Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hitting the Road .... Soon

Wow. It is hard to believe that I haven't even posted in a week. Time really does get away from you some days. Between doctor visits, both kids with snotty colds, decorating for Christmas, doing that last minute running around for our upcoming trip, baking, house arrangements, etc before you know, a week has gone by.

Things are great in the Whittingham household. Masyn is doing fabulous; you wouldn't even know that she was as sick as she was. Her little body has responded very well to the antibiotics and hopefully in two weeks she will have her VCUG done. Of course, because Murphy's Law always prevails, the first initial appointment was booked when we will be away in DC, despite my request for it not to be so. The pediatrician has encouraged us to go on our trip and thankfully so, as our circumstances do not qualify for a refund should we have not been able to go. We of course could have taken a credit but it would have been to the tune of $600 .... which is basically 1/3 of our initial cost. So, our oh so very kind pediatrician is making arrangements for Masyn to get her test done right when we come back. A part of me is really looking forward to this test to determine whether or not Masyn has VUR as it has been bugging me royally in the back of my mind as to how she got so sick. And interestingly, when sharing our story to people who have been asking about Masyn, we have met three other families that have gone through almost the identical experience that we did; high fever resulting in seizures, severe UTI infection, kidney infection and bacteria in the blood. All three ended up having VUR and two of the three outgrew the reflux by the age of 2. The third child needed minor surgery to help correct the situation. And ... being the cyber geek that I am, I am very comfortable with going into this test and all of the possible outcomes that it could bring. For me, knowledge is power. My hubby jokes that I am likely every doctors nightmare as I always head into appointments with my head filled with information and questions. My sister jokingly calls me Dr. Allie, but I would like to think that the doctors are happy to have me (or my children) as a patient as I am able to understand what they are explaining to me and I can ask informative, well thought out questions. Every one knows that there is so much information to be had out on the Internet and that sometimes, you have to take that information with a grain of salt per. Anyways, enough on that.

We are heading on our first real family trip in what my son calls it: Five Sleeps. It is funny really as my hubby is already losing sleep over the travelling. If he could pull the plug on the trip right now, he would. He has never really travelled with the kids before so the whole thought of flying with them, dealing with layovers and then living at someone else's house for just over a week is enough to give him serious indigestion and vivid nightmares. And as many of you Mommies out there can attest to, the thought of travelling with the kids and your hubby seems like a breezy, easy dream. I mean, there is an extra pair of hands, extra means of entertainment, I will actually be able to get a warmish meal into me or even get to go pee all by myself in a stall. Sigh .... such luxuries really. I fully plan on journalizing every aspect of this trip as I just know that hubby will have at least one meltdown before we get to our final destination, Kaelen will have figured out how to climb the airplane walls before our first layover and Masyn, well she will likely crap herself silly upon our preboarding call to get out of Calgary. It will be great for humour down the road and yes ... okay ... for me in the moment.

So I am off now. Posting and visiting your sites will be continue to be sporadic for the next two weeks as I am not too sure if I will have computer access in DC. In the mean time, I will leave you with a picture of Masyn, who I forgot to mention is back to being my happy baby. Happy baby as in the ONLY time that she cries is when she is hungry. Seriously. Oh how I missed her and am incredibly happy to have my happy, smiling and giggle baby back. It was a very long and frustrating two and a half months of guessing what was wrong and wondering what the heck happened.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Update Number Three

Can I get a resounding round of "Woo Woo"? She did it! Little Masyn is home now for she made it a full 48 hours without a fever. And, that old adage of "there is no place like home" must be true as she slept a full 9 hours with only one wake up and that was to take a bottle. Yes, we have taken a bit of a backwards step as far as her eating skills go but hey - I will take that if that means that she will be a happy little baby again.

The hospital gave us a full list of things to watch for and if she were to display any of the symptoms listed then we have to take her back in. I am confident though that she is going to be just fine. She will be on antibiotics for at least the next 8 weeks and will have her VCUG done within the next two weeks.

