Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010

Good morning little Zahlmann children...what has Santa brought you?

This boy loves few things as much as his beanie babies (mostly bears). He was thrilled to add 2 Christmas Bears to his collection!

If this isn't the face of excitment, I don't know what is!

Our budding artist

Merry Christmas from Mr. and Mrs. Beanie

My sweet baby boy

Another very excited child!

Please enjoy some holiday bokeh from our house to yours. 

Here's to a HEALTHY and Happy New Year!

xoxo The Zahlmanns

Monday, December 27, 2010

December 2010 and Christmas Eve

I hope this finds you all happy and healthy! 
I'm sorry for my lack of posting...the poor blog just became one more thing that I couldn't keep up with this December.  In fact, as I've told my Mr. Charming, "I'm ready to write off December 2010!" 

What a month!  As you can read from previous posts, the beginning of the month was spent with our 3 year-old in the hospital.  The week she came home we ended up with a sick 7 year-old (cold symptoms) and a crazy-busy life schedule.  Payton needed a good week at home (close to her family) before she was comfortable going to preschool again.  Poor kid. 

The following week saw all 3 of our little girls with pneumonia.  Avonleigh (5 year-old) was getting worse after 3 days of antibiotics and had to be switched to another one.  On day 2 of the new one (Christmas Eve) she broke out in hives all over her body.  Eventually she was placed on another antibiotic (if you lost count, that's 3) and we finally came to celebrate Christmas with my parents late that evening. 

Illness has rocked our family and I'm ready for this month to be over now!

Payton continues to be monitored and will soon be starting a prophylactic course of antibiotics to keep her kidneys/bladder/urinary tract healthy! 

I have to mention our wonderful medical staff at the Corvallis Clinic and Good Samaritan Hospital. They have been unbelievable! They now know each of our children's faces and names and are always eager to help! We also have a fabulous pharmacist at Safeway who knows us on sight and is so positive and helpful! I love good people. I could never truly write off this month, because we would never have known the goodness of these people, except through our trials.

I'll admit, there were several times this month that I had to just sit and cry.  When there was nothing else I could do to help/comfort/fix, I would pray and cry.  And then I could get over that obstacle and move on to the next one.

Usually close to one of those breakdowns (or shortly thereafter), Heavenly Father would send an angel (or several) our way in the form of friends coming to visit, family coming to take over duties in the home, ward members checking in or dropping well wishes by.  We have experienced so much selfless love and support that I still haven't figured out how to say thank you.  And as the chaos continued to unfold, I have kept this thought in the back of my head.  How do you say thank you to those who have given so much more than you could ever repay?

We are so blessed.

This is getting so much longer than I intended, so without further adieu, I give you our Christmas Eve pictures.  Enjoy - we sure did!

Who doesn't love new pjs?

Our very own air bender

A spirited ending to a fabulous rendition of "Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer".

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Payton's progress (Friday)

Payton has been in the hospital for 2 days now.  Her numbers are improving very slowly.  Today was the first day that we started her on a "clear liquid diet".  She was THRILLED to hear that she could eat jello and popsicles!  I'd be thrilled to eat anything after going without food for 3+ days! 
She was also super-excited to see Grandpa (and he brought her her favorite treat...GUM!)!  She had more wonderful friends visit as well.  This little darling is so loved!

Here are a series of pics from today:
 Orange popsicle...pure bliss!

 Grandpa crusing Facebook while Payton was occupied.
" Look at my orange stick, Mom!"
 Wiping herself up
 Sweet, angel feet
 Look at those poor dehydrated lips!
 And then Grandma broke out the ipod and suddenly all was right in the world (popsicles and ipods...who wouldn't be thrilled?)!  FYI she's singing to the Wicked soundtrack.  Coolest 3-year-old ever!
 This CRACKED me up!  Hanging out on the throne, listening to "her" ipod with her iv pole right next to her (with purple popsicle lips)!  So funny!

Her friend Katerina picked out a pink dolly just for Payton. She was totally in love with it! Thanks Virginia!Overall she is improving.  She had a few setbacks today: high fever, blown iv (miserable time putting a new one in), dry heaving - but no vomiting!  It's progress.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sleep in Heavenly Peace

After her very long and arduous day, they were finally able to bring her fever down and she got some real rest.  Rest she hadn't had in days.  It was so good to sit beside her and just watch her sleep. 
She is so beautiful...this daughter of ours.  To see her resting comfortably only added to her aura of beauty.

Let me just say that I am SO thankful for the advances in modern medicine and for the healing that she has been promised.  She is blessed to live on earth at this time.  Many, many children would have succumbed to the high fever (not to mention the severe infection) in days of old.  I can't even imagine.

That being said, parents should never have to see their child hospitalized.  It is so hard to see her with all of the tubes and wires and machines beeping by her bedside and her little eyes flickering at the slightest noise. 
So. Hard. 

