Category Archives: Uncategorized

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Recovery: Week 1

Wait, I thought she was done with these open heart surgery posts. 

Nooooope!

So when I left you, Regina’s heart repair had been declared a success. Scott and I went out for dinner and drinks with my sister and brother-in-law to celebrate. In my mind, the toughest part of all this was behind us now. The rest would be smooth sailing into more typical baby experiences. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been more wrong in an assumption in my whole life.

We got all checked in and settled into our hotel and after checking on Regina one last time in the CICU (still out cold), we went to the hotel to get our first good night’s sleep in a while. We awoke early the next morning feeling refreshed and walked straight to the hospital. Regina was still on the ventilator, and the CICU nurse directed our attention to the ventilator monitor screen. The waves on the screen were green, but were occasionally replaced by little pink wave lines. The pink ones were breaths Reggie was taking on her own, she told us. She was still asleep, but Scott and I talked to her as an experiment to see if we saw more pink on the monitor. The experiment was inconclusive. read more

Open Heart Surgery Telenovela, Part II

If you missed Part I, you may peruse it here

We arrived back in the CSU, empty handed and in a daze. We packed up our bags since Regina would go straight to the CICU after surgery and since we couldn’t stay with her we would have to check into our hotel. I went to the lactation room to pump while Scott went to the surgical waiting room with his laptop to attempt to get some work done. When I finished pumping, I headed to the surgical waiting room myself. Now, some of the best advice a fellow heart mama, Blair, gave me was to have a good support system of people we love and trust in the waiting room with us. The surgery was going to be 6-8 hours, and that is an agonizing length of time to wait. Reggie’s godmother, Sarawas there with my sweet goddaughter baby Scottie. My parents managed to sneak away from work and from the girls and stay with us for a while. My sister, Rachel, and my brother-in-law, Thomas, also managed to make it. One of my best friends, Christy, stopped by with her mom, who is also good friends with my mom. As is their wont, they came toting lots of goodies for me and Reggie. They also came toting Christy’s adorable baby, Mary. My friend, Leslie, called me the day before and told me she felt called to come all the way from Texas, but wanted to make sure that was alright with me. I told her to come on. read more

Open Heart Surgery Telenovela, Part I

I was hoping to write this while it was more crisp in my mind, but after six weeks of ER visits, hospitalizations, and having to be constantly on the ready to catch vomit and stop her from choking on it, here we are. Six weeks post op and I finally have a chance to sit down and catch my breath. And I thought heart failure was brutal! It was nothing compared to post open heart surgery, my friends. But I seem to be starting this post in medias res. Let us rewind a bit, shall we?

As you might have seen in my previous post, Regina was scheduled to have her open heart surgery on May 26th. As I predicted, we didn’t make it until that date. The week of May 8th, she started deteriorating rapidly. She was constantly throwing up, she had a distinct pallor, she was struggling to breathe, and when we went to her cardiologist appointment on Friday, her oxygen saturations were low and she had gained a pound. My mom and I sat in the exam room waiting for the cardiologist to come talk to us, looking at my pitiful child. I knew that the news was not going to be good. Dr. McKane, our cardiologist, came in shaking her head and sighing. “Oh, Regina, Regina,” she said. “Her oxygen saturations are very low. She gained a pound, but judging from her breathing, I’m guessing that extra pound is all fluid in her lungs. I have maxed her out on diuretics that you can safely give her at home. I’m really sorry, but I’m recommending that we admit her to the hospital this weekend so that they can try and dry out her lungs with IV diuretics while monitoring her electrolytes and go ahead and schedule her surgery for first thing Monday morning. I know that is not what you were picturing for your Mother’s Day weekend. I’m so sorry!” read more

The Dates that Leave Imprints in our Minds

August 26th, 2016. The day that we had our 20 week scan and the perinatologist broke the news to us that something was seriously wrong with our baby’s heart.

January 20, 2017. The day that Regina was finally discharged from the NICU, after 24 long days. She was not feeding by mouth at all.

