Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Babysitting Room

We started keeping toys downstairs for Eleanor to play with last summer and shortly after, Charlie began creating his "babysitting room." He would first take one of the baby walkers and "vacuum" the rug in front of the fireplace. Then he would arrange all the toys a certain way around the rug, effectively creating a room.

Ironically, Eleanor is not allowed to touch anything in the babysitting room, despite the fact they are HER toys and she would presumably be the individual requiring said babysitting. It is quite upsetting when Eleanor messes up the babysitting room.

I love this goofball kid. How does he come up with some of this stuff??

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Eleanor's Surgery

After all of Eleanor's ear problems, I went ahead and made an appointment at the ENT. Our pediatrician wanted to drag it out a bit longer until we met some arbitrary numbers, but Brad and I were pretty much done seeing her suffer.

The ENT took a look at her fresh-off-Augmentin ears and there was still a bunch of fluid in one. I thought I had been able to tell at least one had cleared up a bit, though, because she had started talking more and picked up a couple new words. Anyways, the ENT agreed tubes were a good idea and the procedure sounded like a piece of cake.

Then we talked about her congestion, which she has had since about birth. I feel like she has always had a stuffy nose and it has always made it difficult for her to sleep. The ENT suggested she may have chronically inflamed adenoids and that they were very simple to remove while they were already there doing the tubes. Great.

Surgery day arrived and I took her in while Brad took Charlie to school. Side note because I love this about Brad: He does not do carpool. When he gets a chance to take Charlie to school, he walks him in, chats with the teachers, hangs out in his class and usually brings some kind of show and tell for Charlie to show off. Friday it was the rocket they are building to launch at the park. Charlie was thrilled to tell me all about Daddy visiting his class when I picked him up.

Anyways, Eleanor and I got to the surgery center bright and early, got paperwork done, she was checked out and we chatted with the anesthesiologist about the procedure. We waited in the kids waiting room where Finding Nemo was on. A nurse came and took her back for surgery. I was told she would almost immediately be given some gas and go to sleep. I waited in the waiting room until they called me back.

She was upset after the anesthesia and she still had an IV in her little hand, wrapped in tape because she kept pulling at it. Her other hand was bandaged too. They couldn't get a vein in that hand. She calmed down in my lap and we laid out on the bed for a while.

(warning: slightly graphic content ahead) The nurse came by and said oh her shirt is dirty, she got sick when they pulled the tube out. Um, what tube? From her being intubated, that's what tube. Between two doctors and a gaggle of nurses, nobody had told me that would happen.

I was given instructions and ear drop prescription, which I was expecting. And an antibiotic prescription, which I didn't expect at all. There wasn't really a great explanation for it when I asked, it was to keep bacteria at bay while her throat healed.

We went home and proceeded to have three of the most painful, sleep deprived nights since she was a newborn. Screaming, crying, up all night kind of nights. Google doctor that I am, I started reading post op instructions for other clinics at 3am Sunday. I noticed a couple of things - most clinics did not prescribe antibiotics and most did prescribe something for the pain.

I called the ENT's nurse on Monday morning and asked for something to make Eleanor more comfortable. When she called back, she could not have been less empathetic or any more dismissive of my concerns. We had a tense conversation, as I apparently didn't understand my role to just nod and say thanks for her crummy advice.

The nurse (and later the doctor, who overheard our tense conversation and called me himself) insisted it was night terrors that were waking up Eleanor and if it wasn't that then it was something that had nothing to do with her surgery. Right. I asked if they wanted to see her and make sure there were no complications. I was told no, complications are very rare, she's not having complications. I mean??

I got off the phone, burst into tears, pulled myself together and began the google doctoring on the night terrors. They're rare, usually start around age 3, not evident in children under 18 months. Also, I know my child and what she is like when she's in pain. She's gone through awful reflux and several ear infections.

Where I eventually had to land in my head was that the ENT was not going to help us.  I knew my daughter was in pain and I would move on for another opinion. It was almost 5 by the time I talked to the doctor so I figured one more night of awful screaming and we'll hit the pediatrician's office.

Fortunately, we didn't have that, she slept mostly well, up a couple of times and not as upset. There's improvement there. It still kills me she had to spend so much time in pain that she would wake up screaming. But she is healing and getting better. In a few weeks the swelling around the site of the adenoids will go down and she will breathe a lot better. Until then, she has some super bad breath as it heals!

Overall, I don't feel like I was prepared for the healing process for the adenoids. The tubes are so simple and the adenoid procedure was described as simple, too. They feel night and day from each other in my head. One is simple and one is complicated. I think what he meant was "simple for HIM." Five minutes of his time to complete it.

The adenoids were very large and I do think she will eventually find a lot of relief in no longer having them. However, I have not found the process we've had to go through to get there to be something I'd want to endure again. Or have Eleanor endure again. I'll probably spend quite a bit of time rehashing in my head what I should have done differently. Once I am not so exhausted.

