Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Encouragement

Lately, I have been hearing a song that takes me back to Maxson's diagnosis, surgery, recovery and fight with his CHD.  I think this song is fitting for those facing adversity, those struggling with a new diagnosis, those facing an upcoming surgery.  I just love this song.  It feels comforting in some sort of way.  It also reminds me that....what we face is not in our hands.  It makes me want to say:  God...please know that I love my child so very much.  Please watch over him, help me walk through this uncertainty and please keep him safe.  I hope you feel this song as much as I do.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Impact of CHD

This is a recycled post from last year.  To me, it interesting to see how the diagnosis of CHD in a sibling can impact family members, especially a teenager.  Alisyn wrote this for her English class and received an A+ on this paper.  She recently volunteered to be on the committee  at her high school to raise funds for Riley Hospital, which is where Maxson has had his heart surgeries and procedures. Even though Riley is 3 hours away from here, our community is a huge supporter of the hospital.   She asked me to speak about our experiences with Riley and bring Maxson to the fundraiser so everyone can see what a wonderful hero he is. 

So now, words from a teenage sibling affected by CHD

October 15, 2009, a day that will never be forgotten. Normally, it could be the day when a new baby would be born, and soon after, a day when that baby would be taken home from the hospital. A day that brings memorable moments and one that is filled with joy and happiness. Instead, it was a day filled with mixed feelings, tears and emotional pain. A day that had everyone on their toes, wondering and praying for a miracle.

On October 15, 2009, my little brother , Maxson, was brought into this world. I had thoughts racing through my mind that I couldn't fully understand...having a new baby brother, so little and fragile, so cute and innocent. How he had not asked for any of this, how he had done nothing wrong, why would God do this to him?

Almost four months prior to his birth, my mom had been told that her baby had a severe and complicated heart condition that would affect him his whole life. Maxson was born at Riley's Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. Five days before his birth, on October 10, my stepdad David, both my grandma and grandpa's, my sister and I all drove to Indianapolis to move into the termporary house that we would be living in for the period of time that my brother would be in the hospital. It was a pretty house, two stories, filled with vaulted ceilings, but yet, it wasn't home where we wanted to be.

The day Max was born was a very stressful and nerve racking day. The night before, my mom and David were running around the house with all their bags and hurrying to rush out the door to get to the hospital. My sister and I had to say at the house with Nanny because children were not allowed at the hospital because of the horrible flu season. The next morning, the doctors would start labor. David would call the house almost every half hour to keep us updated. Nearly twelve hours had past and we had almost given up on the thought that he would be born that day. Finally, the call that we were waiting for had arrived. He had been born! During that phone call with my mom, I began to feel sorry for her, she had told me that she only got a glance at Max and then the nurses quickly rushed him to a special room to hook him up to ventilators and machines so that he would not die from lack of oxygen.

November 23, 2009 was the day of Maxson's first, but certainly not his last, open heart surgery. He was only five weeks old. The procedure took about eight hours. It was long and enduring. I remember praying all day, and wondering how everything was going, or if the doctors were going to be able to make the surgery a success, or if he was going to make it out a survivor. At 8:30 that night was when we got the call from my mom saying that Max had made it through the surgery just fine and that the doctors said he did better than expected. I felt like a heavy weight had just been lifted off my body. I was so relieved that I could breathe again. I thanked God for watching over my brother and for keeping him safe.

My sister and I had to stay home with our grandparents, three hours away from where Max was. My mom and David would be staying in Indianapolis with my brother until he was ready to come home. Finally, the day arrived when my mom and David brought Max home. Seeing him brought tears to my eyes. It made me think how strong this little baby was for undergoing open heart surgery and making it out a survivor. It truly was a day that I will never forget.

Two years later, Max is doing better than my family and I could have ever imagined and hoped for. Along with being cute, walking around and having fun, Max still has that attitude that all two year olds have. I never really thought about the kids at Riley and the families who have kids with medical problems. After Max was born, it really made me think about it and how scary and overwhelming it is...not knowing if they are going to make it or not. Now, our friends and family raise and donate money to the Riley Hospital to help out other children in need. Overall, I learned that everything happens for a reason. You may not fully understand why, but if you have faith in God, he will give you the strength to get through it.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Heart Month is here! It is time to educate and spread the word about one of the deadliest forms of birth defects....Congential Heart Defects (CHD). Our special week, one very near and dear,
 
CHD Awareness Week
February 7th - February 14th

Here are a few facts about CHD....
 
.....Congentital Heart Defects are the number one birth defect.....

.....One out of every 100 babies (approx 40,000 each year) are born with some form of Congenital Heart Defect.....

.....Nearly twice as many children die from Congenital Heart Defects in the United States each year as from all forms of childhood cancers combined, yet funding for pediatric cancer is five times higher than funding for CHD's.....

.....The American Heart Association directs $0.30 of every dollar towards research. The remaining goes towards administration, education and fundraising efforts. Of the $0.30 that goes towards research, only $0.01 goes towards pediatric cardiology for CHD.....

There are many things going on, both locally and in blogland, to celebrate and bring awareness to Congenital Heart Defects. Please take note and show your support by participating and spreading awareness.
 
Looking for a way to become involved? The BEST way to spread awareness is to get the word out. Realize that CHD affects many more families then you are aware off. Participate in the CHD Awareness Week events.  Any little bit you can do that spreads awareness helps so many babies and families on their journey with CHD!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

CHD Awareness Week - Day 1

I haven't quite decided what direction I want my posts to go this year, so there may be a jumble of what seems to be random posts.  The most important thing for this week, is to bring awareness to something we live with everyday.  There are several things going on in blog land this week, and I will be sharing links to other blogs that are highlighting and spreading awareness for CHD Week.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Things have been hectic and I have not had a chance to send our Christmas cards this year.  We hope everyone has a Blessed and Merry Christmas season.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Love Hate Relationship

Here are Max's statistics when he was admitted to the hospital.  Key focus on the 93 sat rate and heart rate of 125.  He usually sats at 100 with a heart rate around 85-89.  Fever increases his heart rate, and since his lungs are filled with goop, his sats are down.



I have to say, I have a love - hate relationship with this little object pictured below.  Love it because it tracks Max's oxygen saturation levels.  As you can see, he is still sitting low at 95.  This was late Sunday night before his sats dipped close to 80.  Hate it because the alarm goes off and lights flash when his sats dip too low, then continue to go off every few seconds until his sats come back up.  This little machine can fill a person with lots of anxiety, not to mention, not being able to sleep with all that racket going on all the time. 

If I never had to deal with this sat monitor again, I would be delighted! 


