Archive for August, 2010

A Three-Hour Tour

August 26, 2010

Today had us going to the Cardiologist for Maryellen’s 2-week hospital follow-up. She did well for the visit, but Jen and I were a bit cranky. I was on call last night and Jen and I woke up in between pages to feed Maryellen and change dirty diapers. Great start to a Thursday. For our THREE hour doctors visit, we had 20 minutes worth of ultrasounding and over 2 hours worth of sitting in a room. brutal.

So, here’s the update. Maryellen’s aortic arch remains beautifully open. Overall, there weren’t very many changes. The main concern of the cardiologist at this point is pulmonary hypertension (seems like there’s always a new concern, doesn’t it?). The blood vessels in her lungs are not as relaxed as they could be. This could be normal in a 2 week-old infant, or this could become a problem down the road. As with most things, only time will tell. Next echo is in 4 weeks. The cardiologist drew us a picture of her anatomy, but i’m too tired to scan it tonight. More later…

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Male Bonding

August 24, 2010

I arrived home after work last night at approximately 6:00 PM. Jen was pushing Maryellen in the stroller, I forget what Parker was doing, and Avery was laying in a heap underneath the magnolia tree. Apparently, he had just fallen out of the tree and was now gathering his dignity. We went to check on him and he said “my arm hurts.” After dusting him off, we asked him to show us where his arm hurt and he pointed at his right wrist. After ruling-out any obvious deformity and giving it a kiss, it was off to dinner. Jen and I discussed her history of broken bones as a child and agreed to take him to his pediatrician in the morning if he continued to have pain.

Li’l Avery is not a big eater, this is obvious when looking at him. That being said, he began to cradle his right arm and refused to eat anything at the dinner table. Jen and I shared a knowing look. It was off to the ER just to be sure. Our first clue that he was okay should have been his willingness to hop in the car to go. The last time he went in as a patient, he came out with 3 staples in his scalp. Before we left, I examined his wrist and he did have tenderness…

Thankfully, the ER wasn’t too busy, so we quickly met the nurse in triage who asked Avery a lot of questions. In the midst of this first exam, he decided to show the nurse how strong he is by flexing every muscle in his body simultaneously. This is a sight to see. Imagine my chagrin when Avery tells the nurse that his left arm hurt (see above for complaint of right arm pain). This was my second clue that he was neither going to require surgery nor a cast. Not to be a quitter, from there it was off to X-Ray.

In 2010, there is still no better (more likely cheaper) way to shield your body from unwanted radiation than by using a lead apron. They gave me an adult sized one so that I could stay with Avery in the X-Ray room. They also had a child-sized lead apron that went around Avery’s waist (see below). The X-ray tech informed me that this was to “protect his reproductive organs.” I had to chuckle at that. Avery proceeded to ask me what the shield was for. I could only tell him that “It would take too long to explain.”

Third clue that I was flushing good money down the drain was the other young boy with an obviously-broken leg getting an X-Ray in the room next to us. Thankfully, we made it to the Fast Track version of the ER and were seen and discharged rapidly. No sling, no cast, no narcotics, no bill. Home again at 10:00PM and off to bed. That’s not how I planned to spend my Monday night, but I guess that’s what I signed up for when he was born. Thankfully, his reproductive organs were preserved so that maybe he can experience that some day…

First Day of School

August 16, 2010

Today was Avery and Parker’s first day back to School! They attend the Andrew Price Play School at a local Methodist Church. Parker’s main goal for the year is potty training and Avery is officially in Pre-K. Traditionally, Jennifer’s parents had taken first-day-of-school pictures and we continue the tradition.

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Maryellen and Mommy continue to do very well. We’re going to follow-up with our Pediatrician on Friday and it’s back to Cardiology next week. I have asked Jen to collect her thoughts to share with you and hopefully that will be posted before too long.

Welcome Home, Maryellen!

August 13, 2010

Well, today is the day! Jen and I went up to hang out with Maryellen this morning to find her under the Bililights. As mentioned yesterday (in the update), she is a mite jaundiced, but this didn’t hold up her progress.

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This morning, Avery and mommy were talking about bringing Maryellen home and Avery asked “Mommy, do we get to keep her for forever?” You bet, big brother! Thanks again to all who have shown support, we felt surrounded in love.

There are no words… (updated with photos)

August 12, 2010

We could not have asked for a better day! This morning on rounds, the Neonatologists and Cardiologists agreed that Maryellen was doing so well that she could be allowed to eat. They wanted to start slow, but they forgot to tell her. She took the bottle like a fish to water. The echocardiogram tech who came by this morning looked a whole lot like Jen’s cousin Carolyn Hull and was very nice. The waiting was pleasantly interrupted by a lunch with Jay Hollis. His daughter has recently recovered from surgical repair of a coarctation of the aorta, so he uniquely could empathize.

The call finally came at about 3pm. There is NO COARCTATION!!!! We couldn’t believe the news and there are no words for how overjoyed we were. Practically, this meant that Maryellen could have most of her IV lines removed and could eat as much as her hungry little tummy desires. After a few hurried calls to our immediate family, Jen was able to feed Maryellen for the first time since the delivery. To make a long story short, she fed very well and seemed to be more awake than ever!

