Monday, August 24, 2009

Grab a cup of coffee, this is a long one....

I’ve been back at work three full weeks now and though I miss my days with Lucy, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be…….I just now spend my nights staring at Lucy and exclaiming over and over again how lucky we are….maybe being a working Mum makes one appreciate their child more….

Anyway, so I’m back at work, Week 1…that was the week Lucy gave the Day Care Lady a big grin and I got all bent out of shape. The week progresses smoothly…as a family we’re slipping into a routine and Lucy is adjusting well to being in someone else’s care. We also put a bid in on a townhouse in Woburn (three bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, a finished basement and a little yard for Lucy to play in). Our bid was accepted by the sellers and it seems we’re on our way to becoming homeowners…though it is a short sale so we have to wait for the bank who owns the seller’s loan to approve it.

That Friday (of week 1, 8.6.09) we take Lucy to the cardiologist for a follow up to her visit three months ago.

When Lucy was born, she had as most babies do, a bit of a heart murmur. Our pediatrician, who we really like and Lucy adores, likes to err on the side of caution so when the murmur was detected, she sent us to Mass General to see a cardiologist (Lucy was not quite a month old). Lucy handled the ultrasound like an old pro, she actually fell asleep and let the technician do what she had to do with minimal fighting.

While there, the cardiologist also discovered that Lucy’s pulmonary valve (the one that pumps the blood out) was not as open as it should be….no need to panic she says, it will not affect her day to day life and it’s something she should grow out of…and though it’s not as common as a murmur, it is not so uncommon that we need to worry ourselves. We leave feeling like champs for not freaking out and say a prayer thanking God for not making it worse and asking him to just watch over her a bit more closely so it does not become worse…

Fast forward back to August 6th and Lucy’s follow up appointment –

This time, Lucy fights the technician…she squirms and screams and cries and kicks and there is no way in hell she is going to stand for this person bearing down on her little chest with a wand and a wad of jelly….at one point, the technician went and asked the doctor if she really needed to take all the requested shots – she returned a few minutes later quite defeated and said yes, we have to do the neck shot – not sure who was more pissed off, Lucy or the technician. She finally gets what she needs and ten minutes later, the Doctor and her resident arrive to tell us that the valve is still not opening and now the murmur has doubled in size….caught us a bit off guard…I think the doctor was just as surprised as we were …..She seemed to feel pretty bad delivering us the news.

Now Sean and I in a crises function like this: he hears what is being said but tends to shut down a bit…that is he takes everything in but cannot process anything straight away and at the same time, he is silently panicking and thinking about what could happen (and usually, jumps to the worst case scenario) I on the other hand tend to be able to handle the news, remain calm and rationale, take it in, ask some follow up questions and at the same time, crack a couple jokes to hide my terror and panic. It also means that later, after this has set in, I’ll panic and Sean will be the calm rationale one…it really is a good balance and always works out in the end. Lucy was the only one who maintained her composure as she lay in my arms sucking her binky and tugging her ear (which would seemingly indicate an earache in most children but for her, tugging on her ear is like a security/calming thing)

So, what does this mean? Well, simply put, the murmur means that more blood is rushing into the heart than should be, which on its own is not a huge issue because a normal pulmonary valve could pump it out with no problem. But, because Birdie’s valve is not as open as it should be, the blood is not pumping out at a consistent and normal rate…which means the chambers of her heart, in time, could become enlarged….now I of course have simplified this and am focusing on the bottom line which really is not that grim……this is something she could grow out of and if not, when she is one, a procedure will be performed to open the valve. Once the valve is open, the murmur should close on its own. And if the murmur does not close or improve, it can be closed when she is a bit older. So not terrible news by any stretch of the imagination - and again, no impact on her day to day life, it’s just something that has to be watched…..

