Monday, December 28, 2009

A joyful sound

We got a video of Silas laughing at Justin talking like Roger Rabbit. Cutest thing ever!

Festivities Part 3

Every year on Christmas Eve before anyone can go home we take family pictures in front of the tree, and every year all the kids moan and groan and gripe and complain about it. We have done this for as long as I can remember. This year was no different so I thought I'd share the family pictures (mostly because I want to have this blog printed and bound one day).

Aunt Tootsie Harding, Meemee and Papa (Robert and Francis Moss)

Matthew, Jordan, and Uncle Steven Moss and CeCe and Brooke Bealle

Aunt Sherry and Benny Miller (Uncle Benny had to work) Benny is the youngest grandchild before Silas

Aunt Vickie, Uncle Dan, Marc, Adam, and Chad Dowden

You will notice that my parent's last name is Dowden too - Mom and her sister both married Dowdens but they aren't related. Crazy huh?

Aunt Kelli, Uncle Kenny, James, Jared Wade, and Julianne Strickland

Festivities Part 2

Every year on Christmas Eve we celebrate with the Moss family (Mom's side). Any time we are all together is crazy and LOUD, but especially this night. Mom has 3 sisters and a brother and they are all married or dating and there are 12 grandkids plus their spouses/SO's and one great grandchild and some extra teenagers thrown in just for kicks. It's crazy.

We draw names for "real" gifts and then we play the White Elephant/Dirty Santa game after we have exchanged gifts. This is always a hoot. Here are a few pictures of the game:

Doug originally got a Jackass (as in the animal) Salt and Pepper shaker (you can see the head on the right of this picture) but it was stolen from him and he ended up with not one but TWO SpongeBob costumes.

Brooke is my Uncle Steven's girlfriend CeCe's daughter - this is her pimping the school bus that she got. Justin eventually stole it for Silas.

One of the funniest gifts of the night was this Obama head that my cousin Benny got. It was stolen by my Uncle Kenny who plans on leaving it on his boss's desk while he is gone. :)

Oh y'all. This is my great Aunt Tootsie. She was a nun for years and years and then one day she wasn't. I don't know why. She is crazy and is constantly giving us something to laugh about. Doug swears that when he was younger he saw her poor beer over her cereal. :)

CeCe had gotten the gift my dad brought which was two plastic martini glasses and a $2.00 bottle of Boone's Strawberry Hill. Aunt Tootsie stole it from her and it seriously was the funniest thing ever. She held on to that gift for the rest of the night - someone would have to be crazy to steal it from her! She was excited about her Boone's. :)

And THIS is my cousin Jared Wade. Most people call him Jared, but I use both names. I don't know why, I just do. The best thing about this gift is that it was NOT part of the game. It was what he asked for from whoever drew his name. They are going on the front of his truck. This is my family! :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Festitivies Part 1

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays y'all. :)

We are in Louisiana with my family and are enjoying every moment of celebration (but missing friends greatly). There has been lots of pj-wearing, movie watching, and eating going on around here. This post will have multiple parts, but here are a few pictures from the last week or so.

At Christ Community Church's annual Christmas party

Me and Sarah before the CCC Ladies' Christmas party at Season's Bistro

Doug, Daddy, Me, Silas, Justin, and Momma at the Moss Family Christmas Eve

There will be a whole nother post on that. :)

Sweet naked boy.

Lovin' on Daddy - this one will be framed.

Lovin' on Mommy - this one too. :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Silas 5 months

Yesterday was Silas' 5 month day!

It seems like we went from 4 months to 5 months in the blink of an eye (I mean, even faster than normal.). I guess that is what happens when you spend 2 weeks either in bed or in the hospital and don't get to play. :( He is the cutest thing and is getting bigger everyday.

These days Silas is:

*eating oatmeal cereal twice a day (we are starting veggies this afternoon!)

*drinking a little apple juice

*still rolling EVERYWHERE - When he sees something that he wants he rolls until he can get it.

*Grabbing EVERYTHING - hair, necklaces, toys, paintbrushes full of pottery paint (yikes!), and lips...Justin and I both have scratches on our upper lips from where he has grabbed us and not let go! Owie.

*Jumping and spinning in his Johnny Jumper

*LOVING his daddy

*weighing 13lbs 4oz. He is still a long, skinny little toot, but is starting to fill out a little more.

