Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Grace's First Year

Friday, August 27, 2010

Girl's Night Out

Tonight I am heading out with Gracie for a Mommy/Daughter date night!

We are going to stuff our faces with Grilled Cheese at Panera (well, Grace is) and I am going shopping with the first of my three Gap Groupons. I can't wait to buy all of those horrid 80's fashion trends that were so hideous back then, but are oh-so-cute today on a 13 month old!

I figured since I bought one for each kid and one for Winter coats that I would take each kid out for some one-on-one time with Mama to buy their clothes. Not like they care at this age, but with Jacob commanding so much attention these days I am being careful to make sure I don't pay more attention to one than the other.

I wonder if Grace is going to look back at pictures of herself dressed in neon, leggings, jelly sandals and leg warmers and give me the same horrific look I gave my mother when she showed me pictures of myself in corduroys and ruffle sleeve turtlenecks sporting a bowl cut? Only time will tell!

Now if only they could bring back snap bracelets. These silly bandz are getting on my nerves....

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's Official....

The cast comes off on September 9th!

Unfortunately, that also means that our days of this:

and this:

are numbered. By the time the cast comes off Fall will be a little over a week away and the Summer of 2010 will only be a memory. Considering it has been 70 degrees or warmer since mid-March I can't complain. We had the most unbelievable Spring New England has had in my lifetime and an awesome, although VERY HOT, Summer.

The doctor said they see lots of new bone growth around the fracture which is GREAT news and he is healing wonderfully. He said there has been slight movement of the bone, but not enough to make them want to reset and cast it again. He said the degree of difference is around 5-7 degrees and it was 25 degrees when they had to reset it last time.

We've asked the doctor what we can expect when Jacob gets the cast off and were surprised to hear that he will not require extensive PT like we assumed he would. The doctor said kids this age do their own therapy. He also said Jacob will know when he is doing too much and take it easy. I can't see Jacob slowing himself down, but we shall see! He may go back to crawling for awhile until he gets the nerve to get back up on his feet, but by the time he gets the cast off Grace may very well be full blown walking and I can't see Jacob letting her have the upper hand for even a second.

Seeing as it is 66 degrees today (?!?!?!) and the forecast is predicting cooler weather for the beginning of this week I am hoping to get the kids out for a walk if the rain stops for 5 minutes. We haven't been able to hang outside at all because Jacob sweats so much with the cast. I am hoping the cooler air will let us enjoy the outdoors for a few days.

I have also started packing up the majority of the Summer clothes and started lugging out all the Fall/Winter clothes I bought over the last clearance season. It seems I was right on with my predictions because I bought Jacob all 18-24m pants and 18-24m and 2T tops. I think he'll just start fitting in the pants and he finally went into 18-24 month tops this past Spring. I wouldn't be surprised with all the eating he has been doing and the fact that he is immobile that he fits in the pants just fine! I bought Grace a combo of some 12-18m and some 18-24m since either way she'll be fitting in both sizes at some point this Fall/Winter. For some reason, when I went shopping for her I had a thing for purple because 90% of all her clothes are purple. Oh, well! That's what you get when you try and do the anti-pink thing!

Groupon had an awesome deal the other day! A $50 groupon for Gap for only $25 so we bought three! I buy the majority of the kids stuff off the babyGap clearance rack so they will not go to waste especially with the Fall/Winter seasons fast approaching they will both need jackets, sweatshirts, hats, gloves, etc. I am also on the Old Navy Insider Panel and take surveys for them and earn gift cards which are also good at babyGap and I have been accumulating those so I will have a nice little shopping spree soon for practically nothing!

I hope to have a video posted soon of Gracie taking steps so stay tuned for that!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Preemie Love

When Jacob was born the first thing I did after I recovered from an emergency c-section and visited him in the NICU was start Googling.

I typed "preemies", "24 weekers", "survival rates of micro-preemies", etc. into the search engine and searched feverishly for the magic words that would make everything all better. I never found those magic words, but what I did find was an amazing group of women who were going through exactly what I was going through.

We had all experienced a pregnancy that ended too soon.

We were learning how to handle babies that weighed under 2 pounds and were no bigger than our hands.

We were learning how to handle our babies without disturbing their feeding tubes, ventilators or CPAP machines.

We learned how to "care" for our babies every three hours which consisted of changing diapers, taking temperatures, repositioning them, turning on their feeding pumps and bundling them up until the next "cares" 3 hours later.

We were learning about things called NEC, ROP, CLD and BPD.

Many of us had to watch helplessly as our tiny babies spent most of their days laid out in isolettes since we were only allowed 30 minutes a day to hold them kangaroo style.

