Saturday, October 31, 2009

Back Home and Halloween Pics

As expected, we were released from the hospital today. We still have to do the breathing treatments every 4 hours (even over night) and he's taking oral steroids and antibiotics. We're also not supposed to go anywhere until we see our regular doctor on Monday...our discharge instructions were "just chill." We were very relieved to be going home! Here's a few pictures I took in the hospital.
As you can see, hospital cribs are sort of like baby jail.

This is what happens when your bored toddler gets a hold of a box of Cheerios...there are even some in his hair. He looks happy, though, that is key!

Watching "Sponge Bob" and drinking a bottle in his crib/prison.
As instructed, we're just "chilling" at home until we get the all clear from our doctor. Marino seems to be doing well. He definately still has an awful cough and runny nose. Its also clear he is still struggling to breathe...watching him eat or drink a bottle is sort of painful to watch. The nights are the most difficult for him, so we need to keep a good eye on him the next couple nights. Since we couldn't go trick or treating, I put him in his costume and took him outside with the festive looking leaves (note: it was 65 degrees outside and humid). He was pretty happy to be outside! The rest of the day we just played, watched the Halloween episodes of the Wonder Pets and Yo Gabba Gabba (don't judge on the tv watching, please, you try keeping a toddler in the house for at least 4 days...whatever it takes to keep him happy!). My sister-in-laws Richelle and Rianne came over to keep us company and help with trick or treaters (he liked seeing most of them, with the exception of one scary vampire).

Here's a video of Marino doing his lion impression...for some reason he whispers the "roar"...not so intimidating...

Friday, October 30, 2009


It's definately weird to be back in the hospital with Marino. I find it sort of ironic that we spent so many months of his short life quarantining him and then his first sniffle of his second flu season and he is back in the hospital ::sigh:: Even stranger is that I had a dream on Sunday night that he caught H1N1 and we were in the Pediatrics Unit here. Of course, then the dream shifted to me discovering a candy buffet in the Pediatrics Unit and being mad I didn't know about it last year, but it is still bizarre I dreamed of this very thing and within a week, something similar occurred.

While it definately sucks to be here, we're getting great care. I'm very thankful the ER doctors took our situation very seriously, even with a packed ER of flu patients. Within minutes we had a team of very nice, patient people helping us. It's also comforting that we know a great many of the doctors and nurses in the Pediatrics Unit from our last stay here. One of the respiratory therapists last night even remembered Marino from the NICU. So, while it sucks to be here, it's nice to have good care.

We should be discharged in the morning, as long as all goes well tonight and he isn't wheezing terribly in the morning. We're down to 4 hour intervals in between breathing treatments, and his desats are staying in the 90s. He's also playful and talkative. We had some scary moments last night where he would try to talk and nothing but a choking sound would come out.

You know what sucks about hospitals? They're not child proof. Presumably, they expect if a child is sick enough to be here, they are sick enough to stay in bed all day. This may work with a baby or small child, but try telling your toddler to stay in a crib all day, sick or not! So, we had lots of play time today, and he just took more naps than usual. But, there are way too many things in this room Marino can't touch or climb on! We had plenty of sad faces today.

I'm really happy with how well he's doing. Last night was pretty terrifying. I know he's much stronger now than he was last year at this time, but pneumonia is nothing to be taken lightly with preemie lungs. I definately feel comfortable taking him home now that his oxygen is staying up (breathing treatments I can handle, but I don't have oxygen at home).

I am counting my blessings, but still bummed Marino will miss Halloween this year:( I was really looking forward to taking him trick or treating at a few houses, since he loves to socialize. I'll still put him in his costume and take lots of pictures to share, of course.

1 on Friday

I know I won't have the brain power to remember all the adorable things Marino did this week while he's still in the hospital, but I had this very cute video to share.

Marino now winks (well, he uses both eyes and its all very deliberate, but adorable)! You can see in the video below, although he is laughing hysterically at me winking at him, so you have to watch carefully. Is this boy adorable, or what?

