3. Tyler is apparently going to hang out in my uterus until health care is reformed.

That's all :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The last straw (or why I finally switched medical supply companies)

Two blogs in one day! Unheard of! But I had to share...

So, some of you may have heard a little rumor that I'm pretty peculiar when it comes to Dax's care. It's a nasty little rumor and not entirely true... I just expect him to be treated by each and every medical personnel and support person and stranger as if he were the center of the universe. And since he pretty much IS the center of the universe, that shouldn't be such a stretch.

That being said, as completely irritating and obnoxious as I may be at times, I always try to see both sides of the issue. Admittedly, the "other side" is almost always wrong, but I do try to look and understand. I'm an understanding and patient person. I am. I AM.

Enter the two medical supply companies that provide Dax's medical equipment, etc...

Company A is an oxygen supply company. They are there to supply our portable O2 and O2 concentrator, cannulas, dots to hold the cannulas in place, pulse oximeter, and pulse oximeter probes.

Company B supplies the rest of Dax's medical equipment, namely his nebulizer, suctioning machine, g-tube, g-tube pump, and related supplies.

The people who work at both companies are really nice. I like talking to them. I talk to them a lot, actually. Much more than I should have to over the course of the past 9 months.

Why? Well, the oxygen company is consistently out of pulse oximeter probes, cannulas, dots, and, a time or two, have actually been out of oxygen. I repeat, OUT OF OXYGEN.

We just spent over a month and a half with no new supplies because they were out... with promises that the supplies will be in on Monday, then Wednesday, then Friday, then next week, then the week after... Their side of it is that their supplier is yanking them around. I get it. I understand. I've waited patiently. I'm over it. My son needs his supplies.

Moving on to Company B, also known as "the releaser of that straw that broke the camel's back."

Company B has always had issues with getting us our shipments on time... We would get them, it would just be a few days after we actually ran out of our previous shipment. After a few months of me making repeated phone calls we finally got some surplus of everything, so that when the shipment came a little late we had extras to tide us over. See, problem solved.

Except that this company supplies Dax's formula for his g-tube, and after a few months of sending it, they refuse to send it anymore because "insurance is refusing to pay for it." They say they will send it to us but we'll have to pay out of pocket because they're losing so much money on it. They end up sending it a couple of more months as they "appeal," but end up refusing again because "insurance is refusing to pay for it." So I finally call the insurance company to find out why they are denying our claim... And they never received a claim for the formula. They have no problem paying for it, and aren't sure what the issue is, although they feel the supply company was probably noncompliant with getting their billing done on time and they were trying to bill me rather than have to eat the cost of the formula themselves. They offer to contact the supply company for me to iron out any issues. Within a day of me calling the insurance company everything managed to get cleared up. Amazing.

Oh, and did I mention that two weeks after Dax DCed from the NICU, we had his Mic-Key button (feeding tube) switched to a Mini One button, which is just a different, smaller type of feeding tube. The doctor sent an order to Company B with the new size and type of g-tube so we could get supplies for it. Month 1, we still get Mic-Key supplies... So I call. Month 2, Mic-Key. I call. Month 3 I call before the shipment goes out to make sure they have it right. we get Mic-Keys again.

Noticing a pattern yet?

I have our pediatrician send in another order for the Mini just to make sure they have everything on file, and I call again to make sure it's all arranged. And we get more Mic-Keys.

Keep in mind that he has in the same Mini button in his belly that was placed there in December. That thing was getting NASTY.

So I call again in June and remind them we need a Mini, and also update our address for our next shipment since we'd finally gotten in the new house. It's all in the computer, and they promised it would definitely be ordered correctly this time. A week later, there's a box sitting on the porch of our OLD house. It was a Mic-Key button.

So I make another phone call. I've officially lost my patience. I think I had earned the right. I was mad. Three days later, we have the correct sized Mini button on the front steps of our new house. Ahhh, progress. All it took was a little good old fashioned b*tching :)

Unfortunately, however, all the Mic-Key extension tubing we have been shipped over the past 9 months that actually fit our old Mini button does not fit the new Mini. So I call the company and ask for a few extra extension sets so we'll be able to hook Dax's belly up to the feeding pump at night just in case anything happens to the one extension tube we have that came with the new Mini. They put it in the computer and promise to order them for us.

Then, of course, the cat ate our extension tubing. You know, the only extension tube we have, and the one that's necessary to feed our son at night. I rig it up thinking we'll get our tubes in the mail sometime early this week.

And then today happened. That proverbial last straw...

I called to see if they had sent off our extension sets yet, and do you know what they told me???