It was nice to log on to the message boards each day with a new question and find a mother who had faced the very same ailment, surgery or procedure that you were currently facing. It was also a joy to look at the pictures of former preemies, now thriving toddlers, who had "weathered the storm" and were perfectly healthy and thriving at 3 and 4 years old. Next to my faith in God, these women and their preemies were the only thing that gave me hope and kept me going each day.

These amazing women are always there to offer a helping hand even though most of us have never met in real life. They are always willing to cheer you up on the darkest of days and the kind words and encouragement I have received from my internet friends has made me a better person.

Earlier this week, Jacob received a package in the mail from a group of moms and their preemies who knew about his current plight and wanted to help. We arrived home from Jacob's doctor appointment to a box on our front porch which contained 2 movies, a magnetic fishing puzzle, a coloring pad and a sticker book. Jacob's eyes lit up when I pulled everything out of the box and every time I watch him play with these toys or watch A Bug's Life I will think about these amazing women and Jacob's preemie buddies and smile. They are a strong willed and amazing group of "survivors" and I am forever grateful to be a part of them.

Thank you Sara, Martha, Christi, Karen, Marino, Campbell, Greyson, Gunner and Brandon!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ready for Fall

I miss opening the gate to the play room and watching him take off down the hallway for the kitchen because he knows it is breakfast/lunch/dinner time.

I miss holding his hand as we walk down the front stairs and watching him take off as fast as he can down the walkway for the car.

I miss walking in the mall and holding his hand as he walks beside me or "helps" me push the stroller with Grace in it.

I miss him standing in the play room practicing his jumping.

I miss him practicing the soccer skills I have been so diligently teaching him.

I know it is only for a few more weeks, but I hope he recovers rather quickly so we can enjoy what is left of the nice weather. I hate to wish Summer away, but I am ready for the Fall! I am so excited to take the kids apple picking, to pick out pumpkins at the pumpkin patch, to have our family portraits taken with the Fall foliage, to bake apple crisp and apple pie, etc. Fall is my favorite season and even though we didn't make it to the beach once this year (not once!) I am happy to say I would rather have Jacob in a cast over the last Summer months then in a cast for the Fall months our family enjoys so much.

In Jacob news, he is doing really well with his new cast although we have learned the hard way that he doesn't fit in his stroller or his old highchair like he did with the old cast. We have resorted to feeding him in his bean bag and our trip to SS Plaza this week was a 5 minute trip inside to return something once we realized one of us was going to have to carry him the whole time. He has to weigh at least 10-15 pounds heavier with this thing! The muscle spasms never returned which is FABULOUS news because Ian and I hardly survived the first round. We were all exhausted!

Grace has adjusted well. She is working on taking steps around the house so she has momentarily forgotten that her buddy has been sidelined and that she has nobody to play with except Mama. When I prop Jacob up in the play room to get him away from the TV for an hour she usually tramples him and climbs all over him which results in yells of "help!" from Jacob. I think his face says it all:

Jacob is turning into quite the couch potato so I am trying to find new things to do to occupy him without boring him and it is quite the challenge. The other day I was asking Jacob if he wanted Oatmeal or Yogurt and he was in the zone that is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I stepped in front of the TV and said, "JACOB! Oatmeal or Yogurt?!" and he responded by pointing at the TV and yelling, "ON!!! ON!!!" basically "my show is on get out of the way".

A few pictures of Grace so she doesn't feel like she is getting the shaft:

Someone wasn't happy when they realized milk comes out of the sippy cup when you shake it violently:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Good news from today!!!

Jacob's appointment today was scheduled for 11 AM. It is a bad sign when you show up two hours early as requested and the surgery has already been delayed 80 minutes. It would have been nice to know this ahead of time because Jacob was a. antsy b. sweating and c. starving. None of these makes for a good 4+ hour wait in a crowded waiting room. Jacob was flipping out (think MEGA toddler tantrum) and Ian and I had to take turns restraining him and pacing the halls trying to calm him down. Ian even went over and parked himself in front of reception with a flailing Jacob hoping they would pity us and send us in early. Nope. They also told us it IS necessary for us to show up two hours early so they can spend 5 minutes "taking his vitals" which consisted of taking his temperature. That's it.

Once we got called back it was 1 o'clock and we had been in the pre-op "holding" area since 8:30 AM. We were taken back to anesthesia and waited another 15 minutes before the doctor came to talk to us. He explained the procedure again and answered a few questions for us. He said this would definitely NOT start the clock over again and Jacob should still have the cast on for 6-12 weeks from the date of injury which was good news in and of itself. He also said this type of bone movement is common in the first 3 weeks and could possibly happen again in the next week. After the 3 weeks, the leg should stay put until the healing is complete. He said the 6-12 week time frame depends on the biology of the child and since Jacob was a preemie with a history of rickets he could very well be on the 12 week end of things so not to be surprised.

