Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tube Free is the Way to Be!

I feel like I should apologize to anyone who encountered me in any fashion between Parker's homecoming and last Sunday.  I don't entirely know why, but that cursed NG tube got under my skin and made me a grouch.

I think it was due in large part to the fact that no one in the medical field felt like there were any physical impairments to Parker's eating-- he's just a stubborn little fool.  I was frustrated by that, and expected doctors and nurses and speech therapists to have magic pills that would fix it in 3.5 seconds flat.  Looking back on it, I was unfair.  Nothing aggravated me more, as a teacher, than when parents would say, "What are YOU going to do to make my child pass?" when the obvious question should have been, "What can my child do to help himself pass?" Granted, I am dealing with a three-month old who might not yet have the greatest grasp on his free will, but still.  I feel bad about my attitude in the last two weeks.

**I need to tell you something about that grasp on free will I just referenced:  we have stumbled upon one of the reasons Parker was unwilling to partake in his bottles... He will not, WILL NOT, drink from a bottle unless it has been microwaved for precisely 9 seconds.  Go on and shout about not microwaving bottles, but if it gets that little gremlin to eat, I will do anything!  He will totally be that guy at Starbucks ordering a skinny soy half caf double shot latte steamed to 124.7 degrees.  Stinker.**

In happier news, since we pulled the tube Sunday morning, things have been fantastic.  We had an appointment with Parker's pediatrician Tuesday morning, who did a happy dance in the exam room and gave us a thumbs up to keep it out as long as he continues to do well.  And he has been-- he took 17 oz by mouth on Sunday, and every day since then he has been in the mid-20s.  He actually CRIED FOR A BOTTLE yesterday, which just sent Mike and I to the floor.  I have been cooking every night.  I finally started working out again (Crossfit Mamas! I love to hate you).  I got to be crafty again. *see below* We have stopped carting that silly SmartMonitor around and only use it at night.  We are almost like a normal family... Amazing how much things can change in 4 days!

I feel somewhat ashamed that I was letting that tube bother me so.  A feeding tube kept my baby alive for 3 months, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they keep lots of kids alive well past Parker's age.  It wasn't the tube itself so much as it was my deep-down feeling that there was a better way to be doing things, but I couldn't do a darn thing about it until Parker decided it was time.  Patience has NEVER been a virtue of mine, and I can only hope and pray that we didn't jump off a cliff to quickly and have to backtrack if Parker can't keep up with his eating.  We go for another weigh-in at the pediatrician tomorrow morning, and our first follow-up appointment with his surgeon tomorrow afternoon.  Prayers appreciated, as always!

We are busy folks this week at the Knoll house--
appointments tomorrow, followed by Jeremiah's Preschool Meet the Teacher open house.  I am going to miss my little man 3 days a week, but he is so ready to go back.

Friday, Mike goes back to work after a 2 week break.  I am saddened by this news, as I have gotten so used to having him home!!  His boys sure do love him (and so do I)!

And finally, the time I have been waiting for has finally arrived. COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS BACK!  I decided that I needed some sort of festivities for my door... and thanks to Pinterest, I have developed a fascination with deco mesh.  I need more craft crap supplies like I need a hole in my head, but I am pleased with the final results:

(I have double front doors, so there is another one that says "Sic Em, Woof Woof".  Mike said they look like color guard props.  Whatevs.)

And finally, the sweetest sound in the history of the world (in my opinion, at least):

Monday, August 27, 2012

Yes MAM!

Oh friends.

I think I have spent the last week and a half accumulating ten thousand gray hairs and losing giant clumps of brown ones.

Parker has been an absolute dream baby.  He is happy.  He is smiley.  He sleeps 12 hours a night.  He adores Jeremiah, and they play so sweetly.

HOWEVER, he flat. out. refuses. to eat.  When we left the hospital, he was taking about 50-ish ccs  of his 120cc feeds every 3 hours.  The rest got dumped in his NG tube and was fed at gravity speed (through an 8 french sized tube, it usually took about 20 minutes or so).  Our instructions were to continue as we had been-- offer the bottle for 20 minutes, then tube the rest.  Every 3 hours.  Round the clock.

