Saturday, January 6, 2018

Mommy Knows Best

This past November we had a scary moment for our family. Freya was in the hospital for a few days after taking a major asthma attack. As a mother of an asthmatic child already, I had been down this road before. It doesn't make it any easier. It doesn't matter if your child is taking her first asthma attack or her 25th. I hate every second of it. I'm a severe asthmatic myself so I know what its like to feel like your drowning with no water. Your lungs tighten until you can't speak anymore and your panicking.
We started out going to a walk in clinic. It was Monday which is dance class night with our oldest daughter, Morrigan (11). We were all in the car waiting in the parking lot which was unusual. My husband normal takes our oldest to dance because little miss Freya can't sit still and be calm during dance class. So, to not disturb the two classes going on, its best to keep Freya home and that usually means I stay home. Freya was bouncing around the car but she was getting winded and needing to take breaks which is unusual for the human energizer bunny. When I started to buckle her back in I noticed her breathing was really labored. This sets off those mommy alarms that have yet to fail me. My husband, who usually is a wait and see kind of guy knew if there was one thing I was certain about, it was breathing problems. He went inside and pulled my oldest out of dance class early and we went straight in to the walk in clinic.
Morrigan had a bit of a cough too so while we were there, we got both kids checked out. Morrigan was deemed fine and Freya was looked over, given an x-ray because she was wheezing, given a breathing treatment and sent home. Her X-ray was clear of pneumonia and once she took the nebulizer treatment, her wheeze had stopped. It was a cold night so they couldn't seem to get a read on her oxygen level saying her fingers must be too cold but they said she was fine. We thought that was it, we would be fine. But as soon as we got home and I was playing with her on the floor, her breathing seemed worse.
Growing up an asthmatic, I knew those behaviors that indicate an asthma attack. My mom was the type to point it out and when my brother got asthma, she made sure I could identify those behaviors in him since he was young and often ignored an asthma attack until it was severe. Its such a typical kid thing, they rather play than to get an inhaler. It was the tick cough for Morrigan that first alerted me something was wrong. For Freya, it was her stomach pulling in sharply as she breathed. Small children that are struggling to breath look different than an older child. With older children their chest will seem like its sinking in. With younger children, like toddlers, their stomachs will rise and fall rapidly.
I knew breathing treatments were not going to be enough, she needed steroids. I knew it in my heart, or maybe my gut, which ever part of the body that tells a mom that despite what the professional says, YOU KNOW BETTER. My husband and I were in a disagreement. He didn't think we gave the breathing treatment enough time. By normal standards we didn't. But I have been in countless situations as a asthmatic that if I waited those 4 hours I'd be dead. So, I called the one person I knew would make me feel like I wasn't over reacting, my mom. She is the only other person I know that has been through this as a mom. She had doctors telling her my brother was the worst child case they had ever seen. My mom had been there the several times I was close to death, passing out in the ER waiting room from lack of oxygen. If you could be deemed an expert on experience alone, she would be. She asked me if her lips were really red. I wouldn't think red, I'd think blue from lack of oxygen. Apparently, really red is a sign of an asthma attack too. Freya's lips looked like she had lipstick on it was so red. That was it, I was sold. To the ER we went.
At the ER, again they couldn't get a read on her. It was coming up 90% oxygen level but the nurse said she seemed fine. I was so scared they would put us off and not take me serious. I knew she was worse than she seemed. Then another nurse walked by and looked at her. She noticed her heart rate showed she was really working hard to breath. That's when we were rushed right in. A doctor, an RN, an a CNA met us at the door. They rushed her right in and started on breathing treatments, oxygen, and steroids. The doctor was very understanding and didn't deny it was probably asthma but it was only her second time with breathing problems and the last time was over a year ago. He did say, with the family history, it was most likely asthma. After we discussed the family history and how severe those cases are, he stopped referring to it as acute aspiration. He said that when she is discharged, it will say acute aspiration since this was really the first hospitalization. But I needed to talk to her pediatrician about our options as an asthmatic.
I have to say, ER doctors usually follow the book pretty much to the letter. They rarely make assumptions about long term health and even more rare is the doctor that will confess the book is not always right. I had to fight in the beginning with ER doctors with my oldest. Luckily, my pediatrician at the time was my old pediatrician and knew our family well. She knew my kids would more than likely be asthmatics, its genetic. After the first major hospitalization for Morrigan, we got a nebulizer and meds with a rescue inhaler for when we were out from our old pediatrician. We just changed pediatricians that day as my pediatrician was retiring. I had no idea how this new pediatrician would feel about me insisting Freya was an asthmatic after only two events. We had yet to meet this pediatrician, so I was nervous.