Pneumonia Part 2

We'll be here overnight again:( He is responding well to the the breathing treatments, but its very temporary and he still needs them every 2 hours...we can't go home until we can go 4 hours in between treatments. He was very happy this morning and wanted to play.

Unfortunately, he is very sick of the doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists already. The doctor was examining him today and kept saying "bye bye" - I guess he was ready for her to leave? Still no fever, RSV and flu tests are still negative, so they're not sure if this is bacterial or a reaction to asthma.

I'm bummed we're missing the Halloween parade at daycare and trick or treating tomorrow, but thankful Marino doesn't know what he's missing. He's taking a nap now and resting peacefully.

Updates later...


This really came out of no where. Marino had a runny nose and cough on Wednesday, but nothing that seemed severe. Thursday morning he was cranky with the same symptoms, but no fever and the cough seemed to be from post nasal drip. I got a call from daycare around 4:30pm that Marino was coughing incessantly and wasn't responding to breathing treatments. When I got to daycare, he was having constant chest retractions (his chest was caving in with each breathe). With all of our prior issues, I'd never seen him have chest retractions before, so I called our pediatrician and took him straight to the ER from daycare.

Luckily, the hospital was very responsive and within minutes we had a respiratory therapist and a team of doctors and nurses helping. They did a chest x-ray, flu test, a RSV test, a white cell count and several nebulizer treatments. He responded to each of the breathing treatments, but only for a few minutes, then he went right back to the chest retractions. The chest x-ray showed pneumonia, so we were admitted. They're doing breathing treatments every 2 hours, IV steroids and antibiotics. His oxygen is also low, so they are trying to give him oxygen, but, um, have you ever tried putting a nasal canula on a 15 month old? Not so easy.

Updates tomorrow. Thoughts and prayers requested.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mysterious Leg Ailment

Daycare was nice enough to capture on film Marino's mysterious leg issue, so I can share with all the doctors and others who seem to think I am insane, since he never does it when a doctor is around. If you know Marino, you know he is always moving, running, etc. There is no way he would be refusing to walk/bear weight on his leg unless there was an issue. Any thoughts/suggestions/opinions are welcome.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Welcome to the World, Baby Siena!

My best friend, Sonia, gave birth to a new baby girl, Siena Willow, overnight. Siena weighs 7lbs and is 20.5 inches long and I love her already! Congratulations Sonia, Wil and Big Sister Catalina. Can't wait to come visit!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Our Weekend, Update on the Leg

I really made a conscious effort to get some relax time in this weekend, since we always seem to be so busy. Saturday we managed to be very lazy all day. We had lots of playtime and Evan's Aunt Joyce and her 4 year old grandson Landon came over. Landon was great about showing Marino how to use his toys:) Other than that, we just stayed at home and relaxed.

Sunday, we met up with our preemie moms and babies for some fall fun. We met at Homestead Gardens in Anne Arundel County for their Fall Festival (you know how I feel about fall festivals). The one thing I didn't like about this fall festival was it was free to get in, but then everything you did required "tickets" that cost money. I mean, even taking picutres in front of cardboard cut outs. Crazy. I'd rather pay a fee to get in than have to worry about buying tickets for everything inside. Anyway, it was definately nice to visit with everyone and see the sun after a ton of rain.

L to R: Marino, Simon, Evan and Cameron

Marino checking out the scene...happy boy!

Happy with his hay and his "papples"

Best friends

Simon and Megan

Brendan decided he liked the pumpkins, after all!

The boys were all really into this little fountain.

Evan and Cameron listening to the live bluegrass band.

Brendan and Simon enjoying the music.

Cameron and Evan

This is how he fell asleep on the way home, with his hand behind his head!

