Monday, April 13, 2015

Because…

kylee nicu brets ring

…because no father’s wedding ring should slide up to his daughter’s shoulder.

Please help us fight against prematurity:

https://www.marchforbabies.org/march/s_team_page.asp?seid=2222840&mfb2015=1

Saturday, April 11, 2015

March for Babies – 2015 – We Need YOU!

Help Us Save More Babies!

First we want to thank all of you who placed Younique orders during our awesome fundraiser! Together we were able to put $120 towards our March for Babies fund! Congrats to my fellow quad mama, Courtney Larson, on winning a set of the 3D Fiber Lashes Mascara!

 

We have just ONE more week before we participate in the Dallas March for Babies walk. If you haven’t already, please consider donating in honor of the kids in your lives. Being a family who has personally seen the benefits of the research done by the March of Dimes, I can tell you that your support is so greatly appreciated. Because of people like you who donated and helped raise awareness, OUR babies are here today.

Together we can help save lives.

Together we can offer hope in hopeless situations.

Together we can fight for tiny babies who cannot fight for themselves.

Together we can make a difference.

Although close, we have not yet reached our goal this year. With your help we can go above and beyond like each year in the past. A donation, of ANY amount is appreciated by so many. You can give online, safely and securely by clicking on the March of Dimes icon on the right of your screen or by clicking HERE! Either option will take you straight to our Team Page. Once on our team page, simply enter the amount you wish to donate to the right of your screen.

We are also excited to have many friends and family join us at the Dallas walk. It looks like we will have beautiful (fingers crossed!) weather and would love for you locals to join us! To join our team, click on our Team Page (above) and click “Join This Team” and register!

Lastly, if you are unable to walk with us or donate this year, please pass along either this blog post OR the link to our Team Page so that others may have an opportunity to help this cause that is so close to our hearts.

THANK YOU!

**Those of you who have joined our team this year, I will be contacting you within a few days with event information including shirt orders, times and locations :]

 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ay Yi Yi… Our Lil’ Eye, Eye, Eyes!

Another Day, Another Diagnosis…. oh wait, did I already title another recent post with that?

I mentioned that Brody & Baxlyn failed their eye screenings at their 6 year check ups. They had their appointment with Dr. Chen yesterday for a thorough examination and to see what was up. Turns out Miss B has astigmatism going on, in her left eye especially. Astigmatism is caused by a difference in the surface curve of the eye. Instead of being a perfect sphere shape, Baxlyn’s eyes are shaped like footballs. She {confidently} got most of her letters wrong when reading the eye chart with her left eye.  Dr. Chen said she likes to avoid glasses with kids at all costs so the plan is to patch her right eye for 4 hours a day for 3 months and do a follow up to see if it helped strengthen that left eye. If you know B, you know she isn’t a complainer. She wasn’t thrilled to wear the patch but did it without a fuss. I’m telling you this girl is the sweetest, most compliant child I have ever met and I am so glad God gave her to me!

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Dr. Chen hooked her up with this slightly boyish looking dragon patch for the first day but she’s happy to have a variety of girly patches being mailed to her this week :)

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 eyes1

Our Broman has quite a bit going on as well and unlike Baxlyn, didn’t escape a MAJOR need for glasses. For a while now, I’ve noticed Brody not being able to look me straight in the eye. It’s as if he were looking just a few centimeters off of my eyes when trying to look at me. We’ve never noticed him squinting and have never seen anything that indicated he couldn’t see clearly but the actual focus of his eyes has been really off. This, along with other “weird” things is one of the reasons we took him in a few weeks ago to be checked for shunt malfunction. Dr. Chen said he has extreme Hyperopia (is far sighted) and also has Strabismus and needs glasses yesterday. She was able to show me during her examination how his eyes crossed inward to focus on a fixed object and how both eyes couldn’t focus on the object at one time.

Strabismus is a fairly common condition affecting nearly 4% of all children in the US. It is especially common in kids born prematurely and who have disorders that affect the brain such a Cerebral Palsy & Hydrocephalus… both of which Brody also has. We always knew he (and Kylee) were at an increased risk for eye problems but being six years in, I hoped we dodged that bullet. Apparently not!

