Monday, June 30, 2008


***Make sure you scroll down & pause the music at the bottom of the blog!

Finally, we're able to get out as a family! We've been waiting almost 2 years to be able to do things like this, but with Vaeh's medical status we hadn't been able to... until now! Last year this time, Vaeh was just days away from her second open heart, so we were under a kind of "quarrentine." But now, we're all go!

Every year, our church has a wonderful event to celebrate the 4th of July. They have a carnival-type set up, with rides for the kids, junk food stands (ie: funnel cakes, yum!), face painting, & they even have free hot dogs & hamburgers! Each year they have more people come, with upwards of 7,000 last year & each year it grows! We usually spend the afternoon there & then stay for the fireworks. They usually last about 45 minutes & are set to music.

Gabby had a great time playing on the rides that they have set up, jumping & running all over. They also had a puppet show by the kids in the church inside & the girls both loved it.

Once it was dark & time for the fireworks I wasn't sure how Vaeh would do. At first she was a little scared by the noise, but once she realized that she wasn't going to be hurt she had a blast! It was just so nice to be able to go out as a family & not have to worry! Hope you all enjoy the 4th of July!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sisters playing together

This morning the girls were both standing at the table, playing & arguing like little sisters do! It was all so 'normal' that it almost brought tears to my eyes. I've been waiting since we found out that Vaeh had a heart defect to have these 'normal' moments in life & they've finally arrived! I just love seeing my girls standing & playing together. And of course (as you can see & hear) they do act like normal sisters competing for the exact same thing. Even though they both have many different things to choose from they want the same thing. Its just so wonderful to have 'normal' problems to face instead of all the medical mumbo-jumbo!

**Make sure you scroll down & turn off the music at the bottom so that you can hear them arguing! lol

Friday, June 27, 2008

Starring... Miss Vaeh!

This is our morning routine. Vaeh sits in her rocker seat & I do her bolus feeds. There are some mornings that she almost sleeps through her first feed, but the other day she was a little chatty. You have to watch the whole thing, because its not until the end that she really starts to chat things up! Of course, during the day she gets so talkative, but the minute the camera comes out... she clams up!

**Make sure you scroll down to the bottom of the page & pause the music so that you can hear miss chatty!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

From then to now!

Its hard to believe watching Vaeh scoot all over the house & playing that just six weeks ago today, Vaeh had her 3rd open heart! She is doing so well & making progress each & every day! The therapists (physical & speech) were both here today, & the PT was quite suprised at how well she is starting to cruise around the furniture! She walked (while holding onto my hands, mind you!) about 5 ft. without much support at all! She was also sitting herself up from sidelying without help! She was even able to "army crawl" about 5 ft. - which is like a mile for her! I just find myself staring at her in disbelief that she's come so far in such a short time!

In Ann Arbor right after surgery, 6 weeks ago today.

Six weeks later... look at me now!

I get a big smile on my face just thinking about where she'll be 6 years from now! UGH, I think I'll stop that for now!

On a lighter note, our little heart friend Elaina is improving each day. They were able to get her chest incision closed over the weekend, & are now working to get her off the vent. The next step is home! Elaina & her family have been through quite an ordeal over the past few weeks, so please continue to keep them lifted up in prayer! We all know that prayer really does help!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Speaking Vaeh!

She's certainly no "Gabby" (boy, did we name her right - lol!), but Miss V is really starting to develope her vocabulary. If you "speak Vaeh" you can really catch on to what she's saying. And believe it or not, can almost interpret her different screeches! But here lately she's really been getting some understandable words out, even to the 'untrained ear'.

She's been saying 'mom' (mah) & 'dad' (dada) for quite some time. Here lately she's been making some more formed words. "Mawmaw" came out clear as a bell about two weeks ago & has been saying that one every time anyone in the house mentions my Mom, or especially if she walks in the door - "Mawmaw!" Yesterday we got back from a parade celebrating our city's 175th anniversary. Jon & his Dad were working on putting in our new screen door & Miss V said "Pawpaw." Plane as day, & when Jon asked her if she had seen her Pawpaw, she shook her head yes!

Her other big new word is "Sassa" meaning Sasha, our family cat! As much of a sour puss that the cat can be, she has really taken to Vaeh & actually tolerates her pretty well. Of course 'yeah, no, hi & byebye' have been coming out for a while too! I don't know... the rate she's going, we'll have to call her Gabby, Jr.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Playin' around!

Darn, you caught me!

I'm taking my baby for a stroll! Wanna come?

Having some fun with the cannulas!

