Oliver’s trip to the Aviation Museum


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The above is a super adorable picture of my clone babies! 🙂

On June 7th we arrived in Ottawa at CHEO in time for Oliver’s appointment with General Surgery. We waited an hour before we were called in; they were running behind. The g-tube nurse was training another nurse so the trainee did the tube change. She removed Oliver’s temporary PEG tube and inserted the measuring tube. Oliver was not impressed with this at all; he got very upset and I felt bad, but the tube switch needed to be done now that the stoma was healed. I did my best to comfort him and rocked him to sleep while Jordan went down to the pharmacy to purchase a new Mic-Key button (12 French, 2 cm). Over $200 later, the button was inserted and we were finished for the day! The nurse showed us how to do the insertion so that in 6 months’ time we can do it ourselves. I’m actually nervous about that, as we never did a tube change with Khloë.


Superman Baby

Mic-Key button

We stayed overnight at Rogers House, the palliative care facility. The following day, after packing up, we drove over to Ottawa’s Aviation & Space Museum and spent a couple hours wandering around there.


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Aviation

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Aviation Aviation

The museum was a nice way to end our trip to Ottawa!

Oliver: 6 months old

Here is what’s been happening in the past few months!

2 MONTHS OLD
December 23 – January 22
– Daddy was very sick so we stayed home for Oliver’s first Christmas instead of going to family celebrations in Kingston
– We went to our church’s Candlelight Service on Christmas Eve
– On Christmas Day we Skyped with everyone at Oma’s
– On December 31st Oliver received his second RSV shot; that evening Uncle Luke & Aunt Katelyn arrived for a 4-day visit
– Oliver weighed 11 lb 14 oz on January 6th, length 23 inches, and head circumference 40 cm; this showed no weight gain since end of December
– Drove to Kingston on January 7th for the weekend; hung out with Oma, went shopping with Aunt Keesje, and Oliver met my Uncle Dale and Aunt Margaret
– Oliver weighed 12 lb 3 oz on January 13th
– January 16th marked one year that my baby girl Khloë has been in Heaven
– On January 21st Oliver received his fourth injection of Nusinersen (IONIS-SMNrx) in Boston with Dr Swoboda; he had the CHOP-INTEND physio test in the morning and injection was scheduled for late afternoon in the OR with sedation; he weighed 12 lb 5 oz, length 23.5 inches, head circumference 40 cm, chest circumference 40.5 cm
– Packed away Oliver’s 3 month onesies and pulled out size 6 month; he was still in size 2 diapers


2 months old

2 months old

3 MONTHS OLD
January 23 – February 22
– Kicking his legs, waving his arms and holding his head up are major milestones
– Oliver was becoming interested in toys dangling in front of him; he smiled and cooed a lot
– Jordan and I celebrated 10 years together on February 2nd
– Oliver weighed 12 lb 9 oz on January 28th; this showed very little weight gain in 18 days and a half inch gain in length; Dr Swoboda recommended a swallow study to rule out swallowing issues
– He started showing signs of silent reflux (twisting and arching while breastfeeding, crying, needing to be upright often); he was prescribed ranitidine
– On February 4th Mary from Infant Development met Oliver; later he received his third RSV shot
– Nanny & Papa visited from February 5 – 10th; Oliver enjoyed having “conversations” with them
– Oliver lifted his head up, for the first time, while propped on a nursing pillow
– Struggled with getting him to take a bottle; he gagged on everything I tried
– By the middle of the month I moved Oliver into size 6 month pants and size 9 month onesies; also switched to size 3 diapers
– On February 15th I woke up in extreme pain from mastitis; spent Family Day at the emergency room to get antibiotics
– On February 16th Oliver had a swallow study at CHEO; he was put in a high chair and fed liquid barium in a squeeze bottle; the x-ray showed no signs of aspirating while swallowing
– Oliver had neuromuscular clinic on February 17th; Dr M showed concern for Oliver’s lack of weight gain and suggested we have a consult with general surgery about getting a g-tube
– We met with Dr Bass (surgeon) on February 18th and talked about g-tube surgery for June


