Cord Blood

Every time I would go to a prenatal checkup I saw the brochure to bank cord blood. Mark and I talked about it and read about it. But ultimately we didn’t think it made sense. If your cells had gone haywire, why would you need your own same haywire cells? You would want someone else’s.  So, why pay for it for years and years? read once where it said that we should all just collectively bank our cord blood for whoever would need it.  Then I did what I so often do. Forgot about it.

Now, a friend just sent me to Be the Match and there was a whole thing about donating your baby’s cord blood in order to save lives. In light of Hunter’s death, I’m more aware of the need for this. Hunter did get a bone marrow transplant, but maybe some other child could be saved by cord blood. If you are expecting, check it out. I wish I had.

Healing Hunter Part 2

I had linked before to my friend’s blog about her journey fighting with her son and husband to save her young son’s life. I have just read her latest entry: “Living life on the edge of fear.”

It’s not good.

I am stunned. I am so sad for them. I find it hard to believe in God when I see a lovely little boy who has fought most of his life, and now his mama is told they are out of chances. I don’t know what to say to them. I think this is such an immense sorrow there is nothing adequate.

I am so sorry to any parent that has gone through a child’s loss. My friend writes beautifully, even now.

Healing Hunter

Any gripe or complaint in life has to be dropped kicked to the curb when compared to what I think is the THE SINGLE HARDEST thing a human could go through: being the parent of a seriously ill child. I was friends of friends with a nice couple Zen and Lenore. I met Lenore when she was pregnant with her son. Her fiance Zen was taking my headshots. She already knew he was going to be named Hunter. Vivien was about one, and we had mommy talks. I later heard through our mutual friend that they had had their son and gotten married.

Then when Hunter was 16 months I got an email for a fundraiser. Hunter had been diagnosed with Leukemia. I was dumbstruck. His parents are this cool, hip couple. Attractive, kind, living a very normal life. I know there is no profile for people dealing with tragedy, but I was stunned to hear they were going through this.  I went to the fundraiser. I think like a lot of people I didn’t know what to say, how I would act… what can you say to a mother whose child lies in a hospital seriously ill? Other than I will pray for him, affirm for him, see him whole, vibrant, healthy. The only constructive thing I could think to do was bring them food.

I visited Lenore and Zen and Hunter at LA Children’s Hospital a few times either bringing food from Campanile or homemade. There is no good food at that hospital, and they are too devoted to their son to leave him to go anywhere good. I was shocked at how they had to live. Bad enough to go through the agony of seeing your precious, beautiful boy full of cords, wires, poked and prodded, but most of the time they only had half a room. They were all living in half a room. One would sleep on the bed with Hunter, the other would be on the chair bed. They had their possessions piled high. DVDs, computer, change of clothes. And separated by only a curtain, another family was going through their own hell. Lenore and family were there for 5 months. (A friend who was helping with fundraising for the hospital said, “Well, I’ve heard the families can give each other comfort.” I said, “That’s BS; would you want to share your life crammed in half a room with complete strangers?”)

Yet, they were so positive and so gracious. They said they were humbled and felt lucky because there was a chance their son would be all right, but they had seen kids there who were so ill or disfigured they wouldn’t. I was so touched by their courage.

And then joy, they got out. Hunter was better. He would still need to see the doctor monthly, but his signs were good. Yeah. His family had had it with LA at this point and quite rightly thought a healthier lifestyle for all of them was in order. So, they moved to Oregon.

One day Lenore was in town, and we met for lunch. It was great to see her out of a hospital. They loved where they lived, and even going to Portland once a month for checkups was ok as they liked the hospital more than in LA. They were paying down their medical debt to a manageable level. I was so relieved. Maybe life is like a movie with a happy ending.

But some movies have sequels that shouldn’t be made. And I got a  notice about another fundraiser. Hunter’s cancer had returned. No, it can’t be I thought, how can they go through this again? Then there was a quest to find a bone marrow donor for him, made more complicated by the fact that Hunter is of mixed race, so it’s harder to find.  Then he did have the transplant. Things were going well. More life in the hospital, then out of this hospital. Back and forth. Many visits to the ER when his fever spikes. Recently, on her FB page Lenore said all was good.

And now, his fever has returned. I am stymied by what this little boy has had to go through. By the courage of he and his parents. Lenore wrote an essay called Teardrops and Smiles on his website recently, and I asked her if I could share it here. She said yes.

It is so unfair. I don’t have the words. But these are hers.

Keeping Kids Healthy: Momversation

Well, at momversation.com, I asked Mindy and Karen (and you all) what do you do to keep the illnesses from one child confined to only their little body? I know I really lucked out (knock wood) with Vivien’s health as she was almost a year before she had a cold. Rex has had more colds. No science to back it up, but I figure it’s because of his sister.