On Sunday, we also got a chance to visit with my grandfather. Here's Marino and his great grandpap.
Joanne, Pacey, Pap and Marino

What can I say about Marino's leg? Over the weekend, he had a couple instances of refusing to bear weight on it each day, so I was feeling like things were improving. There were some other times, though, that he would freak if I tried to put him down, so I'm not sure if that was because his leg hurt or because, you know, he loves me so much;) But today, daycare told me he refused to walk for over an hour and a half. Even on the playground, so you know that is serious! I spoke to our doctor and she asked me to try to get a video so everyone can stop acting like I am insane and see what I'm talking about. I'm sending our camera to daycare tomorrow so they can hopefully capture it on tape!

In unrelated news, Marino started saying "dance" today. And he is totally in love with catfish (consumming it, that is). He generally dislikes meat, so this is a big step. He ate a whole catfish filet himself tonight!

Friday, October 23, 2009

5 on Friday

As always, here are 5 special reasons I'm loving my boy this week:

5. Marino started saying "What's that?" I'm not sure I can count this as a two word sentence, because I'm assumming he's just repeating what he's heard other people say. Or should I count it?

4. He calls pumpkins "papples" which apparently is a hybrid of an apple and a pumpkin. I think he thinks they are just orange colored apples. He's been eating pumpkin risotto this week (which is actually made with pumpkin and apple juice, so it is sort of "papple") and he loves it!

3. He is madly in love with ducks. He loves all animals, but not like he loves ducks. He sees them everywhere - duck toys in 2nd floor windows at school, abstract looking ducks in murals, etc. If he sees me on the computer, he says "duck" until I show him duck pictures and then he says "quack quack quack quack."

2. Marino's leg continued to cause trouble for him all week. In the past week, he saw: the pediatrician, his physical therapist, the x-ray technician and the pediatric orthopedist. None of them have a clue what's wrong with him (more on that below). Anyway, in spite of whatever he was going through, the boy was his normal, cheerful self all week. He's such a trooper!

1. I think my #1 favorite things of the week always have to do with dancing, since dancing to me = happiness (you don't dance if you're sad, right?). This morning in the car, I was flipping through stations and we came across a rap song ("Wipe Me Down" - I seriously need someone to explain the lyrics to me, I have no idea what he's talking about - I'm an old lady now). Anyway, Marino was doing his dance, but then he included a gangster face in his dance (see below if you're not familiar with a gangster face...Evan and I call it "the ugly face"). OMG, I was dying! Where did he get that from?

Although none of our doctors seem willing to concede this point, I'm convinced that Marino's leg issue is the result of the MMR shot. I did some very serious research on the topic (ie: I googled it;)) and I found that join pain, mimicking arthritis is a possible side effect of the MMR shot. I also found other people that said their toddlers stopped walking for a week or so after the shot. His x-rays are clear, so it's not a bone issue. I really think its a bad reaction to the shot. Wednesday was really bad but things seem to be improving now (the limping is less frequent). I'm not sure why doctors don't want to admit side effects of vaccinations. At the end of the day, I would take some temporary discomfort for Marino over leaving him exposed to a debilitating/life-threatning illness. But accepting and informing patients about potential reactions is important.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Our Weekend and Latest Disaster

On Saturday, Evan and I went to the wedding of our friends, Rob and Sabrina. We met them through a group of Italian Greyhound owners (back when Max was our only baby). They have two adorable IGs and they are very sweet and kind (and they have really fascinating jobs). Well, their very special day ended up not exactly as they planned. Their initial plan had been to marry at the Jefferson Memorial. But Saturday was 44 degrees and raining. So, they moved the ceremony to the reception hotel, but still had to rush to marry in DC, since their marriage license was from DC. The bride had a was a rough day for them.

I loved the ceremony. I never cry at weddings but I cried at this one. This was the first wedding we've gone to since Marino was born and I have to say that wedding vows are a lot more meaningful to me now that Evan and I have been through such difficult times together. The minister said some fairly traditional vows but here's some of what he said:

"These are the hands that look so large and strong, yet will be so gentle as he holds your baby for the first time."

