Thursday, March 31, 2011

Post-Cath Update

I'm so glad to have Chase's cath behind us. And for all intents and purposes, we shouldn't have to head back in for any procedures or surgeries for a YEAR! Yay! I don't even want to think about going in for the Fontan, so I'm totally gonna block that out of my mind for the next 12 months (or until whatever point in which I'm forced to deal with it). I'm so proud of my little man! He did so great!

I knew this one would (hopefully) be easier than the last one, our pre-Glenn cath in February 2010. For that procedure, we knew he would stay intubated afterward and recover in an ICU, which is not the standard practice, but was a safety measure we went with based on his previous history with anesthesia. It was so hard to see him after that cath. He looked like he had just come out of surgery!

Pre-Glenn Cath, February 25, 2010
This time around he looked MUCH better! See?

Pre-Fontan Cath, March 28, 2011
Adorable Toy Story hospital gown courtesy of Heartfelt Couture.

Couldn't help but take a pic of the monitor... See that 96? That's his o2! Wow, right?! He was on oxygen though, so it doesn't count. I just thought it was cool to see it so high for a change! :)
Look at that o2!
After being awake for a bit, drinking 12 sippy cups of apple juice and eating most of a banana, our little guy started to perk up!

What cath procedure?
After four hours of hourly vitals in the same day area, we were allowed to transfer to the floor, 8D. It used to be 7C, but they recently moved to a new floor and I must say the rooms are much nicer! We settled in for the night and were so happy to see some of our nurses from previous stays. Everyone commented on how BIG Chase has gotten!

Post-Oreo smirk.
Chase and I had a pretty good night. He slept for about 2 hours, was up for another 2, then slept for 3. It was nice to get some sleep on the floor! That was a rare "treat" during our previous two stays. Tuesday morning we needed to go for a chest x-ray and an echo before we could be approved for discharge.

Behaving nicely and cooperating for his echo.

Ready to get outta town!

We returned home Tuesday afternoon and it was obvious our boy was glad to be back home. A short nap, a quick shower and little dinner later, he was very much back to himself. Yay! He's been improving even more each day and honestly, you wouldn't know he'd been through a heart cath on Monday if you saw him for yourself.

Case in point. After lunch yesterday:

We were playing "Where's Chase?" while he was covered in Oreo goo. Good times!

I'm SO COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY looking forward to releasing all of us from our cold/flu/RSV season and pre-cath bubble!!! That day will be here before I know it (I hope) and we can finally get out there and enjoy doing fun stuff again! Yay!

Thanks again to our friends and family for the prayer support during this week! God clearly had His hands on our boy and brought him through this procedure successfully. Thank you, Lord!

P.S. Have you participated in my very first ever blog giveaway ever? If not, click here to leave your comment and win a messenger tote, handcrafted by yours truly! :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Very First Ever Blog Giveaway Ever!

Yes, folks, you read that blog post title right! It's time for my very first ever blog giveaway ever!!!

I'm so excited!!

((squealing with delight))

You may recall I mentioned a few days ago that I won a little giveaway on Spring Creative's blog. Well, I received my prize yesterday, a beautiful new messenger tote kit! Here it is!

It's very cute in person (my online pics never seem to come out very well). Anywho, I decided I would LOVE to make this messenger tote as a giveaway for my loyal blog readers! Yay!

The good news is, I already have experience making one of these for myself, which I love, by the way. I learned a lot my first go 'round so I'm expecting to be able to make this one with much more skill and somewhat more ease.

The bad news is, I can't decide which side of the fabric to use!

So this giveaway is gonna be REALLY easy for you. All you have to do is leave a comment ON THIS BLOG POST (i.e. not on Facebook and not via Twitter) and tell me which side of the fabric you would want as the outside of your messenger tote. I will use to select a winner from all of the comments, and the winner will receive the finished product as soon as it's complete!

So simple, right?

Oh, but I bet you're wondering what exactly your choices are, am I right? I thought you might be. So here you go!

The two sides of the fabric are (click images to view larger)...

Crazy Flower!

Crazy Dots!
Comments must be posted by 11:59 PM EST on Wednesday, April 6, 2011. The randomly selected winner will be announced on Thursday, April 7th!