We real quick decided that overnight feeds would be tube feeds only.  Some babies will eat while they are asleep or drowsy, but not the P-nut.  When he sleeps, he is comatose.  And so it began.

The first 5 days sucked.  There's just not two ways to say it.  Getting up with a baby during the night is never fun, but with Jeremiah it was a simple matter of a quick snack and he was good to go.  In Parker's case, Mike and I were getting up every 3 hours to dump his fortified formula into his tube.  We then had to stand there, wait for it to go down enough in the tube, and fill it up again.  Repeat until entire feed was done.  We were looking at a 35-40 minute process at midnight, 3 am, 6 am, and then when we all woke up at 9 am.

On top of being completely exhausted from lack of sleep, Parker did not make the eating portion any easier.  We had been using the Playtex Drop-In bottles in the hospital, 'cause that's what we used with Jeremiah and were planning on recycling with Parker. He did fine on them-- no problems at all with latching or sucking and very little spitting up.  THE VERY BLEEDING SECOND we walked out of Egleston, he went into full on bottle rebellion.  Would not, WOULD NOT, take a lick from a bottle.  We switched formula.  We switched nipple flows. Nothing.

We had an appointment with the GI doc on Monday, and it was revealed that in the 5 days since our hospital discharge, Parker had gained twice the expected amount of weight.  He's 90th percentile and rocking some very nice fat rolls.  He's been stuffed full as a tick every day of his life, and he's never had a chance to understand what hunger is.  The first doc we saw stated the obvious-- start spacing out his feeds.  Then, a second doc came in and recommended that we not do anything until a swallow study and Ph probe have been completed to rule out "silent reflux" (never mind that he's already on a pretty hefty dose of Prevacid twice a day). Those appointments were scheduled for three weeks out.  Not do anything for THREE WEEKS?  I think not.

We went to our pediatrician the next day, and she agreed with what the GI doctors had initially said-- start spacing out his feeds and see if he gets hungry.  If he pukes, stop. I liked her plan better, so that's what we started doing.

Zero improvement.  "Hungry" Parker was no different than regular Parker.  Desperation was setting in, as I have a very healthy fear of tube dependency.  While we were in the hospital, I was so focused on getting the heck out of there that I didn't do a good enough job of asking Penny, our faboosh speech pathologist, what to do once I got home. She did set up an appointment for us with an outpatient speech therapist.  That was going to be Thursday.

Tuesday night was a huge milestone-- out of the clear blue sky, Parker took his entire 120 cc feed from a bottle.  What sort of sorcery did that entail?  BEHOLD!!!!!!!
The MAM bottle.

Parker had been using MAM pacifiers since we came home from the hospital-- again, that's what Jeremiah used, so that's what I bought for Parker.  He liked them much better than the hospital ones.  As I was frantically digging through our supply of randomly accumulated bottles and sippy cups, I found one of these.  I had been given this bottle by my dear friend Abby at a shower for Jeremiah.  She swore by them for her kiddos.  "Well, self, why the heck not?  He likes the binkies, maybe he'll like the bottles."

And he did, apparently.  His oral intake went from 0 ccs Friday-Monday to 150 on Tuesday alone.  MIRACLES!  We had turned the corner!  Shout to the Lord!

Except not.
There was some improvement, but not alot.  We went to the speech appointment Thursday, which I will go ahead and call the most gigantic waste of time I have experienced.  She tried, God bless her, she really did.  She tried to watch Parker suck and swallow, but he refused.  She tried to scrounge up some advice that we hadn't already been given, but basically acknowledged that he was just stubborn and that our only course of action was the one we were currently on.  She asked us to come back in a month.

I'm not going to lie-- it was ugly around here all weekend.  Every three to four hours, I would get a sinking feeling in my stomach knowing that I was going to have to fight with a three month old for 20 minutes, have him be miserable, and then feel defeated by tubing his feeds.

