Saturday, September 29, 2007

ARGGGggg looks like Elijah made a cute post this morning. What a smart baby.

I can't believe I'm typing this, but Elijah woke up this morning with another red mark from Helmy. We will be heading back to the orthotist yet again next week. This time the red mark is on the left side of his forehead and goes down to his temple/ear.

And not only is our baby smart enough to speak, write and type, but he's also gotten wise in another way. Just today, he has shown us that he knows when we're about to put him on his belly and he physically protests. Every time I put him on his belly this morning, he rolled right over onto his back. I suppose it's least he's rolling consistently by himself now. For his morning nap we put him on his belly in his crib and when we came to get him up, he was on his back! Even after all these months of trying to get him used to his belly, he still hates it.

Elijah's heart cath was postponed and now it's on October 29th. G-man said he expected to be doing a lot of "work" and didn't have enough time alloted for him on the 3rd. We're a little bummed because we were looking forward to getting it out of the way, but there's not much we can do. The 29th it shall be!

After my first full week of work, I'm trying to cherish every moment with both of my boys. I better go squeeze them now. Here's a cute picture of Elijah's milk coma from the other night:

100 things about me!

Hey everyone, it's Elijah here. This is the first time I've written on my own blog! For those of you who would like to know me a bit better, I've made a fun list of 100 things all about ME! Enjoy! My daddy is wonderful! Grunt, grunt......squeak......Aboo!!!!!

1. I’m 7 1/2 months old.
2. I weigh 17.5 lbs.
3. I love peas and sweet potatoes.
4. I love all food, but those are my two favorites.
5. I can eat two jars of food and four bottles a day!
6. I love to eat.
7. I’m chubby.
8. Mommy tells me that’s a good thing.
9. It means I’m healthy.
10. My thighs are especially chunky and round.
11. I have a chubby neck, too.
12. I like to blow spit bubbles.
13. I started making kissy lips this week.
14. It makes me look like a fish.
15. Mommy and Daddy laugh hard when I do it.
16. I’m not sure what color my eyes are.
17. They are grey, blue and brown all at once.
18. I have to wear a helmet.
19. It makes my head sweaty and red.
20. Mommy and Daddy are thinking about throwing it away.
21. I’ve been practicing rolling over.
22. I’ve done it a few times all on my own.
23. I don’t like being on my tummy.
24. Tummy time is hard work!
25. I smile a lot.
26. My giggles are so cute.
27. I poop a lot!
28. The other day, Mommy and Daddy changed 5 poopy diapers!
29. When I poop, I grunt. Loud!
30. It makes Mommy and Daddy giggle.
31. I just started liking baths.
32. I splash my arms and legs in the water and giggle and squeal.
33. Mom and Dad have to wash my hair every night because it gets so dirty from Helmy.
34. My mom and dad are weird and silly.
35. I think they could get their own reality show.
36. They tell me all the time that I’m a very special little baby.
37. My mom has a lot of nicknames for me.
38. She calls me Peanut, Sweet Pea, Munchkinhead, Little Man, Big Boy, Pumpkin Butt, Chunky Monkey, Sweetie Pie, Handsome Man, Honeybunch, Chubster and lots of other things.
39. Daddy called me Chunko-butt the other day. What does that mean? Does that mean I’m fat?
40. Mom and Dad do a lot of work with me to get me strong.
41. I practice sitting, rolling, standing, pushing up, and I even do sit-ups.
42. I guess my surgery slowed down some of my progress.
43. My surgeon’s name is Dr. Moga.
44. His voice sounds like Kermit the Frog.
45. He’s very smart and nice and did a very good job fixing my heart.
46. Dr. Gremmels is my cardiologist.
47. Mom and Dad call him “G-man.”
48. He is so nice and he likes to say, “Goodgood” a lot, like it’s one word.
49. Daddy thinks he’s a sharp dresser.
50. I started going to daycare.
51. Carrie and Mike watch me. They are so nice!
52. There are a bunch of other kids there. Mostly boys.
53. They can all walk and crawl.
54. I will be doing those things very soon, too!
55. Mom and Dad read me lots of books.
56. Mommy knows the Tooth Book by heart and recites it in her sleep.
57. We always read in the loft before I go to bed.
58. Then either Mom or Dad holds me in their arms and bounces on an exercise ball.
59. That puts me right to sleep.
60. I have three favorite toys right now: my rattle, my toy cell phone and my little mirror.
61. I like to hold my rattle and pound it on my leg like it’s a tambourine.
62. I’m very good with my hands!
63. Ever since I was born, Mom and Dad have said that I’m going to do something with my hands when I grow up.
64. That and my voice.
65. I love to make noise.
66. I’m constantly grunting, talking or gurgling.
67. I love to sleep and I need lots of it.
68. If I don’t get enough, I’m a very grumpy boy.
69. Tiredness is the only thing that makes me cry besides pain.
70. I have always slept well at night.
71. From Day 1, I knew that bedtime was bedtime and I never cry in the night except to eat.
72. Then I go right back to sleep!
73. I don’t want to go back to the hospital.
74. They poke me with needles there.
75. Mommy says I have to go back to get better. Just a few more times.
76. My heart isn’t all fixed yet.
77. Dr. Moga will fix the rest next year.
78. I love to be outside.
79. I especially love stroller rides.
80. Mom and Dad say I have a fondness for the outdoors.
81. Daddy wants to teach me to hunt.
82. I make lots of funny faces.
83. Two second before I cry, I make a giant frown and furrow my brow and then I say, “Baaaaaa” and the tears start flowing.
84. It’s actually really cute.
85. I love it when Mommy sings songs to me.
86. The Itsy Bitsy Spider is my favorite.
87. I also love it when she makes animal noises.
88. The one that makes me smile the biggest is the sheep noise. BBa-aaa-a-aaa-ahhhh!
89. I have eight different doctors.
90. That’s a lot of people looking out for me.
91. My mommy says I’m pretty because I have big eyes and long eyelashes.
92. My lashes are longer than hers.
93. I hear a lot that I’m a handsome boy.
94. I will get chased by girls on the playground.
95. I have two teeth that are about to poke through my gums!
96. I can’t reach my feet because my body is too long.
97. I think I might be tall when I grow up.
98. I love playing with the tags on toys more than the toys themselves.
99. I just got a new high chair!
100. I started holding my own bottle this week.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Strong and Steady