We came home yesterday afternoon and basically spent time getting reacquainted as a family. Kaelen had to reassure himself that Masyn's little arm was okay where the IV was in about every hour. That was the extent of his worries for her - the darn needle. Masyn was full of smiles for the entire time and it was so endearing to watch the kids play together, or watch her flirt it up with Daddy. She has figured out how to play peek a boo with a blanket so that kept Daddy and Kaelen laughing while watching her antics.

I have so much more to say but must sign off for now. Both kids are waking up and Daddy has gone to work. Thank you to you all again for your beautiful words and incredible support. I hope that I can one day provide you the comfort in words and support should you ever need it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Update Number Two

Thanks to Christie's generosity, I am able to email you all from her laptop here in the hospital.

We have just spoken to the pediatrician and there is a very strong chance that Masyn will be able to come home tomorrow. She just has to make it through the next 24 hours without getting a fever .....

Her body is responding well to the antibiotics and she is starting to show signs of our happy little Masyn again. The ultrasound has come back indicating that her right kidney was full and that the lining was a little thick. This could be a result of the infection but the doctors feel that it is likely that she has Vessico Ureteral Reflux. This is basically where her urinary tract is a little immature and could be refluxing back into a kidney when sending the pee down the chute. We will be able to determine for sure if this is the problem by getting a Voiding Cysto Urethrogram (VCUG) in a couple of weeks. This test is done by sending dye via a catheter up her urethra and then a series of x-rays will be taken to follow the path up to the kidneys. If there is reflux action, it will be seen via this test. Because she is so young, there is no real procedure to correct this problem other than waiting it out and letting her outgrow it. It could take up to 2 years for that to happen. During that time, she will have to undergo urine samples every couple of months just to monitor that another infection doesn't happen.

In the short term, if she is able to come home tomorrow, she will be on strong oral antibiotics for the next 10 days, then will continue to take a lower dosage of antibiotics up until we can get the VCUG test done. The pediatrician has put her saline IV on the lowest drop today to try and get her body to start eating again. The last couple of days she has had little to no appetite resulting in her losing about 6 ozs in weight. If we can get her food intake back to about 2/3 of her usual intake, it gives her reasons to get out of the hospital all that much more.

That is it for today unless something is to come up. Thanks again to everyone for their well wishes!! Hope that you are all doing well and I will be sure to visit everyone soon to see what kinds of exciting things are going on in your lives.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Update Number One

Hello All - It is Allie. Thank you so very much for your well wishes and prayers. It is pretty incredible how supportive the blogging community is and how comforting it is knowing that you have people to lean on.

Things are going well. Masyn will be in the hospital for a minimum of another two days. Her little body is finally starting to react to the antibiotics that are being supplemented via an IV. Her fevers are now about 6 hours apart with thankfully no seizures accompanying the spikes in temperature. Until she can go a full 48 hours without a fever, she will continue to make camp in our fabulous little private room. Yes .... we were given a private room this morning. Paul and I thought that it was due to her excessive screeching and screaming performance for four and a half hours last night, however it is due to the nice congested cough and sneezing of snot streams that have landed her into an isolated private room. It is reassuring that we do not have the added stress of trying to settle Masyn down in fears that we are pissing the neighbours off. The mom of the other child complained last night about Masyn in a nice manner about how Masyn should have had a private room from the get go seeing as she is "so young and unpredictable in temperament".

The cultures have come back and it has been confirmed that Masyn does indeed have a Urinary Tract Infection (aka Bladder Infection) as well as a Kidney infection. She had an ultrasound done this afternoon to look for any abnormalities that may be present, such as one kidney instead of two and other things. We will find out the results from that ultrasound tomorrow morning with our daily morning consultation with the pediatrician. I do know though that Masyn does indeed possess two kidneys as this ultrasound not so guru could clearly see that. (Jenn - oh how I wish that you were our tech in hopes that you could share a little info that I know that you aren't technically allowed to do).