"These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes: tears of sorrow and tears of joy."

"These are the hands that will comfort you in illness, and hold you when fear or grief wrack your mind."

It was interesting to think that Evan and I, like many couples, had never been through anything truly difficult together before we got married. I could have never imagined that so early on in our marriage (our 3rd anniversary was last April), we would have to go through what we had to go through with Marino or that Evan would have to physically care for me because I couldn't take care of myself. It's just amazing how life can change so quickly and those vows just mean so much more to me now....

Other than that, although their day wasn't they expected, it was a beautiful and fun wedding. Hopefully they are on their honeymoon relaxing and laughing about what went wrong on Saturday:)

My wonderful cousin Miranda watched Marino for us while we were at the wedding and she claims he was an angel for her. She took this family photo for us before we left.

On Sunday, Marino and I went to Virginia to have a playdate with some of our friends. Our friends Jessica and Natalie hosted a great playdate with 6 toddlers and their mamas. That was a lot of toddlers in one place but it was a great time! Jessica made this amazing hot mulled apple cidar - yum! Oh, and cranberry sauce - Marino went crazy for it! He's going to love Thanksgiving this year! He was also completely in love with their cat. Luckily, this cat was very gentle and patient and sat still for toddler petting (which is vastly different from adult petting). Marino kept following her around the house.

From L to R: Katie and Brendan, Christina and Conrad, Jessica and Nicholas, Jen and Sydney, Marino (I'm taking the pic) and Jessica and Natalie.
Lots of playing!
More exploring...
Natalie and Marino
Marino and his buddy Brendan

Marino and Sydney having a tea party (he loves Sydney)
Another group pic, this one with me!!

Marino checking out the vaccuum (hopefully he will be inspired to use one around here some day)
What would a week with Marino be without some accident requiring urgent medical care? Who knows, since we haven't had one any time in recent memory. Yesterday, I got a call from daycare asking if anything had happened on Sunday, since Marino wasn't bearing weight on his left leg and was acting like he was hurting. Honestly, he falls many times in a day, but nothing had happened with his leg. I started telling them about a bump he had on his head, but they wanted to know about his leg. Mother of the Year right here.

I picked him up early since we had an appointment at the allergist for Marino to get a flu shot. Since he has an egg allergy, and the flu shot contains egg, it has to be administered carefully. They first do a scratch test to see if there is a skin reaction to the vaccine (there wasn't). They then give a small injection of the vaccine, along with 2 control injections, to measure the level of reaction. They wait 15 minutes and then look to see if there is a bump. If there is a bump, as there was in Marino's case, they measure it to evaluate it's severity. If its under a certain size, the administer the vaccine. Marino's bump was small enough for the doctor to think the benefit of the vaccine outweighed the potential reaction. He got the vaccine and we waited 30 minutes. The entire visit took 2 hours, but the end result was he is vaccinated and perfectly fine.

After a short nap, we went to see the pediatrician to have her check out his leg/ankle. By that time, he was walking (running) fine and didn't seem to have any pain, so she didn't think he needed an x-ray. But today, the head nurse at daycare told me every time they change his diaper, he refuses to put weight on his left leg for 10-15 minutes after. I have no idea what's going on. Luckily, out physical therapist is seeing him tomorrow afternoon, so hopefully she can help us figure it out. The nurse at daycare was thinking a hip issue. Hopefully, it's nothing!

Friday, October 16, 2009

5 on Friday

As always, here are 5 special reasons I am loving my boy this week:

5. In the past few weeks he has learned so many animals and their sounds. He knows dog/woof, cat/meow, sheep/baa, goat/maa, cow/moo, duck/quack (duck is his favorite), owl/whoo, lion/roar. Its so exciting to see things coming together in his mind. I think he's a genius, but I'm probably biased;)

4. I found another song that makes Marino want to dance. This morning we heard "I Can't Stand the Rain" by Missy Elliott on the radio (very appropriate, given the current weather). I love that song, too. Anyway, when it came on, he did his crazy hype dance where he puts his hands in the air and wiggles in his seat.