And yet, I KNOW it could be so much worse.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pictureless post for Payton...because I forgot my CF card reader to upload them. Lame.

I'm woefully behind on personal postings.
I am grateful to have been so busy with client shoots and Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations and family time and...and...and...

Sometimes we choose to slow things down; take a break and enjoy the ride a little more...and sometimes we are forced to slow down - kicking and screaming...other times just bracing for impact in wide-eyed bewilderment.
For me, right now, the latter is most applicable. 

Friends who know us, know that we have struggled for months with our 3-year-olds bladder/urinary tract infections.  She gets sick, she gets treated, they bring her in for more testing (that can only be done when the infection is cleared up) and by that point, she already has another infection.  Our wonderful Pediatrician and his staff are baffled. 
When I picked her up from preschool yesterday she had a fever.  "Oh great," I thought, "she's going to get everyone in preschool sick!"  We spent the rest of the day/evening with her fever hovering around 102 degrees (despite the Motrin/Tylenol combo).  She awoke around midnight with a 104 fever (axillary) and vomiting.  It was all downhill from there.
We spent the rest of the night keeping her comfortable and medicated (can you say suppository?).  She threw up everything that passed her lips and by 5am had nothing left and continued to dry heave for the next few hours.  My poor baby was exhausted.  She was so run-down that by the time I took her to the doctor at 9:15am, she could barely walk.
It just so happened that we had this doctors appointment scheduled as a "re-check" from her most recent round of antibiotics to clear up a bladder infection. 
Her re-check turned into a 3+ hour appointment where they did a couple of different urinalysis and tried to get some more concrete answers.  She definitely had another infection and due to her extremely high fever and localized pain, it was determined her kidneys were severely infected.
By 12:30pm her fever had jumped to 105.8 with no signs of stopping.  She was stripped and wrapped in cold towels, to which she gave no response.  She was completely non-responsive to most treatment or questioning.  She was given 2 antibiotics by injection (to which she cried out briefly).
As she lay on the exam table trembling and lethargic, my Pediatrician said, "I want to admit her to the hospital".

Then the new round of whirlwinds began as I got ahold of Chris (who got ahold of his parents), then my mom, then the dear friend who had picked up my kindergartner (and was going to arrange pickup of our oldest from school)...did I mention I had Zeke (1 y/o) and Laethym (7 y/o) with me at this appointment?  OH, well, I did.  Laethym wasn't feeling good and had been home for 2 days from school (she also was examined at the appointment and it was determined that she just has a virus that is causing chest congestion).  I was so glad she was there.  She kept her little brother occupied and happy.  She read him books and walked him up and down the hallway to view the various fish tanks.  She was a complete and utter lifesaver!  I think we'll keep her!  That being said, she totally lost it when the doctor said "hospital"!  It took a bit to calm her down and reassure her that this was in Payton's best interest.
We waited for Chris to get there, then we put Payton in the wheelchair and headed up to the hospital. 
She was admitted around 1pm and had an IV started right away. 
Chris' parents met us at the hospital and Chris and his dad gave Payton a wonderful, wonderful blessing.  We are so blessed to have them live (and work) so close to us!
My mom came right up from Florence.  I'm so grateful that she would drop everything to come up and help out our family.  Don't know what I'd do without her...don't wanna know.
Pyaton drifted in and out of consciousness for the first couple hours, then took a good nap.  Chris took Laethym and Zeke and picked up Avonleigh and Christopher and took everyone home for the evening.
We had wonderful friends come visit (and bring goodies), and then Daddy and her brothers and sisters came to visit her before bedtime.  The kids were really upset that she had to stay in the hospital.  It's not something our family has ever had to deal with.  Besides me being in the hospital to give birth (which I turn around and go home 24hrs or less afterwards), none of our family has been hospitalized (or away from the family) for any length of time.  That's a scary thing to a child.  They are saying lots of prayers for her to get better soon.  She's such a loved little girl!
Shortly after everyone left, Payton's fever spiked to 106.1, and thus ensued another frightening round of "how-fast-can-we-get-this-fever-down-before-she-goes-into-convulsions"!
When her fever gets high, she starts vomiting.  She had nothing to vomit.  The poor thing hasn't eaten or kept anything down for 2 days!  She was given piggybacked doses of Tylenol/Motrin and Zofran to fight the nausea/vomiting. 
And now we wait.  We wait for her little body to work with the antibiotics and do it's job to rid her poor kidneys of this infection.  We wait for the infection to clear completely before moving forward with the next round of testing (and possibly doctors).  We wait.  Wait.  Wait.  Wait. 
I don't know how long she will have to stay in the hospital...but it will be a while.  It all depends on how her body reacts to this round of antibiotics and how well her kidneys clear up and rebound.

So while I'm bracing for impact, I think I will take in this "slow down". 
It's what I need. 
It's what Payton needs. 
It's what our family needs. 
To get back to basics and remember what is really important. 

I have beautiful pictures to share with you tomorrow.