Although the news of glasses didn’t bother Brody, I personally wasn’t too thrilled at the idea. Keeping up with five kids is hard enough and adding a pair of breakable eye wear to the mix doesn’t exactly sound like my cup of tea. Nonetheless I’m glad it’s nothing more serious. It’s just one more thing added to an already full plate, one more doctor to add to our calendar on a regular basis and one more medical condition I’ll be forced to learn more about in more detail. Thankfully, despite the silly-sad face in the picture, Brody is excited about getting glasses. Kylee was livid that she didn’t fail the eye test at their 6 year appointment and isn’t happy at all that Brody “gets” to wear glasses and she doesn’t… “No Fair! MY eyes are bwurry, they are so so bwurry so I need gwasses too!” I can only hope they’re as excited about braces when that time comes around!

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Broman will get his glasses ASAP and will follow up with Dr. Chen in 2 months while Miss B will have her follow up in 3 months.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Have Beautiful Lashes & Help Save Babies!!

It’s that time of year again and we are gearing up to March For Babies! This will be our 6th year supporting the March of Dimes and their efforts to give all babies a healthy start at life! Many of you have donated and/or walked with us over the years and here is yet another great way you can help! You can visit our Team Page by Clicking Here!

By now, I KNOW you’ve heard about Younique’s 3D Fiber Lashes Mascara. If you know me, you know I love love mascara and am rarely seen without it. For years and years I used Maybelline’s Volum’ Express Falsies and loved it. I was happy to pay my $6-$7 once a month on what I considered was a great, reliable product.

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I started hearing people talk about this new mascara… this “3D” mascara that was supposedly unlike any other out there. I won’t lie, with all the talk, I was interested in trying it to see what the fuss was all about. After looking to order, I could NOT bring myself to pay $29 for a mascara, especially since I had already found the perfect one for me. You know the old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? Yeah, that was my take on it. Over several months, my curiosity grew as I continued to hear more and more about Younique’s 3D Fiber Mascara, yet I still stuck to my guns.

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In October my curiosity ended when I ended up winning a set of the 3D mascara at our local MoMs vendor night – I was stoked and was so anxious to try it out the next day. Although the application process, which includes applying both a transplanting gel & the fibers, took a few days to perfect, the results were amazing! It’s been five months since I tried the 3D lashes and I have not picked up a tube of Maybelline since. The BEST PART is that during those five months I have only re-ordered ONE TIME. Seriously, one set lasts SO much longer than my old mascara. I was spending almost as much on multiple Maybelline tubes over the course of several months as I have on the one set of Younique’s.

I went out and bought a fresh tube of Maybelline to show you the difference between the two. I personally don’t put any mascara on my bottom lashes as they’re wayy too long but here is a nice look at my top lashes all done up…

No mascara.

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Left, no mascara. Right, two coats of Maybelline.

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Left, two coats of Younique’s 3D Lashes. Right, two coats of Mabelline.

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As you can see, quite a difference! Maybelline offers great results but Younique’s 3D Fiber Lashes takes it to a whole new level!

Out with the old…

younique20 In with the new!

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Nicole Baca, one of my fellow multiple mamas and a Younique Independent Distributors, has offered to donate 100% her proceeds to the March of Dimes on ALL orders placed through our blog for the next 10 days.  ALL PROCEEDS, YA’LL… not 10% or 50% but 100%, how awesome is that?! If you are like me and hesitate to spend your money on an unfamiliar product, I encourage you to try it. Not only may you be as surprised as I was, but you’d also be helping a GREAT cause and  funding research being done to help babies everywhere! If you are not completely satisfied, no worries, Younique has a 14 day love it guarantee. If you are not happy with your order, you can send it back for a FULL refund!

To learn more about the 3D Fiber Lashes or to ORDER some for yourself, Click Here! We appreciate you ordering and helping babies, like ours, have a better chance at survival if born prematurely!

Still not ready to order but want a chance to try Younque’s 3D Fiber Lashes?! I will be giving away a FREE set of 3D Fiber Lashes to one lucky follower! Each person who comments under this post will be entered for a chance to win their own 3D Mascara – all you have to do is comment! If you don’t have an account to sign in with, leave your email so we can contact you! Winner will be drawn at random on April 5th and will be notified immediately, you will have 72 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Quads – 6 Year Check Up!

