Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dax's rough start

The day Dax was born was exciting. We had waited a long 9 months for this day to come. Brady and I were asked to arrive at the hospital at 4:30 am to prepare with things such as blood work, I.V’s and paperwork. We dropped off Skyler and Emma to grandma Heywood’s house and were on our way to the hospital. It was a very early morning yet we were so excited so it wasn't bad at all.  As we got to the hospital playing on the radio was a song from a band called “The Offspring”  which we thought was ironic and gave us a good laugh as we were about to start this adventure.  We were underway with preparations and the time came for this baby to be delivered. Dax was a scheduled C-Section so I knew what to expect and I felt like I was prepared.  Dr. Langer was a great doctor and she took really good care of me preparing me to deliver this precious baby.  As I lay on the table the doctor asked if I was “ready for this?” and allowed me to watch the birth of my sweet little baby boy. This is a moment I will never forget. Such a sweet, tender, spiritual moment to see my son come into the world and to see his beautiful face for the first time.  This really was such a magical moment for me. The nurses then took my sweet baby (as normal) to check him over and clean him up while the doctor finished her job helping me.  I listened to Dax cry as I anxiously waited for my husband to bring my sweet baby over to me. Finally, I got to see him again and I was so happy to be able to touch him and stroke his sweet little face.  I couldn't hold him yet because the doctor was still working on me and I knew that it would be a little bit because with my other two babies I knew I had to wait until I got back to my recovery room to get to hold my newborn.  In my opinion this part of delivery always takes the longest because I’m just anxious and excited to hold my baby.
While the nurse was checking Dax over she noticed that his breathing seemed a little too quick and it was in such a state that they wanted to take him to the nursery to watch and observe him – just as a precaution. So before I was finished in the surgery room my sweet husband Brady had to take my baby away to the nursery. This was different. This had never happened before. I didn't know what to think other than I was anxious and bummed that I couldn't hold my baby. But, they seemed to think that it would only be for a little while so I was okay with that – as much as I could be. I thought that I would see him soon and besides, the doctor was just finishing up with me. The surgery was completed and the nurses took me to my recovery room.  This was different. This never happened before.  All I could think was “Where is my husband? - - Where is my baby?”  The nurses settled me into my room and I was left alone: tired, worried and anxious to see my baby wondering what was going on. Apparently the wait was long because I fell asleep and awoke to my husband coming into the room – but without Dax. My sweet little baby was still having trouble breathing and it was still far too quick that his nurses wanted to keep an eye on him so he was not allowed to leave the nursery.  My heart was just broken, I felt so helpless that all I could do was cry. I felt like Dax was just ripped away from me and I couldn't see him or be with him or help him in any way.

Time just kept dragging on and there was no change in his condition. Four hours after Dax was born the nurses came in to tell us that they had determined that Dax would need to me taken to the N.I.C.U. These are words that no parent ever wants to hear. This was such difficult information to hear and again all that I could do was cry. The nurse agreed to bring Dax into me for a minute while on his was from the nursery to the N.I.C.U.  Finally!  This is when I got to hold my sweet baby: My perfect, precious, tiny little baby.  My arms just ached to hold him forever and take this pain away from him.  But as I held him in my arms I understood why they were taking him to the N.I.C.U.  It just broke my heart to see him struggle for air. I only got to hold him for a minute: A sweet precious minute.  Little did I know at the time but I wouldn't get to hold him again for two days. Brady and I were left alone – no baby and scared for our little boy.  The doctors put Dax on oxygen while in the N.I.C.U. hoping that it would help him and we continued to wait and wait and cry and wait.  We hoped for progress but Dax needed some real help.  This perfect day had turned out to be extremely difficult. The only thing that helped was my mom bringing my other two children, Skyler and Emma up to see me.  At least I could hold them and kiss them in this difficult time. 

