Sunday, December 11, 2011

Halloween, Blessing Day, Thanksgiving and Santa Claus!

Wow! Times flies when you're having fun. I went back to work on November 14th and Max went into SVT that evening. Cue the guilt. So off we went to Primary Children's ER. They got him hooked up to all of the monitors and the IV team came in to insert a line so they could push the medicine to convert Max out of SVT. Those folks amaze me. The fact that they can find such a tiny vein is truly amazing. Anyway, in the middle of inserting the IV, Max started crying so hard that he converted himself out of SVT. Hooray! The doctor monitored him for an hour and then they let us go home. That was our shortest visit yet.
Three months old on November 21st.
Oops! This picture got out of order. Since we didn't go anywhere for Halloween, this was Max's "costume". He chilled with Cory while I handed out candy.
We blessed Max on November 6th. So many of our friends and family came to spend the day with us. We are truly grateful for their time and sacrifice. The blessing circle was so big - I think we had about 15 people up there. The outpouring of love for our little guy, from people that we care about, brought me to tears. And Cory gave Max a sweet blessing.

Thanksgiving with Aunt Emilee. A big thanks to my friend Linda for giving Max such a cute Thanksgiving onesie. In case you can't see, it says "Mommy's Little Turkey".
We had the Johnson Christmas party at Downata. Max didn't get to swim this year but he'll be out there next year for sure! He didn't seem to mind sitting on Santa's lap.
We also got to see Santa at the Hollingsworth Christmas party. I'm pretty sure Santa told Max he could have whatever he wants this year!

And Great-Grammie got to spend some time cuddling with Max.
Max loves his nanny, Jordan. We are all starting to settle into a routine. Did I mention that Jordan is my cousin? After all that time I spent interviewing nannies, I put a free post on Facebook and found out that Jordan was looking for a job. I could kick myself for all of that wasted time that I could have been napping with Max! It is truly a blessing to have someone that I trust caring for Max. There's no way I could ever take him to a day care. His eating and sleeping schedule is super strict because his medicine schedule is super strict. I don't know how a day care could manage that and keep tabs on his heart rate throughout the day.

Max loves to stand up. His little legs are so strong. He hates to be on his tummy, though. I'm not sure how he's ever going to get the hang of crawling. Max is also starting to reach for toys (with actual coordination) and has a pretty firm grip. He has such a sweet smile. We are still waiting for him to laugh. He's pretty hard to impress. He loves hanging out in his bouncy seat and kicking up a storm. Max usually goes to bed around 10:00 and will sleep until we have to wake him up at 5:00 to take his medicine. Too bad we can't just let him sleep until he wants to. Aunt Karen gave Max his first hair cut on Saturday. He just needed his ears lowered a little bit.

We have an appointment with the cardiologist next week. I hope we can make it until then without another trip to the ER. We woke up on Sunday morning and Max had gone back into SVT. Thank goodness we were back from Idaho - it always makes me nervous to be too far away from Primary Children's. I woke Cory up so we could start to load the car for the ride, and possible stay, at Primary's. I checked Max's heart one more time and he had come out of SVT on his own. He's been super fussy today so it wouldn't surprise me if he's going in and out of SVT. They will weigh him next week and see if they need to increase his medicine dose because of how much he has grown. And speaking of growing, we are finally moving into some of his 3-6 month clothes. At the last pediatrician appointment, Max was only in the 4th percentile for his age. His genes will prevent him from ever being tall but hopefully we can get him a little further from the bottom for his next appointment at the end of the month. :-)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Parenting 501 - Master's Level Course

Our induction into parenthood has been…interesting. Perhaps there's no real way to ease into it but I feel like we've been drinking from a fire hose for the past nine weeks.