Excuse me while I paraphrase, but this is pretty spot on...

"Ms Sheppard, I talked to the boss and she isn't going to order your extension tubes until she orders next month's supplies, because she says she's already WASTED TOO MUCH MONEY SENDING YOU THE WRONG SUPPLIES FOR THE LAST 8 MONTHS."

In conclusion to this ridiculously long story, we have now switched all our medical supply needs to a new company. I hope they're better. Not sure how they could be much worse. I'll keep you posted!

Dax appointment update

Hi all,

I think a cute little boy and I are about to go curl up and take a nap, but I wanted to give a quick update from today's appointments first... He had endocrinology first thing this morning... Or our appointment was first thing, even if we didn't see anyone until we waited an hour and a half, and babies are sooo good at waiting... when we finally saw someone, however, it went well, and they're happy with his progress and have no concerns right now. They needed some bloodwork drawn, but since we were already 30 minutes late for our next appointment down one floor, we put off the bloodwork and went and waited there to see pulmonology... Eventually got another good report there, too, and they DCed Dax's lasix and potassium, whoo hoo!!! He's now only on viagra and a twice daily breathing treatment, and that's all!!! How exciting!

We went back up for our bloodwork after that, and that was very frustrating for us. Seems like more often than not we end up with people who are training to do bloodwork, and I'm okay with that, but the new folks tend to be especially nervous with babies... And even though we emphasize NOT to hold Dax down or restrain him at all until right before the stick because he'll throw a fit long before the needle gets anywhere near his arm, the less-experienced folks tend to not listen to us and it never turns out well. Today was our worst experience so far, and I think we were all a little upset by the time we got out of there. Many sticks later. I think we'll all need some time to recuperate from that one...

At any rate, nap time :) I'm still pregnant, and plan on staying that way a few more days... 37 weeks and 1 day today!!! Hello, full term baby!!!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Birth Stories #1 and #2

Sooo, we're edging on up on baby-getting time, and I keep rehashing and rehashing my last pregnancy and delivery and trying to anticipate what this next adventure will be like. I was telling Dax's nurse today how I don't think I'll ever be ready for Ty to come, only because I'll always feel like he needs just one more day to marinate... One more day to grow stronger lungs, and a stronger heart, and a tougher noggin. In theory I know he's ready now, but I'm not. I guess no one ever is.

So, of course, if I have a few little contractions back to back, I freak out a little. When I went into labor before it was nowhere near "textbook," so I have nothing "normal" to compare this to... Last time, my cervix was open and there was a baby coming out of it before I had a contraction that hurt, and the day I had Daxton I didn't have any contractions to speak of... So, let's just say I'm not sure what to expect this time around...

So, as I said, I've been thinking a lot about last time and wanted to share a little about it... Get down Birth Stories #1 and #2 before #3 comes along and I don't have time to type, think, or bathe :)

(BTW-these are the details as we remember them... Some of this is a little blurred together!)

So you can read my first blog entry and get the gist of Aubrie's and Dax's births, but there are parts of their births that stand out more than others, and that's what I want to share today...

Like, to start with, my plan of how I was going to deliver... Sheet over the knees, Shep at my head, doctor and nurse to deliver, very private and sanitary.

Shyeah, right.

When we got to the first hospital, a doctor, several nurses, and two paramedics took turns checking out the situation. We get to hospital number two, and we go through a few more nurses and a doctor or two... And then Aubrie wiggled and danced and bounced her way down a bit in her tiny sac of fluid and hung out for a while with her feet and legs hanging out for the world to see... And, by the time she was born, I felt like most of the world had seen... Hell, I didn't care... The number of people who looked at my hoo-haa was not my primary concern... And it's not everyday you have a tiny little miracle hanging out of your vagina.

When my water broke the family rushed out, and the cavalry rushed in... I swear there were at least 15 people in there, and then there was poor Shep who, as you remember, was supposed to be holding my hand and seeing only a sheet (per my preference and his own)... And he's now pulling my right knee to my head and is right there in the middle of the warzone... Oh well, he's a hunter... If you can gut a deer you can watch a birth, right?

Fast-forward... We lose Aubrie and do our best to cope with that and do everything possible to keep Dax in place...

