Friday, November 9, 2012

We're Still Here!

Oh, so sorry for the much delayed update! Life has been busy :)

(Seth picking pumpkins)
When I last updated about our Seth, we had taken him to the endocrinologist. Well, he had his 15 month WCC in October... and he GREW! Woohoo!  In August he was only 28 inches, in October he was 29.3 inches! Way to grow, baby boy! His weight was not where I hoped it would be... August = 20.9 lbs and October = 21 lbs 15 oz... making it a 1 lb weight gain for a 2 month time frame.
(Mama, Daddy, & Seth)

The nurse practitioner and I talked about the endo visit and put our heads together regarding the low weight gain. We decided to try a gluten free diet for a two week trial period... Seth and me (as I'm still nursing him)... I think it was harder on me than it was him!! I craved a big, homemade, buttermilk biscuit the whole two weeks! And brownies, Lol!
(Tornado T turned 5 during our GF trial)
Two weeks after his WCC, we went back to see how things were progressing... Wow! Seth measured in at 30 inches! His weight came in at 22 lbs and 5 oz... Not a huge weight gain... but he was also teething and not eating nearly as much as before (this boy has a HUGE appetite regularly!) Our NP thought the great rate of growth warranted a closer look into the gluten issues. She also said it may have just been a fluke... but has requested a celiac panel to be run after he has had a few days with wheat products included in his diet. It will probably be Monday before we go in for that lab.
(My Blessings)
* Just in case you are curious... the somewhat random pictures are from our annual home school trip to a pumpkin patch with other wonderful home school families. I LOVE the way the orange of the pumpkins just 'POPS' in these pics!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

What Would You Have Done?

Earlier this week, I took our children to the local fair. Most years, we don't go... hubby's work schedule, the weather, the cost... but, this year, I decided I would make a point to take them. We went on Kid's Day (getting in FREE during the day!) and I had a $20 bill to use for rides (Not much for a fair, I know, but it would let them experience it more fully).

We started in the exhibit building... marveling at the talent God had granted so many in our small community... marveling at the watermelons bigger than some of my children!! We stopped to watch a sack race (funny!) but the children didn't want to participate in the games. Then we headed to the fairway... I decided to make a round with the children first to let them see the rides available... Once we completed the loop, I asked them all if they had seen a ride they wanted to go on... All I got was silence from some, and slight head shakes from others. Hmmm... ok, so nobody wants to ride... ok. We decided to head off to find some lunch.

Lately, we have been very careful about the food we eat... cutting out artificial 'ingredients'... so we knew the fair was not the best place to get lunch :) Yet, I paused at one food tent to price french fries for the children to split... As I was looking for the price, a lady I vaguely know and her 4yo son walked up to us.

I gave her a big smile and asked how they had been (I hadn't seen her in months). She immediately launched into an 'explanation' of why her son was throwing a tantrum (Honestly, he was just standing beside her, holding her hand, looking at me... I guess the tantrum was before she reached me). Her explanation? He was hot, thirsty, and hungry. Understandable... it was a sunny 80 degree day and it was noon. She then told me she didn't have ANY money to get him anything. I proceeded to ask if she had looked for a water fountain... she said there was nothing. Then she told me that they had walked all the way from home to get there (several miles, if I remember correctly).

Now, at this point, I wish I could tell you that I handed over our money for them to get some lunch and a cool drink... but I didn't. :(

Instead, my head was telling me... that's money someone gave to YOU to take YOUR kids to the fair... why would she walk so far without snacks and a water bottle for her boy?... she made a conscious decision to take her 4yo boy out on a sunny, 80 degree day at lunch time to the fair where the tantalizing smells of food hang heavy in the air, without feeding him first or packing a snack... and now she stands here with a look in her face that says 'Give me.'??... and THAT my dear readers, is what I listened to... I told myself that if I had a smaller bill, I would have given it to her...

That conversation has been playing over & over in my head ever since. Earlier today, I realized... I should have invited her to my van... I almost always keep extra snacks and juice pouches in the van for our kids and I had just refilled our stash earlier this week!

I have felt such guilt over the situation... I SHOULD have handled it sooo different! I SHOULD have offered her some of our snacks... or I SHOULD have just given her the $20....

I've asked the Lord to forgive me for not showing His love that day. I pray that in future situations, I am more in tune (in the moment) with Him and how He would like for me to show His love.

So... what do you think YOU would have done?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mirror, Mirror...

