A week of lots of ups… and just one down

April 7, 2011

Its been a while since I have been able to write.  My intention is to put out a weekly update, but sometimes that is just not possible.  At least this time, my excuse is we were having too much fun.  Believe it or not, the Oakland public schools were closed last Thursday for Cesar Chavez day.  To celebrate, we got approval from Sam's doctor to take him to higher elevations.  So, on Wednesday, I loaded up the car with Sam and Irene and headed up to join my parents in Tahoe.  Notice how Peter was not included in this list?  Yep, that's right.  he got 4 nights off- lucky dog!

Our drive up we easy as can be, and Irene was so excited to get to the mountains to see all the snow that had fallen earlier in the week.  Plus, having her Yayo and Tutu around didn't hurt either.  Our plan was simple, Irene would attend ski school Thursday and Friday while Sam and I sat and looked at the snow.  Luckily, Irene liked ski school enough that she made it both days- not that she did all that well.  Apparently she had trouble balancing on skis and she was not a fan of falling down.  At least she tried and she was willing to go back for the second day.

Sam, on the other hand, was not enjoying Tahoe as much as Irene.  Not that it was Tahoe that he didn't like, it was just that he was very uncomfortable with gas pain.  In the past month or so, Sam has been having a lot of trouble pooping.  In fact, I do not think he has pooped without help (water, prune juice, a thermometer up his butt or a suppository) in at least a month.  The last three weeks have been especially painful.  What is odd is when Sam finally does poop, what comes out is soft and normal.  Its not like he has a charcoal briquette in there.  It has been getting worse and worse, and peaked while we were in Tahoe.  After not pooping for 7 days despite every type of intervention mentioned above, things came to a head with a Linda Blair like vomiting moment that even made Irene stop what she was doing.

I took Sam to the doctor on Monday.  During her exam, she was able to get Sam to poop.  We don't think he has a blockage, but something is not working correctly.  For now, I have to give him Mirlax (the same stuff they give adults before a colonoscopy) to help get things moving.  It took from Monday until Thursday, but we have success today (6 times!).  I am hoping that this clearing out will help Sam and that going forward he can go back to pooping normally without any help.  If not, we will be off to see a gastroenterologist.

Despite the pain Sam has been in, he continues to really develop some adorable personality traits.  The flirting Sam likes to do has gotten so adorable I can barley stand it!  His smile just lights up a room, and you can tell he is soooooo close to giggling.  I can't wait to hear that boy laugh.  Developmentally, he is exactly where he should be for a 3 month old baby.  In fact, today, he manged to roll over (front to back) for the first time.  I was not able to capture  on video but I will try to get it next time.

As for my work situation, things are still in flux.  Despite a little hiccup last week, my company has agreed to extend my unpaid leave for one more month.  This means I have until 4/29 to make some pretty big decisions about what I am going to do.  The thought of leaving Sam makes my stomach hurt... but so does the thought of not having my income!

In the meantime, I am keeping my non-mom brain busy with the Parent Council.  As a way of giving back to the NICU and to help future NICU parents, I have joined the Alta Bates parent council.  We have only met once, but the idea is to build off of the experiences of 6 sets of former NICU parents as well as NICU staff to improve the overall experience parents face.  I am really excited to be involved in this endeavor as I have a ton of ideas on things that can be changed or improved upon.  More than that, it is a chance for me to give back to the people that saved Sam's life.  What can I say, a card and some cookies just doesn't feel like enough when saying thank you.

Anyway, here are some images from the past two weeks:

And one little video:

Hi there all you Harris-Odums from snowy Lake Tahoe,
I hope that Sam’s belly is feeling much better now. Chris (my son now 28) had terrible stomach cramps for almost a year (when he was 2 ish) and it turned out to be all the apple juice I was giving him – but this discovery was by Dr. Dean Edell via the radio after numerous visits to specialists, UCSF etc. Hopefully Sam will feel good soon if not now. Sorry we’ll miss you this week but I think we’ll get to meet Irene! Love, Linda
HUGS to little Sam Man!

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