Montgomery party of six

Montgomery party of six

Friday, November 30, 2007

the story continues...


ready for the big day in his gown

grammy held me while i got all hopped up on the 02

some comforts from home: the baby bouncer and musical elmo book

to try and recount all that has gone on over the past 4 days, all the details, all the emotions, all the good and the tough would be nigh impossible, not only b/c so much has happened around and in us, but also b/c i am still suffering from a slight case of sleep deprivation, comparable to when he was a newborn. i will try to tell as much of the story as possible, knowing ahead of time there may be significant gaps, as there are in so many stories, that may or may not be filled in later.

monday night was at least a little tense. i don't think annie got more than an hour of sleep, opting instead to stay up and worry, some sort of innate characteristic of all great mothers. tuesday we were up by 4:30am, and to the hospital by 6:00. isaac was super good all morning long, sleeping all the way up until we took his vital signs, and once he woke up he was nothing short of chipper, talking and smiling all the way through the time we bid our very tearful goodbyes to him and the nurse took him into surgery. we sat anxiously in the waiting room for about three hours total, swapping stories with other cleft families, receiving periodic updates, until we were finally reunited with our sweet boy.

the surgery itself went well, dr. cohen, the plastic surgeon, was pleased with how it turned out. he is pretty sure isaac will need a “putt” when he is one year old, touching up his nose and possibly his lip. this will be the first of many others since by the time he is 18, dr. cohen figures the boy will need at least half a dozen surgeries to address everything that needs to be corrected. the number is a bit intimidating, annie and i have joked that isaac will have more surgeries than we will have kids, but now that we are through the this one, it doesn't seem so daunting to do it again cause we figure the first has to be the hardest. plus anytime isaac hurts himself from here on out, we can just remind him, "hey man, that is nothing. you had surgery at three months old."

dr. pransky, the ear/nose/throat doctor, looked at isaac as well, taking the opportunity while he was asleep to do a more thorough examination. turns out it is not only the outsides of isaac’s ears that are small, but also the insides. there is nothing definitive so far, but he believes isaac may have some trouble hearing certain tones, as in low, deep voices, not levels of volume as in loud or soft. we know he hears cause he flinches at big noises, responds to our voices, and sings along to barry manilow so while he may have some sort of auditory issue, it is nothing like full on hearing loss. we won’t know much for sure for at least a couple years, but they will keep an eye on him from here on out. if they determine there is a problem, we will talk about solutions, be it hearing aids, surgery or something else.

it seems all the doctors in isaac's continuing saga have given us worst case scenarios, and while i am sure it has more to do with preemptive liability coverage than a brooding pessimism, we have learned to take most of what we hear with grain of salt. another example in this trend was an issue that came up with isaac's respiratory system while he was in recovery. one of the many machines they hook your child up to in the room is a unit that measures the level of oxygen in their blood. isaac has never been very good at this test, even when he was first born they had a hard time getting an acceptable reading from the sensor, which is a red led that lights your finger up like e.t. anything 93 percent or above is a normal level, but after the surgery they were getting these absurdly low readings, prompting all sorts of precautionary, but ultimately unnecessary measures.

we had doctors, nurses, and therapists with all sorts of ideas and suggestions: a constant stream of cool oxygenated mist as seen in the pictures above, a respiratory therapist, a pulmonary doctor who ordered a sleep test for wednesday night to rule out apnea, an epi mist that temporarily turned part of his nose white from constricted blood vessels, and a constant eye on the monitor. these unexpected additions were emotionally taxing in the midst of everything else, but in the end it was probably a combination of anesthetic, post surgery swelling and the baby morphine. we have a couple follow up appointments we will gratefully attend, knowing it is nothing life threatening.

we continue to be overwhelmed by the resources available to us, and for the tremendous amount of care we have received. our day nurse for our first two days was a kind and gentle woman named helen (all i could think was "you look like a helen". tommy boy, anybody?) who not only cared about the job, but about the people she so sweetly served. she would give us encouraging updates, cheerfully bring milk and juice, and endlessly dote on our little thug. obviously the tsunami of tenderness does not stop there, as once again we were inundated by prayer, support, emails, texts, phone calls, etc during our time of need.