One week after Max was born, the Health Department called and told us that Max's newborn screening had come back positive for cystic fibrosis and a metabolic disorder. After two more rounds of tests, they finally determined that the tests were showing a false positive reading and that Max is fine. We breathed a sigh of relief when we found out the news on a Thursday afternoon. We had one weekend to relax and then our world was turned upside down again the following Tuesday.

Max was super fussy and would not eat. He pushed away from me like it hurt him to eat so I thought he just had a lot of gas or perhaps acid reflux. We cajoled him throughout the night and then took him to the pediatrician's office on Tuesday morning. Our regular doctor wasn't in but the doctor that we did see listened to Max's heart (among the other vitals she checked) and suggested that we go to Primary Children's Hospital. Max's heart rate was fast. The doctor suggested that it might be a build-up of gas in his tummy or maybe a mild infection that his body was trying to fight. So we got back in the car and headed to the emergency room. I wasn't particularly panicked - I figured we would be heading home in a few hours with some antibiotics or maybe some acid reflux medicine. Boy was I wrong.

We started out with one nurse and one doctor in the emergency room. Within a matter of 10 minutes, we had a team of 15 people working on Max. His heart should be at ~140 beats / minute - his was 277 beats per minute. And because it was beating so fast, it couldn't push blood effectively to the rest of his body so his major organs were shutting down. The IV team tried to get a line in his body for about 45 minutes before they succeeded. His veins were mostly collapsed because his little body was so dehydrated. The doctors tried to push two doses of a medicine that is supposed to shock his heart back into a normal rhythm but it didn't work because he was so sick. Cory and I had to sit back and watch while they hooked Max up to the defibrillator to shock his heart. They had to do it twice before he finally converted. It was horrible to watch Max's little body jump off that table when they shocked him.

It turns out that Max has something called Superventricular Tachycardia i.e. irregular heart rhythm. A heart has four chambers and each chamber has insulation between them so that the electric current from one chamber can't skip to the next one. In Max's case, the insulation didn't grow properly, which means that every once in a while, he has an extra heartbeat that jumps from one chamber to the other and causes his whole heart to go out of rhythm. The good news is that most kids grow out of it by the time they are one year old. In the meantime, Max has to take three doses of a medication daily that keeps his heart in rhythm.

We stayed in the PICU for a few days and then they transferred us to a regular room. We were released on Saturday and spent a few days at home before Max went back into SVT again on Tuesday. We have to check his heart rate a few times / day with a stethoscope and I noticed that his heart was crazy fast after he ate that afternoon. So back to Primary Children's we went. Thankfully Max responded to the medication they pushed into his system so he didn't have to be shocked again. We stayed in the hospital until Friday. They sent us home with a higher dose of medication and so far Max has been doing great. How fortunate we are to have a world class children's hospital in our backyard. The staff at Primary Children's is amazing.

I've decided that I should get the mother of the year award. I was tired and frustrated with a fussy baby. Turns out he was actually going into cardiac arrest. That's fantastic. We are so lucky that we didn't lose our little Max.

So many wires attached to his little body!
All snuggly in the hospital bed. It was tough to get him out to feed him and love on him. Inevitably I would pull a wire off and set off an alarm at the nurses station.
One month old.
All dressed up in our camo gear. Daddy is gone hunting this weekend. He really wanted to take Max with him...
Liking bath time now.

Our first time going to church (and we only made it to Sacrament meeting due to Max's feeding and medicine schedule). Max is 8 weeks old here.
After a hard day's work.
One of my friends gave Max these darling pumpkin p.j.s'. Here's Mr. Pumpkin Bum!
Two months old.

I'm still not sure what I think about motherhood. I'm still waiting to say it's the best thing I've ever done and that it's totally worth it. I thought I was prepared for how tough the newborn stage was going to be. Everyone told me how tough it was but no one told me that it is absolutely brutal. Of course, perhaps I'll have a different outlook on things now that we've finished three weeks of sleep training. Once Max got out of the hospital, he wouldn't sleep unless he was in my arms sitting upright. I lasted for four days doing that and finally had enough. So the first week was spent getting him to fall asleep in his crib on his own. The second week was spent getting him down to one feeding per night and the last week was spent getting rid of that last nightly feeding. Max still wakes up around 3:30 but he'll go back to sleep once I put a pacifier in his mouth. The world is starting to look a little better now that I can see it again.

