August 31, 2012

Monkey boy

Max spent the past week being spoiled by Grandma Marie who paraded our little ham all over Reston.  It is hard to tell who had a better time, but both had huge smiles on their faces when I came home each day.  Unfortunately, only one was tired. Max is one energetic fellow; I am beginning to wonder if his bottles are spiked with Red Bull.  His latest hobby is standing in his crib, which makes sense, since he is never tired enough to actually sleep in it.  His wobbly legs and tip-toed feet have landed him new-face first into the crib rails many times.  Based on his response it hurt more than the surgery.  Needless to say, Max has been transferred to the confines of a more padded pack 'n play and will remain there indefinitely. 

The nasal stints are probably to blame for Max's restless nights.  We have managed to keep the stints clean, but it would be hard for anyone to sleep with a stuffed nose.  The nurses recommended cleaning the stints with saline spray or a nasal aspirator, but Max will have no part of that.  Instead, we distract him in the bath and spray the pull-down shower head up his nose.  He is too caught off guard to cry and I think he is actually starting to enjoy his nightly nasal bidet.  Most importantly, it must be working because when we took him for the suture removal, nurses commented about how clean the stints were.  David and I could not help but laugh at the idea that someone thought Max was clean.  It was reminiscent of the first time we took Max to Johns Hopkins when he was one week old.  A doctor told us that he had good head control.  David's response, "Man, I would hate to see what bad head control looks like."

On the wings of Grandma Marie's departure tomorrow, Grandma Barbara will arrive to take care of Max next week when both David and I are back at work full-time.   I reminded her to pack her running shoes.

Do I have something on my face? (8.31.12)



Sleeping in with daddy (8.30.12)

Monkey boy (8.29.12)

August 28, 2012

Suture Tuesday

Early this morning, after a few brief, non-consecutive hours of sleep, we were back on the road to Johns Hopkins for Max to have some sutures removed from his lip. Despite the early call-time of 6:00am, Max got much needed sleep on the car ride both there and back home. The whole procedure took less then ten minutes, but did require him to go under anesthesia in order to remain still while the surgeon carefully removed the thin, blue threads. Our little insomniac could not sit still long enough to be weighed this morning, but of course he charmed the scrubs off all the nurses. They didn't even mind when he zeroed in on their stethoscopes with his mouth.

Speaking of mouths, Max's mouth continues to amaze. He looks absolutely fantastic. Doctor Redett is truly a surgical artist with the bedside manner of a gentle saint.

August 26, 2012

New mouth, new nose, no sleep

The past few days have been spent with Max adjusting to his new mouth, and David and I adjusting to little rest.  Like a newborn, the new Max has brought much joy, some stress, and sleepless nights.  I sense that his pain is well managed, but he is dealing with increased congestion.  As you may be able to see from the photos, Max has stints sewn into each of his nostrils to prevent the newly molded cartilage from collapsing.  Yet another necessary evil, the stints help make the surgery more effective, but they also stuff his nose- literally.  They will be removed by the doctor in three weeks. His trademark smile and belly laughs are making a comeback as he adjusts to the sensation of his new lip.  There is likely some pain and tightness from the stitches as well.   He is eating plenty and, thanks to round-the-clock supervision, is rarely restricted by his arm braces. 

Our biggest challenge now is getting Max comfy enough to sleep for more than twenty minutes at a time.  Perhaps it is the excitement of his new look or all of the attention and gifts from family and friends.  Maybe he is saddened over the loss of his friend, Count von Count, but something is keeping Max 3.0 awake at all hours of the night.  With little baby bags under his beautiful blue eyes, Max finally passed out around 7:00pm tonight.  Here's hoping for sweet, long dreams.




August 24, 2012

Eight months old

Max came home today just in time for his eight month photo. I wanted to take the arm restraints off for the picture but I felt it best to put safety before vanity. He did crawl around a bit this afternoon and is quickly discovering ways of getting things into his mouth even with his "no no's"*. There is no denying that Max is a very creative, active, and strong (in every sense of the word), eight month old.

*"No-no's" is the kid-friendly term for the arm restraints/braces that Max has to wear so he does not touch his face. It makes sense since the word "no" is every child's favorite thing to hear.
Post-op wagon ride (8.24.12)
Back home with his favorite book (8.24.12)
Field trip to the hospital pharamacy (8.24.12)

August 23, 2012

Lights out in room 38

There is only one occasion that sleeping in a hospital is for a purely positive reason- when your baby is born. For me, tonight is the exception. It is a virtual flashback of December 24, the night Max [1.0] was born. Tonight David, Max, and I will sleep in a hospital room together for the second time and I am 100% positive that everything will be ok.

