Tuesday, April 29, 2008


The happy ending: James is home, asleep, acting as if nothing happened. Earlier this evening he talked us into a trip to Target AND Sonic. We gave in to everything this evening because this morning was pretty horrific.

Hopefully this will be therapeutic for me so that I can go to sleep and not relive the events over and over again in my brain. I might have to hit the benedryl, or something stronger.

We reported to the surgical center at 7am and James promptly donned a toddler sized hospital gown and socks. The amazing nurse actually got the tranquilizer down his throat and pretty soon he was slurring his words and pretty funny. Due to a divine change of plans, our Bishop (an anesthesiologist) did get assigned to our surgical center AND our surgeon today. It was such a relief to see his face and hand James over to him. They took him in for the surgery at about 8:00 and we went to the waiting area. We sat and tried to read and finally after about 40 minutes they came back and got us.

We went into a "group" recovery room where at any given time there were 2-3 rolling cribs with babies/toddlers waking from anesthesia. As you can imagine, it was NOT a pleasant place to be. James was laying there all peaceful and sleeping. I got a little teary seeing the cotton stuffed in his ears but he was fine so I didn't worry. After about 30 minutes he started to stir a bit and I noticed that his breathing was 'croupy'. I pointed it out to our different nurse and she said it was normal. He started to wake a bit more and he sounded worse--like he was really struggling for air. The alarms for his oxygen saturation started sounding and our nurse tried to pick him up and rouse him but he was totally floppy. She put him back down and was saying his name trying to get him to take a breath--and he was trying-but it wasn't working. His chest was caving in (retracting) and at the same time he was trying to cough and cry but he couldn't really do any of it.

I was starting to freak out a bit and when the nurse told Ben to go out in the hall and find some help I really started to cry. In came another nurse and then another. They opened up the pediatric resuscitation kit and put the oxygen mask on him and were trying to get him to sit up and breathe. Before I knew it our Bishop was there asking what had happened, but no one could really answer. They got him breathing a bit with the oxygen and took him back into the operating area to tend to him. At that point Ben and I were left in the recovery room with the bawling babies wondering what was going on with James.

After a few minutes a nurse came back to tell us that they were giving him steroids and breathing treatments to open up his airways and loosen him up a bit and that he was crying and "doing fine". They brought him back after about 30 minutes and he was just crying and crying with his eyes clamped shut and starting to fight the oxygen mask. Our Bishop/anesthesiologist came in to talk to us and said that what probably happened was that James aspirated some mucus or saliva and that, in combination with James' smaller airway caused the vicious cycle of not being able to take a real breath, cough or cry.

We finally got him calmed down and breathing slower and deeper and eventually we worked our way to a popsicle (which he held onto with all of his might while wiping it all over me) and watching Blue's clues. They kept him there for observation (while we went through several sets of 'recovering' (read:crying, screaming, hysterical toddlers and children) kids ). They finally let us go around noon and told us to "watch him carefully".

We brought him home and he ate lots of Teddy Grahams and drank juice and was acting fine but sounding croupy again. We gave him an albuterol breathing treatment and put him down for a nap. When he woke up he sounded TERRIBLE again and I was ready to march off to the hospital. Ben insisted that we give him a Pulmicort breathing treatment, which we did, and he still sounded bad. We called our surgeon who told us to go to the ER. By the time we registered at the ER James actually sounded just fine. We were a bit embarrassed. We waited to see the triage nurse who confirmed that his oyxgen saturation and breathing were fine and that they were "open 24 hours" should we decide not to use their services at that time. We called everyone back and told them about our change in plans and have been watching him like a hawk.

He has been fine ever since. We gave him another albuterol treatment before we put him to bed and have been checking in on him and listening to him breathe on the monitor. We will follow up with all the appropriate medical professionals in the coming days and we'll also be checking into the possibilities of him having asthma or the nebulous "reactive airway disease". He is just fine now, but seriously, this morning was the most frightening experience I've lived. I wish I could get it out of my brain.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

James' ears

Well, the time is at hand for James' little surgery. It will be on Tuesday morning sometime; we won't know the exact time until tomorrow (Monday) when they call and tell us when to report. The office said that they do the surgeries in age order, so I imagine that James will be fairly early in the morning. He can't have anything to eat after dinner the night before and he can only have clear liquids until 4 hours before his procedures and then nothing. I'm not waking him up in the middle of the night to offer beverages! We could report as early as 6am, which would be ideal since he probably wouldn't be hungry (and hopefully not thirsty) since he normally doesn't get up that early.