Recently my husband and I were discussing our children, as parents are wont to do...

One of our children has been battling anger issues for a while (with us firmly by child's side assisting in the battle!).  Now, I could go into great detail about all we have tried and the results of each attempt, but, I won't. :)   I WILL say... if your child is having behavioral issues and 'nothing' seems to work... look at the family diet!

After we cleansed our diet of all noticeable fake foods... we had our child back! We saw a noticeable difference in TWO days... and it got better! :)

Sure! Child still has bouts of frustration and anger, but it is no longer a heavy, dark cloud weighing child down.

My dear husband took time to compliment this child for the self-control we have seen clearly displayed on many occasions. Husband told child, 'You haven't been so frustrated and angry lately. I'm proud of you for the self-control you are exercising.'

I smiled as my husband relayed the story. He said child perked up with a big smile and said, 'Mama, too!'

'What do you mean?' asked my husband.

'Mama hasn't been so angry lately either!' explained the child.


Do my children see me as the 'Angry Mom'? I know that I have been working on my patience for years now... but it never occurred to me that my children saw me as angry! Firm? Strict? Maybe. But Angry?? Wow.

Was child's anger issues in part a reflection of me?

Had I taught the child to give into frustration and anger?


On the positive side, both the child and I have made progress!! We will keep working toward self-control, together. 

"So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;  for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God."
~James 1:19-20~

Monday, August 20, 2012

Dr. Endo... and Rocks?

The morning of Seth's appointment was rushed!

My husband was working until 10am. I needed to drop off my two oldest in a neighboring town to spend the day with friends. Doubled back, dropped off the next two to spend the day with their grandmother and picked up my husband... Did I mention I had not had my coffee? I picked up some on the go at some point, but it just wasn't the same as my home brewed! :)

With all children settled into their places for the day, we left with a good 90 minutes to get to our appointment which was only about 60 minutes away. All was well!

Or so we thought!

We got so into talking, we missed our 2nd exit! Had to turn around and get back on track.... THEN, I managed to send my husband the wrong direction, which I realized quickly, thank you Lord! At this point, we knew our extra time was dwindling and we were both concentrating on signs!! But!! The turn my directions said to take... wasn't there!! We ended up in some town well south of our destination... I was a nervous wreck & started crying... after all, we had waited three weeks for this appointment and most offices only give you a small grace window! According to my clock, we had 15 minutes to get to the office... and we weren't even certain of where we were!

I phoned the endocrinologist office and explained our situation, and, PTL! they give a 30 minute grace window! I ran into a dollar store for a cold drink and chocolate (!) and directions (!) while my husband diapered Seth and started feeding him. We switched places and he started driving! We arrived 35 minutes late, but those dear kind ladies took us right on in!!

Right in... as in... neither of us had a chance to take a bathroom break, no time to change Seth's dirty diaper, no time to fill out the paperwork!! Now that's efficiency!!!

The doctor was a sweet lady with a great personality for working with children... and their parents! Michael and one nurse took Seth to get weighed and measured while I stayed with the other nurse to finish paperwork and answer her questions. When the doctor came in, one of her first comments threw me off... "Well no worries about his weight! But he is short, so let's run a check on his thyroid."

Now, let me recap... Seth's weight dropped from the 56th% down to the 5th% in less than 4 months! His height was similar. The pediatrician sent us to the endocrinologist because of his WEIGHT.

I quickly questioned her! She showed me that Seth had just weighed in at 24.9 pounds.
WHOA! Wait a minute! Only 3 weeks ago, he weighed 18.9 pounds... THAT's a 6 lb gain in only 3 weeks for a child who hasn't gained that much in the last 5 months!

Back to the scales!! This time, it made more sense... 20.9 pounds :) and 28 inches.

Another odd thing I questioned... for Seth's 1 year check at the peds office, he was listed at the 4th%... using the same numbers and date, the endo office listed him at the 14th%! The endo office say they use a 'much more accurate' chart. The peds office say they use the only chart out there... I don't know! But I'll take the weight gain! :D

Two more labs were run: growth hormone and thyroid. Both came back 'Perfect!' :D

So, we wait to see how he is growing at his next WCC in October.

After the crazy, stressful morning, my husband treated me & Seth to Olive Garden. Oh.My.Yumminess!

We then picked up our two little redheaded boys from gramma's and started for home... all was well again...