3. Over the weekend, we met some new neighbors with a border collie. This dog is obsessed with playing frisby. He would drop his frisby in front of Marino, who would "throw" it 6 inches in front of him and the dog would spin in circles, pick up the frisby and drop it in front of Marino again. I swear, this went on for 20 minutes.

2. Marino continues to be an awesome climber. He can fairly effortlessly get himself on the couch now, which makes it fairly impossible to block off any part of the living room (he just goes over the couch to get around the gate issue). He likes to sit on the couch and read books with us (I think it makes him feel like a big boy). He also likes standing on the couch (which is a big no-no).

1. Today I said to Marino "Please be gentle with Mama" and he leaned over and kissed my nose!

My Aunt Mary sent Marino a xylophone in the mail and some wooden cars (other things, too). He went crazy for them! Check out this video of him going to town on his new xylophone. This boy takes music pretty seriously!

Friday, October 9, 2009

5 on Friday, A Special Visit and Our Latest Disaster

Once again, here are 5 special reasons I am loving my boy this week:

5. Remember when I told you all early that Marino has a girlfriend at daycare (Delaney)? I seriously think he is in love. She was out sick on Friday, and when we got to daycare on Monday and he saw her, she yelled "MINO!," they ran over to each other and he was caressing her face! The daycare director also gave me a picture of the two of them hugging and Marino has his eyes closed with this huge smile on his face.

4. We're seriously in the midst of a language explosion! He says something new almost daily at this point. This morning, he was calling his friends at daycare by name "Kai Kai" (Kailani) and "Wy Wy" (Wyatt). Everytime he says something, I melt, his little voice is adorable!

3. Another example of Marino's great hygiene - he loves to wash his hands! Daycare has a handwashing station for the toddlers, with a little step stool, low sink, etc all reachable for the little ones. Today, Marino marched up to wash his hands when I picked him up from daycare- he just felt like washing his hands (and was mad when I turned the water off - no 20 seconds for this guy).

2. Wednesday, I taught Marino how to make a lion sound and clawing motion, in preparation for his lion Halloween costume. His "roar" is incredibly sweet!

1. Marino generally ignores any noise in the car...he likes to talk to himself (he stops talking if I talk back to him - he gets in his zone in the car). So, I was pretty surprised when he went completely nuts when "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley came on in the car. He was dancing - little arms flailing, little torso wiggling. I loved it - cutest moment of the week!

My father and stepmother were in town for a few days this week, so they came to visit us on Wednesday. Marino showed off all his wonderful skills: couch climbing, moustache touching, animal sounds, etc.

Last night, Marino had ANOTHER big accident. He was walking, tripped, and bumped his mouth on a toy. It should have been no big deal, but a series of bad coincidences made it so he bumped it precisely where a new tooth had just started to cut through (top right). He opened his mouth to cry and...blood everywhere. Agh. I called the pediatrician, but there was so much blood and crying that I couldn't get a good look. I just kept saying "Um, it looks really gruesome in there." She said if he didn't stop bleeding he needed to go to the ER and I was soooo not wanting another ER trip (does CPS come if you bring your toddler to the ER twice in 3 weeks?). I called my sister-in-law, Richelle, and she came and helped me hold him so I could see inside his mouth.
After he let me get a washcloth in there, it looked like most of the bleeding had stopped, but it was still hard to tell exactly what happened, since the tooth and gum looked odd. But he was acting happy and chewing on toys, so it didn't seem like anything too serious.

