This is a blog for my daughter Scarlett. She was born with a complex congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia. She is my little hero.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Best Christmas Ever.











Well, I couldn't have asked for a more perfect Christmas for my girls. Christmas Eve (Dec. 26) we read them "Twas The Night Before Christmas", and we laid out cookies and milk for Santa.




We tucked the girls in bed.... and I took pictures of 'visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads'. : )






Then Santa came!! He left a ton of presents for all 4 of us under the tree (which was previously completely void of presents).






  He ate the cookies and drank the milk too!!



Christmas morning (Dec 27), Scarlett was the first to wake up... after daddy of course.  I absolutely love this picture below, because when Scarlett woke up, she was sitting up in her crib with one binky in her mouth and 3 (count them, three!) more binky's in her hands. I always keep extra binky's in her crib so at night when she's crying and I can't see, I can just feel around for one and pop it right in. She loves her binkys, but this picture makes her look like a binky junky. ; )  [btw: her pjs say "Baby's First Christmas"]





 

Then finally, Violet woke up and the present opening began!




Violet asked Santa for only 1 thing this year. A flower. A red flower, "so she could smell it".  Santa brought her a beautiful long-stemmed rose (which you can see her holding in this picture and Scarlett is staring at it too).

Then they took turns opening presents.











Scarlett was so adorable opening up presents. She is such a little perfect little doll.







Violet was super excited to open every present each with the same amount of enthusiasm as the previous. After each present Violet unwrapped, she exclaimed "OPEN IT!! Open it!!" to daddy, because she immediately wanted to play with each and every one of her toys.   Daddy induldged her, of course (it's Christmas!)



Scarlett was just happy to be with her family.












Behold!! Crayons!!!






Scarlett was a lot more tame at present opening, but then again, Scarlett is a lot more tame at EVERYTHING compared to my little spitfire, Violet.




They got such cool and neat toys from their auntie Susan.  Scarlett got this super cool Tinkerbell chair that converts to a sleepingbag and pillow!





And Auntie Susan gave Violet this super cool Tinkerbell table and chairs!! Violet loves it!


A very special shout out goes to auntie Susan. She is such an amazing lady who adores Scarlett. She checks my blog regularly, prays for Scarlett regularly, brings special presents to Violet (who may feel left out at times) regularly, lights candles regularly, posts pictures of Scarlett on a "Scarlett wall" at work regularly, and is a total advocate and champion for my CHD baby. I am so thankful that God brought her in my life via Todd's work. Susan brought us bags (yes, bags) of presents for Violet, Scarlett and ME(!) for Christmas. She is a very generous and thoughtful person. Susan, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are such a warm, caring, and special person. Thank you so much for making our Christmas extra special this year. Thank you for everything you've done for my family.


Okay, back to the Christmas blog, well, later that day/night Uncle Kevin and Aunt Kerri came over and brought the girls this really cool Art Easel. Todd and Kevin put it together that night.



Here is the finished product:



I couldn't have hoped for a more joyous and perfect Christmas for the girls. They had a blast opening up presents, eating breakfast that daddy made them (chorizo and eggs), playing with their new toys, and then hanging out with family later that day. It was a great day and I feel truly blessed. Thank you God, for all the blessings of the day. : )

Friday, December 25, 2009

Baby's First Christmas...sort of.





Merry Christmas! Although today is December 25th and technically Christmas, we didn't actually celebrate Christmas today. Todd had to work today and he has to work tomorrow too, therefore we're gonna celebrate (as a family) Christmas on Sunday, the 27th.

So, tomorrow night (the 26th), we're gonna put out cookies for Santa, read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and do all the pre-Christmas traditional stuff for Violet and Scarlett. Then Sunday morning, we'll open presents like it was Christmas.

Today however, I took Scarlett and Violet to church for Christmas mass at St. Mary's Bascilica. It was such a lovely and beautiful celebration. Violet and Scarlett were able to join several other children in the processional, it was such an honor. They were each handed carnations to give to baby Jesus (in the manger scene they had on display in the church). All the children were dressed in their Christmas best (including S and V), and it was simply darling. I wish I had taken photos! : (

Then we got to sing Christmas carols with the choir and pipe organ (my absolute favorite!). Then the homily included the children again. We got to go up and sit at the alter while father Vincent told the children a story about candy canes, then he handed each child a candy cane. The whole mass was practically magical. A perfect xmas mass, I'm so glad I got to take Scarlett to mass for her first Christmas. We'll probably go again on Sunday after we open up presents.