Thank you in advance for your participation is my first ever blog giveaway ever! So. Much. Fun!!! :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 2 Update

Chase had a good night. We both were able to sleep for about two hours, then up to play for about two more, then another three hour nap. He was wonderful and is definitely starting to get his sweet, lovable personality back.

We went down for a chest xray earlier this morning and are waiting to be called down for an echo. Once those are done, the docs can review everything and (hopefully) approve our discharge. We're hopeful that'll happen by 10 or 11 AM but one never knows how that translates in "hospital time." I'm looking forward to getting out of here, getting our stuff packed up at the hotel and getting on the road home this afternoon. I can't wait to sleep in my own bed! These past two nights have been exhausting!!

I'm happy to report that LO has had a wonderful "vacation" here with her Gramma & PaPa. She's in heaven having their undivided attention for two days straight! They took her to the aquarium yesterday and when I talked to her last night, she was non-stop with all she wanted to tell me about her day and all the fun she had. It makes being here in the hospital and putting Chase through this procedure a little easier knowing she's taken care of and is having so much fun! Yay!!

Thanks again to everyone for your prayer support. We are very grateful to have friends and family care about our little family. Thank you!

Posted from my iPhone

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cath Update

Cath was successful! He had no negative reactions to the anesthesia. The LPA narrowing measured 3.5 and was ballooned to 5. There was no restriction in the blood flow where the narrowing was, so that was a blessing. His valve showed a mild regurgitation, which was previously only trace (not an improvement). His pressures and heart function looked great. There was one large collateral that he had to coil. He didn't see any reason to rush his Fontan -- meaning we will probably have about a year 'til his next surgery, and he shouldn't require another cath beforehand.

Overall we got great news. Now we need to keep him flat and still for another 30 minutes (he's still sedated for now so that helps). Should head to an overnight room on the floor in a few hours once he's awake and alert.

Thank you for your prayers today!

Posted from my iPhone

Cath Update

12:57 PM - The cath is complete. They will page us when he's back in Same Day where we can see him and discuss the results.

Posted from my iPhone

Cath Update

12:07 PM - Dr. Baker is ballooning the LPA.

Posted from my iPhone

Cath in Progress

Chase is undergoing a heart catheterization right now (they took him back around 8:10 AM). It's what they're considering a "pre-Fontan" cath, although I don't like to think of it that way. Their way makes it sound like the Fontan is just around the corner, and this momma ain't no fan of that idea. And really, it's their fault because they told me it wouldn't be Fontan time until Chase was 3 or 4 years old. So I'm choosing not to call this a pre-Fontan cath. I'm going to choose to call it a diagnostic/interventional cath procedure.


My boy had Versed for the first time before they took him back for the procedure. I was curious to see how that would work out. Would he be a funny drunk? Or an angry drunk? Would it have no impact on him whatsoever? Or would it cause an unexpected complication?

I'm happy to say it seemed to do what it was intended to do. He was already very sleepy (following a very L-O-N-G night where there was maybe 3 hours of total sleep for Chase, hubs and I), and after the Versed kicked in, he started to act a little bit silly.

See what I mean?

It obviously worked because he let the anesthesiologist (dressed in scrubs, of course!) take him from mommy and carry him out of the room. Yay?

He's going under general anesthesia for (I believe) the sixth time. And intubated for the sixth time. They're going to insert a catheter into his femoral artery as well as an artery in his neck and fish them all up and around his heart, arteries n' stuff (obviously I don't know the technical terminology) to do a bunch of things.

What sort of things?

Lots of things. As I mentioned, they're considering this his pre-Fontan cath. Some of the highlights include:
  1. Anatomical measurements are made on the angiograms
  2. Pressures throughout the heart and surrounding blood vessels
  3. Pictures (angiograms)
  4. Addressing LPA narrowing (most likely by balloon)
Hubs and I are sitting in the PCICU waiting room, where we spent countless hours during Chase's birth, Norwood surgery, two bronchoscopy procedures and Glenn surgery. Being here brings back a flood of memories. The familiar surroundings, smells, people... I told hubs I felt an overwhelming urge to go to the pumping room that's right next door to the PCICU waiting room. I spent countless hours in there, too. I'm so glad we're past the hurdle of surgeries (at least until the Fontan), but I'm not loving being here for Chase to endure an invasive cath procedure. My sweet, sweet boy...