Rainy Days and Christmas Eve

You have probably thought I've fallen off the blog land since I have not posted in forever.  I planned to do a end of year...all encompassing what we have been up to post, but instead I have a different sort of update.

We have had a rough couple of days around here.  Our house has been laden with sickness.  Unfortunately Max has come down with a respiratory ailment that started on Thursday.  He spiked a pretty good fever and an awful cough.  After a couple nights of no sleep and lots of coughing, I took him to the after hours pediatric clinic.  Thankfully they were cautious enough to order a flu swab, chest x-ray and bloodwork.  The flu swab was negative, but the chest x-ray showed the start of pneumonia.  So, off the the hospital we went. 

Max was admitted on Sunday afternoon to start antibiotics for pnuemonia.  Last night was a long night although he did rest better than he has the last two nights.  His oxygen sats dipped into the low 80's during the night, which prompted them to give him oxygen via nasal canula.  He did not like that at all and decided to pull it out about four different times.  Between his restlessness, the monitors and alarms beeping when his sats dipped too low, David and I did not get much sleep either.

The on call doc came to see him this morning and determined we would be staying the day and another night.  Merry Christmas to us!  Not what we asked for, but could be much worse.  And for that, we are thankful.








 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

CHD Awareness....Why?



Thank You!! For all those that have followed our blog and have supported us in one way or another. This is why we fight. Our Little Heart Warrior...Maxson...is One in 100. Over the last 33 months since we found out about Max's special heart, it has been a rollercoaster of emotions. He is doing awesome now, running around like any normal two year old little boy. At times, it seem like he is "normal" in all sense of the word. He isn't, in respect to his heart, and will face a life time of dealing with his special heart. For him, he will know nothing different. This will be part of him...the story of who he is. However, his CHD will not define him. I don't want anyone looking at him as...the kid with the heart defect. We grow and learn, day by day, that this will not define us. It is hard, and at time, it just sucks. But, with funding and research on how to treat and manage these CHD's, our little ones will grow up to be just like anyone else. And, hopefully, it will prevent another family from going through the pain and heartache that our family, along with any other CHD family has experienced. Many of these little warriors do not make it, but if we can raise awareness to help just one of these kids, we are making a step in the right direction.

Thank You...for being a part of CHD Awareness!

Monday, February 13, 2012

More Special Hearts

Over this CHD Awareness Week, I've posted mostly about Maxson's story.  But, I have made many connections with my online heart mommas via blogs.  I have found much comfort and information in reading these blogs and finding connections with these families that have an idea of what rollercoaster ride we have been on for the last several years.  Please visit these heart warrior blogs for their stories.

Liam   - Visit Tara's blog for a hand made "heart art" give away.




Ethan  - Visit Joye's blog for another CHD Week give away.






CHD Angel Babies - these little ones have left a mark on my heart




Please visit these heart warrior blogs for their stories, and to see just how much CHD affects everyone.

A 14 Year Old's Perspective

This is a paper Alisyn wrote for her English class last fall about a significant event that impacted their lives.  She recieved an A+ on this paper.  We are so proud of her!

October 15, 2009, a day that will never be forgotten.  Normally, it could be the day when a new baby would be born, and soon after, a day when that baby would be taken home from the hospital.  A day that brings memorable moments and one that is filled with joy and happiness.  Instead, it was a day filled with mixed feelings, tears and emotional pain.  A day that had everyone on their toes, wondering and praying for a miracle.

On October 15, 2009, my little brother , Maxson, was brought into this world.  I had thoughts racing through my mind that I couldn't fully understand...having a new baby brother, so little and fragile, so cute and innocent.  How he had not asked for any of this, how he had done nothing wrong, why would God do this to him?

Almost four months prior to his birth, my mom had been told that her baby had a severe and complicated heart condition that would affect him his whole life.  Maxson was born at Riley's Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.  Five days before his birth, on October 10, my stepdad David, both my grandma and grandpa's, my sister and I all drove to Indianapolis to move into the termporary house that we would be living in for the period of time that my brother would be in the hospital.  It was a pretty house, two stories, filled with vaulted ceilings, but yet, it wasn't home where we wanted to be.

The day Max was born was a very stressful and nerve racking day.  The night before, my mom and David were running around the house with all their bags and hurrying to rush out the door to get to the hospital.  My sister and I had to say at the house with Nanny because children were not allowed at the hospital because of the horrible flu season. The next morning, the doctors would start labor.   David would call the house almost every half hour to keep us updated.  Nearly twelve hours had past and we had almost given up on the thought that he would be born that day.  Finally, the call that we were waiting for had arrived.  He had been born!  During that phone call with my mom, I began to feel sorry for her, she had told me that she only got a glance at Max and then the nurses quickly rushed him to a special room to hook him up to ventilators and machines so that he would not die from lack of oxygen.

November 23, 2009 was the day of Maxson's first, but certainly not his last, open heart surgery.  He was only five weeks old.  The procedure took about eight hours.  It was long and enduring.  I remember praying all day, and wondering how everything was going, or if the doctors were going to be able to make the surgery a success, or if he was going to make it out a survivor.  At 8:30 that night was when we got the call from my mom saying that Max had made it through the surgery just fine and that the doctors said he did better than expected.  I felt like a heavy weight had just been lifted off my body.  I was so relieved that I could breathe again.  I thanked God for watching over my brother and for keeping him safe.

My sister and I had to stay home with our grandparents, three hours away from where Max was.  My mom and David would be staying in Indianapolis with my brother until he was ready to come home.  Finally, the day arrived when my mom and David brought Max home.  Seeing him brought tears to my eyes.  It made me think how strong this little baby was for undergoing open heart surgery and making it out a survivor. It truly was a day that I will never forget.

Two years later, Max is doing better than my family and I could have ever imagined and hoped for.  Along with being cute, walking around and having fun, Max still has that attitude that all two year olds have.  I never really thought about the kids at Riley and the families who have kids with medical problems.  After Max was born, it really made me think about it and how scary and overwhelming it is...not knowing if they are going to make it or not.  Now, our friends and family raise and donate money to the Riley Hospital to help out other children in need.  Overall, I learned that everything happens for a reason.  You may not fully understand why, but if you have faith in God, he will give you the strength to get through it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Liam - Life with a CHD Toddler

I asked Tara, Liam's mom, to tell her perspective of having a toddler with CHD. She was gracious enough to give her thoughts on the changes from having a baby diagnosed with a heart defect, to how it has changed having a toddler with a CHD. For more about this adorable heart warrior Liam, please visit Tara's blog.