After mass, we went to visit my uncle Ron where Scarlett tasted her first tamale. She loved it! (she is 1/2 Mexican, you know). I need to make some of my own, because she really seemed to enjoy it.







I took this picture of Scarlett standing on her own tonight. She pulled herself up on Violet's table, and proceeded to steal a wedge of grilled cheese (which she's eating in the top picture) which she nibbled on. I can't believe she'll probably be walking before her 1st birthday. She is doing so well. I am so grateful that I get tears in my eyes whenever I think about everything she's been through and how thankful I am to have her in my life. I will post more pics of our "real" Christmas on Sunday.  But for all intents and purposes MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Poor Weight Gain



I took Scarlett to the cardiologist today because of her poor weight gain. We were just there 2 weeks ago, and Beth said she wanted to see her in 2 weeks to see if she gained any weight. At our last visit, she weighed 14lbs 9oz. I was really hoping she passed the 15lb mark... but no such luck. :(

Today she weighed 14lbs 11oz. A measly 2 ounces is all she gained in 2 weeks. I immediately started crying. I have been trying to get her to gain weight. I've been fortifying my breastmilk with powder formula. I've been 'sneaking in' midnight feedings. I've been trying new foods (bananas, potatoes, rice, etc) on her, and it's not working. She's simply not drinking enough milk. :...(

Beth said that we need to give her less table food and more milk. She gave us some supplemental powder to add to her bottles to try to increase her carbohydrates. I really hope it works. If I go back in 2 weeks and she's only gained 2 ounces, I don't know what I'm going to do. Beth mentioned that if it gets bad enough we might have to consider putting the ng tube back in. :(  UGH!

BUT on the positive side, her heart looks and sounds great and she's not sick. Other than her weight gain, she's doing terrific health-wise and developmentally, she's right on track! Tonight she grabbed one of Violet's dolls (Cinderella), and was playing with it.




I hope our efforts at trying to increase her calories and carbs works. If you're reading this, say a little prayer that my skinny little baby gains some weight soon. Thanks!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Baby On The Go


Scarlett is really enjoying her new found talent of crawling all over the house. Once you put her down, she's off!  She likes crawling over to the refrigerator and pulling off the magnets and eating them. I posted pics of that earlier (last month).



I hardly ever put her in her walker, but I did today just for her to get a feel of what it's like to stand on he feet and be mobile. This was a cute pic I got.



I try to cook breakfast every Sunday for the girls. It is almost always eggs and potatoes. Last week, I made potatoes and gave some to Scarlett and she loved them!  I didn't take pics last week, so I made up for it today. She is very good at picking up finger foods with her fingers and then putting the food straight in her mouth. She likes Cheerios, Gerber Puffs, Cinnamon Life cereal, Nutragrain bars, banana, spanish rice, and mommy's breakfast potatoes.



She has a cardiologist appointment on Tuesday to check on her weight. I am really hoping and praying she's at the 15 pound mark. I've been trying to fatten her up for 2 weeks, because 2 weeks ago she was still 14lbs 9 oz.

Home update: I've been looking for the last 6 months and it's exhausting. I have 3 or 4 outstanding/pending offers. The latest one is off of 75th Ave & Glendale. I really hope I get this one. It's a bank-owned home right down the street from the elementary school, and I will already know one of my neighbors because she is my best friend's friend who lives 5 houses away from the house I put a bid on. There are 3 other bids on this house, but if I'm the highest bidder, then I get it. I'll find out this week hopefully and I will definitely post pics and updates if I get it. Keeping fingers tightly crossed!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Standing Up!

I saw Scarlett crawl over to the coffee table, then pull herself up to a standing position and stand there for a little while before she fell on ber little bottom. I was soooo impressed and happy. Up until tonight she's just been pulling herself to her knees, but tonight she entered a whole new phase in her development and I'm very very happy. : )

Monday, December 14, 2009

Regenerative Research

I wanted to share this awesome story that was on 60 minutes tonight.
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=5975132n

It is about regenerative research and it gives me hope that someday scientists will be able to grow heart valves from stem cells. When Scarlett was born, I banked her cord blood which is rich in stem cells. This story really gives me hope for my daughter. Please support stem cell research.


