Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nine Months Old

Even though I never did a blog post about Jacob turning nine months old and now he is almost ten months old, I wanted to be sure to post his stats from his nine month checkup and some other fun things he is doing (mostly for my own documentation).

He had his nine month checkup on March 8th and Dr. Smyth said he was growing very well. He weighed in at 20 lbs, 5 oz (which seems heavy to me for a nine month old, but it is average - the 50th percentile). His length was 28.15 inches, again in the 50th percentile. His head also measured in the 50th percentile so all in all, he is average, which is good!

Dr. Smyth was a bit concerned about him still having a bit of torticollis and she thought she noticed that his left eye didn't open as big as his right. Also, his head is still mis-shapen from him having a flat spot on his left side when he was a newborn. She said that we could do an MRI just to make sure that everything was ok with his head, but instead we opted to go back in 6 weeks for her to look at his head again. I, personally, don't think there is anything wrong and he is still getting PT for his torticollis, so I am confident that he will grow out of it soon. (Note: when we went back to see the doctor a week later for his rash & cough, she said that since seeing us on March 8th she had noticed a lot of babies & kids who had one eye that seemed to not open as much as the other. She even mentioned that she noticed it on her own daughter, who is a teenager. She admitted that she may have overeacted a bit suggesting the MRI. I knew that!)

Here are a few things that I jotted down about Jacob when I was originally going to do this post three weeks ago:
  • He started eating "whole" foods (instead of just pureed). Some that he had tried as of the beginning of March - pears, peas, cheerios, bread, and pieces of cheese.
  • We have been practicing using sign language, although Jacob hasn't shown the ability to do any of the signs. The ones that I have used most with him are "more", "milk", & "eat".
  • He did start doing something that looked like a clap, but could have been the sign "more". I am still working on figuring out which one it is.
  • He stayed with my Mom & Dad all day on Feb 13th so Keith and I could spend the day together in Williamsburg as a Valentine's Day treat to ourselves. We did some shopping, had a yummy dinner and even got drinks at the Williamsburg Lodge that evening. Jacob did pretty well with my parents, although he was fussy quite a bit and my Mom attributes that to him not being able to nurse all day. He hasn't taken a bottle in months so I didn't leave one for them. I did leave some breastmilk and she used it in his cereal, but I think he probably missed the "sucking" part of the nursing.
  • While he was with my Mom, she introduced him to drinking water from a "real" cup (not a sippy). She has a little plastic cup that she has had for years (I'm sure I used it when I was little!) and Jacob took to it very well. Of course, a lot of it dribbled down his chin, but he is getting better and better at it. He actually prefers drinking from a cup to drinking from a sippy and that is good, although that means someone has to help him with the cup versus him doing it himself with the sippy.
  • Like I posted in February, one of Jacob's top teeth popped through and so far, the other one has not appeared. He has been drooling a lot and his gums have been red and swollen off and on for the past month so I thought for sure it was coming soon.
  • Jacob started crawling at the end of February and he has gotten better and better at it. As of the beginning of March, he was still pretty content with just sitting and playing with his toys. He didn't really seem to have the need to get up and go. I'm sure this is going to change but for now I am ok with it.
I am sure that there are a lot of things that I am forgetting since this post is more than three weeks overdue. Stay tuned for his ten month post where I will have a lot more to share, hopefully coming in the next few weeks.

Monday, March 29, 2010


It all started a few Fridays ago, when Keith called me and said that he was coming home instead of going out to a movie that he had planned to see with some friends. He said that he hadn't been feeling well most of the day, he felt chilled and really tired. He was afraid he was coming down with something. When he got home, he drank some OJ and went straight to bed. He did feel a little warm to me and I am sure that he had a fever. Thankfully, when he woke up a few hours later, his fever seemed to have broken and he was feeling better. Good, right?

Well, the next day (Saturday), Jacob started acting extra fussy and clingy. He was also coughing and sneezing more than normal and his nose was running. I chalked it up to him having some sort of cold and that it was no big deal. Unforunately, the coughing, sneezing and runny nose just got worse over time and that made his sleeping kinda rough. He didn't nap well on Saturday or Sunday and he was up in the middle of the night both nights. Also, that was the weekend of the time change, so we were all a little off with our sleeping patterns!