But when Vivien was newborn… I mean days old… Mark got whooping cough and Oliver–then 11–got it as well. I marvel and am eternally grateful that Vivien, and myself, were spared it. What did we do right? Mark and Oliver had minimal contact with baby Viv. But it was still the same house. So we really did right was get super lucky.

Flu Flew By

So, now we aren’t sure the flu fairy did visit us. And by flu I mean REGULAR flu, NOT Swine Flu. Vivien tested positive for a sinus infection. She was only droopy for 36 hours, so I’m inclined to think it was not the flu. As when I had it a few years ago I was on my back… and not in a good way. The nurse said she should still finish the Tami Flu. I felt a little bad since it would give her little tummy aches.

By the way, found the best way possible to get her to take it. I put it in one of those plastic 2 oz containers that people give formula to babies in. Mix it with lemonade, cover with the lid. Then if possible go out to a public place and put a bright straw in the container. Taste isn’t terrible, straw is fun and less resistance in public. When we went to breakfast one morning it was a breeze. Then bribes are at the ready too.  ”When you are done you can have a cupcake!”

I realize Swine flu is not the same as polio circa 1946, but I’m a little bent to find out a TA at school had told other parents that Vivien had had Swine flu. I was tipped off by another parent, so I said straight out to the kind TA “Vivien did not have swine flu; we don’t even think she had regular flu. Please don’t say that.”

Oh, okay.

Let’s get our communicable diseases right.

By the way, thanks to all who reminded my sleep-deprived brain about my pack and play. It is working out so well. Even though a few nights a week we still have to make and eat dinner, clean the dishes, get last-minutes snacks, make Viv’s lunch by 730 or 8 so I can put the PnP in the “playroom” and get Rex down to sleep. I even figured out where the power cord is for my monitor so it can’t “conk” out.

See what getting some sleep can do? I feel giddy. I’m so rested. I still nurse him when he wakes up at 1. Yes, partly because by then I look and feel as if I have had implants, but after the nights I’ve had for 8 months, waking up once feels like a gift. And I do miss him.

Sleeping, Viv back at school. Who knows what I can accomplish now! I even took a shower!

Momversation: Will Flu Shots Make Your Child Sick?

This is a major health issue. BUT get a load of my TV make up! I shot this right after I came home from taping “The Fashion Team,” which meant I had the pro make up. I think it looks good except the false eye lashes are too much for online vids.

Okay, I JUST got Rex’s 6-month shots. His doctor told me that yes, we should all get the swine flu vaccine in October, and we will. This vid was shot last week when I was still like… mmm peaches are nice this season… swine what??

I think I have rarely gotten a flu vaccine, but when I was a single gal I was not so concerned with it… although real bona fide flu is AWFUL. But I would NEVER want to make my kiddos sick, so sign me up.

Sidebar: I took Rex by myself to the doctor since Mark was still on driving restrictions (just lifted yesterday). Rex cried so hard he wouldn’t even nurse. A first for either of my children. I finally just picked him up and walked him out and brought him home. Poor lamb. I almost cried myself like I did the first few times Viv had her shots. But I have learned to sack up and not make it about ME. Got to be tough. Oh, but poor lamb. :( He has been very tender today.

Getting Away

Okay.

So I listened to you all, and for our 4th wedding anniversary Mark and I decided to go away for a night.  We were all set when Vivien threw up.  We didn’t panic, these things come and go with kids, so we waited. But as the day wore on, she refused my offer of “watching any cartoons she wanted” and went to bed.  She had a fever.  Our nanny/sitter Dolly showed up.  She was going to stay overnight with the kids.  She told us to go, that Vivien would be fine. I called the doctor twice who was pretty sick of hearing from me I think.

She got sick again.  Then we were both like NO WAY.  We are not going.  I called the hotel expecting to lose our money, but they said for only $30 more I could move to two days later.

We did decide to take a walk to a nearby restaurant to mark the occasion with something other than children’s Tylenol splattered towels.  When we got home Vivien was running around, happy, dinging “I feel better.”  She had eaten some dinner and kept it down.  Dolly said, “I told you she would be okay.”

Oh, well.  we couldn’t have enjoyed the time away with our little bunny sick in bed. Even if we were only going to be 10 miles away.

So, we did go …. get the key to the room and then a Ramos Gin Gizz.   A little pool time.  (sidebar, you can see the recession has hit the hotel industry, we were by the beach in July and the only ones poolside).  By the time our desert rolled around at a very good dinner we were both missing our kids.

I said, maybe I should start a Parent Hotel.  You can check in for 5 hours.  Like a clean version of a love hotel.  You can make love, watch something other than cartoons, have an uninterrupted conversation, eat a meal in peace and then have  good night sleep.  Hmmm, that is more than 5 hours, isn’t it?  Okay, 18 hours would be fine for me. I do not want to leave my kids for more than one night.  Not right now at least.

It was nice to put on a decent outfit and a real bra, I will say.