Sunday, November 30, 2008

Autumn in Chicago

As I hear the wind and snow blowing outside I thought I'd better get this posted...

On David's couple of days between his old and new job we spent some time as a family. This was taken by North Pond in Lincoln Park next to the Nature Museum.

Ever since all the Pump it Up party rage, Ella can't get enough of the inflatables.
That's her pink arm by the window David is headed toward.

Painting and decorating her pumpkin at the Pumpkin patch.
Ella picked the biggest/tallest horse to ride. She screamed when I put her on but then loved it.

Petting a cute calf.
Posed on the hay bales together. We were just hoping she didn't drop him.

Messy boy eating some peas.

Ella wanted us to be the Bernstain Bears family for Halloween.
Thank goodness for the store Unique Thrift where I was able to find the clothes for our costumes!

Sister Bear
Trick-or-treating Chicago style.
and at the Patisserie of course.
and then with friends in Lincoln Park.
and this is from our Free to Breathe walk day. Nicholas was not very happy to be wearing a huge shirt! Thank you to all who donated and it's not too late!

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Where have I been?

Lost. Well--lost in my son and sickness and a whole lot of other things. I feel as though life has skipped a few weeks--I guess almost a month. I just saw my last post was almost exactly a month ago. I was waiting to post about Nicholas until I could give full info. and all would be over. However, at his test yesterday we found out he was positive for VUR so I'm sure you will be hearing more about it in the weeks, months and years to come.

So Nicholas was very sick. Very sick. I took him to the pediatrician three times in five days and by the third visit they sent us straight over to Children's Hospital. He had a virus with cold-like symptoms along with this extreme high fever and behavioral downhill slope and we gave it the official 3-5 day wait (now I really wish it was only 3 days...but I'm over that now and do trust my Dr.'s). We ended up staying in the hospital from Wednesday until Saturday night when we were released. Long story short, it was a miserable time with invasive procedures, lots of cords/monitors/needles, etc., for the duration of our stay in our lovely semi-private room. Yes-it's true, semi-private rooms still exist. The new Children's is currently under construction to be completed in 2012--and do they ever need it! We received top quality care in a sub-par facility. For pretty much the entire time (day and night) I held Nicholas in this chair that had an ottoman that pulled out and David slept in a weird lawn-chair looking, feeling type seat.

We discovered pretty quickly that he had a febrile UTI that went on to infect his kidneys--all caused by the feisty bacteria E. Coli. Upon initial testing in the ER his white blood count was 23 (normal is 14). He was literally fighting hard. He responded fairly well to the IV antibiotics ( a strong broad based one to start: Ceftriaxone for you meds out there). Though it is hard thinking back on times when the Resident was standing over him watching his monitor when his fever, blood pressure and heart rate were so high and realizing she was yawning because it was 3 a.m. and they woke her up. Alot of it is all a blur. Probably due to lack of sleep, and general stress, my own sickness which grew worse took my voice and is finally gone!, disbelief, etc. I don't know how parents of long-term sick children do this. It is so draining.

Thankfully we were rescued by Aunt Marion to help care for our lovely daughter Ella who already had spent the night with Asha and Ryan and the day with Braden--thank you SanJuan's and Hale's!! Marion was scheduled to go to Oklahoma for a visit to Blake and Karla's and celebrate Jeff's birthday with Jon, Angie and the girls too. Instead--she was so gracious to miss out on all that fun and drive to Chicago and help us when we desperately needed it. It was such a relief to know Ella was being cared for and we didn't have to figure out where to send her next. THANK YOU!

By our release time Nicholas's cultures had grown and showed the gram negative rod bacteria E. Coli (which is common cause for kidney infection). So switched him to oral Cefidinir (Omnicef) to target it better and sent us home due to 24 hours with no fever and clear signs of improvement.

The end question was why? It's very uncommon for babies to get a UTI or kidney infection and there is usually a structural cause. They did an ultrasound of his kidneys while we were in the hospital (enlarged, but thought to be from the infection), then we had the final test: a VCUG, yesterday. (You have to wait until the infection is gone to perform this test and get an accurate reading). The VCUG came back positive for VUR. This means Nicholas has reflux of the bladder in simpler terms. He is Grade 1 which is the best we could ask for with the condition so we're glad about that. He also has slight dilation of his ureters which is also best case. We will now be heading to the Urologist to discuss treatment plan options and his/our future with this condition.

We are so thankful that this is not a life-threatening condition and that he is overall still a very healthy vibrant baby boy! I will update with more info as we receive it and try to post some long over due fall pictures including Halloween which fell right in the first few days of sickness.

So who said I could really make a long story short?
Wednesday in the ER
Saturday before release