Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lukey Boy

That's how Luke prefers to be addressed these days, "Lukey Boy."  I indulge him because I think it's adorable and I love him so.  {grin}  It seems as if my little boy is growing quickly these days...not physically, but socially, emotionally, and academically.  He is better able to put words to his emotions...."I am very sad."  "He is making my angry."  "Sam, stop.  I don't like that."  This is helpful in so many ways - we're better able to meet his needs and he feels "heard" and understood.  Fewer tantrums and better's a beautiful thing.  Socially, he is less fearful of strangers these days.  As a matter of fact, he is down right friendly to them.  He has no issues with announcing his name to someone and then proudly introducing them to me..."I am Lukey Boy and this is Mommy."  He has nearly mastered sharing and taking turns.  When the boys wrestle with Brad, Luke is quick to "cheer" on his brothers while he waits patiently for his turn.  Sweet heart.  {contented sigh}  Academically, he has come from out of nowhere lately!  I have not started any formal homeschooling with him yet.  I thought we'd spend this year snuggling and reading extra books before nap time while Sam is at school.  After all, he has never had much "alone" time with me...and he is only three.  Imagine my surprise when he began to write his name a few weeks ago.  I took at picture of the second attempt.

He has been writing like mad lately.  He has written his grandparents names, Mom, Dad, Caleb, Sam...Matthew is apparently too long. {snicker}  Just tonight he wrote the alphabet from A-Q on our deck before dinner...only stopping because I asked him to come in to eat.  What a smart boy he is!  It's so fun when things start "clicking" with a young learner.  It's exciting!  Lukey Boy loves that he can recognize letters and some words...and Daddy and I love it, too. 

Sweet Sam wrote Lukey Boy this letter after he successfully wrote his name.  It says, "Dear Luke, Good job on writing your name!"

Lukey Boy, we are proud of you!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

We Lived to Blog About It...

Whenever one of our children gets sick, I breathe a prayer asking God to not allow all of our boys to be sick at the same time.  It's been a personal fear of mine since adding the twins to the family.  I just can't begin to imagine how Brad and I would care for all four of them at once.  Images of me having not showered for days, wearing holey pajamas, and my hair standing on end come to mind...oh, wait...that isn't so hard to imagine.  {snicker}

Last week, the inevitable happened.  It began with Caleb.  He had sneezed a few times before he went to bed on Wednesday night and then woke up Thursday morning with a runny nose.  By lunchtime, he was sounding "breathy" (like he was breathing more rapidly than normal), so I gave him a breathing treatment.  I prayed and then put him down for his afternoon nap.  When he woke up, I checked his respiration rate (I'm fairly certain that low 30's is normal for a little guy his size - and anything over 40 would be cause for concern) - it was 46.  He was beginning to sound "wheazy."  I gave him another breathing treatment and called our pediatrician's office.  I made an appointment that would allow me to get Sam from the bus and then jet to the office to see the doctor.

I called Brad at his office to let him know what was going on.  He suggested that I call a babysitter to stay with the other boys so I wouldn't have to take everyone.  I love that man!  So, the sitter arrived and off we went.  The doctor saw him and suggested another breathing treatment...not much help.  She took some blood for evaluation, she checked his blood oxygen level, did a chest x-ray...and ultimately, decided to send us to the hospital.   She suspected Caleb had viral pneumonia.  The doc went to write hospital orders for us.

Brad was in class (we only have one cell phone - and I had it), so I called the seminary's switchboard to see if someone could get a message to him.  The person who answered explained that they couldn't leave and there was no one to deliver a message to Brad.  I cried.  Then, I called my friend, Jodie.  She always seems to know just what to say and do.  She told me how sorry she was and then quickly volunteered to go to my house (taking her own 2 kiddos with her) to relieve the sitter and put my little ones to bed.  I love her and my kids love her, too.  I was worried for Caleb - but, now had total peace about my boys at home.  Moments later, the cell phone rang.  It was Brad! {grin}  Someone had delivered a message to him!  God is so good!  We talked for a minute - exchanging concerns and plans for the evening.  Brad would go home to be with the other boys and I would go to the hospital with Caleb.

As I drove to the hospital, I called my parents to let them know what was happening.  My mom said, "Do you want Dad and I to come tonight or early in the morning?"  I love that my parents don't hesitate to help us when we need them.  Such a blessing.  We agreed that there was nothing they could do that night, so they would leave to make the four hour drive the following morning.

Caleb and I arrived at the hospital, parked in the large parking garage, and made our way to the pediatrics unit.  They immediately got to work registering us, getting Caleb into a little baby hospital gown {pitiful sight}, and then started an IV.  He would get some extra fluids, potassium, and antibiotics through this tube connected to his little hand. {another pitiful sight}  The nurses were kind...but, Caleb and I were grumpy.  We hadn't eaten dinner and it was past Caleb's bedtime.  We were getting settled into our room when a respitory therapist came to give Caleb another breathing treatment.  She hooked him up to the pulse/ox monitor (via a little probe taped to his toe) and then called the doctor to ask about oxygen.  She came back to place a little nasal canula in his nose and start the oxygen. {yet another pitiful sight}  It's a good thing that we liked this therapist, because she would be back every 2 hours through the night for another breathing treatment.  Caleb and I did not sleep much.  I was able to keep my cool...but, I was worried for Caleb, I missed my husband, and I missed my other boys.  I spent much of the night praying for my little man and thinking of all of the other mommy's sitting by the bedside of their sick little ones.