So we leave a bit shell shocked but overall, just fine. Its late in the day, appointment took longer than expected and at this point, dropping Lucy off at Day Care and heading to work would be a bit of a waste so instead, we head home. Birdie decides she wants to eat again and then needs some sleep so I settle her, do some work from home and Sean heads out to the store as Lucy’s Christening is this very weekend!

That’s right, her holy bath, her sacramental dunking, her welcome to God’s World party is on Sunday and we have friends and family coming in…as a matter of fact, at any moment, my dear dear friend Annette from IL should be calling to tell me she and her sister have arrived safely and are at their hotel. Annette is the best friend one could ever have…she’ll never judge you (even when you’re being an ass or do something stupid), she always forgives you (even when you’re being an ass or do something stupid) and she is ALWAYS there for the most important days in your life.

The weekend is perfect: Annette arrives safely; we stay up late Friday night catching up. Saturday we take Annette and Amber all around Boston…and Lucy has her first dunk in the Frog Pond (the Frog Pond is located on the Boston Commons – during the winter, it is an outdoor public skating rink, in the summer, it is filled with water and is a great big old wading pool…) Noni and Papa arrive from Maine on Saturday and we all head over to Auntie Mikel and Uncle Win’s for a cook out….Auntie Melissa was there from NY, Jenny and Hannah hung out with us – we had red hot dogs (fat free…what the eff Mikie?!?) and then cupcakes to celebrate my and Noni’s birthday. Sunday, Auntie Angela, Uncle Don, Auntie Flea and Cousin Cooper made their way down from Maine – along with some other very special friends and family from the greater Boston area and away (thanks Mr and Mrs Smith who also came down from Bangor and Mike and Cathy, thanks for missing Melissa’s tournament…I later found out that Melissa’s team took home the big trophy and now feel like a real heel….I’m going to have to buy her something)

The Christening was wonderful – Lucy yelled through the whole thing but she’s got Jesus now and he’s got her so all is right with the world. We had all our family and friends back to the house for some snacks and cake (shout out to Mary for making the world’s best cakes AGAIN (she made our wedding cakes) and for letting us use the yard) Weather was decent, food was yummy and the company was comforting…but I’m not going to lie, I was exhausted the whole day and at a few key moments had no idea what was going on around me.

8.10-8.12: The next week starts out with me bitching about Day Care again..I’m complaining that I don’t think they change Lucy’s diaper enough nor do I think they get her clean enough after her diaper has been changed (know what I mean?) Wednesday (8.12) rolls around and we’re scheduled to sign the P&S at 6pm that night on the house…….when I pick Lucy up, she looks and sounds miserable…snotty nose, red red eyes, feels like she running a bit of a fever and she is fussier than I have ever seen here.

Lucy and I meet Sean at the Realtor’s office and I tell him straight away something is wrong with her….the whole time we are there she is fussing, crying, squirming, nothing calms her down and eating is the last thing she wants to do. In the meantime, we are signing our life away and handing over the biggest check I have ever seen in my life! My heart is beating fast, my blood pressure is rising but it feels like my body temperature is dropping….there’s sweat on my upper lip and my right hand is shaking…..I’m not sure if it’s because we just spent more money than I ever dreamed of spending or because my baby is sick and out of sorts and I can’t fix it or because everything at work is a mess and I see no resolution in sight or because I haven’t gotten as used to our new routine as I hoped I would….I’m 37 years old and I want my Mom and Dad…..but Sean reaches over, gives my hand a quick squeeze, smiles and tells me we’re doing the right thing and Birdie will be okay once we get her home. My body starts to stabilize and Birdie is now whimpering instead of full on crying and just snuggling against me.

We get her home, take her temperature (it’s a bit high but not too high) and try to get her to sleep – she will sleep nowhere except in my arms on my chest and even then, only for 20 minute intervals. We take her temp again and it is well over 102…to the ER says the triage nurse on the 24 hour care line. So off we go …poor Birdie….long story short, after lost of poking, prodding, one catheter, a bunch of x-rays and two attempts to collect blood (and one IV feed let in her arm which was then wrapped onto a split so she would not move), it is determined that she has a high grade urinary tract infection.