Unfortunately, there was no improvement with Dax and the doctors decided that it was necessary to give him a medicine called “surfactant” that would help open up the air sacs in his lungs.  Then with this medicine they also put him on a ventilator.  With the two this would hopefully get his breathing under control. He was having difficulty breathing because he was born with stuff in his lungs like ‘pneumonia’ and he was fighting off an infection. This was all discovered and all happened early the next morning.  I was just exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally and I just prayed that my baby boy would be okay.  As soon as I was able to get out of bed I wanted to be in the N.I.C.U. with Dax. I wanted my baby.  I was still so sore from my delivery but I tried to be by his side as much as I physically could and I would “over-do-it” many times just to be with him.

The first time seeing Dax on the ventilator was really hard.  He had so many wires and tubes attached to his little body.  Again, I cried. It was frightening to see him this way – but I was so grateful that the nurses and doctors knew what they were doing. I couldn't hold him in this state but I could touch him and put my hands on his chest and on his arms and legs. With each visit I stayed with my baby until my pain meds wore off and I literally couldn't sit here any longer and had to have Brady take me back to my room. This was how our time was spent in the hospital.  Brady would help me into a wheel chair and roll me down to see my baby where we would stay with him for a few hours until my pain was back and I had to go back to my room and rest. I hated it. I wanted to just stay there with my sick little baby but I had no choice, I had to heal too.
One of the lines attached to Dax was called an “arterial line” which allowed nurses to give him meds directly into his artery. Because of this line we still couldn't hold him - as a precaution.  We were told that it could be dangerous for him if that line was hit wrong or accidentally pulled out. Dax was taken off the ventilator later the second day and was put on an oxygen machine to help strengthen his lungs and he was given an antibiotic to help him fight the infection he was fighting. 

The morning of day three as Brady and I wheeled into the N.I.C.U. we were pleasantly surprised to find that they had removed his arterial line and we could now hold our baby.  I just about jumped out of that wheel chair! Oh what a great day!  Dax was still attached to many tubes and wires but I got to hold my baby. Really hold him.  I held my sweet little Dax and just cried, I was so grateful to have him, to take him in, my poor sweet little boy was still so sick but he was on the mend doing better and better.  At the time I felt so helpless but at the same time I have never felt so blessed to be born in this day and age of modern medicine which allowed him to be with us and survive this fight. All I could do was hold him, bond with him in my arms, tell him I loved him, and pray for the best. I was happy to do it.

Dax was able to eat for the first time on day four. I tried to breast feed him for the first time but he didn't do too well because he was still weak and we had to resort to a bottle.  He did okay with his first feeding but ended up spitting it up because of the tubes and oxygen that he was still on.  The second feeding later this day was a better success and he kept every drop down. Things were doing better each day and each hour but he did have to spend quite a few days in the N.I.C. U. on oxygen.  Dax also had a slight case of jaundice at the same time in the N.I.C.U. so while he was in the process of strengthening his lungs they also put him under the “bili” lights for a few hours. Thankfully it wasn't anything major.
I was discharged from the hospital on day four and while Dax was doing a little better we still had to leave him there. I had a very difficult time leaving my baby in the hospital. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. However, Brady and I came up to see our sweet baby every day and we would stay with him for a few hours.  It was hard not to be there 24 hours a day but we had to also take care of our little Skyler and Emma as well - who had not yet even met their baby brother.  The only comfort was being able to see him for those few hours daily and knowing that he was in good hands day and night.

This is how things went for us for several days. Day ten when we got to the hospital we found that while Dax was still on oxygen he was moved from the heavy flow machine to a low flow machine. This was great news as it was one step closer to bringing him home. We were just aching to bring him home and had even asked about bringing him home with oxygen but his doctor seemed to think that just a few more days would do the trick and we could be fine without it all together.

Day eleven Dax had his “room air” trial and was taken off oxygen for the first time as a test. He did pretty well but had to go back on the oxygen later that day. We left his car seat that day at the hospital so the nurses could do an oxygen text on him while sitting in his seat.

