Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloweeeeeen

Our Halloween was splendid. Over the weekend, we checked out our favorite haunted houses in the area. Always a lot of fun. We even made it into a couple news stories for a second. Here's the Channel 9 News clip (at 00:30 seconds in): Burbank Man Works On His Scary Haunted House All Year Long « CBS Los Angeles

Today, we took Stevie to probably 5 houses for some Tricks 'n' Treats and then had dinner with the in-laws. Yeah, I know he's too young for candy. So our plan to pimp out the baby for our own gain worked out perfectly. Buahahaha.

Splendid, indeed.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


So last week, Stevie got his stitches out and had a good check-up. Then yesterday, we had the little guy's follow up appointment with the Cardiologist and so far everything looks great! Everyone has been happy with the way his surgery turned out. His EKG looked fine. His saturations (oxygen levels) are at 98% (!!!) This in itself is amazing, when the highest we've ever seen before this was 85%. There's still a slight murmur, but that will probably always be there, just not as loud as it used to be. They did his ultrasound and we finished up the appointment in her office with this conversation...

Doc: So, everything looks great. The ultrasound shows that there is a slight leak between the two chambers where they patched the hole, but that is not totally unusual. It's quite a bit of patchwork over that big hole... So we will go ahead and plan on seeing you back here in 3 months.

Me: Three months! Even with a leak?? Are you sure??

Doc: Yeah, most likely the leak will just fix itself. It's not a huge concern.

Me: Three months! (I look at Stephen and back at her.) But what do I do? Like, what do I look for? What?! It seems like such a long time!

Doc: I know! But he'll be fine. Just call us if anything really, really strange happens, like if he faints or something. The problem is not something that will hurt him overnight, even if something goes terribly wrong. We will see it before we need to intervene. There will be major warning signs.

Me: Three months. Okay. Three months! (Deep breath) This is the first procedure he's had with no complications, so okay! Three months.

Doc: Have a nice holiday season.

Me (in my head): HOLIDAYS?! I WON'T SEE YOU UNTIL AFTER THE HOLIDAYS?!! OH MY GOSH! But there's a leak! And I don't know what I'm doing!
Me (out loud): Okay, you too. Thanks!

So yeah. No cardiology appointment for three months. And eventually we'll get it down to once a year. So we went from seeing them every month to once every 3 months to eventually once every 6 months and then once a year. ONE appointment a YEAR! It makes me nervous and happy all at once. Stephen will be a year old the next time we're in that office.

And damn, what a year it has been. I mean, really.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lombardi Family Farms

We discovered this place last year through the recommendation of a friend who works near the farm. It is so awesome! They have a huge pumpkin patch, a wagon ride, train ride, petting zoo, face painting, scarecrow alley, corn maze, snow cones, etc. Everything that you love about fall all wrapped into one. Except for the 90 degree weather, that is. But regardless, this will be a family tradition I think.

Last year we went with a good group and had such a blast checking out the whole place. This year was super packed, and we went with a different group but it was still really fun. We didn't do much besides try to stay out of the direct heat. But we enjoyed some snow cones and checked out the scarecrow contest and the kids got their faces painted. I loved every minute!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

10 Months Old

Baby: He's been home from the hospital for a week now and this first week home has had its up and downs. As far as Stephen's health is concerned, that's one of the ups. He got his stitches out Friday and the wound looks great. It's going to heal up beautifully. He has a cardiology appointment this coming week to check out all the new parts of the ticker, so we are looking forward to seeing his heart work in a new and different way. No more hole, no more bypass, new pulmonary valve! I am excited. He has a couple new teeth coming in, which will make 4 total! He hasn't made much progress in the milestone area this month, but we kind of knew it would be slow because of the surgery. He lost a little bit of weight since being home, but we are working on getting his appetite back to where it was pre-surgery. He'll be chunked up again soon.

Parents: The hardest part of being home for us is Stephen's new-found separation anxiety. We talked to the nurses about it and they said that yes, he's at a perfect age to be going through something like that, plus he just went through a traumatic experience, so he's probably going to be on the high-maintenance side. (My cousin also brought up a good point that he was like this after his first surgery too. I think I had written it off to him just being a fussy baby, but she's right. It's a very similar situation.) Any time we put him down to play or we leave the room or even just walk out of his line of sight, he cries and cries and cries. Of course we feel bad for him and give him as much extra loves as we can, but it can be really tiring too. And we feel our patience dwindling. It's hard because there's not much we can do for him and we sometimes wonder if he's in pain or just grouchy or what? It's been awesome to have my husband home this week, so at least we can switch off watching him while the other can get a couple things done. It's also been nice because we've had a couple of awesome date nights/afternoons! Woo-hoo!