I figured it was nothing but a cold so I made sure Jacob was well hydrated and got as much rest as he possibly could. I took his temperature a few times, but it was always within the normal range. I was thankful that we had gotten a cool mist humidifier for his room and I became a pro at using the bulb syringe to get the snot out of his nose (he didn't like it too much but it helped if I sang or made funny noises while I was doing it. Distraction is a wonderful thing at this age!). I didn't have any plans to call the doctor since I figured she would just tell me it was a virus and there wasn't anything that could be done.

But then, on Monday night, Keith was giving Jacob a bath and he noticed a small quarter-sized red mark on the small of his back. I had noticed it a few days earlier but now it was much more red and a little raised. I told Keith I would call the doctor and get an appointment for the next day.

On Tuesday morning, I called and got an appointment for later that day. Unfortunately, the only appointment that was available was right in the middle of Jacob's afternoon nap. I knew it was going to be hard to keep him from getting too fussy (and the fact that the doctor was running 30 minutes behind didn't help!). He did really well in the waiting room for the first 10 minutes or so, but then he really wanted to get down on the floor and crawl around instead of being in my arms. I am weary about what is lurking on the floor at the doctor's office so I refused to let him down. I was also trying to keep my hand over his mouth when he was coughing and keep his nose wiped so snot wasn't dripping down his face. Sounds like a fun time, huh?

Finally, we were called to the back. The nurse asked me to strip him down to his diaper and she weighed him and took his temperature, which was normal. She then checked his pulse oxygen level by putting a pulse oximeter on his finger. He did really well with it but his oxygen level wasn't as high as they would like to have seen it. Also, by this time, his breathing had become a lot more labored and you could hear him wheezing a bit. After the nurse left, she said the doctor would come in soon.

When Dr. Smyth came in I explained that I really wasn't there for his cold, although now I was glad that I had come in since his breathing had gotten so much worse. She looked at the rash on his back and instantly said that it was eczema, basically just a patch of really dry skin. She said that she would give me a prescription for hydrocortisone and that should clear it right up (which it did!). She was concerned however, about his breathing and the fact that his oxygen level was a bit lower than normal. She asked me if there was a history of asthma in our family and I told her that Keith has it. Apparently it is genetic. I am REALLY hoping that it was just a cold and not asthma!

She also checked both of his ears and found that he had an ear infection in his left ear. He must have been in some pain in that ear because that was the only time that he cried - when she was poking around in it. He hadn't shown any signs of discomfort with his ear previously though. I'm glad that she checked and she was able to give us a prescription for Amoxicillin to clear it up.

She said that she wanted to give Jacob a breathing treatment in the office to control his wheezing and to help him breathe better. Basically what happens is that a machine called a nebulizer turns a liquid medicine - albuterol - into a mist so that he can breathe it in. Nebulizers are used on babies and children that cannot use a regular inhaler to get the medicine. The breathing treatment took about 10 minutes and Jacob did very well. I took some pictures with my phone while I was administering the treatment.

The blue hose-like thing that he is holding was just an extra part that the nurse gave him as a distraction. The medicine is actually coming out of the part that I am holding in front of his mouth.

He wanted to chew on the plastic part that was administering the mist. The doctor said that was ok and it probably actually helped him get more of the medicine.

The doctor was happier with the sound of his breathing after the nebulizer treatment, but she still wanted him to take prednisone for four days, to decrease the inflammation in his lungs. She also gave me a prescription for an abuterol inhaler to give Jacob when his breathing became very labored or he was wheezing a lot.

Like I said, he was a trooper through it all and the doctor was even pleasantly surprised at how well he did during the visit. He was laughing and smiling a lot even though he was really tired and not feeling well. Our appointment was scheduled for 1:45pm and we didn't leave the office until almost 3:30pm! Needless to say, he was one tired boy by the time we were leaving. I took this picture after I got him dressed. The fingers in his mouth are a clear indication that he wants to sleep!