Day twelve was finally “THE DAY”.  We got a call that morning from a nurse in the N.I.C.U. asking us when we could pick up our baby. I thought my heart would jump right out of my chest I was so excited to bring him home. The only bummer was that I also had my two week check-up with my doctor and Dr. Langer just happened to be running behind in her appointments that day. Oh how I wanted to just run out of her clinic and just reschedule it all but I was so done with going to the hospital that I just accepted it and waited for my turn.  I toughed it out and ran next door to my awaiting husband and baby Dax. We were FINALLY bringing him home!!!  I changed Dax into his little red romper and loaded him into the car sear. I FINALLY had my baby home, I FINALLY got to introduce Skyler and Emma, I FINALLY had my family together and it was the sweetest most precious moment in the world. I am so blessed and glad to have these wonderful people in my family. I love them all so much.

Dax had a rough start in this life but now he is doing beautifully at home.  He is thriving and growing in both height and weight.  He is doing so well and he is such a joy to have in our home. I sure do love this sweet little wonderful boy. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Child with autism? There's an app for that!

So, we recently decided that we should buy a tablet computer for the family. We knew that the touch screen and variety of apps available could be a positive thing to do with Skyler to help him to develop. What happened when we got out Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (which we got over the iPad 2 due to personal preference, better reviews and a bitter hatred for everything Apple), however, completely surpassed our expectations. We have always known that Skyler has an amazing intelligence about him, but we could not see it with the fact that he just was not talking. Almost immediately Skyler took to the tablet like a fish takes to water and we finally got to see our little boy show us some of the things that we could only imagine before. Within minutes of sitting down with the tablet he had figured out, on his own, how to go in and out of applications and change pages in the menu. He had begun to understand which applications he liked and which ones he didn't. All of these apps have had a positive effect on him in some way or another.

Kids Doodle
This is the app that first convinced us to get a tablet, as Skyler became obsessed with it on my phone. It's an app with a simple concept and one of many drawing applications available for Android devices. Where this application sets itself apart, however, is that colors that are used automatically change with each stroke which proved to be constantly entertaining for Skyler. The app also allows for a variety of drawing styles, from the neon seen above to crayons. This app has allowed Skyler to refine his fine motor skills and we have seen him start to imitate different shapes and drawing styles as we do them. It's a wonderful application that can be downloaded for free here from the Amazon App Store (NOTE: You will have to manually download the Amazon app store itself in order for the application to transfer to your device).

Tracing ABC
This app has especially done wonders for our little boy. The concept is simple: Trace along the stars to write letters, numbers and shapes. The stars pop out and make a small "ding" sound as they trace the letters which gives the kids a very tactile feel as they trace, making every letter exciting. Before you trace each letter the app says the name of the letter and afterwards it shows a picture of an object that starts with that letter as it says what the object is. This is the best app that we have found for our little boy as he has begun to learn his letters, follows patterns, and it ahs taught him more words. He now recognizes several letters by sight and says the name of them as they come up. In addition, he has started to say some of the words of the objects as they come up such as "queen", "box" and "alligator". For a boy who a month ago had a vocabulary of around 5 words, this application has been a godsend. It is available from the Amazon Marketplace here for $1.99, and it's worth every penny.

Angry Birds
Angry Birds is a little something of a phenomenon. Everybody in the world knows this little game of flinging polygonal birds at disembodied green pig heads and there is a good reason for it: it's simple and it's fun. While many games go over Skyler's head, this app shows that simple is sometimes best as he knows how to aim the birds, shoot them backwards, restart levels, go back to the main menu... all without coaching. DISCLAIMER: two year olds will play this game differently than thirty year olds... and it may drive you crazy, but they'll have a blast! There are several different versions available including the original, Angry Birds Season, Angry Birds Rio, and the recently released Angry Birds Space (available here).

Other Games
There are many other games/apps that Skyler enjoys that may require assistance from an adult. Plants Versus Zombies, Office Jerk, Cut the Robe, Gravilux, Airport Mania and Flick Football are all games that Skyler seems to enjoy and are all available from the Amazon App Store and may be enjoyed by adults as well as kids. I would also recommend checking the amazon App Store daily as every day it has a new app for free that you would normally have to pay for. Many of the apps that I have found I got from this method.