Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Beginning of the End

Today was a good day. There isn't much to tell, but a lot to tell at the same time.

First we had a G.I. appointment. The doctor was thrilled with Karsie's growth and basically said to keep the same thing going. Even though she has plateaued a bit she's still right there on the growth charts for weight, length, and size proportions. We got some medicine to put on her G-Tube site because there is some granulation tissue starting to grow around it, so that needs to be stopped, but other than that, there's no changes. We were having some leaking issues with the G-Tube, but the doc said that because of Karsie's angle to the stomach, there's going to be some leaking. She weighed in at 14 lbs. 13 oz, which is a more accurate weight than last time. Plus, she was completely empty of food which was not the case last time either.

Then, we had lunch with some friends. It was awesome to catch up and for them to see Karsie's growth and development. Very fun!

Finally, we saw Dr. Saenz in surgery. He was also thrilled and we started to discuss the beginning of the end (hence the title of this blog). We will definitely have more information next week when we see Dr. Gossman who is the plastic surgeon, but it sounds like she wants to put in the expanders around a year, which would make it June/Julyish when she gets the tissue expanders. After that, they stay in for a few months and then Dr. Saenz will call it and say when it's time to close her up. So, we are making some huge assumptions here, but it wouldn't be unlikely that we will be done with all of this by Christmas. We know that's wishful thinking, but it's possible to do that now. All of this will depend on what Dr. Gossman thinks next week, but Dr. Saenz was thrilled by all the skin and space that is there already. We are excited and terrified at the same time. More details to come...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Zoo Day Monday

Karsie had a great time at the zoo today! She really enjoyed all the riding around in her stroller!

Sophie met a few of the animals today too... but we didn't make it over to the giraffes.

Karsie almost was eaten by this giant predatory bird... good thing we were able to grab her!

An updated family picture in the turtle/duck area... the last one we took here Karsie had just been discharged!

Karsie and her godmother... celebrating a fun trip to the zoo!

Tomorrow begins our slew of appointments starting with G.I. and then surgery. We may or may not have any news about upcoming events. We'll keep you posted.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Five Things Friday

1. Karsie still loves bath time... and Kevin found his knack as a hair stylist!

2. Karsie had her first trip to the local ice cream shop... she didn't partake... but she had fun none-the-less!

3. Karsie is doing very well at PT/OT this week. She is getting much better at holding her balance while sitting unassisted. She has also begun practice on hands and knees. The therapists really believe we will be able to teach her how to crawl... and we are pretty excited about that. She will hold herself up using her arms for a couple minutes... it is amazing how quickly she is getting these new skills!

4. Karsie loves to be outside now that it is warmer. She has these awesome shades... and she finds them amusing. She also loves to go for walks and play in the sunshine! We only have a precious few weeks of spring before the temperature goes above tolerable... so we are trying to take advantage of the great weather!
5. Week of appointments... we are heading into a week of lots of appointments... on Tuesday we will see GI, and Surgery (Dr. Saenz)... and then we still have the usual PT, OT and hopefully speech appointments (speech was put on hold, waiting for some paperwork).

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Karsie's New Cry

Karsie has a new cry. It's called "Feed me now or I will keep screaming!" We're not used to this. The following is our list of things to check or do when Karsie cries. 1. Put her to sleep 2. Stand her up 3. Change her diaper 4. Sit her up 5. Clean out her nose 6. Give her a binky 7. Play with her. Now there's a new element that we have come across. The other day we were out to dinner with friends and she started to fuss. She was chewing on her fingers, sucking on anything she could get into her mouth. She started to chew on any toy we gave her. To any normal parent this is an obvious sign of hunger. Not to us. We started checking her omphalocele dressing, looking at her G-Tube site to make sure it wasn't hurting her, all of what's normal to us. All the while, Karsie was practically gnawing off her arm in hunger. Had she drawn a chart that said FEED ME and had a picture of an empty stomach we still might not have gotten it.

Nevertheless, we get it now. Since her condensing, she has been figuring it out just fine...it's her parents that need help.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Quick Stats on Karsie's Feeding

Karsie is halfway through her big condensing this week. So far so good. However, the biggest increases are yet to come. In two days she went from getting 33 mL an hour all day to getting 45 mL an hour at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 6 p.m. Two days after that she was given 55 mL an hour at the same times. She ends each feeding when she reaches 110 mL. Therefore each increase takes her less time to get to 110. Today starts the big increases. She is just starting to get 80 mL an hour, which will take her about an hour and 20 minutes to complete a feeding. The hope is that she is able to handle this and get hungry so she starts to eat by mouth more. If all goes well, starting Monday she will be increased to 110 mL an hour, which is where we will stop for the time being. This is really important for her, so we're praying that she handles it. If not, we at least have made an increase and we will back off and give her a bit to get used to the new increases. But here's hoping...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Karsie's First Steps....sort of

Yesterday we were at physical therapy and they were working with Karsie on her trunk muscles. Right in the middle of working she got real fussy and wanted to stand. Michelle helped her stand up as the therapist was moving mats around and Karsie lifted her right leg and stepped forward toward the toys. She really liked the singing block stacker. She has since done it three or four more times...with aided help from her arms of course.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

8 Months!!

It was a warm day for her 8 month birthday. So we have outside pictures. She is 2/3 of a year old! However, we've only had her for 1/3 all to ourselves. It's been a good time. Karsie has been handling the first part of her condensed feeding wonderfully. It's been nice having her off the tube for a few hours at a time. Tomorrow we increase again to two hours on. The big jump doesn't happen until Monday, but each increase is a bit interesting. So far so good.