*Holding his own bottle like a big boy

*starting to sit up. Well, he sits up and leans forward and holds himself up with his arms either on the floor or on his legs. Very cute.

He has had bronchiolitis this week so we've been dealing with that, but he is getting better everyday. His little throat is hoarse from coughing so when he cries he just sounds pitiful - but it kinda makes me laugh too because it's such a strange sound. :)

Jumping in his Johnny Jumper (or whatever it is called).

Eating Mommy's tickets - I'm gonna have to stop using the floor as a desk.

This is where I found him yesterday. Half-way under the couch and across the room from where I left him.

He soooo wishes he could crawl!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Spontaneous Dural Tear and Cerebral Spinal Fluid Leak

I'm sorry that I left all 6 of y'all hanging.

I can honestly say that the last 12 days have been the craziest/scariest of my life, with the last 2 being the worst.

If you don't know what I am talking about, scroll down to the post before this one.

The last thing I had posted was that we went for the MRI and found out it had been moved to Thursday. So Thursday morning we go and they do the MRI with and without contrast agent (they give the contrast agent through an IV so they can see different things) and I was laying in the machine for about 70 minutes. I was thrilled that I didn't have any bad reaction to the agent and when we got home I felt ok because I had taken that medicine with the codeine and caffeine and stuff in it. Mom and I started decorating my house for Christmas.

About 3:00pm I got a call from my PCP (primary care phys.) and I knew something was wrong when he asked if Justin was there with me. He told me that the radiologist and neurologist had looked at the film from the MRI and there was some abnormalities. He said I had to go immediately to the ER because they thought I had a dural venous sinus thrombosis and a possible spontaneous dural tear with CSF leak. I didn't know what any of that really meant except that thrombosis means "clot" and I knew that a clot anywhere in my brain would be bad. I called Justin at work and told him and he came straight home. We got some stuff together because we didn't know how long I would be there and then went straight to Emory ER. I was admitted pretty quickly and got to my bed where we stayed for 7 hours - H6. It wasn't a room because they were busy so I got a "hallway" bed - H6. I felt like I was on some tv show. :) Zach came and stayed with us the whole time.

They scheduled a MRV (Magnetic Resonance Venograph) and eventually I went and did that (basically like an MRI but way more powerful and with special software that makes them able to see just blood stuff like veins). While we were waiting for the results of the MRV, Neurology came and made me do all kinds of hand/eye tests (close your eyes and touch your nose, follow my finger with your eyes...etc.). I passed all of those. They finally came and told us that there was NOT a clot. That was excellent news, but it also meant that we didn't really know what was causing the postural headaches. After waiting another hour or so, they came and said that they were going to do a blood patch because they thought I had a dural tear that was most likely caused my my epidural when I had Silas. They gave me the option of staying overnight in Observation and having the procedure done at noon on Friday or going home and coming back to have it done on Friday. Dr. Keady (the ER Attending) said I wasn't in any danger if I went home, so we chose to do that so I could sleep in my own bed and see Silas.

We slept well and were planning to sleep until 10am (mom was up with Silas) , but at 7:51am Anesthesiology called (from the hospital - they were who was supposed to do the blood patch) and said that there had been some confusion on their end as to when I had my epidural. They thought it was 10 days ago, not 4 1/2 months ago so they were calling to tell me that they would NOT be doing a blood patch because there was no way it was caused by my epidural. Dural tears happen all the time but always within 24ish hours of receiving the epidural.

Well that phone called really irritated me because we STILL didn't know what was wrong with me and the headaches were STILL there. We decided that we were going back to Emory's ER and that we weren't leaving until something had been done to at least try and fix this problem. We went back, waited for 1 1/2+ hours in the waiting room and then finally got taken to a CDU room (Critical Decision Unit). The good thing was the Dr. Keady who had seen me Thursday night saw my chart pulled again on Friday and started to get the ball rolling on my case. I got my 4th IV of the week (my poor arms are SICK of being poked!) and settled in for some rest while we waited to hear what they wanted to do with me.