Scarlett is doing so well. Her separation anxiety is lessening more and more each day. She's becoming more independent and showing an interest in playing with toys. Here is a pic of her playing with her piano.





She's also doing better at eating solid foods. On Saturday I made some breakfast potatoes and I put some on her high chair tray and she went to town and ate all of them! I really hope that she puts on some weight at her next doctor visit. Both the pediatrician and the cardiologist want to see her in two weeks because she only weighs 14 lbs 9 oz... which is pretty much what she weighed in August.  Her stay in the ICU really took it's toll on her growth and weight gain. : (

But hopefully she's getting back on track. Beth (Scarlett's cardiologist) changed her formula from Nutramigen to Gentlease. Of course she's still being fed expressed breastmilk, but I have to fortify my milk with formula in an effort to get her to gain weight. [that means I add a few scoops of formula to my milk]. I am determined to breastfeed for 1 year. Only for me, it's not literally breastfeeding, it's pumping and fortifying..and thickening. But Beth also wants to start to wean Scarlett off of the Simply Thick. So for the last few days I've been making my thickened bottles a little thinner. Which thereby will also increase her calorie intake (because the thickener takes away calories).  I'm really really hoping she gains some weight for her next appointment. I will probably bust out in tears if she's still at the 14 pound mark. : ( It's been five months already!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

2010 Heart Baby Calendar



It's been a while since I wrote that Scarlett had a photo shoot for a calendar of heart babies from Scarlett's cardiologist office (The Eller Congenital Heart Center at St. Joseph's Hospital). The calendars are supposed to be available next week. If you would like one, please send a check for $12.95 [per calendar] to: Eller Congenital Heart Center 500 W. Thomas Road, Suite 500. Phoenix, AZ 85013.  Include your name, email and telephone number with your check.

At this time, all calendar orders must be picked up at the Eller Congenital Heart Center (at the above address). If you live out of town, or if you are otherwise unable to go to the clinic to pick up your calendar... please send a note with your check that says "Melodie Mendivil will pick up". Then send me an email (melodiemendivil@hotmail.com) [with your shipping info] and let me know that I need to mail you your calendar.

Scarlett is featured in the month of June 2010. June was designated as "Tetralogy of Fallot" month. Tetralogy of Fallot is the most common congenital heart defect. The month of June had a beach theme and all the babies had on swimwear (as you can see from Scarlett's picture).

All proceeds from the calendar go to the Eller Congenital Heart Center to help support funding for research for congenital heart defects. Thank you for your support!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Goodbye Pulse-Ox and Oxygen Tank(s)!



Today while I was out APRIA stopped by my house (while my babysitter was home) and picked up the godforsaken pulse-oximeter machine as well as the huge oxygen tank and the portable oxygen tank (and some "spares" that were in the closet).

I wish I could have been there to take a picture, because it is a happy day in Scarlett's life!  She's been off of oxygen for weeks and I haven't used the pulse-ox in just as long, but they've been sitting around my house staring at me and reminding me of everything my poor little baby had to go through.

I remember one of my heartmom friends said that she wish they didn't cost so much so we can BURN the pulse-ox machine when we're done using them... like it should be a rite of passage for all heart babies. I couldn't agree more. I am so happy not to have to "plug her in" at night and call APRIA to order the foot probes and to play guessing games when the O2 levels go up and down from minute to minute or from second to second. What torture that was (for both of us!).

So, I am happy to say that Scarlett is OFFICIALLY oxygen free (meaning, it's not even in the house anymore) Woo Hoo! She is doing fantastic post-surgery.




Playing with her toys, crying at the top of her lungs, giggling when tickled, whining when  necessary (well, is it ever really necessary to whine?), crawling all over the house, pulling herself up on her knees, eating solid foods (including finger foods), and believe me, she has mommy and daddy wrapped around her little finger (and she knows it). 







We've even been able to take her out in public for the first time in 9 months! She went to lunch at Sweet Tomatoes, she went to church for grandpa's funeral, she's going to a park tomorrow for her cousin's birthday party...it makes me want to cry to think that she's *finally* getting to live life like a normal baby. I never thought this day would come. I couldn't be happier for her.