Today she has had cultures taken on her diarrhea (oh what a fun job that is to be a nurse to do that collection) and all of the snot that we have been extracting out via a nice little suction ball. These collections have been taken to ensure that all of the bases are being covered to determine how exactly her kidney infection developed. She will have to undergo another test a couple of weeks down the road that will involve a dye being injected via a catheter into her urinary tract then x-rays get taken to watch the dye travel up to her kidneys. The doctors will be specifically looking to see if there are any leaks present or blockage that may cause the urine to travel back into the kidneys, hence infecting them. That test can only be done once the doctors are certain that all traces of the infection is done, and to help ensure that she will continue to be on antibiotics up until we get those test results done.

So ... it seems like a bit of a long road ahead of us to get Masyn healthy but I am so thankful that we were able to catch the illness before is got too serious. We are so truly blessed to live in a city that has such an incredible facility dedicated to children and focusing on getting our loved ones better. The Alberta Children's Hospital is a world class facility and we have had nothing short of fabulous care here. Aside from the hospital, the most important thing that has happened to Masyn is the fact that I listened to my mommy instincts. If I had ignored that nagging, persistent doubt and passed it off as being neurotic, things could be a lot worse for Masyn. It is so important as a Mommy that we trust our inner voice for it truly does know best. We know our children inside and out and our Mommy instincts will rarely ever steer us down the wrong path.

I must sign off now but not before saying a couple more things. Stephanie: You truly don't know how many times I thought of you and your family over the past couple of days. I thought about how incredibly strong and resilient your family is with what you guys have experienced with your son's seizures. When it was confirmed that Masyn was indeed experiencing seizures - ferebral convulsions, I wanted to email you right away to tap into any knowledge that you may have. I still plan on doing so as I have been informed that Masyn will likely experience this again should she have spiking fevers. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us and it gives strength to others. Jenn: Can you do Masyn's next test? Okay, I am joking but today, I was wishing that you were the one that was doing her ultrasound. Your passion for your job is a gift because there are so many people out there that either don't have the courage to pursue their passion or won't take the risk of pursing their passion and settle for just a job.

And most importantly, thanks, love and so much more go to you Christie. Having you drop everything and fly over to be with my family is beyond words. I have sat here for over 10 minutes now trying to put into words how I feel and nothing seems to do justice to how I am feeling. Knowing that Kaelen is being well loved and having adventures with you every day, cuddles every night and giggles all day long while Mommy and Daddy focus on getting Masyn better is comforting, humbling, inspiring and so much more. Thank you, thank you and thank you.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Update on Allie....

Hello Everyone,

This is Allie's sister Christie and I am writing this on behalf of Allie. She has gotten all of your emails and thanks you for checking up on her! She has asked me to write this to you so you all know what is happening with her and why she has been absent for the last few days.

As you all have read over the last while, Masyn has been on and off sick and just not a normal happy baby at times. Today we have found out why. First of all, let me start off by saying that she is okay right now. ( I don't want to get you all worried here!). What I am about to tell you sounds quite bad - but really isn't totally as bad as it sounds. Masyn has been admitted to the Childrens Hospital where she will have to remain for at least 2 days. She has been diagnosed with a few problems that they are trying hard to fix.

The worst of it started 2 days ago when she seemed like she was in the movie "The Exorcist" and had a power puke that came out of nowhere. The next day she hardly ate and spiked a very high fever. She continued to be sick, and the fever jumped up and down the entire evening last night and then again today. The high fever caused her to have some seizures - which prompted Allie to take her immediatly to the Childrens Hospital. After many tests and many hours it was determined that Masyn has a urinary tract infection - which has lead into a kidney infection - which in turn has lead to a bacterial infection in her blood. Sounds bad I know - but they have caught it in time and she is now on some good antibiotics that will hopefully clear it up.

This is the very short version of the story (you will get the full version, not the second hand version as soon as Allie is able) - but Allie wanted you all to know what was happening. She (or I) will keep you updated as to Masyn's progress - but I want to reiterate that all looks good. We will know much, much more tomorrow so will keep you posted.
Besides being tired and obviously stressed - Allie is doing well - and greatly appreciates you all. Please do not worry - Masyn is getting the best care and will be as good as gold very soon!!