Mommy's Thoughts: Next week I'll be on my own, since the husband HAS to work I guess. So I'm mentally preparing for a rough week, and just telling myself to enjoy the fact that the wee one needs me so much right now because it will all go by so quickly. The stuff I want to do can always be done another day. Sometimes it's hard to remember that, especially when I need to pee or get a glass of water and it's like the end of the world for him! But I'll do my best. Little grumpy butt wearing me out. But as far as the bigger picture is concerned, I'm so happy to be on the other side of this surgery. It's done. No more anxiety and fears building up about it. Sure, I have fears about other things now, but the big one is over. I can manage pretty much anything else that comes along at this point!

Monday, October 17, 2011


Today we were a little paranoid. But we're ok with it. Better safe than sorry.

Middle of the night, Stephen had a low grade fever of 100.2 and a little redness around one of his incisions (where chest tube #2 was). For the past 24 hours, he has been a horrible grump. Occasional crying and constant complaining. Loudly. Nothing really seems to make him feel better - food, naps, love, or Tylenol with codeine.

So we called the nurse practitioner at Children's Hospital and they said they would take a look at him. Which they did. And they didn't see any cause for concern.

His fever went away quickly, but the complaining continues.

I guess I'd be complaining too if I just had open heart surgery. And constipation. And new teeth coming in.

Poor boo.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Oh my goodness. We are home. Four days after open heart surgery.

I wasn't anticipating it and I have mixed feelings about it.

On one hand, it made me nervous taking him out of the hospital with fresh scars. We have to do things a little differently for awhile, like we cannot pick him up by his underarms. Imagine having to scoop up your 10 month old like a newborn! It's not easy. He is not a small boy. We have to do that for about 8 weeks until his sternum is healed. The times it's most difficult is getting him out of the bath and out of the car seat. Doable, but you definitely have to think before you grab him. We also have to try and keep him off his stomach as much as possible, but for someone who is just learning to crawl... well, it's tricky. He hasn't tried laying on it yet, probably still quite sore. But we'll see how he does in a few days. We have to be careful, but also don't want to delay his milestones any more either.

He has lost a couple pounds and I worry about his food intake. He hasn't thrown up since 5:30 this morning, but he's also only been eating a couple ounces of breastmilk here and there. Can we quickly talk about how glad I am that I made the decision to keep pumping this whole time?? His stomach hasn't tolerated formula or solid food yet. Fresh breastmilk is the only thing he's been able to keep down. I'm not making enough any more to feed him only milk through the day, but it will suffice for a little bit until he can start eating other things.

The upside of all this is that we are HOME. It's scary but so much more comfortable and familiar and happy. So while I'm nervous, I'm glad. Right when we walked in the door, all of us took a nap! And I'm excited to sleep in our big ol' squishy bed tonight. It gives me a back-ache, but its a million times better than any hospital chair/bed!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Good and Bad

The "bad" isn't so bad - it's just barf. But sometimes it distracts us from the good.

This morning he got a snagged stitch, which bled a little, and that set the tone for a crabby boy. He has been really congested as well, so they've been encouraging us to sit him up and get him to cough out all the yuckies. But sometimes he coughs so hard, it makes him throw up. I think it hurts him a little, and it ain't pretty. But hopefully once he gets out all the gross stuff, he'll feel better. He's had a difficult time with eating too, and that will probably be our only hurdle to getting him home by the weekend. Well, that and getting him off oxygen. He still needs a little bit, or his oxygen levels drop.

But did you catch that part about the weekend? Can you believe they said we might be home this weekend?? Wow.

His chest tubes are out as of yesterday and we immediately noticed a difference in his demeanor. He felt so much better, like instantly. He spent the day in his bed babbling and playing with his feet and even smiled some. He was calm and happy. It was a surprise and such a joy to see. He's quickly returning to his old self. In fact, I think he was more happy here than he usually is at home. Haha. Today hasn't been quite as easy, but he's still doing great.

Passed out. :)

High hopes are flying around in this room...

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Stephen is making good progress all the time. He is off all the medications, just gets a quick shot of a couple things as needed (like pain meds).

They took out almost all his wires and needles, just has one line in the groin- for those quick shots - and the chest tube for draining, since he is still bleeding a little bit. He is taking about a half liter of oxygen still too, but he will get weened off of that pretty soon. When they turn it completely off, he desaturates though.

I know, hospital jargon.

Vitals all look good. He just gives us a scare once in awhile when he is really mad. He thinks it's cool to hold his breath and that bring his oxygen levels way down and sets off all the alarms. But he recovers quickly so that's a good thing. And it's something he has done since he was a newborn, so not much of a shock.