She still has some major separation anxiety issues, and for the most part only wants to be held by mommy and daddy (meaning my sister, his sister, the babysitter, my mom, etc.. won't do at all when Todd or I am around... she only wants ~us~ to hold her), but that is such a small price to pay for a *healthy* and happy baby. It's hard to tell how much of it is us spoiling her, and how much of it is post-traumatic-stress-disorder related to her hospital stay in the ICU... either way, we hug her a little more, we kiss her a little more, we cuddle a little more and we definitely hold her a lot more than we probably would have if she was a little more independant (as a 'normal' 9-month-old).

Pulse-Ox is gone. Oxygen Tank(s) is gone. This is a momentous day for our family and it is a happy day for Scarlett. : )

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Grandpa's Funeral

Today we say goodbye to Grandpa Fred. I wasn't planning on taking Scarlett and Violet, but I'm told that grandpa would have wanted them there. So we're taking both of them. Grandpa Fred lost his battle with ALS ("Lou Gerhig's Disease") after a 6 year fight.

I really feel like Scarlett and her grandpa were a kindred spirit since they both have medical ailments requiring a lot of the same equipment (feeding tubes, oxygen, ventilator, etc..). I am sad for my husband and his siblings for their loss, and I am sad for my girls. That they will never know him except for in pictures. Today is a sad day.

Monday, November 30, 2009

More Stressful Days

Scarlett's grandpa (my father-in-law) lost his battle with ALS [aka Lou Gehrig's disease] this past Saturday leaving both of my girls grandpa-less. It's been a hectic and stressful week. Todd spend the last 5 days at his father's deathbed and for all intents and purposes I was a single mother for those days. Watching my cardiac baby and my temperamental 2-year-old 24 hours a day all by myself... and wouldn't you know it BOTH of them were *starving* for attention.

Scarlett would scream her little lungs off if I put her down, so I constantly had to hold her, then Violet was extra super clingy and had several meltdowns during those 5 days. I could feel myself going gray by the minute and can understand why some people drink. I love love love my girls, but it was very difficult being a single mother. I don't know how those women do it. I suppose when you add in the exclusive pumping, and the fact that during those 5 days Scarlett woke up 5-6 times during the night (thereby surviving on sleep consisting of 45 minute spurts).

We (me and the girls) went over to my sister's house for Thanksgiving and spent the night on Wednesday and Thursday night. You would think I'd have help from my sister, but alas... my girls wanted one person and one person only... Mommy. (and daddy of course, but he was unavailable).  It was a very trying time.

I am very sad for Todd. He is taking his father's passing very hard. I admit I am overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and depression that I didn't think I'd experience since he wasn't my biological father, but it is sad that he is gone, and that he had to suffer as much as he did. :(

Now that Todd is back home, Scarlett is very happy. She's a crawling expert. She crawls all over the place. She's teething (big time) and likes to bite her pacifier and her frozen chew toys. I can't believe that it's been 7 weeks since her heart surgery. She is doing so much better.

Today I called Apria and waited on hold for forever, that I finally hung up. I needed to call them to come and pick up the oxygen tank and the pulse-ox machine!! (woo hoo) because no longer needs them! Yay!

I took the girls to get their picture taken for Christmas, but at the same time I also wanted to get Scarlett's pics taken showing her most recent scar. I think they came out pretty good.


I wanted her to have professional photographs for her so that when she's older, she can know what she went through and I can remember what I went through watching her.  The came out really good.



You can see her 2 bottom teeth in this one



This one is my favorite :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Picture With The President

I received a phone call from the Eller Congenital Heart Center yesterday saying that the marketing people from St. Joseph's Hospital wanted them to pick a family to take their picture with the President of St. Joseph's named Laura Hall, and they chose me! I felt really honored, how could I say no?

So this morning, I took Scarlett in her "Sunday Best" to go take a picture with the President. She was photographed with two other patients. One was a woman who had recently had a lung transplant, and the other was a man who had a valve replacement heart surgery. Scarlett was representing the Eller Congenital Heart Center. I am so proud.