Max went in for his two month check-up yesterday. He weighs 9 lbs 9 oz and is 21 inches long. He's in the 6th percentile for his age but considering where he started and what he's been through, his doctor was pretty impressed. We sure love him and pray that he continues to be healthy and strong. What a tough kid!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Max Cory Johnson

Max arrived on August 21, 2011, at 1:58 p.m. He weighed 5 lbs 15 oz and was 19 1/2 inches long. Not too shabby for being exactly three weeks early.

I'm not sure why this turned out blurry but it's probably best that you can't really see how fat I am. We had to be at the hospital at 7:30 a.m. to be induced. I cried the whole way to the hospital. And through the admission process. And while they started hooking me up to all of the equipment. I really didn't want to have a baby that day. I wanted three more weeks (or better yet, five more years).

Dr. Langer prepared us for the long haul. She said that it would likely take 9-12 hours since this was my first baby. So we settled in with a movie and tried to relax. They had to increase the pitocin drip several times before anything really started to happen. I had only had about 10 contractions that I thought were mildly severe (maybe a 5 on a scale of 1-10) when the nurse came in and told me that if I didn't have the epidural now, I wouldn't be able to get it for another hour because the anesthesiologist was going into a C-section and would be tied up with that. I really didn't want the epidural at that point but didn't want to chance it so I went ahead and got it. The nurse checked me before the anesthesiologist started and I was dilated to a three. She checked me after he was finished and I was dilated to a seven. And about 15 minutes later, we started to push. Thank goodness I got the epidural when I did!!!

I'm not sure what I was expecting but pushing was more intense than I thought it would be. Max's heart rate kept dropping so we had to stop and let him stabilize before continuing. I later found out that the cord was wrapped around his neck twice, which is what was causing the problem. Thank goodness they didn't tell me that at the time! I pushed for about 40 minutes and then, voila, the doctor placed a screaming (rather blue) baby on my belly. We had been in labor for six hours. What a surreal moment. It probably wasn't until we left the hospital that I fully realized that we were going home with a baby. Everything was just a blur up until that point. He sure is a handsome little guy and we have loved having him in our home.
Shortly after delivery.First family photo.
Daddy got Max all strapped into the car seat to go home. I was so happy to leave that hospital! One of my friends told me that she loves being in the hospital because the nurses take care of everything and she feels like she is on vacation. What a joke! That hospital room door brought a constant barrage of people who wanted to pick at me or Max. I had to go home so that I could take a decent nap.
First ride in Daddy's truck.
And speaking of trucks, my brother and SIL sent us this darling flower arrangement. Cory, my dad and my brother all have black Ford pick-up trucks. So the card on this arrangement said, "we didn't want Max to be the only boy in the family who didn't have his own Ford truck." So cute!
This kid is a rock star when it comes to sleeping. We usually have to wake him up to eat. And after he's finished eating, he just hangs out and looks around. For a few nights, he kept me up all night and I couldn't figure out what was wrong. I knew he had a full belly and dry diaper but he would scream when I tried to put him in the bassinet. He would sleep like a champ in his swing, though. It took me a while but I finally figured out that he probably has a little bit of acid reflux and being propped up helps to keep his tummy settled. So we elevated the head of his bassinet and he slept great last night. Good grief! Let's hope the learning curve isn't that steep with everything or we are going to have "the stupidest parents ever" plastered to our foreheads.
Jared and Camille came to visit and wanted to see the bear rug. And since we had it out, Cory decided Max needed to try it out. The only regret: Max wasn't wearing camo at the time. You should see this kid's wardrobe. He has enough camo to last him a lifetime!
After the first bath. Which he hated. Typical boy.
Houdini ain't got nothin' on this kid. He can get out of a swaddle so fast! Another learning curve for the rookie parents. Max likes to have his hands out. Duly noted (after another round of screaming and parents who looked on with puzzled faces).