The kissy lips he's been making lately. Funny man.

Elijah's helmet is re-re-refitted now! Dan brought him back to the orthotist yesterday and got a little more shaved off from the inside of Helmy so hopefully no more fittings will be necessary in the next few weeks. So once again, we are weaning him into wearing it full-time. How long has this been going on? Oh yeah, two and a half weeks, that's right...  We hope to have him wearing it full-time again by this weekend. 
I know we sound very hostile towards Helmy, the poor guy, but we've definitely dealt with worse. Yes, Helmy is a bit of an annoyance and yes he smells like vinegar, B.O. and pickles, but when we stop and look at the big picture, we almost embrace that colorful little 8-oz. ball of plastic and foam. Eight months ago, we didn't even know if Elijah would survive the pregnancy. Once we saw his sweet face, we didn't know if he'd be capable of much, with all the strikes that were against him. Once he showed us that he was capable of almost everything any "normal" baby was capable of, we weren't sure how he'd do during and after that first surgery. He flew through that like a champ and look at him! He's strong, he's chubby, he eats well, he's thriving, he's happy, he's smart, he's cute, he has an amazing little personality and he's just a little miracle man! This helmet thing is peanuts to him....and to us. He's our strong and steady man who isn't phased by a thing. We keep reminding ourselves that we are amazingly blessed and that this helmet hurdle is miniscule.
Elijah's heart cath is next week already! In fact, a week from today. Please say some prayers that it will go smoothly. I'm a bit nervous about it, based on our history with heart caths and the Short Stay Unit at Children's.
p.s. Elijah just yanked on my sleeve and told me he has something to write on his blog...??!?!? I didn't realize he knew how to type, much less form words or sentences, so I'll be curious to see what he thinks he's going to do. Hmmmm.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Helmet Update

This whole helmet thing is not going as smoothly as we'd hoped for. Elijah has adjusted to wearing it but after we got back to him wearing it while sleeping we noticed that his forhead was once again being rubbed wrong and looking sunburned.
We'll call the orthotist again today and see if we can get in right away and hopefully get the helmet fitting correctly. The helmet has already been kicked across the room so if things don't work out soon it may accidentally end up in the trash.

ps. Megan goes back to work full time today, the boys will have to try to survive without wonderful Mommy for a few days :(

pps. A favorite from our large 6-mo. photo collection:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