The picture(s) will likely be used in hospital pamphlets and definitely in a magazine called "Ranking Arizona"... which chose St. Joseph's Hospital as #1 Hospital... or "Best" hospital. = )

So my 9-month old baby is already:
1.) A model for Snuggin Go
2.) In the 2010 Eller Congenital Heart Center  calendar
3.) On the news for the CHIEF Graduation
4.) In a picture with the President of St. Joseph's Hospital

Oh, and of course has quite a following on her blog ; )   She's really making a name for herself! :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Grandpa

Tonight I took Violet and Scarlett to see their paternal grandpa. He is not doing so well. In fact, he is very very sick, and his doctors/caregivers do not think he will survive much longer. Todd took them (V&S)yesterday to visit him, but I was at work and I didn't get to see him, so tonight I took the girls to see him.

Todd put Scarlett in grandpa's arms (maybe for the last time) and I'm sure that grandpa could feel her and I hope that he was happy holding her [he is very weak and unresponsive]. My heart was breaking. My dad died when I was young, so my father-in-law is the only grandpa my girls ever knew and will ever know. It makes me very sad for my girls that they will grow up without their grandpa. Especially Scarlett. She'll never know how much he loved her. She'll never know what a sacrifice he made to be there for her during her surgery last month. She'll never know him. She'll only know stories I tell her.

I can tell her that I was so touched that he came down to St. Joseph's Hospital to show his love and support for her during her surgery last month.  I can tell her what it meant to me and what a sacrifice it was for him to be there for her. It showed how much he loves his son and granddaughter.

Scarlett will always know that her grandpa loves her. I know that we will all be reunited someday, but for now, I am sad that he is suffering and he is fading. : ( 

Monday, November 23, 2009

Appearances Can Be Deceiving



People always tell me: “You can’t even tell she’s had surgery”… or “She looks so great, you can’t even tell”…. Or “She looks just like a ‘normal’ baby”. I get comments like this all the time.


I have pictures of Scarlett posted all over my cube at work, so basically anyone who passes by my desk can see her. Also, by now, everyone at my work (300+ employees) knows about Scarlett’s heart condition because I mentioned it in an open forum during 'employee recognition'…(well, I had someone read what I wrote the day of Scarlett’s surgery). So, it often happens that people stop by my cube look at her picture(s) and say: “She looks great/normal/healthy, etc.”

I never really know how to take this. How should a CHD baby look? Obviously CHD babies on oxygen or feeding tubes physically look different, but what are these people expecting? Blue babies? Pale, sickly looking babies? It makes me wonder…Would I say something like that to a heartmom if I wasn’t a heartmom myself?? Then I think, yeah, I probably would. I don’t take offense, but I don’t know what to say… so I just say “yeah, she’s doing amazing, I’m really lucky”.

I always make sure to say “I’m one of the lucky ones”, because I think of the moms of babies who are no longer with us [all the Heart Friends labeled “Angel” on the right side of my blog]. But despite Scarlett ~looking~ fantastic…she’s been through hell and back, and all I can say is looks can be deceiving.

Along those aspects, let’s talk about the fa├žade that I put up on a daily basis. Everyday, I get up, I get dressed, I go to work, I seemingly function and get my job done, I come home, take care of my babies, I pump, I Facebook, I blog, I email… just like a “normal” mother. But looks can be deceiving. . . I am not okay. I am not strong. I am an emotional wreck inside.

This past Friday at Scarlett’s 9-month pediatrician appointment, the doctor walked in to the exam room and said “Hi mom!”, and I said “Hi”, and she said “So, miss Scarlet just had her surgery, how is she doing?”, and I said “Great”, and she said “How are u holding up, mom?..how are you balancing work, home, hospital and everything?”….then from out of nowhere, I got a huge lump in my throat and I was choking back tears. I said “I don’t know… I’m sorry, I think I’m gonna cry”…and the doctor said “Oh no!, why?”, and I said (with tears streaming down my cheeks): “Because I honestly don’t know how I do it… it’s very stressful… and it’s HARD”. I may appear to be strong, but I'm a weak, fragile, sensitive little sissy.