It is now 11:07 AM. We've received three pages/updates so far. Basically (1) they have completed an echocardiogram (after he was under anesthesia, so they should get great images with him being still), and (2) the interventional pediatric cardiologist (a.k.a. Dr. Baker, the one performing the cath) obtained access (meaning the IVs and catheters are in place) and he is taking measurements and checking Chase's oxygen saturations at various points throughout his circulatory system, and (3) Dr. Baker is still taking measurements before he balloons the LPA. It'll probably be about an hour before we receive our next update.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and prayers. We are hopeful by ballooning his LPA, it will give him more time before he needs his Fontan. But more than anything we are hopeful the procedure goes as expected without any complications and that Chase recovers well. Please continue to keep him in your prayers.

I'll post updates as we receive them. Thank you for your prayers and patience.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Just whoa.

Didn't think the emotions would be so overwhelming by waiting 'til the last minute to let reality sink in.

Prayers, please.

Posted from my iPhone

Friday, March 25, 2011

Still Sewing!

Guys. I'm totally hooked. Seriously. This sewing stuff is ridiculously exciting and so much fun!

For my next project, I decided to make a messenger tote that I could use as a laptop bag. I already have this sleeve that provides all the necessary protection for my MacBook; I just needed a bag to carry it in (along with the power cord and other miscellaneous computery stuff).

I found a totally cute tote by Springs Creative at Walmart Wednesday night. I cut the pieces out yesterday and I just sewed it together this morning! It was supposed to be my weekend project (I wanted to have it finished before we take Chase to MUSC for his heart catheterization next week), but it was so easy and fun, I finished it in no time at all! I think it turned out amazing! I'm still completely shocked that I can turn a piece of fabric into something so stylish and functional!

On a side note, I happened to enter the weekly giveaway on Springs Creative's blog and -- GUESS WHAT?! -- I won!! I never win anything! But I won another messenger tote in a different pattern that I should receive soon. How exciting, right? It looks like this one:

Cute, right?

Anywho, let me show you my pics of my latest triumph!

My new messenger tote project, thanks to Creative Cuts by Springs Creative.
A "before" of the cute fabric (it really is cute... the colors in the pic from my iPhone don't do it justice).
And... the "after" pic! Ain't it cute?!
It's the perfect size for my 13" MacBook in the sleeve, and I love the contrasting print inside.
Thought I'd get a better model for this project rather than model it myself (like the apron). LO likes it, too!
So it goes without saying that I'm loving these creative craft kits. They're obviously easy enough that a novice like me can be successful (side note: no, this is not a paid endorsement for Springs Creative -- LOL!). I'm just having so much fun, I want to share with you all!

I'm a little scared at the thought of purchasing an actual pattern and actual fabric and then getting the pieces all together by myself, but I'm sure I'll give it a try very soon. But in the meantime, I'm gonna see what other kits are available since it's so much quicker and easier than doing it all myself from scratch. :)

And it goes without saying that these little craft projects have been a wonderful distraction from the fact that Chase goes in for a heart catheterization next week. I'm not very excited, knowing this will be an invasive procedure involving general anesthesia and intubation as well as intervention (ballooning the LPA). I keep trying to push it out of my mind (focusing on fun things like being a first-time sewer -- wait, that looks like sewer, maybe I mean seamstress, except that gives me way more props than I've earned), but I know it's gonna happen and I just have to deal with it. God already knows the outcome and our job is to just trust Him. Easier said than done sometimes.

Oh, I feel a cath-related blog post coming on... ((sigh))

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My First Official Sewing Triumph!

Yes, once upon a time I made a pillowcase. And then another. And then one more. Without a pattern, just cutting rectangles, measuring here and there, tossing in a few pins to keep it together, then running it through the only setting I know how to use on my mom's sewing machine.

It wasn't rocket science. I get it.

But today I unveil an actual accomplishment! I bought a sewing kit from Walmart of all places to make my very own apron, and was able to do it all by myself! Yay for me! Although I still don't technically know what a "flounce" is and didn't find out this video existed until two seconds ago (long after completing my project), I think I did a pretty decent job!

Good ol' Walmart. Home to Creative Cuts by Springs Creative. So easy and so fun!
The "before" picture of my fabric cut-outs.

And... the "after" pic!
NOTE: There's a reason I don't have a million-dollar modeling contract, folks. As if.

