7 days and counting

We leave for Philly next week!

Thank you to everyone who helped us reach our fundraising goal this year.  we really appreciate everything – those of you who bought coffee…. LEVEN’S coffee company for being so damned delicious, Marie Tupper and Aaron Green for going above and beyond helping us out.  Truly, it’s been a crazy year.

This long weekend, we took Ozzie out to not one, but TWO weddings…. followed by a day at the lake with my family.  At the first wedding, one of Brad’s relatives (Hi Auntie Kathy!!) mentioned how great it was that we had this blog so people could keep up to date with how Ozzie’s doing – but, it would be nice to hear some good stuff.

Guilty.  It’s so easy to vent when things are going wrong – hard to remember to post about the great stuff…

Speaking of great stuff – Cedric turned 4 yesterday!

birthday boyi can’t believe i’m the mother of a 4 year old.

Ozzie is getting more and more hilarious, as his personality is changing and he’s becoming his own person.  He laughs at Cedric all the time, he has a sense of humour! it’s so weird because we often think of him as a little baby still – but he IS almost two….

He’s so very close to standing on his own.  he just needs a bit more strength and a bit more balance… then it won’t be long before he’s walking all over the place.  which will be fantastic.

and it’s interesting to see the differences between the two boys… Cedric is high energy, Ozzie is laid back, Cedric is fairly indifferent to instruments, Ozzie would sit at the piano all day if we’d let him.

saskatchewan skiesi’m not sure how much i’ll be posting before we leave, but i hope to post once or twice from Philadelphia.

Take care, Internets!


Another day, another virus

It started as watery eyes, runny nose, and nasal congestion. Which led to wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing.

We came into RUH emerg this morning around 8 am.

They took a listen to his chest and sent him up for a chest x-ray and no matter how many times we get sent there, we never get used to THIS:

(my poor sweet baby, yes this IS my child)

Oh the medieval torture device that is a chest X-ray cage.

The x-ray was clear, but ozzie’s sats were so low they admitted us for overnight observation. The emerg doc said the x-ray looks viral, and Ozzie looks viral. And as he started to get sick on Wednesday, we are only at day 3 of this virus and they tend to peak at day 5 or so… He’s probably going to get worse.

And he did.

In the six hours it took to get sent upstairs, ozzie’s breathing and coughing got worse.

(Ozzie and Dada have a quick nap)

When he woke up from his nap, it looked like he had pink eye in both eyes, they were full or green slimy goo – but his eyes were not pink. The nurse said it was probably mucus coming up from his nasal cavity, since that whole area is all connected. Aw. My poor guy has snotty eyes??

For the most part, he is happy. But he generally is when he’s sick. (when he’s healthy too). We got settled in our room and now we wait to see what he does overnight.


Viruses. They totally suck.

Mothers Day post

I’m sure by now we’ve all seen or at least HEARD of this Time Magazine cover, featuring this beautiful willowy mother lovingly nursing what appears to be her about 3 year old son.  I haven’t read the article, but i have read numerous blogs and rants online supporting this or that or the other.  From what i understand, it’s an article about Attachment Parenting, which is a parenting style that includes but are not limited to home births, water births, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, and breast-feeding… hence the cover.

how do i feel about this cover? honestly, i feel sad.  I feel like it’s just enforcing this idea that, as women, we are in competition with each other.   We compete for Men, we compete for Jobs, we compete to be BETTER than the other woman… and now we are competing to see just WHO is the better mom??


what, exactly, are you asking me? by what standard are we measuring units of mom-dom?

Who has their babies out reach of those evil scary hospitals?? i lose that competition.  Both my kids were born premature and without those evil hospitals they may have died shortly after being born.

Who has the most biggest birthing tub? – again, lose.  i never even got far enough in my last pregnancy to get the tub set up.

Who wears their baby the most? i lose that, my baby was in casts then in boots and braces and wasn’t really able to be worn in a sling.

Who Co-sleeps the most? I lose that too, because i love my kids, but i’m able to be a more LOVING mother if i’d had enough sleep.