We've had a bit of a setback with Helmy (my lil' pet name for Elijah's helmet). The first night he wore it all through the night, Saturday, it wasn't kind to his head. He woke up Sunday with a dark red welt-like mark across his forehead. Arrgggghhh...I really wanted to throw that thing in a dumpster, but I took a deep breath and nicely set it down. We kept Helmy off until yesterday when we could get in to see the orthotist, who looked shocked at what it had done to his head. Mr. Orthotist reshaped the inside of the helmet so it hopefully won't happen again. So here we go, at square one again. We are to re-start wearing the helmet very slowly and he should be wearing it full-time again by the weekend. I had it on him for a bit this morning and it appears to be sliding all over the place now! Really?? If we have further major issues, I may revisit the dumpster idea. Elijah is such a trooper and nothing bothers him. Even with a raw forehead, he was happy as a clam!

p.s. Who's the cute little helmet man?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The decision is....

Yes! We will have a little helmethead rolling around here for the next few months. We did a lot of thinking about this and it feels right in our hearts to keep going with the helmet. While we had serious doubts and concerns about going forward with it, it just doesn't feel right to stop. We may have to work harder to get him the physical therapy he needs, but we're up for that challenge. And besides, how could we say no to something that looks soooo cute on him?

Tonight we took Elijah to his physical therapy visit and he worked on rolling. He rolled over for us the other day, but hasn't done it since. That's going to be our main goal for this next week--training his muscles to roll roll roll. He's so close so much of the time, so I give it just a few more weeks till he's doing it regularly. Now that he has his helmet, putting him on his back isn't such a no-no (no more flat spot management! yay!). His sitting is getting a lot better, too. He sits very well supported now (no more bobblehead), but if we let go of him he plops forward. His tummy time has been great and he's lifting his head and chest comfortably now, but doesn't have much longevity. He'll hold himself up for a few seconds and then he'll just lie down and chill. Silly boy.

Eli is still quite squeaky and wheezy, which is a concern to Mommy, but none of his doctors have seemed worried at all about it. His heart cath on 10/3 may tell us least I hope so. It would be nice to have a reason for it all, instead of just hearing the standard, "I'm not sure of the cause. Maybe he'll grow out of it?"

Elijah has been introduced to the world of daycare this week! It's a bit strange for me being back at work, but in a way, it's kind of nice having a routine again. Dan has been able to be home with him a few days this week, but the other days Elijah has gone to Carrie and Mike's and he seems to do great there! He definitely loves people, so that helps out a lot with this transition. Slowly we'll get into even more of a routine and as subbing picks up for Dan, Elijah will get to spend more time with Carrie and Mike and will get to know the eight other kids that they watch (there's a total of 8 boys there! yikes!). It'll be fun watching him progress, as he interacts with the other kids and watches them crawling and walking. He's the youngest one there, so we're hoping he'll be motivated to keep up!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Little Help

Megan and I are going back and forth about this whole helmet thing. Granted it's only the first day, but as expected Elijah hates it and screams like a Lemming who has foolishly followed the Lemming in front of him off the edge of a cliff. If it were just that, we could press on because the first few days are always the toughest and he'd get used to it eventually. Our main concern is that his neck muscle development and range of motion will be affected and essentially put on hold. We didn't fully realize how much impact the helmet would have on those things until we saw how the helmet affected his range of motion and movement. We've worked very hard to try to get him caught up and he's still quite a ways behind. That and the fact that we've had a few people comment on how they couldn't notice the flat spot have us second guessing our choice.
It comes down to this: Is an unnoticeable flat spot that is not a medical concern worth 4-5 months of helmet time and even more delayed development? We just want what's best for him and if pushing through this first week of torture is what is best we'll do it without question. We just aren't sure what's best, I'd really hate to see him not rolling over/sitting up/crawling until he's a year old. Is a perfectly round noggin worth those developmental delays? Personally, my noggin is not in the best shape...inside and out...but I seem to do okay.
Basically, we're leaning towards not using the helmet and wondering what other people would do in our shoes, please give us your thoughts?

ps. I'm a married man and therefore allowed to say such things as the following: Megan is SEXXXXY and I Loooooove smooching her!

pps. Check out Elijah's 6-mo. photos on our Shutterfly acct (link to right). He's sooo cute.

Here's a couple pics of the helmet man, he's okay at first but then gradually becomes a beast!

