Monday, December 22, 2008

6-month Update (and it might take 6 months to read it...)

Becca and I have had a busy time since I last posted (especially for two girls stuck in the house!).  We actually had several adventures into the big, wide world that turned out to be more adventurous than we had anticipated. 

Last Wednesday, Becca had an appointment at the ENT clinic at Vandy.  John was in the process of coming down with strep throat, so we left him in Bethpage to visit the Hope Clinic.  Becca and I went in early that day andhad an early lunch with a few of Becca's primary nurses.  It was great to see Stacy, Leigh, and Carla, and they were amazed at how big Becca had gotten.  Stacy was wearing a really fuzzy sweater that Becca loved.  She kept nuzzling into it to feel it on her face, which was pretty adorable.  We met them at Panera and found a quiet little alcove that I think remained fairly germ-free until the lunch rush started coming in (and we headed out).  Becca LOVED being in new surroundings and was fascinated by a whole new set of lights, colors, movement, etc.  This girl's going to like the big, wide world come summer!

We headed over to the hosptial (after collecting the ADORABLE cups that Stacy made for my nieces and nephews for Christmas - if you are looking for monogrammed and/or embroidered treats for little ones, be sure to check out her website by clicking here) and got to the clinic just in time for her appointment.  Becca, who had been calm all day, decided to melt down and test out her lungs in the office, which made for a really good time for everyone.  First we saw Mary, the wonderful pediatric audiologist, who repeated the test of her eardrums, which were still not moving.  Then we saw an ENTdoc whose name I am withholding because I was not particularly pleased with him.  He tried to touch my baby without washing his hands.  And then he acted like I was crazy when I asked him to do so.  Andthis was after he nonchalantly asked if there was "anything abnormal about her delivery or birth?"  Um, yes.  Please read her chart.  I actually just laughed at him when he said that.  Anyhow, I was glad to let him think that I was a crazy germ freak if that got him to wash his hands before touching Becca.  Seriously?   The smallest baby ever to survive at Vandy?  The baby who cost $667,000 plus doctors' fees?  The baby I'm not allowed to take out in public for 6 months?  Yes, I think you can manage to wash your hands.   Ugh.  Anyhow, after he did wash his hands, he looked at her ears andaffirmed our hunch that she does, indeed, need tubes in her ears.  He will be the one to place them, but he doesn't do surgeries on Mondays, which her hernia surgery was scheduled for, so we are postponing the hernia repair to a time that both he and Dr. Morgan are available so that we only have to put her under once.  After the surgeries are completed (but while she is still sedated), Mary will repeat the ABR (the extended hearing test we did several weeks ago) to make sure that the tubes do fix the problem.  If not, we'll have to investigate more, but she seems pretty confident that the tubes will clear everything up.  All in all, then, it was a good visit, even if I did have to ruffle a few doctor feathers.  (His resident, by the way, was in the room for that exchange, and I think he was pretty entertained by it.)

After leaving the ENT clinic, we visited around a bit, seeing a few of our nurse practitioners, some of the MR's who knew us, and Dr. John, Becca's first fellow.  (That's funny.  He wasn't, like, her first date.  He was the neonatalogy fellow in Stahlman for the first month of her life.)  We made a round through Green Hills, stopping at Calvary, where we saw Libby, Jule, and Peter (who, I found out, was a preemie himself - he's now, what, 6' 6"?), and then by Carol's house, where I got to introduce Becca to Tate and Martha.  I didn't take her out of the car in either place (you know, germs and all), but I showed her off through the car window.  It was a bit like looking at a small animal at the zoo.  A travelling human baby zoo, that is.  After a visit with Jeannie at her office at 2nd Pres., Becca and I began the trek back north to the hinterlands.

It took a little longer than expected.

Four days after Becca was born, her crib was recalled.  (Even though she was 3 months early, we already had a crib, thanks to our friends, the Satterlys, in Louisville and Elizabeth Satterly'swillingness to move into a big girl bed.)  With other things on our minds, of course, we didn't realize this until a few weeks ago, so we've been in the process of getting it replaced.  The crib we had purchased had arrived at Babies 'R Us, which is right on the way home from Vandy and at least 30 minutes from our house, so I really wanted to stop and pick it up.  I called ahead and had them bring it out to the car for us and everything so that Becca wouldn't have to go into the germy store, which they were more than willing to do.  (Turns out one of the managers also had a baby in the NICU at one time, so she understood.)  I pulled up, called them to let them know we were there, turned off the car, cleared out the back, and closed the door so that it would stay warm for Becca while we waited.