Complete with functional pocket. See??
I have to admit... I'm getting addicted to this sewing stuff. How amazing is it to see a bunch of random shapes of fabric magically turn into a functional item like this apron? I can't wait to try something else next. Any suggestions? One day I'll get brave enough to buy a real pattern and cut out my fabric like the pros do it, but for now, I'm up for whatever the next challenge is that comes after a pillowcase and ready-made apron.

So. Much. Fun!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Zoo Fun!

So with Operation: "Bubble" in full effect, for all of not quite two days, I was ready to beat my head against the wall. Yes, not quite two days in. This is gonna be a long week.

I decided the kids (and mommy) needed to get out of the house for a bit for a change of scenery and some fresh air. But since our destination options are rather limited right now, I figured the zoo might be a somewhat safe place to go. Surely animals can't get my kiddos sick, right? Right.

So I packed up the kids and we first stopped at the automatic car wash because our Sienna still had bug corpses from our trip to Cincinnati two weeks ago all over the windshield. I couldn't take it anymore! But imagine my surprise when I went to pay the automated thingyjig and realized: I don't have my debit card!


Hubs is SO not gonna be pleased with this one.

I looked everywhere -- wallet, diaper bag, etc. No luck. I called Walmart because I was just there Sunday afternoon. No dice. Not that your typical Walmart shopper would turn in a misplaced debit card (at least not without using it first!). Shoot. Guess I need to call hubs.

I called hubs at work and explained the situation to him. He made sure there weren't any new charges on our online account. Then he was ready to call the bank while I was trying to figure out where else I had used it. He reminded me that we called in a to-go order to a local steakhouse Sunday evening, and I used my debit card there when I went in to pick up our dinner.

I called said steakhouse and, lo and behold, they DID have my debit card! Yay! I'd run by to pick it up later. We finished the car wash and headed to the zoo!

It looked a little bit busier than I would have liked, but I decided since we were there and had no other plans, we'd go ahead and go for it. The kids did well. LO was super-excited to see all the animals. Chase couldn't care less. It was quite a wonderful hour. Yes, after an hour I was spent. Plus, we live in a small town so this was definitely no big zoo.

After the zoo we went to play on the playground for a bit. Then it was time to sanitize the crap out of the kids, get in the Sienna and head home for lunch.

Now they're napping... ((ahhhhhhhh!!!))

And I'm blogging.

And about to take a nap of my own!

I'll leave ya with some pics from today. I love my cute kids! :)

I told ya Chase couldn't care less about his first zoo experience...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Operation: "Bubble" is a GO!

"I'm totally dreading the fact that Chase has a heart catheterization scheduled for next week at MUSC. I'm just about as anxious and afraid as I would be if he were going in for heart surgery. The cath procedure will require general anesthesia and putting Chase on a ventilator. I hate seeing him intubated. I hate knowing that tube down his throat is most likely going to cause irritation. I hate not knowing how he'll respond to the anesthesia this time. Last time we were stuck in the hospital for 3 days after his pre-Glenn cath because he just couldn't get out from under the anesthesia enough to keep his oxygen saturation where it needed to be. I can't imagine trying to keep a nasal cannula of o2 on my active, mobile almost-17-month-old should he need it again this time. I hate the fact that they'll be inserting a balloon inside a catheter inside of his femoral artery and inflating it in his left pulmonary artery to help with the poor blood flow due to a significant narrowing. I hate that we'll be required to stay overnight (hopefully just ONE night). I hate that Chase and I will be together at the cardiac step-down unit while hubs and LO are at the hotel. I hate going through all of this -- putting my son through all of this -- knowing it's impossible for me to explain it to him at this age. He won't understand what's going on or why mommy is standing by, doing nothing, while the doctors and nurses are poking at him, putting lines in him, etc. My heart hurts already for what I'll be putting my son through. But I pray it will be a successful procedure and that it will improve his blood flow to his left lung.

Another thing I don't like about this process is Operation Bubble is back on. You know, the big bubble we lived in for ages after we first brought baby Chase home, throughout the time before his Glenn, then for several months after his Glenn? I don't like the bubble.

And I especially don't like it this time around. There are so many reasons. Like LO for example. We took her out of school last week, will keep her out all this week, and keep her out the week of his cath as well. So 3 weeks of preschool she'll be missing. It makes me totally bummed for her, although in her mind (based on what mommy told her), it's just spring break. A 3-week long spring break. I know she doesn't understand it all, but thankfully she's rolling with it, as usual. She's such a good big sister to her special-hearted little brother.

