Sick Kid

**Sorry for the long blog post! I just wanted to document our week, for our sake but also for anyone who happens to be googling intussusception, intussusceptum, etc.

We spent the majority of last week in the hospital with Liam. He had a very painful intestinal problem called "intussusception." Basically, part of his intestines "telescoped" over another part. Here's the story of how we ended up in the hospital:

Sunday night, we were finishing up our trip to Orlando. We were in the hotel, putting the babies to bed and heading that way ourselves, when Liam started complaining of pain. Since he is not really talking yet, he couldn't tell us what was going on. He was grabbing his tummy/lower abdomen, wincing in pain, but then he would be fine and playing again. We just thought he was cranky or tired, maybe having constipation issues or something like that. We gave him a little juice and put him in bed. He woke up every few hours, pretty fussy. Not normal for him, but then again, we were in a hotel room, out of his normal surroundings, tired from being gone all week, etc. We weren't too concerned at that point.

Monday morning came around and we rushed to get to the airport. He was still in pain, and one of our next thoughts was that it might be a urinary tract infection. I told Andrew that if it wasn't better by the time we got to Fort Collins, then I'd call the pediatrician. The four hour flight was challenging, to say the least, and he was still pretty miserable when we got back to town, so I made the call and we went in. The pediatrician saw us by 4:30 that afternoon, and ruled out all the normal things that might be wrong: ear infection, UTI (from other symptoms, not a urine test), constipation, diarrea, strep, etc. He looked very healthy, and didn't have a "pain episode" while we were in her office. She said if his pain didn't go away tomorrow, then call back.

Tuesday was our first day back to normal routine, and Liam's pain episodes were getting worse. Every hour or less, he was doubled over on the floor, saying "ow," strained look on his face. This lasted less than a minute at a time, and once it was over, he was running around and playing like normal. I put a call into the pediatrician's office, and once we were able to talk to the doctor, he recommended that we head to the ER.

Arrived at the ER at 9:30pm. Liam had another 3 or 4 pain episodes while we were there. They did xrays, ultrasound, bloodwork, urine culture, and put in an IV line. The ultrasound, along with the xray, confirmed the diagnosis of Intussusception. The first treatment was a barium enema. Since he had an IV already, the were going to try to sedate him for the procedure, but the IV didn't work, so he did the whole thing un-sedated. I wish they had sedated me! They did the enema three times, and finally the third one worked to fix the intussusception. We stayed another two hours at the ER so they could make sure he was ok, then they sent us home at 3:45am.

Wednesday, we just spent the day recovering from our ER visit. I took Liam back to the doctor for a quick follow-up around 3:00pm, and she and I both agreed that he looked great and seemed back to his normal self. He was playful, in good spirits, and running around the doctors office. After the appointment, we went to a friend's house, where he continued to act like his normal self, playing, laughing, etc. Then, Wednesday night he complained of pain again. He had a little diaper rash, so I gave him a bath. He would say "ow" and complain again, but then he would have a big diaper, so mostly I just thought it was gas from the enema.

Thursday, same as Wednesday night. More crankiness, pain, and lots of diapers. It was so tough to tell what was going on because he couldn't just say, "Mom, this pain is exactly like Tuesday!" There were enough other things going on Thursday, that it was difficult to tell. I decided to call the pediatrician again, mostly because I just wasn't sure, and I was feeling paranoid about every little fuss he was making. The pediatrician said we needed to have him checked out just to rule out another intussusception, so I dropped Corinne off with our dear friends, and Liam and I went back to the hospital. They admitted us before any tests were run. By 4:30pm, he had another ultrasound, 5:00pm confirmed that he indeed had another intussusception, and by 6:00pm headed for another barium enema. This time, though, the enema didn't work to open things back up, so by 8:15pm he was in pre-op for surgery and we were being prepped for what the operation would be like. His nurses throughout the whole surgery process were seriously wonderful. Before surgery, they were playing with him and keeping him genuinely entertained. One was a former NICU nurse, and the other had been through the same thing with her kid, so they were just so comforting to us. Around 10pm, he was out of surgery and beginning to wake up. We were with him when he woke up from surgery, I was holding him in a rocking chair as the drugs started to wear off. He was a little cranky, but all-in-all he was doing pretty well.