What was that?!?! No cars around... what WAS that!?  Oh lovely... someone threw a rock at my windshield and it cracked (only had this van 2.5 weeks!) ! I pulled over shaking like a leaf! Mike was in his car behind me and he stopped too... When he came over and asked what was wrong, I could not talk, I just pointed with my whole arm shaking. I am so thankful that the Lord kept me steady! If I had jerked the wheel, our high profile van on hilly roads with deep ditches, would have wrecked- with me and our three youngest boys. My husband drove back around to look for whoever it may have been, but saw no one (it was a LOUD crack, I believe they took off running and hid!). We did file a report with the Sheriff's office... 'just in case' and the boys got a mini tour of a cruiser :)

Three days later,  our insurance had our windshield replaced :)

Talk about a roller-coaster of a day!

I am happy to know that my God has it all under control for me! :)

Bountiful Blessings

Ahhhh! So much has happened since my last real update!

Back in July, I took in our van for an oil change and kindly asked them to give it a quick check over. We were planning a surprise visit to see my folks in Georgia and wanted to know if the van had any safety issues. It's a 1999 minivan with 213K+ miles on it. And boy! It sure did have some safety issues! In fact, the top three concerns brought in an estimate almost equal to its trade in value! Plus there were other things that would need to be taken care of as well... Oh my!

Right off, we knew that we didn't WANT to put that much money into a vehicle that old... but did we have a choice?

What followed was a blitz of research into different vans and SUVs (cars are not an option here anymore!). Being quite honest, I was terribly disappointed. Our budget was tiny. Vehicles the size we needed & newer with lower mileage aren't inexpensive. We thought we found one through Craig's List, but they sold the van to their church that weekend.

I was just about to cancel our trip, feeling very frustrated... I logged back into Craig's List one more time... A new posting! It had about half the miles of the first one we considered, was two years younger, and was only about $2K more than the asking price of the first one! My wonderful husband drove up with his father to look at it & test drive it... Everything was great! Our local banker had given us a green light before we went, so my husband quickly negotiated a price and drove away with this:

Why, yes! That IS a 12 passenger van you are looking at! Our five children LOVE it! There is plenty of room to stretch out... plenty of storage space... low miles... It IS God's providence for our family!

Thus, we were able to take our surprise trip!!

We visited MrsG30286... where all our children became friends instantly! I'm not certain about hers, but my children tend to require a 'warm-up' period before they dive into playing... but not that day! One never would have been able to tell that these children had literally just met! Especially all the boys! I believe they truly felt the warmth and love in that home and felt 'right at home'!

MrsG and I went to high school together... um... just a few years ago {wink,wink}. Thanks to the marvelous information superhighway and a nifty little thing called Facebook, we have been able to really get to know each. It was very much a blessing to my family to spend time with MrsG and her family... waaaaay out in the boonies!

After that, we spent the weekend with my family and got to see lots of faces that I have not seen in many years. We even visited the church where my husband and I were married... almost 16 years ago! The Lord has His hand on that church and has blessed it in many ways!! It has grown by leaps and bounds since the last time I was there... but more importantly, the church was filled with His Holy Spirit! As soon as the praise music began, I got tingles all over! Afterwards, as we were discussing the sermon, I mentioned it to my husband... He felt it too.. so did our daughter! We left feeling refreshed and renewed :)

Once our visit drew to an end, we journeyed home. We enjoyed a few days together before my husband went back to work. Meanwhile, I started preparing for our new home school year and also for Seth's appointment with the pediatric endocrinologist...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mix It Up, Baby!

A different type of post today... A recipe post!

Earlier today, I took time to make up two 'master mixes' for my pantry. It's an effort to save both time and money. It's also a way of taking control of the ingredients that go into my family's bodies! I've really been focusing on ridding our diet of the artificial junk... it's even hiding in things that you would think is healthy! It's crazy! Artificial colors (found in more than you would think!), artificial flavors, and artificial preservatives... outta here! (I'm no expert and I've recently started this journey, but if you want, I'll gladly point you to my sources, just leave a comment)

I posted a blurry cell phone pic onto my Facebook page and had several comments and requests... so, I decided to share with you!

The first mix was the most important: Brownies! It's a recipe that I wrote from a magazine maybe 9 or 10 years ago (Wow! Where did the time go!?)

Basic Brownie Mix
(yields about 5 batches)

5 cups sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
1 can (8 oz) baking cocoa
1 tsp salt

*Mix thoroughly. Store in airtight container.