Another 40 minutes went by before the anesthesiologist and his team came to get Jacob. Only one parent can go back until he falls asleep so Ian suited up and headed back since he knew the drill from the first time. They told us the procedure would take 60 minutes....maybe less (HA! right....) so we headed over to California Pizza Kitchen to kill some time, eat a quick lunch alone and regroup before heading back over for the post-anesthesia meltdown. On a sidenote, can I just say that CPK's Pesto Cream Penne is to DIE for....but I digress.

After splitting the chocolate souffle with vanilla ice cream (SO good) we hurried back to the "holding area" and right as we were walking in they called our name! Perfect timing! When we arrived in the PACU, Jacob was flipping out and a nurse was trying to hold him down and prevent him from ripping his IV out. We ran over to him and as soon as he saw us he started calming down. Can I just say there is no feeling worse than watching your child in pain and not being able to do anything to help them? After 45 minutes of waiting in recovery, Jacob was sitting up happily watching Dora and eating graham crackers and apple juice.

The doctor came in and told us the best news we could have heard. Jacob's leg has already started the healing process and has come along "significantly" as the doctor put it. He said it is ahead of schedule and the longer breaks tend to heal quicker than the shorter breaks. He said if all continues to go well Jacob could have his cast off in 2-3 weeks!!!! Dr. Braun was fabulous and is going on vacation in two weeks which is when we were due to come back and he set us up with his partner so we don't have to delay anything and he can get it off sooner rather than later as long as everything goes smoothly. We were very happy with him and would highly recommend him if anyone is looking for an Orthopedist in the Boston area. The nurses, on the other hand, were atrocious this time around and I am considering writing a letter to Tufts. I have never dealt with a more moody and disrespectful group of health care professionals which is shocking coming from me because I rave about everyone at Tufts.

All in all it was a successful day. Jacob has his new green cast (pic below), we got wonderful news and we had a fabulous lunch!

Monday, August 9, 2010


Tomorrow we say good bye to the blue cast and hello to the green cast.

Jacob is set to go under around 11, have the bone reset and then have the green cast (by his request) put on. We are scheduled to arrive at 9 AM which means a lovely HOV lane ride into Boston during the morning rush hour and a lengthy wait with an antsy toddler. Thoughts and prayers please. :)

We are dropping Gracie off at Auntie Jill's for the day and so Ian and I figured that since the 90 minute wait last time was enough to kill us we will distract ourselves by grabbing a quick lunch at one of the neighboring restaurants. We rarely get time to ourselves or a meal where we are not cutting up someone else's food and feeding it to them before we feed ourselves so this will be a treat and something to take our minds off the fact that Jacob is having to endure all of this AGAIN.

We ask that you pray that he comes through this quickly and we are able to take him home sooner rather than later. Please pray that this is the last time that the bone becomes misaligned and we have to go through all of this again. Please pray that the 2 weeks of muscle spasms post-procedure are not as bad the second time around.

I will update tomorrow from the hospital once he is out and in recovery.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Take 2

As of most of you have heard by now, Jacob's appointment was not exactly as we had imagined. Being the optimist I am, I assumed they would tell me all of the remarkable healing that has happened since Jacob's cast was put on and how "resilient" toddlers are and that this was totally expected. That wasn't exactly what they told us....

In fact, after they did x-rays and we got a look (for the first time) at the actual x-ray I have a feeling we're going to be more on the 12 weeks end of this than the 6 week end. The fracture Jacob has is vertical and extends approximately two-thirds the length of his femur. When they said it was broken, I imagined a crack horizontally separating the top and bottom in half. What is actually going on is his femur is basically split in half the long way. Kind of like how you would imagine a splintered log.

We waited for about 45 minutes after the x-ray to see the doctor and he came in with his two assistants and they gave us the bad news. Jacob's bone has moved since the casting. I guess this isn't very uncommon, but this means he has to go back next Tuesday, be put under anesthesia again (which is nerve wracking in and of itself), have the bone reset and then recasted .

The worst part of this news is that our time table of 6-12 weeks starts over again. It is basically like the past 2 weeks was for nothing. Worst case scenario now is that Jacob will have this cast on until November 2nd. Best case scenario is September 21st. I am approaching this with the same attitude I did when Jacob was going to come home from the NICU. Plan on the later date so we're not disappointed and if it ends up being earlier then it's a bonus! I just feel so bad for Jacob and I am a little disappointed since Fall is our favorite season. We have family pictures scheduled, plans to go apple picking, to the pumpkin patch, etc. Obviously we will still go do those things (minus the pictures if the cast is still on!), but it will be no fun with Jacob sitting in a stroller the whole time. Hopefully, he'll get the cast off earlier and we can still have our family pictures taken.