there were also moments of comedy in our stay, one of the most outstanding came at 1:30am early thursday morning when isaac unleashed a bowel movement the likes of which the world has never seen. he had been rather constipated from the drugs and anesthetic, so i was initially grateful, if not a little shocked, by the sounds coming from him as we watched television. i didn't even mind the warmth as he continued, but what got to me was the wetness as the flood began to breach his diaper and spill heartily onto my lap like that foam you use to fill cracks that expands when you spray it. i woke annie and she tried her best, but one of her arms hung limp at her side, hopelessly asleep. our night nurse was not so helpful, at one point standing idly by and laughing while i grabbed for isaac's cool mist hose to avoid the smell that was about to make me puke. the following morning found me without another pair of pants, so i had to wrap myself in a hospital blanket to avoid having to bum around in my boxers.

needless to say we are more than happy to be home, away from the wires, the iv's, the monitors and the beeping. we had a bit of a scare last night, when isaac, still pretty backed up, was having some trouble breathing normally. we resolved the issue by giving him a liquid baby suppository, which i am certain knocks me out of the running for father of the year.

today was his best day yet, pieces of his personality returning all the time. for this we are ecstatic, as we went through, and on some level will continue to go through, a certain amount of grief regarding the change in appearance. you have all these great memories with a kid who looks one way, and the kid you get back from surgery isn't himself right away, and you begin to wonder if he ever will be. every renewed first is a tremendous blessing, first meal, first smile, first sounds. we have begun to remember that although our son may look a lot different than he did a couple days ago, he is still the same kid, making the same noises, bringing the same joy.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

no, not togos

ok, so writing a post from the research library of a hospital doesn't give one a lot of options as far as pictures and such, but wanted to provide a very quick update on isaac's surgery. long story short, he is doing very well, and we expect to go home today. we will tell more soon, like the one about late last night when he pooped about a whole day's worth at once, forcing me to wear a toga this morning. it is a good story, i promise. so check back every couple days or so, more details on the way.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

muchas gracias

dang, that is one good looking family...except for that goofy guy in the middle. what's with him? one of these things is not like the others...

isaac looks more like his uncle derek (blond hair and blue eyes) than his mom or dad. minus the monster arms of course.

grandpa made sure isaac caught up on all the latest gossip at dinner.

the menconi christmas picture. hey, haven't i seen those blue outfits before?

elmo, you gotta protect me man. i am not too sure about these people.

isaac and the ladies.

it is christmas in san diego, it is 55 degrees outside, and we have our kid bundled up like ralphie from a christmas story. are we first time parents?

we also want to welcome other first time parents to the game. my cousin mindy and her husband nick brought avery paige into the world on november 16th at 2:22pm. she's 7lbs. 1oz. and 19" of pure sweetness. isaac can't wait to scrap with her. you can read and see more here.


did you know that chicken has more tryptophan than turkey? it's true. we always talk about the amino acid that makes you sleepy at thanksgiving time b/c everybody goes into a food coma at approximately 2:37pm, but the fact of the matter is that it is not the turkey as much as it is the extra carbs in the form of hawaiian sweet rolls and twice baked potatoes that puts us to sleep. whatever the case, the more opportunities i have to talk about pilgrims and people named pocahontas the better.

our thanksgiving this year was decidedly and very intentionally mellow. we spent wednesday afternoon and evening with the montgomery family, taking family pictures at dixon lake and eating dinner at a fine little italian establishment called "bruno's". we were glad that heidi and kyle got to meet him before his surgery, and it was fun to have the whole family together again. it had been a few years since the last montgomery picture, and several members had been added to the ranks since the last one. what rules is we are going to have to take another before too long b/c eric and kara announced thanksgiving day that they are pregnant with their first!! they are due next june and we are all very excited about welcoming their little one.

thursday was spent with the menconi's: we ate too much food, poured over black friday ads, and took a christmas picture. annie and i recycled our outfits, and isaac sported his first santa hat. cutest. santa. ever. friday we had dinner at islands and went to a christmas tree lighting at the forum, which is a glorified strip mall here in encinitas. there was free food, fun friends, and good times had by all.

i spent a good bit of the remainder of the weekend working around the house. unfortunately with me home improvement always involves at least a little bit of self destruction and i walked away with a blood blister on my thumb, a pretty good cut on my index finger, and other assorted scrapes and abrasions. all told, we ended up with a new microwave, doorbell, and bathroom fan, not to mention some new outlets and switches.