To Prepare:

2 cups of brownie mx
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 TBS water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

*Mix well. Pour into greased 8x8 baking dish.
Bake at 350 degrees. 25-30 minutes.
9 servings.

Customize it to suit your family... add nuts, maybe add some dried cherries... have fun! Enjoy!

The next master mix was a homemade 'Bisquick'. Tonight is my first time using this recipe, but I'll share two links. Both call for shortening, but you could easily use butter instead. Just grate the butter (like grating cheese!) and then cut it into the dry ingredients. NOTE: Shortening is considered shelf stable, and many store the mix in the pantry. HOWEVER, if you use butter, store it in the fridge!

The recipe I used also calls for powdered milk. I happened to have some that needed to be used which is why I used this one over at You can also find recipes for pancakes and biscuits on this site to make with your mix. The other recipe I seriously thought of using was over at Smockity's. Very similar, but hers does not call for powdered milk. She also has some recipes to use for your mix. I'll be trying her recipe next time I make the mix.

I strongly urge you to take more control over the ingredients in your food by making your own convenient mixes. The Internet is a wealth of recipes! Taco seasoning, onion soup mix, cookie mixes, you name it, it's out there! It may take a couple of tries to get the right recipe for your taste buds, but it will be worth it! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

The One Year Check-up

I'm still trying to come to grips with the fact that my baby just turned one!

But, today was his one year well child check, so, it must be true! ;)

Again today, Hubby had to work, so ALL the children got to accompany me to the doctor office. And we were actually on time! Woohoo!! That is so rare in our family of seven! :)

Little Seth did NOT feel like cooperating today. He fussed as I undressed him. He fussed as we measured and weighed. Meanwhile, Hunter was in top form... rolling around in the middle of the hallway floor, grabbing at stuff on the counters, and running around.

Seth's height showed good growth... now at 28 inches putting him at the 5th% mark on his height curve.

There was a little mix-up with the head circumference (remember how he was uncooperative?) and the nurse practitioner had to remeasure... which brought about a better result. :)

When it was time to weigh him, he did a little better since he was able to sit up. The numbers did NOT look right, so,  I requested we weigh him again. The nurse wasn't thrilled with the idea, "These scales are very accurate, but if you really want to..." Why, yes, I DO want to, thank you very much. The second weigh in looked much better! Not sure what the scales did, but it was close to a full pound's difference! His weight? 18 lbs 15 oz.

Now, for the not so good news... Seth actually LOST weight since his last weigh in 17 days ago dropping him back down to the 4th%). Now, to be fair, it was just a little more than an ounce. However, at this point, he 'should' be gaining about two pounds a month (give or take)... which means he 'should' have gained at least one pound. Granted, he is more mobile, but, he has been eating like crazy!! Furthermore... this means that Seth has passed his first birthday and STILL NOT doubled his birth weight. The books say that is a milestone that is normally reached between 4 and 6 months.

Developmentally, he's a superstar! He's walking some, talking some, picking up all sorts of little crumbs that his siblings drop. Playing with toys. Loves peek-a-boo!!

The nurse practitioner talked to the doctor and they decided the best course of action would be to refer him to an endocrinologist. She did say that they may find nothing and Seth will just be a slow gainer in regards to his weight, but, they may find some little something that has not yet surfaced from all the blood work. Only time will tell and God already knows.

We continue to pray for his health and for strength for us.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

First Birthday!!

My goodness, where has the time gone?!? 

Our sweet little Seth turned one this past Sunday. I would say he is growing so fast, but that wouldn't be quite true... but I am thankful that he has turned the corner and seems to be trying to catch up to where he was! :)

Seth, July 2011

This little man, this sweet blessing from God, has brought so much joy to our family. His older siblings ALL shower him with love every single day.  He makes us laugh til we can't breath with some of his antics. He reminds us each day just how precious life is!

Seth, July 2012

He has a smile that lights up a room. His laughs are infectious. His kisses and snuggles are sweet.

Happy 1st Birthday, Seth! We love you!!

(I am indeed, a blessed woman!)

P.S. Seth goes Friday for his 1 yr check-up. Praying for great growth! :)

Friday, June 29, 2012

More Family Fun

I forget the dates, but sweet Seth gained 5.4 oz in one week between weigh-ins! It's not much, but I'll take it!! :) We were supposed to take him back this past Monday, but after fighting a fever (me) for 5 days with it finally breaking late Sunday, I didn't want to take my germs into the pediatrician's office! So, I called out... We go back on Monday. I am eager to see what he weighs now... His appetite has really kicked into high gear lately! :)

Now that we have that update taken care of...

