Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April 27, 2011 - Therapy (More about Conner!)

Therapy has been going awesome for Conner. He took pretty much the whole month of March off of everything because we just couldn't do it all with me having a c-section, having a new baby in the house, visitors all the time and then me getting sick. It was just too much. But Conner is a great patient (in my opinion) and has been making great strides in therapy.

His speech has taken off. When he turned three, he only had single words, and not very many of them. Now, he is having complete conversations and his language has caught up to typical kids of the same age. It is incredible how far he has come. Now we are working on intelligibility (ability for others to understand him) and some concepts. We are thrilled with how far he has come. I never thought it would happen because it was such slow progress. I love having conversations with Conner and he says the best things. He cracks us up. He is so creative and imaginative. He turns everything in to a rocket ship and makes it blast off. He is still very social and loves playing with his friends from school and regularly requests a trip to their houses. He is still going to Children's for speech therapy twice a week and to the public school once a week for speech. A few weeks ago, Conner started Beaumont's speech preschool. He is going there one morning a week and over the summer, we are going to send him two mornings a week. There are only 5 kids in his class, a teacher and a speech therapist. We have been very happy with it so far. They work on kindergarten readiness (the kids are 3-5 years) so he is working on lots of useful stuff. They do a little fine motor and gross motor work too, so overall it is a great program for him. In just 3 weeks, they said Conner has gone from pretty much silent to being a chatterbox. Conner talks much more when he is comfortable with the environment (like at home, he talks non-stop!).

Conner's fine motor skills still have a long way to go. He has a very hard time with simple fine motor tasks. Yesterday, his therapist taped up three of his fingers so he could only use his thumb and forefinger. She did it at 1 p.m. and he made me leave it on the rest of the day (I had to rip it off at 6 and he cried). I think the bandage made it easier for him to isolate the fingers he wanted to use. I wish we had tried this sooner. Hopefully this will help and we can come up with different exercises to do with different fingers. Conner has the most difficulty with weight bearing on his arms (push up style activities). He doesn't mind the activities where he is pulling or pushing with his arms, but when he has to hold his weight on his arms, he resists. His arms/shoulders/hands are very weak and it seems that no matter how hard he works, they are not getting stronger. This affects his fine motor control greatly. If he can't get better control of his hands naturally, I'm hoping we can find some adaptive stuff to use for school. Overall though, he is doing excellent in OT too. He is seriously an awesome kid!

PT is going well too. Conner is still working on's a work in progress and has been for a while. He wants to do it so bad but just can't get any air. Once he masters jumping, then next is hopping! I don't go back with him any more, so I don't get to see what they are doing but I know he's doing a great job!

Conner started hippotherapy again 2 weeks ago as well. He is loving it even more than before. He gets to help shovel poop, put it in the wheelbarrow and put it in the "poop machine". He has also had the chance to feed the horses too and help take them out to the pasture. He loves going to the farm and I'm pretty sure that he wants his next birthday party at the same place as last year. We have given him several options, but all he wants is the farm! I'm so glad that he loves horses and he is getting therapy and having so much fun at the same time. He doesn't even need us when he's there. He doesn't look for help any more, doesn't want to even get off at the end. It's such a great experience for him and we are lucky we found such an awesome therapist.

So overall, we are very happy with how Conner is doing in therapy. He has a very busy schedule on Tuesdays and Thursdays but he does great with it. I think he is just so used to it. I don't know if we will ever get to a time when he doesn't need it, but if we do, I don't know what we will do with all the free time!

Next maybe a fun post (we do have a little fun too!), i have a ton of catching up to do!

April 27, 2011 - All About Conner - Medical stuff

I haven't done a post all about Conner in so long. So many things have been going on with him and he has changed so much over the past few months. He has handled all the changes in our house so much better than we ever expected possible. He is such an easy going boy and although he does have some pretty impressive tantrums, he is in a good mood most of the time!