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From CHD Baby to CHD Toddler....Life of a CHD Mom

Liam was born on September 30, 2009 and shortly after birth was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia, the same CHD as Maxson. He has had three open heart surgeries so far, BT Shunt at 5 days, Full Repair at 8 months and a revision of his conduit at 15 months. We have had 3 heart caths, a feeding tube surgery, and a couple hospital stays in between for viruses as well. Liam is doing great since his last heart cath about a month ago. That experience in the hospital was quite different from our previous stays, mainly because Liam is now officially a walking, talking toddler. It has shed some light on the differences of a CHD baby versus a CHD toddler.

One of the things I have noticed as Liam has gone from baby to toddler is that symptoms of issues seem to be less noticeable and harder for me to catch. When he was a baby, it was very obvious when he would turn cyanotic or start having a wheezy sounding breath. But now that he is older, it is harder for me to tell these things…probably because he is going non-stop all the time, running around and is a much tougher little boy than most. Liam never complains of anything, so it’s harder for me to tell if he is not feeling well, as opposed to when he was a baby, he would cry, fuss, be up all night, sleep more, etc. I do worry sometimes that despite his perfectly normal happy self on the outside, something isn’t going right on the inside. I have had to pay much closer attention to the little things, and when there is an issue with his heart, I retrace our steps to see if I noticed any concerning behavior prior to that diagnosis (like when we needed our last heart cath). Most of the time, if I do that I can honestly say, he probably wasn’t eating quite as well, maybe was sleeping a little more…at least compared to right now, when it seems clear he is feeling better than before (napping less, eating more, more energy – if you can believe that!).

Communication is much easier at this age, and I am glad Liam is so vocal and understands a great deal of what we tell him. It’s also helpful that we can tell him it will be ok and he believes us! We’ve had to be a bit more creative in explaining what the doctors/nurses are doing when they work on him, but all in all, he still does not show any fear towards them at all. I’ve also realized how accepting toddlers are of things that are different….they are actually very adaptable, or at least Liam is.

There is a bit less stress in the fact that he is bigger and stronger now than obviously he was when he was an infant. He can catch a cold now and we don’t have to think we will end up in the ER. We have been taking him out and about a lot more since his last surgery a year ago, knowing that it’s probably time to start building his immune system slowly. He is much less fragile now.

I just remember thinking to myself how different our last hospital stay was for his heart cath. Compared to a year earlier, Liam is now walking, eating, drinking, talking all as a normal toddler, whereas before, he wasn’t doing those things. Although it took much more energy to entertain, keep calm and distract as his previous stays required, it was much easier to know that those complications we dealt with because of his fragility and infant status where really not of concern this last time around.

We are so proud of our little heart warrior. He has come so far, and to see him grow into an amazingly active and smart little toddler has truly been a blessing. Thank you for letting us share his story!

Friday, February 10, 2012

This Is Why We Fight


Our First View after Surgery - 9.14.10
Many of you probably wonder....why is this a big deal. Max is doing well, his surgeries have been done. It's should be time to move on. This is so far from the truth. His CHD will never be "fixed". His CHD has no cure. Max still faces multiple open heart surgeries to replace the artificial parts of his heart.

Max will face a lifetime of medical treatment as a result of his CHD. In his short lifetime, he has already endured more medical procedures than most people will ever see. Before his first birthday, he had four heart caths and two open heart surgeries. With every doctor appointment, echo or cath, his life is on the line. When you have a child with CHD, a routine appointment can instantly send your world into a tailspin. The worry never goes away.

It is amazing to me that CHD is the number one birth defect, yet funding for research is minimal. Each year, over 40,000 babies will be born with CHD. Each year, there will be 4000 babies that will not live to see their first birthday.

I didn't know about CHD. Up until Max's diagnosis, not one doctor ever informed me about this birth defect during any of my pregnancies. Now, I know more than I ever wanted to know about this. I thought the worry would go away after his repair surgery, but I am filled with anxiety before each and every doctors appointment. Each appointment could literally change our life. Our life was turned upside down the day we received the news that Max's little heart didn't function the way it should. Max's CHD not only affects him, but it has changed our family, his sisters, our extended family and our relationships with others. Through all this, I have found a huge support system in the blog community. Heart mommies are some of the strongest people I know. And although I haven't met any of these women, we all have a bond that brings us together to fight for CHD awareness.

Thankfully, Max is doing great. We hope he won't need another open heart surgery for several years. Unfortunately, not all babies survive their CHD. This is why we raise awareness....with hopes that the future holds medical advances that allow more children to live rather than die from this birth defect. I have followed many heart blogs where babies didn't survive. It is heartbreaking to read their stories and follow their journeys that end the way they do.

Max's heart defect will always be a part of his life. It will always be present...from how rough he can play, choosing sports he can participate in, to having his own children and how this might affect them. Although it is a part of who he is, it will not define him.

Although we wouldn't trade our little boy for anything in the world, I would not choose to walk the path that has been chosen for us. I hate that Max has to have surgeries, that medical procedures will always be a part of his life. I would not choose this path for anyone. It is a rollercoaster ride of emotions. My heart aches for Max and all the things he has already endured.

This is why CHD awareness....In hopes that medical advances will be made so that Max will not have to endure more open heart surgeries...so that other families and babies will not have to walk the path that so many families have already walked.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

CHD Week - In the Storm

As we walked this rollercoaster journey of CHD, there was a song that was always in the back of my mind.  To this day, this song brings me back to Max's journey, his story...our story....as we continue to follow this journey.  There were so many times that I didn't think I could go on, but, this song would play in my mind, or play on the radio...and I would find the strength to continue to fight for Maxson and fight for him to become the heart warrior that he is.

Even today, when I hear this song, it takes me back to Maxon's diagnosis, his birth, and our many times spent with doctors or in the hospital. It used to bring me to tears.....at times, it still does.....but mostly it reminds me of the journey we have walked with Max. It speaks of where we started, where we are, and how many times I've begged God to let our little boy be safe.

I won't lie. It hurts. It hurts our entire family. I hate it. I hate to see my baby boy go through this. But what I hope is that he won't know what he has been through. The doctors have said...he will grow up with this...he won't know any different. But, I know...we know...his sisters know...his family knows, as does his CHD family. If we can raise awareness...and fight for these CHD babies to be heard....to fund research that prevents just one family from walking that path that so many heart families do. That is what we strive to achieve. One in 100. That is what we are. That is why we fight.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Raising Awareness - Maxson's Heart Story

In recognition of CHD Awareness Week, I want to tell Maxson's heart story to raise awareness. Before our journey with CHD, I had no idea about the number one birth defect. No literature or information is given during initial prenatal visits. No testing is done on a newborn in the hospital. Something so simple and non-invasive as an EKG or pulse oximetry reading could prevent many senseless deaths.