I am definitely not as strong as people think I am. I fall to pieces at the drop of a hat (whatever that means). Inside, I am an emotional wreck. Outside, I can keep it together pretty well. I can crack jokes, I can smile, I can cook, clean, work, and schedule all of Scarlett’s appointments. I can refill her prescriptions, pump my breastmilk, make her fortified/thickened bottles, update my blog, attend Eller Heart Family Council meetings…but when it comes to my emotional health, I’m a walking time-bomb. Ready to detonate at simple questions like “How are you holding up?”. For this reason, I’ve made the decision to get myself into some therapy. I don’t need ‘happy pills’ as my sister calls them, but I could probably benefit from talking to a professional about my emotional instability. Or maybe this is all a normal part of being a heartmom? I guess I’ll find out.


For now, I'll just say that when you look at Scarlett, or when you look at me.... appearances can be deceiving.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Circle Of Life

I had posted back in September that Scarlett's only living grandpa (Todd's dad) was in the ICU for complications from his condition Amyotrophic Lateral Schlerosis [ALS]. At that time, he was able to make a recovery and was discharged home. A few weeks later, he was even able to make it to St. Joseph's Hospital waiting room during Scarlett's surgery (which I also posted about).

I was deeply humbled that Scarlett's grandpa asked to come to the waiting room during Scarlett's surgery especially because he wasn't even able to see her, he just wanted to be there to support his granddaughter and his son. I should mention that it is a major effort for him to be loaded into the car (he is on a ventilator, trache, a fairly large and cumbersome motorized wheelchair), and taken anywhere.

Well, he was doing stable the month of October (as stable as can be expected in the late stages of ALS), but unfortunately he recently took a major turn for the worse. He developed an infection and was hospitalized earlier this month. The doctors were unable to treat his infection. He spent a few weeks in the ICU, and very recently he was discharged on Hospice care. : (

So, while his granddaughter Scarlett is thriving and beating the odds of survival for her medical condition, he is slowly deteriorating and in the final days of his life because of his medical condition. It's the circle of life. Very sad. I lost my own father 21 years ago, so when Todd's father passes, it will mean that Scarlett will grow up without a grandpa. : ( As anyone would imagine, Todd is extremely upset, and has been spending a lot of time at his dad's bedside. If you're reading this please say a prayer for Todd and his siblings who are suffering right now watching their dad fade before their very eyes. : (

Arizona Republic Article

I was contacted last week by a reporter from the Arizona Republic (the local Phoenix Metropolitan area newspaper). She had written a article about a local 4-year-old girl [Gabriella Vega] who needs a heart transplant. During the reporter's research, she happened upon my blog.

The mother of Gabriella keeps a blog and the reporter was reading it and clicking around. So, through a link of a link of a link came across Scarlett's blog (totally amazing!). The reporter sent me an email asking if she could interview me for an article that she's writing about blogs that moms of ill children keep/write/maintain.

We spoke on the phone on Thursday and asked me questions like: why do I blog, who reads my blogs, do I like to write, when/why did I start my blog, what's wrong with Scarlett, how long have I known about Scarlett's CHD, and other things like that. I was kind of nervous (I know...me, the total HAM, nervous?)..because this article is going to published in the paper and I just felt like I was going to sound like an idiot.

Anyway, she asked me if there were any other heartmoms that I think would be interested in contributing to her article. I forwarded her the names of a few of my fellow Arizona heartmom bloggers. Especially  Lily's mom Jenna (who is the reason why I started a blog) and Ethan's mom Heidi (who is the reason I continue to post to my blog).

I will definitely be posting a link to the article once it's published and I'm going to buy the newspaper and frame the article too. For the record... yes, I *love* to write and I also love blogging. :)

Okay, quick Scarlett update: She's crawling, crawling, crawling all over the place. : ) I think she loves that she can kinda chase/follow her big sister Violet around. ....and Violet?... not  loving it so much. She's gonna have to get used to the fact that Scarlett can crawl over to her and play with her toys.  It was hilarious the other day because Violet was playing with puzzles and here comes Scarlett. so Violet says "no Scarlett! no!", then she says "mommy, help me!", so we moved the puzzles about 5 feet in opposite direction...well within seconds, here comes Scarlett to the new location.. and Violet says "no Scarlett!", so we move the puzzles again... and the same thing happens again. It was kind of like a Scarlett 'keep-away' game. It was fun and cute especially since Scarlett ultimately won. Violet gave up and Scarlett got to play with the puzzles. : )

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pediatrician 9-Mo Check-Up



Scarlett had her 9-month check up on Friday and she got a clean bill of health. woo hoo! She's small for her age (very small), but other than that, she's doing great! Dr. Gonzalez said that she wants to see her in a month because of her weight, but that's just to make sure that she gains some weight.