6yr10

I’ll start by saying thank you ALL for sharing your experience with Celiac Disease, I got an overwhelming amount of support and have so many great sources now, thanks to you guys! We did hear back from Dr. Russo and he told us that last week’s biopsies did confirm Celiac Disease in Baxlyn. We switched her to 100% gluten free (the best to our knowledge, anyways) as of Friday. Our game plan is to do another blood draw in six months to check her numbers again. In the meantime, we will hope that the GF diet will eliminate her tummy pain and constipation issues. We’re almost a week into her diet and she still has continuous discomfort but we’re told it can take up to several months for it to go away completely. Luckily, our kids are overall great eaters. Baxlyn has liked 99% of what she’s tried so far and hasn’t complained ONE time of not being able to have what the others have. A super special thank you to our physical therapist, Ashley, for being so thoughtful and bringing Miss B this fun basket full of GF goodies!

baxlyn gf basket

Our pediatrician’s office never ceases to amaze me. From the moment we walked in the door the nurses tag teamed and immediately started their assessments. Due to being born early, we continue to check their hearing and vision at every annual check up. While everyone’s hearing checked out just fine, our eyes were a different story. Dr. Reyes believes Baxlyn may have an astigmatism and Brody has divergent eyes. We’ve noticed A LOT going on with Brody’s eyes, which causes great concern for his shunt. He, Bret and I had a “date night” (his words, bless his heart) at the ER Monday evening undergoing a CT and Xrays to make sure all was well. Thankfully, he checked out just fine! We will be adding yet another doc to our team and following up with a new pediatric ophthalmologist in a week or so.

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Six Year Stats:

Brody: 43lbs 3’9in

Baxlyn: 42lbs 3’10in

Kylee: 44lbs 3’11in

Korbin: 43lbs 3’9in

Quite a difference than the 2 & 3lbs they started at!

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6yr5

Kylee, Korbin & Brody were champs while getting their blood drawn to check their numbers that would indicate Celiac Disease. We should know those results by early next week. Below, Brody showing Dr. Reyes how strong his legs are :)

6yr1 The one and only, Dr. Reyes!

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Baxlyn’s EGD (Upper GI, Biopsy, Scope)

4am came early this morning and we headed to Cook Children’s Surgery Center. Just like her BFF, Mr. Korbin, she didn’t show any nerves before heading back for her procedure – such a champ :)

b biopsy 1

The procedure itself went well and only took about 15 minutes. Dr. Russo wanted to do the biopsies to confirm what he believes is Celiac Disease (see previous post). We were expecting to go in, have it done, the doc come out and say “OK, we will wait for results!” While we did hear that, we also learned of yet another concern Dr. Russo has. As he entered through her stomach to get to her intestines, he notice her tummy had food in it. She hadn’t eaten for a good 12-13 hours therefore there shouldn’t have been any food in there. He said what was there was rather large, nothing he could suction out. Really abnormal. He said she *could* have some motility issues going on in addition to what *might* be celiac.

We now have three things on our radar 1) Blood work which indicates Celiac Disease. 2) Chronic constipation. 3) Food in tummy.

He said right now all we can do is wait for results on the biopsies. Although he is going to push to have them tomorrow, it could be next week before we know anything. Dr. Russo did say that he could see that the lining of her small intestine had “carpet” (the villi that I talked about previously), the biopsies will show us if that carpet is “shag” or “berber”, we want shag carpet. He said if we do get 100% confirmation of the Celiac Disease, the gluten free diet should fix everything from her tummy pain to her constipation BUT it doesn’t explain why there is food hanging out in her tummy.

Bret and I left a bit more confused than when we were when we went in and are anxious to hear the results from today’s scope. We do feel confident tho that Miss B is in great hands! Please continue to pray we can alleviate her abdominal pain sooner than later! Thanks for the support and will keep you all posted!

b biopsy 2

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Another Day, Another Diagnosis…

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Many of you who I am friends with on Facebook know we’ve been asking for prayers for our Sweet Baxlyn. Here’s the scoop. Baxlyn has dealt with tummy discomfort for quite some time… for years, actually. She has mentioned her tummy hurting since about the time she could talk. In the beginning she would say her tummy hurt a couple times a week for a couple of weeks and then we wouldn’t hear anything from her for several weeks/months. She then would complain just a bit for a little while and then nothing for a while. Over and over. All the time she said her tummy hurt, she still acted normal. She always played, ate and was as active as she was when it seemed she was not in any discomfort. She, and the other quads, have always dealt with constipation, which is a very common long term problem for preemies. Miralax has been a regular in our house for years. We always chalked her “discomfort” up to being constipated and never looked deeper into the issue as it never affected her other than an occasional complaint.

