"I love you and want for you all things that make you happiest; and I guess you, not I, are the one who knows best what those things are."

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Family Recap

If you have missed out on the last year of our lives--In February we bought our first house in Rockwell, NC. A great house with a huge kitchen and a great open floor plan. We have caring neighbors and good friends close by. Couldn't have asked for much more! But we got it---on the same day we closed on our house, the doctor confirmed that we were pregnant!

We had a happy healthy baby boy on Oct. 5, 2008. John Joseph Garcia weighed in at 7lbs 10oz, 19 in at 2:56am. His arrival into the world was a little less than graceful, he wasn't breathing and had to be resucitated, but overall we were very blessed. My parents joined us for the first week of John's life, Matt's parents were there for week 2 and Matt's mom stuck around for an additional 2 weeks to help out around the house. Needless to say, John has plenty of people loving him!

Two short weeks after John was born, Pfeiffer University made several cutbacks due to the economy and I lost my job. The University officially laid off 11 people (as of Jan. 5). On the upside, my maternity leave ran through the end of December---so I never had to go back to work! In that regard, I faired better than many of my collegues. It's given me the chance to be a stay at home mom--which I'm loving! And opened the door for the next big change in our life...

About 4 weeks after I lost my job with Pfeiffer, Matt was offered a transfer with his company, LabSynergy. Apprehensive (we just bought at house in Feb, remember), we weighed the pros and cons very carefully. The transfer won out, as he is being moved to the St. Louis area, putting us closer to my parents and John's grandparents. We're figuring that we can use the extra help with John and it will make holiday travel exponentially easier. After 4 years in NC and lots of promises to move back towards the center of the country, it seems as though God was giving us a swift kick in the @$$. We announced to the families that we were moving over Thanksgiving weekend.

Fast forward two more weeks and we knew we were making the right decision. John found himself in the hospital with extreme anemia and moderate jaundice. In nine days we spent 2 nights and 4 days at Brenner Children's Hospital and John endured 5 blood transfusions. It's been a scary and nerve-wracking time for us to say the least. Having that extra support from family is going to be nice. John's doing fine for now - we did make it to STL for Christmas after a short delay for one last transfusion. The doctor's have not diagnosed the problem as of yet, but feel confident that a diagnosis is in the future. In the meantime, they are also pretty certain we will face a few more blood transfusions before we can kick this. But in honor of celebrating the small victories, his bloodwork on Monday was the best we've seen in 3 weeks! He's happy and smiling, doing all the things a 3 month old should, so it doesn't seem to be bothering him nearly as much as it bothers mom and dad.

So, the last 3 months have been life changing! We're excited to be moving and ready to start the next chapter of our lives. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we muddle through the next few months (selling our house, moving, buying a house, doctors appointments and transfusions, etc.)

Keep in touch!Love and peace in the New Year!

Hoping to make it through Christmas...

So we were hopeful that we would make it through Christmas without a transfusion. (After all, we postponed our trip by one day for transfusions right before we left). But tonight at 9pm we ended up at Children's Hospital in STL. John was being very lethargic, sleeping all the time, and his nursing was getting weaker by the hour.

The staff at Children's ER was great though. They got us in pretty quickly, heard all our concerns, reviewed John's medical records (thankfully we brought them with us from NC) and got John some much needed blood. And for the first time, John was matched with A- blood! They did everything in the ER - which helps because we have NC medical insurance - and we were discarged around 3am.

We know were moving back the STL area, so we are now trying to get our records transferred to Children's Heme/Onc Clinic. We'll be having several more appointments with the NC clinic before we come back, but better to start the process now.

Keep us in your prayers.....this is going to pass!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Brenner Children's Hospital

Another 100mL of blood transfusions (2 50mL transfusions) over the last two days. It's hard to believe that the last transfusions only lasted 9 days. We are starting to learn clues and signs that he's feeling lousy. He becomes a lazy nurser, turns very pale, and sleeps much more than normal. Nonetheless, this is so frustrating! We went to the pediatrician yesterday for a follow up because he's having trouble putting on weight because of all the blood issues and the lousy nursing. We met with a PA who checked his bloodwork, called his pediatrician, called the heme/onc clinic and then came in and told me that Dr. McLean wanted to talk to me. Seriously...at least have the nerve to tell me that I need to head back to the clinic for a transfusion....CHICKEN! He's having his heel poked every other day for bloodwork and watching the nursing staff get the IV started will break your heart. This has got to stop!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Blood Transfusions?!?

This weekend John became very jaundiced. We took him to the doctor's office on Sunday and they had us get some lab work at the local hospital. We headed home to wait for the results which turned out to show high levels of jaundice and low red blood cell count.

Yesterday we met with Dr. McLean at Brenner Children's Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC. Dr. McLean is a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology specialist. The good news is that Dr. McLean and several of his colleagues all seem to agree that this is not cancer, just a blood disorder. John's hemoglobin is 4.2 (normal is 10.4-13.2) and his bilirubin level is 7.2 (normal is 1.0). He has also developed a heart murmur from all the stress he's putting on his body. Dr. McLean seems confident that John will out grow this "blip" in his system, but in the mean time we are forced to have blood transfusions to keep his bilirubin levels, red blood cell counts, and anemia under control.

Dr. McLean asked if he could take pictures of John for a research presentation he's doing at the upcoming AMA conference. Apparently John's skin color was "pallor" which is rare and is a combination of jaundice and paleness. I agreed. He also had several medical student come in to listen to John's heart because he had a "great murmur" It took several hours after all this for me to realize that he was having students look at my son and taking pictures because he was a medical anomaly...

Dad cancelled a business trip and rushed up to the hospital to be with us during the transfusions. He had a total of 3 transfusions equalling 100mL over the course of one day and one night. We checked out of the hospital on Tuesday late morning after getting cleared by the heme/onc clinic.

On a side note, John's blood type is A- and neither Matt nor I are a match. A- is not one of the most common blood types, so if you are A-, make sure you donate!