Very long story short, after several teams of doctor's pow-wowed about my strange case, it was determined that there were enough signs pointing to a spontaneous dural tear to warrant a blood patch. Here's what they think happened: When you get an epidural there is a tiny hole put in your dural (the membrane that holds your CSF-Cerebral Spinal Fluid- where it is supposed to be) but it usually heals on it's own and doesn't cause any problems. It is extremely rare to have a spontaneous tear like I did. Because of the rarity of a spontaneous tear and because with a spontaneous tear you don't know where it is, it took a while for them to decide that the benefits outweighed the risks of doing the blood patch. Normally they would just go right back into the same place where they had just given the epidural and do the patch there. With mine they decided to do a CT Guided Blood Patch and still do it in my epidural space with the hope that THAT is wear the tear was. The chances that the tear was there was pretty good because the dural could have been a little weaker there from the epidural. There is a test that you can do to try to find where a tear is and it is called a CT Myleogram. They take dye and inject it into your CSF - putting another hole in the dural - with the hopes that when they do the scan they can see where the leak is because dye is outside of where it should be. They decided not to do that with me because they were fairly certain that the tear would be near my epidural site and didn't want to add another hole to something that was already leaking. That made sense to me - plus it meant only having to have ONE needle shoved into my back verses two. :)

So - Neuroradiology did a CT Guided Blood Patch (anesthesiology had nothing to do with any of it). They laid me on my stomach on the CT Scanner, numbed the site with a local anesthetic, put a needle into my epidural site (L3, L4) , took multiple scans to make sure it was in the right place, and then took blood from my arm, mixed it with a little contrast agent, and injected it through the needle into the space. The most they could put in was 20ccs and they got 18ccs in so they were very pleased. The blood coagulates (clots) and acts as a patch for the tear. Fascinating stuff. Once I got over the fear of having a needle stuck in my back (when they explained that it would be just like my epidural that was nothing at all), I was just completely fascinated by the whole procedure. I made them tell me exactly what was going on at all times - every time they moved the needle, every time they had to go around a little piece of bone (that wasn't super comfortable), every everything. I asked if they had a mirror that they could give me so I could watch what was going on, but sadly, they did not. There were 6 doctor's in the room during the procedure and a bunch more (probably residents and interns) watching the whole thing through the window. Everyone was so interested because it is such a rare thing (at least that is what they told me). They told me that they wished everyone was as interested as me because most people just say "tell me when it is over" and don't want to know anything. They did crack me up at one point because it was all doctor's - no nurses- and they weren't sure what to flush my IV with after they took the blood. I told them what to do (flush with sodium chloride, aka saline) and I knew I was right since I had had 4 IVs in less than a week. They laughed and then did it. :)

I had to lay on my back for an hour after the procedure and then Dr. Saindane (Neuroradiologist and Assistant Professor of Neuroradiology at Emory) came and got me up and made me walk down the hall and made sure everything was ok. Then they discharged me.

The headaches were being caused by low intracranial pressure which is caused by low CSF. That is why when I stood up they were unbearable but when I laid down they went away.

I am very happy to report that I have not had a headache since BEFORE the Blood Patch. The site where they did the procedure is VERY achy and sore, but that is normal and will last a couple of days. I am still taking it very easy, but am confident that the blood did it's job and patched the tear.

I will be going to Emory for any future hospital needs, and if you are in the Atlanta area I suggest you do too. Both experiences (in the ED and CDU) were wonderful. Everyone was extremely helpful and friendly and they have the best doctors around. Dr. Saindane and his team of neuroradiologist were fantastic and they made a very scary situation and procedure bearable and interesting.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for me and my family. God is good. :)

I hope this post made sense and that I explained everything well. Feel free to comment with questions if you need to do so. :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Postural Headaches caused by CSF leak


I've been putting off writing this post for about a week now because I wanted to have some good news to go with it. But - I'd rather have as many people praying as possible so you'll just have to hold out hope with me that the good news is coming soon.

Last Monday morning I got a migraine headache that literally knocked me off my feet. It has been 8 days and it is still lurking in the corners waiting for me so sit or stand up. I have basically been laying down for over a week.