The surgical center said to expect to be there for 3-4 hours and our Bishop (an anesthesiologist) told us everything to expect. They're going to drug him in all kinds of ways that day: first they'll give him an oral medicine to "relax" him. (Ha ha, I'd pay money to watch him drink medicine for them!) Then they'll come and get him from us and have him breathe with the 'sleepy mask'. After he's asleep, they'll do the iv thing and they have to intubate him, too. I'm sooo glad I won't be seeing all this. I had a HORRIBLE experience when they tried for 2 1/2 hours to iv James in the middle of the night at the hospital last November. Anyway, then the surgeon will do the tubes first and then take out his adenoids--about 15 minutes. Then they'll wake him and take everything out. Bishop said that all kids react differently to anesthesia: some will wake up and just be sleepy, some will be loopy, others will be varying degrees of scared and others will be TICKED OFF. I'm probably most anxious about that part, but I'm hoping James' regular laid back, trusting personality will help with this.

We're well stocked with all kinds of enticing soft foods and drinks. Our home teacher came over tonight and helped to give him a blessing. We've got a couple of little presents to give to him. I think we're ready. If anyone thinks of anything else or has other ideas, let me know asap!

Thanks for your prayers and well wishes! I'll report sometime on Tuesday to let everyone know how it went.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Almost four years ago we moved to Las Cruces and that year I taught middle school (and let me just tell you, its really hard to transition from teaching College to teaching middle school, but that's a conversation for another day). We had only been married for 2 weeks when school began and I kept a couple of wedding photos on my desk at school. The girls would pick them up now and again and ask questions or make comments. One day, the conversation went like this:

Girl #1: Miss Swan, do you have any kids?

Me: No, I just got married a few months ago.

(Girl #1 stares at me blankly)

Girl #2: Miss, what does that have to do with kids?

Me: I think that children should be born to a mom and dad that are married to each other.

Girl #1: Miss, you're weird.

Girl #3: How old are you Miss Swan?

Me: I'm 29.

All three girls: My mom is 28. My mom is 30. My mom is 29.

(I'm doing the math on these these girls and realizing how old their moms must have been when they had them. Then I don't know if I should hug them or grab them and have a really serious talk with them about stuff. I settle for the following question..)

Me: What do you think about your moms having you when they were 15 or so?

Girl #1: Its really cool 'cause she's like my sister. For my birthday we got our noses pierced together.

Girl #2: Everybody has babies when they're in high school. It doesn't matter 'cause there's free babysitting there.

Girl #3: Miss, I don't think its a good idea. I want to do stuff in my life like finish high school and get a job you know.

Me: I think its a really good idea for all of you to finish high school and even go to college. There are a lot of really amazing and fun things that you can do in your life when you are older. Life can be hard when you have kids depending on you and you're not out of school yet.

We were interrupted by the bell or schoolwork or something, but I was always having these kinds of conversations with 13-15 year olds at the middle schools. I would find notes (or pick up notes off of kids) that would outline explicit sexual acts that the girls were willing to do with the guys if they would "be [my] boyfriend and hold [my] hand during lunch time." The school nurse was constantly diagnosing stds. Middle school students. I remember middle school and I remember being really excited to get a NOTE from a boy.

Fast Forward to today.

I went shopping at a grocery store that I NEVER go to. I was checking out the popsicles, etc. trying to get ready for James' mini-surgery on Tuesday. A teenage girl walked up to me and asked my name and I recognized her as "Girl #2". I asked how she was doing and what school she was at and lamented out loud that I didn't bring James because she could have met my baby. She then says, "oh, I'll go get my baby and you can meet him!" She went to her mom and brought me her beautiful 3 month old son. I fussed over that adorable boy and I could tell she was proud, but then she said, "He doesn't look like me, huh?" I agreed that he didn't and she said that he looked exactly like his dad. She quickly told me that she didn't talk to that guy and that she's had a new boyfriend for a year and 2 months now who thinks the baby is 'cool'. In that moment my heart hurt so badly for that little baby.

Life is really different now that I have James. The love that I feel for him is the same love that makes me hurt for all the children who don't have everything that a child should. As I stood there with her and that beautiful, cooing baby, she started telling me about the other girls who had been in that class I taught. All 3 of the girls from the conversation above have babies, and one of them has 2. Two other girls from that class also have children. 15 and 16 year olds. You know, I was pretty mature at 15, but there is NO WAY THAT I COULD HAVE BEEN A MOTHER. I can't IMAGINE what it would have been like to have had James when I was that age. I talked to her about school and encouraged her in every way possible while standing in the middle of the frozen foods.