This morning I took him to the pediatrician to get his mouth checked out. She also went ahead and did his 15 month checkup (which was scheduled for tomorrow). She said that he had pushed the gum up over the tooth the was cutting through, exposing part of it. Above that is a pocket of blood (basically, a bruise). She the tooth will be fine, but it will likely be discolored (since its only a baby tooth, this won't ruin his modeling career or anything;)).

His growth has definately slowed a lot. She said genetics are likely taking over and he will probably be closer in size to my side of the family than Evan's. I'm 5'3 and Evan is 6'2, so there's still a lot of variation in how tall he may end up being. However, since he eats well and is still only in the 13th percentile for weight, he is probably not going to be a linebacker. We should know more when he is 2 (and the effect of his prematurity should be mitagated). He is a healthy guy and that is the most important thing!

He got the MMR shot today (I'm waiting for the other 15 month vaccine, chickenpox, for another 3 months). He was still sleeping at daycare, so I put him in his crib and he napped while all the teachers looked on in amazement that Marino was taking a nap outside of scheduled nap time;) I don't think he's ever stayed asleep all the way into daycare!

Hopefully the weekend will be accident free! Not sure how many more of these small disasters I can take!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

More Fall Fun

Now that we're all on the mend, we had another busy weekend. Saturday, Evan took Marino for his 2nd haircut. I really didn't realize that a toddler would require haircuts as frequently as Marino does. It's only been a month since his last one, and he really could have used a cut 2-3 weeks ago. His curls are out of control! This visit wasn't as successful as the last one. Evan took him to the same stylist, and he was an angel again, but this time she knicked his ear with the clippers! Evan also claims she ruined his shape up (I can't see a difference). So, we will probably go to someone else next time. They were much busier this time, so maybe that was the issue.

Saturday evening, the 3 of us went to Macaroni Grill with friends to celebrate Evan's friend Brian's birthday. Marino was the only kid there and he was awesome. He is obsessed with bread now and he was mad when the bread ran out. He kept checking Evan's hand to see if he was hiding any bread in it! He was very well behaved and I was impressed, since we had him out past his bedtime. By the way, Macaroni Grill at the Rio has the WORST service I have ever encountered. Again, it was a busy night, but our waiter was ridiculous. I asked him to make me a salad with grilled chicken and said I needed it to be gluten and dairy-free (not so hard with a salad). I said "I'm sure the kitchen is familiar with accomodating those 2 things" and his response was "Yeah, but I don't speak Spanish." Klassy. Needless to say, my salad came out full of cheese.

"Don't touch my bread!!"
I think I am sort of addicted to fall festivals! They're so much fun and I am just dreading it being too cold to be outside with an active toddler! On Sunday, Evan and I took Marino to the festival at Butler's Orchard. Grammy Deb and Auntie Chelle joined us and we had a lot of fun. We got there nice and early, so we got a great seat on the hayride (hayrides are very comfy, who knew?) and our pick of pumpkins.

Here's Evan and Marino being swallowed by a scary witch!

Playing on the wooden train

Serious face (no nap this morning, so he was sleepy)
Playing in a pile of hay (I was cleaning hay out of his diaper later)

Daddy and Marino in their Redskins gear (they won!)

Evan getting acquainted with a goat
Richelle, Evan, Marino and I being silly

Marino looks a little scared to be going down this slide

Me with my favorite boy
He really loves pumpkins - he keeps mistaking them for balls

Grammy Deb and Auntie Chelle with Marino

Auntie Chelle, looking adorable

Enjoying the hayride

On the hayride with Auntie Chelle, Daddy and Grammy Deb
He tried to pick up every pumpkin he saw!
Marino looking pleased with the big pumpkins we found
Marino and Daddy at beautiful Butler's Orchard. As a Community Planning Master's student, I really appreciate how our County has managed to preserve agriculture in the midst of urban sprawl. There's lots of great farms and parks here!

You know how you know you have a big boy on your hands? He walks (runs) to the playground with you, climbs up the jungle gym and slides down the slides! It was sort of surreal to remember how tiny he was this time last year and to see him now!