Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cait Update

So here's a bit of an update on Cait. As you're aware, she has kidney reflux or vesicoureteral reflux. It's been a struggle to say the least. It's potentially quite serious, and definitely an inconvenience at the least. We've spent most of the last 7 months of her life in the hospital for surgeries, Specialist visits, urine samples etc etc. It's time consuming. Trying to get a urine sample from a baby is hard and next to impossible...and sometimes takes days before we're successful!

Now, we've been the recipient of a LOT of love, prayers, opinions and advice. And I'm so grateful for EVERYONE's concern! I fully believe there are people other than myself that have answers to some of my questions...and I appreciate they're consideration. It really is great to have so many people who care. But I do feel like I need to explain a little bit of what we're actually up against here as it's definitely more complicated than getting a bladder infection here or there. This is a birth defect. Her Ureter is physically deformed. The connection between her bladder and her ureter us also physical deformed. It's not a deformation you can see...but it's still there. The main problem she deals with is her Ureter. She has what's called a 'megaureter'. So each time she urinates, instead of leaving her bladder and exiting her body it takes a side trip to the kidneys. Which is not good.

The normal flow of urine is: Kidney to ureter to bladder to urethra to diaper!

Her flow is: kidney to ureter to bladder to ureter to kidney to ureter to bladder and then some leaves and heads through her urethra and eventually arrives in the diaper.

She had surgery in October to hopefully stop this back flow. Her Urologist used a scope to insert this gel that basically acts as a one way valve. It lets urine into the bladder at the point, but it doesn't let it back out...which forces it to leave through her urethra! In Cait's case, since her ureter is so huge, the surgery wasn't quite so successful.  In her 10 months of life she's had 7 infections...and most of them were kidney infections. In the 4 months since her surgery she's had three infections....and those all occurred in a two month time.

I have been lucky to never have had a bladder infection...that is until earlier this month. It was AWFUL!! I now understand just the tiniest what she's going through. The difference though is that she actually gets them in her kidneys. And do you know what happens to kidneys when they're infected? They get permanently damaged! And she's had some significant damage to her one kidney. Which is why this is so serious!! I have down played the severity of her condition in the past because I was hopeful we'd have a quick simple fix. But since that's not the case, I feel like I need to be honest here. Kidneys are vital. She's lucky to have two and very lucky that only one seems to be getting the worst of it. BUT if we don't stop this from continuing she can lose a kidney. I know it will never get there because we're soooo on top of things. BUT it's still a possibility. A very real possibility.

ANYWAY, our most recent update is that she just had surgery again last Friday. And as a sign of how important that surgery was, we got in within a week and a half after deciding on surgery with her urologist. That's pretty quick by Canadian standards!! Things went well. Her ureter is still large and she definitely still has reflux. The doctor tried the gel insert again and we're hopeful this will do the trick this time. If not, we have one more go at the procedure and then we move onto plan B (or is it C...or D at this point?). But right now we just wait and see.

Now I know many people have wondered why we're just no preventing these! There's really nothing you can do's internal and has nothing to do with hygiene. However, we do make sure to keep her as healthy as possible, she takes daily probiotics, she takes vemma daily to boost her immune system, we're waiting on an order of d-manose (which is a natural prevention) and she takes antibiotics when needed. We've done a LOT of research on the topic and feel this is the best plan of action. We feel like our doctors have given us so many options and we're really so grateful for modern medicine - it saves lives. But we also feel like a little natural remedy mixed in their can only help. And so we're using both under the supervision of our very capable doctors.

Anyway, we're hopeful that things will work this time. We're hopeful that her kidneys haven't sustained too much damage in her short life. And we're hopeful that this will all be a distant memory one day. We're also fully aware that as far as medical conditions or birth defects she is lucky. She struggles far less than some of the kids in the urology clinic. And we're grateful for that every day. But this is OUR reality, and we have to do what we can with it.

And time to get off my soapbox:)

Here's an old picture that Laura Taylor (of Laura Taylor Photography) took of her back when she was new. It's just a reminder to me of the quiet days. The pain free days. But mostly of the blessing she is in our lives!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bath Time

So when it comes to play time there is clearly a dominant personality in the home...and that personality belongs to the baby. No matter what the activity is, she certainly is the center of attention! Part of it is because we all just adore her and love to dote on her and make her happy, and the other part is that she has the loudest scream and screech in our house. I just recently started bathing the girls together. Hailey and Paige have bathed together for as long as I can remember. But because of Cait's kidney problems we've tried to avoid bathing her as much as possible...and espeically with other kids who maybe have other bacteria that Cait isn't normally exposed to. But I decided that enough was enough. This poor girl has spent enough months looking over the edge of the tub wishing she was playing with her sisters. So I tossed her in last week and she loved (and dominated) every second.

Drinking the last few drops of water from the faucet

Trying to force Hailey to drink from the faucet

And Hailey of course gave in

And telling me that she needs just ONE more minute before I pull her out. 