I can't get the face of that beautiful little baby out of my head.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Update on James' ears, etc.

Last Monday we took James to an Allergist. They tested him for about 15 combinations of allergens on both arms and found him to be allergic to...cats. Cats? Yes, it makes sense, Ben is allergic to cats. However, we don't have one, none of our friends have one, neither of our families has one, our apartment does not have carpet, and I think he's seen one live in person once or twice. It doesn't make sense to me that he would have all these 'allergy attacks' brought on by cats. The allergist said that it could still be a bit early to test him and that he could be allergic to other things, but not registering the allergies yet, or that it could be 'contaminants' that are causing the symptoms. He prescribed a antihistimine/decongestant oral med and a nose spray.

And he said, "Go see an ENT."

This made us really glad that we had already previously scheduled the appointment with an ENT.

On Wednesday we saw the ENT. He asked us a bunch of questions and examined James. The first thing he said was, "This kid has a HUGE head." The only thing I could think to reply was, "Yeah, my pelvis thought so." I guess I shouldn't always say the first thing I think, huh? Anyway, He said James was definitely a good candidate for tubes and that it would improve his quality of life (and ours, too!) I was surprised when he asked if James spends a lot of time breathing with his mouth open even when he's not "sick". (I had actually JUST pointed that out to Ben a few days before we saw the ENT, just commenting on it and not thinking it was significant.) When I answered affirmatively, he said that he was quite sure that James' enlarged adenoids were causing both the mouth breathing and the lack of clearing of his ears.

We asked him a million questions about the tubes, as in, "Can he go swimming without ear plugs? What about bath time? What special care will he need? How big are they?", etc. The ENT paciently and kindly answered all the questions and asked if we were ready to proceed. We told him we wanted to go home and think about it (and pray about it) and that we'd call back to schedule, if that was the decision we made. We talked it over and did a bunch of reading that afternoon, prayed about it and called back to schedule James for tubes and adenoidectomy. A few of the things that we were happy about: He can go swimming without earplugs because surface tension will keep water from entering the tubes. (Soapy water you have to be careful with, though.) A big plus for us: should James get any ear infections after the tubes are placed, they can be treated with antibiotic ear drops and not oral medication, YEAH! That's huge for us.

James will be under for about 15 minutes to complete both procedures. Our Bishop is an anesthesiologist and has requested to be assigned to that surgical center that day-- I hope it works out. From what I've read, the worst parts of all of this are keeping your child from eating/drinking before the operation and a 'scratchy throat' for a day or two. I'm hoping that's as bad as it gets for us!

I really hope this helps James get relief from getting all these ear infections all the time. I'm worried about the sheer quantity of antibiotics that he's had to take to heal his ears time and time again. There's lots of things I worry about, so I hope that this is the beginning of a happy ending.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

James' Birthday

Here are the pics from James' Birthday. It was totally and completely Blue's Clues themed, down to the candy treats! He was a very happy boy! (On a side note, I had a total Michael Jackson Christmas one year when I was about 9. Every gift I asked for (and received) had to do with Michael Jackson. Yikes.) If you have no idea what the cake is, go watch an episode of Blue's Clues, ok!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My baby is 2!

April 12th, 2006:

April 12th, 2007:

April 12th, 2008:

James turned two yesterday! I'll blog about the party and all that later. For now, I wanted to do more of a developmental 'record' of sorts. Or in other words, I want to remember what he was like and what he could do when he was 2.


*His favorite thing to do is climb stairs and slide down anything. He also LOVES swinging, is obsessed with bubbles and will do anything to get outside. The park is his favorite place to go.

*He LOVES the nursery at church. He has never been sad nor anxious to get dropped off. He'll rarely take the time to say bye to us.

*He loves going to the mall, walmart, and albertsons. He is in heaven when he actually gets to walk and we don't put him in the basket or a stroller. People always stop and talk to him and fawn all over him, especially at Albertsons. This week at albertsons, the bakery lady came out to give him a cookie, someone from the deli gave him a chicken leg, the customer service manager always comes and asks if he can pick him up, all the cashiers spend way too much time with us, etc.

*Loves to wander the neighborhood and be with other kids. Is starting to show a bit of empathy. When another child or baby cries he looks at me with this cute little concerned face and ask me, "baby sad?"

*Will climb up and down stairs, but needs a hand or a rail to hold.
*Prefers to run run run, instead of walking.