Meanwhile, the hospital moved us to the children's ward. Freya and I stayed there over night. They woke her up every two hours for a breathing treatment. At first, Freya fought it tooth and nail. She screamed, swatted, and twisted her little body to avoid the mask. The woman from respiratory had the patience of a saint to deal with Freya every two hours, all night long. But once her daddy and her sister came to see her, she was thrilled. She was excited and energized even with the little amount of sleep she got. But it was a Tuesday and Morrigan had school. So when Morrigan left, all hell broke loose.
Freya loves her sister, more than anyone in this world. When her sister left for school, she screamed, "My Morrigan! My Morrigan! Bring back my Morrigan!" The nurses came in with coloring pages and crayons, toys from the play room, pudding from the kitchen. Nothing calmed Freya down. She's not the kid that is easily distracted. This kid has a one track mind and she doesn't like to be left out of something. Being stuck in a hospital room was like being in prison for her. She did not like being confined. That was when she started venturing out of her room and running down the hall. We eventually found our way to the play room. As much as she had fun in the play room, there was barely any toys. Plenty of big toys but there were car tracks with no cars and doll houses with no dolls. Freya is lucky, she had a big sister to pack her some toys from home. She was able to play with the toys in the toy room because she had the smaller toys from home. So, if you're getting rid of those Fisher Price Little People, some old Matchbox cars, some baby dolls, kitchen food, etc, check with your local hospital's children's ward to see if they need some toys. I'm sure they end up losing those little toys to the sick kids staying there and can always use more. Our hospital had video game systems for the older kids. They had a PS 3 and a few Nintendo Game Cubes. There were baby toys and crib toys for the tiniest of patients.
My parents came to visit later that evening. Freya was doing well and running from the room straight to the toy room pulling one of her grandparents along with her with a very insistent, "Come here, Papa! Come here." She pulled my mom in first to play then my dad. She was excited to show them all the new toys she got to play with while she was visiting the hospital. One thing can be said about Freya that day, she sure knew how to make the best of it. My parents brought me much needed supplies for myself and bought Freya a little stuffed Rudolph. In the ER, they gave Freya a Christmas beanie baby bear that was white with holy printed all over him. She hugged that bear so tightly through it all. Now her bear had a little friend and they stayed together on her bed and she held those stuffed toys all night.
Freya made such progress, our two night stay turned into a one night stay. They told us, if she continued to have a good oxygen level once they lowered the frequency of her breathing treatments from every 2 hours to every 3 hours then to every 4 hours, then she could go home at 7 p.m. To be honest, I was doubtful. She went from having the alarms going off all night because she would dip bellow 87% oxygen. She couldn't sleep without oxygen and then they were all fine sending her home just 12 hours later. I didn't think her oxygen levels would stay up that long off oxygen. After the whole, "poor reading" thing at the walk in clinic and the ER check in, I wasn't sure I felt comfortable believing the doctors.
When my parents left they made the mistake that they were going to watch Morrigan so my husband can run some errands. Again, Freya screamed for her Morrigan and actually ran out after my parents. A doctor was coming in so the locked door was open. If I didn't grab her, she would have made it out. Now I was out of breath. Luckily, she wasn't! I started my own little tests, saying the ABCs and counting how many breaths she takes during it. All the pauses matched up to the song. Then I had her run from the door to the bed and back again then tested her oxygen level. It stayed about 97%! I was feeling more and more comfortable with the idea we might be heading home soon.
The last dose of steroids was a disaster but luckily the doctor felt comfortable with her going home without that last dose. My husband brought in some McDonald's since Freya loves her "burgas". It wasn't long after we ate that the doctor came in and gave the okay for Freya to be discharged. What a relief! But its not like I slept that night. No, of course I sat up all night watching her breath. There were no more monitors watching her oxygen level, no nurses checking on her, no oxygen blowing on her all night. It was all her and I felt like I had to take the place of those monitors.
The great news, she did fine after that. She continued to cough but not wheeze. The cold that triggered the asthma was still there but she was no longer struggling to breath. A few days later we had our follow up appointment with the new pediatrician. To my relief she too felt with the family history, she had no problem labeling what happened to Freya as an asthma attack and if this continue to be a problem she would put her on a controller medication if I felt it was necessary. We both agreed it was too early for a controller medication but it was great knowing the doctor wouldn't have a problem with it, if and when we get there.
Although this was a scary moment for us, it went pretty easy. Moral of the story, don't ignore those feeling that you, the parent, know better. My old pediatrician always used to ask, "What do you think, Mom?" because she was a strong believer that parents just know their children. Parents know when their kids are acting different. They know when something just isn't right. Even if the parent was wrong, at least she would tell you why and ease your fears. That's what I've always loved about my pediatrician and why I am so sad to see her retire. As parents, we really need to feel confident with our instincts. They rarely let us down. I often question myself in fear of overreacting. But its better to overreact than under-react. Sometimes, no, most of the time, Mommy knows best!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Freya is 3!!!