Friday was a day of pain medication and making sure clear fluids stayed down. He didn't eat anything solid on Friday. All the doctors that checked on him (surgeon and pediatrician) agreed that he looked great and was clearly feeling better from the intussusception. Saturday morning he ate a little breakfast, then lunch, took a good afternoon nap, then we headed home after his nap on Saturday.

Intussusception can happen at any time, and there is no real known cause for it. He will eventually outgrow his risk of having one again, but he could very easily get the same thing again any time, the surgery didn't permanently take away his risk. If he does get it again, they will first treat it with another barium enema before resorting to another operation. The pediatrician said, though, that he has only seen about four or five intussusception cases in his 20 year career (as opposed to four or five appendicitis cases a year). He said they sometimes seem to come in waves like what we experienced, but then never happen again. We're praying that is what happens in Liam's case! He is 22 months old, and most intussusception cases happen between 6 months and 3 years.

Here are some of my observations this week:

  • Having a sick kid is miserable. All in all, I felt like Liam's illness was pretty minor compared to what a lot of sick kids go through. I felt like we had a lot to be thankful for, but still, it is really miserable, no matter how sick your kids are.
  • I HATED seeing my baby in pain. Especially knowing that the pain had to get worse before it got better, and there wasn't anything I could do to take that away. Such a helpless, awful feeling.
  • We had a lot of firsts this week. Liam's first hospital visit and first surgery (and hopefully LAST!), Corinne's first night away from Mommy (she's three months old. Liam's first night away from me was when he was seven months old).
  • There are some things I know about now, that I would have been ok with not ever knowing. Such as how the hospital has all kinds of tiny things geared for kids (small blood pressure cuff, etc), how to operate a hospital bed, what an intussusception is, what its like for parents in the hospital, what its like for kids in the hospital, etc. Ignorance is bliss!
  • Now that I know some of these things, I pray that I never forget! Every little comment and call and hug meant SO much during this week. Praying I become more in-tune to the needs of the people around me.
  • I keep saying, "I can't believe my baby just had surgery this week."
  • Its hard to not want to ask "why". Why is my baby so sick? Why is it happening AGAIN? Why can't we get a permanent fix to this? Every time I was tempted to ask "why," I really felt God's Spirit comforting my heart. I felt Him reassuring me that He still loves Liam so much. I felt HIS heart for me as I held Liam and did everything I could to comfort him. I read things like Psalm 139, and those passages felt like personal letters as HE reminded me that Liam is fearfully and wonderfully made. I felt carried by the prayers of our friends and family, peace knowing that even if this does happen again (or something even worse), we are not alone, not forgotten, and in good hands.
  • I have a lot of appreciation for families that do this for an extended time. I can understand how something like this would take a toll on a family, marriage, etc. Switching back and forth between who spends the night, worrying about the care of your other kids and feeling guilty for neglecting one to take care of another. I am so thankful for Andrew and the ways he pursued me even though I was a crabby, high-strung, worried Mommy.

We are home now, and Liam is doing really well considering all he has been through this week. He is still a little emotionally fragile (as am I!), but is in good spirits and doesn't seem to be in much pain. I have had friends say that their first memory was a hospital situation before they were two, so I know that this could definitely be one of Liam's first memories. I know all of the sweet comments from friends, and some fun pictures will add to him having positive memories of this whole experience. He is such a brave, strong boy! Now, he has a little scar to prove how tough he really is. I'm so proud of him, and so thankful God put him in my life.



A week in the life

Whoa this blog is neglected. Is anyone still out there? You know, I don't feel too bad about it because, lets face it, life is BUSY right now! I'm a Stay-at-home-with-a-toddler-and-a-newborn-working-full-time-mom! Yeah. Life is busy, but its pretty good when I take a minute to just look around and soak it all in.