I think that our instinct tells us to find an explanation for what has happened since the first questionable ultrasound during pregnancy. It must have been the difficulties of ultrasound, it must have been something that would have healed anyway, etc… To me, this view completely negates the possiblilty that this is all in God’s hands and completely in His hands. This all happens for a reason and God’s ways are insearchable. May this serve to increase our faith! We are very hopeful that we can bring Maryellen home tomorrow and will definitely upload any new photos tomorrow.

20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

***Update*** Found the camera. Included are pics from today including visits from Aunt Amanda, Pop, and Aunt Sissy. Yes, Maryellen is jaundiced.

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A Watched Pot

August 11, 2010

Big news for today was Jen is home! She is doing wonderfully well, the very model of how to deliver a baby. It will be nice for her to sleep in her bed and eat non-cafeteria food, but the homecoming is bittersweet: Maryellen remains in the NICU.

The title of today’s post is where we feel like we’ve been today. There was nothing planned for today other than watching and waiting (or to use the medical term, monitoring). She continues to look great and has not had any signs that her circulatory system is disturbed in the least. The plan is to repeat the echocardiogram tomorrow. This will hopefully give us some useful information. As it stands, best case scenario is that Maryellen goes home over the weekend; worst case is that she’ll need surgery and discharge could be delayed a bit. We’ll continue to update as available.

We went to Shipley’s Do-nuts this morning and I picked up 5 dozen pink glazed donuts for the nurses and physicians taking care of our little girl. Sometimes it’s the little things…

No News is Good News???

August 10, 2010

Hello all and thank you for your notes of support. Today was a medically uneventful day for the Mixons. Jen continues to recover quickly and really just yearns for some good, uninterrupted sleep. I hate to tell her, but that ain’t happening for a long time.

I want to recap a discussion we had with her pediatrician this morning. We informed the same pediatrician that the boys see that Maryellen was born. He came in to see her within an hour of birth (just happened to be in the area). His initial impression was that she looked perfect. He was aware of the prenatal ultrasound findings, but had a hard time believing them just by examining her. This morning, he had read all the same updates as all of you have and he commented on how humbling of an experience this is for him. For a child to possibly have several malformations to be acting and looking so normal was a testament to how resilient we are. To me, it just reaffirms the words of Psalm 139:13-16

   13 For you created my inmost being;
       you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

  14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
       your works are wonderful,
       I know that full well.

  15 My frame was not hidden from you
       when I was made in the secret place.
       When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

  16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
       All the days ordained for me
       were written in your book
       before one of them came to be.

Knowing that God has knit this child together, we acknowledge that He is in control and that he has a plan for her! What a relief.

We were able to make it to rounds in the NICU this morning where the plan remains watch and wait. Maryellen continues to look absolutely adorable (not a medical term). The NICU nurses also thought that she looked a little generic and changed her “linens” and hat to obtain a more girly feel. We were thankful. We really wanted to be able to hold her and the doctors and nurses readily agreed! She had a repeat Echocardiogram this afternoon. There were 2 small pieces of news. The PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosus) is closer to closing. This means that the challenge of more mature circulation is approaching (her first real test). In addition, her heart function was below-normal at birth and this has improved without intervention! Baby steps…

Many have asked if there is anything they can do and other than pray (and send food!), we appreciate the continued support. More photos from today!

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It’s a Girl!!!

August 9, 2010

Hooray!! Maryellen Anne Mixon was born today August 9, 2010 (8-9-10!) at 5:40 AM. She is 6 pounds 1 ounce and 19 inches long (petite). Surprisingly (to us) she has a full head of dark hair and looks a lot like our boys did in the newborn period. Jen did a fantastic job of laboring and delivering au naturale. Wait 6 months and then ask her about it.

There was one aspect of this pregnancy that we kept somewhat close to the vest. Throughout the pregnancy, Jen had several ultrasounds that revealed a potential congenital heart defect. To that end, we were asked to deliver the baby at Vanderbilt where we would have ready access to Neonatology and Cardiology. Maryellen was very vigorous and gave a hearty (no pun intended) cry. I hope you can imagine our surprise at finding out that she indeed was a girl. As an aside, waiting until the delivery to find out the gender of your child is unbelievable, you should try it.

Back to the cardiology narrative, she was evaluated in the delivery room and looked fantastic. The Cardiologist performed an echocardiogram shortly after birth and there was ample suspicion that there could be a coarctation of the aorta. Accordingly, she was transferred to the Neonatal ICU where she will undergo monitoring for the next few days. The normal newborn transition will be Maryellen’s first real test and will play out over the next few days. We appreciate the outpouring of prayer and support that we have received in the weeks and months leading up to today and covet those same prayers going forward.

I’m including a gallery of photos from today. Jennifer’s mother Carolyn is here watching the boys and brought them up to see their mommy and new sister. Parker is too young to go into the NICU, so that’s why there are only photos of Avery with his sister.

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In addition, I wanted to include a song that has taken on a bit more meaning for me as of today. The song is Wires by the band Athlete. It was written by a father whose newborn girl is in the NICU, I can relate.