I thought I would feel better after the first trimester was over. I was nervous the entire first trimester. At 12 weeks, we did the First Trimester screen which included the nuchal fold testing. All looked well at the ultrasoud, but within a week, we were called and informed that our bloodwork came back with an elevated risk for Trisomy 18. Ironically, I had been following a blog of a baby that did have T18. This baby was stillborn at 24 weeks. I came to learn that most T18 babies do not make it past 30 weeks in utero. I was devastated. After much research and discussion, David and I decided to have a Level II ultrasound to see if there were any other soft markers to indicate T18. We were given the option to have an amnio, but decided to wait unless we saw something on the ultrasound that warranted further testing. An amniocentisis doesn't come without risks, one being possible misscariage, and after all we had been through did not want to risk harming a healthy baby without more information.


The day came for our Level II ultrasound, May 6, 2009. We went in to the appointment with worry and fear, but faith that we would have good news. Our ultrasound tech, Cortney, was wonderful. Although we knew she really couldn't tell us if she found anything that didn't look right, she continually let us know that things were looking great. She was able to find all four chambers of the heart and didn't see any other soft markers for T18. We were ecstatic! She asked if we wanted to know the sex of the baby and we enthusiastically said YES! It was that day we found out our little peanut was a baby BOY! Tears of joy ran down my face. David was so excited. We were having a little boy! We couldn't be more happy and excited. One of the last things said when leaving that appointment was that we needed to come back in about a month to double check the heart. You see, since we were allowed to come in as soon as possible for our Level II ultrasound, we knew it was too early to get a good look at the heart. We accepted that because we were so anxious after learning the possibilty of this baby having Trisomy 18. Although the Level II ultrasoundis generally done around 20 weeks, the doctor let us come in closer to 18 weekis since they knew we were anxious after learning about the bloodwork results around 13 weeks. They didn't want us to have to wait too long in case we wanted to do the anmio, so our Level II ultrasound was scheduled early with the intent to bring us back in a month for a detailed look at the heart.


Our follow up ultrasound to take a better look at the heart was set for June 2. The tech, Cortney, said it should be routiine since she had already seen all four chambers of the heart. In fact, she was fairly impressed at how good of a look she was able to get at that early ultrasound and at how clear all four chambers looked. I began to relax and finally enjoy the pregnancy and started planning the nursery and names for our little boy. The morning of our follow up on June 2, 2009, I went to my 9:00 am appointment thinking it would be routine and since I was first thing in the morning, I would be out of there and back to work quickly. Once again, Cortney was the tech that would scan me. David was late to the appointment, but made it shortly after the ultrasound started. We asked her to verify he was still a littly boy, which he was. And we chatted about how cute he looked, and loved that she was able to show him in 3D. As David and I chatted and joked during the scan, letting Cortney do her measurements, we both did not realize that she was taking a long time and was really quiet. We both just assumed she was taking measurements and verifying things for her report. Once she was finished, she said she wanted to get the doctor to come take a look as she was having a hard time getting a good view of the heart. She left the room and we both looked at eachother in silence. I wanted to cry, but didn't really know what to do. Sitting in that room, looking at David and not knowing what to think was excruciating. Was there something wrong with our litle boy? How could it be...the last scan looked perfect? After what seemed an eternity, Dr. T came back with Cortney. They started doing another ultrasound and were talking back and forth. David finally asked...what are you looking for? The doctor said...the babies heart...REALLY!?!? We know that...what specifically are looking for? After what seemed like an hour, and hearing whispered terms thrown out between them (David was googleling them on his I Phone), Dr T turned to us and said she had concerns about the heart and that it appeard to be some form of Tetralogy of Fallot. After a long silence, I lost it. Was she telling me this baby was going to die? All I remember was David's arms around me as I sat on the ultrasound table. Dr. T and Cortney left the room to give us a minute to regroup as they went to make an appointment with the pediatric cardiologist for a second opinoin. I cried and cried. I kept thinking this baby would die, I would deliver a stillborn baby. How would we get through this? How could this be? How would we tell our other kids and our family? I was absolutely sick. Thankfully, we were able to get an appoinment with Dr. K, the pediatric cardiologist, that afternoon at 1:00 for an echo and diagnostic appointment. We were also told that if we wanted an amnio that day, to come back prior to 5:00pm and they would fit us in.


I think that day was one of the longest days of my life. After an hour long echo, we waited to see Dr. K to learn the results. She came in and started drawing to explain how a normal heart works, and what she saw on the echo of our baby. She agreed that we were looking at some form of Tetralogy of Fallot, however she couldn't be sure what the exact diagnosis would be. After explaining that we would not be able to deliver our baby in town, she gave us about five different options of regional hospitals for our baby to be treated at. She also recommended we have the amnio given the earlier chromosomal testing issues we had at our First Trimester Screen. I wanted it all done in one day, so back to Dr. T's office we went to have the amnio done. It was Wednesday, so we would have the FISH results back by Friday and wouldn't have to wait alll weekend for the early results. We finally made it home late that evening and tried to digest all that happened that day. We started our day with optimism and happiness and ended the day devestated and unsure of what our future or our baby's future would hold.


I was 21 weeks pregnant when we learned of our baby's heart defect. For the last three months of the pregnancy, I had three or four doctor appointments each week. One for a NST (non-stess test), two for BPP ultrasounds (biophysical profiles) and one to visit the doctor. In there were also visits to the maternal fetal medical specialist for growth ultrasounds. And, the remainder of my pregnancy was filled with trips to Indianapolis for more echo appointments and doctor appointments so they could learn what type of defect they would be dealing with. Because it was difficult for them to get a good view of the heart during our appointments, we were given two different possibilites of what we could be dealing with but would have to wait until birth to see what the actual diagnosis and course of treatment would be. Thankfully, our amnio results came back showing no chromosomal defects that we would be dealing with. We were strictly going to be dealing with a heart defect. On that note, we were extremely thankful.


Since we were not going to be delivering at our local hospital, it was decided I would move to Indianapolis about two weeks before my due date unless circumstances warranted me going up sooner. Things were going along smoothly and we prayed that we would make that goal. Unfortunately, things weren't meant to go as planned. This should have been our first indicator that planning was not an option when faced with having a child with a heart defect. A week or so before my planned move to Indy, I went into labor. I was scared enough that I called my doctor and was asked to come in for monitoring. Once there, it was determined I had caught the flu...you know...this was the season that everyone was freaked because of the swine flu. I was forced to wear a mask and look like I was an infectious disease as I was quickly escorted to see the doctor. The call was made to Indy and we were told it was time to come on up for good. Since we weren't prepared or packed, we quickly drove home and threw our clothes and things together, called my mom to watch the kids and took off to Indy. In the rain, without good directions to IU Med where we would deliver and on a busy Friday night during rush hour. We finally made it and since the ER was ready for our arrival, we were quickly escorted to our room, mask and infections disease precautions and all.