3 months

3 months

4 MONTHS OLD
February 23 – March 22
– Oliver weighed 13 lb 1.5 oz on February 23rd, length 25 inches, head circumference 41 cm
– Started feeding him Neocate Infant formula by syringe as a supplement
– On February 24th he had his fourth month vaccinations
– Tried carrying Oliver around in the Boba 4G to get him used to it
– My mom, sister, and nephew came on February 25th to spend the weekend; we did a lot of cooking and baking
– Oma discovered Oliver was teething by pointing out blisters on his gums
– On February 29th we celebrated Rare Disease Day by wearing out special shirts from Gwendolyn Strong Foundation
– On March 2nd he received another RSV shot
– Switched to CeraVe brand for Oliver’s cleanser and cream; his eczema is so severe that everything causes him to break out and the eczema oozes; after a trip to the doctor about oozing and infected-looking skin, he was prescribed 1% hydrocortisone; Dr K sent off a referral to dermatology at CHEO
– Oliver finally learned how to use a pacifier
– Ordered a seahorse pattern Lillebaby carrier and Oliver was more comfortable in it


4 months old

4 months old

5 MONTHS OLD
March 23 – April 22
– Oliver weighed 13 lb 3 oz on March 23rd; his weight has stopped increasing
– He met all four month fine/gross motor skills
– Uncle Cheepow & Aunt Serena and the girls visited for Easter weekend
– On March 30th Oliver received his last RSV shot of the season
– We bought a used Outlander because we needed a larger vehicle; Jordan plans to sell my car
– Mary worked with Oliver on April 7th; she loaned him a Tumbleform chair
– I bought a used Baby Einstein activity jumper for Oliver
– On April 9th Oliver tried brown rice cereal and pureed sweet potato for the first time
– Oliver started rolling from his right side onto his belly but can’t get his arms out from under him yet
– On April 13th we had neuromuscular clinic at CHEO; Oliver’s occupational therapist supervised him eating pureed food; we also met with his other specialists; he showed off his new skills; had a long conversation with Dawn about Oliver’s lack of weight gain and agreed we needed to move his surgery up
– Oliver weighed 13 lb 4 oz on April 13th, length 25.4 inches
– Oliver was admitted to CHEO on April 14th for failure to thrive; an NG (nasogastric) feeding tube was inserted and he was placed on the waiting list for emergency gastrostomy surgery; the tube made him sound phlegmy and put him at a higher risk for aspirating; I continued to breastfeed before every tube feed
– Oliver weighed 13 lb 6 oz on April 16th
– On April 19th we met the pediatric dietician, Julie, who understood Oliver’s needs in regard to SMA; we moved his tube feeds to every 4 hours
– On the morning of April 20th Oliver had gastrostomy surgery performed by Dr Bass; a PEG tube was inserted; PPN (peripheral parenteral nutrition) was ordered to keep him from fasting after surgery
– Oliver’s tube feeding was scheduled at 75 ml breastmilk every 4 hours at 75 ml/hr and breastfeeding on demand


5 months old

5 months old

6 MONTHS OLD
April 23 – May 22
– On April 25th Oliver was discharged from the hospital and we moved over to Rogers House for the night; CCAC ordered us some enteral feeding supplies and then we headed home the next day
– Applied for Oliver’s first passport
– Oma stayed with us April 29 to May 2nd; she helped cook while we got used to a new routine with Oliver
– Oliver weighed 13 lb 13 oz on May 4th at the doctor’s office, length 26 inches, head circumference 42 cm; refilled ranitidine prescription and he had his 6 month vaccination
– Jordan’s parents arrived May 7 and stayed til May 10th
– Approved for ACSD (Assistance for Children with Severe Disability), but for the bare minimum
– Travel itinerary for Boston was booked; our first time flying for the NURTURE trial
– Oliver enjoyed being able to sit supported on the floor with toys in front of him
– His first tooth finally came through
– We registered for SMA Family Camp Ontario (July)
– I purchased a new stroller, Bugaboo Donkey Mono, for Oliver; insurance agreed to pay for 80%
– On May 16th we flew to Boston; Oliver did great on the plane, although the whole ordeal was stressful for myself; car service delivered us to our hotel
– In the morning of May 17th Oliver had the motor function test (CHOP-INTEND) and in the afternoon the CMAP; Dr Swoboda was very pleased with his progress
– On May 18th Oliver had his fifth injection of Nusinersen with sedation; he weighed 14 lb 2 oz, length 25.9 inches; he passed the neurological exams and that evening we left the hospital to go out for dinner; the next morning we returned to the hospital for one last neuro exam
– On May 19th we flew home
– I can’t keep Oliver from constantly rolling from his back to tummy, he’s seriously working on this skill


