Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Xander Medical Update

Well, we've had a TON of doctors appointments in the last month for little Xander. We finally have an official diagnosis and a plan. Phew!

Okay, when he was first born we noticed a high-pitched wheezing sound that he made when he nursed. Then it started happening every time we laid him down to sleep, when he spit-up and at random times throughout the day. I took him to the doctor when he was a month old to get it checked. She listened to a recording that I made of the noise (imagine an overweight asthmatic right after they ran a sprint wheezing into a microphone). Her exact words were, "thats quite an impressive noise" and sent us straight to the hospital for a chest x-ray.

When the X-ray came back normal (praise Jesus!) we were sent to an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat specialist).
Their office was super scary to walk into. All kinds of metal pokey things, tubes, machines, etc. I was really glad that Xander didn't know what was going on. 

He was a super sport about it all. The doctor used a camera-scope to look up both nostrils and down his throat. Xander was super mad about it being in his nose, but when they stuck it down his throat he started sucking on it. It was so cute!

Anyways, the ENT told us that Xander's pallet was perfectly formed (again, praise Jesus!) and sent us to the hospital for an Airway Flouroscope and Swallowing Study. 

Two days later we were at the hospital for his tests. Once again, he was a good sport but not very happy about it. 
(this is the flouroscope machine. The picture is blurry cuz I was trying to take it without getting caught!)

They had him drink some barium stuff and it lit up on the tv screen. Even my untrained eyes could see very clearly what was wrong, his trachea was collapsing with every breath. Then he started to spit-up the barium. 

So, after talking to the radiologist and the ENT again, we went back to his pediatrician today. 

Xander officially has laryngomalacia and congenital tracheomalacia combined with GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease). He also has an umbilical hernia and a ventricular wall hernia. 

Laryngomalacia is a weakened cartilage of the larynx, or "voice box" that is very common in infants. It causes the cartilage to mildly collapse when he inhales, which makes a mild wheezing sound. Congenital Tracheomalacia is very uncommon in infants and is always accompanied with either heart problems, developmental delays or GERD. The trachea cartilage is weakened and collapses (usually) on exhale. Xander's is collapsing on an inhale. Basically, when his lungs fill with air and expand, it should be pulling his trachea open (like it does normally for us). His cartilage is too weak and the pressure inside his chest from his lungs expanding is causing the trachea to collapse. That is what is causing the horrible wheezing sounds. As far as the complications that it is always accompanied with so far he is only showing signs of the GERD (a huge praise JESUS!) and is right on track developmentally. Both of these conditions should fix themselves by the time he turns 2. 

The umbilical hernia is from his umbilical chord being thick and poking through his stomach muscles and lining. They expect it to heal on its own by the time he turns one. 
The ventricular wall hernia is one was have to keep a close eye on. It is part of his intestines that are poking through his abdominal wall. If it gets bigger or hardens, we will have to discuss surgery to fix it as it can cause more complications than the umbilical hernia. 

Our plan for now is to put him on reflux medicine to cut down the acidity of his spit-up. We have to keep him elevated during and after feedings for 30 minutes. We also have to keep a close eye on him for turning blue (indicating he isn't getting enough oxygen) and pneumonia symptoms (babies with tracheomalacia are much more susceptible to respiratory infections since they aspirate their milk/food much more easily), which also means that we will be very careful with him being around anyone with a cough or cold. Plus keeping an eye on the two hernias. 


Its been a crazy month of appointments and researching, but we are so thankful to have a definitive diagnosis for the noises and complications that keep me up most of the night listening to so I can make sure he is okay still. Matt and I are both thankful that all of these "problems" are no match for our awesome "Problem Solver"! Jesus is good, all the time!

We appreciate your prayers for Xander and his health, that these conditions would heal quicker than normal, and that he wouldn't experience any of the possible and likely complications from them. Thank you so much!!

We love our little man so much and are looking forward to seeing all the good that God has in store for him out of this situation! 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Gabriella's 2 Year Check-Up

We went to the dr today for Gabriella's 2 year check up.