Who breast feeds the longest? I’m afraid i lose that too.  Because Ozzie was born with a neurological disorder which effects his facial movements, he was completely unable to nurse, hell he was almost unable to take a bottle – and even that was done with much difficulty.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like i don’t love the idea of having a homebirth, in water, and to be able to breast feed my children until the time i felt it appropriate to stop (which, incidentally, would not be three years old – but that really has to do with a mom/independence thing).  There’s nothing i would have liked more than to be able to nourish my children, the way my body was created for… but for whatever reasons, that didn’t pan out for me.  I did manage to nurse Cedric, but it was an extremely tough road, and in the end my milk just did not produce enough to feed him and by solely nursing him – i was starving him.

With Ozzie, it was a physiological barrier that kept me from nursing him, as much as i would have loved to.

I guess, i’m writing this because i DON’T understand why we, as mothers, feel that need to judge who other mom’s are doing it.  I’ve been on the receiving end of those motherly glares when feeding my child in public places with a bottle, not the breast.  and sadly, before i had kids, i was on the giving end of those glares as well… in my naivete i thought i knew exactly how *I* was going to do these things… (would love to shake 27 year old me)  i thought that because i had read all the books, i knew better.  But i didn’t.  I still don’t.

What we should be doing, other moms, is embracing each others’ journey in motherhood because none of us really now what we’re doing, and we all need love and support – being a mom is wonderful, rewarding, and a truly beautiful thing – but it’s also exhausting, and scary, and sometimes things don’t work out the way we had planned, and sometimes our kids are sick, and sometimes our kids need extra help to do things… so – why don’t we build each other up, as a community of mamas, instead of tearing each other down with judgements about who’s MOM enough.

As for whether or not I AM MOM ENOUGH?…. fuck you, Time Magazine.  And ladies, if you want to see what a truly non-judgemental relationship is like – become friends with a Special Needs Mom.  I have never felt so accepted in my parenting choices than by those ladies – we all know that each kid is different, but those moms – they really KNOW that each kid is different, and if we are parenting in one way, it’s because it works when the other 17 ways we tried didn’t.

And moms, aren’t we really all just trying to make it through the day ….some easier than others, but we should be soul sisters, instead of competing for who wins the most imaginary mom points.

and FYI, Time Magazine, if you had the balls to ask me to my face if i’m MOM ENOUGH… you’d be on the receiving end of my ninja skills.  Drop kicked.  to the face.

Love Laura

Communication Vs. Speech

a while back, i had to take a class at the KCC called “It Takes Two to Talk” in order for Ozzie to be paired up with a SLP. The class attendance is mandatory, if you miss more than 2 classes, you must take it again.  They’re pretty hard core.  There was homework and everything… they told me this was their way of weeding out those people who didn’t really want the appointments, those parents/guardians who would make appointments and then not show.  Essentially, if you made it through the classes and the home sessions, they knew you were serious about Speech Therapy.

As Ozzie has facial paralysis and what looks to be a smallish tongue, of course, he will need Speech Therapy, so i reluctantly went to each class… and i’ll admit, i wasn’t much of a joiner in this class.  Speech Classes are generally geared towards ‘older’ kids… kids who should be speaking already and aren’t, not babies.  So, i felt that a lot of the class didn’t apply to our situation yet.

But i did learn a few valuable tidbits – such as O.W.L.ing (Observe, Wait, Listen) – giving your child TIME to communicate… and that parents tend to bombard their children with questions, instead of building their vocabulary.

for example:
“what’s this?”
“where’s the dog?”
“where’s Ozzie?”
“Can you find the butterfly?”

this can lead to frustration, if the child doesn’t have the vocabulary, and they feel pressure to answer the question and instead of being wrong, they don’t try.

So, instead, when reading a book instead of saying: “Where’s the bear??” you could just point to the bear and say… “Here’s a bear.” this way you’re giving him a word to associate with the picture.  So, i’ve been trying to just give Ozzie vocabulary, instead of continually ‘quizzing’ him.  It’s tough, because the inclination is to fall back to those old questions… “What’s this?”  “Where’s that?”

