Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Toddler Speak

Ethan: I have to go potty.
Me: Okay, pull down your pants so you can go.
Ethan: I can't.
Me: Well, you need to try and then I will help you.
Ethan starts pulling down his pants and underwear I help him a little bit. He gets them both down successfully.
Me: Good job, now you can take them the rest of the way off.
Ethan: Why am I taking my clothes off?
Me: Because you said you had to go potty.
Ethan: Oh

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Single Treatment

Last week I convinced my pharmacist to let me try and receive 100grams of IVIg in one sitting since I wasn't having any side effects to the two doses of 50grams. Yesterday we hooked up my new pump to my PICC line and my treatment was done in just 4 hours! It was great!! I felt fine during the treatment but after the treatment I was exhausted. I didn't even get off of the couch to eat dinner.

I have felt so blessed during this whole process. Treatments that were suppose to have all of these terrible side effects haven't had any, they were suppose to last 5 hours a piece (for just 50 grams) and have not been over three, etc. I have also been surrounded by sisters in Christ who have come along side of me to help me and encourage me. Just yesterday my neighbor Kristin brought me (and my nurse Babette) lunch from Chick-fil-a and my friend Janet brought Ethan home from Preschool for me. Other friends have called or emailed me to ask how things are going. I have really felt God's love during this whole experience and although I'm anxious to meet baby Asher I pray that God just continues to knit him in my womb for the next 17 weeks.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I went to my OB as scheduled on Thursday while Philip stayed home with Ethan who was running a fever. Unfortunately I was informed that since the last ultrasound at my high-risk doctor was filed as an "anatomy scan" my regular OB was afraid to also do an anatomy scan because my insurance company would only pay for one. This is not what I was told when I got the first ultrasound at the high-risk doctor. I was told by their ultrasound tech that my normal OB would do their own scan. Dr. Howard had also told us at the beginning of the pregnancy that his office would do regular ultrasounds to check for brain hemorrhaging. Now they are saying that I can just come back when my normal OB wants me to! Argh! Anyway, I'm going to call HIROC on Monday and get to the bottom of all this!!

Everything else at the doctor went well. We listened to baby Asher's heartbeat and my uterus was measuring at 21 weeks so that is right on target too. We don't know if the baby's name will really be Asher, but that's what we are calling him for now. After that appointment I walked downstairs to the outpatient registration desk at the hospital and signed in for my PICC line procedure (more about that later). It went great as well. It hurt less than a normal IV stick and I am SO happy that I won't have to get poked again for the rest of this pregnancy.

On Friday Ethan had been running a fever for 4.5 days so I decided to call his pediatrician's office. They agreed to see him at 4pm. Well, usually his nap is from 2-5:30 and you know how fun it is to wake up a sleeping child, so I figured he could stay awake until 4 and then he could just go to bed early. While Philip came upstairs to help me change the dressing on my PICC line we left Ethan downstairs sitting on the love seat. After only about 10-15 minutes we came down to find this:

He had fallen asleep sitting up! Poor thing! When he lays down his nose drains into his throat and that causes him to cough so this might have been the best rest he's gotten all week! At the pediatrician's office the Doctor was shocked to hear that Ethan had not complained once about his ear hurting because in his words, "It's gross in there." Apparently his left ear has a full blown infection with puss and everything. The good news is that his lungs sounded perfectly clear, so even though his cough sounds awful it is still all up in this throat right now.

He got his first dose of antibiotics last night and I was so proud of him for not spitting them out (as is rumored that his mother use to do when she was his age). He didn't even complain about the taste, he just made a funny face and I told him to drink his milk so he did! This morning he is even fever free so that is really great!!

Okay, now I'd like to tell you about my PICC line procedure but some of you might think this is too gross to handle. If you think you are one of those people: STOP READING!!! If you pass out while reading the rest of this post it is not my fault!


Here is a cool picture of my new medical appendage:

Going from left to right: my bandage, gauze to cover the injection site, the white thing is the sticker that holds everything in place and the purple thing is the continuation of the tubing that is inside of me, and then finally the two lumens (or tubes) where medicine can be injected. These both contain pressure valves at the end which prevent them from leaking when not in use.
During the procedure I was draped with surgical drapes so that everything would remain sterile. Then the tech/nurse/radiologist (I don't know his official title) used an ultrasound to find a good vein. Then the painful part....a little stick and injection of lydocaine. After the count of four I felt nothing! He measured from the spot where he was going to insert the PICC to where my jugular was and cut the tubing to be the right length (41 cm). I guess the length to the jugular is about the same as the distance to the heart. Then using a thin metal wire with a magnet at the end he guided the tubing into my Basilic vein. A detector that was laid on my chest told him if the magnet was going up or down. He needed the magnet to go down until it was just above my heart in the Superior Vena Cava (not up into my jugular). When he thought that it was in the right place he pulled the metal tube out and secured the base of the tubing with a giant butterfly like sticker (seen in the picture). After a chest X-ray confirmed the position of the tubing I was free to go! Easy peesy!

