Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More Club Feet Updates

Well, we drove back to Kansas City yesterday and met up with Shirley at the hospital for another cast change. I drove my car while Alyssa and Logan slept in the backseat, and my mom followed us in the bug so Alyssa could drive back to Manhattan from KC.

The doc is still really happy with Logan's progress, and he is planning to do bilateral tenonotomies next Wednesday, November 5th. Originally he had hoped that he would not have to do one on the right foot, but he thinks the heel is marginally tight, and that it is safer to go ahead and do it now instead of later.

Logan will have to go in for same day surgery, and he will have to undergo general anesthesia for the tenonotomies. After the tenonotomies, Logan will be casted, and he will wear those casts for about 2 1/2 more weeks. He should have those casts removed the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and if all goes well, he will be in orthopedic shoes after that.

I will drive down Wednesday, and Shirley and I will both be with Alyssa while Logan is in surgery. We'll then take him back to Shirley's house in Shawnee, KS, and I'll spend the night with them so Shirley and I can both be there to help Alyssa and Logan if needed.

Please keep Logan and Alyssa in your prayers. It is a minor surgery, but the anesthesia is the riskiest part of the procedure, and it is always a little scary to put a 5 week old baby to sleep. Also, it is incredibly difficult to be the parent of said baby, and to sit patiently in a waiting room while your baby is being intubated, sedated, and cut. I know, because I went through it 5 times with Alyssa and once with Christian. It is not fun. However, Logan is in excellent hands with both Dr. Sinclair, and our loving Lord who I know will protect both him and his mother.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Makes a Mother Proud

How do you make your momma proud? You dress up in a pink chiffon dress and a disgusting red wig, go out on stage and perform a Shakesphearean comedy relief role so well that you make the audience pee their pants.

Great work Christian.

He started out as a guy

Then "transformed" in the second act

Who's the man now?

His leading man

Charming all of the boys

Part of his cheering section

Meemaw, I think he favors you

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Greatest Pumpkin

My Aunt Susie sent Logan this pumpkin hat and Halloween socks. She (a Longhorn fan) said that it might be the only way she would ever get orange on him.

Joy, a friend of mine from work gave him the pumpkin onesie. Her little girl Taylor (whom Alyssa used to babysit for) picked it out.

We also took the opportunity to take some 4 generation pictures while my mom was here, and before the beautiful autumn weather gave way to frigid winter.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Monarch Football

Football season is over! OK, that isn't entirely true. If you're a Wildcat, Bama, Longhorn, or Husker (gag) fan you still have a few more weeks left, but if you are a LaVista Junior High School Monarch fan like I am, the season is finished. This year, for the first time ever, Nicholas played football for the Monarchs.

Christian has played football for the past 3 years, but this year he decided to take a break because of his very hectic schedule with show choir, drama, and oh yes school work. He's in the 10th grade, and he's really trying to concentrate on his studies. Christian loves football, and while I'm proud of everything he does, I hated every minute of his football career. I worried during every practice that he would have an asthma exacerbation or get hurt, and I can't say that I was disappointed when he decided not to play this year. Then, to my utter horror, Nicholas came home with a permission slip for football.

Just when I thought I could relax a little, Nicholas is now on the field. I never thought that this would happen because, to put it nicely, Nicholas doesn't like to run. I also worry about him getting hurt or getting heat exhaustion, and I almost told him that he couldn't play, but I decided to let him give it a try. Guess what? He loves it too!

So, off he went at 7am for show choir practice before school, and then after school he stayed for football practice until 6pm. He came home exhausted and starving and showed more confidence, pride, and determination than I have ever seen in him. His team went undefeated, and he finished the season exhilarated. He also kept up his already excellent grades despite of the demanding schedule.

I'm really proud of Nicholas for trying something new even though I'm sure it was very intimidating. I've learned to trust Nicholas to make good decisions, and every day my sweet little (big) boy still surprises me. I love you Nickle Pickle.

Line of scrimmage stance

Christian took this picture, he has a great eye

Another shot Christian took

Leaving the LVJHS field for the last time

Sad it's over

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Club Feet Progress

I thought I'd post some pictures of Logan's treatment progress.

Alyssa and Shirley took him back to the doctor on October 13th, and he got his first set of casts changed. The doc was extremely happy with the progress of his correction, and so was Alyssa.

After the first cast casts came off.

Just one week of casting, and showing great progress.

My mom flew in to visit on the 18th, and we drove Alyssa and Logan back down to Kansas City yesterday to get his casts changed again. Wow, what a difference. I am extremely happy with how his feet look. The doctor says he will continue to cast the right foot, but it is in the position he wants, so he doesn't have to do any more correction to it.

The left foot needs a couple of more casts, and then he will need a tenonotomy (snipping of the Achilles tendon) on the left foot only. After the tenonotomy he will have casts for 2-3 more weeks and then corrective shoes and a bar. Hopefully he will be out of casts completely by Thanksgiving.

After his second set of casts came off.

He can touch his soles together now instead of his toes.