Miss Freya is 3! Its amazing how much Freya has changed but the very core of who she is will never. She is such a fun loving, adventurous, courageous, child that knows what she wants. Our Disney trip was a prime example of how adventurous this little girl is. Where Morrigan was always glued to my side, Freya went running through busy Main Street in the Magic Kingdom with her hands clasped in front of her running at full speed. 
She is such a different kid that it's like becoming a new parent all over again. I had no approach parenting in a completely different way with Freya. She is passionate about what she loves, which is mostly all things Disney. This girl thinks she is Elsa! When meeting Anna at Epcot she was asked if she had ice powers, my husband and I just looked at each other and laughed. She answered exactly how we thought she would, by confidently saying yes, of course I have ice powers. Then she twirled her hands around like young Elsa does in the movie and she saw sparkling magical ice the rest of us aren't privileged to see. Her world is bright with wonder, her imagination is like a blooming flower I hope never wilts. 
As I type this, she is on my lap, dressed as Anna, eating Pez, asking a dozen questions about what I'm doing. She will repeat thing over and over until you repeat it back to her to make sure you really understand her. This girl does not like being told what to do. Her stubbornness knows no bounds. You could be giving her exactly what she likes, food, candy, toys, whatever the case might be. But if she is not asking for it, she wont accept it. When she does get what she is asking for, she is the most grateful child imaginable. I've seen the girl become ecstatic over a hamburger. Imagine, she is sitting at a table waiting patiently for a hamburger. I put the plate in front of her, she takes a loud, long inhale then yells, "My burger! Thank you Momma! Thank you so much! I love burgers! Thank you!" It makes me so happy to see her happy. 



What makes her most happy is her sister. Her father and I are second to her sister as her favorite people in this world. As much as they can argue, nothing makes Freya more happy than having sister time. It could be anything from her sister playing Barbies with her or her watching her sister play her Xbox. Freya cries every morning her sister leaves for school and when her sister leaves for dance. The times Morrigan goes with friends, that's so much worse. She melts in front of the door and cries from being left behind. She things she is 11 too and no one really has the heart to tell her she isn't. Luckily, Morrigan has some pretty great friends that will include Freya often. But preteen girls don't want toddlers around all the time and Freya is too young for her own friends.
Three year old Freya is going to be fun. Her little body will be able to keep up with her big heart and ever expanding mind. All those things last year she was just too little to do will not be so difficult this year. This year will be more climbing, more jumping, more running, and more adventures. I look forward to tried afternoons from chasing my ambitious little girl with the desire to do everything. Look out world, here comes 3 year old Freya!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Morrigan is 11

