Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!  I hope you all have a wonderful day and feel how appreciated you are.  Mothers come in all forms, like a biological mother, an adopted mother, a mother-in-law, someone who is like a mother, though not blood related.  Lately, (when I haven’t been wiping butts or puking in a toilet – updates later), I’ve been reflecting on the maternal figures I have in my life, and what they have all taught me about being a mom.

First and foremost, I think of my mom, who is amazing in so many ways.  She has taught me how to be strong in the face of the challenges that life throws at us.  She has always been a rock when facing family health issues, and kept our family strong. It took me a while to appreciate just how wonderful and generous she is (I dread having teenage daughters, especially if they are anything like me), but better late than never I think.  I’m so thankful that she comes each week to spend the day with us, and that my kids are growing up knowing her and loving her!

I also think of my wonderful mother-in-law, who I am lucky to have!  I really hit the lottery in the in-law department.  She also has taught me to be strong and loving and that family is everything. I am so thankful we have a good relationship and that she gets to spend so much time with my kids!  I’m appreciative of everything she does for us.

I could never forget a mother I was so fortunate to have been introduced to, the mother of triplets that she was kind enough to let me take care of.  She was probably the first mom that I said, “I want to be just like her.”  Besides taking me in as part of the family (which enabled me to meet my husband), she taught me to not care what other people think, and to speak up for what you believe in, and for what’s best for your family.

I also think of the mother whom I’ve grown to love as a mother figure and a grandmother to my children, who is the sweetest, kindest person I have ever met.  She makes me appreciate my children even more, especially on the tough days.  She helps take care of my family, and is so generous with her time. We are lucky to have her in our lives!  She has taught me about unconditional love, and never giving up on your family members, even when the relationship is strained.

Also in my thoughts is the mother of my oldest best friend, who has always taken care of me, my dogs and now my kids.  I swear she has a sixth sense for when I’m having a tough day and need Starbuck’s.  She has taught me about generosity, and about being unashamed to be yourself.

Outside of these, I also take lessons from other moms like sisters, aunts, grandmothers, friends, coworkers, online mom friends, my mom’s group and other moms I’ve come across in my life.  I’ve been influenced by so many great women, and have been fortunate to have had my path cross theirs, even briefly.

All of these maternal figures have shaped me into the mother that I am, so to those that tell me what  good mom I am, it’s because of these wonderful examples around me!  Thank you to all of the moms in my life.  I hope you all know how much I have appreciated having you in my life.

One Down, Three To Go!

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Emerson has made a full recovery! I think the rotavirus is out of her system, thank goodness! Not that I will stop worrying about her having more seizures, though. I worry when I’m home alone with all the kids. I worry when she’s sleeping. I freak when she starts crying and when she has a coughing fit. I’m so scared, and I know that will lessen in time, but for right now I can’t stop picturing her purple, limp body lying there. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost my beautiful, funny, amazingly smart little girl.

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But I didn’t. And I’m so lucky! I will be thankful for her and all my babies every day.
The others seem to be on the mend. Poor Deacon seems to be the saddest sack. He sleeps a lot, and when he’s awake he’s usually just lounging on someone’s lap. He’s eating and drinking though, which is great.

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Brody is better, and has been acting more and more like his old self – getting into things he shouldn’t be! But he still is fighting the bug, and it kicks his butt sometimes!

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Hayden just wants to cuddle with Pappy all day. She’s just so sweet and pitiful when she’s sick. But like Brody, she’s acting more alive each day.

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Poor Easton is a bit attention-starved, and really needs to get out and burn some energy! Surprisingly, he hasn’t caught the virus, thank goodness. But cranky Easton who needs a nap is worse than three sick kids combined! He really tested the limits of my patience today, but then he poses ave wants me to take his picture, and he makes me laugh.

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So we’re surviving here. Trying to clean, disinfect, sanitize, cuddle, feed, wash, change, hold, carry and dispose, all the while trying to take care of myself. I just finished my antibiotic for bronchitis but I’m not sure if the infection is done with me! Hopefully in the next couple days we can beat these germs out of our house and have a nice Easter, although since we are quarantined, we can’t have our guests!
I can’t wait to get back to normal, whatever that is!