I don't know if I mentioned it or not, but Scarlett lost a whole pound in barely one week when she was still on the feeding tube and oxygen about a week after she was released from the hospital, because she was consistently vomiting her feeds.  We were able to get the vomiting to stop, but in that week that we were trying to figure out why she was puking, she lost a pound. This was significant because it's more than 10% of her body weight!

Beth (Scarlett's cardiologist) said to increase her calorie intake to 26 calories per ounce. So basically for every 6 ounces of breastmilk I pump, I will put 3 teaspoons of baby formula to help bulk Scarlett up.  It is working so far, because she weighed 14lbs 6oz at the ped office yesterday. However, overall she's still 'off-the-charts' for her weight (severely underweight). But like I said,... I'm told that's "normal" considering she's only 5-weeks post surgery.  So Dr. Gonzales will check her weight again in a month.


Scarlett loves eating her socks.

She's becoming more and more active and spends time on the floor playing independently with mommy or daddy close-by. She still has significant separation anxiety issues (and now her sister Violet has them too), which makes her *love* being held and hate being put down, but little by little she's getting there.

 
Her new favorite thing to do is play with the refrigerator magnets


I mention that Violet also has separation anxiety issues, because she sees me holding Scarlett and she says "Pick me up mommy! Pick me up!", then if I don't she has a total meltdown (as only a 2-year old can). It's not unusual for me to have Scarlett in one hand and Violet in the other. I feel really sorry for Violet, because I confess I ignore her a lot of the time because I have to attend to Scarlett's needs first. Poor little Violet. :(




So, needless to say, I love it when Scarlett is occupied with playing independently, because then I can squeeze in a little attention to my neglected 2 year old. Who, by the way is a 'challenging' child to begin with. Some people say Violet is "high spirited", and others would say "she's spoiled", but I just say she's a feisty little firecracker (gee.. I wonder where she gets that from?). My girls definitely have distinctly different personalities.  But one thing is certain. They are loved to pieces by their mommy and daddy. : )


(Violet, Todd, Scarlettt)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Putting on Weight


(Scarlett with her favorite blankie)


Scarlett had a cardiologist appointment on Tuesday and she gained a pound in the last 2 weeks. I was very happy to see she weighed 14lbs 3oz. Mind you, she hasn't gained anything since August (when she weighed 14lbs 4 oz), but her cardiologist said that this is 'normal' for cardiac kids post surgery.

Her oxygen level at the cardiologist was 99%! They said she's doing great. : ) Her appetite is back. No barfing. She is definitely thriving. Playing, crawling, talking, giggling. and her voice is stronger than ever. She's doing absolutely fantastic. The separation anxiety is still there, but it is a lot better now. Getting her to go to bed is a struggle. She cries and screams and fights it big time. But after a little more mommy love, she finally settles down for the night.

She still wears size 6 months pretty comfortably, but on Sunday I put her in a size 3-month dress and it fit her perfect ..not too big, not too small. I put her in her walker and she scoots around the kitchen. But normally she doesn't like being in it. I think she was only enjoying being in it because Violet was in the kitchen too.





(Scarlett with her big sister Violet)

Violet loves her little sister. She's always saying "I love her... she's so cute and tiny". I don't know who taught her "cute and tiny" but she says it all the time.  Whenever she see's Scarlett's scar she says: "Scarlett has a boo-boo." and I say "Yes she does"... and she says: "She has a boo-boo on her heart... owie". and I say "yes".  Scarlett wants to play with Violet more and more everyday. And of course Violet being an average 2-yr-old is insanely jealous and stingy with her toys.  She is constantly saying MINE!, and grabbing toys out of Scarlett's hands. Poor baby. So, right now I'm trying to teach Violet that sharing is caring. After awhile, Violet calms down and plays nice, and brings her toys to Scarlett like a good sister. I love them sooooo much. I am so happy I have 2 little girls. Girls Rule! :)