(As a side note, the day we lost Aubrie, my dad and mom were just outside my hometown when my dad had a grand mal seizure and ended up hospitalized in an ICU 5 hours away from Nashville. Dad was paranoid and delusional and the doctors couldn't figure out what exactly had happened... So as worried as I was about him, I have to admit my phone calls with my mom were my comic relief those first few days... She'd call and tell me stories about him cutting himself out of his restraints and running through the hospital in his gown with his behind hanging out so he could get away before the "body snatchers" got there... Or about him digging through the linen carts to find the preacher... If you know my dad you'd have to laugh, too. Thankfully he was okay, and able to come home after a week and was back to "normal"... Thankfully minus the body snatchers or the kidnapped preachers. )

Meanwhile Shep and I continued our own hospital stay with lots of meds and strict upside-down bedrest.

For those of you who aren't well-educated in bedrest, let me explain. Bedrest can range from "pre-baby vacation, or faux bedrest," which is what I now consider myself to be on, to strict upside-down bedrest, which is what I was on then. (Currently I have to lie on the couch on my side as much as possible, but I can be up and about and around... No biggie. Like I said, vacation.)

After Aubrie was born, I was placed on my side on an inverted plane with my feet higher than my head. 24 hours a day. I peed in a bag and, when I couldn't not poop anymore... Well, you do what you have to do to keep your baby alive, even when it's mortifying. (FYI, if you're ever in a similar position, Ambien works wonders! It'll make you *almost* drunk enough to not care!)

I got bedbaths from some wonderful ladies who made it easy to relax, but I couldn't have my hair washed because turning and leaning my head back made my nauseous, compliments of lying upside down and the max dose of mag sulfate...

Oh, the mag :) Wonderful stuff. Makes you feel like crap, but it will keep a baby in there. It makes you really hot, so I had the thermostat as low as it would go and a fan on me at all times, and I was still hot. My visitors had to wear jackets.

I had the most wonderful staff taking care of me, and friends, family, and even strangers came out of the woodwork. The phone calls and goody baskets and flowers and cards and prayers... Well, I've resigned that I'll never finish all the thank you cards, but I will never, ever stop being thankful. The generosity and love that were shown was absolutely amazing!

After a week I was able to lie flat, and even incline my head a little to eat. They had to add on a few more drugs to stop contractions, and I was on three antibiotics if I remember correctly because my CRP (sign of inflammation) kept flying all over the place. But, it was mostly smooth sailing after that:)

Oh, until I went into labor again and had Dax.

So, about that. I spent that Thursday in labor all day, but then the contractions stopped and I felt awesome. The best I had felt since I had been in the hospital. Dax was in there to stay, and we were in it for the long haul, and he was going to be a 10-lb baby and everything would be fine. Then I had an ultrasound and they discovered he was head-down, coming out, and we were having a baby right then. So much for mother's intuition.

Shep had gone to work that day, so I called him and told him to hit the road... The nurse had me call him 2x before he got there to see how much longer which I'm sure made his trip less stressful :)

I was okay, and Dax was not in distress, so waiting was okay. Apparently the doctor went to grab a bite to eat since he knew he had a few minutes. Meanwhile, the NICU had been called and told to high-tail it downstairs for a 23-weeker, and said they knew they were in for a strange delivery when they got to the "stat" 23-weeker and the OB had gone to get a sandwich.

So Shep gets there, and as soon as he arrives everyone runs in, and, by "everyone," I think I may mean that literally. We had the delivery team and the NICU team, and I'm pretty sure every other available staff from the hospital. Maybe I'm exaggerating, but Shep and I seriously remember the back wall, i.e., the direction my vagina was pointed, as being three-deep with spectators. We started charging admission to pay for our deductible. (Never saw a dime of it, though!)

And Shep resumed his post as the holder of my right leg with a front-row seat... Poor guy!

And then my water broke. Or exploded. Luckily there was a doctor and a nurse there to keep it from splattering all over the wall and making a really big mess. (Whoops!) Amniotic fluid is supposed to be good for the skin, right?

So I start pushing. No contractions, I just push. And push. And push. Very different from Aubrie, who, after 18 hours of labor, almost fell into the doctor's hands with just a few pushes... With Dax I keep pushing and pushing and it seems like nothing is happening... And then the doctor tells us he sees the head. Yay! Progress! I push some more, and then Shep and I see what appears to be every head in the cheering section cock to the side and a look of confusion come over everyone's faces... And the OB looks at the nurse and shrugs and says, "I don't know what he's doing."


Oh, and meanwhile, I had several OB professionals telling me when to push and when to breathe. Shep also felt the need to chime in, and apparently I felt he was not knowledgeable enough to tell me when to do anything and told him as much. He remained very quiet the rest of the delivery... And to this day swears he will not utter the word "push" when I delivery Ty.