On top of all that, there was a big hefty dose of guilt-- how on Earth could I possibly be complaining??? I held, in my arms, living and breathing proof of miracles.  Too many parents do not get to bring their babies home, and lots bring their babies home with far greater medical needs than Parker's.  Shame.  To be honest, that didn't really affect my negative outlook.  At all.

I finally came up with a plan-- I felt like we had gotten less than zero help from the GI doctor and the speech therapist, both of whom I was looking to for good, solid strategies to start NOW, not 3 weeks or a month from now.  Instead, I decided to devote the amount of time it takes for Parker's feed to run through his tube to asking for God's help.  Help me be patient.  Help me be thankful for what I have been given.  Help me be willing to do whatever necessary for Parker to continue to grow and thrive.

I have to tell you, that helped my mindset a whole bunch, but it was still ugly times.  I kept asking myself, "He's on the tube because he doesn't eat, but at what point does it become-- he won't eat because he's on the tube?"

This morning, we got up and were going to get dressed for church.  Parker's current NG tube had been in for 7 days, which meant today was tube change day.  Mike and I talked about it, and decided that since he had proven he CAN drink from a bottle (his oral intake hovered around 4-5 oz a day from Tuesday on), we would pull the tube, leave it out, and see what happened.

So we did.

I have just tucked a tube-free Parker into his bed for the night.  Day One went pretty doggone well, if you ask me.  His oral intake quadrupled.  As I type this, he has taken 17 oz by mouth and we will try to feed him at least once more overnight.  That's a pretty big drop from his 30 oz that he was being tube fed, but we feel that it's a start. I'm hoping that tomorrow will be better, but if it's not, we will put the tube back in with a feeling of encouragement instead of defeat.  We have a pediatrician visit Tuesday, and I am hopeful we can keep it out until then and get her opinion on it.

I don't know what happened.  I don't know if pulling the tube made him more comfortable swallowing.  I don't know if our plan of offering him smaller amounts twice as often has helped.  I think a large part of it is exactly what everyone in the hospital told me, "He'll get it one day."  I had a hard time believing that there was nothing I could do to encourage that switch to flip... that I had to wait for it to be Parker's decision, but it's looking, if today is any indication, that it may in fact be the case.

I think I'm in for it with this little one.

Stinker.  But a tube-free (for now) stinker.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The first few days...

These first few days have been wonderful.
These first few days have been happy.
These first few days have been, um (searches for right way to phrase), hard.

We have been to the park.

I heart the baby carrier.  So does Parker.  Homefry has gained HALF A POUND IN FIVE DAYS (he now weighs almost 16 pounds), so I think our time with it might be limited.

We have been to church.

Love these two monkeys.  Love that I got to bust out the first of Jeremiah's "silly suits" again.  This one is a darling little Feltman Brothers bubble with a hand embroidered train on it.  He had on blue knee socks and little white shoes.  Mike HATES this outfit.  I could not love anything more!!

We have been sleeping 12 hours a night.
**insert picture of sleeping baby**

Correction:  HALF of us have been sleeping 12 hours a night.  Jeremiah and Parker both got my happy sleepy genes and are zonked out from 9 to 9 every night.  Mike and Abby are up throughout the night doing tube feedings and staring at the baby to be sure he is breathing.
(We DID get sent home with a Smart Monitor to use while he is on tube feeds.  I hate toting that darn thing around, but I am secretly happy to have it at night.  That is the only way Mike and I can close our eyes for any period of time.)

Apart from that, we are just trying to figure out how this little booger works.  He spent most of the first two days home being startled by every noise he heard and shunning any and all light.  Makes sense-- he spent 12 weeks in a dark and quiet environment, and the outside world is one giant ball of sensory overload for him.  He's chilled out quite a bit thus far.

He sleeps all night, and takes ridiculous cat naps during the day.  We have tried to lay him down and let him sleep for a while,  but after 20 minutes or so, he is up and ready to play some more.  He has, several times, fallen slap asleep in literally 2 seconds.  I have been playing with him, turned my head, turned back, and he's out.  I am sure he'll even out into some sort of schedule soon, but for now we just let him do what he wants to do whenever he wants to do it.  We also haul him around on all our various errands and outings, which is important to me.  Jeremiah is the most laid back kid ever, and I think it is largely due to the fact that he learned early how to go with the flow.