Monday, September 10, 2007

New Routines

Today was an eventful/stressful/weird day for the Porta clan. It was Megan's first day back at work and the two boys had to find a way to survive at home alone. Luckily Elijah took some good naps and made the day easy for dad. In the afternoon we all took a trip to see the Orthotist and Elijah got to try on his helmet for the first time. He did not like it...much like an adult salmon swimming upstream for miles just to give birth, only to reach the final jump and land into a grizzly bear's mouth...basically, lots of screaming and back arching. After a few tries and a short nap (we were there awhile) the helmet fit good enough for Ma and Pa to practice putting it on and taking it off.
Tomorrow is Day 1 and he'll gradually begin to wear the helmet for the next 5 days until he is wearing 23 hours a day!
Going into the appointment the plan was to throw the helmet out the window of the car while driving home (Megan's idea) buuuut he looks so danged cute in that little helmet that we decided to keep it...and the fact that it will help make his noggin more evenly shaped is icing on the cake.
This is a minor glitch in the face of his other difficulties, but in the long run it will be the best thing for him....especially when he's wearing a football helmet and obliterating quarterbacks like his dad used to....or at least used to dream of.

We promised a picture and we'll post some of him in the helmet tomorrow. These pictures are of the helmet and casting of what his head will look like after he's done wearing it (the blue part is the part that needs to be reshaped and as you can see is quite big and why we decided to not throw the helmet out the window of the car).

ps. Megan is the hottest Mama EVER!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Out and about, and a heart update

I'll get to the heart update but first we have some cute pics to share from our fun family road trip we took this weekend. We got in the car and took a spontaneous trip to Duluth and then to Stillwater. Elijah was such a good baby. He slept very well in the hotel rooms and he loved all the time we spent outdoors.

Our first stop--Duluth

We walked along this path by the river in Stillwater about 50 times. Elijah loves his stroller rides.

Look at those big, pretty eyes. He has longer lashes than I do!

Checking out the sports section after his breakfast bottle.

Elijah had a cardiology appointment on Friday and it went well. His oxygen sats ran right around 90%, which is just a touch high for him and may indicate too much bloodflow to his lungs. He needs to get another heart cath to see exactly how things are working since surgery, so we scheduled that for October 3rd. Dr. Gremmels will go in through a vein in his leg and up into his heart to get a good look. The last two heart caths Elijah had were merely to take pictures and get an idea of how blood was flowing, so they were pretty simple procedures. This one will probably entail either a widening or tying off of an artery, depending on what the doctor finds. (Dr. Megan Porta here believes that there will need to be a coiling/tying off of an artery.) Because of this, it's a more complicated and time-consuming procedure than the last two and he'll have to be put on anesthesia and may even need to stay overnight. This cath will also give us a much better idea about when his next open heart surgery will be. Dr. G's guess was that it will be somewhere around a year from now. I don't like adding drama when describing what Elijah goes through, so I apologize for the following. The last heart cath he got was not fun for any of us. Elijah had breathing issues (i.e., forgetting to breathe) after the procedure; the nurses poked him all over his little body as they tried (and failed) to find a vein for an IV and made Mommy want to punch each one of them, five nurses and ten tries later; his oxygen sats dropped into a low, scary range for a few hours post-surgery; the nurses in the Short Stay wing must be the lowest on the food chain because they were not very nice, knowledgeable and/or attentive. I'm praying this time will be much more smooth.

Another thing Dr. G mentioned on Friday was that Elijah's heart is enlarged due to it working extra hard. It will be good to get the total repair done next year so his heart doesn't have to work quite so hard anymore. We also increased his Lasix dose a bit, since he's gained 4 lbs since his last visit.

Tomorrow Elijah gets his new helmet! He's going to look so cute. We'll get some pics posted soon so you can see his cool, crazy colored design.

Thanks for checking in on us. As always, we appreciate the support!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Chubby thighs

I knew Elijah's thighs were getting chunkier, but I had no idea he would weigh 16-1/2 lbs at his 6-month check-up. It's no wonder my arms and shoulders have been hurting so much lately. He is now in the 50th percentile for height and weight! He has always been around the 5th percentile, so this is a dramatic jump up the charts for him. This Friday is his big cardiology appt, so we'll hopefully have more heart news after that visit.

Some exciting news--Elijah rolled over for the first time yesterday! Dan and I were both watching him play on his tummy, which he has been tolerating a bit more lately, and plop...over he went onto his back. We both started cheering and clapping and Eli didn't know what to think of all the commotion. He's such a sweet little pumpkin.

Snoozing in my arms...look at the chub on that thigh! Love it!