Weaning off the drugs

When I had my c section, the most important piece of advice I got and followed was “stay on top of your meds”. I followed these instructions meticulously.  I had all the alarms set on my phone – oxycodone, Tylenol, Advil.  I weaned myself slowly off the drugs over a two week period.  Worked like a charm.  I give this advice to every expecting mom that is going to have a c section.

I took this attitude into Izzy’s recovery as well but I’m just doing a not good job at it.  At the hospital, she was on a morphine drip and also Tylenol and Advil.  They cut the morphine after the third day and she has been on Advil and Tylenol ever – every 3 hours it was Advil and then Tylenol.  We slowly started weaning her overnight, letting her sleep as long as she could take it and giving her meds when she wakes up.

But we just aren’t as on the ball with Izzy as I was for myself.  One day we gave her two doses of Advil back to back.  We freaked out and called the poison hotline.  A bit of advice – if you ever give a baby too much Advil don’t panick.  They only worry they have 40mL.  This is why they make the bottles so small.  Then the last two days we basically forgot to give her meds.  Yup we cut her off cold turkey.  Well at least she’s handling it well.  Maybe actually we took it too slow and she didn’t even need the drugs anymore.  Does she look like a kid struggling with pain? ūüėČ‚Äč

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Should we stay or should we go? 

Today Isabelle has been making some major strides after having a bit of a tough evening.

Yesterday Izzy was taken off her O2 nasal prongs and started eating solids.  Things seemed to be going all right until in the evening when her oxygen saturation started dropping and her belly got really stiff and bloated.  The oxygen issue was caused by the bloating – too much pressure on the lungs cause shallow breaths which means that there is not an efficient exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide with each breath.  The bloating could be one of two things: gas or fluid.  Gas means you know – bloated – like when you eat too much.  Fluid is something much more serious such as potential infection.  They decided to treat it as gas to see if the bloating would ease. This morning she woke up with a softer belly which means that the bloating was gas! They took her off her nasal prongs and are monitoring her oxygen levels to see if she can manage without forced oxygen.  Also they have turned off her morphine now as well.  The docs said that morphine wears off within an hour or two after being turned off so they are monitoring how well she does without it now.  They gave us some unexpected news: we can leave today as long as she is stable by 3pm. 

Actually they gave us the choice.  If she is stable by 3 we can either go home or we can wait until tomorrow morning to go home.  Hrm.  What to choose?  On the one hand it would be awesome to sleep in my own bed and Izzy would probably be in better spirits with all her toys.  Addison would be over the moon as well to have us all reunited.  On the other hand I am not sure that we would be able to stay calm and cool headed if her belly becomes bloated again.  Also, they have not explained to us wound care etc so I’m still a bit nervous about taking her home. Of course there is no wrong answer, and we would make it work fine either way.  As a person who has trouble choosing the color shirt to buy, or where to go for lunch this is seems like such a big decision to make.  Will keep you updated. In the meantime enjoy the pics of Izzy stuffing her face with pancakes.

On the other side

Little Isabelle has made it through her marathon surgery and is now resting on the other side.  Surgery took a little over three hours.  She did really well, did not need extended intubation and woke up well after surgery.  The doctors were really happy that even though all her organs are inside she doesn’t seem to be breathing harder.  She is now sleeping peacefully on some pain medications and an epidural.  They had to put a mesh in because Izzy has no muscle right where her ribs come together.  This was not the best case scenario as the mesh comes with some risks of infection and future complications if the mesh doesn’t stay in place.  She also did not get a belly button, something we knew would be the case.  When she is older she may choose to do a second surgery where they stretch the muscle and fat across where the mesh is so that the sunken in look won’t be as pronounced and also give her a belly button.  This would be cosmetic so it will be her choice.

Izzy is currently hooked up to a bunch of things.  Let’s see if I can list them all:

  • NG tube to keep her tummy empty
  • O2 nasal prongs 
  • 2 IV access points for medication, morphine etc
  • Epidural
  • Heart monitor stickers
  • O2 saturation monitor

But honestly the room is so much quieter than when we were in NICU.  The beeping isn’t constant.  It feels peaceful.  We will be in PICU overnight and then tomorrow move to another ward for about 5 days as they wean her off her epidural and start allowing solid food again.  The surgeon suggested after that we will be managing pain for about 2-3 weeks.  She explained that with so much pulling and component separation of the muscles, this is a much more serious surgery to recover from than a c-section.  That just broke my heart because I remember how brutal c-section recovery was.  A friend reminded me that Izzy won’t remember this and that is what I need to keep remembering.  

She woke up a little while ago and her throat is really irritated because the NG tube is bothering her.  When the nurse asked if she wanted any water her eyes grew huge and she raspily exclaimed “yah!” But then she had to suck on the sponge and did not like that one bit.  Refused with her emphatic “no no no”. Glad to see a glimmer of her old self through the drugs.  