i am beginning to realize that when i am stressed i tend to be even more anal about organization than usual. this streak of projects is just the latest manifestation of this trait. when i can organize, i feel in control, the more out of control i feel, the more i try to organize.

the surgery is tomorrow morning, sometime around 7:30 or 8. if early indications are any clue, knowing you are sending your child into a situation that will cause them pain is the worst feeling in the entire world. we know it is best for him, we trust he will be fine, and we look forward to a time in the not too distant future when this season will be behind us and he won't even remember it. and yet it absolutely kills us. as much as we want to clamp onto him with a death grip that would make arnold proud, we are trying to pry our grubby little mitts off our son and maintain a posture of open hands.

thank you for the food, the texts, the emails, the calls, the words, the kindness and all the other assorted mercies you have given us. we continue to be heaped upon. may you also be heaped upon during this blessed season.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

good things keep coming

annie says people like pictures more than words so here you go.

isaac checking his first pair of nikes. i am still sans a pair.

his first mohawk. annie wants him to wear it like this all the time when it gets long enough.

this is one of those noise making toys that never gets annoying. it's a learning dog. it sings and talks and says things like "hug me". it may soon be a headless learning dog.

bottle feeding leads to...


one of his first walks of the fall.

the currys on their latest visit.

katie entertains. next stop: vegas.

gripe water helps with the gas. you might want to buy stock.

megan's birthday dinner with friends. byow!

we have been receiving a lot of good things lately. allow us to share some of them with you:
  1. first and most importantly, isaac has started sleeping more lately. we have started feeding him a little extra food with a bottle before he goes to bed at night and it has really helped him crash for longer. he is averaging about 6-7 consecutive hours a night, which is much better than the 4 hours he used to pull. we haven't been this excited since rumors of the spice girls reunion tour.
  2. we had his pre-operation appointment last wednesday and although we are not exactly thrilled about him going under the knife, we did find out that we can feed him up to 4 hours before the surgery. we had thought we would only be able to feed him up to 8 hours before so we are super excited. we again have had overwhelming support, like our fabulous small group hooking us up with meals and movies for the recovery. we would covet your prayers up to and especially on the 27th of november. please pray for health, healing and yet another dose of grace.
  3. isaac lived up to his name the other night when he laughed for the first time. it was not an accidental gas attack or anything, this was a full on belly laugh. annie was holding isaac while talking to our friend catherine, laughing at some story or joke. isaac thought he was a part of the conversation, and started laughing along. annie screamed for me, and i made it downstairs in time to hear him chuckle. we have been trying to get him to do it again ever since, but to no avail. i guess he is no trick pony after all.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

wake up sleepyhead

everybody says that time goes so fast, but you don't really realize it till your son is 12 weeks old already, and turning 3 months a week from today. he is becoming more fun everyday, and at least once a week we suddenly realize he is doing something he wasn't before. a couple weeks ago he began rubbing his eyes, rumor has it he is taking up juggling next.

he is having trouble adjusting to the time change, which means we are as well. he is usually pretty happy in the morning though so it is fun to spend time together. i was so looking forward to falling back, but infants kinda put a damper on most plans involving sleep.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

who's the boss?

so not only has tony danza given us one of the greatest television shows of all times, but this week he also (indirectly) gave me some of my favorite wrong song lyrics. annie and i were riding in the car the other day, listening to country b/c it was her car and not mine. mind you, there is currently a fascinating trend in country music, that is to cover songs from the 80's.

as we drove, annie asked "who would want tony danza to hold them closer?" i was a little thrown by the question, until i realized we were listening to a cover of elton john's "tiny dancer". i will never hear that song the same way again.

yet another gift from the danza-man

Friday, November 2, 2007

so this pirate walks into a bar

isaac threw his first rager on halloween, a pirate party complete with plenty of scalawags and booty. auntie allison had bought him his outfit on ebay, and everybody else jumped right into the fun. he slept through the first half, but he was still the life of the party.

today we went to the ear/nose/throat doctor and got word that isaac will almost certainly not need ear tubes to help with drainage. the doctor will make sure during his surgery, but we were excited to get this piece of news. everybody at the office thought he was real cute, he looks more like a real boy everyday.

so here is the plan bear: you jump out and say "arrrggghhh!' and i will grab the booty.

nice parrot

who let these creepers in?

keep this guy away from the child


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