We went bowling! It was so sweet to watch the little ones... Thankful for bumpers and ramps! :)

Thankful for a big sister who loves her baby brothers. :)

Thankful for big, toothy grins at the park!

Thankful for a big brother who still plays in the sandbox with his little brothers.

Thankful for just a few more minutes outside before going to bed.

Thankul for silly boys with silly poses :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

And the Results Are...

After a very stressful Monday, Tuesday was spent waiting for the phone to ring. 

Later in the afternoon, it finally rang with the right person on the other end (I think every telemarketer called that day!). 

Growth Hormone? Normal. Meaning his body is CAPABLE of growing.

Iron? Still low, but showing improvement.

Platelets? Normal

White Cells? Normal.

Thyroid? MOSTLY Normal. One particular aspect was just the teensy, tiniest bit low. So they called the lab and asked them to run an antibody screen... just to be certain there was nothing trying to attack that aspect of the thyroid.

On Thursday, I received the call with the antibody screening results... also normal.

So, while we rejoice that his blood work is normal, we are also perplexed as to WHY he isn't growing at a steady rate.  While we rejoice that things like lymphoma or leukemia have been ruled out, we still want to know how to help him grow better and what is preventing that right now.

The nurse practitioner said I have two options now... 1.) Wait to see what his one year check up shows and go from there, or 2.) Go forward with a referral to a specialist (I remember hearing both hematologist and endocrinologist mentioned recently).

I went with option #3 *smile*... He's going back in on Monday for another height/weight check. The nurse practitioner will go over everything with the doctor next week (He's out of town this week). We will get his opinion first (He has lots of experience as a pediatrician, where as the nurse practitioners are newer on the scene) and then make our decision.

Yes, I understand that babies growth rates slow. Yes, I know that some babies are just small. Yes, I am aware that he is developmentally on track.

But I also clearly see that dropping from the 56th% all the way down to the 5th% in only four months is NOT normal. I also see that in only 1.5 months, he has dropped farther down to the 4th% & 2nd%... again, not normal.

He nurses frequently. He eats table food and baby food... about three times a day with snacks in between.  We are giving him his iron... not the 3x a day recommended, but generally at least 2x a day.

And so, that puts us right back into watchful waiting... yet another lesson in patience for this Mama! ;)

PS... A BIG THANK YOU to my prayer warriors!!! Hugs to you all!!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

'Failure to Thrive'

I had made an appointment for my little Seth for this morning to check his height and weight. It just felt like he had not really grown since his 9 month check-up back in April.

The morning dawned and I got all the kids ready. My hubby had to work this morning (he's normally off Monday mornings), so it was just me and the kiddos. Started out the door only to realize it had started to rain. That added extra time to loading up!! Once completed, we got on the road, a little later than I had hoped, but still... and then... we got stuck in the Bonnaroo exodus! Thankfully it wasn't at a complete standstill!

We swung by and picked up my mother-in-law who had an errand to take care of in the town we were headed to.

At the pediatric office, things went smoothly. Little man measured at 27 inches and weighed in at 18 lbs 1 oz. However, their computers were down and they couldn't input the numbers on his growth chart. I left behind my cell number and we took off to deliver brownies to friend who had a baby this past Friday. :)

While at her house, the phone rang.

It was our nurse practitioner.

Not the nurse that I was expecting to hear from, but the nurse practitioner who has been working with us since his last check-up.

Uh-oh. What could THAT mean??

Yep, you got it! It meant MORE BLOODWORK.

This time SIX different labs were ordered!

I drove back to the pediatric office, very thankful that MIL was with us. I popped into the office of the other nurse practitioner on staff (who happens to be a friend)... not questioning the other NP at all, just needing a little moral support and prayers...

Then it was off to the hospital. Handed off lunch money (ok, actually it was supposed to be mortgage money!) to MIL and Seth and I went inside. Again, I was so thankful that MIL had tagged along today! She took the other four children and left me to focus on my baby.

After the classic hurry up & wait period of hospital settings, we were taken to the lab. Two sweet ladies were there to take care of us. But who got to hold down Seth? Yep. Right again. Mama.