Out of the Pot and into the Fire

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Emerson and I got to come home yesterday!  I can’t tell you how amazing it was to sleep in my own bed last night and to take a shower!!!
Em is doing great. The VEEG overnight was great, and she ate breakfast in the morning so they felt she could go home. The neurologist recommended keeping her on the Keppra for six months, so she takes a small liquid dose twice a day. It’s just a precaution really, because having had three seizures, she’s more likely to have more, and it’s more likely to be worse.  She well have an MRI as an outpatient just to make sure there is nothing else going on, and we will follow up with the neurologist. We also have a couple emergency doses of diazepam that we would administer if she had another seizure that lasts at least three minutes.
At home she’s the healthiest one we got!  She is eating pretty well, and it’s relatively active, although she’s even more of a drunken sailor now! A side effect of the Keppra is loss of balance and coordination, which she didn’t have a lot of anyway! And {knock on wood} her diarrhea seems to be gone today!

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The others are a bit miserable. They just lay around and they don’t want to play. They weren’t eating or drinking until we got a prescription for Zofran, an anti-nausea medicine. After they took that they started eating and drinking water, which was a huge relief.

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I love the cuddling, but I’d rather they were feeling better! Rotavirus is AWFUL!

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They still have diarrhea, and Brody is still throwing up, so there’s lots of cleanup and laundry to do! I’m contemplating calling in a biohazard team to clean up after this bug is passed. I’m also shopping for new couches – easy to clean leather ones! 

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Easton continues to be unaffected by this virus…Thank goodness!!!
Continued thanks for all the support…it really means so much to us to have offers of help, concern for us and resources for info from people who have also dealt with seizures. It’s all amazing and touching and we’re grateful!

Rotavirus in the House!

Emerson’s stool sample came back positive for rotavirus. One piece of the mystery solved. So now all the staff who come in her room have to wear a gown and gloves. I feel like she’s an Ebola patient!

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Today has been a long day. Em was on the VEEG all night and all day. We were supposed to see the neurologist this morning to see how her brain activity was overnight, but in typical hospital fashion, we didn’t get word or see her until almost dinnertime. She saw slowed brain activity at times, which she thought was probably just her brain recovering from the seizures. So she then left to go check how her brain activity was today, and over an hour later returned to let us know that it was all normal. We decided to keep the VEEG going tonight just in case she has another seizure. They were going to keep her another night anyway because she’s not eating well. Emerson only wants to eat plain Cheerios and water. We’ve tried to entice her with all her favorite things, like pancakes, bacon and cookies, and even resorted to potato chips and froot loops, but she wasn’t interested!
So where we are at now is figuring that her seizures are what the neurologist called “afebrile febrile seizures”, meaning they are similar to febrile seizures in how they occur, but they are different in that they aren’t caused by a rapid drop or spike in temperature. How she described it was that the virus acts on the cells of the brain in a way that the brain could react with no seizure or seizure, and her brain chooses the seizure route. Something like that. So it’s not the kind of answer I like to hear, but it’s good to hear it’s probably not epilepsy, and she will probably outgrow it. Still, I like to have clear answers!

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Today my parents came to spend some time at the hospital, which was great, since I needed lots of help calming her when she got cranky! Plus, they brought me jelly beans and Cadbury mini eggs :)

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It took us forever to get her to sleep tonight because she only had one short nap this morning and she was so overtired!!

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A doctor just came in to examine her and I said no!!! Sorry buddy, I’m not letting that happen!

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Hopefully she will sleep all night and I can get some much-needed rest!
Thanks to everyone for their support and kind words…it makes me feel great to have so many people in my life who care. Brian and I appreciate it!

My New Scariest Day of My Life

Well, we had a good night last night, meaning everyone slept, but this morning it all started hitting the fan.  The quads woke up and all started eating Cheerios and drinking water, and then the throwing up started.  Mixed in with diarrhea.  Thank goodness there are four adults!  The men are sick with the bug too, but are a huge help in dealing with sick kids!  It truly takes a team!!

Anyway, Emerson woke up from her nap this morning crying, so Brian brought her downstairs and I gave her a cup of Cheerios and a water.  She started eating the cereal and then had another seizure in Brian’s arms.  Just like that.  I immediately called 911 and they sent the ambulance.  This time it didn’t seem to last as long, but she still turned blue.  She came out of it, and fell right asleep.  She slept until we left in the ambulance, and for most of the ride to the hospital.

Since this was her second seizure, they are not sure if they are febrile seizures anymore.  They were talking epilepsy, which is scary!  They decided to admit her and planned to do a Video EEG to take a look at her brain activity and see if they can get some clues as to why this is happening.  A couple hours after we arrived at the pediatric emergency department, Emerson had another seizure.  The pediatric doctors were examining her, so we had her sitting up.  All of a sudden she went all tensed up in the fetal position and fell over.  This one was shorter, and she didn’t turn blue, which was better.  Due to this, they put her on Keppro, an anti-seizure medication.  They also gave her IV fluids to keep her hydrated.