So on that note - Good night!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Eleanor's Baptism

Eleanor got baptized in mid-November and we were so fortunate to have our very good friends, Sam and Jen come all the way from Arkansas to celebrate with us as Eleanor's godparents. We had not seen them since right before we left for London.

Unfortunately, the night they arrived, after we stayed up late talking, Eleanor's ears started bothering her and she was up most of the night. And then I spent most of the next morning at the pediatrician's office with her. The weekend doctor didn't offer the numbing drops and I didn't know about them yet, so she was in pain until the antibiotics took effect. Sometimes our pediatrician's office really bugs me.

But anyways, after we got her squared away with meds, she and I met up with everyone else at the house for lunch and watching football. Brad took Sam, Jen and Charlie to Pony Pasture. Actually, they dropped Jen off at the mall first! Anyways, everyone came home muddy from all the rain we weren't supposed to have (or shopped out) and ready to watch some games.

Later that day we drove around while Eleanor napped in her car seat and checked out Monument Avenue and Hollywood Cemetery. Rested for a bit and then left the kids with a sitter and went to Carytown. We had dinner at the newly opened Daily Kitchen and then dragged our tired selves home!

The next morning we had some brunch and headed over to the church. I had arranged with our church to do a private ceremony after the main service, just as we had with Charlie. It was fortuitous, with Eleanor not feeling well and being extremely tired. She was fussy and somewhat difficult throughout the whole thing. It would not have been fun in front of a packed church. Who am I kidding, it wasn't really fun. Squirmy worm.

It wasn't quite as crazy as Charlie's baptism, which was performed by the same priest. He told us when we first arrived that there are still some chandeliers swinging in the chapel from that baptism!

We had some food back at the house for everyone that attended, including a very good cake from Whole Foods. Kind of pricey, but real buttercream. I was so relieved I'd ordered it as I'm not sure how I could have found the energy to bake a cake that weekend.

After we finished up with the late lunch, we found out Sam and Jen's flights were in jeopardy due to storms in Chicago where they were connecting. It ended up taking them until the next day to get home. Flying between Richmond and Northwest Arkansas is not for the faint of heart. I think we were all really relieved when they finally made it home. And their two kids were definitely ready for Mom and Dad to be home!

Charlie had a great time all weekend. He loves him some Sammy! And he got to wear his first *real* tie that has to be tied by Daddy. Oh and his first belt. We are nuts for the belt.
I let Eleanor have a little cake. She seemed to like it. Poor thing. Sick for her baptism.

Despite all the problems, it was a great weekend/endurance challenge. As I continue to learn with children, there are no plans that can't be completely torn apart by one kid-related thing or another. It's something that is easy to accept in theory, but so disappointing when it actually takes away from something you were looking forward to. We just had to roll with it. She woke up Monday morning finally looking like she felt better. But Brad, Eleanor and I all have extremely tired eyes in these photos!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Ears

I had the best intentions of keeping up the blog after Halloween. But almost ever since then, we have been dealing with ear issues and things have been a little light in the sleep department around here. While I can usually string together a semi-coherent post when tired, my old laptop doesn't allow for much photo editing and uploading without locking up several times. I usually give up halfway through and go to sleep.

Anyways. Ears. At Eleanor's 9 month appointment there was a little fluid in both ears. Perfectly normal for this time of year. That fluid became an infection during her baptism weekend in mid-November. The fluid never had a chance to go away before we had another infection. And then another one, this time with the bonus of a blister on her eardrum. It was very painful for her and she was up all night screaming. It was the night before Christmas Eve. My mom was here and we were all at a loss as to what to do. Even the ear numbing drops didn't work.

Yes! Ear numbing drops! I think they might be new since Charlie, though he never really had ear infections. But for normal infections, they are so wonderful. They numb the entire ear canal and have been the bridge between us and a few hours sleep on several occasions.

It took two rounds of antibiotics to mostly clear that last infection up. At her one year appointment there was still fluid of the not-clear variety and the doctor said he would probably see us within a week. He was right! She got another infection this week.

Fun fact: our pediatrician said she has both the face shape (longer, narrow) and high palette that make her susceptible to ear infections. For some reason that I'm sure makes perfect sense among the population that has slept this week, those features contribute to infections.

All of these antibiotics, sleepless nights, pain for her - I think we've reached our breaking point. I scheduled an appointment with a pediatric ENT for Monday. We know him; he actually lived two doors down from us for several years and Charlie goes to preschool with his son. And I am going to beg, if necessary, for some tubes for this poor little girl. Get her a few months of relief.
From what I've been told and have read, getting the tubes is a 10 minute procedure under light anesthesia. It takes me longer than that to drive her to the dang pediatrician to get her ears looked at every other week. Sounds like a bargain!

After watching her in pain so many times in a condensed period, not to mention several rounds of antibiotics, some of which are very hard on her tummy, I think this is the best things for her. Hurray for modern medicine and flexible plastic! Cross your fingers for us Monday.