8.13: Home we go at 5:30am – Daddy drops us off and heads down to the Pharmacy to get her prescription – we then have a family snuggle and sleep for a couple hours. I work from home, Sean heads off to work and Birdie spends the day licking her wounds and feeling sorry for herself (I do too and admit to coddling her a bit). The Day Care Lady calls that night, I tell her what happened, she is all apologetic and concerned….I hate Day Care

8.14: I drop Lucy off Friday as I have to get back to work – she seems and has no qualms about staying at Day Care….so I do the walk of guilt back to the car and head to work. I pick her up that afternoon for a follow up doctor’s appointment and she is all smiles….antibiotics are clearly kicking in and Mummy is finally relaxing.

8.15-8.16: It’s the weekend, Sean spends Saturday with some friends, Birdie and I stay home relaxing (actually, she was a bit of a handful that day but I’m over it) Sunday are errands and cleaning – but it’s just us and that’s nice for a change.

8.17: The week starts out with little or no fanfare – we meet with the mortgage guy Monday night and though we are scared we’ll be poor for the rest of our lives, we know we’re doing the right thing – we’ve chosen a house we can afford and a home in which our little family will be comfortable and can start building our own memories and traditions. I always thought I’d settle back in Maine, down the street from my parents…..but I am now officially a transplant to Massachusetts…..but for the record, I am not a liberal or a Kennedy supporter……

8.20 We have another appointment with Dr Harper – just the regular old 4 month appointment for Birdie…who has grown to 25.5 inches, has a head the size of Texas (ok, it’s only 16” but when you say it out loud, it seems as big as Texas) and weighs in at 15lbs!!!!!! So there heart murmur, stubborn pulmonary valve and pesky UTI – Birdie is still going to grow no matter what you try to do!!! She is healthy, developing as she should be and as soon as her infection clears up and she finishes her antibiotic, she gets to start on rice cereal!!

8.22 – 8.23: We spent Saturday being a pretty lazy family – we slept in (all three of us)…ate a leisurely breakfast and took our time getting cleaned up and dressed (a call from Auntie Mike got us in gear as she was on her way over to pick up Uncle Win’s cooler we borrowed)….we headed out to the Natick Mall and just wandered around people watching. Sunday was more of the same thing – Mass in the morning and then a follow up visit to the doctor (yes, the pediatrician has office hours on Sundays) Found out that Lucy’s UTI has cleared up…so now all we have to do is go tomorrow (Tuesday) for a renal ultrasound and a VCUG (don’t be impressed that I’m throwing down all these medical terms, I’m just copying them off the paperwork the doctor gave me)

Sean is off this week as the American Folk Festival begins Friday and he has worked it every year with my Dad since we met –and he loves it! It gets him outside, working hard and, to boot, he gets to hear some kick ass music. I tried to volunteer one year but I was crap at it – I really am the worst volunteer ever. If I had not left, I think I would have been fired…..and who wants to be known as the volunteer that was fired? So I don’t volunteer – I go for the people watching, the kettle corn and the blueberry smoothies. And if I happen to hear the music, lucky me because some of it is pretty good. Here’s the link in case you want to check it out – Truthfully? It is a pretty impressive feat...I mean to pull a festival like this off in Bangor, Maine with such a high success rate – I’m pretty proud of my Dad, Sean, and my sisters Felicia and Teresa for the work they do with it. My Dad has become a roadie as he travels to Virginia and Montana to help with similar Festivals.

So I’m working today, Sean is at home “getting stuff done” and Lucy is at Day Care (probably grinning the little imp!) Tomorrow, I’ll work in the morning then we have her tests and hopefully will head up to Maine for the rest of the week….and I’ll be blogging......Big Jack tripped the house out with Wi-Fi.

Maria, the Mom

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