The sun finally began to rise and our pediatrician arrived soon after.  He told me that Caleb was a very sick little guy and that it would take some time for the meds to turn things around.  Brad arrived just after breakfast with a bag of things for me.  He stayed to hang out with Caleb while I showered.  Relief!  It was wonderful to see my hubby and terrific to get a shower and change clothes!  Brad left for work and Caleb and I just hung out.  He was tired, restless, and tethered to the machines by cords attached to his body.  It was hard to keep him happy.

Just before noon, my cell phone rang.  It was just out of my reach - and Caleb had just fallen asleep in my arms, so I let it go to voicemail.  I knew that my parents and Brad both had the direct number to the hospital room, and they would call if they needed me.  Turns out, it was Sam's school calling me to come pick him up.  Poor little guy had gotten sick and school.  After a round of phone calls, I had given the school verbal permission for my dad to pick Sam up.  He had a high fever and felt miserable.  I was so torn - wanting desperately to be in two places at once.  My mom snuggled with him, gave him plenty of liquids, and kept him medicated with ibuprofen to reduce the fever.  Soon after, Matthew would spike a fever, too.  It was incredibly difficult to feel pulled in so many directions.  I just kept praying that God would bring healing to my boys and peace to my heart.  Sure enough, He did!

We continued with round the clock breathing treatments, IV fluids and antibiotics, oxygen, and added percussions on his back to break up the "gunk" in his lungs.  He was restless and just not feeling well.  It was a full-time job to try to keep Caleb content.  We read more books than I would have ever thought humanly possible, sang more children's songs than I thought I knew, and cuddled so much that even my "needy boy" was satisfied.  The most difficult thing about our hospital stay was the "rages" brought on by the oral steroid he was taking.  It was tough to watch him just get so angry and frustrated that he simply couldn't control his emotions.  It happened once or twice - usually at night.  During these "roid rages" there was no comforting him.  I just held him close and whispered Scripture in his ear.  It was exhausting for both of us.{sigh}

Saturday, Brad came to the hospital to stay with Caleb so I could go home to see our other boys for a bit.  It was so good to see them - they all greeted me at the door with shouts of "Mommy!"  It did my heart good to see them...but, it was so hard to leave them a few hours later.  Sam tearfully asked if I could, "just go get Caleb and come home."  So sad.

I made my way back to the hospital and visited with Brad for a few minutes.  After he had gone, Caleb and I snuggled into my hospital bed for a bit.  The nurse came in to unhook his IV - and switched us to an oral antibiotic.  I was so encouraged!  After Caleb's next breathing treatment, the respitory therapist felt confident in removing the oxygen.  Dinner arrived shortly afterward (one nice benefit to the hospital stay - meals delivered three times daily!) and I managed to find some things Caleb would eat.  I gave Caleb a sponge bath and hoped we'd settle in for a better nights rest.  Our pediatrician arrived to check on him (docs come twice daily - morning and evening) and said his lungs sounded great!  He asked if we'd like to go home...I laughed in disbelief and asked if he was kidding.  He told me that Caleb sounded much better and we could give him the care he needed at home, where he would rest better.  I nearly did a cartwheel!  I just kept saying, "Praise God!  Praise God!"  The nurse removed the IV (although it had been unhooked earlier), disconnected the monitor, and began the paperwork for our discharge.  After getting instructions for his care at home from our doc, I dressed Caleb and packed our bag.  We were both a little giddy as we left the hospital.  It was 8:00 pm - an hour past his bedtime and he was asleep before we left the parking garage.

When we arrived at home, Caleb was a little unsettled - I think it was a combination of exhaustion, re-entry, and the steroids.  He snuggled a bit with my mom (his "Gran") and then went to bed in his own crib.  Sweet sight, for sure.  Doctors orders required breathing treatments every 4 hours for the next 3 days.  Medications were dispensed at several different times each day. It was like being in the hospital, only we had become the nurses & therapists.  The oral steroids and inhaled steroids combined were incredibly powerful.  His breathing improved dramatically, but he was wired!  His pupils remained fully dilated for days, his behavior was more aggressive, and his appetite was enormous. .  I am so thankful that Brad was willing to share the middle of the night breathing treatments with me.  Caleb usually ended up sleeping through all of the commotion.

We follow up in a few days with a chest x-ray to be sure the pneumonia is gone.  But, for now, we are just savoring every day we have with our healthy boy.  I was too busy to take pictures at the hospital - and my hands were full with my sweet baby boy.  I did manage to get a few as we were leaving.
For some reason, I am having trouble posting pics right now...we'll try again later.

Ready to go home!
IV is finally gone!

Caleb's crib and IV pump

My bed and our stuff waiting to be packed!

Meds to be given at home.