After several hours of monitoring, doctor checks and tons of questions, we were sent home. After all this, it was false labor. However, the hospital staff would not release me if our plan was to go back home...three hours away. Luckily, I had made plans to stay with a good friend that lived in Indy. The plan was for me to stay with her until a week before my due date. David was planning to move up to Indy the week before my due date. We were graciously given the opportunity to stay at another friends house that was empty until the baby was born and we were leaving the hospital to go home.


The day finally came to be induced. Unfortunately I didn't go into labor on my own. I wasn't allowed to go past 40 weeks, so at 39w6d I was admitted to the hospital. All sorts of things were attempted to allow this baby to come on it's own. He had other plans. After 18 hours of labor, me spiking a fever and distress on his heart, it was decided that it would be best to have a C-section. At 7:06pm on October 15, 2009, our little boy entered the world. He wasn't crying and was quickly rushed out to the island where he was immediately cared for by the neonatologists. We caught a brief glimpse of him as he was whisked out the door. I can vividly remember how pink he looked, especially when we were told to expect him to look fairly blue. David was back and forth between his room and the operating room as I was being sewed up, giving me reports on his status. Once I went to recovery and he was stablized, he was brought to me in his incubator. He was full of IV's and monitors. I was allowed to hold his hand and talk to him, but not allowed to hold him. Then he was whisked off to the Riley NICU and into the rollercoaster ride of a journey that was just beginning.


David went with him to the NICU and was informed of what the plan would be. He would have an echo that evening and we would be called with the results. In the morning, once the attending cardiologist had a chance to review the echo, a course of action would be made. We were called at 10:30 that evening from the fellows and told it appeared the diagnosis was truncus arteriosis. He had an IV line with prostiglandins in it to keep his PDA open. At the moment, he was doing well and in the morning we would meet with the cardiologist to see what would come next. Early the next morning, the attending cardi changed his diagnosis to Pulmonary Atresia with VSD. It was decided he would go to the cath lab on Monday morning to get a better idea which direction his treatment would take.


We couldn't decide on a name until the fourth day he was here. We named him Maxson Turner Harris....Max for short. His name seemed to fit him. Max made great improvements over the next several days. His cath provided another twist to our journey. Max had developed several large collateral arteries, or MAPCA's, that were taking blood from the heart to the lungs. Although this was good for the time being, it would prove to be a complication down the road. It was also determined he did not have a PDA, therefore IV's were discontinued and eventually removed for good. The main focus was to get Max to eat and gain some weight. We worked on nursing him and getting him to eat. Luckily, he was a good eater and started gaining. He was progressing very well and we were able to take him home 14 days after he was born. Before we left, his surgery was scheduled and we were sent on our way with instructions to keep him away from everyone, keep him eating and to gain weight before the surgery. We were so happy to be going home so we could take care of Max in our own home and return to a bit of normalcy, if only for a few weeks.


His first surgery was scheduled for November 24, 2009. Max would be five weeks old. During that month home with him, we focused on him and all the things you would do with any baby you brought home. As time drew near for his surgery, the worry and fear started creeping in. What if he didn't make it and we wouldn't bring him home? Those thoughts are scary, but unfortunately, they are thoughts all heart families must deal with. Max's surgery would be open heart surgery. They would be placing a central shunt from his right aorta to the "Y" portion of his branch pulomonary arteries. They called this rehabing the pulmonary arteries. Since the trunk of his pulmonary artery and valve connecting it to his heart was completely missing, didn't form at all, the branch pulmonary arteries had never had any blood flow through them. They were very small, about 1-2mm in size compared to a 3-4mm size that you would ordinarily see in a newborn baby. The plan was to place the shunt, allow the branch PA's to grow, and once to an acceptable size, an artificial conduit and valve would be placed to connect the branch PA's to his heart. In order to get a good feel for what those collateral arteries (MAPCA's) had done since leaving the NICU, Max was slated for a heart cath on Monday before the surgery. During this cath, several large collaterals were coiled off. As a result, Max's sats dipped into the 70's. This resulted in Max remaining on the vent and spending the night in the hospital before his Tuesday morning surgery. That was very difficult for us. Not only was Max uncomfortable, his sats stayed low and he was sedated. We didn't get that last night before surgery with him, which was very hard for us. We stayed with him as long as possible that night and reluctantly left his bedside to try and get some rest in preparation for the big day ahead.


We arrived back at his hospital room very early the next morning where we talked to him and told him we loved him very much. We prayed over him and said our goodbyes as he was wheeled off to to surgery. We were allowed to walk with him all the way to the doors of the operating room where I kissed him, told him I loved him and would be waiting to see him when surgery was over. Handing him over to the surgery team and watching him go through those doors was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. We were escorted to the surgery waiting room and told a nurse would be around hourly with updates. His surgery progressed well. Each hourly report from the nurse was good. Finally, his surgery was over and we waited to talk to the surgeon. The surgeon explained what he did, and that he was pleased with the results. Max finally arrived in the PICU several hours later and we were allowed to see him. I will say that seeing him for the first time after surgery was a shock. Max was covered in wires and monitors. There were more machines and things on Max then there was baby in that bed. I stroked his hand and told him we loved him and that we would be there to watch over him during recovery, that we couldn't wait to hold him and take him home.


Max's recovery was full of ups and downs. We were told the average recovery stay for this surgery was around seven days. He was there for fifteen. He was taken off the vent two days after surgery only to be put back on because he was working too hard breathing on his own. He "self-extubated" the night before they planned to take him off the vent for the second time. This occured while he was getting a bath and sheet change during the night. Apparently, his hands got caught up in the vent tubing as he was being moved and the vent came out. We weren't happy about that at all. They reintubated him and that prompted the dreaded middle of the night call to let us know something was wrong. We were told he almost coded during that event. I didn't want to leave his hospital room from that point forward. He was finally succesfully extubated six days after being on the vent. We struggled with fluid on the lungs, a possible blood infection and eating issues. He endured daily chest x-rays and respiratory therapy percussion treatments to clear up the fluid on his lungs. Once he was finally moved out of the PICU and onto the Heart Center (the step down unit), he was only there for six hours before having a breathing episode. That prompted a 2:00am move back to the PICU, which included a swarm of doctors and tests for the rest of the night. He was started on antibiotics in hopes he didn't have an infection. He was placed in isolation, which meant we had to wear gowns, gloves and masks while in his room until the infection screens came back negative. We met with lactation consultants, OT's and speech therapists to determine why he wasn't eating.


