Tuesday, May 15, 2012

4 years ago today

I looked at the calendar today and remembered this happy moment occurred 4 years ago today.

That one little follicle was all we needed.  The tiny follicle that we put all of our hope into.  We watched it grow and grow with each monitoring appointment.  It was meant to be our baby.  At this point it was all we wanted.  All we needed.  We are forever grateful.

I absolutely love watching Matt's reaction in this video.  I knew he would be a wonderful father to our children back then and his love for Ethan and Harper continues to amaze me every day.

Monday, May 14, 2012

June 2011

*Nearly a year behind on updating this blog and I think I started this post 5 months ago!  Well, better late than never...
*Just seeing the pic below makes me realize HOW much Ethan has grown, how little he was back then, which doesn't seem that long ago, and how excited I am for SUMMER!!

June is my birthday month and I usually love celebrating all month long.  This year was different.  There seemed to be more chaos this year.  We started off with a stay-cation.  We were really looking forward to having Matt at home for 9 WHOLE DAYS!  Even Ethan started repeating "Daddy will be home for 9 whole days!".  Matt's sister and her family visited from Arizona.  It was wonderful to see all the cousins play together and for the Az family to meet Harper.  We could have lived without the family drama but...
Anyway... June 2011according to my iPhone pics:
We met friends at the Farmer's Market where Ethan tasted his first strawberry lemonade, which would later fall from the stroller and land ALL OVER poor Harper.  She cried and was a sticky mess.  Thank goodness we could clean up at a friend's nearby (Hi, K & J!).  Ethan enjoyed the lemonade before it's fall and we loved going to the market.  
This photo was from a local 'family fun day' event.  We thought Ethan would love the activities there but all he wanted to do was ride in the stroller :) 
Little Sister looking a little Rainbow Bright-ish
Finger painting at home on another rainy day.
I FINALLY finished making Harper's mobile and hung it.  This is a terrible picture of it but I love how it turned out.  I followed this tutorial but used pins instead of hot glue.  Very easy.
Oh how I adore those lashes!
We took Ethan miniature golfing for the first time.  Total shocker, he loved it.  He scored a hole in one during the second round of his life :)
That is where we took this family photo; a favorite.
Ethan's first carnival!!  He was excited about the fun slide until he went on it.  Ethan and Matt flew down the slide so fast and it scared Ethan.  So we moved on to COTTON CANDY!
Out of all the rides, games, and treats like cotton candy, Ethan's favorite part was:
Lemonade!  I'd have to agree with him.
In nearly every picture Ethan has a car with him.

Now for the difficult part of this post, the month of June, and something that still haunts me (propelling me into vaccine research, healthier choices for our family, and more than I could ever explain in detail):

I postponed Harper's 6 month pediatrician appointment to the end of the month because it was scheduled during the stay-cation.  Harper screamed for a week after her 2 month immunizations.  She didn't have as strong of a reaction after her 4 month appointment so I wasn't sure what to expect after her 6 month one.  The appointment went fine so we stopped at the mall, picked Ethan up from school, and headed home for lunch and nap.  Everything seemed fine.  

I put Harper down for her nap and a short time later I heard her making strange noises in her crib.  It sounded like she was gurgling.  I went in to check on her and she seemed very confused and drowsy.  I thought she was still tired so I went to put her back to sleep but she vomited all over.  As I cleaned her and undressed her, I called the pediatrician because I thought maybe Harper was having a reaction to the vaccines.  While I was on the phone with the nurse at our pediatrician's office Harper started turning blue from head to toe.  I hung up with the nurse and called 911.  While on one phone with 911 I used my cell phone to call Matt.  All I said to Matt was "Harper is turning blue, I called 911, come home." and I hung up the phone.  I was so distraught.  I had no idea what was happening but I'll never forget the look in Harper's eyes.  She was terrified and so was I.  A police officer arrived at our house first and after he saw Harper he called for more help.  I heard him say that she was having trouble breathing and that is when I really started to panic.  I tried to stay calm and talked to Harper but I can't remember what I said to her.  Matt was home within minutes of my call to him and the look on his face when he saw Harper scared me even more.  I kept thinking -Oh my god, she must really be in trouble.  The paramedics arrived and suddenly Harper's skin color was back to normal and she seemed tired but okay.  I went from freaking out inside to wondering if I had over reacted because suddenly (& thankfully) Harper seemed fine.  But just moments before she was blue?  What was going on?  

