Friday, July 30, 2010

5 on Friday

As always, here are 5 special reasons I am loving my boy this week (and last week when I was out of commission):

5. At Great Seneca Park, Marino was picking at a tree. Evan told him it's not nice to hurt the tree because trees are our friends. Marino said "I know, Daddy. Tree need big hug" and proceeded to hug the tree and ask Evan and I to hug it as well:)

4. My mom and stepfather came to visit the weekend before last and, as I said last month, Marino has really bonded with all of his grandparents. When my mom and stepfather were leaving, Marino cried and said "Mino go too?"

3. My mom has a special song that she always sings to Marino while rocking him in the rocking chair (her favorite thing). This weekend he said "rock a bye baby?" when he wanted her to sing:)

2. The other day we were watching Toy Story (for the 800th time) and when we got to the part where Woody comes to the realization that he is a "lost toy", Marino said "Calm down, Boody!"

1. I occasionally call Marino "Babycakes" because it makes him laugh. When he and Evan walked into the packed ER after parking the car on Monday, he yelled "HEY, BABYCAKES!" when he saw me.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Marino's 2nd Birthday Party

I know, I am so behind on posting this, but here are some pictures and details from Marino's 2nd birthday party (July 3rd). We had it at Romp N Roll and it was really an amazing day. At this age, you never know how your child will be for their birthday party (cranky, overstimulated, shy) but Marino was running around the whole time with a huge smile and a look of sheer joy on his face. He ate up all the attention and always wanted to be up front during circle time. He certainly seemed to understand it was his special day. In case you don't want to view the whole slide show, here's a few of my favorite pictures (all taken by my friend Regina Brown).

Isn't that Plex hat the coolest? This etsy seller made it for me...complete with a removable birthday hat on Plex's head, so I can take the birthday hat portion off and he can wear the hat in the winter! If you have an unique hat needs, definitely contact her! She came up with the idea herself and sent it to me in a couple weeks for a great price!

We had a great time with great friends (20 toddlers!)and I feel so blessed that we have so many special people in our lives that love Marino. The party had a Yo Gabba Gabba theme and we dined on eggless cupcakes (made by me) and Rita's Italian Ice. Marino gobbled up all of the treats and promptly threw them up on me at the end of the party (too much sugar and excitement, I guess). It was definitely a day I will remember for the rest of my see my boy so happy, excited and full of joy - life doesn't get much better.
Hope you enjoy the slideshow!
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Paging Dr. House...

We had a medical mystery on our hands this past week and it was very unpleasant, to say the least.

At the zoo, I started developing a headache. It was hot and I wasn't drinking or eating much, so it wasn't that strange I had a headache. But after a few hours, it developed into a migraine. It quickly became the worst migraine of my life...not only did my head feel like it would explode at any minute, but my legs and arms were going numb. I had extreme photophobia (pain from light). I decided there was no way I could make a 2.5 hour drive home to Maryland so Evan took me to the ER in Chesterfield, Pennsylvania.

The ER gave me morphine and IV fluids which helped the migraine. They performed a CAT scan which looked normal, but insisted they needed to do a spinal tap to rule out a brain hemorrhage. I was TERRIFIED! I almost left AMA, but finally decided it was probably necessary. Thankfully, they gave me a second dose of morphine plus Ativan so I really don't even remember the spinal tap (or the next 8 hours). Unfortunately, the spinal tap revealed red blood cells, white blood cells and neutrophils, so they were concerned that I did, in fact, have a subarachnoid hemorrhage in my brain. They transferred me to another hospital with MRI capabilities (I really don't remember any of this).

I woke up the next day (Friday) and waited all day for a MRI which never happened. Evan came to visit me (and bring my Kindle) and convince the nurses to feed me (by 5pm I had not been given anything to eat or drink). My mother in law watched Marino so he didn't have to take the 2 hour trip again. As long as I laid down, I felt ok. The neurology team came to interview me about my migraine and medical history. I was really upset to have to stay another night and not see Marino. I definately had a breakdown about that when Evan was there. It's so difficult not to see him for a whole day, let alone 36 hours.

I had a roommate in the hospital which I always thought would be awful but it was fine. She was the same age as me and, considering we were on the stroke floor of the hospital, I guess that's why they put us together. But I felt lucky to have a nice, considerate, low maintenence roommate.

Saturday morning, I had the MRI. The nurses were kind enough to give me Ativan beforehand, so I slept through it. The neurologist came in to tell me the MRI did not show any hemorrhage, just some white spots which are indicative of migraines. Sonia and Sabrina came by with lots of great gluten-free snacks, magazines and sundries I was in desperate need was so wonderful of them to come visit me. Being hours from home and without my boys was very hard so I felt blessed to have a visit from some of my favorite people.

Saturday afternoon I was discharged but immediately my migraine came back on the car ride home. I wasn't sure if it was the sitting up or the sun, but I was in pain. By Saturday night, I needed to go to the ER again. My amazing friend Lauren brought me to our local ER so Evan could stay with Marino (this was midnight). They immediately gave me morphine, Benadryl and some anti nausea medicine that made my muscles lock out so I couldn't walk (won't be taking that again!). But my migraine was gone and I got a good night's sleep.

The ER doc gave me a prescription for Tylenol with Codeine and I needed to take that several times on Sunday, with minimal relief. Then we had a huge storm and lost power, so all of us went over to my mother in law's house for the night (she had power). I slept ok and got up and tried to get ready for work. My headache got worse and worse. Once I got in the car, I decided there was no way I could drive. The pain was just excruciating. I made an appointment with my regular doctor for 1:30pm.