Karsie LOVED her seat in the grass.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Commence the Condense

There were two reasons that we decided to call G.I. a little earlier than our appointment. First of all, Karsie's speech therapist (eating) wants her to be hungry for her to work with Karsie and this continuous feeding does not make Karsie hungry. Secondly, Karsie is moving...a lot. Today we actually found her under the rocking chair after approximately 30 seconds. It's pretty hard to have a moving child attached to a food bag, so we thought we'd call and see what could be done. G.I. gave us permission to start condensing...at our discretion (but for a week). Imagine that! Giving us some say in our daughter's health care! So we have made a plan for Karsie to condense her down to eating one hour on and two hours off by next Tuesday. So far so good. She is being fed for 2 1/2 hours and then gets a half hour break today. At night she is fed continuously. This should be interesting when it comes to eating by mouth now.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Blog!

One year ago today we posted our first blog entitled "Introducing Karsie's Blog." We have since written hundreds more in honor of our daughter Ms. Karsie Gene, who has in our opinion the most miraculous story. For those who have not read Karsie's blog in the beginning we give you permission to forego spring cleaning in place. It's a pretty cool journey.

To many more happy posts...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Babbling Karsie

The TV is on at the beginning. That's not all Karsie.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Five Things Friday

1. Appointments... Karse is now on the schedule for PT, OT and Speech! Our pediatrician wanted to wait until after she got her flu shot boosters... and the end of the flu season before sending her to all these appointments... and now that time has come... so Karsie will be going to 5-9 appointments a week! On top of all this... mom and dad will be doing the exercises with her at home too! She is going to be the workout queen!

2. Bug still loves bathtime... she loves to splash... and in her tub at home, she can use her feet to make some cool squawking noises... and this amuses her. She also loves to try to drink any water that runs down her face... or the water she can suck from the wash cloth!

3. There is Jaque the Peacock... and also Mortimer the Moose... and she loves them both! I think those huge eyes grab her attention!

4. Karsie LOVES to read books... she has a few cloth books and she will lay down with them and read them to us. She loves when we read to her... she loves turning pages... she loves looking at the pictures... she loves eating the pages. She has a couple pop-up books that fascinate her... and she plays peek-a-boo with the pop-up characters. I have been trying to get a video of her reading her books... but when she hears the camera turn on... she gets distracted... she also loves the camera!

5. She is standing... all day long... she just loves to stand up! When she has been sitting or laying down for a bit... she does this super cute little scoot and grunt thing... to tell us that she wants to stand up! She especially loves to watch herself stand in the mirror! She gets to excited to see herself standing!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

More and More Appointments

Karsie had another doctor's appointment today. She weighed in at 14 lbs. 12 oz. Still good growth, but her spurt has slowed down as it does with most babies around the time they start becoming mobile and burning off the calories they consume. She measured in at 26 inches. She's right at/around the 50th percentile for length at her gestational age.

Karsie has also been given a slew of other appointments multiple times a week. She will be going to physical therapy and occupational therapy to work on her muscle building and working on feeding/eating. Hopefully this will strengthen her arms and help her improve her eating.

Our baby's going to school...

Sunday, March 7, 2010


We're still alive. Promise. We've just had a busy week. Karsie has been keeping us quite busy.

While we have been just going day to day doing the normal baby thing, we are about to start back with appointments and checkups.

March 30th we have two appointments. One of those appointments is to meet with G.I. Right now we are maintaining the same feeding schedule we have been for a couple of months. However, we will most likely be starting to change her feedings and schedules this time. Karsie has been getting increasingly more mobile and she can't be dragging her bag around as she moves around. We also need to start getting her feeding on solids more often. The next appointment is with Dr. Saenz. We hope that we will have some information on upcoming surgeries as he will evaluate Karsie's growth and ability to handle the surgery.

April 8th we have an appointment with plastic surgery to talk about the tissue expanders, an appointment with neurology to follow up on her brain activity, and a "follow up" appointment with Children's Hospital to check her overall development. She will spend about 2 hours with various specialists to work with her and play with her to check on her development and milestones. This will be interesting to see how Karsie is doing and what obstacles we will need to work on next.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I meant to get this up last week... but Karsie has taken to scooting all over the place. In this situation... she had been playing in her gym for a few minutes... with her feet towards the kickboard (bottom) and her head at the mirror (top)... I went to grab her pears... and while I was in the kitchen, I saw her scooting around a bit... but then I came in and she was whining because she couldn't scoot any farther because she had run into the couch. I couldn't stop laughing. I have yet to catch the scooting on video... but I am trying!

The other big development is that Karsie has learned how to tolerate tummy time... she simply turns her head to the side and rests. This means that she is able to stay on her tummy for longer... but she isn't developing her arm muscles as well. We are encouraging her to go up on her arms... but we have a stubborn one who likes to fight us on this! We figure she will get there... she just likes to move at her own pace.