We rode in the ambulance to the hospital.  Harper's oxygen levels returned to normal during our drive.  Harper's temperature was normal when we were at our house but once we reached the hospital it was 101 degrees.  She was given acetaminophen, they put monitors on her, and we stayed for a few hours.  The paramedic suspected Harper had a Febrile seizure and the ER doctor gave us the same diagnosis.  They wanted to rule out a UTI so they tried to put a catheter in to get a urine sample for testing but after several attempts they couldn't get the catheter inserted.  She screamed through the process and I stopped the ER nurses from continuing to try since it wasn't working.  I knew there had to be another way to get a urine sample.  The next day our pediatrician's office gave us an adhesive plastic bag to attach to Harper to collect a urine sample.  MUCH less invasive and it worked to obtain urine for testing.  She did not have an infection.  

After monitoring, we were given a stack of handouts with information on Febrile Seizures and immunizations.  I never gave Ethan Tylenol or Motrin unless he had a fever or was in pain.  I didn't use it as a preventative measure.  I've read that you shouldn't give it to children before arriving to their check ups/before vaccines because if they have a fever, the vaccine won't be given.  If the medication reduces the fever and the vaccine is given then it can make things worse.  That was the mindset I had when I took my children for their vaccines.  IF I had given Harper a fever reducing medication AFTER the nurse took her temp at her appointment and BEFORE the vaccines then could the fever have been prevented?  Who knows.  Harper had a reaction to a vaccine.  Some would call it a vaccine injury.  One of the VACCINES CAUSED her fever which caused her seizure.  A Febrile seizure is caused by a rapid spike in temperature.  It is the body's reaction to try to reduce the fever (it's why Harper didn't have a fever when the paramedics arrived).  We do not know for sure which vaccine caused all of this but she was given Prevnar and 1 in 20,000 kids has had a seizure after the Prevnar vaccine.  I of course found this out AFTER the fact.  Her doctor and I decided not to take the risk of another reaction and she did not receive the 4th Prevar dose.  

Aftermath... at first I was terrified of another Febrile Seizure.  From what we were told and what we have read, once a child has a Febrile Seizure they are at a much higher risk of having others when fevers occur.  After more research I am concerned about what other damage vaccines have caused.  Harper's physical development was effected by this injury.  She stopped rolling from belly to back.  She had been doing it previously but after the vaccines and seizure she could not longer get herself off of her belly.  She rarely used her legs to help her move.  After a month of observing and helping her with this, I called Early Intervention for an evaluation.  The evaluation results revealed that Harper was advanced socially (haha, that is so Harper!) but more than 2 months delayed physically.  She fell close to age appropriate in other areas of development.  I believe and nature and nurture.  I believe there is more than one influence and cause.  I believe the injury delayed her, something that we are unaware of specifically, happened to delay Harper, but I also believe Harper's personality contributes to when and how she does things.  Here we are about 10 months after Harper's injury and weekly physical therapy appointments for the past 8 months.  She is still delayed physically, but now her personality plays an even bigger role in when and how she does things.  A lot of her PT appointments were torturous to get through.  Thank goodness we love our PT and she loves Harper.  Harper did NOT want to do the work.  She did not want you to MAKE her do it.  Through it all she has made HUGE progress and is close to walking at age 17 months :)

I realize her injury could have been MUCH worse and that scares me.  We are so thankful it wasn't worse.  There are still vaccines left on the list that she is supposed to be given.  We have more research to do and big decisions to make.  I don't ever want to be here again:

Scariest day of my life.  

