Friday, January 30, 2009

Nathan's Clubfoot

When I was pregnant with Nathan I was sent for a Level 2 U/S at 20 weeks. At that U/S the tech was very nice, but very business like. She never mentioned anything good or bad about what she was seeing. That is their job: they are not supposed to say the good stuff or else when they are quiet a nervous mother will assume the worst. I'd had 11 U/S prior to this one so I was calm and just considered it routine. She left the room and said that she was going to look at the images and be sure that she had everything she needed. She then came back and said, “This is not something I really do, but the doctor that is on staff today was called away for an emergency c-section.” Now I was a nervous. I had driven to this appointment on my own and was all alone. She then said to me, “The left foot appears to be clubbed.” I was crying at this point. All I knew of clubfoot are the images shown on Save the Children commercials and others like it. She was very calming and told me that a report would be sent to my OB, and that I needed to reschedule for another U/S in one month. I left that appointment in a crying daze. I was bawling on the way home and scared about what was in store for my poor little baby. I blamed myself for being so sick, for the medications I had to take, for everything that was going wrong with my pregnancy.

After calming down and finding horrible photos on the internet, I found a non-surgical procedure to correct his foot. It's called the Ponseti Method, named for Ignacio Ponseti who developed this amazing procedure. I began to research it more and look for a Ponseti certified doctor with a great reputation. I found that one of the best, Dr. Dobbs, worked right here at St. Louis Children's Hospital (as well as Shriner's). I set up an appointment with him before Nathan was born. I met him and his nurse Kristina and loved them both. I was teary for that appointment and they were so reassuring that he would never be in pain. I did not want him to have surgery. Surgery would mean that he would most likely have pain as he grew older, a foot that did not look 'normal', and more surgeries as he grew, not to mention the fear of the complications of any surgery.

When he was born we called to schedule an appointment. He was 8 weeks when he began treatment because he was small and Dr. Dobbs likes to wait until a baby is 7 pounds. He got his first cast and didn't cry during the procedure. He did not like the removal the following week, but the warm cast being applied was quite calming to him. He needed 5 casts (a new one each week. Each new cast his foot was moved a tiny bit more into the correct position. He had a tenotomy which is a very small poke of the heal tendon to loosen his ankle and he didn't cry, just sucked his bottle. Then his last cast (#5) was applied.

After he was done with his casts he was given a brace to wear for 23 hours a day. Eventually this wear time was decreased and he now only wears it when he is sleeping. He doesn't mind getting it on at all and actually does not like to sleep without if we are away and don't have it with us. The brace is a new version of the original brace used in the Ponseti Method. Dr. Dobbs created a brace that allows the baby to move their feet independently. Prior to his brace, the only brace used was a solid bar connected to 2 shoes. The child could move their feet together up and down and bent and straight, but not kick them one at a time. With the Dobbs brace, Nathan could move freely like other babies and keep his leg muscles strong and stretched while wearing it. It was very easy for him to move around and in no way restricted his development. He crawled and pulled up and cruised as early or earlier than the typical age for any baby.

His foot is as perfect as any and matches his right foot in size and shape. No one would ever know that he was born with a clubfoot and he will be able to run, jump, and play sports. He'll be wearing the brace when he's sleeping until he's 4 or 5 and my only concern is how he will sleep the first couple nights after he's not using it anymore.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hey Baby, What's Your Sign?

Today Nathan decided he would go into Carson's room and throw all the books from his shelf onto the floor. By throw, I don't mean drop, I mean sling around the room. This has happened before, but not for awhile. Greg told him to pick them up and put them back on the shelf. He responded with the ever so popular toddler, "NO" and his little 'you know I'm super cute' smirk. Greg put him into time-out which lasted quite awhile before he calmed down. He eventually said he was sorry and Greg went back to Carson's room with him and told him to pick up the books only to get the same response. This of course meant another long time-out, the eventual 'sorry' and the cycled continued. After four time-outs he finally began to slowly pick up the books and stack them back onto the shelf. It was time for nap then and after the boys were tucked into their beds Greg came into the living room and said to me, "that boy is SO bull headed!" Well, of course I had to have two May boys born under the sign of Taurus. Why must that boy give credence to astrology?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Polly want a cracker?