Probably the most important thing i took away from the six classes (yes, six) was the difference between Communication and Speech.

Our society puts so much emphasis on the spoken word.  So, naturally, if your child is not SPEAKING, you think they’re not SAYING anything.  well, this isn’t always the case.

I felt good about how much Ozzie was communicating once i had gone through the classes.  I started to notice ways he was telling us what he wanted…  that – and lately he’s been learning signs like crazy!

Back in August, when we had our first initial consult with SLP (before the class) – Ozzie had about 3 signs.  Dada, milk, ball – and Jenn (the SLP) was thrilled!

We finally have an appointment to OFFICIALLY meet with Jenn at the end of the month – and so last night my mom and i made a list of all the signs that Ozzie knows… and here they are (and he can do them in his own Ozzie way, as well as understand them):

  1. Dada
  2. Mama
  3. Ceddy
  4. Grandma
  5. chair
  6. table
  7. head/hat
  8. nose
  9. eyes
  10. drops
  11. octopus
  12. ball
  13. book
  14. block
  15. all done
  16. more
  17. eat/food
  18. milk
  19. suckie (pacifier)
  20. tired
  21. up
  22. fly
  23. baby/dolly
  24. round and round the garden
  25. OH NO!
  26. fish
  27. bath
  28. clean
  29. change
  30. diaper
  31. boots
  32. piggies
  33. gentle
  34. glasses
  35. blow kiss
  36. hug
  37. music/singing
  38. dancing
  39. puffer
  40. ewwww
  41. bye bye
  42. chop chop chop
  43. burp
  44. cough
  45. pat
  46. clap
  47. birdie
  48. cow
  49. monkey
  50. elephant

It’s pretty amazing to know what he wants and be able to give him what he wants and needs.  And to see how his language is developing.  For example, he used to only sign ‘change’ or ‘diaper’ if we were in the middle of a diaper change, and we had signed it first.  Now, he was tell us “CHANGE DIAPER” when he’s messy.  So, he knows what it means, and that if he signs this to us, then we will change him!! AND he’s signing two word sentences, sometimes!  It’s all so exciting!

I’m really hoping that our SLP is impressed, but i also hope that she can help us devise a way to get him to speak – because the thing is, he DOES speak.  He says full phrases, complete with intonation and urgency… he just keeps his mouth closed, so it’s a series of grunts and sounds.  If only he’d open that mouth, he’d be talking, i’m sure of it.  For example, the other day we were playing “CHOP CHOP CHOP TIMBER!!” on the bed (where you pretend to chop him and then he falls down on the bed, so cute) and he was doing the sounds… Uhh Uhh Uhh EEEEHHHUHHHHH…. and one time he opened his mouth and it ALMOST sounded like Timber… Brad and i were speechless….

but how do you tell a 19 month old to open his mouth?
I sure hope she has some ideas, or a long term plan for us to work towards.  I’m really excited for this appointment!! I love showing him off – to friends and family – all the signs he knows.  When he’s so far behind with some of his motor skills, it’s nice to see him doing so well in other places.

We had a pretty good run

The boys

One of the very rare photos of Ozzie's beautiful smile

For mothers of regular kids, you know that kids sneeze.  Kids have snot.  life goes on.

With ozzie, this is usually an indicator of things to come….and this indicator came on April  1st after the photo shoot above.  you can already see in his eyes that a cold is starting.

For a week or so, we suctioned and kept a close eye on him, neither Brad or I slept much for that week – taking turns getting up with him.

We managed to get to both sides of the family for Easter dinners, but as we were coming home from my brother’s place on Sunday night (April 8) – Ozzie just was working so hard to breathe that we decided we’d better take him to the hospital.

So, Brad and Cedric dropped us off – then my Mother in law came into the city and picked up Ceddy and kept him overnight – so Brad joined us at the hospital.  In the ER, they BLASTED Ozzie with puffers, giving him 4 shots of one, then 4 shots of another, every 15 minutes for an hour.