Mondays feel like Fridays. I start my week all chipper and refreshed (well, as refreshed as you can be with a newborn sleep schedule), high hopes for productivity. Mondays go great and I feel like Super Mom. But...as the week rolls on, I get more and more worn out. Yesterday, I must have looked like a sight when Andrew walked in the door and both kids were having major meltdowns at that exact moment. Talk about deer in headlights! I SO wanted to have dinner ready for him when he got home, but yeah...that didn't happen. Instead, my wonderful hubby took over and sent me out the door for some me time. Isn't he great? I came home feeling like I could breathe again and survive Friday.

So, here I am today. Toys all over the living room. Still in my pajamas. Kitchen a wreck. Laundry calling my name...and I'm taking a quick break to write a blog before I wrap up my work week at my work-at-home, paying job. All in all, I feel like it was a successful, productive week on all counts, but I will never feel like I'm functioning at 100% at any of my "jobs" right now, and I just have to be okay with that. Not easy for this "ducks in a row"person!

Other things on my mind today:
  • Corinne is 11 Weeks Old today! Our little teeny had her 2 month doc appointment on Monday (two weeks late...eek), and she is still so little! 9lbs 1oz and 22in...that puts her in the 7th percentile for weight and 50th for height. She gives the sweetest smiles and is starting to coo and talk to us more. I love hearing her little noises, especially when she's not screaming at me.
  • Liam is 22 Months today! This week we have been in serious recovery mode from having all our family in town for 3ish weeks. TV detox, obeying the "first time," with a good attitude, and working on our manners (and saying the words...so far not going great). Though this is a challenging stage, it is also so fun as I watch him grow from a baby to a boy. I'm understanding more about what it means to "pray without ceasing," because I sure do need HIS strength in my life right now.
  • Tonight is date night! We're going for sushi...and we're leaving both babies with a sitter. Big time!
  • We are really enjoying Fort Collins. There is still snow on the ground from the snow on New Years Eve, and more in the forcast for the weekend. It is COLD, but really not that bad...and that's saying a lot since last year we wore coats with all the other Floridians at 65F, Ha! Now, when the outside temp says 22F we think that's not too bad. What a difference!
  • I've probably taken more pictures of Corinne than I did of Liam..at least AS many...but they're all on my cell phone and not of quality to put in a baby book. Fail. Need to start taking better quality pics so I can get started on her book! Also need to finish his. When to find the time?????

We're heading to Orlando for a work conference for me next week. I am really looking forward to seeing all of our Orlando friends and being in the office for a week. That's about it for now. See ya again in a few months? Ha! Hopefully sooner.



What we've been up to

Things have been a little busy the past few weeks. The blog has suffered, so sorry! There are many more pics on facebook of our new little addition, but I thought I'd officially update the blog with our fun news. Corinne Ashley Steger has made her big debut! She was born on October 22, 2010 at 8:20am, weighing 6lbs 13 oz. She is so fun! There have been lots of memorable moments the past few weeks, but the best with her has probably been when Liam met her in the hospital. He was just so sweet with her, and really seems to be fine with the fact that she's sticking around for a while.

This was us bringing Corinne home from the hospital. Liam SOAKED his tshirt with his water bottle. Keep in mind it was pretty chilly outside...low 50s probably...poor thing. We were chaos trying to get the kids and the stuff inside, and take a picture of the whole memory. Fun!

Liam is at a really fun stage right now. He's constantly doing sweet things like giving Corinne kisses and hugs and having little "conversations" with us. Discipline-wise, things have been a little challenging as he enters toddlerhood. These first few weeks with Corrine have stretched me because I want to do it all...but just can't. I'm learning (slowly) to give myself a little grace and make time for both Liam and Corinne during the day. They nap around the same time in the afternoon, so I am able to get a few things done for me (shower, nap?, clean a little, etc). The real challenge will be in a few weeks when I add my job back into the mix. Every day, our schedule is solidifying a little bit more. I feel pretty good about adding work hours...I just know that the housework will be the first thing to go...so I need to be ok with that.