At any rate, out comes the knife and the doc starts cutting, and I'm a little confused as to why I would need an episiotomy with a 1-lb baby, but, hey, it was not the time for asking questions. After the cut I'm able to push more effectively and Dax comes out fairly quickly after that, if I remember correctly... The NICU folks get him intubated and gone, and the doctor and nurse explain to me that what had originally appeared to be the head was actually a shoulder, then an armpit, and Dax was actually eventually born folded up like a taco, butt-first, and flipped into the doctor's hands for his dismount. Apparently that's not the normal way for babies to be born, but I think it's a pretty fitting way for Dax to make his entrance.

After his birth it was discovered my uterus was filled with blood clots, and that was likely the cause for my bloodwork to always show signs of inflammation, and that had been the reason I was unable to get a cerclage to close my cervix. The nurse tries to massage out the blood clots, but the doctor ends up yanking the giblets out of the turkey the old-fashioned way, if you get my drift. (If you ever get a chance to experience that, pass on it. And if your husband ever gets a chance to watch it happen, pass on that, too!) Finally they sew me up, and we wait for time to pass for us to go up and see our little monkey in the NICU...

As we're waiting, Shep climbs into the bed with me and he hugs me and looks me in the eye and says...

Are you ready for this?

"I'm ready to try again."

I swear, if the doctor had left the scalpel near the bed, Shep would not be around to explain that comment. Luckily, it wasn't, and he is, and I now understand what he was saying and we can laugh about it. For future reference, however, if there are any men reading this blog, and you're ever in similar circumstances, DON'T EVER, EVER SAY THAT!

So those are the moments I remember the most from births 1 and 2... The good, the bad, and the ugly.

And that's why I have absolutely no idea what to expect with this big fat monster baby.

And I can't wait to see what's in store with Birth Story #3. Except that I CAN wait! At least one more day...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dax's appointments

Dax has had his two appointments for the week, and so far so good! Cardiology was yesterday and his echo looked good. There were not really any changes in his pressures or in the size of the holes in his heart, but as long as we're not getting any worse, then it's progress :) The bigger Dax is, the easier it is to fix the holes. The doctor did have us stop giving the digoxin now since everything is so well controlled. One more med down!!! Only four more to go!!!

Today we had the dentist, and this was one I was not looking forward to. 15 month old baby... Dentist... Ugh. It actually went really well though, and we are majorly impressed with this guy's waiting room. We've been to A LOT of pediatric specialists, but Snodgrass' waiting room at his Cool Springs office is awesome... Like a mini arcade... And he and his staff were great, too, just in case anyone is in need of a good pediatric dentist.

At any rate, he does feel Dax's colorful teeth are from the excess billirubin when he was so jaundiced for so long. He surprised us by saying that in all his years of dentistry, he had only seen 3-4 cases like Dax's, and took a picture of him to show the class he teaches.

He does feel like Dax's permanent teeth will most likely be white, and he was happy to see that Dax's baby teeth are only stained, but not soft at all. He was also happy that all Dax's teeth are coming in right on schedule, and says the poor kid has a mouth full that are ready to break through. We'll be following up with him every 6 months from here on out to make sure all the subsequent teeth are as hard as they should be, and that there aren't any other unanticipated dental issues.

So that's that.

As for me and the littlest boy, I'm kicking back as much as I can between Dax's appointments, and am enjoying the immense pleasure and paranoia of Braxton Hicks contractions. My appointment is on Thursday, so I'll let you know how that goes.

Hope you're all doing well!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Sooo, I ended up calling my "plumber" (also known as my perinatologist) on Friday morning, more to alleviate my fears than anything else before we got into the weekend and I couldn't just drop by his office to get checked out if I kept feeling funny. He sent me in to the OB assessment center to get checked out, and luckily everything is fine, but they were concerned with how "impressive" the part-of-my-legs-formerly-known-as-my-ankles were, and I have officially been ordered off my feet/butt as much as possible until Ty makes his entrance/exit, depending on which end of this you're on.

I have to admit, this version of "bedrest" is extremely nice compared to my last "Bedrest" so I'm going to take full advantage! Of course, I'm not feeling just fantastic, so a prescription for lying around is pretty darn nice.

We will be 36 weeks along on Monday, btw :) One more week until he's officially full-term, and only 4 more weeks until the due date. I (yay!) got his homecoming outfit this week, and it's a size 0-3!!! Shooting for a 9-lb baby this time!

My mom and dad came up last weekend to help out and practice keeping Dax, giving his meds, etc... so we'll have him covered while we're in the hospital popping out his little bro. They also cooked a lot :) There ain't nothin like home-cooked soul food, fresh veggies, and real sweet tea... I wish things like that happened in my kitchen all the time! (I have, in fact, DUSTED, my stovetop before. Like with Pledge. My microwave never has such issues!)

