Friday, September 12, 2014

We Got Halloween Back!

We got a little bit of good news about Henry's ENT procedure! An earlier spot opened up in our doctor's schedule, so his procedure is now scheduled for October 3rd instead of Halloween! Yay!

His sleep apnea still stinks. The fact that he has to have the procedure at all stinks. But I'm feeling less anxious and upset about it, and it really does help to know that he'll be able to have the procedure done sooner and not on Halloween! I'll take comfort in small victories. And now I can order their costumes! And get back on Pinterest to figure out what adorable pumpkin-flavored goodies I can make! We got Halloween back! I'll take it!

We're doing animal costumes this year. (Of course! For our little animal-lover, Calvin!) Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my!

Anybody else already excited for Halloween, like me? Got costumes planned?? Do tell! Or is it a surprise? ;)

Monday, September 8, 2014

5k Mama: Giant Race

Last week was rough around here. I've been really stressed about Henry's sleep apnea and his upcoming sleep endoscopy and Calvin's upcoming hernia surgery.

Small update on Henry and the sleep apnea: We are going to try to get him seen by a specialist at the sleep clinic just to try to get more info/help, and we are also going to request that he be given a CPAP to use for now since the sleep endoscopy is several weeks away.

And about Calvin's surgery: Again, it's a really routine ventral hernia repair (it's right above his belly button). He's had a hernia repair done before, so we know how it works. It's minimally invasive. Tiny cut, tiny stitch, go home the same day, but it is done under general anesthesia. He's healthy enough to undergo the procedure, but he does have a VSD - a teeny tiny hole in the tissue between the chambers of his heart which causes him to have a heart murmur. Don't worry, the VSD isn't causing him any problems and it doesn't need to be repaired any time soon. But, there is a special team of cardio-anesthesiologists who specialize in doing anesthesia for kids with heart defects. So, because Calvin's got the VSD, we're waiting to hear back from the cardio-anesthesiologists to schedule his surgery.

So we had two medical appointments last week, and our usual four therapy appointments, though I canceled one of the therapy visits because on top of everything the boys came down with a cold. Runny noses, coughing, fever, the works. Henry's coughing was making him throw up, but luckily that only happened a couple of times.

So yeah, it was a rough week.

On Sunday, a welcome distraction came in the form of the Giant Race - a race benefitting Project Open Hand with a San Francisco Giants theme, held at Giants' stadium AT&T Park.

In June (or was it May? I think June.) I went for an outdoor run for the first time since before I had Henry and I was proud to discover that I could still run a 5k without killing myself :) I've been running once or twice a week since then and I felt like registering for a race would be a fun way to motivate me to keep it up.

Pre-race selfie in front of the stadium #superflatteringangle #tryingtoblamethecameraangle
Starting line! I'm all set with my pink headphones!

I was in the last pace group for the 5k. Which means I was in the slowest group of the shortest race that day. Which also means that I was in a group with a lot of people who were walking, not running, the race. I'm out of practice when it comes to race running, so I had forgotten about the part where you're heading out from the starting line and you've got to, like, throw some bows or something to get past all the slow people in your way so you can get some space and get your run on! Next time I gotta get there early so I can be at the front. And possibly lie about my running pace so I'm not with all the walkers!

Crossing the finish line on the field at the stadium! Can ya find me? I'm right in the middle of the pic.
I finished in 35:46, which is my usual running time for a 5k. According to my Strava app, it was a PR, but only by a few seconds :) The finish line was right there on the field, and the runners were greeted by Giants mascot Lou Seal! (Calvin kept calling him a dog!)

Sweaty selfie with Lou Seal at the finish line
James and the kids, along with my cousin Pam and her kids, were up in the stands above the finish line waiting to see me cross. So fun to see them right there when I finished the race!

My cheering section! 
The runners got to hang out on the field to rest and celebrate.

NBD. Just hanging out at AT&T park. On the field. Where the Giants play. 

Unfortunately my fam couldn't join me. I took a few minutes to myself to chill before joining them up in the stands.

#dontjudge #garlicfries #ballparkfood
Then I treated myself to some of AT&T park's finest cuisine. 

Calvin was pooped as we headed home.
Henry was awake, but he was tired too. They were both still a little sick.