I am not entirely sure the P-nut will ever learn how to go with the flow, unless he has overseen the flow and deemed it suitable.

I am going to have to devote an entire post to his first week of eating at home.  If you were watching me type this you would see me waving my fists of fury just thinking about it.

In medical news, we have seen our pediatrician twice, the gastroenterologist once, and are having a speech evaluation in the morning.  The pediatrician chuckled at how big his feet are, remarked that for such a sick baby he certainly doesn't LOOK like he's had anything wrong with him, and gave us some general info on caring for a "sick baby" vs. a healthy one.  The gastroenterologist flat out laughed at his weight gain.  Since we've left the hospital, he has put on twice the amount of weight they were hoping for.  STINKER.  They also have ordered a swallow study and a PH Probe test for September.

My sincerest hope is that we will not need those tests because the wretched NG tube will be out soon.  More on that tomorrow!

We spend at least six hours out of every day watching our two boys play and giving each other weepy sappy smiles.  People say that every day is a gift from God, but I have a new level of understanding of that statement that I certainly never dreamt possible.  I have gotten to see God move through all of our lives in the last few months, and it is humbling to know how much He cares for us.

We were running a bit late to church Sunday, almost didn't make it, but rolled in the back doors with Parker's stroller just as the worship team struck up a tune.  What was it?  Well, remember a week ago, when I mentioned a song that was helping me regroup?  The first song that Parker got to sing in church was "You Never Let Go." 


Monday, August 20, 2012

Home Sweet Home

There's so much I could say about the last 4 days.  I will have to write several posts over the next few days, so suffice it to say for now:





My heart is happy.
My cup runneth over.
etc. etc. etc.

Leaving the hospital Thursday was somewhat surreal.  We arrived that morning, signed some papers, and that was about it!  Saying goodbye to everyone was hard.  Very hard.  Those doctors and nurses and support staff have been like family for the last 3 months.  They laughed with us and dried our tears.  They cared for Parker on a level I didn't know was possible.  They snuck him out of his room at all hours for snuggle sessions at the nurses station.

They saved our baby.

I said goodbye to his two primaries, Jaime and Ashley, Sunday night.  Ashley was our primary on the A side, and Jaime on the swings and B side.  Love love love those girls.  Our day shift gals, who worked with Parker most often, were Kate and the incomparable supernurse Sarah.  They, and all of their colleagues, made it possible for us to walk out of that hospital every day and know that he was cared for.

There was a near constant parade of people in our room as we were packing up Thursday.  Parker had developed quite a reputation amongst the staff as a shameless flirt, and he acquired many lady friends with his smile.  They were genuinely sad that he would not be there anymore, but so thrilled for him to be going home.

We got the P-nut all dressed up in his frat-tastic going home outfit.  My grandmother got him and Jeremiah these outfits for Christmas, 3 days after we found about his diagnosis.  I remember trying so hard not to cry when I opened it, wishing and praying so hard that he would wear it one day. 
*totally crying a little bit right now*

 We left there armed with a PILE of paperwork and follow up appointments.
We packed up our business and went down the hallway for the last time.
We ceremonially dropped our badges in the checkout box by the elevator (that box taunted me for 90 days.  I GOT YOU, BOX!)

We marched triumphantly through those hallways, rode down that final elevator, and loaded Parker into the car.

We both then promptly burst into tears.

We drove to my grandmother's house to get Jeremiah.  We pulled up in her driveway and burst into tears again, remembering the day that we pulled into the driveway on the day Parker almost died.  (We had to come back for my medicine, and we had been kicked out of the NICU while the urologist tried some last ditch efforts to keep him alive.  I can't tell you how many prayers were said in that driveway, some of pleading and some of praising.  Goosebumps.)

We went inside, ate lunch, and realized that we are finally all together.