I know, I know, it's normal for his age, but oh my it makes me nutty sometimes...Carson loves to repeat things. If he sees a video or reads a story or sees a commercial than he's running around the house for weeks reciting the lines. Oh, I'm so tired of hearing "Nationwide is on your side", "To infinity and beyond!", and "Spiderman" complete with sound effects and pretend web tossing. That one is the oddest since he's never seen a spider man video or cartoon. Oh the things they pick up (sigh).
Yesterday I was so excited for lunch time because I figured at least he'd have his mouth full some of the time and he knows it's against the rules to be loud at the table and scream out those type of lines. He ate all his lunch and then asked for crackers; round ones specifically. He always wants crackers and would eat nothing else if allowed. After I informed him the round ones were all gone and his choice was square or rectangles, I realized he's like a parrot. He repeats everything he hears, most of what we say to him, and he loves crackers.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Payback is a *itch

Carson was such a mess yesterday. He was pushing every button he could on both Nathan and me. I was at my wits end and then he shoved Nathan who was quietly playing with a puzzle and grabbed the alligator shaped piece from his hand. I was telling Carson to "Come here right now!" and he ran from me. Nathan chased him and when Nathan grabbed for the piece, Carson grabbed his wrist hard and grunted/yelled at him. I got up and took the piece from Carson and handed it to Nathan. Carson was then put in time out. I sat back onto the couch just as Nathan headed for Carson with the puzzle piece.

Now Nathan often feels badly when Carson's in time out and tries to sit with him and comfort him.

This time was not for comfort...he walked over to Carson's time out spot and whacked him right in the mouth with the wooden alligator. Now of course this sent Nathan to time out as well, but it also sent me to the kitchen covering my mouth trying not to laugh while getting a wet rag to clean Carson's blood covered hands and face.

It was wrong. Very wrong. We do not at all condone hitting in our home, but I couldn't help thinking it was a bit deserved.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Received this and it''s too true not to share.

The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from
birth to 18 and came up with $160,140.00 for a middle income family.
Talk about price shock! That doesn't even touch college tuition.

But $160,140.00 isn't so bad if you break it down. It translates into:

* $8,896.66 a year,
* $741.38 a month, or
* $171.08 a week.
* That's a mere $24.24 a day!
* Just over a dollar an hour.

Still, you might think the best financial advice is don't have children
if you want to be 'rich.' Actually, it is just the opposite.
What do you get for your $160,140.00?

* Naming rights. First, middle, and last!
* Glimpses of God every day.
* Giggles under the covers every night.
* More love than your heart can hold.
* Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.
* Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies.
* A hand to hold, usually covered with jelly or chocolate.
* A partner for blowing bubbles and flying kites.
* Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said
or how your stocks performed that day.

For $160,140.00, you never have to grow up. You get to:
* finger-paint,
* carve pumpkins,
* play hide-and-seek,
* catch lightning bugs, and
* never stop believing in Santa Claus.

You have an excuse to:
* keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh,
* watch Saturday morning cartoons,
* go to Disney movies, and
* wish on stars.
* You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator
magnets and collect! spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand
prints set in clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters
for Father's Day.

For a mere $24.24 a day, there is no greater bang for your buck. You
get to be a hero just for:

* retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof,
* taking the training wheels off a bike,
* removing a splinter,
* filling a wading pool,
* coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team
that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.

You get a front row seat in history to witness the:
* first step,
* first word,
* first bra,
* first date, and
* first time behind the wheel.

You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family
tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called
grandchildren and great grandchildren. You get an education in
psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human
sexuality that no college can match.

In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there under God. You have all
the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed,
patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and
love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without
counting the cost. That is quite a deal for the price!!!!!!

The Things They Learn

Yesterday at lunch time Carson said to me, "I use my front incisors to bite my pizza, Mommy". I just love the funny things they learn.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Economy Has Hit Us Now.

Well, we've finally been affected in a way that really hurts. Greg's whole plant is going to only 4 day weeks starting this week. So we can not pay our bills with that. We were living on his check barely before and were stealing from our savings some too. I'm scared. I'm crying and anxious. We're figuring things out right now. After my next psych appointment, I'm hoping I won't need to go back for awhile and that I can find a job to make a little extra money too.

I hate the idea of getting a job at night b/c it not only means that we will pretty much never be together as a family, but that I'll be up late and then the whole taking my Ambien and getting more sleep to help with my anxiety and depression won't be an option. I know that I will not find a job in this little town during the day that will pay for 2 children to go to daycare so I have to find something that allows me to still be home during the day with them.

I just hope that Obama's ready to hit the ground running and has some good ideas to help out quickly while he works on something more long term. Please let tomorrow be the start of something good. Because truth is, I'm scared. I'm trying to smile and tell myself that we'll get through this and won't lose the house or not be able to pay the countless medical bills that I seem to accumulate, but I'm not really convincing myself. Let tomorrow fill me with the hope it seems to be flooding into the hearts of so many Americans.