Monday, May 31, 2010

Just another Meatless Monday

A few weeks ago we watched the movie Food, Inc. and the impact it had on me was profound. If you have not seen this movie you should. It really might change the way you look at your food forever. (We also watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and that is a whole other post!!!!)

I am not someone who is naive to what goes on at chicken and beef farms, or slaughter houses for that matter. I have always enjoyed my proteins and I try to push the yucky stuff out of my mind because of it.

Some of the things mentioned in Food, Inc. made me angry. Cows are fed corn, because corn is cheap, and the government subsidizes it. But corn is bad for cows, and therefore it is bad for us. Because the cows are fed corn, they have a much higher level of bacteria (e coli) in their systems, therefore there is a much higher level of bacteria in our meats. If a cow is fed grass for 7 days prior to slaughter, the level of bacteria decreases by eighty percent. But because of the demand to produce, produce, produce as cheaply as possible, this simple, natural easy step is avoided, and antibiotics and "washes" are used instead. And don't even get me started on how this is all McDonald's fault.

And then there is the soybean...

While I am not totally against genetically engineering a better and stronger seed, I am One Hundred Percent against any soybean that comes from Monsanto seed. Trust me, buy organic soy products with no GMO's. Talk about getting me angry!

Since having the kids, I've wanted to provide them with better. I want them to develop good eating habits now, so they don't have to make any wholesale changes when they get older.

To the best of my ability I've tried to use primarily organics. Milk, number one on my list has always been organic. Chicken, organic. Fruits and Veggies, organic when available. Now, I'm not 100% and I'll admit that they have eaten a few too many goldfish, or other crackers, or hot dogs, (the hot dogs are grass fed, nitrate free, which does make me feel better) but I'm all about balance. I limit sugar, and no high fructose corn syrup, I try to use products with little or no preservatives, I read labels. Still there are limits.

Since watching Food, Inc. we've instituted Meatless Mondays, and we've joined a CSA (thanks Lindsay). I'm really finding Meatless Mondays fun, and challenging. I've had to expand my repertoire, (thanks Meredith, love the cookbook) and I've been able to make a small change in all of our diets. AND, it is making an impression. Today during dinner, Ryan told me "I love meatless Monday" (yea! for my little carnivore that is saying a lot). We even had a meatless dinner on a SATURDAY in ADDITION to the regularly scheduled Monday!

Thanks to the CSA, I've had to really flex my creativity to use all of the ingredients in my weekly box. (I had no idea Swiss Chard was so yummy just sauteed with garlic and olive oil!) So far I've been able to find recipes that include the items in the box and I'm sure that as the weeks go on it will become easier and easier. Sorrel, anyone have something I can do with a ton of Sorrel? It's very bitter but yummy, I may add a little to my lunch salads each day, but I seriously have a ton of Sorrel. It's kind of fun to plan my meals around what came in my box, or to know that I have all the ingredients for a yummy salad.

In addition, I hope that helping me collect our box each week, and looking at and tasting all of the new things we get from "our farm" the boys will be more inclined to try some of these new things.

While these are just small steps to a healthier lifestyle, they are steps.
(if I could just get Scott to eat seafood, so many more steps could be taken!!!)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Just a small task

We had our 4 year check ups this week. I cannot believe they are four. Honestly, where does the time go?

In this appointment, our pediatrician went over the typical checklist.

How are the breathing? Fine
How are the eating? Fine
How are the hearing? Fine
How are the kidney's? Soon to be fine
How are the eyes? Fine
How are they doing in school? Fine
How are they sleeping? Fine

And then it hit him...he looked up at me and smiled.

Wow, he said. You realize, I'm writing in their charts that for the most part all of the issues we can attribute to their prematurity are resolved. The only lasting issue will be their eyesight...hmmm, he mused. That's great, just great, he smiled.

and then he had to go and add,

So, you realize that now, the only thing you have to worry about is keeping them safe.

I'm still laughing.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Enough is enough

When I think of all of the things my boys have endured, I just want to scream, "Enough is Enough!"