Apparently my doors lock automatically when you close the back (it's a wagon).  I was outside the car.  The keys were still in the ignition, though it wasn't running.  Becca was inside the car.  It was 37 degrees outside.  And this is why I am The World's Greatest Mom. 

Becca is a miracle baby.  She overcame tremendous odds, dire predictions, and every obstacle thrown her way.  She lasted longer than they thought she would in my crappy womb.  She survived delivery.  She quickly learned to breathe on her own.  She didn't have any brain bleeds.  She is developing normally.  She cost our insurance and the State of Tennessee very nearly $1,000,000.   And I locked her in the car, without the heat on, in nearly freezing temperatures.

Big oops.

This is not the first time I've locked my keys in the car, but it is the first time I've locked a child in the car.  I did lock Tate and me out of the car together once, but it was summer, and all was well.  Turns out there are a few benefits to having a child in the car when you lock your keys in it.  It's declared an emergency, and the cops come, sirens blaring.  Someone from the store stays with you to make sure you don't freak out.  And the locksmith doesn't actually charge you.  At least there is an upside to it.

Long story short, one hour, two cops, two managers, one shopper who used to be a locksmith (or a car thief, not quite sure which one), and one bona fide locksmithlater, I was back in the car with sweet Becca, who was still warm, and, while irritable (after all, she was stuck in her carseat, her hat was in her eyes - which she HATES, and she had dropped her paci), she didn't seem to notice that life was any different than it was on the hour-long drive to Vandy.  Just for the record, Ford Focus wagons are really hard to break into (thank goodness, because I know otherwise everyone would be clamoring to steal my mom-mobile), the folks at Babies 'R Us (in Rivergate) were WONDERFUL, and the cops successed in getting into my car before the professional locksmith (a feat of which they were very proud).  And then the crib didn't even fit in my car.  Sheesh. 

So somebody send me my medal or little gold statue or something, because, gosh, aren't I who you want raising this miracle child?  Thankfully, though, Becca is too young to remember it, so she won't have to mention it to her therapist later.  Being a double preachers' kid, though, I'm sure she'll come up with more to talk about.  ;)  Oh well.  All's well that ends well, I guess. 

After a day of cozy hibernation in the house (with TWG Mom still flying solo as John was still technically contagious, though it's difficult for babies to catch strep), Becca and I trooped again on Friday for her 6-month well baby visit to the pediatrician.

That's right:  BECCA IS 6 MONTHS OLD!  Yesterday was her very first half-birthday.  Can you believe it?  That also means we've lived and worked in Bethpage for half a year, which is even more crazy.  No, it's more crazy that Becca is 6 months old.  WOW!

Since Responsible Daddy John was with us, this trip was logistically less eventful, although poor Becca had to get 5 shots (4 regular 6-month vaccines and her monthly Synagis RSV shot).  She was NOT happy, though she recovered pretty quickly.  Dr. Collins was happy with her growth and progress anddoesn't need to see her back until her regular 9-month well baby visit.  (A nurse from Vandy home health is going to come to the house to give Becca her monthly shots and weigh her so that we can keep her out of the germy, germy, germy pediatrician's office.)  She's on a regular baby schedule for her doctors' appointments, then!  (Except, of course, all of her specialist visits and her upcoming surgery.)  That's exciting!  It feels like a graduation of sorts.  