Last Friday, the scheduler called from the children’s hospital to schedule Regina’s open heart surgery. We scheduled it for May 26, but that could change based on whether an emergency or a heart transplant pops up, or (God forbid) if Regina gets sick. I have no doubt in my mind that whatever date her open heart surgery ends up being, it will be a date etched in my mind forever. read more

NICU Survival Checklist

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links, but I would recommend them anyway even if it didn’t. It just means Amazon will kick a few pennies on the dollar my way if you end up buying anything through the links. I would use all proceeds for Reggie’s medical expenses, Scout’s honor. 

Now, I realize that this is a very niche post, as very few parents have the advantage as we did of being reasonably certain ahead of time that our baby would end up in the NICU. But I was frantically scouring the Internet for NICU advice posts, and let me tell you, I found precious few. So, if I can help just one person out a little bit with this post, I’ll be happy. read more

Feeding Regina

To give you a bit of a brief history, when Regina was born, they immediately shoved an NG tube down her throat because her blood sugars were dangerously low and they claimed she wouldn’t take a bottle (I was still unconscious and being sewed back up post C section). While she was in the NICU, she would take a soothie paci fine, and actually breastfed pretty well. She would refuse to nurse past 5 or 10 minutes, but she nursed. The NICU nurses would give her bottles, but she wouldn’t take more than 30 mLs. A full feed was 60. So, we came home with the NG tube and a feeding pump. read more

HOME. And My Musings on Down syndrome

It was a day just like any other in the NICU, when the neonatologist turned to me during rounds and asked, “So do you want to take her home today?” Um, YES.

I called Scott in a panic, telling him Reggie was finally coming home TODAY, and he needed to come to the hospital so that we can pack up all of her stuff. I had to rush out to a special compounding pharmacy to get her heart medication filled, and when I returned the nurses had everything ready for her to bust out of the joint.

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Regina’s Arrival and NICU Life

So, this happened:


Therese Regina Bass was born on December 28th, 2016, at 8:35 in the morning, 37 weeks gestation, weighing in at 6 lbs 4 oz. Before she was born, we knew she had a pretty serious heart defect and were fairly certain she had Down syndrome. I took one look at her as they held her over the curtain and thought two things: 1) that she most certainly did have Down syndrome; and 2) that she was beautiful. Scott firmly maintains that she is our cutest newborn. If my other kids are reading this some day, I will state for the record that I think all my children are equally cute. But Reggie is pretty darn cute.  read more

The Thrill Ride that is the last few weeks of a Down syndrome pregnancy

I’ll be 36 weeks soon, and with my other pregnancies, that was about the time I started thinking of the baby as a more concrete than abstract concept, but still didn’t do much to prepare. What an eye-opener this pregnancy has been. For the last two weeks with this pregnancy, the medical routine has been drastically different. At 34 weeks, I started having weekly non stress tests (“NSTs”) at my OB’s office and biophysical profiles (“BPPs”) at my high risk OB’s office. Basically, I spend most of my week in a doctor’s office, trying hard not to fall asleep. It’s amazing how when you’re used to running around all day, if you change abruptly to sitting around all day you can’t seem to keep your eyes open. I feel like the resident octogenarian. The nurses are all, “So how many weeks are you-aaaaaand she’s asleep again.” read more

Send Chocolate. Lots of It.

They say that the heyday of the mommy blogger has passed. Not sure what the kids are into these days instead. Snapchat? Youtube channels? Posts communicated entirely by GIFs? Video killed the blogging star? Well, here I still sit, plugging away at posts that probably contributed to killing this medium. Because there was never a party I wasn’t a day late and a dollar short for.

Yesterday, I had an appointment with the high risk OB, so I actually had to put on real pants, makeup, and do something with my hair other than knot it up in the back and pretend it doesn’t exist. I’m not as adept at doing all this since I’m carrying around this watermelon and I’m out of practice. Also, I have a hard time finding clothing that doesn’t make me want to die. Jeans give me contractions and underwire bras are like the seventh circle of hell since I always carry so high. Leggings don’t really count as pants, so I have to find a top long enough to cover some expansive real estate in the rear. And I’m always behind on the laundry. And the girls have all had colds. My standards are low, but not venturing out in public covered in snot stains low. Needless to say, getting dressed was taking me longer than expected as the three older girls were downstairs presumably eating their breakfasts and watching Daniel Tiger. read more