Monday, June 23, 2014

Update on Rilynn's Hips

I've been hesitant to write anything about this, but we've had so many people ask & wonder that I feel enough time has passed in order to share a little bit about what Rilynn & our family went through last month.

At Rilynn's 4 month appointment, her pediatrician thought she felt a hip "click". They feel for this at birth & every well appt afterwards to check for hip displasia. It is usually picked up in the early weeks, but some children have been known to go past their 2nd birthday or longer before finding any traces of hip displasia. There are a lot of things that can happen with this condition...having a leg shorter than the other, hip issues & hip replacements early in life are just a few mentioned. In order to correct it, a brace like the one we got is normally used before 6 months old...if that has no effect then a more rigid brace is used, possibly a body cast & even surgery. It is a nightmare for a lot of parents & children to go through & is a lot more common than we really know.

Your child is kept in a particular position for weeks or is always the last option unless it is too far gone to correct & some parents have even gone through multiple surgeries with their children. My pediatrician was not certain of what she felt, but didn't want to take any chances since Rilynn was already 4 months old. We were referred to Childrens in Birmingham to the Orthopedic specialist there. At her first appt she was given an ultrasound to show if her hips were in fact out of the socket & if she had any abnormalities. During the Dr.'s exam, he was not able to feel any kind of "click" of "clunk" of her bone coming in & out of the socket. Another Dr. also checked her at this first visit & could not feel anything either. She was happy, felt solid & didn't seem to be in any pain. They could not find anything wrong with her physically...until the ultrasound came in. 

Looking at that ultrasound showed us what abnormal hips look like & where they are supposed to be. The Dr was amazed that he was not able to feel anything in his physical exam & called it miraculous that we had her in for an ultrasound. He took his time explaining what normal hips would look like & what the ultrasound showed. We saw that one hip was out at 27% & the other was out at 40%...normal would be to see both hips in the socket at over 50%. Matt & I were both there for the appointment & while we thought they were going to tell us she was fine & send us home, the ultrasound showed different. We were recommended to try a Pavlik Harness to treat hip displasia & give her hips a chance to sit back in the sockets as far as possible to see if it would grow around her joint better & fix the problem. We were bummed out to say the least...for the next month, we would have to put this little harness on our baby girl & deal with everything it came with. Lots of questions, & explaining about it was just PART of the issue...taking it off every time you had to change clothes, change a diaper, wash it...etc got old pretty fast. I think I was over it in the first week. We had a 2 week checkup to make sure the harness was still doing its job & wasn't stretched out! She was allowed to be out of it for 8-12 hrs at a time when I had to hand wash & air dry it (usually overnight), but other than those 2-3 instances, she was in it 24/7 day & night over the next month.

Thankfully she took it on like a champ! She was very happy & pleasant in the harness. It helped her sit up better & she was able to do normal activities that any 4-5 month old would do! She played with her toys & didn't seem to be in any discomfort whatsoever. There were a few times when I would change her that her little face would screw up when I was trying to put those feet back in the stirrups. All she wanted to do was stretch & stretch but it only took a little fussing before she was back to being pleasant. I hated putting her in it...but we just took it one day at a time! We were glad we caught it when we did & realized that this was a drop in the hat compared to what some families have gone through in this situation. We had tons of family & friends praying for a quick recovery & that she wouldn't have to be in it any longer than a few weeks. At the 2 week check up however, the Dr. thought she needed to be in it just ONE more week to make sure she was getting all the treatment she could. He was so nice & patient even though I asked a million questions...

Finally, those LONG 5 weeks came to an end. We had made it. That poor harness looked like it had been drug through the gutter! (even though I spent hours scrubbing it back to white) It had all kinds of random things stuck to the velcro & I even lost a couple shirts in the process to snagging. 
We went in for an updated ultrasound & she was just as nosy as ever, craning her neck around to see what the technician was doing..but never cried. She fell asleep in the examining room & when an intern came in to check her, she slept through the entire exam. It was then that the intern started his regular routine of questions... 
What was the initial reason for coming in- What did the Dr. say treatment was for...etc. etc. 
Being a very observant mom, I was able to tell right off during her follow up ultrasound that the angles the Dr. told us to look for were MUCH better than the original showed. I was feeling VERY optimistic that we would have good results & everything would check out fine. I told the intern what her angles were to begin with & what the percentages were. At the time, I didn't really catch on, but looking back I remember him being very quiet. He let me talk & explain but didn't say much, then quickly left the room saying something about angles are sometimes hard to read & he would have the Dr. meet with us soon.