It amazes me how fast a year can go by. I remember being a child and a year seemed to drag on. Once I became a parent I feel like I blink and a decade has gone by. This time wrap is most evident in how fast my oldest daughter Morrigan has grown.
All those baby toys and toddler size Christmas dresses that were Morrigan's and I have unpacked for Freya reminds me of how Morrigan was at each stage of her childhood. It's a trip down memory lane in a box. That 2T Easter dress reminded me of the Easter Morrigan was running a fever of a 102.6. That was a tough day especially for her. Or the Ariel stuffed toy that Morrigan carried everywhere. Once, when Morrigan was 3 she dropped her Ariel in the middle of the pedestrian only road on Derby st in Salem. Her father and our friends turned back to go find it while Morrigan and I ran to catch the author we were in Salem to meet and have sign my book. We made it there in the very last second before she started her class. That Ariel was recovered, washed, and continued to be her cuddle buddy at night. Now it's in Freya's arms every night.
I sometimes expect that little kindergartener with the missing front teeth to get off the bus dressed in a Disney Princess shirt and leggings covered in tiny pink hearts. Instead, this beautiful pre-teen steps off the bus in her button up plaid shirts and her laced up black boots. She looks so grown up that I have to take a double take to make sure its really my kid.
In the past few years she has really come into her own. She is still shy but she can speak her mind. When she speaks, her vocabulary amazes me. Her understanding of the world and the society we live in is starting to take shape. She's forming her own opinions and backing them up with a fair amount of logic.
At this point, I can say my daughter is a kind, caring, empathetic person who believes in fairness for everyone regardless of race, sex, creed, immigration status, sexual orientation, and political affiliation. She's a feminist at heart, it seems to be her biggest cause. 
So watch out world, my Morrigan is now only 7 years away from adulthood!




















Thursday, May 25, 2017

How to Survive a Long Car Ride with Children



A long car ride can be exhausting for anyone of any age. Children are usually have the most difficult time since they are little Energizer Bunnies that can't keep still. Having them belted into a car seat is not easy for them and hence, not easy for you, the parents. I've compiled my time tested list of must haves when taking young children on a car long ride.



  • Portable DVD Player. The power of a good movie will quite your little munchkin down for over an hour! Arm yourself with your kids favorite DVDs and you too can survive your road trip. I personally own (and love) the RCA 7-Inch Dual Screen Mobile DVD System. I have two kiddos so having two screens with the same movie is helpful so there are no arguements over who gets the screen in front of them. Plus, having the screens headrest mounted means the toddler can't drop (or throw) the DVD player. You can buy them refurbished for only $49.95 from Amazon. And if you're a Prime customer like me, you will love this item has Prime shipping. Check out the link bellow.





  • Lovelys. Don't forget your child's lovelys. Having their favorite stuffed friend or their blanky is important for your little one's comfort. Just make sure that they stay safe on your car ride as things often get left at rest stops. Make a rule that stuffed friends must stay in the car. Also, its a good practice to check for your child's lovely before hitting the road after every stop.

  • Mess Free Coloring. Pack crayons over markers or get some mess free markers. My toddler loves Crayola's Color Wonder Mess-Free Coloring Books and Markers. There are so many different character themed coloring books and many different color markers. They even sell a travel case which not only holds everything in place but it offers a coloring surface while in the car seat. My suggestion is to load up on many different books and extra markers. Mess free coloring has kept my kiddos busy during trips which saves my sanity as I know they wont get marker covered hands or faces, you can't put anything past a toddler.

  • Pillows. Even if you plan on staying at a hotel at night, a pillow can still come in handy. Children often nap in car rides, even big kids. If you child is in a booster or a regular car safety belt then it is best to pack a pillow so they can rest their heads. Its not a bad idea for any adult passengers as well.
  • A Cookie Sheet. Sounds strange but cookie sheets are awesome for a car ride. I buy each kid a cookie sheet for things like coloring on or writing in journals. Also you can bring magnets to entertain your kiddos. Cookie sheets are metal and using them to display letter magnets or magnetic puzzles. Your older kids into Minecraft? They can build a Minecraft scene with magnets that resemble the blocks from the game. 
  • Reusable Puffy Sticker Sets. These sticker sets worked wonders for my toddler. It would work even better for a Preschooler. I found Disney themed stickers for our resent Disney trip and my toddler got a new set every time she fussed. I brought 3 which worked wonders for the ride to Disney. Next time I will buy 3 more for the ride home as stickers get lost or lint covered. 
  • Snack Cups. The most brilliant inventions, snack cups. Especially those straw cups with the snack compartments. If your car seats lack cup holders then you are really going to love the compact design of a snack and drink cup. We usually get ZakSnak Tumblers. They have all kinds of characters from Pokemon to R2D2 and Princess Poppy to Minnie Mouse. We bought Lion Guard and Shimmer and Shine for our toddler who loved the characters which made it seem like a special treat. You can find them at Target or on Amazon. 
  • New Character Toys. Kids love receiving new toys. Something new will give your child a whole new world to imagine. I recommend toys your child doesn't already have. If you buy another Littlest Pet Shop and your child has a dozen or more at home, they will loose interest quicker than a whole new toy. And from one mom (and Dad) to another, don't and I can't stress enough, DO NOT buy Legos! No matter how big your big kid is, Legos go everywhere! If you buy a set and those sets needs every stinking Lego piece, I promise you, one will get lost and spoil the whole set. You will have that big kid beside themselves over a single missing piece. Its not fun!