Despite having his face sliced, diced, and stitched less then 12 hours ago, Max ate carrots for dinner, polished off a bottle, and took a stroll around the hospital hallway before lights out, at his traditional, self-imposed bedtime, of 7:00pm.

Quality crib time (8.23.12)

Carrots for post-op lunch (8.23.12)
Nature nugget likes to be in the buff (8.23.12)
Goodnight, Max 3.0 (8.23.12)

Meet Max 3.0

Mr. Max has a new mouth, symmetrical nose, pain killers, a full belly, and two very grateful parents.


Happiest baby in the hospital

The past several hours with Max before surgery have been wonderful. After being snatched from his crib this morning at 5:00am he cooed peaceful the entire drive to Baltimore. Upon our arrival he immediately became the center of attention in the pre-op area. Every nurse came by to see "those eyes that everyone has been talking about". He flirtatiously batted his baby blues at staff (to lure them in so he could eat their ID badges) and went for a wagon ride before I carried him into the operating room.

Max has not shed a tear since 7:00pm last night when the unthinkable happened- I put on his pajamas. It seems that he has truly had an enjoyable morning. I may have used a few tissues, but only because I am so very proud of my brave little Max.
Max entertained the whole floor during his pre-op smile parade (8.23.12)
The nurses said they have never seen such a happy baby.  I believe them. (8.23.12)
No fear nugget (8.23.12)

August 22, 2012

'Twas the night before surgery

Max will undergo his second surgery tomorrow at 8:45am.  During this procedure, formally known as a "lip repair", the surgeon will re-open Max's mouth and nose and shape the skin to make both more symmetrical.  The procedure will take approximately two hours.   Those are the only two hours that David and I are not worried about.  After all, we aren't doing the surgery, and luckily we are 100% confident in the doctor who is.  The challenge for us will be between 2:45am until the time of surgery.  Max cannot eat or drink during that time; unfortunately he is not old enough to reason with (or bribe).  The roughest period, as I have learned through my vast surgical experience, will be the recovery.  For the next three weeks, Max, one of the most active and curious babies in the world (anyone who has met him can attest to this fact) must wear arm restraints to prevent him from touching his mouth and potentially tampering with his surgeon's fine work.  Our goal is to remove the restraints as much as possible and allow him to crawl, play, and mow the lawn.  This will require that someone is within inches of Max at all times.  We are fortunate to have an army of family and friends lined up to help keep an eye (or dozens of eyes and hands) on Mr. Max.

Max's friends came by this afternoon to wish him well.  Although many of them do not even know what "surgery" means, the next time they see their friend he will have a whole new mouth.

Essentially, tomorrow is baby's first rhinoplasty, but David put it best when he said, "How can anyone make this kid look more handsome?". 

Goodnight Max 2.0 (8.22.12)

Good luck, Max! (8.22.12)

From the outside looking in... (8.22.12)


Quality time with daddy (8.21.12)

Max's favorite hangout (8.20.12)

August 21, 2012

Say cheese

Some terrific last shots of Max 2.0 courtesy 2408 Photography (aka Meghan).

August 19, 2012

Summer reading

Max's current pastime of choice is anything that involves books- mostly eating them and being read to.  He also enjoys a good book toss, similar to a rousing game of 52 pick-up.  In preparation for the upcoming fall school year David started reading Tom Sawyer to Max.  He may have a few years before that is on his assigned summer reading list, but I have a feeling that his dad will make sure he is well prepared. 

 I wish Max would fit in mommy's school bag (8.19.12)

Lunch with Benjamin (8.19.12)

What's for breakfast? (8.19.12)

Spoiled by Aunt Carol (8.18.12)

Summer reading (8.18.12)

People watching.  Sans people. (8.17.12)

Nugget and fry (8.16.12)

August 16, 2012

Max on the move

Max started the week with a weigh-in at the pediatrician.  Unlike any female beyond adolescence, the goal for an infant is to actually gain weight, so I was excited when Max tipped the scales at 18.5 pounds, 28.5 inches long.  Despite a mild ear infection, he crawled around the house all week, pulling up on to furniture, and pulling down whatever he could reach.  The pictures truly do speak a thousand words; the video, a thousand laughs.

David is on the mend and should be recovered by next week.  His doctor appointment today was completed in record time which was a huge feat in itself. 

On Monday my "maternity leave" will officially end.  Max was born on December 24, 2011 and the first time I ever left him was on February 1, 2012- the day after David was diagnosed and had surgery.  Since then I have left Max for dozens of doctors appointments, surgeries, and yes, the occasional trip to the gym, but that first day apart has always stuck with me.  I suspect Monday will too. 

Playtime with Timmy (8.16.12)

Good morning! (8.16.12)


Did any get in my mouth? (8.15.12)


lunch bunch (8.13.12)