I will relay any comments to Allie - keep them in your thoughts!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tickle Me Tuesday

I guess that supper was a hit! Masyn got the giggles shortly after stealing the bowl of prunes and using them to finger paint her table.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Batting .500

We are day three into night time potty training and so far we are batting .500, which I guess is good all things considered. I will give the little man credit though as last night's accident was almost avoided as he caught himself peeing, stopped and then ran upstairs to me to tell me that he had peed and still had to go. Sigh .... oh the sleepless nights ahead ... good times I tell you.

So, do any of you veteran moms out there have any sage advice on how to achieve success? As it stands, the little man doesn't have anything to drink or eat after dinner, we make him try to potty right before bedtime and then cross our fingers that all will be well. I have read that you should wake them before you go to bed to try and potty but if I were to attempt that, Kaelen would likely be running around squirrely as heck thinking that he had the perfect nap. I am pretty sure that he is ready to attempt this as 90% of the time his pull ups in the morning are dry ......

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Name That Tune

If you have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews and are looking for a great Christmas gift idea, you will have to ensure that you go over and visit Andrea from The Laughs Will Go On. She is hosting this fabulous contest to win a customized childrens music CD.

Kaelen received a CD similar to this a couple of years ago and now that he is a little older he loves it! He loves hearing his name called in the songs, although at first it freaked him out a little.

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to win one of the CD's from Andrea for Masyn. She seems to really perk up when hearing music and starts bouncing up and down on her little rump. In the meantime, I think that I will pop on over to Name That Tune and check out what else there is to offer.

Mommy's Got a New Do

Finally! I feel like a millions bucks!! All that shoulder length hair is gone. This is only a temporary "do" as I will likely go shorter in a few weeks time - I get addicted to short hair and will keep on going shorter until I grow bored ... then will begin the tedious process of growing it longer again only to repeat the above cycle.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Learning the fine art of "TPing" at a young age.

Kaelen at 14 months of age

Monday, November 05, 2007

To Kiss or Not To Kiss

I was reading in the Editorial column in one of our local papers today an article about family affection, specifically, what are your family's traits when it comes to displaying affection for one another. The article was well written with humour and quotes from human behaviour analysts. To sum up the article, it basically said that each of us, when we move on to have our own families (whether it be with children or not), will create our own way of affection. That may be in the form of what we were socialized into within the family dynamics that we grew up in, or we may introduce a whole new way that works for us. So, if we grew up in a family that displayed affection the "Anglo-European way", we would give each other pecks on the cheeks or if we grew up "The Italian way", we would move to the full on smack on the lips. Others may have grown up in a family where the form of affection would be a pat on the back, a hug or even just a "Good On You" verbal message.

That got me thinking what type of environment did I grow up in and have I carried that over into my family dynamics now. For as long as I can remember, I am pretty sure that I was showered with affection from my parents. If I wanted a hug or a kiss, all I had to do is ask for one or crawl into my parents laps and receive one automatically. And, to this day, my mom, sister and I (as my father has passed away) still shower each other with hugs and kisses when we get together. When my husband and I first started dating, I remember him commenting on how "touchy/feely" the three of us were. I think at first he was a little stunned at our affectionate ways and wasn't sure as to how to partake in it. From what I have observed over the past 15 years in my relationship with my husband, his family loves each other deeply, but they are not touchy/feely; which is fine because there is no right or wrong to me as long as you know that you are loved.