I didn't "feel" nervous but we waited what seemed like an eternity before anyone came back in the room. We could hear a lot of noise outside our door but nothing really out of the ordinary. Over 30 minutes passed until someone finally came in to talk to us. It was a woman, not the Dr. we had seen several time previously & she looked shaky & nervous. Her voice cracked when she spoke...THAT'S when I got nervous. The first words that came out of her mouth were... "I am SO Sorry!" 

No parent really wants to hear that coming from a Dr's office. In a split second about a 100 horrible things went through my mind of what could be wrong with Rilynn. What did they find? What happened during the had to show something! What's wrong with her? We're looking at surgery or something worse aren't we....I felt clammy & sick to my stomach all at the same time but I guess that happens a lot when you become a parent! =)

After that it all seems like a blur. The next words were upsetting, but I was filled with relief. Rilynn was normal. She was completely fine & had NO complications. She did not even have hip displasia...there was nothing to be worried about. 
What happened was that during our first visit, somehow the ultrasound technician tagged the wrong photos under Rilynn's name & her ultrasound was switched with another baby's ultrasound. It finally all made sense. No wonder the Dr's kept saying it was a miracle we were able to get her treated...they couldn't "feel" anything wrong with her but the pictures showed different. The Dr. made the right diagnosis based on that ultrasound, they just weren't Rilynn's hips in the photographs. The reason it had gone so long without being detected was because the technician immediately "fixed" the problem & blocked the photos from being able to open in the exam room. However, the Dr. was super efficient that day & had them pulled up before she had gotten to block them. They never knew on either end there had been a mistake. From there she spent the 5 weeks in a harness that wasn't intended for one ever looked at ultrasound photos at her 2 weeks checkup, because there was nothing to compare them to. Once they were able to have her 2nd ultrasound, pulling up her previous ultrasound showed the mistake. Since the technician had fixed the problem, her normal, original ultrasound came up & showed normal...compared to...well...normal! That's why it took them 30 minutes to figure out what had happened...but the good news & final result was...she's fine! She was not & should not be harmed in any way from over treatment. Her pediatrician will keep a close eye on her from here on out to make sure there won't be any type of issue in the future, but we are praying that this is the end of it.

The next hr or so was met with a meeting of Dr's & interns. Insurance people & managers...they had to cover every basis, explain everything...get paper work to bring up in the next meeting to make sure this never happened again, it had never happened before & there were drastic measures to be taken. It wouldn't stop there, but they offered to compensate us for every expense we had made in the process. Along with all the questions we asked & answers we were given, it was emotional...I guess it was more relief than anything but it all came blubbering out. My first question after asking about Rilynn was about the other baby. Was she ok? Was she given the right treatment? & thankfully no one else was given any wrong information or mistaken photos. 
It was a lot to take in...we just sat there kind of in disbelief but at the same time thankful...oh SO thankful. It could have been awful...horrible news. It wasn't. Yes it was frustrating, even could this happen? I cried & bawled my eyes out during the ride home...I was upset that we had put her in that harness over & over & made her stay in that uncomfortable position when we didn't have to, but the outcome was the same. The news was good news...the reason was upsetting, but the news was still the same...GOOD!
Matt's first words back in the car were...we prayed for her to be normal & she is. 
Really..what more could you ask for!? 
I know there are people out there who would demand some sort of settlement...they would complain about the emotional trauma they experienced but that's not what we focused on.

Looking back I still tear up thinking about it but we're no longer upset...its over with, done, in the past. We got through it & she isn't any worse for the wear. Had it been a complete nightmare for her & had she cried every time I put that harness on her, had she been & acted completely uncomfortable...then I would have taken the news a lot worse. I know that woman giving us the news was petrified. I'm sure she was preparing herself to be reamed out up one side & down the other! I'm sure thoughts of huge law suits & malpractice figures were going through her head...yet I knew she was sincere. I know some would speculate that it was an act because she thought she was going to get sued...but you could tell she was so upset & sad that our baby had to go through what she did & I appreciate what nurses & Doctors do to defend the well-being of my children. They were patient with all of our questions, they took their time explaining everything they could explain. The Dr. that diagnosed her came in & talked to us about everything & never once tried to cover anything up. I really like the Dr. she had & could tell he was very knowledgable about the situation. I just hope I never have to go back there again...& if I do, I wouldn't mind seeing the same doctor.