After leaving the doctor's office, we needed to go by the pharmacy (the pharmacy is right next to the office and Keith was working late that night so I wouldn't have had a chance to go back out). I felt bad that Jake was so tired but he did so well, again, and just sat in the cart and didn't fuss.

$100 later and this is what we left the pharmacy with:
(left to right - Amoxicillin, Mask to administer the abuterol inhaler, Inhaler, Hydrocortisone, and Prednisone)

Thankfully, I only had to administer the inhaler four times. It was not a very pleasant experience for either Jacob or me. He didn't like having the aerochamber mask over his mouth & nose and I didn't like making him cry! After the four days of prednisone and a few days of the amoxicillin, his cough seemed to be lessening and the snot was gone after about a week. It was certainly not a very fun time in our house (especially because I got a severe cold while Jacob was sick and you can't call in sick when you are a Mom!), but all is better now and I am hoping that the sickies stay far, far away from us for a long time!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Prayers for Marge

If you know my family well, or have been reading this blog for some time, you know that my mother-in-law, Marge, was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in May 2007 and then it matastasized to her liver in January 2008.

Since then, she has been receiving chemotherapy every two weeks, except for a short break of a few months. Every week, on the day before she gets her chemo, she has blood drawn so that they can check the "cancer markers" in her blood. Thankfully these numbers have remained fairly low (which is good and means that the cancer cells are not growing), but towards the end of February, the numbers started going up (which is not good!). Her doctor said that this means that the cancer cells are beginning to increase and it may mean that the cancer is moving to another part of her body. She had a PET scan in late January and it didn't show any abnormalities so the doctor cannot be exactly sure at this time. Due to insurance regulations, she can only have a scan every three months, so she won't have another one until late April. At that time, hopefully we will know more.

Right now, the doctor has introduced a chemo medicine called Camptosar in addition to the Avastin that she already receiving. The Camptosar is a stronger medicine and has some pretty awful side effects. The worst one that she is experiencing right now is the loss of her hair. She said that it has been falling out for a week or so now and she has an appointment at the Oncology clinic to get her head shaved tomorrow. They are providing her with a wig, which is nice. She is also having some bleeding in her nose (another side effect), but other than that, she seems to be doing pretty well.

Of course she is scared and the uncertainty of it all can be very unnerving. Keith and I would appreciate any and all prayers that can be said for Marge. We are going up to visit her in a few weeks for Easter. I know that she looks forward to seeing Jake (and us, lol) so it should be a good visit. Thank you, in advance, for your prayers. They mean a lot to our family.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A sneek peek

Since I am way behind on blogging - what's new, right? - here's a sneek peek into what Jacob has been up to in the past few weeks:

About a month ago, the little bugger figured out how to push the bumper down so he could see me whenever I would sneek in his room to check on him. He also likes to play with the ties that hold the bumper in place. Needless to say, these are now tied in knots instead of pretty bows!

He still continues to LOVE being in the walker, although I try to restrict the time he is in it since I have heard some experts say that it isn't good for his walking development.

A week or so ago, I was swiffing the hardwood floors and Jacob wanted to help. I think I am on to something!
Something else Jacob loves is the computer. I think I mentioned this before, but whenever I open it up, he crawls over to me and wants to look at whatever I am doing. On this particular day, Keith put him up on the couch with it to see what he was going to do. Looks like he's sending an email!

Friday, March 5, 2010

The latest addition

I am so excited to announce another addition to our ever-growing family!! My sister, Karen, delivered her second baby girl, Chyler (pronounced Ki-ler) Anne Miller, yesterday at 3:40am. She was 8 lbs, 9oz and 21 inches long.

Karen did awesome as she labored for 8 hours free of any pain medication (which is more than I could ever do!!). She very much wanted an all-natural labor and deliver and that is what she got. There was a little bit of drama in the delivery room when Chyler was coming out because she presented with shoulder dystocia (click on the link for more information). Her midwife had to turn the baby while she was still inside but thankfully Chyler was born with no complications. She was taken to the special care nursery for observation, but was returned to Karen soon after.