She doesn't look like a Great Grandmother does she?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ballet Shoes

I love ballet shoes. More specifically I love pointe shoes. I love the way the soft pink satin fits the foot's form and flows into the flawless pink tights that smooth out the natural color variations of the foot and leg. I also love the perfect arch of the ballet dancer's foot when "en pointe".

I started taking ballet in 3rd grade, and I was so disappointed that I didn't get to immediately wear "toe shoes". I idolized the beautiful long legged and graceful dancers, and I couldn't wait to be one of them. My teacher Inge explained to us that we had to strengthen our legs, feet, and ankles before we would be allowed our pointe shoes. I worked and worked, but unfortunately my body was not the prime example of a ballet dancer's body, so it took me a very long time to get my new shoes.

Finally, in 5th grade I got to buy those elusive and beautiful shoes. I was so excited when we went to the dance store and I got fitted for my shoes. I remember how I sat and stared at the beautiful pink shoes in their box all night, feeling the smoothness of the fabric and smelling the leather of the soles. I dreamed that I would put them on dance like all of those graceful swans I admired.

Whoa was I wrong. Those shoes hurt like heck, and I got blisters on my toes the first day. I felt like I was walking around in wooden shoes, and I couldn't arch my foot in them to save my life. Everything I did was more difficult, and after my first day in class, I couldn't wait to take them off.

Oh well, like I said I wasn't really built to be a ballet dancer. However, I still love to watch prima ballerinas in action, and I stand in awe of what they do. I also still love the look of an arched foot in an immaculate pointe shoe and pink tights. When looking at photos like the one above, I can almost feel the satin and smell the leather, and I can relish in the dream of what I once wanted to be.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Wisdom of Christian

Ok. I'll admit it. All of my computers now have wallpaper of Logan. I put a delicious picture of his sweet baby face on my laptop, and I snatched a shot Alyssa had on Facebook for my desktop. It is hilarious. He has his frog slippers over his casts. Alyssa calls it his T-rex feet picture.

When Christian got home from Showchoir practice, I showed him the picture and he made a smart remark about being replaced. Sarcastic or not, it stung because I knew he was right. I have been so focused on Logan's arrival that I haven't been singing the praises of the boys like I normally do. Bad Momma.

When I started this blog, I was focused on journaling my thoughts of becoming a Grandmother. I still intend to do that, but from now on I'm going to venture out. I'm not just a Grandmother, I'm also a mother. I'm a mother who's entire life for the past 20 years has revolved around her kids, and I don't want that to change. In fact, when I left Alyssa and Logan Tuesday I was so distraught over leaving Alyssa that I didn't give Logan a goodbye hug. I was a wreck emotionally because I was torn between the desire to take care of my daughter and the need to get home to my sons.

From now on, this blog will highlight the goings on of the entire family. I will chronical Logan's growth and treatment, but I will also spend time making sure to update you on the rest of the family.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

First Casting

Today Alyssa, Shirley, and I took Logan to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. He was seen by the Pediatric Orhtopedic Surgeon, Dr. Sinclair, and got his first casts. I don't know if Logan or Alyssa hated the procedure more, because both of them cried throughout. Fortunately, Logan was able to be soothed with a pacifier dipped in sugar water (Sweet-Ease). Maybe I should try to find a big one for Alyssa. I think she was more upset today than when she got her own casts.

Dr. Sinclair is using the Ponseti method for club foot repair. With this method, Logan will be casted once a week, and after 5-8 weeks will undergo a procedure called a tenonotomy where he will make a small incision in the Achilles tendon to release tension in the heel. Logan will be re-casted and eventually move into orthopedic shoes and a brace. Dr. Sinclair is very optimistic that Logan's feet can be corrected without surgery, especially the right one which is not so tight. I have always wished that I had photos of my kids castings, so I took quite a few today to record the procedure.

The Dr. holds the foot in place while the Orthopedic Nurse wraps it in cotton.

The leg is then wrapped in plaster, while the Dr. keeps the correct position.

The plaster is the most important part of the cast which corrects the alignment.

The thigh is wrapped with fiberglass gauze. Fiberglass is then wrapped over the plaster portion. This helps keep the plaster cast on, and is more flexible and lighter than an all plaster cast.

The finished product.

The casts need to be supported when holding.

They weigh almost 1lb altogether.

Below is a link to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital about the Ponseti method if you're interested in learning more.



Yesterday Alyssa visited with the lactation specialist at the hospital. Logan is gaining weight so I guess the pumping and feeding worked. He actually nursed in the lactation nurse's office for about 15 minutes. Maybe he's getting the hang of eating after all.

Today we will go to Kansas City to visit the Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon and he will get his first set of casts. Afterwards, I will pass both of them off to Andy's mom and head back to Omaha. I get very sad just typing that. I don't want to go, but I need to get back to my boys and to work.

I know that 180 miles is not that far away, but to me it seems like an insurmountable distance. I have been so far away from my own family for so long, and it never gets easier. I've missed my family for 20 years, and now I wont be with Alyssa and Logan. Oh how I long for the days that families lived in clusters and never moved away.