We drove home, and got all settled in.  But we DID make one stop on the way home...

 You had to have seen that one coming.  :-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nesting 2 .0

Crib is waiting.
(yep-- two safety violations in one picture... a bumper and a Bumbo!  Go on and shoot your mommy judgement eyes at me.  Crib is 60 years old and meets no current safety standards for spacing between the bars.  Also, not planning on leaving baby unattended on top of the table.  Carry on :-))

Rocking chair sits ready.

Carpets are steam cleaned.
Tiny little clothes are pressed and hung.
Toys for the wee one are dusted off and anxious to be played with.
Prescriptions are filled.  Medical equipment is set up.

Our family is ready to be together.

All that's missing is a baby.
And he'll be here tomorrow!!!

Parker SHOULD (barring some disaster) be home tomorrow afternoon.  He threw us a bit of a curveball this morning and started puking.  My heart just fell to my toes... that's a sign of possible reherniation and I just don't know if I could have handled that less than 24 hours from discharge.

A chest x-ray was done, which looked perfect.  The consensus is that his new reflux meds hadn't yet kicked in, and we've had no problems since then.  Fingers crossed.  Toes crossed.  Arms, legs, and eyes crossed.

See you soon!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


A very dear friend-who-might-as-well-be-family (I will always think of her as "Aunt Laura" even if she's not one bit my aunt!) sent me this sign after Parker was born.  It hangs by my front door, and I look at it every day when I come downstairs to start my morning.  It makes my heart happy, and it gives me a boost when I need it (particularly over this last weekend!).  The lettering is a bit off center intentionally, since even the best days are "a little off."  Love it.

After my temper tantrum at the end of last week, I had the most wonderful weekend.  I played with my Monster, and got lost in his imaginary worlds.  This particular moment involved him shooting rockets at The Bad Guys, wearing his goggles to help him aim, and utilizing his bungee cord safety belt.  He has been our light on the darkest days.  Love him so.

We all went to visit Parker on Saturday afternoon.  We went for a walk, Parker and Jeremiah entertained each other, and my heart was happy.

Mike and I had Date Night Saturday night, and we spent it doing CrossFit (I'd post a picture of that, but none exists for many very good reasons.  Instead, let's pretend this is me.  HA!)

I'm not REAL SURE what has possessed me to start this foolishness, but 3-4 times a week, I use 
THIS WEBPAGE for a workout after everyone else has gone to bed.  It actually becomes a bit fun after the first week or so!

I baked up a storm, 'cause I'm just not myself when I'm not cooking.  I made a birthday cake for my sweet niece and tried some new recipes.  (Pioneer Woman's cinnmon rolls and Southern Living's strawberry curd.)

We have started crossing the t's and dotting the i's to finalize Parker's discharge.

We went to church Sunday, which always soothes my soul and reminds me that God has got this.  He always has, even before we even knew what "this" was.  I've had Matt Redman's "You Never Let Go" on repeat this weekend.... perfect song at a perfect time.

"I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on,
And there will be an end to these troubles,
But until that day comes...
Still I will praise you, still I will praise you."

Almost there.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Abby... meet proverbial wall.

When I sauntered about saying, "Balls to the wall, Parker!", I forgot to look where I was going, and I myself have Hit. The. Wall. Done.  Box it up.  I'm over it.

I am tired of my car.  I am tired of this building.

THERE ARE NOT WORDS to describe how tired I am of this sign.
 I am tired of this elevator.

I am tired of this lobby.

I am tired of this hallway.

I am tired of this hallway.

I am tired of these fish.

I am tired of THIS hallway.

I am tired of this elevator.

I am tired of THIS HALLWAY (for the love of pete with the hallways).

I am tired of these doors.  I am tired of calling back to say "I am here to VISIT my son, Parker."

I am tired of this room.

I am tired of this cafeteria.  I am tired of the “Monthly Superfoods” and I am grouchy that we are now on our fourth superfood (avocados, mushrooms, berries, and now chiles, in case you were wondering)

I am tired of this bench, where I eat lunch every day.  I am tired of that stupid bag that Northside gave me.  It is ugly, but I’ve never been able to bring myself to get a nicer one because that means we will be there longer.