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ready Or Not!

After two weeks of bed rest (which I didn't really do a very good job of), I went back to the doctor and there was no change in my cervix. He took me off bed rest just in time to allow me to go to Bear Lake with both the Johnson and Hollingsworth families. Both families wanted to have a family outing this year, both families wanted to go to Bear Lake and both families wanted to go on the same weekend. So we smooshed it all together and had a great time! I was so relieved to be able to go. I felt like I hadn't had any fun all summer and I desperately needed a get-away. If at all possible, I don't think we'll be doing another summer pregnancy. If I've got to be cooped up inside, it might as well be during the winter when you can't do anything here anyway.

The big kids are making a sand castle.

Gracie and Cory testing out the water.

Putting the finishing touches on the mermaid tail.

The Johnson girls made the trek down to Salt Lake to throw me a baby shower. It was so nice of them all to come down here to me! We watched "The Help", had great Thai food and Baby J got spoiled rotten. Thank you so much!!

I had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday and I knew my doctor wasn't going to be happy with my blood pressure. I've been taking blood pressure medicine since we were 20 weeks along. No signs of preeclampsia - just high blood pressure. I've been checking my blood pressure every night before going to bed and since last Wednesday, the readings have been climbing. I told Cory that it wouldn't surprise me if Dr. Langer sent us straight to L&D after our appointment on Wednesday. We even had our bags packed and everything. I ran like a mad woman on Wednesday morning trying to finish stuff at work, get several loads of laundry done, etc. By the time I got to the doctor's office, my blood pressure was 158/110.

Dr. Langer sent us down to the ultrasound tech to do a growth check. They think Baby J weighs 6 lbs. 14 oz and my fluid levels look good. The doctor said he could stay in there for a few more days until we officially reach full term. We are 37 weeks tomorrow and we are scheduled to be induced at 7:30 a.m.

Wow! The past three days have been a whirlwind. We've crammed what we should have done in three weeks into three days. Surprisingly, my blood pressure has dropped over the past three days. I must confess that it wouldn't hurt my feelings if they sent us home tomorrow and we didn't have to deliver. I've been slamming on the brakes harder and harder the closer we get to the delivery date. I'm not sure if I want kids after all. I'm still at the point where I'm saying, "it would be nice to have kids someday." I'm not sure if I'm ready to give up my life starting tomorrow.

Cory made a very nice dinner reservation last night and I almost cried thinking this is the last time we'll be able to do this without having to worry about a baby sitter and the house burning down while we're gone. I ran some errands today and cranked up my music. Might as well enjoy that for the last time, too. I really hope it's worth it. I really hope that when parents say, "it's the best thing you'll ever do," that that's not just some standard rhetoric that they tell themselves in order to get through the daily grind. I hope I bond with this baby. I hope it truly is a magical moment to hear him cry for the first time. I hope we don't suck as parents. Let's hope we don't screw you up too badly, kiddo. See you tomorrow!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Keep Cookin' Baby J!

We've reached the 33-week mark. Hooray! Only seven more weeks to go…and it actually might be closer to four weeks. I've been going in for ultrasounds every two weeks so the docs can monitor my cervix length. At my appointment on Wednesday, my cervix had gone from 1.8 cm at the last appt down to 1 cm. But there's no signs of funneling or dilation. So I'm officially on modified bed rest for the next two weeks. They are hoping that my cervix will lengthen back out if I take some of the pressure off of it. What a pain! I can be up on my feet for 2-3 hours / day and thankfully the doctor gave me permission to prop myself up in bed and keep working. I am nowhere near ready to leave work for maternity leave. I just barely started training my team 1 1/2 weeks ago! Good thing no one at work can tell the difference between me sitting at my desk and me sitting in bed.