 

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They moved her to the pediatric floor and kept checking on her blood sugar, which was way low.  The plan was to do a CT scan to check for brain bleeds, and then hook her up for a VEEG.  Since her blood sugar was only coming up a bit, they switched her IV to a 10% dextrose fluid, and that did the trick.  She then went off for her CT scan, and she did great!  They didn’t have to sedate her because she has just been so tired.  She actually fell asleep in the machine! I was so proud of her.  They didn’t see anything abnormal on the scan, which is awesome news!

 

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Now she is hooked up to a million wires for the VEEG, and there is a camera on her too.  So the light has to be on, so that means she is having a tough time going to sleep!  They also gave her another dose of Keppro. Hopefully we will get the information we need overnight, and the doctors can figure out why she keeps having seizures.

 

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Please keep Emerson, and all my little ones in your thoughts!

The Scariest Day of My Life

We seem to have had sickness running through our house since before Thanksgiving. Luckily it hasn’t been too bad, but the latest was Emerson. The other day, she woke up from her nap crying and she had thrown up. She continued throwing up until the next morning.  Then she started drinking and even eating, and our pediatrician said if we can get fluids in her we’d avoid a trip to the ER for dehydration. She also said her other patients had this for about 24 hours, and then maybe threw up once more the next day. Well, Emerson stopped throwing up before the 24 hours, which was great, and she was drinking and eating.  She seemed to be on the mend. This morning she threw up twice, but was still drinking and eating so we figured maybe it was the milk we had let her have.  But then the day took a turn for the worse.
She went down for a nap and Brian brought her downstairs when she woke up. He sat with her and gave her a cracker. She got down off his lap and stumbled a bit. He picked her up and she went totally limp in his arms. Her eyes rolled back in her head, her face contorted and she stiffened. He called for me and said, “We gotta go to the hospital. She’s having a seizure.”
I grabbed my purse and ran downstairs. I could see she was drooling and tensed up in his arms. Then she turned purple and was just lifeless.  It was the scariest thing I had ever witnessed. I thought she was dead.
Brian, with his firefighter training, knew to check her airway and vitals. Brian’s dad called 911 and I got on the phone with them. They had us take off her clothes and watch her to make sure she was breathing.  It was not even a minute before her color came back and she opened her eyes.  The police arrived first, then the paramedics and ambulance.  By then Emerson was more alert and just calling for Mommy, Daddy, Grammy, and I just lost it. I had held it together, and when I realized she was ok, I just started bawling like a baby. My mother-in-law hugged me, and I just said, “I thought I lost her.”  I was so relieved. That experience is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. No parent should ever have to deal with something like this.
I rode in the ambulance with her and Brian followed. Emerson was fighting sleep, just watching out the window. She was out of it, but awake and holding my hand.
At the hospital, the doctor confirmed that she had a febrile seizure, caused by a virus. It made her temperature spike or drop, which brought on the seizure. This happens to 3% of kids. They put in an IV line and took some blood for tests. All of her levels were fine; she wasn’t dehydrated abd the doctor said we could go. But Brian and I were worried that we wouldn’t be able to get her to drink, so the doctor said he would give her some IV fluids.

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Oh, by the way, poor Brian got hit with the stomach bug while we were in the hospital. So while he was in the bathroom, it was like a switch went off in Emerson. Halfway through the fluids, she started talking and smiling, and when Brian came back she said, “Hi Daddy!” It was wonderful!
Meanwhile, we hear that the other three quads are all throwing up at home, and my father-in-law is now down with the bug too!  We impatiently waited to get discharged, and then finally made it home.

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Everyone went to bed, and are still sleeping for right now, a few hours later. My mother-in-law stayed up for a while in case someone woke up, and is on call.  I am too wired for sleep. I’m exhausted (oh, did I mention I was at the doctor for myself this morning, and I’m in antibiotics for bronchitis?) but I’m watching the monitor, jumping when someone coughs, worrying about Emerson having another seizure, worrying someone else will have a seizure, worrying that I won’t hear someone throw up and they will choke on their vomit.  I’m itchy, because I’ve also had hives for about a month now, which just adds to the anxiety and general misery I’m feeling.
The saving grace here is that it is a 24 hour thing (hopefully) so by Tuesday it should be past us. I’m sure something else fun will follow it, but as long as it doesn’t come with seizures, I’m good.
Please send us good, healthy thoughts!
I also just want to say that I’m thankful for family and friends who are there for us when we need them. My strength comes from the positive messages and the concern and the caring.  I really could not get through this without it!