Except that we ended up back at the office the very next day.  On Saturday morning, John woke me up to tell me that Becca had a fever, even though we had been giving her Tylenol after her shots.  It was 101.8, which was a bit higher than I would have expected in a vaccine reaction (gee, since I'm the expert and all ;) ), and since a) we know she has fluid in her ears that could easily cause an infection; b) she was in the office the day before and thus exposed to all kinds of sick kid germs; c) the office is closed on Sunday, so if we followed the regular rules of waiting 24 hours, it would be Sunday morning, John and I would be at work, andwe'd have to go to the ER withfolks who didn't know Becca at ALL; d) Becca never had a reaction withher 2- or 4-monthshots; and e) let's face it, Becca's kind of a fragile girl, infection-wise, I insisted that the doctor see her.  Mom and I took her in while John and Dad took their big car to actually pick up the crib.  (My parents were in town for our Christmas and to babysit for my first Sunday morning back, but more on that later.)  It was one of Dr. Collins's partners, Dr.  Murray, who had not yet met our little rock star; neither had the office staff who were working that day.  When I asked if there was an exam room open that I could take Becca back to, I was told there wasn't, even though there are more than a dozen rooms and only one doctor on duty who couldn't possibly have that many patients at once (at least, not given the state of the parking lot).  We waited in the car for 45 minutes before I went back in and (hopefully politely) pitched a mini-fit and they opened ONE OF THE 9 ROOMS THAT WERE AVAILABLE for us.  Ugh.  Our pediatrician's office is GREAT, once you get someone who knows Becca and her story.  In the meantime, though, people just seem to think I'm a jittery first-time mom who is overreacting.  ("What do you mean, she can't wait in the waiting room?"  "I mean, she CAN'T wait in the waiting room.  Doctors' orders.")  Once we got to the nurse (who did know Becca) and Dr. Murray, everything was great, and they didn't even make me feel bad about bringing her in.  Dr. Murray checked her ears and her breathing and cleared her for another 24 hours unless anything changed.  I was glad that we saw him, especially in case anything did change, and we ended having to call him in the middle of the night; at least then he would have seen her once when she was just a little ill.  Turns out it was just a reaction to the vaccines, which our physician assistant friend says is a really good sign because it means that her body is mounting an immune response to the vaccines.  Though she ran a low-grade fever most of the day, by Sunday afternoon, she was clear.  Mom, Becca, and I got home just in time to see - really, to EXPERIENCE - our first Bethpage Christmas parade. 


I don't know where all these people came from, but it was HUGE!  I mean, not quite Macy's huge, but bigger than I ever would have imagined.  I was supposed to be in the parade with our youth, but since we literally snuck through the barricade to get back to the house minutes before the parade came by, I missed out on the fun.  When we did get home, there was a party in our driveway, as the parade passes right by the parsonage.  I sent John in to get a couple of blankets, wrapped the little one up in several layers, and joined the party as the parade rolled and rolled and rolled by.  I'll have to get pictures to put up later, but let me just say that I have never seen so many tractors, old cars, ATV's, motocycles, horses, and MULES in one place.  It was crazy, amazing, and wonderfully Bethpage.  A couple from our church served as the grand marshalls, andI cried when I saw them.  (Yeah, I'm a crier these days.  Good thing the Olympics are over with their gut-wrenching McDonald's commercials.)  It was sweet.  The cub scouts rolled by, and I cried.  The youth rolled by, and I cried.  And then Santa rolled by, and I tried to wake Becca to show her, but she was so burrowed andcozy that there was no waking her.  I thought it was very kind of Santa to come to her house to see her this year since she's not allowed to go to the mall to visit him. 

And speaking of I said, Mom and Dad Speas were here for Christmas this weekend, but this is already the longest post EVER, so I'm going to save that story and pictures for its own post.  Surely Becca's first celebration of her first Christmas is worthy of its own post.  ;)  As is my first Sunday back at work, possibly.

A couple of things I do want to go ahead and mention, even if it makes this post longer than some master's theses:  Becca is now officially on the Tiniest Babies Registry.  I had no idea anything like this was out there, and I would have loved to have come across it when Becca was still tiny or before she was born, but I'm glad to have found it now.  It's just what it sounds like: a registry of the world's tiniest babies (click here).  Surviving babies born under 400 grams are eligible to be on the registry, which is run by the University of Iowa Children's Hospital.  I submitted Becca's info, talked to a neonatalogist there, had the info verified by Dr. Ashner at Vandy, and now's she officially baby #97.  If I counted correctly, she's tied for the 66th smallest baby ever to survive in the world.  Wow!  It's really fascinating to look at this list and see how the babies are doing now.  (There is updated healthinformation on many of them.)  Three of the babies on the list were born in the 1930's!  That's unbelievable (except that it's been verified, so I do believe it)!   It's encouraging to know both that Becca isn't alone and that she is one of a precious few.  Very fun. 