They are scheduled to go home this afternoon and are very excited to introduce Chyler to big sister Sierra! (The hospitals in the Hampton Roads area currently have a ban in place so no children are allowed in the hospital if they are not a patient. This means that Sierra has not been able to visit Karen or see her new baby sister.) I know that Karen will be happy to be home with both her precious girls.

Because of our kiddos, it didn't make sense for Katie or I to try to visit Karen in the hospital. We are going to make a trip to visit them at home next week, stopping over in Richmond at my parents' house for the night. This will hopefully make the three hour trip with three kids ages three and under (wow-that's a lot of threes!) a little more bearable! I am so excited to finally meet Baby Chyler!

Congratulations to Karen, Brian and Sierra! We love you very much and we can't wait to see you!!

Kidney Update

As you may remember, Jacob was diagnosed with hydronephrosis (a dilation of the kidneys) in utero and the doctor was concerned about him having urinary reflux. When he had the VCUG & ultrasound in August, things seemed to be getting better but Dr. Peters still wanted to see us six months later. Our appointment was scheduled for last Wednesday morning and Jacob needed to have another ultrasound and then a meeting with Dr. Peters. Unfortunately, that morning, Keith had a meeting he couldn't miss so I was on my own.

Unfortunately, the Urology clinic is in a building next to the main UVA hospital. So the worst part is parking in the awful parking deck (it was so crowded that it took about 15 minutes to drive all the way to the top level to find a space), waiting for the slower-than-ever elevator, and then walking through the twists and turns of the hospital to get to the West building. Even though we pulled into the parking deck 30 minutes before his appointment was scheduled, we were still running about 5 minutes late when we finally arrived in the clinic. AND, I have never been to that clinic when they were actually running on time! So, even though his appointment was scheduled for 10:40am, we didn't get called back to the ultrasound room until 11:15am! Jacob did very well in the waiting room - I put a blanket down and he sat and played with some toys (and my car keys, which he loves) while I talked to a nice guy who was also waiting.

Once we were back in the room, the nurse took Jacob's temperature and placed a urine collection bag over his penis and scrotum so that they could try to collect a urine sample (which they were never able to do, but they wanted to try). That thing just looked very uncomfortable to me, but Jacob didn't seem to mind it. He was even OK when Dr. Peters took it off after he examined him - I thought for sure he was going to fuss or cry since it was stuck to his sensitive parts with adhesive (similar to a band-aid or tape). My boy is tough! :)

Once the ultrasound tech came in, he took a look at his bladder and his kidneys. Once again, Jacob did VERY well with all of this and he didn't fuss or cry at all. He was happily distracted by the "crunching" noise of the disposable paper he was laying on and my cell phone (which is one of his most favorite things to play with these days!). The tech was also great at talking to Jake and keeping him distracted. After he was finished, he said that his kidneys looked good, except that there was still some dilation in the left one. He said he would show the results to Dr. Peters and he would discuss them with me.

Unfortunately (like I mentioned previously about them always running behind), this clinic is VERY busy. So, we had to wait another 30 minutes before we were able to see the doctor. This normally wouldn't be anything more than a nuisance, but when you have a very squirmy (and overtired and hungry) eight month old, it can prove to be quite exhausting. Thankfully, Jacob was awesome during this whole thing! He never cried or even got fussy. I, on the other hand, was trying to keep my patience while carrying him around, singing to him, feeding him cheerios while he sat on the examination table, and distracting him with any safe object I could find! In the end, Dr. Peters came in and told me that he thought Jacob's kidneys look much better than they did six months ago and that he didn't think there was any cause for concern. He thinks that Jacob will probably just grow out of the dilation in his left kidney, but he does want to see him back in a year to be sure that the problem has resolved itself.

We are very thankful for this good news and are sure that in a year there won't be any reason for us to return!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Some things never change

I took this picture of Jacob sleeping on September 26th when he was almost 4 months old.

I took this picture of Jacob sleeping this morning at almost 9 months old.

He sleeps with his head wedged in the corner like this a lot. I sometimes worry that he won't be able to breathe because he gets his face so close to the bumper, but I guess he finds it comfortable. I wonder how long he will keep doing it?