By the time I got there, the pain was intolerable. I was vomiting in the bathroom at the doctor's office and I grabbed a nurse and begged her to help me. They had me lie down in a dark room, which immediately decreased the pain. After talking to the doctor, she was certain that the problem was not a migraine, but a spinal headache caused from the lumbar puncture. Apparently during the puncture, a leak of spinal fluid can occur, which causes the brain to drop and produces extreme pressure on the brain. The pain is positional - always worse when sitting or standing and better when laying down. This is, of course, very rare...generally only 2% of lumbar punctures result in spinal headaches. I have a history of being unlucky when it comes to medical odds! My doctor called the ER and prepared them for me coming in for a blood patch, a procedure in which they take some of your blood and inject it into the lumbar puncture site. This causes clotting and "plugs" the leak.

Unfortunately, due to the storm and the power outages, the ER was packed. I sent Evan and Marino home, knowing I would be there a long time (I got there at 2:30 and left at 8:30). I waited 2 hours before I even got a bed, so you can imagine how I felt having to sit up all that time. Then the nurses had trouble getting an IV in me. One even went so far as to tell me it was my fault she couldn't get it because I was too tense and thinking bad thoughts! Finally they called in an awesome phlebotomist who was incredibly kind and got the IV in no problem and without pain. They gave me morphine, fluids and ativan.

The anesthesiologist came in to explain the procedure to me. I was really scared but he was wonderful and very reassuring. While preparing for the procedure, he had asked me some questions about my favorite things and about Marino and at the scary parts of the blood patch, he would say things like "think about taking Marino to Tybee Island" (which is my favorite beach). I feel like many times doctors are sort of clueless about patient's fears, but he was awesome.

He numbed my back with a local anesthetic. He and the phlebotomist had a hard time getting enough blood from me (they needed 50 ccs for the patch) so they had a tag team effort trying to get the blood and passing it back to the needle for the patch. It was over quickly and my headache felt 75% better immediately.

After resting for an hour, I was allowed to go home, with orders to stay on bed rest for 2 days, no lifting more than 3 pounds, and to take Percocet for pain. I still have a small headache (not positional) and some pain in my back and one of my arms where they had trouble trying one of the IVs.

The whole thing was really scary and so painful. I am still kind of in shock about all that happened, but relieved to be on the other side of it now.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Proud of My Boy

After our (long and hot) trip to the zoo, we went to visit Evan's grandmother, Mom D. I was a little concerned that Marino would not be on his best behavior, considering he would be tired and overstimulated by the time we got there. To my surprise, he was an angel. In spite of likely not remembering Mom D or the other relatives who were there, he was happy to give hugs and kisses to everyone and to share his toys with them, too. He was a delight. I told him later "Marino, I am so proud of you today" and he said "Mommy, I'm proud of you, too!" Love this boy!!!

Here he is with Mom D.

Philadelphia Zoo

On Thursday, Evan, Marino and I took a trip to Philadelphia. We met up with Sonia, Wil, Catalina and Siena, as well as Sabrina. I told Sonia not to tell Sabrina we were coming because we wanted to surprise her. It worked and we were all so happy to be together.

Just wanted to mention again how proud I am of Sabrina. She is just this amazing young woman: smart, funny, talented, loving and gorgeous. I'm proud to have known her since the hour she was born. Just as an example of how sweet she is...keep in mind she is 14 (most 14 year olds are pretty self absorbed). When we first got there, Evan saw this big souvenir cup full of soda advertised and said he wanted one. For whatever reason, we never came across them while we were there. Right before we were leaving, Sabrina handed Evan the cup full of Coke (so I could drink some...she knows I love Coke). Anyway, I just thought it was so sweet she remembered that hours after we talked about and did that for us. I just love her.

It was a hot day but we had a great time at the zoo. The zoo is set up well for little ones...most of the animals are easy to see. My favorite part was watching the otters playing and swimming, although Cat and Marino declared them "scary" because of the noise they were making.
The Zoo Crew (minus me): Sabrina, Wil, Siena, Sonia, Cat, Evan, Marino
Bald Eagles
This might have been the coolest thing,,,how close we got to this gorilla (who looked sad for some reason). Cat and Marino insisted it was a monkey and when I said it was a gorilla, Marino said "no no, gorilla. Its monkey!"
Sabrina and I (can you tell I was hot?)

See how close we were? I shot this with my 50mm lens, so no zoom.

Sonia and I (hot and sweaty but happy to be together)
Feeding the goats

Cat was very brave and enjoyed a pony ride
They loved this mural!

Checking out the frog sculpture
Sabrina and Siena - 2 beautiful girls

Wil and Cat - I love this picture of them!
Daddy and Marino

Sneaky alligator
Very cool Lego sculptures of zoo animals
Beena and the bear (in the background)
Checking out the otters

Sweet Siena
We had a great time at the zoo and I'm looking forward to going again next year!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Reston Zoo with Daddy and Brian

Last Friday, Evan and Marino met up with Evan's good friend Brian, his daughter Alana (who is one of the most beautiful little girls I've ever seen) and one of Alana's friends at the Reston Zoo. They had a great time, in spite of the awful heat. You will notice in some of the pictures how hot everyone is! I asked Evan if he would go back because it looks like so much fun!