*Dances a crazy little dance by running in place when music is on.

*Climbs onto all furniture and into minivan and into carseat. Is no where near able to get himself out of the crib.

*Is no where near ready to start potty training. He will usually tell us when he is poopy and when he is peeing, but shows NO interest in the toilet.

*Is good with a fork for stabbing, but not very good with a spoon for scooping.

*Loves to sit in his high chair and draw. WIll do it for looong stretches of time. Tries to draw (and is pretty good at) circles, triangles and squares.


*Knows all the words for everything in his world and his daily activities. Has to name everything all the time. When we tell him what something is, he always remembers the new word. He's an awesome little live language lab!

*Has just started (Past two weeks) combining 2 words. (Diego cup, kick dad, no singing, one more book, bye mama, go outside.)

*Will answer the question, "What's your name?" correctly. Will ask where something went by raising his palms up and saying, "Go, go?"

Visual recognition:

*Can pick out the logos for Walmart, Albertsons, Target, and Sonic :) (He always sees them in the newspaper or their sacks and brings them to us and tells us what it 'says'. )

*Knows letters: J, O, W (Don't ask me why!?)

*Recognizes and will say blue, green, black, red, orange, yellow, purple, and pink. (Magenta and Periwinkle don't count because they are animals and not colors to him!)

*Recognizes and will say circle, square, triangle, and rectangle. Will also point out faces and say "happy" or "sad".

Favorite foods:

*Obviously kids love junk. James is a kid, ergo, James loves the regular junk. (His favorites are tator tots and suckers).

*LOVES: Tomatoes, green bean, carrots, rice, milk, breakfast meats!

*He will usually eat: waffles with peanut butter, dry cereal, hotdogs, noodles, crackers, chicken nuggets, stir fry veggies and any kind of fruit.

*Sometimes he'll eat: yogurt, the meat we're eating, potatoes, bread.

"Unique" things:

*Has been on 18 flights (9 roundtrips) and has been to 6 states.

*Has been hospitalized 2 times for croup and bronchiolitis.

* Has always been in the 100% + percentile for height and weight. (Currently at 45 lbs and 39 1/2 inches.)

*Is taking his first swim class right now.

*Do we need to even mention Blue's Clues? He also loves Teletubbies and is a fan of Dora, Diego and the other nickjr toons.

*Has always been a very easy little guy! Quite laid back and fun to be around. Loves to bathe and does not oppose naps or bedtime. We LOVE HIM!

Friday, April 11, 2008

James wasn't interested in giving the plants a little water everyday, he wanted to give them all a little dirt everyday...

His very favorite activity in the WHOLE WORLD!

James, Ben and Pawpaw at the Sea Center. Dad is trying to be naughty and torment the crab. James is just exited to dip!

James trying to understand the bunny decorations:

Showing us that he should be allowed to use the computer:

Just the sweetest face in the whole world:

Trying out pawpaw's shoes:

Eating THE BEST KETTLE CORN IN THE WHOLE WORLD (from the farmer's market)

Learning how to read with Pawpaw:

Trying really hard to make a paper hat like on Blue's Clues. It looks ridiculously similar to one of those collars they put on dogs at a visit to the vet!

Easter Pictures

Here's some of the Easter Pictures. We had to hide those eggs away! He wasn't so keen on the searching, he was waaaaay more interested in the eating.
Well first things first! We are celebrating around here because today Ben successfully defended his Phd comprehensive exams! YEAH YEAH YEAH! James and I are very proud of him! He's so drained and senseless right now that he's practically like Patrick on SpongeBob SP. We do still have to get through the dissertation, but we'll ignore that for a day or two! Yeah for Ben!

We're also celebrating James' 2nd birthday tomorrow, but I'll post about that later.

Here are some of the 'long awaited' pictures from Spring Break and Easter. This is at Brazos Bend State park where the alligators live and we are stupid enough to walk amongst them. My mom doesn't look too excited, I think she's ready to run! That first alligator was 15 feet or so. FREAKY!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I was unprepared this weekend.

I was unprepared for what would happen when I shared a Cadbury Creme Egg with James. (Just use your imagination. It wasn't as bad as when he had a flailing fit while holding an open Go-gurt, but it was as memorable.)

I was unprepared for the awesome words of support and advice that I got both on the blog and via email. I was really touched that so many people took the time to care about us and our sicky James. We have an appointment with the Allergist on Monday and the ENT on Wednesday. We got the referral for the allergist from our regular dr and the referral for the ENT from the Urgent care dr. He also has his 2 year appointment scheduled for wednesday, but I think we'll put that one off a bit as we decide what to do and who his new pediatrician will be.