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One thing I’m sure of, is that tomorrow, after I’ve had my coffee, I will be hugging my babies a little tighter, and appreciating their whining and crying a little bit more.

Tips for Managing a Solo Trip to Target With Five Toddlers

I did it! I took all five kids out to Target by myself!! So many quad moms in my Facebook group take their kids out, and so I’ve thought, “well, if they can, I should be able to also!” Then last weekend Brian and I took the quads on some errands while Easton was at school. We were at Walmart and then a strip mall, and we just put all the kids in one shopping cart there. We even managed to stop in at Panera for some take-out lunch! So that got my wheels turning, and I figured if they could all fit in one cart, I could take them out myself.

So I’ve been wanting to go to Target for a while. I love the clothing and bags and things they are showing on their commercials! I decided today was the day. I just couldn’t bear another day at home. I had a coffee, so I was feeling energetic. My father-in-law helped me get their shoes and jackets on, and we loaded them in the van.  Needless to say, it was an interesting and educational outing.  On the course of our trip, I learned some Do’s and Don’ts for managing this type of trip alone:

DO pack a diaper bag. I already had one dirty diaper by the time we pulled in the parking lot!

DO park next to a cart return that has at least one cart in it. That way you don’t leave the kids unattended in the van.

DO realize that adding a 3 ½ year old to the mix is a game changer. Five of them can’t fit in the cart together!

DO plan on getting lots of smiles, looks and inane comments.

DO be proud when people tell you how beautiful your kids are.

DO plan on at least one trip to the bathroom to change a dirty diaper.

DON’T be surprised when your potty-training child has to go pee when you are all the way across the store.

DO plan on selecting and opening a treat to reward said child’s toileting success.

DON’T leave snack out for toddler to snack on while you are distracted talking to a friend you bumped into.

DON’T forget snacks for the others! I figured I would just grab something off the shelf if I needed to feed them, but if I was in a store that didn’t have food I would have had some unhappy babies.

DO have enough water cups for all four babies. I couldn’t find the other two, so they had to share. (Note: toddlers do not like sharing)

DON’T buy sippy cups with your kids. Or if you do, store them under the cart so they cannot be tested out and thrown when the kids realize they are empty.

Which leads me to my next one:

DO go to a store that has under-cart storage. When there are 4 toddlers in the cart, there isn’t much room for stuff. Plus, there are some things you don’t want them to get their hands on, like picture frames with glass.

DON’T expect to remember everything you saw in the commercials that you wanted to look for. Best have a list on your phone or write it out and keep it in your pocket.

DO get the most important things first, because you never know when you might have to leave. I left clothing shopping for me until last.

DON’T plan on trying things on in the dressing room. Just plan on buying whatever you are interested in and trying it on at home. You can always run back to the store when you have a babysitter! Or that could be your next outing!

DO make sure you have your debit/credit card or cash before leaving your house. You don’t want to get to the register with a full cart of kids and stuff and see the empty spot in your wallet.

DO sign up for the store credit card when you realize you have forgotten your debit card. You save money, and you don’t want to have to leave without your hard-earned stuff and have to come right back with that card!

DON’T forget you have a backup credit card in the van.

DON’T refuse help to get to your car when it is offered.

DO make sure your bags are secured, and don’t dump out in the road while cars are waiting for you to cross.

DO make sure your toddler knows not to run away from you when you are picking up your purchases from the road.

DO thank the good Samaritan who honks to let you know you still have items in the road as you hurry to your car.

DON’T leave your cart full of kids behind a running vehicle while you run back to retrieve the dropped item.

DO breathe a sigh of relief when all kids are buckled in their car seats.

DO stop at McDonald’s when you decide you don’t feel up to preparing lunch after the Target debacle.

DON’T get in the drive-thru line at McDonald’s when you don’t have your debit card on you.

DO pat yourself on the back for remembering you have a backup credit card in the van!!

DO enjoy a good laugh sharing your experience while your kids throw their chicken nuggets and fries on the floor.

DO enjoy your Shamrock Shake while your kids take a nap!

There – I hope this helps some of you out there.  I know I learned some valuable lessons on this outing, and I can’t wait to try again!  It really was energizing and empowering to be able to take the kids out all by myself.  We’ve really gotten cabin fever with all the cold and snow this winter, and it’s good for all of us to get out.