  • Snacks! Snacks! and more Snacks! Trust me, snacks of all different kinds are necessary for a long car ride. Make sure you have a variety from pretzels to fresh fruit. As much as I usually like to push the healthy snacks, on a long car ride have a few fun sized candy bars tucked in your purse so when the kiddos are fussing and don't want to sit in the car any longer you had them a fun size Musketeers bar and enough the silence.

  • Electronics. I saved this one for last because its usually the most expensive. But having a few games on a tablet or smart phones help. If you have an old smartphone that you don't use load it up with games over your home WiFi. Make sure the games don't need the internet to run and you have a free way to entertain your munchkins with electronics. If you don't have an old phone laying around then get a kid friendly tablet. This may not be as expensive as you think. We've heard good things about Dragon Touch tablets. A few of our friends have them for their toddlers and preschools and they have held up the constant drops from tiny hands. I found a Dragon Touch Y88X Plus 7 inch Kids Tablet 2017 Disney Edition, Quad Core CPU, Android 5.1 Lollipop, IPS Display, Kidoz Pre-Installed with Bonus Disney Content (more than $60 Value) for 68.99. The cases come in a couple of different colors so check them out.

  • Camera. Whether its an old point in shoot or a disposable, giving an older child a camera to take their own photos can be a great source of entertainment. Plus, you get great selfies and shots of the kids during the ride without any effort on your part. :)
Hope this list helps. Please leave any other suggestions in the comments bellow. Don't forget to pack some things for the ride home as well. I hope you all survive and enjoy your trips with your children! Stay sane!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Freya is 2!

Where did the time go?
Can't believe this little munchkin is 2 today. My little fiery Freya who loves Frozen, to sing and dance, and can convince anyone to join in on the fun. The world, or at least the toy aisle at Walmart, is her stage. She will sing a Frozen song any chance she can get. She surprises me every day with all the things she does. Today might be her second birthday but she acts like she is 10. She has shown her strong personality since she was 3 months old. This girl walks to the beat of her own drum. As much as she looks up to her sister, she does her own thing. She is my little toughy that can pick herself back up when she falls down, she doesn't take crap from anyone (unfortunately me included), and always willing to try something new. To my tiny little Norse warrior Freya, Happy Birthday!!!♡♡♡

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Been M.I.A. for the Summer.

It's been a difficult summer. I had so many plans and it's already the end of July. My oldest returns to school in a few weeks and we've accomplished nothing on that list. This summer has been full of virus after virus. My oldest actually missed the whole last week of school because of hand, foot, and mouth.

It seems like one by one we get sick. Then once we are all better it takes a week for us to get our house back in order. Then we catch something else all together and the cycle continues. I've tried immune boosting vitamins for all of us but the baby. She is still nursing so she get immune boosts from me. But still we keep getting sick.

It's not just things that are contagious. My husband hurt his neck and was unable to turn his head. He had to turn his whole upper body. Poor guy was like that for a week. He still isn't 100%. I went through a case of fatigue so bad I was just falling asleep randomly. I had to fight to stay awake. That lasted for two weeks. That was at the end of May and first week in June.

My birthday was June 1st. I spent it in the emergency room with sever pain in my abdomin. Apparently I was passing kidney stones. The next few days was completely laid up in pain but when my kidney stones pain past so did my fatigue, go figure.

So really since May we've been dealing with this or that. I haven’t had a moment of free time to write a single blog post. I will get back to writing posts after my house gets cleaned, so never. *wink*

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

It's Free Fun Fridays again!!!

Rather than posting exactly my post from last year with updates, I will spare you the details. However, I will post the 2016 Free Fun Fridays list from the Highland
Street Foundation.

If interested, you can read my post from last year at Battleship Cove http://survivingsah.blogspot.com/2015/07/our-visit-to-battleship-cove.html?m=1