Chase has been making HUGE progress with his physical therapy. But we've had to cancel PT for the past 2 weeks, this week, and next week. It'll be about a month without therapy when he's finally able to resume it in early April. His PT is going to be completely stunned at the grown up little man who has replaced the little baby/toddler she's been working with for so long. He's walking Every.Where. And he's squatting with complete control. And standing up independently from a sitting position. He's no longer crawling. At all. I'm not believing this little man who is replacing my baby boy! I'm not ready for this!!

We just started speech therapy about 3 weeks ago. But again, we had to cancel it for the past 2 weeks, this week, and next week as well. It'll again be about a month without therapy before we're able to resume it again in early April. I've been trying my best to work with him, but I'll be happy to have a professional back to help him with his speech. He makes lots of noises and matches inflection and tone amazingly well, but he's not really saying any consonant sounds like he should be at his age. We'll get there, obviously, but after we get past this upcoming hurdle.

On top of all of this, hubs and I have had to make some additional decisions in Chase's best interest. Obviously hubs has to work. But outside of that, there is no scheduled interaction with any human being outside of the four of us. My lunches with girlfriends? Canceled. Dinners out at restaurants? Notsomuch. Shopping trips to Target or the grocery store with both kids in tow? Not gonna happen. I'm not a fan of bubble life -- not by ANY means -- but it is what we believe is necessary to keep our son healthy and strong for his upcoming heart catheterization.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we prepare for next week. This is never easy. Obviously. But pray for hubs and I to have the strength we need to do what we need to do, including handing over our son to the anesthesia team at MUSC for this heart cath. Pray for LO, who is known to roll with the punches, and is excited about spending time with her Gramma & PaPa in Charleston. To her, this will most definitely seem like a vacation, which is exactly what I want for her. And of course, pray for Chase. This will not be fun for him by any means. It's so hard at his age because he knows what happens when people in scrubs are around him, and he doesn't like it one bit! But there's obviously no reasoning with him yet, either. I will do my best to spoil the snot out of him following the procedure and in the days and weeks after. And pray that the cath goes well, they are able to successfully balloon his LPA, that there are no unexpected complications, no new "issues" or "concerns" seen on the echo or cath results, and that he recovers well. My sweet, sweet boy.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Photoful Post

It's been awhile since I've shared some decent pics of my kids (read: ones that were taken on my "big girl" camera and not my iPhone), so I thought I'd bust out a post full o' pics of my little ones. Hope you enjoy!

First up are some pool pics from our recent family "vacation" to Cincinnati. These kids sure do love to swim and splash in the heated indoor hotel pool!

LO loves swimming!

This boy LOVES to splash!

Such a handsome little man!
Where's Chase??

Peek-a-boo, happy boy!
Getting worn out...

Just kiddin'! Let's keep splashin'!

Now on to our day at the park today. The weather was a super nice, so I decided to pack up the kids and some lunch and head to a park near hubs' office so he could join us for some fun! We had a nice picnic, followed by fun on the playground!

My first shot of LO. Not sure if she thought I was gonna steal her PB&J or what,
but something had to prompt this gem of a glare!

That's better!

Chase. Just bein' cute.

Love this messy grin!

Still bein' cute. Yes, he had a Dorito or two with lunch... ;)
No idea what he was doing. Just goofing off for the camera, I presume.

Soooooooooo big!

Trying to steal mommy's camera!

My beautiful girl!!!

Little Miss Hollywood getting her climb on.
Happy, crazy, silly girl!

One of Chase's newest skills... squatting! He's got all the control now and can go down and back up repeatedly. A big deal!

I love this handsome chunk o' goodness!

Not sure what he's up to, but I'm VERY sure I love it!

Miss Thing preparing to slide.

I just wanna gobble him up! Especially in the hat. Cutest. Lil' guy. Ever.

Beautiful girl!

My girl!

A new and favorite past-time: WALKING!!!

Yes, this boy LOVES to walk everywhere now! Such a proud mommy I am!

Seeing something worth pointing out...

Lovin' the swing!

Up to no good...

Tried to get ONE shot of BOTH kids together... and this was the best I could do. :(