The needle slid right in and the blood started flowing... for just a few seconds! Apparently the vein started rolling and the blood flow into the vial was stop and go. Another lady with more experience was called over.
Mama's heart was already breaking...
but when I saw them start fishing around in his arm with that needle,
 the tears started flowing.
I still held on.
I still attempted to calm and sooth my son.
But the tears flowed freely.

After what FELT like an eternity, but was actually only seconds, they pulled out. A few moments to calm my sweetie pie and then it was take two on the other arm. Thankfully, that arm cooperated much better! They collected enough for all five blood tests!

The sixth lab order was for a urinalysis... which Seth did not cooperate with! So after sitting at the hospital for two and a half hours, the lab ladies said, no worries, they would just let the pediatric office know it didn't happen and the office could reschedule if needed.

Of course, I did ask WHEN labs should be completed. Four of the five blood tests were in-house labs, meaning the pediatric office should get results TODAY. The fifth test must be sent out and it will probably be end of week before I hear about that one.

Oh yes... the tests. What were they? CBC, thyroid panel, complete metabolic panel, growth hormone, and lead. (I don't think lead is of much consequence... I think it just got tacked on to save a lab trip next month - it's a normal 12 month lab order) Quite a work up, huh?

Then it was off to grab Mama (me!) a bite to eat and then drop off MIL (who had taken care of her errand while we were at the hospital). After ALL THAT, I got to see my dear hubby for exactly 2 minutes before he headed off to his second job. I won't lie. It was tough. What I really wanted was to be taken in his strong arms and held while my heart broke over the what-ifs hanging in the air & cry my little eyes out. Instead, I 'sucked it up', gave him a smile and kiss and a wave goodbye.

Throughout the day, I sent and received texts from some lovely ladies who have become prayer warriors for our family. As I sat in that little office nursing my baby boy, I poured my heart out to God. I know He is mighty. I know He is in control. I know there is a reason for whatever is happening. I prayed for strength. I prayed for understanding (I know we don't always get answers- but He designed me to NEED to know). I still ache for my baby boy.

FAILURE TO THRIVE... that was the diagnosis code on each of the six lab orders...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Just Something I've Noticed...

We are waiting til July to have more blood tests drawn to check on Seth's iron levels.

I'm curious though... If I manage to forget a day of iron drops (don't judge- I do have a house full of younguns!), I notice his bottom lip seems to get rather pale.

He still plays, climbs, crawls, etc. He seems happy and content... but after all the ups and downs of the last month, the discoloration of his bottom lip timed to missed doses of iron drops, has raised a little flag in my head.

Today I went to change Seth out of of his night clothes (just a onesie & soft pants) and noticed his onesie was a bit big on him. Curious, I checked the tag... 3/6 months! Have I mentioned that he is currently 10.5 months?!?

Yes, I know some clothes are made bigger than others. Yes, I know kids come in all shapes and sizes. However, due to the crazy stuff that has been popping up the last two months... it simply raised a red flag of sorts..

I called his pediatric office and scheduled his 1 year checkup (Goodness gracious! Where has this past year gone?!?) and also asked for a weight check on Monday. I will ask to see his weight plotted out on his growth chart to determine if he is maintaining the 5th percentile from his 9 month check in April. If he is continuing to drop... I may ask to go ahead and run another blood test to see where his numbers are... instead of waiting another month and a half.

If there are still issues that are not being corrected with the iron drops, I'd rather proceed to a specialist quickly.

We continue to pray for his health...

This little boy brings so much joy to our family!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Family Fun Day

Yesterday, we took a MUCH NEEDED family fun day. Everyone has been a little tense & snappy lately. My husband has been working hard at his two jobs and volunteering at church and really needed a break to just be daddy.

So, we loaded everyone up - and let me tell you, packing for a day trip for a family of seven takes almost as long as packing for an overnighter! Goodness gracious!! But, better to be prepared, right?

Chattanooga Zoo - Picnic beforehand :)

We try to get a pic at this spot each time we go :)
The two oldest got to ride a camel! Exciting!
A sweet brother moment at the zoo

'What do you mean I can't drive us to the park?!?'

Time to cool down!

'Weeee!! I can fly!'

'Hmm... No one will notice if I eat the last of the watermelon...'

A totally relaxed daddy enjoying his children :)

We saw tensions melt. Siblings bond. Memories being made.

That, my dear friends, makes a GREAT day!