They sent us upstairs for a chest xray – and Brad got to see one of these contraptions first hand.  He didn’t like it. Who would?  The X-ray did show a bit of something, so he sent us home for the night with instructions to pufferize him, and with a prescription for some antibiotics.

Well, in the morning (Monday) we were back in ER – Ozzie had several ventalin nebulizers back to back… and it was confirmed that, yes, the poor kid had pneumonia.  again.  So – we were admitted and sent up to PEDS isolation….again.

We ended up having to put him on Oxygen Monday night – and we began the week long process of just getting through the virus, and treating the pneumonia it caused. The virus he tested positive for was the Boca Virus.


so tired

After 5 days – they eventually sent us home.  Seeing as we hadn’t been hospitalized since September of last year, i guess we had a pretty good run.

He’s doing much better now, but he may or may not have gotten the chicken pox last week, because the good times never stop around here.

MRI day part 2

When they called us into recovery – Ozzie was just waking up.  What a difference from the last time he came out of anesthesia.  He looked up at us and smiled and laughed.  As far as he was concerned he’d just been having a really good nap.

The rest of the day was spent cuddling and snuggling him, as the drugs in his system made him sleepy for the rest of the day.

We won’t know the results of the MRI for a while, though.

MRI day

Because the fun never stops at the Harms household, Ozzie had a fever Sunday and yesterday. At first, we chalked it up to teething, but it turned out to be more – as always.

Brad took Ozzie to the clinic last night; ozzie’s tonsils were swollen.

Tonsillitis, my old nemesis – I should have known one day you would come back for my children you dastardly fiend!!

We were able to get one dose of amoxicillin in him last night before the NPO order at midnight. It must have been enough, cuz over the night his fever broke. Thankfully.

We were concerned that the tonsillitis would be enough for them to send us home and reschedule the MRI. We really wanted to avoid that because we had organized our lives around today – sending Ceddy to Brad’s parents’ for the night, Brad taking the day off work. Me? I have nowhere else to be.

But, after checking in and speaking with the nurse it seemed like his tonsils weren’t going to be an issue. The anesthesiologist would be right in…

Our sleepy doctor was fast and furious. He came in, told us his plan – avoid intubation. He will give ozzie some gas to put him to sleep, then they will do an IV and put him out tht way. As for o2, they will start will nasal prongs, and if he needs he will do a balloon like mask to keep the airways open, and if that doesn’t work then they intubate. But it was nice to hear that intubation is the last resort.

Then he answered any questions we had and walked out. Next thing we knew he was storming back in with his hands outstretched. He took Ozzie from my arms, and held him in front of my face for a goodbye kiss, then brad, then they were gone.

Now we wait. The MRI is scheduled for an hour. Waiting sucks.


Myringotomy – Tubes tubes tubes

Even though getting myringotomy tubes done is a very minor procedure, there’s no denying that it is STILL surgery.

Poor Ozzie, he did so well – he was tired and hungry and didn’t understand why he couldn’t just have a bottle… we arrived to find out that day surgery opened at 6:30 am, so yes, we were early.  When we were given a bed, the nurse came it to take Ozzie’s vitals and she said that they’d be ready to take us down by 7:20.

Well, 7:20 came and went. Brad and i took turns holding and bouncing and signing Twinkle Twinkle to Ozzie… trying to keep him calm.  When he’s really upset he gets frantic, then he can’t handle saliva and chokes.   Fun time.  No ‘crying it out’ for this kid.

ready for surgeryanyway – it was well past 8:00 before we were taken down to pre-op, where we sat in yet another waiting room…and waited to talk to the sleep doctor (the anesthesiologist).

Our resident anesthesiologist was named Dr. Kumar (yes! ….”Marijuana….but WHY??” quote from Harold and Kumar go to White Castle) and he was really nice and really very calm and reassuring as we voiced our concerns about Ozzie’s need for suctioning and how that will be impacted by being put to sleep.  When he finished explaining the procedure, i was pretty confident he’d be fine.  I asked him if there was a way that we could be present while they put him under, just so he’s not scared… but our hospital is not set up for that kind of thing.  Let’s hope that’s something they change when they eventually get around to building our children’s hospital.  i tried.