6 months old

6 months old

6 months old

I cannot believe my little boy is 6 months old! We are so happy with the progress he has made; he truly is a miracle!

Oliver: 1 month old

November 23 – December 22
My baby boy turned one month old on November 23rd. It really is incredible how fast he’s growing! Oliver’s first neuromuscular clinic visit was scheduled for December 9th. He also had IONIS-SMNrx (previously labelled ISIS-SMNrx) injections scheduled for December 3rd and December 17th. What a busy month for my baby!


1 month old

Nov 23 – We received the Hope car bed and a box full of goodies from CureSMA! Oliver’s grandparent arrived from New Brunswick and Charlene and I set up the Christmas tree.

Nov 25 – Oliver had a hearing test done. He passed with flying colours.

Nov 26 – Home visit from Suki. Oliver weighed 10 lb 4 oz.

Nov 27 – Oliver had a hard time napping during the day. He was so over-tired that he fussed til 2:15 am. I think it was from all the noise in the house with his grandparents visiting. They stayed with us from November 23 – 30th and loved interacting with their grandbaby.

Nov 28 – We went to the Christkindlmarkt at the “Germania Club” in Pembroke. I bought various kinds of cookies and a bottle of dark maple syrup. Afterward, Jordan’s parents treated us to Thai food for lunch!


Snuggles

Dec 2 – We arrived in Boston, Massachusetts after a twelve hour day of driving and frequent stops. The day before we had driven to Kingston and stayed overnight at my mom’s to save us some driving time. There was a mix-up with our room at the hotel; it was 10 pm by the time we got a room. Poor Oliver was miserable and just wanted to be asleep in his bed.

Dec 3 – A double whammy of a day: Khloë’s second birthday and Oliver’s injection #2 day! His big sister was watching over him that day. At the hospital, Oliver was weighed at 10 lb 9 oz and 22.6 inches long. His head and chest circumference were both 38 cm. At 12:30 pm we moved to the PICU where Oliver was given a dose of IONIS-SMNrx by intrathecal injection (into his spine). I stayed with him this time. He cried during the injection but tried to calm himself by sucking on his bottle. The rest of the afternoon he slept and ate normally. Around 7 pm, after Dr Swoboda finished her neuro exam and left for the night, Oliver began to fuss and needed to be either held, rocked, or nursed. At 9 pm, when Jordan went back to the hotel to sleep, Oliver became inconsolable. I asked for the nurse to give him Tylenol but the medication wasn’t written in the orders for the night and the nurse couldn’t reach the doctor. Finally at 3 am Dr Swoboda called and gave the go-ahead for Tylenol. She returned to the hospital at 4:30 am and held Oliver for two hours while I slept. She got him to take a 2 oz bottle of Similac and he calmed down after that.

Dec 4 – Dr Swoboda did Oliver’s last neuro exam in the morning and we headed out! We stopped overnight in Lyons Falls, New York; by Saturday night we were home.


Boston

Beautiful boy

Dec 9 – Neuromuscular clinic at CHEO. The morning prior, we drove up and registered Oliver at the palliative care building (Rogers House) and stayed overnight. We met Oliver’s team. I asked for a pulse oximeter and CoughAssist for Oliver’s use. Carlie (RT) loaned us her CoughAssist machine and said that she would have the pulse ox and new CA machine couriered to our home. We filled out some paperwork with our social worker: applied to ACSD, Muscular Dystrophy, Easter Seals, Disability Tax Credit Supplement, to name a few.

Dec 10 – Oliver received his first Synagis shot (RSV antibodies).

