Well, I am bummed to say that I started writing this from the hospital. Here's how my entry began:
Mr. Braden has landed here after a whirlwind cold that kick-started his asthmaticky, Reactive Airway Disease-ish, symptoms. I say them both that way because all of the doctors thus far have hesitated to diagnose him with a condition because he is too young for them to be sure...even though they are about 99.9% sure already. Now, he has bronchiolitis and needs oxygen and steroids to get through it all because of the asthma. Welcome winter! Blech. We arrived at the ER doorstep on Sunday night, Monday morning. Thankfully, we were the only occupants at 4am and were ushered in immediately. He was having such a hard time breathing, we could only wonder what was going to happen next. Our doctor told us to go quickly, which scared me even more. Yet, B was still smiling and talking to us from the car seat all the way there. His little chest was heaving with the effort, it was killing us to watch him suck air in. Even the ER docs all could not believe what good spirits he was in for his state. He was borderline hypoxic...which for us non-medical types..is bad. Very bad. We were in for a long night of breathing treatments and oxygen, wondering if it would have any effect. It was a scary night/morning/day. "Just the rest of the day" turned into "tomorrow morning" which turned into a "few more days".
If this is all news to you, B-Man has loads of issues...but I must say, all of which he is handling beautifully. What issues, you ask? I can update you now, if you'd like! Grab a seat and some coffee and let's chat. Though it will make this post a little long, I am afraid, we'll make it through together!
Of the three, Braden is the most physically sensitive one...or delicate even! Haha, that makes me laugh, because to look at him, there is nothing delicate about Braden Bug! No one believes he is a triplet - he's way too big! But....the poor guy, he has had to take the brunt of problems most triplets face and even though they are mild, they are compounded by the fact that he is soooo big for his "age" and ex-preemie status, and that he is just such a gosh-darn laid-back, good natured fella. He's not lazy, just mellow and calm. Think Jimmy Buffet. So, this "whatever, man" attitude is awesome in helping him to deal with his myriad of issues, but it doesn't help motivate him to get to the next developmental level, or through a sickness until he really wants to get there. He is working to get better now and then walking is the next big milestone for him. But he has something working against him there too.
To go back even further, we have a Physical Therapist and an Occupational Therapist working with Braden 3 times a week. They are trying to encourage better range of motion, appropriate feeding skills (no problem there!), stretching and walking, climbing, transitions (like stairs and couches) and movement in general. Gross, and then fine motor skills, to be more technical.
The other two started walking some time ago and have since been discharged. They are doing great! Life seems to come easy for them and they also have the added "benefit" of being more aggressive and motivated to move. Braden, on the other hand is a pretty mellow guy. We love that about him! As humble as a toddler can be and super smart. He is the sign language king! You can see him actually thinking about it and processing it before he comes out with something.
If I can take a moment to brag here (as if I had anything to do with these little presents God has handed us)...all three are talking up a storm, even scoring higher than their gestational age - which is awesome! No delays there! They should be talking at a 16 month old level (correcting for the two months they were born early), but they are most likely already at a 20 month level. Pretty cool. They are all sharp as a tack. Even though I am so proud to say that, it scares me a little... a tiny gang of smart, cute, organizing, connected and conniving little people. I should be afraid!
Getting back to Braden, he has always been a little more behind than his brother and sister, even more so than the corrected age bracket they score on. His eyes were crossed last year, as most babies' are, but they weren't resolving, so he had to have surgery to correct it almost a year ago. They turned out great, but recently they are turning in again. That, in itself, may be the cause of his motor delays, since vision impacts every single thing a person comes into contact with. And when you are just learning to come into contact and grasp things, you need to see it first and foremost.
That was his first hurdle.
Then, the boys got eczema terribly last fall. Their faces and bodies and heads were just covered with it and they would scratch and scratch until they bled. We had to keep them swaddled at night so they wouldn't gouge themselves. Taking them to an allergist, they were diagnosed with allergies of the feline and canine variety. At that time we had 2 canines and 2 felines, and they weren't going anywhere, so we had to prepare precautions to reduce the amount of allergens getting to them if we ever wanted them to have access to their hands ever again. ;)
The boys are also allergic to dust mites, and if you have ever been in our house, dust is probably the most prolific possession we own. So, we swapped out the 20 year old shag carpet in their nursery for a faux-hardwood look. Well, we were going for the hardwood look, not the faux part. Anyway, it's been a challenge to keep the dust and mites and pets away from the kids.
Braden is such a lover, and he seeks the cats and dogs out, draping himself over their backs and exclaiming, "Awwwwwww...". It's probably the cutest thing I have ever seen. He just about covers the whole cat with his body, the trapped feline letting out the thinnest of mewls in protest, but not moving an inch. It's impossible to stop, and even more impossible not to love seeing, as an animal lover and now a mom of one too.
B is also allergic to egg-whites, which are in far more things than I ever knew. When I heard, I thought, "Oh, bummer - I was hoping to start giving them scrambled eggs, but I guess that's out." Little did I know (or just think about it) that eggs are in pasta, custards, ice cream, any baked good, egg white washes on pretzels and some breads, croissants, meringue, SNICKERS!, frosting, mayonnaise, some dressings, meatloaf, hamburgers, chicken fingers, ricotta cheese fillings in italian dishes, brownies, french toast, pancakes, cheesecake, etc...So many things! His first birthday cake caused an all-nighter reaction. So, we know he is sensitive enough to watch what he eats.
He has not started walking yet because his right foot and leg are so tight and weak they cause him to be unstable. He cannot really put any weight on his foot, or straighten his leg out fully because it hurts him to do so. He also points his toes and then curls them down. This makes him drag his right foot when he tries to walk anywhere. These are all signs of Cerebral Palsy (CP). The therapists and doctors are questioning whether he has a mild form of CP. An MRI is the first test to determine if CP is present, which is slight brain damage, usually caused by a lack of oxygen to any given part of the brain, most likely right after birth. Since he was a preemie, and a triplet, this is probably the case. His MRI was scheduled for this Tuesday, and he would have to go under for the long procedure. Since he received steroids during his hospital stay to help decrease the inflammation, that will push his MRI back another 8 weeks. They do not want the steroids compromising his lung function under anesthetics.
So, we wait to find out what will be. But we know that what will be, will be. Nothing will change but our knowledge, since if it is a positive diagnosis, then getting him to walk will hopefully be the only challenge CP will present for him in his lifetime.
Now that you have the back story on our little man, we are now home. He spent 4 days in the hospital, or as I called it, "Hotel Children's". They had Pampers! Woohoo! Nothing but the best swag for my baby. He was as well cared for as his bum, needing oxygen and breathing treatments 'round the clock. It was torture to see him with the nasal cannula, the IV, the pulse ox all tethering him to the metal crib that was his home for days. But, like I said, he is a trooper and handled it all with the poetic grace of an old soul, as he does with everything life throws at him. I love my baby boy and am constantly amazed at his resilience.
His lungs are recovering and we are hunkering down for the winter, trying to evade some of the nastier bugs out there. Hopefully we won't end up back in the hospital anytime soon.
It's nice to have our family back together again, even if we are all sick..we are sick together.