The guy who put Jacob's cast on the first time came in to check out the cast and see what sort of shape it was in and he said we are doing a fabulous job with the upkeep of it. He asked Jacob what color cast he wanted next time and Jacob said green so the guy sent us home with green fiberglass since they don't have any colors other than blue and pink in the Operating Room. I thought that was nice of him.

Our friends Colleen and Jay are getting married tonight and Ian and I are going to the wedding while Papa and Gaga watch the kids. This couldn't have come at a better time. We are in desperate need of a night out of this house so we can come home recharged ready to tackle this all over again. Luckily, the wedding is right down the street at the Pine Hills Golf Club so we are close if Jacob has a difficult time. Fortunately, he usually wakes up with the muscle spasms between 10:30 and 11:00 so we should have plenty of time to enjoy ourselves!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Grace's one year stats!

My baby girl is not growing at the speed of light anymore!!

I am happy to report that Jacob is still the "big" brother. Grace's 12 month stats are as follows:

Weight: 22 lb 1oz 64%
Height: 30.0 inches 75%
Head: 47.0 cm 92% (YIKES!)

These Stewart babies have HUGE heads. She got two shots and was not happy with me at all. I think she screamed at me for the next 45 minutes with tears pouring down her face, but all was right with the world when I offered her food....of course.

The Pediatrician was amazed at how many words she has. While we were sitting in the exam room she said, baby, dog, woof, mama, me, happy, dada and uh-oh. Good thing too because when they ask the development question "approximately how many words does she have besides mama and dada?" I was sure he wouldn't believe me. I was glad he was witness to it!

Overall, she is right on track and perfectly healthy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Weekend Recap

We attempted to get out of the house this weekend for the first time since Jacob came home from the hospital. It was such a relief to get out of the house and enjoy some fresh air. Jacob's cast keeps him so sweaty that our AC has been on overdrive. The past few days were on the cooler side and I desperately wanted to open my windows!!

We started off with our weekly trip to church. Our Sunday School is canceled in the Summer so we only had the memorial service at 10 AM. We set up a pack and play in the back with pillows piled high and Jacob sat in it and read books for the first 15-20 minutes. By the time we were halfway through he was getting antsy so Ian had to sit with Jacob in his lap and occupy him, but we survived.

After that, we stopped over my Aunt Pam and Uncle Wayne's house for a quick visit and some lunch. My 91 year old Grandmother lives with my Aunt and is constantly worrying about anything and everything. My Aunt said that she was very upset when she heard about Jacob's fall and I am sure that seeing him helped ease her mind. We were only there an hour and Jacob was getting restless (and on a food strike yet again) so we loaded the kids up and headed for SS Plaza so I could attempt to find a dress for a wedding we have on Friday. Our hope was that the kids would fall asleep and sleep through my shopping while Ian drove around to keep them sleeping and it worked! It also helped that the dress I bought was one of the first four I tried on.

Last night was AWFUL! Jacob gets muscle spasms at night and they don't always wake him up, but so far there are two nights where he has been inconsolable. Last night was one of those nights. He screams in a way I have never heard him scream before and it sounds like he is being tortured. It kills us to see him like this and seriously rips us apart. The doctor and nurses say there isn't much we can do to help. They suggested Benadryl to help him sleep, which I was a little leery about, but attempted last night for the first time. He vomited it all up. The good thing is after he got sick he calmed down and passed out while Ian and I attempted to spot clean his cast, bean bag and rug. :(

This afternoon, I am going to spend some much needed one-on-one time with Gracie. I feel so bad for her. I know I have said again and again how much she relies on Jacob to play, but today I walked in the room and she was just sitting on her fold-out couch staring off into space. She hangs out on that thing all.day.long. I feel so bad for her which is why I am looking forward to this so much. To start, we are going to Brewster Gardens in Plymouth for her one year birthday portraits with Black Thumb Studio. Jeff is a friend of mine and I will share more of his story and some of the proofs in another post when I get the pictures. After that we have her 12 month well visit with her Pediatrician. I am sure she has at least caught up to Jacob or maybe even passed him. She has really started growing length wise and I have noticed her leaning out though so I guess it could go either way. I figure we'll finish up our evening at the Mall since I have a few things to pick up at Target and we'll treat her to a grilled cheese sandwich at Panera (her favorite!). Hopefully, this will recharge the both of us for the rest of our week at home with Jacob.

Jacob's follow-up appointment and x-ray at Tufts are on Thursday so there will be more news about that this week as well. I'll be sure to keep you posted on Grace's appointment and Jacob's appointment. Sorry, no pictures today. I took a break from my camera this weekend.
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