Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December 2013 was a busy month!

December 2013 was also an eventful and stressful month for our household. We had several events and doctor appointments going on each week such as state report homework, Festival of Trees, choir concerts, young woman activities, little brother stayed at the hospital, followed up with doctor appointments, big sis got her braces off, and celebrated baby's first Christmas.  I cannot believe how fast this month went by since we were extremely busy!
State Report
At the last minute, hubby and I helped complete little sister's state report (we were up most the night, ugh). She did the state of Illinois for her report and hopefully learned her lesson to never procrastinate ever again! Around the same time, we had horrible internet issues, which finally got resolved three weeks later, grrrr! We actually had to go to the public library since we couldn't research at home.
Festival of Trees
For Big sister's foods class at school, she went on a field trip to see the Festival of Trees in Salt Lake City. Her favorite Christmas tree was the Audrey Hepburn Breakfast at Tiffany's and Toy Story display.
Christmas Choir Concerts
Big sis had a chamber choir concert at school while little sis performed at a local mall, nursing home, and her elementary school. According to Dad, they both did a great job! I wasn't able to attend due to little brother not feeling well and went to the hospital. 
Temple Square
For Young Woman activities, big Sis went to Salt Lake City to see the Christmas lights at Temple Square and went ice skating at Seven Peaks.
Little Bro's Second Hernia Surgery
At 3:00 AM on December 11, 2013, Baby brother was struggling to breathe and we noticed a very loud rattle in his chest. We took him to the ER at American Fork Hospital, which he was admitted for bronchiolitis, swine flu, and Morgagni diaphragmatic hernia. He had to be life flight via helicopter to Utah Valley Hospital so that he could be treated by several pediatric specialists.  The next day he struggled to breathe on high flow oxygen maxed out while fighting his two viruses and the doctors feared he was too weak for surgery.  He had an x-ray on Thursday afternoon that showed that his hernia was larger, shifting his heart to the right, putting pressure on his trachea, and stomach. At that point, most the doctors feared he would crash eventually if he didn't get surgery right away because he was literally using all his energy to breathe (it was very scary to watch his chest rise and fall with labored breathing). So his team of doctors decided it was time to repair his hernia even though it was extremely risky due to his low immune system. To our surprise, little bro was remarkable during surgery and had zero complications! The doctor pulled his intestines out of his chest and repaired the hole in his diaphragm, which was under his liver.  Unexpectedly, he recovered fully from surgery and his viruses after a few days.  His pain was managed well, he ate up to four ounces of bottle, and he voided many diapers. He was discharged from the hospital on Monday December 15, 2013. What a strong little man and amazingly, I remained calm during this whole experience due to our baby receiving two healing priesthood blessings from my husband and family members. I knew he was very sick the day before he went to the hospital.  I had an emotional melt down and looked at my precious son in the eyes and said, "You fight for your life!" My faith and many prayers kept me strong!  On December 26 and 27, 2013, he met with his surgeon and pediatrician. Little bro will need to follow up with a feeding therapist, physical therapist, gastric intestinal specialist, and genetic specialist. He also got a prescription for acid reflux, which hopefully will improve his bottle feedings.  It is still unknown what caused his birth defects (four hernias, wow) or if he has some sort of syndrome, but we are hopeful he will continue to live a normal and happy life with help from many medical professionals. Sadly, he starting to fall behind on some major milestones and needs help gaining weight.  He unfortunately has a "conditioned" bottle aversion (I think when he drinks the bottle he is afraid of pain or may have bad acid reflux since he gags, spits ups, and coughs a lot after consuming his bottle) So we will address his feeding issues by a feeding therapist. As for his weak muscles, he many need help from a physical therapist to help him to accomplish his major gross motor skills such as rolling over and sitting up again, and future ones such as crawling, standing, and walking.  He will be evaluated by Kids on the Move and they may have other services available to him.  I am confident he will catch up on milestones and gain weight in the near future! 

No More Braces
On December 19, 2013, big sister finally got her braces off. Look at that gorgeous smile! She has to wear a clear retainer for the next six months!  That smile is worth every dime! She is very pretty!
No Place Like Home for the Holidays
One of our friends sent this Santa letter photograph to us, which they saw at a local elementary school. It said, "Dear Santa, Can you please give Zachary Free a good Christmas. He is very sick and in the hospital. Also I ask you to help him have a Merry Christmas." Isn't that adorable? We are so grateful for the love and service that our friends, family, and neighbors did for us during our time of need!
Baby's First Christmas
Having little brother home for Christmas was the greatest gift of all for us since he was expected to stay at the hospital for a couple weeks. It was a great blessing that he healed very quickly because of many prayers, positive thoughts, and well wishes. We had a peaceful and lazy Christmas day. My father in-law stopped by to visit, which was strange not having my mother in-law here for Christmas. We enjoyed spending time with him. Baby brother loved his new toys and clothes. The girls enjoyed spending family time watching new Disney movies, eating ham and cheesy potatoes leftovers, and drinking hot chocolate, etc.  
Bring on 2014!!!
I recall my husband lost his job earlier during the year and four months later was blessed with a great job opportunity. In June 2012, I suffered a miscarriage while this year we were blessed with a strong baby boy that joined our family in May.  Little brother has gone through two major surgeries and was such a trooper during both of them. My mother in-law fought cancer for six months and passed away peacefully in November. She is now our guardian angel who will watch over us always. After a year of challenges, sorrows, and triumphs, we can truly see that the Lord has blessed us in our lives. We are looking forward to seeing what 2014 adventures will bring us! Happy New Year!!!

1 comment:

twistedpaperclip said...

This was a year of ups and downs for sure, You did a great jobs of keeping us rock steady sweetie!!! Love you so much for all you do! Love the pictures to see how Zach has grown already.