I'm so proud of her strength.  I'm so proud of her determination.  Although her determination is a huge challenge for us, it's good for her and for us.  Determination will get you through anything.  It creates strength. Ethan has it too.  These children are teaching us, strengthening us, and we are so very fortunate for that. 

One day I'll post all about this little girl's personality.  17 months later and we still wonder when she is going to become a little easier (easier going/easier to parent).  I don't think it's going to happen.  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

May 2011 continued

Now May 2011 according to my camera:

Harper was still sleeping with us.  We had made progress but this is how we managed to get sleep somedays.

And for my first Mother's Day as a mom of two, Harper gave me our FIRST hairdryer FREE day!!!!  NO hair dryer for nap or bedtime or soothing in between.  It was amazing.  We listened to a hair dryer for 5 months.

Me and my babies on Mother's Day morning.

Someone left the container of animal crackers out and Ethan helped himself :)

Thanks, Daddy.

Harper started to become more cuddly.  A daddy and his girl.


Lollipop and first temporary tattoo after a haircut.

Quite possibly my favorite photo of Ethan from this year.  I had it printed on a 16x20 canvas.  It had rained for days and when there was finally a sunny break we ran outside (still in pjs) to play.

5 Months!  
Harper slept in the cosleeper for the first stretch of sleep every night and sometimes even the second stretch of sleep.  After that if we tried to put her back into the cosleeper she screeched and screamed until she was next to us again.  
Again, huge accomplishment with not using the hairdryer.  We still used the sound machine, on highest volume of the ocean sound.  It is LOUD and she prefers it that way.  This baby girl has a lot of preferences.  Someone laughed and said we created those preferences.  While, yes, we created this little being, we discovered her preferences by trial and error.  If you had a screaming baby and you were reaching your breaking point, you would try anything and everything until you found what worked to stop the crying too.  Honestly, you can't say that you wouldn't do that unless you've been there through this special kind of hell. 
At 5.5 months Harper rolled from back to belly during the night and woke up unhappy.  She continued to roll this way in her crib but we didn't witness it until June.  We found her, unhappily, on her belly every day.  We let her tough it out and encouraged her during the day and she finally learned to roll from belly to back.
She started entertaining herself more and tolerated floor time for longer stretches of time.  
She reached out to hold just about anything.  Ethan loved it because she reached for his face and held his cheeks between both of her hands.  
FINALLY napping in her crib.  Some naps still took place in the swing at this point but we were making huge progress.  Her first night in her crib was mid month too!  Those sheets... They are Pottery Barn Kids Chamois sheets that I found new, in packaging at a consignment sale.  I picked them up to have a spare sheet and now they are the only sheets she will sleep on (WITH a cozy lambskin underneath - this girl likes her bed comfy).  I wish they weren't hot pink but I can't bring myself to buy another color for the full price.
Again, with the rain... another break in rain and we went hunting for puddles to jump in...
Ethan was not crazy about the mud.  He preferred water puddles.
Haper was along for the ride.

I bought this onesie for Harper when I was pregnant with her.
Very overexposed but I love his facial expression here.

Harper's love for Ethan grew.
The feeling is mutual.

We spent a lot of time on blankets outside.
And playing with water.

We discovered Harper's color is yellow.  She looks great in it & I loved this outfit on her.
Showing off her teeth.
We introduced a sippy cup to Harper.  She picked it up and drank from it like she had been doing it her entire life.  Of course the child that doesn't NEED to drink from one at this point loved it.  I remember the worry over trying to get Ethan to drink breast milk from a sippy cup at daycare when he refused bottles and all food.
I went to take a shower and put Harper in her crib.  Ethan opened the door and thought she needed some toys. Thank goodness none of the harder ones hit her.