Yesterday he had some pedialyte and milk and sucked those down in mere minutes. Starvin' Marvin! He hasn't had much of an appetite other than that first meal though. Couple sips of milk here and there. We will try giving him apple sauce this afternoon.

This morning he was pretty grumpy and nothing seemed to make him feel better (even Elmo!) But he finally calmed down in daddy's arms and has been happy and cozy there for quite some time. Until daddy needs to pee, I'm guessing!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

OHS #2

Stephen had his second open heart surgery early this morning. It was a success, according to our amazing surgeon. We are so glad that he is safe and has a healthy working heart.

This morning came much too soon for my liking. We were out of bed at 4:30am and headed to the hospital around 5am. We got him checked in and had some labs drawn and thought we would be waiting around for quite some time. But the anesthesiologist came and got him at 7:05 and off he went. It was nearly impossible to hand him over - I would have rather just tucked him under my shirt and run away from it all. But we knew what had to be done and somehow mustered the courage to put little buddy's life in their hands.

They told us the surgery would take about 3 hours and almost on the nose, the surgeon came and told us everything went well. They patched the rather large hole in his heart and put in a bovine's jugular (aka: cow's neck) valve to act as his pulmonary valve. The surgeon hopes that he will get a good 5 years out of it before it needs replacing. No more surgeries for 5 YEARS - you hear that Stevie??

We were expecting to see the little man by noon, but by 1:30 we still hadn't heard from anyone, so we started bugging the nurses and finally got to see him at 2pm. They are having a bit of a hard time getting him stable still. His blood pressure is high and he is bleeding a lot. It's not totally unexpected at this point in the game, since this was such a major surgery. They are working on giving him blood transfusions (glad we donated, all our blood types are the same), something to clot the blood, and other meds until the bleeding stops and they get the numbers where they want. Hubs and I are in the room with him now and I gotta say, it has been difficult seeing him like this again. Definitely doesn't get any easier. I feel kind of sick to my stomach and the tears come easily seeing him struggle even a little bit. They have his pain controlled, but it's just hard.

Our prayers started out as pleas for his surgery to be a success. They shifted to prayers of gratitude that he made it through. And now we are asking for a swift recovery. Thanks to everyone who joined us in thought and prayer today as we work through. Looking forward to being on the other side of this when it's all over.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Rare Moment of Calm

Or maybe you just can't see his kicking legs in the shot. Either way... loves.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mom Style

It's amazing how mommy mode kind of sneaked up on me. I have a husband who's morning schedule is very flexible, so I always have time to shower and get ready... if I choose that over sleep... And I only have one baby, so Lord help us when more come along!

When Stephen was born, I was exhausted, but kind of felt like I could still do it all. As I got even more tired (which I didn't know was possible) and the baby needed more attention (also didn't know that was possible), things just started falling to the wayside. It started innocently enough.

One day I didn't have the energy to go on my morning jog.
I haven't had the energy since.
Time for a haircut?
Yeah right.
Accessorize my outfit...
Ooops, I forgot!
Um, the house looks like it's part of a Hoarders episode.
Oh well!
Did you make dinner?
Yes, it's called a sandwich.
Quick, the baby's asleep, do something productive!
Dang, he's awake and all I did was check Facebook and update my blog!

Then one by one, my morning routine started to fall off. No time to put on lotion today! The next day, no make-up, only mascara. The following week, no time for ironing. At least during the summer, I could get away with shorts and a t-shirt every single day.

Mommy Uniform for Summer

But before I realized it, I looked like THAT mom. Showing up to the grocery store in yoga pants - no yoga involved - and sunglasses, hoping no one would notice. I used to look at those moms and think that would never happen to me. But when it did, I kind of didn't care.

So the days that Stevie is good, I will take care of myself. And the days that he needs me more, I will take care of him. (Although, I have let him cry numerous times while I got dressed because I certainly can't go to the doctor in my pj's) At least I still have perfectly groomed toenails to go with my shlubby-bubby mom style. Bam!

Whatevs. My fashion diva is still in there, just doesn't get out as much.

What's your mom style? I know I'm not alone!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

fall fall fall

Today we got our first glimpse of fall, with a cloudy sky and temps at about 70 degrees. It made my heart so happy. Granted, its supposed to warm up again next week, but I'll take some weather anytime.

It also reminded me that I have a Fall Bucket List to start. (Another idea from Pinterest)

I didn't do any pictures for September, so hopefully an October project will go a little better. It will be a good distraction too from all the upcoming drama.

...7 days and counting *sigh*