Now that my husband and I have our own precious family, I find that we are definitely a touchy/feely family at this point. At any given opportunity, you will find one of us (parents or kids) cuddling, hugging or kissing the other. We are the full smack on the lips kind of family, followed by big, tight warm hugs and then the verbal I Love Yous. I dream that this kind of affection between the four of us will remain like this forever but know that there may come the day that my children will be too self conscious to do so, especially in public. Years ago, I met this one family and their displays of affection for one another captured my heart. There were two boys in the family and at the ages of 15 & 18, they had absolutely no problem giving their mom and dad a hug and/or kiss in public. That continued on for as long as I saw them, until the youngest was 22 years old. Even though I have lost touch with them, I am sure that they continue to display their affection for one another. I remember distinctly telling myself that should I ever have a son in the future, that I wanted to raise him to be secure enough in himself to be able to confidently show meaningful affection to me if he ever felt the need to do so in public. I know that wanting this is silly, but I do hope that Kaelen never loses his need to give me or his dad affection, and if he were to want it in the public eye, that he would feel comfortable to do so.

Which .... this brings me to my next thought: Why does there at times seem to be this unwritten rule that public displays of affection is a no-no? I mean, I am NOT the type of person to be making out with my husband in public. For me personally, I would rather keep that behind closed doors but, I will hold his hand, give him a hug or a full wet smack on his lips if he says or does something endearing. And, my heart just melts when I see my hubby (or any parent with their child for that matter) scoop one of our children up in his big arms when we are out in public and hearing him tell them that he loves them and then gives them affection. But then again, I am a touchy/feely kind of person. I love giving hugs to people as it is a way for me to express myself. Again, I do realize that this form of communication is not for everyone and that is fine. There is no right or wrong when it comes to what one is comfortable with.

So, back to this article, it also asked the question in a humorous manner as to how do you greet or depart with friends and acquaintances. Do you give them a hug, a chaste cheek kiss or a quick smack on the lips? That one had me laughing. I will 100% of the time give a hug and depending on who I am hugging (meaning how close our relationship is), I will usually give the chaste cheek kiss. We do however have close friends that we have been known to give the full smack on the lips as it is second nature to us. There is nothing sexual about it but our love for them that is akin to family.

Just out of curiosity, what do you do? If you are up to sharing, please feel to do so. Again, there is no right or wrong, I would just be curious to see what everyone else does.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Baby Wearing - Is It a Fad?

Depending on where you live, there seems to be an influx of parents wearing their babies. For me, where I live, it seems like every fourth parent has their child enfolded in a Baby Bjorn. Now for me, I personally found that particular device more like a torture instrument on my body and my son's emotional well being. Neither one of us particularly enjoyed our experience with it. And interestingly, I had never really paid attention to the concept of baby wearing prior to giving birth 7 weeks prematurely to my son.

It was the wonderful special care nursery staff that introduced me to the concept of Kangaroo Care. The staff warmly encouraged that aside from breast feeding, the best thing that I could do for my son was to have him snuggled right against my chest to capture not only my warmth, but my heartbeat. It gave my husband and I the perfect excuse to lovingly hold our son (when his health permitted us to do so)... that is until we came home from the hospital. It was then that I realized that having my son snuggled in against me was going to be quite the challenge if housework, grocery shopping and living life in general was to be done. Out of sheer luck, I stumbled upon "The Pea Pod" which at the time, was marketed (in this particular store) specifically for parents of preemies where we could hold our babies cradle style and still have our hands free. Talk about Jackpot!! However, I soon discovered that trying to wind all what seemed to be yards of fabric around myself while pretzled in the backseat of my car in the middle of winter could be defined as a comedy show at best. I should have persevered but didn't and gave up. A month later, a friend of mine graciously loaned me her Baby Bjorn to use when I had confided my fears to her about not holding my son enough. (On a side note, I honestly believe to this day, that is was because of practising Kangaroo Care, he was able to remain healthy and grow enough to surpass full term babies in height/weight within four months of his birth.) After two months of both myself and my son diligently trying to work out how to get comfortable with the Bjorn, I gave up trying to wear him and just strong armed it for the past two and half years up until the birth of my daughter in February. Because I didn't see other types of carriers in stores or people wearing their children, I didn't realize that there actually were other options out there.