Later, Calvin was admiring my race medal. 
C: "Dog?"
Me: "No, it's a seal. It's Lou Seal."
C: (Nods.) "Dog."

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sleep Apnea Worries and Woes - Henry Wellness Update

The doc said it's the most severe case of sleep apnea he's ever seen.

This is Henry's pediatric ENT, Dr. Chang, at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. And he was talking about the results of Henry's most recent sleep study, which was done in early August.

We knew his apnea had worsened gradually over the year. But we were not expecting it to be the worst case the doctor had ever seen. Severity of sleep apnea is rated on something called the AHI: Apnea-Hypopnea Index. The AHI is basically an average of how many times per hour of sleep the patient's blood oxygen level drops below the normal level. An AHI of 0-4 is normal. 5-14 is mild sleep apnea. 15-30 is moderate, and anything above 30 is severe.

In January, Henry's first sleep study measured an AHI of 15. Seems like kind of a lot for a baby, but they said it wasn't severe enough to merit treatment. Ok. Fine. This more recent sleep study revealed an AHI of 153.

Yes, you read that right. 153. One hundred fifty-three incidences per hour that Henry's blood oxygen level drops below normal because of difficulty breathing. 153. Again, we knew it was bad, but we had no idea it was that bad.

So what's to be done? Deep breath.

Dr. Chang wants to do a sleep endoscopy. This means that Henry will be put under general anesthesia and the doc will use a scope to look down his throat. Dr. Chang will be looking to see if/how Henry's "anatomical structures" - voice box, tonsils, glands, etc. in and around his airway - are collapsing during sleep and blocking his airway. The theory (to the best of my understanding) is that because of Henry's hypotonia (low muscle tone), the tissues and organs around his airway could be collapsing in while he is asleep and blocking his airway.

To an extent, this is fixable. Some structures can be removed - tonsils, adenoid, and some tissue around the voice box - if necessary to help clear his airway. So when Dr. Chang looks in with the scope, if he sees anything that is fixable, he will "fix it" (remove it) right then and there during the same procedure. It will all be done through Henry's mouth (intraorally).

Best case scenario: Dr. Chang finds something fixable, removes some tissue, Henry recovers well and his sleep apnea improves.

Less than best scenario: Dr. Chang doesn't see anything that can be fixed, or he does, but it doesn't improve the apnea. At that point, we would probably be looking at a CPAP, which I am certain will be a huge pain to deal with for a baby. I mean, come on.

Salt in the wound: The next available time slot in Dr. Chang's surgery schedule is on October 31. Halloween! And nothing available after that until the end of November! Halloween is almost two months away and that already seems like a long time to wait when Henry's sleep apnea is so severe. We can't in good conscience wait any longer. So as much as it breaks my heart to ruin Halloween (you know how I love holidays!), we've just gotta do it.

I feel like it's bad news, worse news, and a slim chance of improvement. And, as if it isn't traumatic enough to have Henry on LPCH's surgery schedule, we've got pre-op for Calvin this afternoon to schedule his remaining hernia repair surgery! Both my babies are having procedures done this Fall and I just hate it. I wish they didn't need it. I'm scared for them. I know the procedures are safe, and we have great doctors, but I'm scared. And maybe a little angry.

Any parents reading this who have been there? I'd love words of encouragement and advice, especially if you've had a kid with sleep apnea.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Yay for Daddy's Birthday!

Yesterday was James' birthday! Yay and hooray! We started the day off right: Birthday Breakfast!!

Birthday breakfast is my favorite birthday tradition in our family. We used to do it when my brother and I were kids. Everybody in the family has to get up and come to birthday breakfast, and it has to happen before anyone leaves for work or school. Which means it is usually really early. Like, so early that the sun is usually late to the party. It's part of the charm. 

Food for birthday breakfast usually is normal breakfast food, just with candles stuck in it. We've done pancakes, donuts... I even made chicken biscuits for my brother's birthday breakfast once and stuck candles in them. 

But this year, I wanted to do something different. I was like, let's really go for it. Let's be crazy. Let's eat cake for breakfast! 

I really wanted to do the whole light the candles, sing the song, blow out the candles ritual for James with Calvin there because now he knows all about birthdays and I knew he'd enjoy it. But, I also knew we wouldn't be able to do cake and candles that evening because James is never home early enough to have dinner with Calvin and Henry, and besides, James and I had plans to go out to dinner after the boys went to bed. Solution: Cake for breakfast! 