I am tired of having all four of us in different places.  We all four have not been under the same roof for more than 12 hours in 12 weeks.  I am tired of not being home to play with Jeremiah. I am tired of snapping at my husband.  I am tired of Mike feeling guilty for going to work.  I am tired.

Added to that, I hit that dog, Mike got rear-ended at work, he got dispatched to a call for a fetus in someone's freezer, and my dad and cousin were in a boat explosion/ensuing fire (no very serious injuries, praise God, but a complete disaster nonetheless).  Needless to say, our mental states have taken a few blows this week.

It looked/sounded like we were going to go home in less than a week.  Now, we aren't sure when we will be going home.  Not due to any real changes in Parker's health, but more due to logistics such as determining which medicines he needs at home and what equipment we need from the home health company.  In my mind, these are not things that require more than a day or two to coordinate.  They want to finish off Parker's Ativan wean in the hospital. I feel like we can administer those last few doses at home.  They were hoping he would be doing better with his oral feeds.  I am completely prepared to take him home on his NG tube and we have been taught how to deal with that.

I am not a doctor.  I do not know all of the things that need to line up so that they feel 100% confident in sending Parker home. I am just a frustrated wife and mother who has reached the end of the rosy rainbow.

We've hung in there pretty well for 12 weeks.  I'd like to think that we have been cooperative parents and that we have helped as much as possible in Parker's care.  I'd like to think that we have had significantly fewer meltdowns and tantrums than we might have.  

I'd also like to think that our time on the merry-go-round is over.  It's been real, it's been fun, but it hasn't been real fun.

I feel somewhat guilty for unloading... The CDH community has lost way too many babies in the last few days (Those are just the ones who are part of the Facebook groups.  In all actuality, 3 CDH babies die every hour and there just aren't words for that).  There are two CDH friends who have reherniated this week.  There are NICU parents who have been chugging along much longer than we have.  We WILL go home, and that in itself is enough of a blessing to outweigh the rest.

In that spirit... let's turn the beat around.
-I am tired of the building, but I am grateful beyond words that it is there
-I am tired of the parking deck, but the little man in the ticket booth makes me smile.
-I am tired of the elevators, but I don't wanna be walking no stairs.
-I am tired of the lobby, but I am grateful for the people in it who volunteer to make the kids smile.  There are clowns, visiting celebrities, and our very own Fairy Godmother.
-I am tired of the fish, but they remind me to "just keep swimming."
-I am tired of the hallways, but at least I get my exercise.
-I am tired of the NICU doors, but I am grateful for the security and the fact that they have my baby on lockdown.
-I am tired of Parker's room, but I am grateful to be in it instead of in the critical care area.
-I am tired of the cafeteria, but I am grateful for my free meals and for the people who work there.
-I am tired of that bench, but I am grateful to be able to sit in the sunshine in the beautiful garden.
-I am tired of this rollercoaster, but I am unable to adequately convey my thankfulness to the God who has carried us all through.

Temporary trials.  Eyes on the prize.

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
~2 Corinthians 4:17-18

(just 'cause he's cute.  Mohawk courtesy of the night nurses.  Rock star!)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Life's First Breath

Yesterday was a BIG DAY for the P-nut. Not only did he officially make it to The Promised Land (aka the B-Side Step Down unit), but he also came off oxygen, we hope for good!
Eleven weeks old!

His new room feels ridiculously small after our last one, and it has a potential for a roommate family (slightly awkward!).  It DOES have a TV, a bathroom, a dresser, 2 sleeper chairs, and a window.
Room with a view! (and a Starbucks cup, to make it feel homey)

Maybe it's not the best view, but you know what... Parker loves the sunshine!