This morning we walked into the hospital and we had a happy healthy little baby who happens to have an omphalocele.  But let’s be honest- the omphalocele and all that is associated with it was a big part of our life.  Every day Izzy wore her spanx and her corset.  Every bath she squished it and massaged it.  Every time we held her against us we felt the warm, soft squishy omph push against our shoulder.  Through the last year and a half of dressing changes, turtle shell protectors and various binders we had just gotten used to the omph being there.  And now – it’s just gone.  I don’t know when I will get used to being on the other side.  I know that the next five days will be tough as we stay at the hospital and help Izzy cope with recovery.  But after that, only time can tell.  There will be challenges and joys as she grows up.  Her scar will remind us of this hard journey and the strength we gained from it.  But one thing is certain.  I know I will miss that squiggy omph for a while.  

All smiles before surgery.  

And it’s time to move forward

It’s been a week since we learned that Isabelle broke her leg. ¬†It has been an incredibly busy week. ¬†We did lots of fun stuff and lots of health stuff. ¬†Here is a quick summary:

We took the big camping and left Izzy at home with the grandparents for one night. ¬†It was a good chance to fill Addison’s emotional bucket as we go through some tough times with Iz. ¬†Great time spent with family and friends.

After missing the Edmonton show we got last minute tickets to the Tragically Hip Man Machine Poem tour.  So much dancing, so much singing, so much crying.  Gord Downey and the boys put on a stellar show and I am in awe with what an amazing man he is.

Now for the health stuff:

Izzy had an appointment with our paediatrician. ¬†Once again we got grilled about Isabelle’s care. ¬†And then he began to wonder if the reason she broke her leg was because she’s been on omeprazole since birth. ¬†Omeprazole is an antacid but calcium needs acid to be absorbed so Izzy has been absorbing less than desired. ¬†After looking at her x-rays, he confirmed she has weak bones because she’s not getting enough calcium. ¬†Her omeprazole dosage has been cut in half and we are going to try to get her to drink more milk.

We saw her OT and dietician the next day who gave us some more tips on getting more calcium into her diet. ¬†The other thing the OT said we need to watch for is her speech. ¬†I guess we have been so busy worrying so much about the other stuff we haven’t noticed her speech. ¬†She should have about 20 words by now, but she only had about 10. ¬†They aren’t worried yet but just want us to keep an eye on it. ¬†On a plus side her weight gain has gotten back on (her) track since the last time she had the big drop in weight.

An appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon came next. ¬†They mentioned her cast is a bit short, but they don’t mind too much because the cast comes off on Monday!!! X-rays showed that the fracture is already healing. ¬†They told us that after the cast comes off we just need to be careful not to hit the leg…not sure how we are going to prevent that with this little monkey. ¬†I will ask more on Monday. ¬†The x-Ray also confirmed that she has weak bones and needs more calcium. ¬†The orthopaedic surgeon actually told us to “provide better nutrition”. ¬†Oh shit I never realized I can’t just feed Izzy chocolate and potato chips! Thanks for letting us know! ¬†After the struggle we have had for her entire life regarding her weight gain and nutrition, after all the dietician visits we have, that comment really grinds my gears.

The Alberta public health department called today and so we got grilled again. ¬†The lady calling is responsible for licencing our daycare and daycare had put in a form once they realized Izzy broke her leg. ¬†I was happy we had sorted out the root cause of how Izzy broke her leg and that it didn’t have anything to do with daycare. ¬†These ladies have been such an integral part of both girls lives so I’m glad that we can definitavely say to the health department that nothing the day care did resulted in Izzy’s leg breaking.

So on Monday we will be cutting Izzy’s cast off. ¬†Then I guess making sure she doesn’t break it again. ¬†we will also go get some bloodwork done in preparation for surgery. On Wednesday!! I’m exhausted. ¬†Time for bed. ¬†In the meantime here is a video of Izzy getting about like it ain’t no thing.

Mom of the year award

So Izzy broke her leg.  I write this as we wait for the doctor at emerg at the Stollery on a Thursday.  From what we can tell she broke her leg on Monday at daycare.  They told us she had a fall.  She has been grumpy ever since and also sleeping poorly.  She also had stopped walking but we didn’t really notice until yesterday.  I mean to be honest when she’s not screaming “owie owie owie” when trying to stand, she’s in pretty good spirits.  Aren’t broken legs supposed to be like really painful? 

If she needs a cast, it’s going to be like one of those full from hip to toe casts that also is like anchored to her other leg.  I mean that sounds horrible for Izzy.  But I can only think this is going to be a super pain in the ass.  Diapers, baths, her tantrums because she can’t move.  All horrible.  

They won’t let Izzy eat because maybe there is a surgery coming but maybe not.  What was the first thing that hubs did? Go across the street to get us some dinner.  So lots of pointing at our food and crying.  Don’t worry iz.  It’s really yum.  I will eat your share.  

I was supposed to go to the Tragically Hip today.  I’m actually pretty sad to be missing this concert, this is the last Hip tour.  So my bro is going in my place.  I told him to cry some tears for me.  Yup sad I’m missing the concert rather than being consumed with concern with my kid who broke her femour.  

All these reasons and so many more, all you other moms might as well stop trying and just hand me the award for mother of the year.  ūüŹÜ

Our baby's journey