We're finally back to normal around here (except for the whole nasal cannula thing!). Vaeh's bug seemed to be a 24 hour thing that she inherited from her big sister & she was over it after a day's worth of Pedialyte. Since Wednesday morning when I started her back on her Nutren Jr. she's been great! I'm just so glad that she's stopped the vomitting & I can actually put cute outfits on her (instead of the one piece outfits to help keep the tube under wraps!).

Today we spent the day just hanging out watching the Hannah Montanna marithon on Disney. Its already started, & Gabby is only4 years old! What am I gonna do when she hits the tweeny-bopper stage...UGH! But what's really scary is that Miss Vaeh likes to watch it, too! Oh boy, am I in for it or what?!?! As long as they both stay healthy, I'll take it!

A quick update on Elaina. The last update was very guarded. She continues to struggle with her oxygen saturations, as well as now running a fever. As her Mom said, her chest has been open for a week. She is holding her own, but fighting a hard battle. PLEASE continue to keep her in your prayers!

Here's a couple of pictures of the girls from the past few days. I had a request for more pics, so here you go - Enjoy! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Prayers for Elaina

Just a quick update here! Gabby is back to her ornery old self. She's been playing & eating like she never had an upset tummy. Vaeh had a sleepy day yesterday & still managed to sleep through the night! She hasn't vomitted since early yesterday morning, & so far today is doing well. I just did a first bolus feed of the day, at half her normal amount, & she seems to be tolerating it okay. So hopefully things are getting back to normal at The Walp House!

Basically I wanted to post this morning to ask for prayers for a little heart friend of ours, Elaina. She remains in the hospital & has had some major set backs. She again went into emergency surgery last night. She wasn't maintaining her oxygen saturations even on the ventilator. At last update, she is a very sick little girl. Please send prayers her & her family's way. She is a tough little girl & has been through so much in the past few weeks. Pray that she begins to improve soon & she is able to return home with her family where she belongs!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Visitor's Map!

I know, I know - two posts in one day?!?! I was playing around on the computer this morning (after the first post of the day) & decided to add a little something to the blog. I got the idea from a couple other blogs that I watch (the latest one was Elaina & Hollie, so thanks girls!) & thought this would be a neat way to track who all checks in on us. So, PLEASE pop down to the bottom of the blog & add a pin for yourself so we know who all is checking in on us! Thanks!

Rough night...

Our weekend was plagued by Gabby being sick for Father's Day. So yesterday we headed to the pediatrician to have her checked out, & he said that it was most likely a virus that's been going around. Great! Just what we need is for a virus, that includes vomiting, in our house. But by last evening she seemed to be back to nearly 100%, so I thought that maybe we would be okay. So much for thinking!

We were quite careful, using the hand sanitizer at every opportunity, but unfortunately... it started last night around 9 PM. I had my back to Vaeh because I was busy with some silly thing & she was playing with Gabby, watching Disney. The next thing I know I hear that all to familiar "splash" of liquid hitting the floor - not good! I wasn't sure if she had gagged herself, as she had just finished a bolus feed only a few minutes before. I was hoping for the gag theory.

When I started her on the feeding pump, I was sure to give her a dose of prevacid. I have been trying to wean her off of it, & so there's another theory of why she had gotten sick... We headed off to be around 11:15. So I kind of knew what was going on when I heard Vaeh get sick around 12:35. Poor little thing, over the course of about a half hour, she vomitted 5 times basically emptying her stomach. So, we headed out to the living room, called MawMaw to get us some Pedialyte & settled in for the night... again. I gave her a dose of zophran (which she was prescribed the last time we went through this whole vomitting thing) & started the Pedialyte. It only took about 3 mL's & she was throwing up again, so we stopped the pump. I waited until about 6:30 this morning to start her back up & started with a dose of zophran. Its about 8 AM now & so far, so good... Hopefully this turns out to be just a 24 hour bug like Gabby had & all will be well again tomorrow this time!

Just a quick update on our little heart friend Elaina. She had surgery last week, & has been struggling since. As of last evening, her Mom reported that her chest was still open because of her lungs not tolerating the surgery very well so far. They are struggling trying to wean her off the vent, among other things. Please keep little Elaina & her family in your prayers! We all know that prayer changes things!

*PS - Thanks, MawMaw!!! We couldn't do it without you! (& the rest of our family!)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Father's Day!!

Sorry this is a day late, but just wanted to wish all those wonderful Dad's out there a Happy Father's Day!

Our day was quite busy yesterday. We went to church in the morning, where Gabby made Daddy a wonderful key chain which he now has that in his truck with him! Of course Gabby was extatic to hear that. When we got home from church, we fixed lunch... steaks on the gril, cheesy potatoes & broccoli with cheese sauce! But in the midst of fixing lunch, miss Gabby decided she was going to get sick! Poor little thing wasn't able to keep anything down until earlier this afternoon! But overall Daddy had a good afternoon with his girls! Its just nice to finally be able to experience "normal" things as a family without the hospital component!