Monday, May 28, 2012

So, Now....?

As I am typing this, it is a Tuesday. I called the pediatric office yesterday for lab results, but the results had not been put into the computer system.  This morning our nurse practitioner called.

Hemoglobin and hematocrits have both started going up! The width of the red blood cells have also increased (indicating that the iron supplements are getting into the cells!).

Good news!

But this blood draw was to check the platelets, which had been elevated at the previous blood draw...

What about the platelets?

Down into the normal range!! Praise the Lord!

They are still in the high end of normal... but normal! :)

We will wait til his one year check-up in July to do another blood draw to check everything out again.

So, we are not 'out of the woods' yet, but things are looking brighter. :)

Up to this point, we had only told just a few of his wonky blood test results. They have been praying alongside of us. I also had a few praying for an 'unspoken' request.

We know our Lord is in control. We rest in His arms.

Prayerfully, this journey has ended with the improved blood test results. However, if the next round of labs shows problems again, I may cry, but, I know it will all be alright as long as we lean on Him!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

So, Back to the Lab...

Another week passes... a week during which I realize that Internet search engines are both blessings and curses.

But, I won't go there right now.

Friday dawns. Time for another trip to the lab. This time to look at the platelets... are they still high?

Ever have a day where almost nothing goes as planned? Friday was one of those days.

I ended up going to see one of my doctors and being put on an antibiotic... 4x a day. Accompanied by strict orders to come back in two weeks, sooner if my issue did not start resolving quickly after the antibiotics got into my system.

Back home so my wonderful husband could get to work on time...

Then, I loaded up all 5 kids and headed out to drop off my prescription, then to get the lab orders from the pediatric office. Only this time, the lab two doors down was closed, so I had to drive to a different part of town to a different lab.

This is where it gets tricky. Remember, I had all the children with me (11, 9, 4, 3, and 9mo)... One of those children has , um, issues with blood and shots.  Said child tends to pass out... even if someone else is getting the blood work!

Happily, this lab was much bigger than the first one. We also had my husband's MP3 player with us. Said child was given the earphones and placed in the waiting room with a magazine. The other children were there as well. (This allowed the child to not hear a thing, and therefore, not THINK about what was happening... It worked! Child did NOT pass out!)

Lab lady and I went back two cubicles. She started preparing for a toe prick and seemed confused when I told her that she needed to do a venous draw on my baby. I pointed it out on the lab order and proceeded to hold down my almost 10 month old child. Again. This time, for just one vial of blood.

Again, he was a trooper! His biggest complaint was us holding him down.  :)  He started playing as soon as we let him up.

The lab lady told me the pediatric office should have the test results by Monday afternoon and to call. (I asked how long it would take this time!)...

Friday, May 25, 2012

So, We Head Back to the Pharmacy...

The nurse practioner told me what we 'hoped' to see with the iron drops and the additional blood tests. 

Now, I am the type who wants ALL the information. It allows me to make better sense of what is going on. I am not the wait and see type of girl. I asked questions.

'Ok, so, if we do not see what we hope to see, what are we looking toward?'

I thought it was a fair question.  She, however, seemed grieved that I asked.

I forget her exact words, but the basic IDEA was... 'Let's just wait and see, ok?'

New plan: New iron drops 3x a day. ANOTHER CBC the next week to look at those platelets again. ANOTHER CBC in July to look at the iron levels (hemaglobin & hematocrits). ~sigh~

On Friday, I loaded everyone up and went to pick up the new prescription for my Seth. We also had other errands to take care of. I try very hard to do most, if not all, of my errands without children in tow... not because I don't like having them along, simply, it takes much, much longer with them. Three of them can get a bit grumpy about sitting in those car seats so long, too!

At the pharmacy, I had planned on utilizing the drive-thru, but one child HAD to use the bathroom (actually, I think it is just a stage where he wants to check out potties everywhere he goes! no pun intended), so, into the pharmacy we went.

I love my pharmacy! It's small town. They get to know you & your family.

I believe it may have been a student or freshly graduated pharmacist who went over the prescription with me. Short. Simple.


One of the pharmacy owners came over to me as I was waiting at the checkout. He expressed great concern over the high dosage of iron for the baby. I explained he had gone through two blood tests and both indicated LOW hemaglobin & hematocrits. The pharmacist asked if he had been having bleeding problems... nope.

