My Top 10 parenting posts from 2013

Well it is the end of the year and I have been busy with holiday shopping and activities with the kids. So for my last parenting post of the year, I decided to highlight ten of my favorite posts about being a parent.

1. Explaining cancer and chemo to the kidsThis one was from Jan. 28, 2013. As the year progressed, the kids only had a few questions about Pat who had such a great, upbeat attitude through her whole ordeal. I am glad to say that as of this October, she is cancer free!

2. Why I choose not to have my kids birthday parties at home – This one is from March 4, 2013. It ran the day after we had Lexie’s party at Inflatable Wonderland. This coming year she wants to go to Chuck E Cheese for her birthday. As for Jase, I think we are going for a smaller party – and gasp, it probably will be at home. I am sure that will be a post this coming year!

3. Favoring one parent over the other – This one was from May 6, 2013. This topic may come up again as we are planning a trip to Disney World in 2014 and I will be explaining to the kids that there will be NO arguing on who gets to sit with Daddy on every ride!

4. Unique Anatomy: Situs Inversus and Interrupted IVC  &  Unique anatomy continued: Polysplenia – These two post ran May 20 and June 3 about my daughter Lexie. I was touched by the parents who contacted me thanking me for posting about her condition and sharing their stories of their children with either the same or similar conditions.

5. Should we lessen disappointment and rejection for our children? This post ran on May 27, 2013 and of course the answer should be “no” but it seems society doesn’t agree.

6. Establishing House Rules – This one is from June 24, 2013. Our posted house rules have helped somewhat and we have yet to have to add to them though we did change the last one to not interrupting anyone rather than just adults.

7. Building the kids a Lego table – This one if from Aug. 5, 2013. I had to share this one again since I think it was so worth building Jase a Lego table. He uses his all the time. Lexie is just now getting into Lego Friends so I think hers will get more use soon but until then I love that it is easy to store under her bed!

8. It’s a different age…kids growing up with computers – This post ran Sept. 30, 2013. It is amazing how much kids use and rely on computer these days. I am sure a few more posts will appear next year about kids and computers including one about bringing a tablet to school.

9. Planning a Trip to Disney World – part 1 – This post appeared Oct. 28, 2013 which is right after Pat and her family came back from Disney World where they celebrated Pat being cancer free (see post #1). We too are planning a trip in June 2014 so I expect there to be two or three more posts about planning our trip to appear in 2014.

10. Puppy Sadie Rose joins the family – This one is from Nov. 4, 2013 (my hubby’s birthday). For those of you who know about Lexie’s allergies, the fact that we brought a puppy into the house and she hasn’t had any issues with that is simply amazing. I am sure there will be at least one post about Sadie and the kids in 2014.

And as the year wraps up, I also wanted to thank all the other parents who take the time to read my blog and post their comments. I appreciate every one of you and hope to hear more from you in 2014!

Five years ago today…

Five years ago today, I was pregnant with my daughter. Her due date was still a little over three weeks away. There was no way I would have guessed that my weekly checkup with the fetal maternal specialist would result in Lexie’s birth the following day.

Let me give you some back story…I turned 35 a few months after getting pregnant. This made me what the doctors consider “advanced maternal age.” My doctor suggested I see a maternal-fetal  specialist to be tested for Down syndrome since being older increases the baby’s chances of having it. My test came back with an elevated chance so the specialist suggested a sonogram as a follow-up test.

That sonogram at 16 weeks would change a lot of things. One of the first things they noted was Lexie had situs inverses, which means all her organs are flipped. Her heart and stomach are on her right instead of the left. In addition, they noted that her inferior verna cava (the major vein that brings blood from your lower extremities to your heart) was what they called “interrupted” (meaning it didn’t go where is was supposed to go).  Both of these are rare developmental defects and  together possibly a sign that she could have polysplenia (multiple spleens) or asplenia (no spleen). They suggested doing an amniocentesis to rule out any genetic problems (Downs, trisomy 13 and such) as these are also common with these two indicators.

alexa 2-25

Sonogram picture at 35 weeks – just 2 weeks before her birth.

The amniocentesis came back normal and let us know that we were having a girl. But the specialist suggested monthly (and later every other week followed by weekly) sonograms to watch her growth progress. Two months later he sent us to a cardiologist for a fetal echocardiogram to check out her heart and the incomplete IVC. The cardiologist verified what the specialist already saw on one of the sonograms. Lexie had a hole in between two chambers of her heart. The good news was he said the incomplete IVC was a non issue as her blood didn’t follow the “normal route” but did get back to her heart, which was the important part.

At my next sonogram in January, they noted an elevated amount of amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios). The specialist said that often times (like 99%) it is due to gestational diabetes. I had already taken the one-hour glucose test and failed but had passed the 3-hour test. But with the elevated fluid level, he had me take the three-hour test again, but I didn’t have gestational diabetes.

The additional amniotic fluid was now something else that they would need to watch. Soon we started doing sonograms every other week. On the weeks that I didn’t have a sonogram, I was meeting with my OB. That means every week I had an appointment.

At one of my February appointments, the fetal-maternal specialist noted that I was having contractions. They hooked me up to a monitor but after an hour when they hadn’t stopped, they sent me to the hospital where they were able to stop the contractions. Yes, this was an eventful pregnancy.

So five years ago today, I went to see the maternal-fetal specialist. He noted that my ever-increasing amniotic fluid level was now four times the amount of a normal pregnant woman. The concern was if my water broke that the gush of extra fluid could pull the umbilical cord out possibly cutting off the baby’s oxygen. So the specialist suggested another amniocentesis test to see if Lexie’s lungs were developed enough for her to be born.

On March 12th at 1 am, we received a call from the specialist. Her lungs were developed enough. He wanted us at the hospital later that morning for a c-section. So less than 24 hours after my appointment we were in the hospital and by noon, Lexie was born. She was 3 1/2 weeks early and weighed 7 lbs 10 oz.

Of course right after birth they whisked her away to the Neonatal ICU to run tests on her due to the situs inverses, the incomplete IVC and the hole in her heart. After numerous tests (including one in which they temporarily stopped her heart), they decided her heart was fine. Through a sonogram, they discovered she had multiple spleens. Most of them were really small. Another test revealed that at least one of them was working.

Lexie in the NICU - 2 days old.

Lexie in the NICU – 2 days old.

Before they would allow Lexis to have food, they did a barium swallow test, tracking the barium as it traveled through her system. This was done when she was two days old and again, everything proved to be fine. So even though she has an array of “differences” than a typical newborn, everything seemed okay.

At three days old they moved her out of the NICU and into the intermediate nursery for the next five days while we worked on a reflux/aspiration issue that occurred whenever she took a bottle.

So after a stressful pregnancy (for us not her) and a stressful first few days of life (for all of us), we brought our beautiful baby girl home when she was eight days old. None of the issues they were worried about have ever caused her a problem. Instead she just developed new ones – amblyopia, eczema, and allergies to pretty much everything. Of course, none of that will even be thought about tomorrow as we celebrate her fifth birthday.