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...