Medically, Conner has been doing okay. He was sick for almost 5 weeks straight, starting with a runny nose, then a fever, strep throat, fever again, runny nose the whole time, then ended up with sinus infection that ended up in his eye, so he finally got an antibiotic which seemed to help finally clear everything up (plus they finally had spring break so it gave him some time to heal!). He had to miss a few days of school and felt miserable for a few days, but he seems to be getting back to himself finally. We visited the pediatrician several time during those 5 weeks. Last week, we had a check up with Conner's pulmonologist (who we LOVE!). He is hoping that once his current cough goes away and the weather gets a bit better, we can try to get him off all of his asthma/lung medications for the summer months. That would be great! He added an allergy medicine too because Conner has had some serious circles around his eyes and they have mentioned that at school several times. The side effect of the medicine is sleep so we are hoping that it will also help Conner with his sleep trouble which has continued for months.

We have also been working on trying to get Conner off Prevacid. He went through months of spitting up around the end of last year and beginning of this year, but that seems to have tapered off. We are hoping that Conner will finally outgrow this reflux. We have been weaning him for the past few weeks and he has seemed okay, but now that he is just about off all of it, he has started having some bad "urps" that make him cough and gag, give him a bad taste in his mouth, we will see. We would LOVE to get him medicine free for at least a while, but we will have to just take it one day at a time. The GI doctor was very happy with Conners' weight the last time we went and he said he wouldn't bother me about it again. Conners' weight is fluctuating around 30-31 pounds and he has gotten taller so we are very happy with how that is going. He looks huge to us now and is outgrowing everything. We used to be able to use his clothes for over a year, but now it looks like he's not going to be able to wear last summer's clothes this year. I'm not complaining!

Conner still sees a Rehab doctor. He sent us to get some x-rays done of Conner's spine and hips. Because of his prematurity and low tone, Conner is at risk for hip dislocation and scoliosis. So they wanted to get a baseline picture. So his hips looked fine, but the spine showed a large degree of a curve. The pediatrician said if the degree is greater than 10, she will send a child to an orthopedic doctor, especially a patient as young as Conner. His x-rays showed a 22 degree curve...but after waiting months to get in to the orthopedic surgeon, the doctor is pretty sure that Conner was bending in the picture and his spine looks mostly straight. He, of course, wants him followed every 6 months just to make sure nothing drastically changes, but for now everything looks good. The frustrating thing is that the rehab doctor is always looking for things that are wrong and very rarely focuses on the positive changes in Conner. We would love to quit seeing him...but our pediatrician would like us to continue with him for we will...for now.

Conner's eyes have been a bit of an issue lately. Actually, I'm not sure if they are an issue because he can't really communicate what he sees, how he sees, etc. But in the last few months, we have noticed a lot of squinting, rubbing, difficulty distinguishing objects, etc. We have been going to the eye doctor regularly since Conner was a baby, but the last few times have been VERY difficult because Conner doesn't like the guy. So we are switching to another doctor in the same practice who was highly recommended by Conner's pulmonologist and pediatrician (we trust both of them!). We are going next week, so we will hopefully start to figure out what is going on. Conner is at risk for eye problems because of the retinopathy he had as a baby and because he had laser surgery which decreases peripheral vision. Maybe it's just allergies or something minor...that is the hope.

Well I think that's all the medical stuff...I'll save the rest for another post.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Baby Larson - March 8, 2011

Well since I am VERY far behind in updating our blog, I'm going to try to do a few short posts to catch myself up, mostly so I have a record of everything that has happened up to this point. Things have just been so crazy that I haven't had time when I have felt like updating.

My OB's office was fantastic. They were checking me very regularly and monitoring everything just to make sure everything was going smoothly and that the baby was behaving. I was having a lot of contractions so the doctor wasn't sure if I would make it to my scheduled c-section, but for the last few weeks, I took it very easy and laid in bed a lot to try and make things as easy as possible. I wasn't really worried about the baby coming early because by this point, she was full term, but I was worried about Conner and having someone available to help out with him..and my very good friends were coming for the big date and I didn't want to mess anything up!