Over the past 6 months or so, Baxlyn’s discomfort has gotten much much worse. Everyday she tells me “Mommy, my tummy hurts.” Lately, I’m hearing those words dozens of times a day. I took her a few months back to be examined by our wonderful pediatrician and we decided to be more aggressive with the Miralax, again assuming it was constipation. After a few weeks of no change, our doctor send us for abdominal X-rays which confirmed she was “FOTS” (full of toddler stool). Again, we were told to up the Miralax. With her discomfort only becoming more frequent and beginning to bring her to tears at times, I knew something just wasn’t right and that Miralax wasn’t the answer we needed.

Our pediatrician sent us to a gastroenterologist (GI). Dr. Russo met with Baxlyn and I last week and we talked and talked and went over her history. After a manual exam, Dr. Russo wanted to do blood work right away. Friday, Dr. Russo called me and said…

“I’m afraid Baxlyn has Celiac Disease.”

What? I was stunned. I asked him exactly what Celiac Disease was and he explained it’s the “gluten thing I hear so much about”. People with Celiac Disease have an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. There are Villi that line the inside of the small intestine and in people with Celiac, the gluten in foods damage those Villi which keeps the person from being able to absorb the nutrients needed to grow and live a healthy life. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. I was told many people choose a gluten free (GF) diet as it makes them feel better in general. However, it is essential for people with Celiac Disease to have a GF diet. Good news is that because so many people are choosing to go GF, stores are starting to carrying more products that are safe for people with Celiac.

Although based on her blood work alone, he feels 99% sure Celiac Disease is what we are dealing with, Dr. Russo will be performing an EGD (Esophagogastroduodenoscopy) this week to confirm the diagnosis. He will take several biopsies of her small intestine. He said the walls of the intestines are supposed to look like a shag carpet and with Celiac, they often look like tiles. He also said, due to being a quadruplet, he thinks there is a good chance the other quads will have it as well. After we confirm Celiac in Baxlyn, he will go on to test the others. I’d imagine that needing to go all GF for Baxlyn, we would automatically go GF for all of them (us). That being said, it is very important to know if the others have it as well for overall health reasons as it can affect many other areas.

I feel overwhelmed, to say the very least. The condition is treatable with a strict diet but it will mean a HUGE lifestyle change for our family. I personally couldn’t read a food label to save my life and have never been on any kind of diet. For now I’m depending on the good ole’ internet to learn more about the disease and what all comes along with it. I’m hoping to connect with other moms who have a child with Celiac to learn more. Our doctor will also be setting us up with a dietician to help direct us as well.

For now, please continue to pray for us. I feel like we juggle SO much these days and it seems as time goes on, more and more “medical things” are thrown our way. You are all aware of the surgeries three of the four underwent just before Christmas but there have been other things we’ve been faced with that we’ve chosen, for their own privacy, not to blog about for now. Now this…. which isn’t something that will “pass” like many other things. Since NICU, Miss B has had the “easiest ride” as far as long term doctors go. While check ups, procedures and trips to hospitals are a regular occurrence for Brody & Kylee, a lot of this is new for B. She’s a very brave little thing, that’s for sure, but I know she’s nervous about what is going on and I’m trying to explain things the best I can to her, especially for not understanding it all myself. She will be going in super early on Thursday morning for her scope. She will be put under anesthesia and the procedure itself will only take about 30 minutes. We’ve been told not to change anything in her diet just yet, not until we get results from her EGD. In the meantime, I’d love to hear any experience YOU may have with Celiac Disease, especially in children. I have so many questions, I don’t even know where to begin!

In the end we know and trust that God has it all in His hands and he has a perfect plan! We also know that He will be with us every step of the way, regardless of any challenges we face! I’ll keep you all posted!

(Photo credit: Amy Horton Photography.)

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