Physically, this pregnancy has been a breeze. Which is why, I suspect, I've landed myself on bed rest. I have a two-page to-do list and tons of energy to keep plowing through it. And that's exactly what I've been doing. Mentally - I'm done with this pregnancy. I'm tired of worrying about every little twitch and glitch that happens to my body on a daily basis and wondering if this is the moment when I'll go into labor. The specialist that I'm seeing wasn't worried enough to give me a steroid shot for Baby J's lung development. He thinks I'll keep carrying him for approximately four more weeks. And ever since my 20-week appointment when they first noticed the shorter cervix length, I've had it in my head that we would be delivering around three weeks early (no idea why). So here's to hoping that my intuition and the doctor's prediction are both wrong and that this kid stays in there until 40 weeks. Baby J currently weighs 4 lbs 5 oz and is very healthy and strong.

In addition to me going crazy, we may need to have this kid sooner rather than later if we want any of our dishes or other valuables to survive. I really thought that getting clumsy towards the end of pregnancy was just an old wives tale because I seemed to be doing fine. Not so much anymore. So far, we are down three (of my favorite) bowls, two glasses and one container of powder foundation. The foundation spill was probably the best. I've taken to carrying a box fan with me everywhere I go (in addition to blasting the AC). The fan is especially useful when getting ready in the morning. It helps prevent melting when I'm blow-drying my hair or trying to put on my make-up. When I dropped the foundation container, not only did it spill everywhere on the floor, but the fan also spread the powder all over me and the rest of the bathroom. Awesome.

Apparently I still look "cool". Two weeks ago I went to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things. This kid ran up to me just as I walked in the door and said, "Hey you look cool (at which point I glanced down at my belly and thought, really, I look cool??). Will you buy me some alcohol?" What on earth?? It took me a minute to process and then I just busted up laughing. No, I will not buy you any alcohol. Sheesh.

Cory and I have been attending some birthing classes. We've taken two and still have two more to go. We watched the infamous birthing video in the first class. Honestly, it wasn't as bad as I remember it being when I watched it 20 years ago in 8th grade health class. But my poor husband…Cory was certain he was going to throw-up. And I couldn't help thinking, really, you can skin a bear but you can't watch a birthing video??? I do not understand. I've already warned my doctor that she may have two patients in L&D if Cory goes down. She just laughed and said that they are used to watching the husbands pretty closely (if not discretely) during delivery. It's good to know that they'll keep an eye on him so that I can focus on the task at hand.

And speaking of the task at hand, it's definitely starting to become much more clear that there is no good way to get out this pregnancy. I've decided that I don't want to go through L&D. Surely someone can come up with something better during the next four weeks??? Or even better…Baby J can just stay in there forever more and we'll call it good!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Baby Shower

I attended my "very first, real life, baby shower today". At least that's what Cory called it. This whole baby thing is starting to feel a little more real now. And I realize that it's probably a little early to be having a baby shower but it's virtually impossible to schedule anything with the Hollingsworth side of my family in the months of July and August. We couldn't even make it to the end of June because everyone's schedules were getting filled up.

My sister-in-law, Karen, made these adorable invitations. Don't mind the strips of paper - I'm just trying to protect the innocent.

My cousin, Courtney, was kind enough to host everyone at her house (she has a fabulous backyard!) The decorations were super cute and the food was amazing!
My mom made this fun diaper cake.

Ilene and Grammie are pictured here. Ilene made some darling receiving blankets and burp rags for Baby J. She is so talented!
Morgan, Britney, Bristol and Aunt Clarice.
Baby J definitely got spoiled. Thank you everyone!!
Karen, Paisley and Beth.
Thanks for sharing your beautiful home and backyard with us, Court!