So, to the best Daddy in the world - HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! Thanks, Jon for being such a wonderful Daddy to our beautiful little girls! We love you! And to all those other Dad's out there - hope you all had a wonderful day with your families!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Back in the swing of things...

Vaeh had physical therapy & speech therapy yesterday. Since we're on summer schedule now, they'll only be here a few times between now & the start of school in the fall! We haven't had her standing too much at the table because she has a tendency to plop. When she does this, instinct is to grab her under the arms & we have 2 more weeks before this is safe! She still acts a little sore when sneezing or coughing, but otherwise doesn't seem to have any discomfort! I'm just amazed by that as its only been 4 weeks since they cut through the sternum! Amazing how quick kids seem to rebound!

Anyway, she did quite well for the PT, getting in some good rotation moves, some squatting, & even a little walking. It was a little strange at first because Barb isn't coming anymore. She isn't working this summer & this fall we'll have new therapists all together :( The county redid their contract & now has different therapists beginning this fall. I was quite suprised how well Vaeh did for Norma as she is a somewhat unfamiliar face. Only a few tears, & then back to all smiles!

The speech therapist came right after the PT & she was quite surprised that Miss V is actually eating. But the little stinker wouldn't "show off" for her like Mommy had hoped! She did eat a little yogurt, but wouldn't even try the popcorn puff. Lorita got out a blue razzberry sucker, which miss thing liked! Then she pulled out an empty bear honey jar. She had a straw thredded through the spout at the top and coiled down inside the bottle. She said it works great, as you can give a gentle squeeze & help the kids get a little something. Vaeh actually took a couple of sips of water! From what I gathered from the therapist, she's making some headway! Finally the light at the end of the tunnel is starting to brighten up!

On a side note, our little heart friend Elaina had surgery yesterday. It was somewhat unexpected as she has been slowly getting sicker & they decided it was in her best interest to go ahead with the surgery. The heart portion of the procedure went well, but her little lungs aren't tolerating things well. Her mom said that they have the ECMO (basically a bypass machine at bedside) ready just in case. PLEASE keep this family in your prayers as this is a very stressful time for them!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Popsicles with Daddy!

Its been so much fun with Vaeh eating. We're trying so many different things & she's actually making some decent progress. All this without having seen the speech therapist since about 2 weeks before surgery! Vaeh still doesn't do very well with any texture, but again is making progress in this direction, too! Yesterday afternoon she ate a popcorn puff. Not once did she gag or wretch, so needless to say I was extatic! Had we tried this much even the day before surgery I surely would have done at least one load of laundry, if not two! Here's a clip from this past weekend where Daddy shared his popscicle! Hope he knows that he's just creating more competition for the popsicles! Check out the little ornery face & wiggle! Its a trademark Vaeh move! "Gotta love me!"

(**Don't forget to scroll down & pause the playlist so the music doesn't overlap the video!)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cardiology visit

She wowed me! Not one screaming fit at her "monthly date" with Dr. Butto. She did fuss a bit a couple of times, but overall was a smiling, happy girl! Dr. Butto asked me "what did they put in there. She seems like a different girl!" I don't know, but they better capitalize on it!

She fussed a little when we first got there for her appointment, but Jon & I both think that she remembers one of her first visits there, which ended up in a life flight to Toledo Children's. When we went back to do her vitals, she again fussed but the bubbles helped! It was a wonderful distraction. Thanks, Wendy! I keep those that you sent for her in the diaper bag! Her BP was about right on the money from where she was post-op in the hospital (114/68mmHg) & her sats were great! She actually hit 100%! She's up to just over 27lbs, & 32" long! My baby is growing up so fast! She sat fairly still for the EKG, again the bubbles helping! Even during the echo, which she normally screams through at this clinic, she was a little angel! Playing & just being a happy little girl!

Dr. Butto said that at this point the plan is to go to the cath lab in three months. At that point he'll use the cutting balloon again as she seems to respond well to that & probably put in a stent. He said her pressures on the echo looked better this time than compared to what her discharge echo from Ann Arbor looked like! We still need to be on the O2, but hopefully that will be temporary until after the cath. He did mention that she has a "foramen ovale" (basically an ASD - atrial septal defect) and this may cause her to need O2 for a longer period, but we'll have to see. Other than that, we go back in a month (that montly date!) and continue her current meds. I think all in all he was quite pleased with how well she's doing! And he was suprised to hear that she's eating a bit.