Dec 11 – Brought Oliver to see Dr K for his skin issues. His face was covered in crusts, through his eyebrows and getting close to his eyes. My boy was covered in seborrheic dermatitis! Dr K told me to use 1% hydrocortisone, and after two days of applying that, along with Glaxol cream, the crusts flaked off.

Dec 12 – Suki did her last home visit and weighed Oliver at 11 lb 3 oz. His length was 23 inches. Around this time I moved Oliver into size 2 Pampers and 3 month or 3-6 month clothing.

My mom visited with us until December 14th. My little Love Bug was full of smiles and laughter; a sound of pure joy. He was moving his legs more, turning his head from side to side, pulling his head back when held upright, and lifting his arms again. I loved witnessing these small miracles! His newfound strength is proof that IONIS-SMNrx is working!

Dec 16 – Arrived in Boston late at night. During the drive Oliver vomited while in his car bed and started choking on it. I had to unbuckle and pull him out quickly and turn him on his side. After a little crying, he was fine. Jordan pulled into a Dunkin’ Donuts and we cleaned him up in there.


Happy Oliver

Oliver's Christmas tree

Dec 17 – At the hospital, Dr Swoboda was impressed with Oliver’s improvements in strength since the last time she’d seen him–two weeks ago. He had blood drawn and a urine sample taken. He weighed 11 lb 3 oz. Injection #3 of IONIS-SMNrx was attempted in the PICU with no sedation; however Oliver was more wiggly than usual and the doctor wasn’t able to successfully give the injection. He got very upset this time and his o2 kept dropping. Luckily she was able to book an OR with an anesthesiologist for early evening. We met the anesthesiologist at 5:30 pm, signed the consent form, and handed Oliver over to the team at 6 pm. Dr Swoboda was able to do the injection successfully and I breastfed him in Recovery an hour later. We made sure Oliver was given Tylenol to prevent any pain or discomfort and he ended up having a very good night! Sedation seems to be the trick in giving him a much better recovery after the traumatic IV attempts and lumbar puncture. During our hospital stay Jordan was sick with a bad cold so he remained at the hotel for most of the time. When he did come over to see us, he made sure to wear a mask.

We had planned to head to my mom’s on Christmas Eve but with Jordan still being ill we had to stay home. That turned out to be for the best because then we were able to spent time at home after our return from Boston.

Oliver: Birth to 1 month

October 23 – November 22, 2015
The first month with my baby boy was a whirlwind, to say the least: his early birth, getting used to having a newborn at home, his diagnosis of SMA, and travelling to Boston to get him in the NURTURE clinical trial.

This post is for me to play catch-up!

Oct 24 – The day after Oliver was born, we left the hospital at 9:30 am. The L&D floor was very busy and short on rooms so they wanted us out of there as soon as possible.

Oct 25 – Home visit from Suki. Oliver was slightly jaundiced.

Oct 26 – Home visit from Suki. Oliver weighed 7 lb 8 oz. We gave him BioGaia probiotic drops, as recommended, to help with gas (he’d been struggling at night).

Oct 27 – Noticed that since starting the BioGaia, Oliver’s poops have been even more frequent and burning his bum!


October 27

November 1

Oct 28 – We went to Prenatal Nutrition and brought my mom. Decided to stop the probiotic drops and picked up Sudocrem to help heal his bum.

Oct 29 – Oliver was breastfeeding every 2 to 2.5 hours round the clock. Lots of wet diapers! Suki had the flu so home visit was rescheduled.

Oct 30 – Oliver turned 7 days old. We drove to CHEO and met with Claire (genetic counsellor) and geneticist. Oliver’s muscle tone seemed normal for a newborn. He had blood drawn for SMA testing and weighed 7 lb 12 oz.

Oct 31 – We didn’t do anything special for Halloween but did take some pictures of Oliver in a themed sleeper.


October 28

My mom stayed with us until November 2. I loved having her with us. She made delicious meals for us and changed lots of dirty diapers! She also finished crocheting a beautiful baby blanket and two hats for Oliver.