Finally, it was time for us to go home! We made the trip home and cherished our time at home with our little boy. It was like having a newborn all over again. His routine was crazy, he struggled with eating and was eventually diagnosed with horrible reflux. Once we were able to get that under control with meds and speech therapists, Max started to grow and thrive.

Over the next eight months, Max endured two heart caths, mutiple synagis shots, isolation during cold and flu season, tons of doctor visits and a flu scare. He also enjoyed his sisters and family time. We showed that little boy just how much we all loved him. We became hopeful he would, as well as we would, learn to live with this horrible diagnosis of CHD. Maxson thrived and became the joy of our lives.


After his heart cath in July 2010, it was determined his branch PA's were large enough to have his next surgery. This would be his repair surgery, where they would place an artificial condiut and valve, and hopefully patch his VSD. If they could patch his VSD, he would not need another surgery until it was time to replace the conduit and valve that he had outgrown (hopefully 5-7 years down the road). We wouldn't know if they could do the full repair until they actually got in there and did the conduit/valve surgery. Once again, we handed our baby boy over t0 the surgeons. And again it was one of the hardest things we had to do. This time, we had spent 11 months with Max. He was a huge part of our family and we couldn't imagine not having him come back to us after this surgery. This time Max would be on bypass, which was tricky and dangerous. Once again we waited in the surgery waiting area and received hourly updates. Each update brought good news. Max received a 12mm bovine conduit/valve during his surgery. They were able to patch his VSD. It seemed in no time, they were finishing and Max was being taken to the PICU. I was terrified going into this surgery because of the rollercoaster ride we went through during his last recovery. I was terrified we wouldn't get him off the vent. Hearing the words...your son almost coded...during his last recovery haunted me. Thankfully, this recovery went so much smoother than his first. Max was trying to roll onto his stomach when we first arrived in the PICU to see him. It was decided to keep him more sedated and let him rest over night before attempting to remove the vent. The next morning, he was successfully removed from the vent and his recovery went quickly from there. He was moved to the Heart Center early Saturday morning, only four days after surgery. He was released from the hospital six days after surgery.


We have cherished every day with Maxson. This journey has been difficult, a rollercoaster ride. This journey is part of Maxson, part of us, part of our family. We love him so very much. He is a fighter, a strong little boy that taught us how easy it is to take life for granted.


Although Maxson's journey is far from over, and he will live with CHD for the rest of his life. It will not define him. It will not define us. He is the most amazing little boy. We love him with all that we are. He has taught us so much and I am sure we have much more to learn from him. Maxson is definitely our heart hero and our amazing little heart warrior!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

CHD Awareness Week - It's Here!

Heart Month is here! It is time to educate and spread the word about one of the deadliest forms of birth defects....Congential Heart Defects (CHD). Our special week, one very near and dear,

CHD Awareness Week

February 7th - February 14th


Here are a few facts about CHD....

.....Congentital Heart Defects are the NUMBER ONE birth defect worldwide.....

.....ONE out of every 100 babies in the United States (approx 40,000 each year) are born with some form of Congenital Heart Defect.....

.....Nearly twice as many children die from Congenital Heart Defects in the United States each year as from all forms of childhood cancers combined, yet funding for pediatric cancer is five times higher than funding for CHD's.....

.....Each year in the United States approximately 4,000 babies (under one year old) will not live to celebrate their first birthday.....

.....The American Heart Association directs $0.30 of every dollar towards research. The remaining goes towards administration, education and fundraising efforts. Of the $0.30 that goes towards research, only $0.01 goes towards pediatric cardiology for CHD.....

Looking for a way to become involved? The BEST way to spread awareness is to get the word out. Realize that CHD affects many more families then you are aware off. Participate in the CHD Awareness Week events.

And, look for our mailer regarding Maxson's Team for the March for Babies Walk in April and the Second Annual Heart Walk in May sponsored by the local chapter of Mended Little Hearts. Any little bit you can do that spreads awareness helps so many babies and families on their journey with CHD!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The "Elective" Procedure

Max was scheduled for a procedure at Riley on Friday, October 21.  The insurance denied this procedure stating it was elective.  We fought to appeal this decision, but ended up cancelling the procedure.  We weren't giving up.  It was rescheduled for December 1.  After gathering letters from Max's pediatrician and this cardiologist, along with a letter from us....all stating why Max was not able to have this procedure at birth, the insurance company was kind enough reversed their original decision and decided the procedure was not elective and that they would give preauthorization for the surgery.

Lots of worry and anxiety on the part of this heart momma went into this procedure.  I didn't know if we should go ahead with this.  Was the original denial by the insurance a sign telling us that we shouldn't move forward?  I worried and worried about sending Max into this "elective" procedure.  The days before the trip to Riley, for me, were riddled with anxiety and tears.  My mind saw us sending Max to the operating room, but him not coming out.  I kept telling myself, how unreasonable this thinking was, but to a parent that has seen their child in the grips of death, the reality of this occuring is real.  I was scared...I was sick...but I prayed that this decision would have a good outcome.

On Wednesday, November 30th, we took the trek to Indy to our old familiar "home away from home" the Ronald McDonald House.  Max was to be at the Day Surgery Unit at 5:45 (Indy Time) the next morning.  He wasn't allowed anything to eat or drink after 3:00am, so we were planning for a cranky little boy to deal with.  Thankfully, Max woke up in his usual good mood.  He was in a pretty good mood until he realized we were in a room where doctors and nurses kept coming in to poke him, look at him, and ask questions.  He was particularly unhappy when it came time to put on the hospital gown and pants.  In full meltdown mode, he refused to put the shirt on.  He was ok with the pants, but hell to the no with the shirt!  Because he was screaming his head off so darn cute, they said we didn't have to put the shirt on.  Thank goodness for the portable DVD player with the movie Cars playing on it, Max watched intently until it was time to go back with the nurse. 

I'm  not changing my shirt!
Of course, this heart mom had tears when they took him from my arms to head to the operating room.  I was still scared, hating to watch my little boy head off to that room where he would be put under anethesia.  Dr. Rink assured us it was a simple procedure and he would be finished in no time.  We headed off to the surgery waiting room.  The place we have waited so many times before.  And like many other times before, once I got into that waiting room, I was calm.  The tears were gone.  It's just another part of this journey we are on as a CHD parent.  After what seemed a long wait, I began to get anxious as it seems to be taking longer than I had hoped.  This is the time worrisome thoughts creep in...is everything going as planned?  Pushing them aside, you sit and wait to see that doctor appear around the corner to talk to you....to tell you that everything went fine.  Finally, Dr. Rink comes around that corner to see us and tell us that Max did wonderful, and anethesia went good.  He was heading to recovery and they would be along to get us shortly.