So, overall a good visit but new info popping into the mix for Mom & Dad (ASD). Life is looking fairly easy finally & we can begin to enjoy our family! On a side note, our little friend Elaina is possibly going in for open heart in the next couple of weeks. Please keep her & her family in your prayers!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Take a peek at me!

I'm finally figuring out how to pop a short video of "Miss V" (Thanks, Penny - I just love the new nick name I've adopted since your email), with the help of my wonderful husband! I always talk about how the little stinker scoots around & Jon finally got a short clip of her scooting! Not to mention, the famous "No" that we get in response to everything we ask her! Doesn't matter what the correct response is, she always says her trademark "no!" Also, notice the lovely oxygen tubing that trails behind her. She's always getting it tangled around her legs, then it pulls her little nostrils off to the side. This is quite scary, that I'm actually figuring out how to do this stuff! You'll never get me off this computer now!
(**Make sure you scroll down & pause the playlist so that you can hear her "No!")

Vaeh see's her cardiologist tomorrow for her first follow up since the surgery, so we'll see how things look from his perspective! Hopefully she cooperates for the echo. I know that they'll especially want to see this to check her pressures. I'm hoping that we can get her off the oxygen soon! I'll post an update after we have our monthly date with Dr. Butto!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Children's hospital ranking for cardiac surgery

I found this article while poking around another heart family's blog. It is the latest ranking for children's hospitals for cardiac surgery. I was extatic to find that CS Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan (where we take Vaeh) was ranked #4! Makes me even more proud to say that Vaeh's heart belongs to Michigan! They're one of the best! The article was in US News & World Report if anyone is interested in taking a look!

The ranking gives statistics based on the last year, so we know that Vaeh was included on their counts at least once. Depending on the dates they used, she may even be included in it twice! Either way, we know that they rank high in our hearts & now its confirmed on paper - GO BLUE!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I've been tagged!

I have read on other blogs where the author has been "tagged" to answer five questions about themselves. As my luck would have it, one of our heart friends' mom was tagged, & passed the fun on to me! So, here goes...

What was I doing 10 years ago today?
My memory with things not related to Vaeh & Gabby is kind of vague, so I'm going to guess that I was probably at work in the outpatient rehab unit at St. Rita's (our local hospital). At that time, I was working 10 hour days for 4 days a week. I was still living at home with my Mom & hadn't met Jon yet.

Five things on my to do list today?
1. Clean up the living room. The toys just won't stay off the floor!
2. Put the clean dishes away & wash the ones from making cupcakes yesterday!
3. Give Vaeh a bath - between thundershowers.
4. Put clean laundry away. It never ends, does it?
5. Watch a movie or the Disney Channel with my girls!

Five snacks I enjoy?
1. Chips & salsa
2. Chocolate - anything chocolate.
3. A nice sweet orange, juicy too!
4. Popcorn.
5. M & M's, especially the peanut kind!

Five things I'd do if I were a millionaire?
1. Give my tithe to church!
2. Pay off all of our debt.
3. Build a new house, to MY specifications.
4. Set aside college funds for the girls.
5. Pay off my Mom & my in-laws debt.

Five places I've lived?
1. Wapakoneta, Ohio
2. Wapakoneta, Ohio
3. Lima, Ohio
4. Wapakoneta, Ohio
5. Wapakoneta, Ohio
(I know, such an adventurous person, aren't I?!)

So, for any heart mommas that haven't been tagged already, now you are! Let us get to know you all a little more!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Enjoying everyday life!

It has been so "normal" for us since Vaeh came home. We all drifted back into our pre-surgery routine, despite the 50 ft. oxygen tube laying on the floor! Its so cute to see Vaeh scoot around the floor. She does, however tend to get herself tangled in the tubing. She'll occasionally let out a screech to let me know "Mom, I'm stuck - HELP!"

She really seems to be doing quite well considering its just two days shy of three weeks ago that she had surgery. I'm always amazed at how quickly kids rebound, even from something so major! Most adults (myself included :0) would milk it for all its worth. Not my little one (and I'm sure all kids that have OHS). She's ready to get up & go, and I just love seeing her look so good!

Her incision is looking so good, although the steri-strips are still there. There isn't even that much that tempts Mommy to "pick" at. I am still in awe that she just had surgery less than three weeks ago!

Vaeh is still continuing to make progress with her eating. She doesn't seem to like peas, but does like sweet potatoes & peaches. She also started munching on a cheese puff (instead of the crayon!) today. I got her those little one's made for toddlers. She actually ate a little of it today! Most people wouldn't think that a half teaspoon her or there was much, but I am extatic about it! Hopefully the speech therapist will be here in the next week or two to give me some more suggestions on how to progress her! Here's to more happy eating!