I spent all of Thanksgiving Day in the hospital hooked up to machines and with fluids and meds being pumped into me. I couldn't keep anything down because of the pain and was severely dehydrated. They did a CT scan and it came back clean. Same with the CBC - nothing out of the ordinary with my blood. That's a bit of good news. They discharged me that evening with a prescription for 800mg Ibuprofen (I think they give that to everyone who walks through the door) , Percocet, and Phenergan (anti-nausea). The Percocet kinda helped with the pain - unless I stood up. And that's basically where I am now. I went back to my primary care doc yesterday and got a scrip for a muscle relaxer (because my upper back, neck, and shoulders are hurting really bad when I sit up) and Imitrex which is a nasal spray for migraines. The Imitrex didn't impress me very much - it helped me be able to sit up a little longer, but I couldn't move my head or it started throbbing again. I had so hoped that that was going to the do trick - you can imagine my disappointment.

I am unable to nurse Silas because of all the meds so he is on formula now because we ran out of my frozen milk (and we even borrowed some from Aunt Sarah). He seems to be doing fine with it and I know it isn't that big of a deal, but I just wasn't ready for it yet. I am still "pumping and dumping" to try and keep up my milk supply so please pray that when all of this is regulated (if I can breastfeed with the meds) that I can go back to nursing him - and that he will still want to nurse.

I feel weak even though I am eating plenty (people keep bringing meals and it is WONDERFUL - such a blessing for Justin to just worry about taking care of me and Silas and not having to deal with cooking) and I know I look terrible. I think I have lost a pound or two and there wasn't much to spare to begin with. <----- a="" class="blsp-spelling-corrected" ends="" id="SPELLING_ERROR_8" sentence="" span="" that="" with="">dangling preposition and that usually drives me bonkers but I don't have the energy to re-word it.

I miss Silas - Justin brings him in for me to see and play with as much as I can, but it's not the same so that has me down too. I'm tired of this and ready to be back to normal. I never really thought that I took my health for granted, but I totally see now how easy it is to do so.

I have an MRI in the morning so they can make sure there isn't anything crazy going on in my head, and then hopefully I can get some meds that will actually stop the headaches instead of just cover them up.

Please pray:
*that the MRI comes back clean and I'm not dying

*that the headaches will go away and I will be able to get back to life as "normal"

*for Justin - he's scared for me and doing his best to take care of a baby and a "big" baby

*that we will truly be able to trust God with all of it - the headaches, the money to pay for all the tests and hospital stays...

*my milk supply and/or peace about weaning

It seems lame to be writing about headaches when there are people everywhere with much more serious illnesses and to be honest when people used to say they had a "migraine" to me I kinda thought it was just a cop-out because how bad could a headache really be? I know now that it sucks and that life as you know it ceases to exist.

Sorry for the downer of a post. Hopefully I'll have some good news tomorrow.

P.S. My mom is driving back to GA as we speak. She's the best.
UPDATE 12/2/09

Justin and I got to the MRI place this morning only to be told that my appointment wasn't until tomorrow. By the grace of God I didn't go postal on the poor little guy that had to tell me that, and I managed to act like a civilized human being. Apparently I have to have some "contrasting agent" dye stuff shot into me and a doctor has to be there to do it and he won't be there until tomorrow. I guess my own doctor didn't feel the need to share this bit of info with us.

After I published the post yesterday I started some new medicine and it actually has made a world of difference. I am by no means back to normal, but was able to sit up and walk around without pain for about an hour last night and for several hours (intermittently) today. I'm feeling pretty yucky again right now, but it is almost time for more medicine. It's a combination of codeine, acetaminophen, butalbital (sedative), and caffeine. Obviously I can't be on that for the rest of my life (plus it makes my head feel a little wacky) so please continue to pray that if there is anything wrong that it will be easily seen on the MRI tomorrow so we can begin working towards fixing it, and if there isn't anything seriously wrong that the headaches will either stop immediately or we'll be able to find a medicine that will do the trick.

God is good.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

4 months

Today is Silas' 4 month day. :)

Here's what he's doing these days:
*rolling from stomach to back AND back to stomach all the time
*playing for long periods on his tummy and enjoying his playmat
*playing with paper or plastic or anything that makes a "crinkly" noise
*reaching for things he wants (like my glasses)
*sleeping through the night (for about a month now)

He's a joy. These pictures make me smile.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sleepy head



Halloween was spent at the Cardoza's with a bunch of friends. In case you couldn't tell, we were Alvin and the Chipmunks. We played a riveting game (or 3) of Cranium Pop 5 and had a blast. The guys won 2 out of 3, but there is absolutely NO proof of that. :P

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Song

Revelation Song

Worthy is the, Lamb who was slain
Holy, Holy, is He
Sing a new song, to him who sits on
Heaven's mercy seat

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power be
to You the only wise King

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder
At the mention of your name
Jesus your name is power
Breath, and living water
Such a marvelous mystery

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come, yeah
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Friday, October 16, 2009

More randoms

Here are some more random pics from the last week or so...