Sometimes I look at and touch their scarred little bodies, and I fight back the tears. I run my finger across the two inch scar on Ryan's back and recall the moment we had to make the decision to let the doctors go in and operate on my days old baby. I remember sitting next to his isolette in the surgical suite, looking out into the NICU at my other child, waiting for the surgeon. I remember arriving at the hospital extra early just to make sure I was with him before the surgery. I remember sitting in the NICU with Evan, watching the surgical suite, incapable of really being with either of my boys.

Sometimes I tickle the half an inch scar on Evan's chest. I remember the phone call, just days after their birth. I remember falling to my knees, covering my face as Scott spoke to the nurse who called to tell us about Evan's pneumothorax, about the chest tube, about the possible IVH. I remember saying "Let's go!" I remember that drive being the longest ever. I remember holding my breath for twenty minutes. I remember reading everything I could find about Intraventricular Hemorrhages, and what that might mean for Evan.

Sometimes I play with the boys feet, and rub the tiny centimeter long scars that mar all four heels. I remember becoming far too adept at using the little device that made those cuts, squeezing tiny droplets of blood for testing, every three hours. I remember reading the results of those tests. Every three hours. Looking for signs things were improving.

Sometimes when I hold my boys hands I look at the little white dots that line their veins. I remember watching and holding those same hands as a nurse tried and tried to start IV's week after week. I remember the little light shining through their fragile hands and skin illuminating the very tiny target.

Sometimes when I look into Evan's eyes, through his little glasses and I remember. I remember the two laser eye surgeries. I remember our nurse coming in early just to be there in the room with him, knowing we could not. I remember worrying about putting my baby back on the respirator, wondering if he would come off it again. Wondering just how much he would struggle to breathe. I remember sitting bedside as he was extubated, holding my breath until he began to breathe with out the assistance of the respirator...twice.

But all of these things are behind us now, and thankfully I am the only one who has memories of all of it.

We are now making new memories...

Memories of going to the doctor and having them take pictures of our insides.

Yes that is Evan and Ryan reenacting their VCUG's. Really cute, but part of me is really sad that they can recreate such procedures.

Okay, round about way of getting to the point, I know, but it is my blog and I had to get some of that off my chest.

Evan's reflux is gone. YAY. It may come back, we just have to be on the look out for UTI's and if he has any repeat the VCUG. That also means Evan is TOTALLY off all medications, with the exception of Albuterol which is just PRN. Double, Triple YAY!!!

Ryan, as I suspected from my lay persons analysis of the scans, has shown no improvement. We have two course of actions we can take at this point. Continue with the wait and see and the medications, with a one percent chance this will resolve on its own. Or do one of two surgeries. One they inject synthetic cartilage into the valve and hope it helps strengthen the valve. It is minimally invasive as they go up through the urethra. HOWEVER, yeah there is always a but, it is only about 50 percent effective. The other surgery will have them make a 4cm cut into the belly of my baby and fix the valve at the bladder. He will have to stay overnight in the hospital, at least one night (gah). This is 95 percent effective. If it fails, they will go back in after a year and do it again. Our doctor, has never seen the second attempt fail. In his hands he has never seen a first attempt fail. (a little arrogant, yes, but a part of me kind of likes that in the guy who is planning on cutting open my baby, he knows what he is doing, and he isn't afraid to tell me so, overconfidence no thank you, but this, not so bad.)

I agreed to let him put the authorization in for the surgery and it could take a couple of weeks for approval and he is booking out 2 months right now, so, we still have some time to reconsider, a thousand time or two. Time to think about a new scar on my baby, one he will likely remember, there is no doubt I will.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Love

I love these little boys. Sometimes in the day to day I'm exhausted, and overwhelmed with all that needs to get done, and I forget just *how much* I love them.

Then I see a smile like this...

or this...(I know you can't see it, but I did)

Or I have two little boys pretending to be polar bear cubs sleeping in their den waiting for their "Mama Polar Bear"...

and then Daddy Polar Bear growls...