She is now 28.6 lbs (70th %), 34 1/2 inches tall (75th%) and he head is still in the 90th%. Ber BMI is 17 (50th%). So she is doing perfectly with her growing. 

Developmentally she is still "significantly advanced for her age". 

I love my silly little girl so much! The last two years have been a blast!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

ABCs, Dora, Jingle Bells and Itsy-Bitsy SPider Songs

Gabriella has recently started singing songs. Here are a few of her favorites!

The ABCs song. She can identify letters A-F and a few other random ones. But when she sings they get all garbled together. So cute!

A little bit from Dora. 

Here is Jingle Bells, or as I like to call it, Ningle Bells. It is my personal favorite of all her songs!

Itsy-Bitsy Spider. 

I just love how much she loves to sing! So precious!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gabriella vs Xander in Pictures

Gabriella at one month

Xander at one month

Gabriella at three months

Xander at one and half months

I love similar their faces are, and the way that both their faces light up when they smile!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gabriella Turns 2

Gabriella turned two today! I am so proud of my sweet little miracle girlie! She is turning into such an intelligent and sweet little lady. We sort of celebrated her birthday over two days since she and her cousin share the same birthday. But that just makes for more partying!

We started the celebrating on Saturday. 

She wanted to go swimming at the gym for her birthday so off we went. Here we are, all ready to hop in the big pool. She was excited and nervous all at the same time. This was her first time being in a big pool.

She loved it! Most of the time she spent on the steps but she had fun walking up and down them and watching the water change heights on her. We walked around with her holding onto a noodle. She kicked her feet and laughed a lot at daddy when he kicked his feet and splashed her. Xander slept most of the time that we were in the pool. 

Her choice for birthday lunch was hotdog, yogurt, orange, and red juice. Did she dip the hotdog and orange into her yogurt? Yes! 

After a nap and dinner, it was time to open presents. She was super excited!

Cute little bumblebee headband from Gramma. 

Having a drink of tea with Gramma. 

We got her an 88 piece plastic food set to go with her kitchen she got for Christmas. She was ecstatic when she opened it and took it right over to daddy for help getting the food out. 

It went immediately into her shopping cart. 

Matt started throwing the food into her cart and missed, hitting her in the head. Gabriella started laughing hysterically, and well, you can see in the video that it only continued from there. 

She said that she wanted a Dora cake. This was my first attempt at really decorating a cake. I think it turned out pretty good. I traced the outline of it onto the icing with a toothpick while I was looking at a picture. Then filled it in with a piping bag. Matt was my assistant and helped me by cleaning up my mess!

Here's Gabriella seeing her cake for the first time, sampling it, and then sharing some with Great Grampa. 

Daddy helping her blow out the candles. 

"Mmmm! Nummy Dora cake!"

Xander hanging out with Great Gramma. 
(This picture was right before a giant spit-up!)

Grampa Ace posing for a picture to show off his new bottom teeth. 
(I was taking lots of pictures of Gabriella opening presents, and he said,"Here, take a picture of my new teeth!")

Sunday morning (her actual birthday), we woke her up with birthday waffles. Then we had church and then met up with cousin Joshua to celebrate his birthday. She got a free smoothie from Dutch Brothers for her birthday. She pretty much drank it down without stopping. So funny!

I'll brag on my sweetie for a minute now! At two years old she says and recognizes all of her colors, she can sing 4 different songs, says 9+ word sentences, is potty-trained, sings the ABC song to letter E, knows 20 words in Sign Language, puts herself to sleep at nap and bedtime, can count to six, recognizes numbers 1-4 by looking at them, can hold up  just two fingers to show how old she is, jumps around in a circle while clapping, and knows the names of everyone in our extended family by looking at them. She also can follow directions for doing two different things in a row (ie. "take off your shoes and then put them in your room"). 

We had a great time celebrating her first two years and looking forward to 100 more and all that God has in store for her!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Snow Day!

Xander and I went to bed last night at 11:30 and it was dumping snow like crazy outside. We woke up at 6:02 and looked outside to a wonderful amount of snow for Grants Pass, two inches!!! After a quick snack we went back to bed until Gabriella woke up at 8:00. Breakfast was quick and then we headed outside to play!