I feel like I have been through so many transitions this year with school, work, church, and now becoming a grandmother. My emotional Geiger counter is through the roof. I need some time now to decompress and reflect on the year. Besides, Alyssa and Logan will be in Omaha in about 10 days to meet my mom, Logan's GREAT Grandmother, Kathy. I wonder if she'll let him call her grandma? Love you mom!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Feeding Problems

Oh the things you forget. One of the things that I had pushed far back into my memory is how babies aren't all born knowing how to eat. Christian was mine. I tried to nurse him for 3 days, and he refused. Refused I tell you. No matter how hungry he got, he just would not latch on. Then, one day he did latch on and he wouldn't let go. Logan seems to be following in his uncle's footsteps.

Logan is 5 days old today, and he still does not want to eat. he will cry that he is hungry, but as soon as Alyssa starts to nurse him he will either buck his head backwards and refuse or he will latch on, suck a couple of times and fall asleep. She's tried everything. The first was called "finger feeding" where she fed him with a syringe and feeding tube while he sucked on her finger. She also tried letting him cry, feeding him every hour. Now, she is trying to feed him, and if he doesn't eat well, she pumps the rest and gives it to him in a bottle. At least this way she knows how much he's eating, and he's still getting breast milk.

I have to say, the whole situation is very tiring. I was up with her all night Friday, and yesterday she and I were both exhausted. Last night was better. She was only up a couple of times (I was only up once), and since he got a bottle afterwards, he slept between feedings.

Other than the feeding issues, everyone is doing well. Alyssa is moving around without much pain, and we will get out for the first time tomorrow to visit the lactation nurse. Logan is adorable, and I am going to have a very difficult time leaving him Tuesday.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Club Foot

For those of you who have never seen a club foot before, I've posted a picture of Logan's feet. He has bilateral club feet, and the left one is tighter than the right one. His fingers look better than we expected. He does have some flexion in his pinkies, but he can open his hands almost completely. Logan will have his first doctors visit on Tuesday, October 7th in Kansas City. He will see a Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon for his initial casting.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy and Sleep Deprived

Wow, what an amazing 24 hours it has been. First let me say thanks to everyone who has sent well wishes. When you move around as much as we do, it is hard to remember just how many wonderful friends and family you have. Most people have a pocket of support in one area, but Alyssa, Logan, Andy, and the rest of us have received congratulations from Kuwait to Hawaii and everywhere in between. We love you guys.

Monday night Al, Nicholas, my Aunt Lucy & Uncle Bob, and I drove to Kansas. Unfortunately Christian's school schedule prevented him from going with us. We met up with Alyssa, Andy and Andy's mom Shirley and spent our last free night excitedly planning for the next day.

Alyssa, Andy, and I went to the hospital at 5:15 to get Alyssa prepped for surgery, and Shirley met us there at about 6:30. The only glitch was Alyssa's difficult veins that took 3 attempts for an IV, but everything else went smoothly. Al, Nicholas, Lucy, and Bob arrived a little after 7 am and after a quick visit we were off to the operating room for the scheduled c-section.

Andy sat on a stool by Alyssa's head, and I was next to the isolette with an excellent view of the surgery. I don't know what emotion was stronger. I was excitedly anticipating the arrival of Logan, but I had a very difficult time watching MY baby get a spinal needle inserted into her back, and then subsequently sliced open. I have been in attendance for quite a few c-sections, but this one was hard. I trusted that the team was capable, and I knew how very important it was to just stand quietly and stay out of the way, but it was the most difficult and amazing delivery I've ever been to.

When Logan was delivered, it took a second (a lifetime for me) for him to cry but as soon as he did, he screamed his head off and pinked up like a champ. At this hospital, they do all of the initial weighing, measuring, shots, and eye drops in the OR, so Alyssa, Andy, and I were all able to watch while she was being sewn up. Alyssa is recovering well, and with the exception of some nursing difficulties, both mom and baby are doing stellar.

I cannot describe how I felt after Logan was delivered. I was relieved that he and Alyssa had such a smooth procedure, proud of Alyssa and Andy, thankful to the team for such good work, but mostly I felt so much gratitude that God had given us a beautiful and healthy grandson. Yesterday was busy and emotional, and everyone fell in love with Logan immediately. He is such a pretty baby. However, my favorite moment came after Al brought us dinner.

Al was sitting on the window seat holding Logan and Alyssa was resting in her bed. At that point, the family and friends had drifted back to their homes or Andy & Alyssa's apartment, and I was quietly reflecting on the day as well as the past 20 years. I was transported back to a day in June when I was the young woman lying in that bed and Al was holding our beautiful new daughter. I became a mother for the very first time, and my life changed forever. Yesterday, that 20 year old young woman became a grandmother, and that 22 year old young man (who now has a bit of gray hair) became a grandfather. Watching Al sit there and hold his grandson, OUR grandson, for the first time fulfilled me in way that I cannot describe, and my life changed again. Forever.


Mommy's Boy...

...or Daddy's

Grandma Shirley

Uncle Nicholas

Great Great Aunt Lucy

Cousin Rachel

Cousin Heather