This little girl is such a fun addition to our family! Her name came out of an interview that Andrew had in Atlanta. He liked that it was not incredibly popular, but it was also a name that people would recognize. It is significant to both of us because that interview in Atlanta was really a breakthrough in such a tough year for us with Andrew's job. Even though he didn't get that job, we really saw God's hand through the whole process. Corinne's name will always remind us of this past year and how God carried us through! Her middle name, Ashley, is Elizabeth (Andrew's sister's) middle name and we really love the way it fits with Corinne.

We're settling in as a family of four. Looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with the Harkey family, then excited to host our families here throughout December for Christmastime.

One more thing, WE HAD A WINNER FOR OUR NAME GUESSING CONTEST! Kathy Jackson guessed Corinne! Kath, your gift card is in the mail, I promise!



My man.

I love that November in our home starts with Andrew's birthday. Its a great way for us to begin our month of really focusing on what we are thankful for...and one thing I'm most thankful for in my life is him. God knew exactly what I needed when He put Andrew in my life.

Our life is far from perfect, but I'm so thankful that I'm walking this road with my best friend. We've been through so much since we met 12 years ago, but our story will always be a picture to me of God's grace and provision in my life.

He is the best husband to me and the best Daddy to our two little ones (we have two kids?!?!). He is one of the hardest workers I know. He loves me and loves our families and friends so much. He is passionate, creative, determined.

He makes Liam giggle like no one else can! Liam lights up when Daddy comes home and vice versa. They are two peas in a pod and I love it! He is such a wonderful Dad to our babies.

Happy Birthday Andrew! I love you and I'm so thankful for you!



UPDATE: Baby Girl

**I went in this morning for my appointment at the hospital for the "external cephalic version" procedure...to see if the doctor could turn her around to head-down. When I arrived, the nurse did an ultrasound before hooking me up to the IV meds. Ultrasound showed that the baby had moved HEAD DOWN ON HER OWN! I think she might have turned around last night, but I can't be certain...we definitely went to the hospital prepared for going through with the procedure. Maybe a little thing, but something God definitely used to show me He is more than capable...He is in control...and He knows what He's doing. I say that full well knowing that still anything can happen and we aren't guaranteed a nice, easy, pain-free life with no interruptions or disappointments. He's still in control, though, and its a good thing.

We found out on Friday that baby girl is breech. A little kink in the plans! God never ceases to amaze and teach me so much through being pregnant. Faith, control issues, expectations, communication, fears... its really an amazing process. Just when you think you have a little bit of control...He shows us that really its all about Him anyway. So here I am... waiting and seeing what He is going to do and how He is going to bring this little girl into the world.

As parents, do we ever stop worrying about our kids? It starts as soon as that pregnancy test reads "+"... the temptation to worry over every little thing and try to control every little thing we can. Here's one of my obsessive, controlling thoughts about this breech situation..."would she still be breech if I had taken my prenatal vitamin every day?" Ha! Seriously, Virginia, chill out. Every day is an opportunity to give them back to the ONE who made them. Really such a learning process for us as moms and dads (I know my own Mom and Dad are smiling and nodding...).

As I write this, we are attempting a nap for Liam. He was sleepy this morning, so I gave him a morning nap (9:30 - 11:30). Well, so now he's in bed for nap attempt #2...and he's doing the screaming thing. Not crying...just exercising his vocal cords. Will he sleep? We shall see. This entry into toddlerhood has been very interesting to say the least. I love him so much...his kisses, hugs, smiles, reaches, laughs, cuddles, attempts at communication, facial expressions...all melt my heart every day! Makes the challenging times worth it for sure.

I go in to the hospital tomorrow for the doctor to attempt to turn Baby Girl around to head-down. I feel ok about it all and want the best chance to avoid a c-section as possible. I know if that's what happens, then that's what happens...most important thing is for her health and safety. One day at a time.

BTW, you still have time to guess her name!!! Comment on THIS post.