In her snow suit and all ready to go play in the snow!

In the front yard, just stomping around.

"Mmmmm, yummy!"

A video of her eating snow

Making a snowman with mommy

All done with our snowman that looks more like a snow eagle!

Xander chillin while Gabriella and I made our snow eagle

Splashing in some puddles

Xander and mommy. This was Xander's first time in the snow. I stuck his hand on the snow on the fence. He wiggled at it for a second or two and then pulled away. 

We went for a walk to the end of our street and back and then we were ready to go inside. 
We usually only get a dusting of snow here so it was really exciting to have two inches in our yard! 
(I think I was more excited than the kids were!)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Matt's Birthday Weekend

We had some last minute change of plans to Matt's birthday this weekend. So we improvised and ended up having a wonderful time!

We started off a day early and made him some pre-birthday cookies (see previous blog).

On his actual birthday, Gabriella colored him a giant Happy Birthday sign but he got off work early that day so we didn't get to hang it up for him :(

We went out to dinner with some good friends, and Matt got to have the restaurant crew sing to him while he wore the awesome birthday sombrero.

Followed by the traditional birthday shot of tequila!

Saturday we visited Matt's grandparents in the morning and then headed to my parents house for dinner. We made personal pizzas. James and Gabriella are helping Gramma sample everything. 

Jonathan and James finished their pizzas first. My mom had some giant cookie cutters so they used them to make teddy-bear and Christmas tree shaped pizzas. 

Here is Gabriella making her teddy-bear shape. 

Putting on the toppings was fun!

Here we are, ready to put them in the oven. 

Matt making his pizza. 

Jonathan and James did a Spiderman puzzle while they waited for their pizzas to cook. 

The guys eating their pizzas. 

Mmmmm! Teddy-bear pizza!

Yummy olives!

Xander helping mommy eat hers!

We finished the evening with some delicious black-bean cake that I made. I forgot to take a picture of it :(
We had a really nice weekend just hanging out with good friends and family. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Funniest Night So Far

I think tonight was our funniest night as a family so far. I say "so far" because with Matt and I as parents together, we are bound to have funnier nights than this.

Gabriella and I decided to make Matt some cookies tonight to celebrate his birthday early. I have the exact number of eggs that I need for his cake tomorrow so I browsed the cookbook looking for a recipe that had no eggs and that I could make gluten-free. We found a match with "Russian Tea Cakes". I was excited, they are one of my favorite cookies!!

We girls mixed them up and put them in the oven to bake. Every time I checked on them in the oven, Gabriella would yell, "Stay back! Cuidado!"

They were finally done and I pulled them out of the oven. Half of them crumbled when I took them off the cookie sheet and then they crumbled again when I dusted them with powdered sugar.

I got a little "handsy" with Matt. I've always wanted to put a powdered sugar hand-print on someone!

Gabriella was really upset and cried every time she took a bite of her cookie because it would crumble all over. Matt rubbed a handful of crumbs all over his face to try and calm her down. It didn't work with her but he and I both had some laughs!

We finally got her to eat some more and then she loved them!

When Matt rubbed them all over his face he made a giant mess on the floor and Gabriella wanted to help clean it up. As you can see in the background, Josie got some birthday cookies too.

I had put some paper towels under the wire cookie rack to catch all the crumbs to make it easier to clean up and thought that we could eat the crumbs with a spoon since all the cookies were crumbling. Matt put it on the floor and he and Gabriella started eating it. 

She wasn't too sure about it at first, but then she joined right in. 
"You eat it with you hands!"
(she refers to herself as "you")

Showing me that her face looked like Daddy's after they got done eating without their hands like puppies do. 

Little powdered sugar boy!

We all laughed so hard tonight! We had a gigantic mess on the floor and counter, my entire kitchen was covered in powdered sugar, our cookies were a total disaster, and we laughed harder than we have in a long time. I love how God and a goofy husband can turn a potentially stressful situation into a hilarious family memory!