Then we met with the actual anesthesiologist, who was also good – but he spoke really fast and low, and i felt a little panicky cuz he was saying things to me, and Dr. Kumar was saying things to Brad… and it was loud with other patients and doctors…. but, in the end, he smiled and shook my hand and i was fine.

THEN we waited.  They told us Dr. Franke would come and talk to us about the procedure before hand.  I had met him before, Brad hadn’t.  So, when a thinner older doctor sat down in front of us with a clipboard, i was confused but thought maybe he was yet another medical professional we needed to see…. he starts looking at Ozzie and he says;

“So, which side are we doing today?”

and Brad and i look at each other and say… “Both?”

“Oh, so it’s gotten worse has it?” then he asked us about some medical condition we’d never heard of… and brad and i just looked at each other …

“uhm……” i say while peering down at the clipboard in his hand… which clearly does NOT say Ozzie’s name.

The doctor then looks down at his clipboard, and looks back at us… and says: “i’m at the wrong place.  How embarassing” and he got up and walked away to another family.

WHA!?? okay, i mean, as if our nervers weren’t already rattled….

waiting for anesthesiology then… i see him. Dr. Franke – who reminds me of my dad, and i feel okay again.  He approaches us with Dr. Kumar, the other Sleepy Doc, and the pre-op nurse.

He shakes our hands and he asks:
“What am i doing today?”
we say: “TUBES”
“Good, then we’re all on the same page.”

he gave us the lowdown and does the pre-op check with the medical staff.  I feel confident.  Until they say they are ready to take him away.  Oh. Heart. Break.

Brad had been holding him all this time, and i could see he felt the same way that i did – letting him go was the so awful.  Brad handed him over and we said goodbye, and told the nurse that if all else fails, sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Then we walked out and went to the waiting room, and waited.  We were there for 5 minutes, and i left to use the washroom.

when i came back, Brad said that Ozzie was already done and in recovery and that Dr. Franke would be back in a few minutes.

Everything went smoothly – he cleaned out his ears, and the fluid inside was thick, so it had been there for a long time already.  Good thing we did this now, before it got worse.

A few minutes later i was called into recovery and followed the sounds of my crying baby.  He was so very unhappy, and in pain, and was completely inconsolable.  Even after a bottle.  Poor guy.  They gave him some tylenol and when we’d been there for half an hour or so, they wheeled us back upstairs to finish recovery.  When the chair started moving, he settled, and managed to fall asleep in my arms.

Sleeping - surgery all done

when he woke up, we got the discharge information – and he had another bottle… then we were ready to take our little man home.  It was now just about 11 am.

Such a long and exhausting morning for everyone.

bye bye!

happy to be done, though.

happy to see the improvements in Ozzie’s balance, and even to see some variation in his vocalization – but best of all, he dances all the time now… love it.

Next up is his MRI on Tuesday – which will be a bit more of an ordeal, he will need to be intubated and put completely under for it.  The MRI is scheduled for an hour, and then there’s the before and after for recovery… sigh…. we will keep you posted.

Off we go

So we are off to get ozzie’s tubes this morning. We will either be ten minutes late or 20 minutes early. I’m hoping we’re early.

5 am is a terrible time of day. Je deteste.

Ozzie was surprisingly easy to get ready, I anticipated a lot more crying. No, he was quite happy as we put him in his snowsuit. You’d never know he was up several times in need of suctioning. Brad and I, we are a whole other story entirely. Mmmm. Coffee. Must keep eyelids open.

I wish there was some kind of trophy or medal you could give kids when they have to have procedures or surgeries. Something they can look back on and see; this is for when I had my tendons lengthened, this is for when I got my tubes, this is for when I had my MRI, this is for when I had eye surgery… Y’know?

Well, we’ve arrived at the hospital. Wish us luck.