We are happy to be there, but the happiest part of the whole room is this piece of paper:

When we came for our NICU tour shortly after finding out about Parker's CDH, I fixated on these green papers.  Eileen said that once the green paper showed up, you were one foot out the door.  At that point, we didn't know if we would ever see the green paper.  I adore checklists.  Concrete goals make me glad.  I love you, Ticket Home!

I sat there yesterday, holding my sweet little baby boy, and for some odd reason could not stop the tears.  He is BREATHING.  Unassisted.  After eleven weeks of life. It's not TECHNICALLY his first breath, as he cried a few times when he was first born and has had two off-oxygen trials this week.  Still, as I sat there watching his tiny scarred chest rise and fall completely on its own, I got hit full in the face that every breath he takes is a gift from God.  There's just no two ways about it.  Weepy weepy weepy.  I kept singing the last verse of "In Christ Alone", which is one of my guaranteed-to-cry-during-church songs. 

From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from his hand.
'Til he returns, or calls me home
Here is the power of Christ I stand.

(Looking back, I 100% was rearranging the words "cry" and "breath" to fit my needs, but it worked anyway.  Like it mattered, as I was a tonedeaf person attempting to sing whilst crying and trying her best to not be overheard and mistaken for the fire alarm.  Parker didn't care.  He likes my singing, God bless his sweet soul.)

Pretty sure I need this for his room!

He did great off his oxygen overnight, and I think he just might be out of the woods from a breathing standpoint.  All that remains to get us the heck out of there is to get off of Ativan and to do our best with eating.  I am pretty sure we'll be going home with his feeding tube, but I have every intention of being rid of it ASAP.  He has no physiological problems keeping him from eating-- he has not-too-bad reflux, but that's it.  No puking.  No choking.  He's just a lazybones and he doesn't really know what it's like to feel hungry.  He CAN eat (I got him up to 70 ccs orally at one feed), he just chooses not to all the time.

I did my first round of NG tube insertion today.  (I'm sorry, but what on earth is that doing on YouTube?  How did that sweet man get roped into volunteering for that??)  It was not my favorite thing, but honestly not awful.  Parker doesn't love it, but he's over it in less than 10 seconds.  There was much hand-flapping on my part, coupled by an inexplicable desire to sneeze.  Now that I've done it once, I feel fine practicing a few more times before being responsible for doing it at home.  I would prefer, however, for that to be a temporary situation! Get ready, P-nut, 'cause there's a storm coming.  Home will not be a place of rest and relaxation.  You will be enrolled, upon arrival, in Mommy Boot Camp to kick the NG tube to the curb!  Why?  Because this is just too adorable for words:

Sweet sweet boy with no tubes!! (this was during a tube change today)

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Yesterday was all about judgement.  Chicken eaters vs. not-chicken eaters, voicing their various opinions and mutually hurling insults at one another.  It was, at once, all that is glorious about America and all that is wrong with America. 

That's not what this is about. 

Actually, it IS about chicken.  And judgement.  Hmmm.

I try, and often fail, to be as non-judgmental as possible. It's not my place to judge, everybody's sins are between their own selves and God, etc. etc. etc.  But it happens.  And I'm going to have a hard time letting go of this one.

Background info:  My neighborhood is lovely.  The houses are lovely.  The people are lovely.  The houses on the lots on either side and across the street from the entrance are not.  There are various farm animals wandering freely.  There are broken down cars and ramshackle sheds.  The Christmas lights are up year round.  (see, already, if you're honest, you've formed a mental picture of the sorts of people who live there!)

It was raining yesterday.  Jeremiah and I were on our way back home after a field trip to spend $3 at the Chuck E Cheese.  (Hooray, rainy day fun)  As we were approaching the entrance to our neighborhood, the car in front of me slammed on its brakes and swerved wildly.  I, obviously, did the same.  Too late, I saw that the driver in front had swerved to miss a small brown dog that was standing in the middle of the road.  A VERY BUSY ROAD, I might add.  I had nowhere to go.  The dog had nowhere to go.  You can imagine what happened.

I immediately pulled over, told Jeremiah to stay put, and ran out in the middle of the road.  In my 4 inch platform wedges.  In the rain.  Probably not the smart thing to do.  I scooped up the dog, who was obviously wounded, and took him to the side of the road.  By this time, the mailman had come along and offered his assistance.