When pregnant with my daughter I started researching ideas on how to get around with two kids. Getting a double stroller was out of the question for me as my son for the most part walks everywhere and the cost of a decent one is pricey at best. It was during my research that a whole new world was opened to me. I mean, people actually wore their children everywhere and appeared to be not only comfortable but in style as well. You might as well have told me that I had won the lottery; that is how excited I was. So, after a lot of surfing and asking questions from the seasoned pros, I now proudly own four baby carriers. There is not a day that goes by that I don't wear one of my kids and I have come to the point that I will make an excuse to just get out of the house so I can wear them. And, now the shoe feels like it is on the other foot as I get approached daily from other parents with the same questions that I was once asking.

It is interesting though as there are the skeptics out there. While standing in line at a grocery store, one lady questioned the whole concept of baby wearing. At one point, she actually said, "Don't you feel that the concept of baby wearing is just a fad like everything else these days?". That conversation has been on my mind a lot over the past month. I feel only now am I able to appropriately answer that question. What do I think? I think no. I don't think that baby wearing is a fad. I think that people of our generation talk more; we are more open to confiding in others of our struggles or successes. And, with our ability to communicate with others more easily (such as the Internet), it makes it easier to learn about issues that matter to you. I don't think that baby wearing is going to fade away like many other fads out there. In fact, I think that it is only going to become more accepted and practiced. Especially so now that there are so many fashionable options out there that cater to all types of lifestyles. Baby wearing no longer has to look frumpy, nor does it have to be physically uncomfortable for the person carrying the child. And, aside from all of the positive benefits that a child receives from being carried, who doesn't want the excuse to hold their child?

PS - Don't you just LOVE LOVE LOVE us in this sling?? This is the swanky sling that I had won on Steph's at Adventures in Babywearing. It is the Strawberry Fields Forever ring sling made by Rockin Baby Sling. It wears and washes fabulously and is very comfortable for both Mommy and baby. And the best thing? It allows for both Masyn and I to channel our inner divas for everytime we are out wearing it, we get stopped by people commenting on how gorgeous it is, how good we look in it and yes .... how awesome it is to see parents wearing their children.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Smokin Halloween

Booo ..... this is the ghost of the Whittingham blog. Okay not, but just in case anyone was wondering if I were still alive; I am. I just find of late that I have lost my brain and have become the most disorganized Mommy on the planet. In addition to my poor time management skills, the weather has also been fabulous so we have been taking every opportunity to get outside and play before that wonderful -20C or colder temperatures hit us.

Anyways, Halloween was an absolute blast in our household! My loving hubby graciously let me take the kids out this year despite him really wanting to do it. Instead, he stayed home and harassed all of the goblins that graced our doorstep by rigging a two way radio into our scarecrow. Every time a child approached, the scarecrow would start up a conversation with the little one and at times, get that little one doing a song a dance. Hubby claims that he had the time of his life but I don't know ..... as Kaelen was so much fun last night. He was so excited to go out and soooooo good. Every house we haunted, he would scream "Trick or Treat" and then would rarely have to be prompted to say "Thank You". Masyn meanwhile, took it all in with big wide eyes snuggled comfortably against Mommy in our Ergo. The night for once was perfect hovering around that 4C mark yet it seemed really quiet out there. Last year, everyone in our neighborhood ran out of candy (including us) as the number of goblins had almost doubled to that of the year before. This year, we had planned for at least that many kids (70ish) yet only got 14. That also seemed to be the consensus of everywhere else around us. Perhaps that is how after haunting only 20 houses we came home with two bags full of treats.

Hope that you all had an excellent Halloween Eve. Today is a busy one for us - we had to visit the dentist this morning and now we are off to have family portraits done. I have every intention of visiting all of your sites either late tonight or first thing tomorrow morning.

Fireman Kaelen getting ready to head out for all of the excitement.

All three of us leaving our house. And, just in case you were all wondering, the bag that I was carrying had toques and scarfs within it in case the temperature dropped, yet it somehow ended up being Kaelen's treat overflow bag.

Kaelen and Masyn inspecting Kaelen's haul of goodies.