One last check before heading to the OR
This was a completely different experience than we have had before.  With his open heart surgeries, he doesn't go to a recovery room.  He goes straight to his room in the PICU where his machines and IV's are all set up before we get to see him.  This time, we head to the recovery room, where all the other kids that have had a minor procedure go after surgery.  As we walked into the room, we heard Max crying.  The nurse was holding him and he was unhappy.  He wanted Daddy (I presume he was not happy with mom for letting this happen to him).  He got something to drink, then off we went back to the same rooms we started at in the Day Surgery Unit.  Once there, Max was still unhappy.  But, again, thanks to the DVD player with the movie Cars playing, he sat in our lap watching.  Then came the pudding.  He was starving and scarffed that down in a few seconds.  He drank some more, took some pain meds, and cardiology checked him and cleared him to leave.  By 11:00am (Indy Time) we were on our way back home. 

Can't they take this thing out of my hand?
After all was said and done, I was glad we decided to have the procedure done.  And what exactly was this procedure, you ask?  He was circumcised.  I am sure that is controversial for some, but that is not the subject of this post (ie...keep your negative comments to yourself).  Max was not able to have this done at birth like most normal babies.  Max is not a "normal" baby.  When Max was born, his cardiology team at Riley did not want this done until he had his repair surgery.  So, having this done on a child is a much bigger ordeal than doing it at birth.  Needless to say, it is done, without complication (other than the hematoma that landed us in the ER two weeks later resulting from Max being on aspirin).  Within no time, Max was back to his rambunctious boy behavoir.  And, one more procedure is behind us.
Heading home in the Little Red Wagon

Doctor Visits

Max saw both the pedi and his cardi in October.  The cardi was for his 6 month check and the pedi was for his 2 year check.  He did awesome at both appointments.  He didn't cry or have a meltdown at either appointment.  At the cardiologist, his sats were at 100, which is great!  He weighed in at 21 lbs 14.5 oz and is 32 7/8" long.  This puts him in the 1.07% for weight (still a tiny little thing), and 13% for height.  He is growing...slowly.  That doesn't stop him from being a very busy little boy!
See...my sats are looking good!

You want me to do what with these stickers?


Waiting patiently for the results.

AMAZING! Playing while the doc is touching him.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thanksgiving

We ordinarly keep Thanksgiving pretty low key. This year we decided to make the trip to David's mom's for Thanksgiving. David's sister and family was also going to be there, so it was exciting to have everyone together. It had been a year since we had all been together (sans Ella & Max, but that's a whole other story) and we were looking forward to hanging around and doing much of nothing at Nanny's house.

After much organizing and stuffing packing the truck, we set out for the 6+ hour drive. It wasn't too bad as the kids were kept occupied by movies and snacks (yep...plenty of snacks). We finally arrived and the kids were very excited to see Nanny. We had a low key, relaxing weekend just hanging out doing a lot of nothing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoying the weekend with cousins.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Halloween Fun

**See my last post below as to why I am now just posting Halloween.

We had a fun and extended Halloween this year. Ella picked out her own costume from a Parents magazine. She wanted to be a purple butterfly. So, loosely following the instructions in the magazine, I constructed Ella's "Purple Butterfly." It turned out so cute and was really easy to make. I am seriously surprised I made it! Max also "picked" out his own costume. I wasn't sure what I wanted him to be this year, but he he knew. We were in The Children's Place one afternoon and passed by the sale rack that happened to have Halloween costumes. Max immediately grabbed the puppy dog costume and started saying "Ruff, Ruff." Since he wasn't saying many words, this is how he referred to puppies. So, I couldn't pass it up...he looked so cute holding onto this costume like it was his blankie. Once we got home and tried it on, it was adorable and he loved it too. He was crawling around like a puppy dog with it on. I was worried he wouldn't want to walk when it came time to trick-or-treat.


We started our extended Halloween the weekend before at the lake. The lake has a couple Trick-Or-Treat weekends, where the RV's and permanent camp sites decorate and kids can trick-or-treat. There is a costume contest, hayrides and a haunted house. The weather was great and the kids had a blast. The camper's take the decorating serious so there were lots of spooky decorations to see. Once we finished making the rounds (and the kids making out like bandits!) it was time for the costume contest. Max and Ella were in different age groups and they both won the best costume in their group! Yeah.....their costumes were really cute. After the contest, we jumped on the wagon and took a hayride to the haunted house. We got to go through it because it was the non-scary time (meaning lights on and no one jumping out), but it was still scary! I can't imagine what it would be like with the lights out. But, I'm not one for haunted houses anyway.
Hayride Fun!
On the actual night of Halloween, we dressed the kids, took a few pictures, then walked up the hill in our neighborhood to trick-or-treat at 3 or 4 houses. Max wasn't having anything to do with it and started in meltdown mode. I decided to leave him at home with David to answer the door. Meanwhile, I took Alisyn and Ella to our friends house to group trick-or-treat. Alisyn was dressed as a blue M&M (no...not a big round costume, did you seriously think she would wear something like that!) and Ella couldn't wait to walk around with her friend Addison. The two little ones had so much fun running from house to house, filling their pumpkins with candy. After a long evening of walking around, the girls were ready to go home with their sacks full of candy.
Look at all that candy!
All in all, it was a fun couple weekends of celebrating Halloween. Ella had a blast running around with Addision.  Max was old enough to know what was going on and enjoyed walking around with the big kids. He was adorable and most everyone commented on what a cute little puppy he was.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Finally...Some Updates!

I have been seriously slacking in my posts.  We have been really busy and I just haven't taken time to update the blog.  I am going to post a series of things starting with Halloween 2011.  Hopefully I will get caught up and post on a more timely basis :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Brithday Celebration!

Maxson turned TWO!! My goodness, how time flies. In a way, it is hard to believe Max is already two. In other ways, it seems like Max has been with us for a lifetime.


We celebrated Max's birthday surrounded by family and friends that have marched on this journey with us. It was a day for celebrating the adorable, busy, rambunctious little boy that Maxson has become. The day was beautiful...the weather perfect. It was a warm sunny day, which reflected the feelings we had as Maxson turned two.



Little Man.....you are such a blessing to us. This past year has been a joy watching you grow into the big boy you are. We love you so much. Happy Birthday Maxson!!

Thank you so much to all those friends and family that came to celebrate Maxson's birthday with us. It really was a special day.


We would also like to say a huge THANK YOU to Icing Smiles and Sandy's Cakes for providing Maxson's cake for us. The cake was absolutely more than we could imagine. Sandy did an excellent job in creating a vintage Sock Monkey cake. We were blown away by her generousity and her creativeness with Maxson's cake. And, let's not forget the cake included very delicious strawberry and chocolate layers. We never imagined receiving such a wonderful and special cake to celebrate Maxson's Second Birthday!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Max's Second Year

David put together a montage for Max's 2nd Birthday. Enjoy Max's year of memories.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What a Difference a Year Makes!