I was unprepared for conference, especially the solemn assembly. If you want to know the truth, I was hanging out in my pjs, wrestling James on the bed when Sat. morning conference came on. Ben came in the room and we watched as the sustainings began. I say I was unprepared because I had no idea that I would be given such a strong and beautiful outpouring of the Spirit as our new Prophet was sustained. I wasn't dressed, I was sitting in bed, I was entertaining a rowdy 2 year old and suddenly as the solemn assembly began I felt the Spirit stronger than I have in a very long time. It was an amazing feeling and I hope that it doesn't sound trite when I say that in that moment I received my personal witness that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet called of God. Our prophet. I cried, a lot. James touched my face and said, "Sad?" I just had to hug him and tell him that I was very happy because we have a wonderful prophet given to us as a help from Heavenly Father. I felt very blessed and undeserving of that experience since I had been a slacker in bed in pjs. But, I know that I was supposed to have that experience, surely with many others in southern NM because soon after the sustainings, the cable channel dropped the conference proceedings and didn't start again until noon on both days. (we just watched/listened online.)

I can't say that I heard and absorbed every minute of the 4 sessions; you can thank "Senor I'm-two-and-I-want-it-now" for the majority of the distractions. But I can say that I KNOW that President Monson is called of God, and is our prophet.

Oh, and I can also say, "I need a break, honey." Elder Ballard and President Monson said I should have one. Soon.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Well, if you're tired of posts about James being sick...

...just think about how tired I am of writing them!

Poor kid was sicker than I'd ever seen him. After his middle of the night vomiting escapade, he woke up sooo sad and lethargic. He threw up the sips of sprite that Ben gave him and was just pitiful. He started running a moderate fever and just wanted to be held--which he NEVER wants. It was like he had narcolepsy, he kept falling asleep just sitting on either of us and I really started to worry about the lethargy. At one point he looked at me and said, "ear owie". And those were about the only words he said all day long. We couldn't get him into his regular Dr, so off we went to urgent care.

He had yet another double ear infection. Since he was vomiting and what not there was no option but to give him a shot of Rocephin. The dr also prescribed a couple of suppositories for Phenegran so that he could stop throwing up and get some pain and fever relief, too. We have to go back today and tomorrow to get the follow up shots of the antibiotic. When we got home from Urgent care we gave him the phenegran and a nice little sprite/motrin cocktail. He was ready for bed and slept for over 12 hours straight. (I kept checking on him, worried about that little booger all night!) He woke up a new man! Back to his old antics, etc.

So the debate: Before he got sick, we actually had an appointment with an allergist set up for yesterday. He gets so many ear infections despite elevating his mattress, daily doses of zyrtec, baby echinacea, etc, etc, etc. His regular dr (who is not a pediatrician) said "we don't do ear tubes anymore. Well, not unless there's evidence of hearing loss". And so we set up the appointment with the allergist. The urgent care dr says, "why are you messing around with this? I see some scar tissue in his left ear, go see an ENT." Back to his regular dr today, "Why would you want to put ear tubes in if they're not necessary? I don't see any scar tissue. When are you going to the allergist?" I know that Drs have conflicting opinions all the time, but after we go see the allergist and consider getting an opinion from an ENT, who are we supposed to follow? I know, I know, I'll pray about it--but we can't see the allergist for another 2 weeks and we should 'give it some time to work', right? In the meanwhile, I don't know if I should see an ENT or what.

Oh, and Ann, we're all about the probiotics--but we've usually just given them at the same time as antibiotics. Maybe we'll start that year round.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I am soooo not cut out for this.

The nifty thing about blogger is that I can jump on between vomiting sessions and pour my heart out into my online journal without being bothered to find paper and pen. I always know where the computer is. Yeah, I'm sounding pretty stupid at 2:40 am.

James had a special April Fools joke for us tonight. Long story short: after being crazy and awake from 10:30 pm til 2am with no apparent explanation he started throwing up. I am proud to say that I was holding him at the time and used my body as a shield: I "caught" (um, and absorbed) all the vomit, with no need for floor cleaners, yeah!

We bathed him, I showered, we started laundry and now Ben is back to bed. I'm staying up on guard at least for a while. Don't worry, I already negotiated a great sleeping in time with Ben. The main thing I'm worried about is getting the bug. James and I have been "sharing" things all day, every day. Here's hopin...