His next question did me in: "What are they looking for?"
I barely choked out: 'I don't know'
He reached across the counter and squeezed my hand and said, "As a parent, it's very concerning."

I could only nod...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

So, Now What?

   We had the second blood tests drawn on a Friday, so I knew it would be several days before we heard anything. Monday rolled past and as I expected, no call.  Tuesday rolled by, no call. Wednesday, no call. By Thursady morning, I had decided that even if the old adage was true (No news is good news), I wanted to know! After all, at this point, he was on iron drops and had two extra blood tests run since his well child check!

I called the pediatric office and left a message asking if the results were back in and if someone would please call me to let me know the results.

A few hours later, the nurse practioner called me back. This day, her voice was not nearly as chipper as the day she called with the first results. Was she just having a rough day? Was the heavier tone due to my son's test results? My mind was trying to process ALL input.

  She started by comparing the numbers of both tests. As she had hoped, the hemaglobin and hematocrits both went up with the venous draw.. but not nearly enough. Both were still low.

And then she threw in another curveball... his platelets, which had showed in the normal range with the toe prick now showed too high with the venous draw.

So, what did that mean?

It meant MORE blood tests. It meant a different type of iron... 3x a day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

So, His Iron is a Little Low

After leaving the pediatric office, the baby and I went two doors down to the lab. It was a simple toe prick for a small blood sample to complete a CBC. He was a real trooper! He only complained about her squeezing his toe to get more blood out! :)

Fast forward two days.  I receive a call from the same nurse practioner who had checked him out for his well child visit.  His blood test was back. The hemaglobin and hematocrits were both low. She called in some iron drops and requested I make a follow up appointment. She also thought it would be a good idea to do another CBC, only this time, instead of a toe prick, it would be drawn from his arm.

A week later we were back in the office. She had printed out the lab report to show me. Then the she looked in his ears (he had 'goopy' allergy eyes the day of his checkup, and she wanted to make sure it had not caused an ear infection) and saw just a little bit of infection. Otherwise, he looked great.

We left the office with TWO lab orders this time. Another routine CBC (to compare numbers to) AND one for an iron panel (to attempt to determine WHY his iron was so low). The nurse practioner had told me that on occassion, the tiny sample of the toe prick skews the results and when a venous draw was done, the numbers often looked much better.

Two doors down to the lab...

That's when it got a little tough for this mama. You see, the lab only had one worker. THAT meant mama had to hold him down and keep his tiny little arm still while the lab lady inserted the needle and withdrew not one, but two vials of blood from my 9 month old baby. :(

He was a trooper, again. His screaming and crying were mostly about being held down. He stopped both as soon as she was done and he was able to sit up again! :)

We walked out of the lab light hearted. The venous draw CBC would show a true reading and all would be well...

So, My Big Boy is Now a Peanut?

   When you have  more than one or two children (we have five), there are LOTS of check-ups and other various appointments to keep up with.  Most of the time, I do fairly well keeping everyone up to date. However, I somehow managed to miss the baby's 6 month checkup. No biggie, the 4 month visit was a little behind, so just scheduling a 9 month visit would get us back on track.

   His appointment date in April arrived and off he and I went.  A small novel's worth of paperwork (why can't the office just accept "No, nothing has changed"?) later, we headed back with the nurse for vital statistics. I remember thinking, 'That's weird. I thought he weighed more than that.'

   The appointment went well. He was declared right on track developmentally and a little ahead of the game on the number of teeth (7!). He was updated for vaccinations. She gave me lab orders for a routine CBC. As I was buckling him back into his car seat, I asked, "So, how is his growth curve looking?'

"Oh! I am glad you asked!" she went and printed out the growth charts (height, weight, head circumference). She proceeded to point out that in December he was around the 56% mark for each. However, four months later, he had dropped down to the 5% mark for BOTH height and weight! His head circumference was still holding steady (not to worry - he doesn't LOOK like he has a big head compared to his body!).  The growth curve basically plateaued... as in an almost straight line from December/5months to April/9months! He had gained only 2 pounds and grown only half an inch. (This boy weighed in, at birth, at a whopping 9 lbs 14.9 oz! and at 9 months, he has not even doubled his birth weight!)

But! He was developmentally on target and looked happy and healthy. We decided not to stress over it, but to hope for a growth spurt that would, at the very least, keep him at the 5% mark. After all, one of his big brothers was always low on the growth curve, but steady.

I left the office to head over to the lab, just two doors down...