I did have some tenderness in the arm that afternoon but that has gone away. I was even having pain when I moved my arm but after we changed the dressing we discovered that the pain is from the glue on the sides of the bandage pulling on my skin, not from the actual entry point of the tubing. This PICC line can be used now for all of my treatments, for any fluids I may need to receive while it is in, and for ALL of my blood work that needs to be done at my OBs office. How exciting is that? No more sticks, re-sticks, and triple re-sticks. The tech that did the procedure said that a PICC that is well cared for can stay in for up to a year and he even had a patient that kept one in for over 3 years. For this to happen I have to flush each line everyday with saline and heparin and then I need to keep the dressing clean and dry. The dressing also has to be changed once a week and since I get treatments once a week my home health nurses will be able to do that for me in the future.

In the winter longsleeves keep the lines out of the way, but in the summer I'll have to come up with some "avoid long stares from people at grocery stores" dressing. I also can't get in a swimming pool which is kind-of a bummer, but I'll trade swimming for five IV sticks in a week any day! I hope I didn't gross too many of you out, but I just think it is so cool!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ultrasound and procedure tomorrow!

Tomorrow I am scheduled for my "full anatomy" ultrasound with my regular OB. Since we already know that it is a boy there shouldn't be anything exciting to learn, but it will be fun to see the baby again.

After I am done at my OB's office I'm heading down to outpatient admissions to get signed in to receive a PICC line. Historically I am a really difficult stick. Pregnant women are supposedly easier to get blood from, but when I had to get a sample at my second glucose test with Ethan the nurse stuck me in both arms and then in the back of my hand. When she still couldn't get blood even from their my nurse practitioner came in to stick me again in the back of the hand and finally got the sample. Have you ever been stuck in the back of the hand? It is.....unpleasant.

With my home nurse Angie she had to stick me twice on the first day and then she used the same port for the second day's treatment. This week she just had to stick me once on the first day, but then my vein stopped flowing today so she had to stick me two more times to find another vein that would work.

This continual sticking is not only painful, but can lead to scar tissue in my arms. A solution that was suggested to me by my nurse practitioner before the treatments even started (the one who had to finally get blood out of the back of my hand that one time) was to get a PICC line. This is just a central line that will be accessible again and again for as long as we need it. According to the internet they can stay in for as long as a year! If it is successful then I won't have to be stuck for anymore treatments or blood work!! They may even be able to use the line when I am admitted to the hospital to have the baby.

My prayer for tomorrow is that the ultrasound is normal and that the PICC line goes in easily!!

Thanks for joining me in prayer!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bittersweet Day

As you have probably heard, THE SAINTS WON THE SUPERBOWL yesterday!! How exciting is that?

The sad part about yesterday was that we had to put our kitty cat Yoda to sleep. We first got Yoda ten years ago when Philip's cousin stopped by our house on the way to the pound with a box full of kittens. We had seen this little kitten at their house the weekend before and I thought he was really cute. Philip thought he had a face only a momma cat could love and therefore named him Yoda. To Philip's credit he did have ears as big as his head and he was infected with every worm known to vet-kind and so he was very skinny. I don't have any digital pictures of him at that time, but here are some more recent shots:

In the our old apartment he use to climb up into the computer desk:

His other funny quirks were:
  • biting people (strangers or family/provoked or sometimes not)
  • chasing his tail
  • growling at laser pointers (before Yoda I had never seen a cat growl....quite impressive)
  • when he was younger he would run from where ever he was if he heard a paper being crumpled (he loved to bat them around)
  • bringing in small dead (or live) animals as offerings for us and our babysitters (how sweet!)
  • and more recently: letting Ethan do pretty much what ever he wanted to without biting him!
I found a folder of old pictures from when I first got my digital camera and you can tell that Yoda was the only interesting thing in our lives because I have six videos of him playing with a toy mouse! Here is my favorite:

Here is a more recent one of him in our backyard:

I never thought of myself as a cat person and I still don't, but after you take care of an animal for 10 years you grow attached! We'll miss you kitty!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My first infusion...

went fine! It only took about two and a half hours and I feel fine. I know it's early to say that I feel great, but so far I do feel okay. I felt a little cold after the treatment, but we figured out that I was probably cold because we keep our house at 61 degrees when we are not here so the meds were a little cold going in. One down blanket and a cup of hot chocolate later and I feel fine.

Next treatment is tomorrow afternoon and I pray that it goes as easy as this one did!

Again I, "praise God from whom all blessings flow!"

Monday, February 1, 2010

We have good news!

After two and half weeks of waiting and one whole week of calling the insurance company multiple times a day we finally have approval to precede with my in-home infusions! My first round of meds should be here tomorrow by 10:30am and we will go from there!

I'll post more updates here when I get them. I'm just so relieved to finally have this all worked out.

I know this isn't scripture, but it is what popped into my head as I was typing this: "Praise God from whom all blessings flow!"