One year ago today, we were sending our baby boy into the surgeon's hands for his second open heart surgery.  Maxson's second open heart surgery in less than a year.  He wasn't even a year old yet, but had endured more medical procedures than most of us see in a lifetime.  Maxson turned 11 months old while recovering from  his surgery. We were praying that he would be here to celebrate his first birthday.

The last several days have been filled with many emotions.  As anniversaries of these type of  significant things arrive, I feel both sadness, anxiety and thankfulness.  Sadness that our lives have been changed forever by this experience.  Sadness that Maxson has seen more doctors in the past two years than we have in our entire lives.  Anxiety about things to come, knowing that Maxson will live with and deal with his heart defect for the rest of his life.  Anxiety about upcoming doctor appointments that might end with not so good news.  But there is also thankfulness.  Thankfulness that Max is a rambuncious, very active and otherwise healthy little boy.  Thankfulness that we are preparing to celebrate Maxson's second birthday. 

One Year Ago...First Time Seeing Max After Surgery

One Year Later...Busy Little Boy!
I want to say...thank you God, for allowing us to have Maxson. We cannot imagine our life without him.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Varsity...That's Right!

I am proud and excited to say my freshman in high school has made the Varsity Soccer Team.  She has worked hard over the summer with soccer practice and conditioning, and really wanted to make the varsity team.  After 4 days of grueling tryouts, she came home and proudly beamed....I MADE VARSITY!

Her practice schedule has been hard, every evening since the beginning of August from 6 PM until Dark...approximately 3 hours a night.  That combined with getting adjusted to being a freshman in high school has made for an interesting last few weeks.

The hard work at soccer paid off as the start of the soccer season began with the Jamboree on Saturday, August 13.  The team had two games, each 20 minutes long.  Ali played most of both games, with several shots at goal...unfortunately though, they didn't go in.  She had a great first showing at the Jamboree.  Here first real game was Monday (8/17/11), and she did an excellent job.  She had an assist resulting in a score and several shots at goal, jut not quite at the right angle to make it in. She has played well in all the games so far.  She even started in the game against Memorial (their biggest rival and state ranked team).  She has had so many shots at goal, and several assists at all games.  She finally made her first goal at the Gibson Southern game this past Thursday (8/25/11).  Way to go Ali!!



I am so proud of Alisyn for being determined and achieving her dream of playing varsity soccer as a freshman.  She has held up to the pressure of stepping out on that field with a crowd full of people there watching.  I hope this season is memorable and one day she will look back and see how incredible this achievement is. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Days of Preschool

Ella started preschool on August 10th.  She was so excited to start at the new big girl school, which she calls Homer Deemer.  Her best little friend Katelyn would also be going to preschool with her.  Ella and Katelyn have gone to daycare together since they were 6 months old.  I was relieved to know Ella would have a familiar face to start preschool with. 


Me being the excited momma of a new preschooler, I had my camera ready to document the adventure of the first day.  Ella had her new Hello Kitty backpack filled with her Hello Kitty crayon box and new set of crayons.  We entered her room armed with school supplies, her nap bag filled with favorite pillows, blankets and a stuffed animal.  She was ready to go as we pulled into the parking lot and saw all the other little kids excitedly entering school for the first time. 

We walked into her room and she was greeted by her new teachers.  We found her cubby and put all her things in there.  Found the teachers and the registration table and signed in.  She selected her choice of lunch and milk....strawberry...YUM.  Then she was off to the toy area to meet a few new friends and explore.  After a little bit, she looked at me and said...Bye Mom!  I guess she was ready for me to leave her to start her new adventure.  I lingered a bit, feeling a bit sad leaving my baby girl at school for the first time.  I kissed her goodbye, told her to have a good day, and left the room a little teary-eyed.



At the end of the day she was totally exhausted.  She, being the moody little girl she is, didn't want to talk about her school day because she was tired.  Now that it's been a week since school started, she has gotten into somewhat of a routine.  She is excited and talkative when she comes home and is ready to tell us about her day.  I am so proud of her and the big girl she is becoming. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

22 Months!

I can hardly believe Maxson is 22 months old!  In two months, we will celebrate his 2nd birthday.  What a wonderful thing to look forward to.  Maxson is growing up to be a wonderful little boy.  He is a very active and rambunctious little boy.  He is also a huge daredevil and loves to scare his momma every chance he can.


Here are the highlights for Maxson at 22 months:

He has a head full of thick hair that is all curls in the back.  Everyone comments on how cute his curls are.
He loves to climb anything and everything.  He isn't scared of anything.
He weighs 20lbs 12oz and is 31 7/8 inches tall.
He wears 18 or 24 month shirts, 9 or 12 month pants and size 4 shoes.
He wears size 5 diapers, which he moved into about a month ago.
He has all his front teeth, most of the teeth on the right side and a couple teeth on the left side.
He sees a speech therapist weekly to help him talk.  He still doesn't say much.
His few words include:  Mom, Ella, big truck, car, dog, bye bye, lawnmower and tractor.
He is usually always happy and in a good mood.
He bites Ella when she makes him mad.  He also likes to pinch if he is mad.
He isn't picky about his food, and the only dislike is cottage cheese.
He is a daredevil and always busy.



Oh Mister Man.  What a joy you are to us!  You are definitely all boy...a daredevil and ready to try anything.  You are very active and always busy.  You love to play outside and spend time with Ella. You love your mom and dad and your sissy (Ali).  We love you so very much!





Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Birthday Girl

Four years ago on August 7th, Isabella Grace (aka Ella) entered our world and turned it upside down.  From the get-go, she was a spunky and feisty little girl.  We called her our zero to sixty baby because she was either quiet or screaming at the top of her lungs.  There was no in between mood with her.  She is still that way...our stubborn, headstrong little girl.  We celebrated her birthday with just our little family.  Her big parties are coming up this weekend. 
One week old.

Our Big Girl
She got a Hello Kitty backpack for her first day of preschool.  And her favorite gift was the pink tutu swim suit from Target that she just had to have every time we went to Target.  And, by the way, is it bad when your four year old knows how to get to Target from our house?!?! 
Gift from Sissy (Ali)
 Ella picked out chocolate cupcakes with bright pink icing and sprinkles for her birthday cake.  But, her favorite thing was the mini ice cream cones filled with Blue Bunny Birthday Cake ice cream...YUM!  She picked these ice cream holder 'thingers' out when we were at Wal-Mart.




My girls being silly!

Our kiddos