Sleepy heads

This is how I found Silas when I came back into the room on Monday morning. He was on his back when I left him... :)

Now he will hardly stay on his back! He also figured out how to roll while swaddled, so we had to stop swaddling him and he was not very happy about that for a couple of nights. Now he's good with it because he just rolls to his tummy, cries for a minute or two, and then settles in for some good sleep in his new sleep sack. We are working on teaching him to roll from his tummy to his back, and he did it all by himself this afternoon so yay!

He is definitely an active sleeper. I love this picture - he started out with his head facing the right and in his stabilizer and this is how I found him when I went to get him up. :) He was awake, not sleeping with his face in the mattress.

Now he sleeps on his tummy without the stabilizer.

Micah loves him :)

Sweet snuggle-bunny.

Playing with the tissue paper and grinning at Daddy

She'll be coming around the mountain

A few weekends ago we spent a little time in the mountains of north Georgia (Suches, GA) with our good friends the Mays and the Cardozas. It was a wonderfully relaxing time. We didn't leave the house, and with 5 kids under 4 that was probably a good idea. We ate yummy food, played games, soaked and LAUGHED in the hot tub, attempted to catch non-existent fish, played ping pong and air hockey on the world's smallest ping pong/air hockey table (and got sore from it), laid around and read in front of the fire, and just generally had a grand ol' time. The Mays and Cardozas started the tradition before I moved here and I'm so glad they let us in on the fun. It's something we look forward to every year.

The view across the river

The house. Yes, that is like 5 stories of stairs. Maybe more.

The view from the porch - that's Justin trying to catch the oh-so-elusive trout that are supposedly in that river.

See? It IS the smallest ping pong table ever. And just so you know, I am good at very few things that are even slightly athletic (just let me think that ping pong requires some athletic ability) but I actually am pretty good at ping pong and it makes me happy. I beat Sarah (who wouldn't let Zach keep the score out loud), Leslie, and Justin, but was defeated by Matt, who plays ping pong like it's real tennis. He's kinda fierce. I didn't get to play Zach, but I'm fairly certain I would have beaten him as well. :PI grew up playing a card game called Canasta (actually I think it's a version of Canasta called Argentina) with my family and Justin and I taught it to the Mays last year and we taught the Cardozas our last night in the mountains. It was great fun and VERY entertaining. Matt and Leslie are a HOOT! This is how Leslie held her cards. :)

Our little group. Zach, Sarah, Micah, Connor, Matt, Leslie, Isabella, William, Justin, Silas, and me.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I'll decide when the Tutee has been Tuted!

I'm watching Saved By the Bell: The College Years and Screech just yelled that at Zach. Seemed as good a title as anything.

I thought I'd share a few pictures since I haven't done that in a while. Silas and I have had many lazy days lately and it's been wonderful.

Ok - so maybe it's not a FEW pictures. A lot. A whole lot. :) And they are in no particular order because I am lazy.

Lovin' on Daddy and holding that head up!

The Three Muskateers - Connor (5 months), Silas (3 months), and William (12 months)

Sittin' in the Bumbo like a big boy

4 generations - Dowden

4 generations - Moss

Pops and the babies. Yes, Fifi counts.

With Uncle Doug

This is my lifetime friend Holly. We were born a day apart in the same hospital and have been friends our entire lives. She just had a gorgeous baby girl, Emma Claire, last week (a week after this picture was taken). I can't wait to see them again at Christmas!

Swinging with Mamay (MuMAY)

Eating Pops

Holding that head up

With Great MeeMee and PaPa

This is my cousin Matt. He's a sophomore in high school and is 6'9" and growing. Yes, he plays basketball and is awesome. He makes me feel TINY.

My brother Doug and his girlfriend Rachael. I really like her. Really really. :)

With his Great DD

That was a lot - hope you stuck with it til the end!

We spend last weekend in the mountains with the Cardozas and Mays and I'll have pictures to share of that as soon as Zach SENDS THEM TO ME. :P

Happy Friday!