Absence makes the heart grow fonder

I miss my Grandfather. Its weird thinking about that in light of the fact that I really miss my whole family. Sometimes this longing feels the same…but of course its different because he's really gone. I always miss my family and miss being a part of their everyday lives, but I know that they are doing their thing in Little Rock or New Orleans and I can picture them living normal life. I look forward to seeing them in a few weeks when Baby arrives or at the holidays. I can pick up the phone and call them, or we can video chat (so thankful for the technology to do that!). With Pop…sometimes it just hits me that he’s really gone, and it makes me sad and I grieve him all over again every time, especially recently. Like, Saturday, Mom and I were talking about baking over the holidays, and it just struck me again how different Christmas is going to be this year without him. I’ve had “different” Christmases…I’m not always in Little Rock for the holiday season…but this year will just be so so different because his fingerprint won’t be on it this year, at least not in the same way.

I feel selfish because I know most of my family lives with the reality of his death everyday…the normal parts of life that he was involved in for them are different than it was for me. I haven’t lived in Little Rock for over 10 years, I haven’t been a part of their everyday life since I was in High School. Does that make it easier for them to mourn his death, or easier for me because I’m not hit in the face with his loss every day like they are? I don’t think its easier for any of us. I know they still grieve him just like I do. I asked Mom and Dad the other day while we were video chatting, “So, do y’all miss Pop as much as I do.” Of course, the answer is yes.

I miss my family, but I also know that this is where we’re supposed to be. We’re a long distance family, as SO many families are these days. I’ve learned to live with their absence, and am learning how to do my part to keep our relationships strong and make them a part of our everyday life even though we’re 1000 miles apart. I want Liam to know all of his grandparents...just like I know mine. Its going to take more effort, but I know it is so worth it.



Estes Park

I said I was going to be better at blogging, didn't I? I like blogging...and there are definitely enough things to write about. So, here you go, a new update on life in Colorado with the Stegers, complete a few pictures. Pics are in random order, sorry.

The weather is starting to cool off here, which is really nice. We decided to take a break from looking for a new church, and drove to Estes Park on Sunday morning. What a beautiful drive! It was basically our first time to get out and do some exploring. I don't really count our drive up to Horsetooth Reservoir since its only about 10 minutes from our house, although that's a pretty place to visit too with tons of hiking/biking opportunities. Anyway, back to Estes, I had never been there before. On our way there, we saw some mountain goats along the Big Thompson Canyon. Once we got to town, we drove around a little, walked around in the visitor's center, and ate lunch at this delicious deli called DeLeo's (featured on Food Network "The Best Of"...and did not disappoint). Then we went driving some more and bought our annual "America The Beautiful - National Parks Pass," venturing in to the Rocky Mountain National Park. I've got a feeling we'll be getting some good use out of that annual pass this year. We didn't see any elk this time around, but we'll be going back so hopefully we'll get to see them next time.

Last Friday, Liam and I went to The Farm at Lee Martinez Park here in Fort Collins. Liam LOVED running around and looking at all of the animals. Fort Collins has so many fun things to do, and so many things that are geared (or at least appropriate) for his age. With me working full time from home, we just don't have the flexibility to do something like this everyday (plus that just seems like a lot to me), but my goal is to get him out at least a couple times a week to do something fun...story time at the library, play time at one of the local gyms, morning at the park, etc.

Here's a pic (sorry for the blurriness) of Liam in his new little chair from Pottery Barn Kids. We've been saving his birthday money for this gift and were waiting until we were somewhere a little more settled before getting it. It came in last week and he loves it! He's watching Toy Story in the pic above, definitely a favorite movie.

And here's our little cutie pie on really the first cool evening we've had. The high temps have been in the low 90s, but they seem to only stay there for about an hour or so before dropping back down to the 60s. Doesn't he look cute in his hoodie? The dirt in the pic is a whole other story. Our "yard" has been completely ripped up...sod, landscaping and everything. We're renting a townhouse, its an end-unit and has a nice little section of grass in front and back (which thankfully we don't have to do any maintenance on since we're renting). Now everything is gone, and we're hoping that most of the work is done in the next few weeks.

THANKS for all the fun votes on the post below! You still have time to get a vote in (either on the post below or through Facebook)...though I can tell that she'll be here soon. Can't wait!


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