On March 8, we headed to the hospital as scheduled. It was so calm and so different than the first time around. My friend, Laurie, got to our house a few days before (so we could go get manicures and pedicures so my nails would look decent!!) to spend time with us (and Conner was in love!). Richard got to our house the night before, so the two of them got Conner all ready for school and dropped him off. I knew he was in good hands, so there was really no worries at all. So everything went totally as planned. My c-section went great. I had some itching like the last time, but not too bad, and I had a little hyperventilating and anxiety during the surgery...but nothing a little oxygen couldn't take care of. The doctor was happy. She checked out my ovaries (because my mom had ovarian cancer) and said they looked very healthy and everything was good. The baby came out crying and she was wide awake and very alert. She didn't have a name at this point...we wanted to see her first. To be honest, I was worried about my emotions up to this point. Because of my previous traumatic experience, I think I was just nervous about getting attached to this new baby until I knew that she was going to be okay (there was never a time when the doctor's thought anything was wrong, I was just nervous and worried all the time). I didn't know how I felt about the whole was such a surprise that I was having a baby at all and even having 9 months to prepare, I still just didn't know if I would be able to bond with this new baby. Well, when she came out crying, I lost it. They held her up, I was crying hysterically. David got to hold her for a few minutes before they took her to clean her up and check her out. This was such a world of difference from my first c-section. They don't let cameras in the delivery room, so we had to wait for photos...but she was so beautiful, full head of hair, alert with big eyes. We were both in love right away. All the worry washed away. We went in to recovery and got to hold the baby and started breastfeeding right away. Unfortunately, her first blood sugar was low, so they had to give her a bit of formula, but after that every sugar they checked was fine. So, after getting a good look and talking it over (and David telling me we had to come up with a name because my Dad was waiting patiently!), our newest addition had a name.

Brennan Faith Larson was born on March 8 at 9:17 a.m. She weighed 8 lbs, 2 oz and was 20.5 inches long. She is perfect and we loved her right away. She is named in loving memory of my mom and David's grandmother, two women who we loved very much.

We had fabulous nursing care in recovery and were quickly moved up to the postpartum unit. Everything went great. I was ready to get moving (but still couldn't feel my legs!). As soon as I was able (about 4 hours after my c-section), I was out of bed and happy about that. The pain was not that bad and my recovery seemed to be going great. No infection this time around...I was very careful about keeping my incision clean and dry. I did not want a repeat of the last time. My blood pressure was fine. No problems. The baby did great. There were a ton of people who wanted to meet her in the hospital.

She was a natural at breastfeeding. She lost a little weight but was eating great. When we came home on Friday, she was 7 lbs, 6 oz and about 2 weeks later was back to her birth weight. The pediatrician had some concern about her hips, but we had an ultrasound when she turned 5 weeks and so far, everything looks good, thank goodness. The doctors were all pleased. I wasn't having much pain and was getting around great. We were happy to go home all at the same time on Friday, April 11.

Two days after we came home, we went to visit the pediatrician for the first time. She had to go back every two days until she started gaining weight...which didn't take long! Within about 10 days, she was back to her birth weight. 

Conner has loved having a new baby in the house. He doesn't quite understand how small she is and that she isn't going to talk to him or play with him just yet, but he is a great big brother. It was a little challenging at first because Conner had a cold, runny nose, fever, strep throat and then sinus infection for the first month of her life so we tried to keep them separated, but he seems to finally be getting better and can get up close to his sister!

Brennan is a miracle in our lives in so many ways. After having such a difficult time getting pregnant and having a difficult pregnancy the first time, losing one child and having a child with a lot of extra needs, we didn't think we would have more kids and we were okay with that. We had come to terms with it and were happy with Conner and how well he is doing. Having a normal full term pregnancy was such a change and I'm glad I got to experience it. Brennan was quite the surprise in our lives and we couldn't be happier.