That's what we focused on. They could have come in there & given us the good news that the harness had worked, she wouldn't have to be in it anymore & sent us on our way! They could have lied & covered it up...but that didn't happen. We were able to go through all of the appropriate measures to get it all taken care of. We were understanding of the situation & chose to be positive! As we talked about it, I remember saying something like...maybe the harness helped prevent her from having a horrible accident! Maybe it kept her in that position so she wasn't able to roll over & get horribly hurt or scarred for life! 
There are so many different ways you can look at it. Not everyone would choose to see it our way & not everyone would do the same thing we did. But that's what happened. We chose not to declare on social media everything that happened because we needed to sleep on it a few days & let everything sink in. We were already getting advice from our families so getting lots of other opinions from everyone else would have been too much. It wasn't a secret that we were trying to keep...but we needed time to sort it all out. Now that we have heard back from our insurance & the Dr. we can say that it is taken care of & God has ultimately taken care of US. He DID answer our prayers & while He still allowed us to go through what we did, it was obviously for a bigger reason than we know right now. 

As you can see, it didn't seem to phase Rilynn one bit. She was able to sit up on her own after being taken out of the brace & rolling over & chewing on her toes quickly became a favorite past time. We don't always understand the circumstances & we realized just what a drop in the hat this would seem to what others have gone through, but overall I can say that I AM thankful for God's plan & whatever He chooses to put in our path...we will still serve Him.

*Thank you to everyone who walked this with us, who prayed for us, went to the Dr. with us, kept Greyson during her appointments, & asked about us. We are grateful to wonderful family & friends =) 

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First Family Vacation

I can't begin to express to you how busy our lives have been lately. With work, church, never ends & the family business has been the busiest EVER since Leslie started it over 25 years ago! He said he has never seen it like it's no surprise that Matt has had to travel a lot & has been out of town several weeks at a time. 

I also have had a lot more responsibilities with church & family since my mother in law has been in & out of the hospital, all while taking care of 2 kids & making sure they are getting in plenty of activities as well. Sometimes we get so busy that I feel the need to get them out of the house for dates with friends really help, shopping & even just going outside to play in the sprinkler has allowed me to take a breather.

When Greyson turned 2, he had a Thomas the train party & has LOVED playing with his train table. Every year, Thomas comes to town in the spring & I thought it would be fun to make that his special birthday present since his party was themed around Thomas & Friends. We just had to wait a few months before we could go...between our schedules & all that we had going on, we were not able to make it to the one in Alabama.

The next closest, Day Out with Thomas, was in Chattanooga, TN. There were 3 dates to choose from...we finally nailed down a date & made it work. Matt was called out of town that exact weekend, but it was the last weekend for Thomas, & we had already bought the tickets. He came home early from his trip & we were still able to go.

The neat thing about it being in Chattanooga, was that we were able to make it an overnight stay & do other things! I called it...our First Family MINI Vacation!

We booked a room at the Chattanooga Choo Choo & got the River package that included passes to the train museum, a conductor hat for Greyson, & tickets to the aquarium & imax theater.

Everything was pretty much themed around trains except for the aquarium! We spent the first day at the Choo Choo just sight seeing, shopping & eating. We checked out the museum & walked around the beautiful gardens. Greyson got to sit on the big train & ride a little one too!

We ate at a really fun restaurant that had live music & wonderful food. All the waiters & waitresses were the performers & they sang REALLY good! The next day we took a few pictures of the inside of the lobby at the Chattanooga Choo was the original depot for the train that used to come through there & had lots of neat historical factors we got to check out. The outside was huge!

Then we took a trolly to the Tennessee Aquarium! It was a lot of fun! Greyson loved seeing all the fish & different sea creatures. We went to the freshwater side first, but the ocean side was my favorite.

 Greyson loved pointing out different fish & in this particular photo he said, "There's Nemo!" and it really was! haha

They had lots of neat waterfalls & places to walk through...not JUST fish but all kids of birds & tropical things too!