So I got up before the sun and before everyone else, even our little morning rooster Calvin, and I decorated. (I can't help myself. I love birthdays. I love decorations. I love birthday decorations.) Nothing fancy, but I feel like a few balloons and a birthday banner are nice.

I know you are jealous of how beautiful this banner is. It took hours. No, just kidding, it took like 5 minutes.
Here's the card we made for James. Had a little trouble getting Henry's hands to make a heart...

 Then I went to wake up the boys. Calvin was actually grumpy about having been woken up. #tasteofhisownmedicine We decided to let Henry off the hook for this birthday breakfast since he was still asleep #neverwakeasleepingbaby and he couldn't eat cake anyway ;)

Song, candles, cake! Yes, that's right. We let our two-year-old eat chocolate cake at 6:30am. Go ahead and get my name engraved on that Mother of the Year Award. 

Here's his reaction after finding out that we wouldn't be serving seconds.

That evening, after James got home from work, he and I left the babies with Hartley (our cousin who lives upstairs) and headed out for date night! I love date night!! We went to Monk's Kettle, which is known for their amazing beer selection, and which is tiny and very popular and does not take reservations, so we had an hour long wait for a table at 7:45 on a Wednesday night. We had drinks at Delirium across the street in the meantime, and eventually we did get a table at the beer-snob heaven that is Monk's Kettle :)

I ordered the Allagash Saison, because I have grown to love saisons and the bartender recommended this one. James ordered that beer with the very, very long name which is a dunkelweissen - a type of wheat beer. He picked a dunkelweissen because that is the style of his latest batch of homebrew. Turned out I liked both beers and he liked mine better so we traded. Later, James had  Saison Darkly by Stillwater and I had a dry stout by Societe. (P.S. I had never heard of any of those beers or breweries before, but James had - or at least he acted like he had ;)

The beers were great and the food was delish! Cheers! Happy Birthday to James!!

Birthday breakfast is my favorite bday tradition at our house! What's yours??

Friday, August 22, 2014

Vacation by the Lake

Nice day for a sail!

After saying goodbye to Granny and Danpa we headed west, and after a quick stop to visit my alma mater, Berry College...

Beautiful Ford complex at Berry College :)
...we were off to Alabama and our lakeside destination in Guntersville.

The occasion for this vacation was to join James' parents in celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. 

My in-laws, John and Bea, decided that they wanted to celebrate this special anniversary with all their children and grandchildren. So we all gathered at a big house on the lake. James' brothers had their boats there for sailing, skiing and tubing. James is the youngest of six siblings. Between their six children, John and Bea have 16 grandkids! So when we get together we are quite a crowd!

Calvin and Henry were great little sailors! James and I never get to sail anymore, so it was a real treat to be out on the boat!

There was also a pool at the house, which was perfect for Calvin and Henry. We even brought the kiddie pool from Granny and Danpa's house.

Though John and Bea's actual anniversary date was later in August, we picked one night to do a special anniversary dinner for them. James' brother's wife cooked a special family recipe - Grandma's Spanish chicken and rice - and ordered a fancy cake for the occasion, and we set up banquet tables and decorations to make it feel really special. 


One of James' sisters made a family scrapbook as a gift for their parents and the grandkids gifted them with beautiful pictures they had drawn. I helped everybody make a fingerprint family tree as another small gift.

Amazing artwork by our niece, Isabel - capturing one of John and Bea's wedding photos!

Bea brought a very special dress of hers - the dress she wore when she first met John at a college dance! James' sister Debbie modeled the dress and the two of them, James and Debbie, posed to re-capture an old photo of their parents.

The next night we did another big party dinner, this time with an island theme!

The whole trip was wonderful. We had so much help with the babies that we really got to enjoy ourselves. It was such a blessing to see Calvin and Henry get to spend time with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I think the best part was seeing how lovingly our nieces and nephews played with and cared for Calvin and Henry. Calvin had an absolute blast. He adores his cousins and he had so much fun with them. And Henry, sweet as ever, baby of the entire family, enjoyed all the attention and love he got too :)

16 grandkids!

Wonderful vacation with a wonderful family that we are blessed to be a part of. Hope we get to do it again!