We sure love these little girls...and I especially love their unique and strong personalities!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Dads of girls still get to have fun

A few weeks ago the girls came across this little pink and green potato gun and have been begging Ben ever since to buy a potato to try it out. Clearly we don't eat potatoes very often!

Anwyay, it may not have needed 100 million pictures, but it was fun taking pictures of these characters. 

So this encouraged Ben to make an even better potato gun...all out of copper (or some sort of metal that I could care less to know anything about). And the first thing Paige said? "why isn't it pink". Dad's of girls...they're lucky!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Farm

There are so many perks I got when I married Ben. Besides just being a great awesome guy...we also get to be part of his family! And we just love them so much. BUT, one of the coolest things, and something I just LOVE, is that Ben's parents live on a farm. My girls LOVE the farm and would choose to visit there every day (mostly because of the dogs and a grandma who spoils them). But they just love the freedom they have to explore. A week ago we took the kids out to the farm for the day, and I followed the bigger girls around for an hour while they showed me their favourite places. 

We started off with a walk to the Barn

Then we found Daddy and Grandpa 'upstairs' in the Barn insulating the roof

We left the barn and took a rest in the wheel of the tractor

Then we went around the corner and took a picture beside Ben's 1929 Model A

Next we ran up and down the aisles of Hay Bales

And then Grandpa took us for a ride in his Gator out to feed the cows

We got a few strange looks

And we finished the tour with a visit to Daddy and Grandpa who were changing the tires on the truck

I just really cherish the times we get to visit. This is such a new experience being a city girl with no country relatives and all. It just fascinates me...every time. The endless space, all the things you can do, the fun, the great family etc etc etc. It's good to be me:)

Ice Fishing

We went Ice fishing a few weeks ago with Ben's family (but without Ben...because he was away for the weekend). It's seriously such a fun family tradition! I love that we do this every year...and even though it's often FREEZING it's not that bad because we're Canadian! Hahaha. Actually Chris has a huge ice fishing tent that we can all bundle into and when the heater's running it's pretty toasty. We had hotdogs (cooked over the fire), hotchocolate, and lots of other food. It was a pretty fun and relaxed day!

Hailey really had fun sitting at the various holes waiting....and waiting to catch a fish

Paige like to be wherever Uncle Chris was. They even caught a HUGE fish and she TOUCHED it!! Not like me at all. 

Ice fishing wouldn't be complete without a ride around the lake behind a quad (or Grandpa's Gator) - note how Hailey and her Cousin Addie have the same winter coat. Try to guess who's who in these pictures?

Cait just relaxed in the tent with her Nana

And her Great Grandma

Hailey decided to give her new skates a go...this picture just crack me up. Pretty much everyone is down or almost down. The ice was slippery. And I know that sounds silly to say. Of COURSE Ice is slippery. But this ice was extra slick!

Paige also gave her skates a whirl

Hailey quickly decide she hated skating...

 BUT...Once she realized she could skate with a chair for support, she LOVED it!

And Cait...just chilling in the stroller. All bundled up, eyes covered etc. Poor babies, they really do get a raw deal. 

Anyway, we're excited to do this again! Maybe next time Ben will come and bring his snowmobile!!

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Thank you

Thank you to those of you who commented with such kind words! It's nice to know people still read my blog and that you care! I really appreciate everything you said and it's nice to know that I'm not the only one that struggles here and there in my everyday normal life. And you're all right...we generally do just post our best moments - and that's just ok!

So here's a not so recent update. I've been busy lately (as you could tell from my last post). I've been babysitting, teaching piano, bringing meals to new or sick moms in the ward, dealing with my sick baby, taking some online photo editing courses, doing small amounts of paperwork for the business, trying to get the laundry situation under control, trying to lose weight (working out daily), carpooling, meal planning, budgeting (that's a new one for me) etc etc etc. I LOVE all of it! I really do. And I know other moms do a hundred times more that that...and some do less. And yet we all feel equally as busy. That's the mom thing right?

Anyway, I remember last year there was this BEAUTIFUL snow day. It was one of those warm almost chinook like days where the snow falls, and it's heavy and dense and wet and pretty much sooo perfect for making snowmen. And every one and their dog was outside making giant snowmen... and dogs. And I was inside puking because I was sooooo pregnant and had the flu. And my poor kids didn't get the opportunity to make perfect snowmen because the snow melted the next day. So, this year I swore that I would NOT miss another snow day. BUT guess snuck up on me again! I wasn't sick, but just so unaware of the world outside my little gong show that I didn't realize that everyone and their dog were out making snowmen again!! What the what? Seriously...someone call me when this happens!!

So the next day...I willed it to be a great snow day. I invited Lauren and her kids to come over early (before she headed to work and I babysat) and we decided to help the kids build the most glorious snowman...and it's dog! amount of will power from me could turn that snow (that was gorgeous less than 24 hours earlier) into perfect snowman snow again! So, I built a mound of snow, the kids ate icicles and then decorated their snow mound  Which I must the BEST snow-mound I've seen ALL year...even if it didn't have a dog.