We got to touch a shark & they had really neat stingrays & other creatures you could "pet" & feed. At this age, Greyson is pretty fascinated with all kinds of animals. We heard lots of "ewws", "awwwws" & "What is that?"

Our family photo with some penguins haha
Rilynn slept most of the time, but when she was awake she seemed to really enjoy looking at the animals. She laughed when these 3 penguins would race by...they just went round & round.

NOT one of my favorite animals! That big anyway...=)

This was probably the neatest part of the aquarium! The underwater caverns. You felt like you were really under the water with all the fish. 

After the aquarium, we went back to our hotel & had lunch in the Pizza Train was more for the experience than anything =) Greyson sure thought it was cool that we got to eat on a real train! Matt was clear up at the front ordering our food.

After lunch it was time for DAY out with THOMAS! There he is...the REAL Thomas! Greyson just kept saying "He's real!" over & over...haha 

Greyson was very curious about everything that was happening...we gave the conductor our tickets & boarded the train. There were lots of neat sites along the way...we saw a big nest with HUGE eggs in it under the bridge...I'm not sure what kind of bird they were for but it was neat to point things out.

Meeting Sir Topham Hatt was another highlight...he got studied over pretty well. =) 
Along with riding the train & meeting Sir Hatt, we got to see baby animals, watch a Thomas movie, visit the bubble station, the imagination station (where they had lots of train tables), got a thomas tattoo/sticker, & picked up a souvenir in the gift shop! 

He picked out the souvenir all by himself. A Thomas bowl, plate & silverware set! We use it A LOT!

Along with the aquarium, eating out & Day out with made for a pretty long day. We ended up skipping our Imax theater show because this little guy passed out in the car! He slept all the way home (2 hours) & went right to sleep once we got settled & everyone in bed for the night.

It was a successful mini vacation. We had a lot of fun & crammed a lot into our 2 day stay. It was definitely a high light of mine to see Thomas come to life in this little boys eyes. I even teared up a little when we walked into the station--we have had such a crazy year with moving, & having Rilynn...a new house & sibling is a lot for a little guy to take! So this was definitely something special just being able to take him to something that I knew he would love. We were able to give him LOTS of special attention & do something that was pretty much just for was so neat to me! We do lots of fun things, but we won't ever forget this fun family trip! 

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

5 Months!

My sweet girl is growing so fast! 

so far you...

*weigh 16.9 lbs & are 26 inches long
*nurse sporadically every 2 - 4 hrs depending on how long you sleep during the day. You are getting about 4-6 oz at a time & take 7 oz in a bottle
*sleep about 8-9 hrs a night, wake up to eat about 6am & snooze until 8:30am
*sleep in your crib during the night & cuddle with mommy & sometimes Greyson after your first morning feeding
*are getting good at sitting up & playing with all your toys
*like watching Greyson & talking to him, he loves entertaining you & you just laugh & laugh
*have started talking a lot more -- babbling all day long with lots of squeals & screams
*won't stay on your tummy very long usually roll over after a few minutes
*are pretty snug in size 2 diapers & moved up to medium size pre-folds with M/L covers...also in one size all in ones now that your newborns are packed away
*wearing some 3-6 month clothes but are mostly in 6-12 mo sizes, 6+ month sleepers & size 1-2 shoes  
*spend time in your bouncy seat, swing & most recently the jumperoo! You like to bounce & bounce
*are great with new people & don't cry when someone new holds you. You are just fascinated with new things & new people
*are just as nosy as ever...have to know everything that is going on!
*are quickly becoming a poppie's girl & you like visiting all of your family members
*love riding in the Kabota with daddy & seeing all the animals- horses, cows, turtles...but especially the baby cows that come over to check you out...after a long ride it usually puts you to sleep
*are still a huge fan of bath time! This month you switched to the big tub & just splash & splash
*spent 5 weeks in a pavlik harness for hip displasia just to find out there was a huge mistake at the dr. office...(more on that later) but we are SO glad you are happy, healthy & that nothing is wrong with your hips! God answered a huge prayer for us! 

What we are looking forward to:
*Camp meeting 
*The arrival of Baby Girl Ritchey
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Friday, June 13, 2014

My Birthday & Easter!