Friday morning Dax had his 15-month well-check with his pediatrician, and she continues to be pleased with his progress. She's especially happy with his growth, as Dax is, woo-hoo, now at the 10th percentile for both length and weight for corrected age! She is a little concerned that his soft spot is still a little large, even for his corrected age, and says we might end up doing an MRI in a few months after all if it doesn't close up more. His developmental progress is fantastic, so she's not too concerned, but we're keeping an eye on it. The second concern was his teeth (you remember they're coming in very discolored), and even though she usually waits until they are two, she is recommending we go ahead and see a pediatric dentist to evaluate Dax's "grill" and see what, if anything, can or should be done at this point in time to make sure his teeth are as healthy as possible.

So Tuesday we're off to see the dentist... That's going to be FUN :) Hopefully he'll have some good input! We also have cardiology next week. Will update you once we have some news...

Dax is continuing to make good, steady gains with his physical therapy and speech goals. He's now able to squat and stand back up and is getting better and better at cruising. He's also discovered how to bounce, and does so on everything! His only word remains cookie, although his home health nurse Beth and I both heard him yell "NINJA!" at the nurse who gave him his shot on Friday at the doctor's office. I wouldn't be the least surprised if that was his next word, and then maybe something like "artichoke" after that, since obviously his personal speech goals include saying everything but "mama" or "dada."

On the oxygen front, we have now been able to unplug Dax for up to 30 mins and he is able to keep his sats up! He's well on his way to being tube free!!!

As for the new house, Shep officially finished moving all our things out of our old house today, and I have an amazing friend who's going to clean it for us next week. We're officially almost out of the moving business and completely in to the unpacking business. We might have everything done by the time the boys are in school... Maybe!

So I guess that's it? I'll keep you all posted on everything as it develops....

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Guess what?

Our house: has a leaky roof. Insurance will be paying for it.

I: have leaky plumbing. Insurance will be paying for it.


Dont worry I won't be going into labor anytime soon; I shaved my legs tonight.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Holy crap

So it hits me the other day that, holy crap, we're about to have a baby. A real, crying, eating, take-it-home-from-the-hospital-after-it's-born baby, and despite my intentions of keeping him inside me until he's old enough to talk and be potty trained, odds are he'll be popping out in a few weeks instead.

Holy crap.

So I have spent a little less than nine months doing everything I know to NOT have a baby, and now it's time for him to come and we don't have anything prepared! Apparently I'm supposed to have a bag packed, and so should Shep, and I should be taking classes and learning my breathing and... Here I am with nothing packed, nothing learned, and not even a homecoming outfit or a crib for Ty.

I guess I have some reading and shopping to do... Fast. Holy crap.

I've been thinking a lot about how unprepared I was my last pregnancy since I realized how unprepared I am this pregnancy. Thankfully this time around it's a different breed of unprepared, but this time I have no excuse... Last time when I realized something was wrong, Shep and I sped to the hospital with the clothes on our backs and nothing more, and not a clue as to what to expect or any inkling of the events that were ahead of us. I remember having contractions every 3 minutes as I was riding in the ambulance to the hospital that would be our home for the next 8 and a half months, and the paramedic telling me to stop holding my breath, that I needed to breathe... He implied I should have learned that in my Lamaze classes... Which I reminded him are not recommended until the 7th month of pregnancy... So he showed me how to breathe through my contractions... Hope breathing techniques are the same for 8-lb babies as they are for 1-lb babies, because I never got around to taking classes this time either. Holy crap.

There were no laboring positions for me to ease the pain... I was on my side or my back for 18 hours trying to NOT have a baby. Then I was on my side or my back for the next 12 days trying NOT to have a baby... Apparently there are labor positions to ease pain and help get the baby out? Who knew? A squatting bar? Really?

There were no epidurals or spinals or anything last time around. They needed me to feel and to know what was going on... So I know all about what "natural childbirth" with itty bitty babies is all about... What about big babies? To anesthetize or not to anesthetize... That is the question... And I don't know the answer yet.

To my credit, Dax was born folded like a taco butt-first, and a 1-lb baby in that position has to be the equivalent of a much bigger baby, right? Right???

And there's so much more. Sooo much more!

And then after he's born he'll come home? And take bottles? And cry? No monitors? Holy crap.

Long story short, I may have a little more applied knowledge now of labor and delivery, but I still "don't know nuthin bout birthin no babies." And we don't know nuthin bout takin care of no "normal" babies. We're soooo thankful! But...

Holy crap.