Collar, but no tags on the dog.  Mailman recognizes him from the house across the street from where we are.  He goes to knock on the door. No answer.  Knocks on door of man whose yard we are in.  Man comes to door, dragging 6-pack by plastic rings (it is 3 pm.  Judgement.)  He proceeds to shout at me that those people deserve to have this happen, what with their freeroaming animals.  "YOU SHOULD SUE THEM!" he shouts. (judgement)  The mailman, by this time, has asked if there is anything else he can do before resuming his deliveries.  I have gone to a complete other frame of mind.  I am HYSTERICALLY CRYING on the side of the road in my platform wedges.  I am on the ground, in the mud, with a stranger's dog, being shouted at by a man wielding a 6-pack. (judgement from passers-by)  Mr. 6-Pack advises me to just go on home.  The Beast takes over Abby.

"Well, SIR, I have a dog myself, and I would not be pleased if someone did that to MY DOG!!!!" Shouting.  Snot rockets.  (judgement from Mr. 6-pack)  I am at a loss.  I call my husband, who somehow manages to understand enough of my words to confirm that my plan to take the dog to the emergency vet is a good one.  Mr. 6-Pack softens, a bit, and says, "Oh ma'am, there's no need to cry over this.  He'll be fine. You just go on home and don't worry about it anymore." (more judgement and angry eyes from Abby)

Ten minutes later, I am hurtling down the road, still sobbing, explaining to Jeremiah that we are going to be the puppy ambulance and take the dog to the hospital.  Thankfully, there is one very close to my house. I took him inside, and not 5 minutes later, was told that Little Brown Dog didn't make it. *not entirely convinced that the vet didn't help things along, which was honestly the kindest thing to do*

Poor, sweet Jeremiah.  He spent the whole time asking, "Mommy, are you worried? I feel worried."  God bless his tender heart.  Total mommy failure at keeping him shielded from the situation.  Thankfully, he didn't see the lady motion to me that the dog had died, so he was content upon leaving knowing that the dog was with the doctors.  The receptionist gave me a business card, and asked me to let the owners know, if possible, that they had 3 days to come get the dog.

I took JB home, took a shower, and told Mike (who had arrived home unsure of what sort of mental state I would be in) that I was going for a run. And to get an iced coffee, natch.  I have to drive past this house on my way to the gym, and LO AND BEHOLD the people are now at home.  Sweating in armpits.

I pulled into the driveway and was immediately surrounded by 5 more free-roaming dogs as well as approximately 12 ducks and chickens.  (judgement)  I asked the first lady I saw if she had a little brown dog.  "Yes I do."  I tearfully explained what had happened, overcoming a slight language barrier with improv sign language.  I handed her the business card and asked her to call the vet ASAP. (I didn't come right out and say, "Your dog is dead, ma'am" as she had 3 kids standing with her)

She looked at the business card, thought for a minute, and said, "Brown dog?  Oh, no, we don't have a brown dog."  Shrugged her shoulders, and walked away.


Judgement judgement judgement judgement.

 I stomped back to the MommyMobile and went to the gym.  When I drove back by the house on my way home, I quite literally shook my fist as I drove by.  I have to drive by this house every time I enter my neighborhood.  I worry that every time I drive by there, I will lower my window and shout something that might be construed as unkind, to say the least.  It's wrong of me, and I know it. 

Maybe they aren't heartless.  Maybe she didn't understand what I was saying. Maybe the dog wasn't theirs.  All I know is that I came home, scooped up my not-lap-sized Boxer and smooshed her face against mine for a long time.  I leaked many tears onto her ears. She took that as a sign that it was time to play squeaky toys.

All of this to say, for the love of all things holy, DON'T LEAVE YOUR DOGS (or chickens) IN YOUR UNFENCED YARD WHEN YOU AREN'T HOME!  Otherwise, that breeze you feel will be judgement from the MommyMobile as it cruises by.