My 28th birthday fell on a Sunday this year. We celebrated Easter with my inlaws on the same was wonderful!

My cake was delicious, I got some great gifts & to top it off, lots of candy & more Easter presents!

All of our Easter baskets lined up on the kids table...

And then Rilynn & Greyson's baskets...They are so blessed with the grandparents they have...Mimi had been in the hospital & somehow still managed to get these amazing baskets done!

Rilynn loved her little bunny & got some really cute clothes

Greyson has lots of new toys to rotate in & some we will save for later =) It was a great birthday & I love my family! 
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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Easter Activities

Easter was a lot more interactive this year. Because Greyson was old enough to hunt eggs, we took him to 2 egg hunts on Saturday before Easter Sunday. The first one was at G'mama's with all the great-grandkids....the tradition here is that among all the regular sized eggs is a big one called the PRIZE egg. It usually has more candy & money in it! Guess who found the prize egg! =) 

After hunting eggs, we had a big lunch & visited for awhile. It was fun being with family that day.

Then we headed over to our church to hunt eggs in the afternoon. 
All of Greyson's little buddy's were there & they had fun gathering up all the eggs...needless to say we came home with LOTS of candy! We came home with a few Easter baskets from Aunt Maudine & Uncle Jimmy too =) 

Later that night, after naps & supper, I started another activity that I think will become another new family tradition for us. We made resurrection rolls & they were SO good! It was a great way to get Greyson involved & also explain to him why we celebrate Easter in the first's not all about eggs, but the reason is because Jesus gave his life for us & rose from the dead on the 3rd day! We celebrate his resurrection & life! 

We called the roll part the tomb instead of his grave clothes to make it easier for him to understand. He helped put everything together & after they had baked, we got to see if the tomb was empty & it was! It was so cute to hear Greyson say... He's alive! Him's not dead...the tomb is empty! =)

We also colored eggs & made deviled eggs out of them for Sunday lunch. They looked so cute!

If you have never made resurrection is the easiest thing & they are so good.
Here's the recipe below...

You will need:

package Crescent rolls 
4 tbsp melted butter
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon

Melt the butter and put the cinnamon sugar mixture in a bowl.  Grease your baking pan and pre-heat the oven according to the crescent roll directions.  (You can read John 19 if you would like!)
Give your child a marshmallow and explain that it represents Jesus.  After Jesus died on the cross he was prepared for burial.  Back then that meant using oil (the melted butter) and spices (the cinnamon sugar mixture.) Dip the marshmallow in butter and then roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place the marshmallow in the crescent roll.  (We explained that instead of linen burial clothes, that the roll represented the we placed his body in the tomb). You will need to wrap it up tightly and pinch it shut.  You will want to make sure that it is sealed! Place on a cookie sheet. Cook according to crescent roll’s package instructions.
The next day, we got the kids up early to find the Easter baskets we had made for them. I found several neat items in the $1 rack at target...carrot shaped sidewalk chalk, hair clips for Rilynn, etc. I got them a little bit of candy from our favorite chocolate shop in PA (we enjoyed Rilynn's hehe) a few useful items like new cereal bowls & a couple toys. The new train for Greyson (Toby) & a little rabbit rattle for Rilynn were the big hits. Greyson also got a little deck chair that he can use inside or outside. 
Then we got all dressed up in our Easter outfits & headed off to church! Mimi bought the kids outfits & had gotten Rilynn that little bow for Christmas. It has a velcro piece in the middle that changes out a little white bunny to a painted easter egg. We used the bunny for church. =) 
After church, we all came back to our house for Sunday lunch. My friend Courtney surprised us all with a bunny cake for dessert! It was SO cute!! There were little chocolate easter eggs & a chick peep on the side. It was DELICIOUS! Greyson got to eat one of the bunny's ears & he was very happy! 

Rilynn got in some cuddle time with Poppie before lunch...Mimi was in the hospital, so we missed having her with us.

 After lunch, we took the kids up to the hospital to visit Mimi...just before going in, we changed the kids back into their Sunday outfits so she could see them dressed up.

She looked so beautiful & we had such a good visit! She has been back & forth to the hospital for fluids after some of her chemo treatments. She seems to always be in the hospital over holidays, but we still get to celebrate with her =)

We are thankful for the many blessings we have as a family & had a great Easter this year!
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