Or I watch as one boy helps the other get his foot untangled...

so they can continue on their adventure....

and I am quickly reminded just how much love I have in my life, because I am "Mama Polar Bear" or "Mama Pteranodon" or "Mama Puppy" or "Mama Kitty" or "Mama whatever I am today."

And then there are moments when I am scrambling for a pen to scribble as many of the words coming out of my kids' mouths so I don't forget to blog about it.

The other day, Ryan was "writing songs". Five of them he told me. I was too lazy was afraid by the time I got my cameras out of the car it would be all over so you will just have to use your imaginations.

Using the tune to this favorite song...

Ryan created these little songs. He told me there were five, however either I missed one, or well, he's four. I call them the "Bunny sessions". Both he and Evan were playing their guitars during the sessions, (they collaborate so well) however Ryan was responsible for all of the lyrics. (noted here for copyright purposes.)

Once upon a time there was a little bunny,
He lost his car-r-r-r-ot, on the way.
Because it was so-o-o tiny, tiny, ti-ny.

One little carrot went out one day,'
but his daddy told him he could go out and play.
He was so hap-ap-ap-py,
Because there were pine nut every where.

Once upon a time there was a little bunny,
he got a bee-ee-ee sting, he was so sa-a-a-a-a-d.
His Mommy looked at it and it didn't feel so bad.
He tried to get the bee off but he wouldn't go any-where

Once upon a time there was a baby bunny,
He tried to get the bee off of him
He was so sad because when he went to bed,
he heard the crackling sound of the bee by his head.

With moments like these, how could I possibly forget how much I love them?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

There are worse things

Before I get into the heavy stuff, there are a couple of things that are so cute I have to share:

This morning while we were having our morning cuddle, Ryan starts smothering Evan with kisses. Evan began to protest and Ryan replies: "But I love you so much I just can't stop kissing you!"

While playing superheros Evan says: "Ryan is my brother, he is the awesome-ist super hero EVER!"

Now, this one, I don't know where it came from, I do know he has used this word properly before, so he learned it somewhere, but not from me. I was in the other room and I couldn't see what exactly prompted Evan to make this statement: "My pubis is sticking out of my footsie."
I still haven't stopped laughing.


So I sit here on the evening of our fourth annual VCUG, and I have to admit I am worried.

I'm not fretting about the procedure, although not fun, I've been through it so many times, sadly, I'm comfortable with it. Last year we were able to take the edge off by using Nitrous. (for the boys not me) We plan to do so this year, however, Ryan has a cough, so it may be a no-go on the sedation. Which means 15 or so minutes of screaming and crying while holding my 39 pound child pinned to the table as people attempt to catheterize him. Super fun stuff for 9 in the morning.

Really what I am worried about is that Ryan's kidney reflux has not resolved on its own, and sometime in the next few months we will be forced to schedule surgery for him. With all that my boys have been through, I know they will never remember it. The surgeries, the tests, the hospitalization, it will all be family lore to them. Stories that Mom and Dad told us. But a major surgery now? It may not be a memory that lasts a lifetime, but at four, they are remembering everything. Just how much of this possible terrifying thing will he remember?

If his reflux hasn't resolved, I will wonder if I should have done the surgery last year, he would have been younger, and the likelihood of him remembering would have been a little less. But last year, I knew I had one more year to stall. To hope he would not have to endure. (Success rate in children under five is something like eighty percent, over five it goes down exponentially) Last year I knew he only had one UTI, only one in two and a half years. I knew I wasn't doing any damage to his kidneys if I waited. As long as he stayed infection free...which he did.

I won't know the the results until next week, but I will be taking Ryan in, and letting Scott take in Evan, because after all this time, I'm getting pretty good at reading the images during the procedure, which in itself is most definitely NOT a good thing.

I feel silly worrying so much. All of the what ifs will be resolved in a little less than a week. We will move on from there. We will make decisions. We will do whatever it takes. Still this is my baby.

I know there are worse things. I know people who REALLY have worries. When I think of it rationally, and I take MY child out of the equation, this is nothing. In fact, when I think of those other people, I get a lump in my throat, there are far worse things.