By the end of his first week, I switched to size 1 diapers rather than buying another box of NB. Some NB size onesies were starting to be too short, as well. Oliver slept the days away, only having a few alert moments. When awake, he would follow my voice with his eyes. At night, he woke every 2-3 hours to breastfeed and then he’d fall back to sleep. I was finally getting some shut-eye!


November 9

Nov 3 – Jordan from “Cole Creations” came all the way from Kingston to do two newborn photoshoots at my house–one for Oliver and one for my friend’s baby girl, Josebelle, who was born five days after my boy. Oliver was 11 days old.

Nov 4 – I had Oliver weighed at Prenatal Nutrition: 8 lb 5 oz.

Nov 10 – Oliver met his family physician, Dr K. He weighed 8 lb 14 oz and measured 21 inches long (same as at birth). Around this time I switched him into 0-3 month clothing and packed away all the NB outfits.

Nov 11 – Geneticist called in the evening to tell us that Oliver’s blood test results showed he had Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).

Nov 12 – I emailed the coordinator for the NURTURE trial (in Boston, Massachusetts) and explained Oliver’s diagnosis and our interest in getting him into the presymptomatic newborn clinical trial for ISIS-SMNrx. Kellie replied right away and Jordan and I immediately FaceTimed with her and Dr Swoboda. We agreed to Dr Swoboda’s suggestion that we get Oliver to her as soon as Monday so that she could assess him and, if he’s accepted, be given his first injection by the Thursday.

Nov 13 – We met with Dr M (neurologist) at CHEO. He examined Oliver and told us that he was displaying some signs already. He was 3 weeks old. I had noticed lessened movement in his arms and legs (only because I was really looking for it) and his inability to pull his head up. Dr M wrote us a prescription for a car bed.


November 2

November 6

Nov 15 – Arrived in Boston at 7:30 pm and settled in at the hotel. It took us two days to drive there.

Nov 16 – We met Kellie and Dr Swoboda and discussed what to expect from the clinical trial. Oliver went through a full day of screening, including an ECG, blood draw, motor function test, and CMAP. We had to wait for the blood work to come back before Oliver could officially be accepted into the study. The following day they had to repeat the blood draw due to the vials clotting.

Nov 18 – Oliver was accepted into the NURTURE trial!

Nov 19 – Procedure day! Oliver was given the drug ISIS-SMNrx intrathecally (administered through lumbar puncture). His back was numbed but of course he still got very upset. No sedation was needed. Jordan stayed with him the whole time while I pumped, since he had to miss a feeding session.


Two weeks old

Three weeks old

Although procedure days will be tough on our little guy, we know it’s the right thing to do. SMA is a terminal disease that takes almost everything away from a child. But this drug can delay or stop progression. Right now we hope for the little things, like being able to hold his head up and kick his legs. We have to make two more trips to Boston in the month of December for two more injections, then we will have a month reprieve.

Khloë: 11 months old (50 weeks)

Khloë is laying down for this week’s photo. She’s having difficulty being upright for any length of time.


50 weeks (November 18)

50 weeks (November 18)


Not a whole lot went on this week. We made the trip to CHEO for Khloë’s first RSV vaccination on Friday. As mentioned previously, she will receive the Synagis shot once a month until March to protect her against this nasty bug. Once we registered, she was weighed (19 lbs) and then given one injection. She did get upset, but it didn’t last long.


Such a gorgeous baby

Sweet baby hands

A week ago I ordered a petite size Wisp mask for Khloë. I really dislike how the Pixi fits her face. Unfortunately, the headgear is too big so we can’t use it yet. The mask itself is a good fit. We are trying to rig something up so we can use the mask on her with either the velcro hat or Pixi headgear (which sort of fits). Very frustrating. But for now we have to keep using the Pixi for BiPap.


Night time set-up

The above photo is Khloë’s nighttime set-up in her bedroom. On the far left is the Kangaroo Joey feeding pump and behind it on the stand is the Trilogy BiPap machine. Sitting by her head is the CoughAssist and at her feet is a Masimo Rad8 pulse oximeter. On the floor is her suction machine. Everything within easy reach in case of emergency. All of these pieces of equipment aid us in managing our daughter’s neuromuscular disease!