Not quite as fun are the circumstances that led me to discover this list.  One of my friends from high school, Adrianne, is 24 weeks pregnant with twin boys.  She has gone into pre-term labor and was admitted to the University of Iowa hospital.  Since I know that her boys are at a very precarious age, I was checking out her hospital online to get a sense of how their NICU is.  I'm so glad to saw that it looks like they have state-of-the-art facilities and a talented faculty (like Vandy!) so I know that Adrianne and her boys are getting GREAT care.  Please remember her, her twins, her older son, andher husband.  I think they've been able to get the labor under control, but these little boys sure could use another few weeks before they enter the world on their own!  If you'd like to follow their story, click here.  Adrianne is tough, positive, and amazing, so I know those boys are in good hands (metaphorically speaking, that is).  :)

If you made it to the endof this you are either a) family; b) a very good friend; or c) stuck at work just before Christmas andtrying to avoid being productive.  Whatever your reason, thank you!  :)  I'll be back on with more Christmas pictures of Becca, including shots of her in her new Bumbo seat, which she LOVES (thanks, Aunt Jenny Speas and crew!).  If I'm not back here before then, have a very, very merry Christmas, andrevel in the joy of the truly miraculous baby whose birth we celebrate.  This year, I'm celebrating two miracle babies.  :)


  1. Yea,offcourse a good friend!! I enjoyed reading this post and looking for you to come back with more Christmas pictures of Becca.wishing you very Merry Christmas :-)

  2. well, I hope I qualify for (b), but definitely (c). Have a very merry Christmas...hugs to the entire family. Kelly

  3. Ha, wow. I had no idea so much had gone on the day we had our nice little chat. Golly.

  4. 1. can't believe that ent didn't wash his hands and didn't immediately and happily comply with your request! ridiculous! i bet he looked like an idiot in front of his resident!! i can just hear your reaction when he asked if there was anything unusual.
    2. i laughed at your babies'r'us experience--we've all had moments like that! welcome to motherhood, where sometimes you make mistakes and just pray that God protects your child from their effects.
    3. merry christmas!! hope you all have a wonderful time celebrating two miracle babies!

  5. 1....I would have also been pissed at the doctor...I get mad when they don't wash their hands to check me...let alone my miracle little cousin.
    2.....God wouldn't have given you Becca if he didn't think you were capable of taking care of her (i know you know this) laugh at the funny times....cause I sure did of that babies r' us story....
    3....i love u and john and becca and sasha and buster
    4....i can't wait to meet becca in person in the summer hopefully!


  6. My cat Ellie sends a big HISS towards the doctor who didn't wash his hands. I can't wait to see all of you!

  7. I loved your visit and I can't wait to see you tomorrow!


  8. I was just thinking about how it was right around this time last year that we learned that Becca was on her way! And look how far she's come!! What a precious baby girl who I'm sure will continue to be the best Christmas gift you have for a long time to come! (And the rest of us are kind of fond of her, too.) Love you guys and anxiously awaiting the next post!

  9. When I locked Will in the car a month or so ago, I was a mess. I felt so helpless for being able to see Will, but not being able to touch or hug him. I also felt stupid for leaving the keys in the car. I can't imagine what I'd be like if I locked a little Becca in the car. I'm glad it's over and that you and Becca are together and safe. I think you handled it well. And I am also glad there were so many people there to lend a hand.

    Merry Christmas! And thanks for including my family in your prayers.

  10. Of COURSE she's a million-dollar baby! That goes without saying. One of my friends accidentally locked her baby in the car right before she was supposed to teach StrollerFit. Crap happens. You are an awesome mom. I can't wait to meet record-breaking Becca sometime soon!

  11. Don't worry, Nancy, one of the parents at the daycare I worked at all summer locked her 16-month-old inside the car while it was sitting in the sun and at least 80 degrees outside. Go figure. And yes, the cops and such came just like they did for you!

    And for the record, this doesn't make you a bad mom :)

    I hope I can come meet Becca sometime this summer. Maybe by then she'll be well enough to deal with germy people like me. :)