Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Where we were....

November is at its hind end, and what's the Booty family been up to and why have there been so few entries here?

Ms. Booty Homemaker Explains It All To You like this.... in letters sent over a period of 10 days or so during mid month, beginning in order, with the first. Unlike usual, names are not changed to protect the guilty or the innocent.

I. Olen Recovering From Surgery.

Friends, family & colleagues,

On Sunday our boy, Olen, turned 7 weeks old. We visited the Unitarian Universalist church as a family-- a first-- and enjoyed visiting with folks. Olen wore a beautiful green outfit my friend Annie sent from Seattle and the Religious Ed director was calling O the "pea pod baby," so adorable he was. Later in the afternoon, I sent out a round of photos of our little man, fresh from our Saturday visit with Kay and Isabel. Everything was roses.

Sunday afternoon, O became ill with what seemed at first a tummy virus. By the time he'd vomited a third time, I was on the phone w/ the on call peds nurses and then later, when the vomit became bile--first pale yellow, then by the time we were on the way to the ER with Daddy in tow, a horrid shade of green. We got to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital just before midnight. True to what my research and intuition pointed toward, we spent the entire night in the ER with tests that at last revealed an obstuction of the bowels and that emergency surgery was necessary.

Cut to right now. We're at hospital. The surgery this morning went extremely well; the drs say that he was brought in, diagnosed and treated in record time, that we all worked well together. Ultimately, a congenital issue was sorted out under the knife: a kink in the small intestines was straightened out. Our little man is fighting his way toward health-- it's been the roughest thing his dad and I have ever experienced-- watching this baby we just barely got here struggle and hurt. Frightening and heartbreaking. But he's an amazing wonder, our boy; even all in tubes and denied anything by mouth, his croaky little cry and glassy eyes betray his spirit. It's been beyond difficult for me not to be able to nurse him or hold him close, the things a mama just does for nurture and for comfort.... So we love him. Love him and talk to him and stroke his brow and do what we know to do to make him comfortable, to cheer him on, to let him know that we're in it for the long haul and will never abandon our devotion to what is best for him.

Looks like we'll be here all week. We are incredibly fortunate to be here at Vandy Children's-- it is a stellar facility with a crack staff and we are in deep gratitude for all they've done for us for our boy both at birth and now. The nurses here are beyond wonderful and helpful and continue to go out of their way to treat Olen AND his parents with gentle kindess and professional focus.

I ask you to please hold our boy in the light as he works his way out of the woods. We love him so. And we are blessed to have him in our lives.

With love, with thanks,
paige, for the three of us

II. Update on Our Boy.

We've now been at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital since Sunday night. Olen presented with acute vomiting of scary green bile and was diagnosed w/ malrotation / volvulus of the small intestines which we learned began its presence at 4 weeks gestation, though didn't manifest itself to us until Sunday afternoon last.

Yesterday was the very hardest day of all. Olen had multiple procedures including x rays, getting a PICC line put in and doing a dye test. Denied anything by mouth save for the dye and the super short b'feed from yesterday AM (he vomited), Olen rooted, thrashed, screamed, cried, pulled at his IV, etc. At last I put him in the Bjorn and walked the halls dragging the IV pole along. He sacked out against mama and won the hearts of the all the staff; actually, they all adore him and have since his admittance. No surprise, that.

As of last night Olen had been without regular solid nutrition (breastfeeding on demand) since Sunday AM. He was put on nutritional IV on the PICC line last night. He entered the ER last Sunday night at 13 1/2 lbs. This AM he weighs 12 lbs 1 oz.

Inconsolable for more than a brief spate at a time, I pumped dry and offered Olen the breast for a minute last night late. While that initially amplified his desire to nurse, the comfort paid off; I swaddled Olen tightly and climbed up in his hospital crib bed with him and whispered and patted him down the next handful of hours until about four AM.

My mom has been here since just after Monday morning's surgery and my sister arrived to lend help last night through this morning. They are goddesses among women, as are the Chicks for Peace, the Glue Gun Annie Girls and the Nashville Mamas. Bless them all. I am further sleep deprived than I was prior to this week's events, even. I reckon I'll catch up eventually and now with the Bjorn here, I can wear Olen when I'm tired and not fear for nodding off with him in my arms.

This AM the dr. said "if he's hungry, you can breastfeed a little and see how it goes." I nearly throttled the dr. as my son has been VERY hungry for days and I'd been trying to get clearance on b'feeding since yesterday afternoon's upper GI dye study proved that there is no further bowel obstruction causing his further episodes of vomiting / spitting up bile. What we now know is that Olen's little system is just being slower to heal from the trauma of acute symptomology from the illness and mostly the necessary but invasive surgery. He's also hoarse &congested.

We won't go home until Olen is back to breastfeeding normally; we're hoping that'll be sooner rather than later, though I'm content to be patient with the process. As my husband says, "I just want Olen to get better and for our family to have a nice boring life."

Olen will be two months old tomorrow.

Thanks to all of you who've prayed, written, called, come by, sent food and / or stuff. We gratefully appreciate it even when we don't yet have time to individually thank you.

Be well, and bless all our houses that they be homes,
paige, aka Mama Babcock, for the Family Babcock,
as one of Olen's doctors pronouces us with great aplomb and a literal flourish of the cane

III. The Upswing After the Backslide.

thanks, y'all for the kind messages of support and the warm thoughts, wishes, prayers.

a brief update on the upswing: yesterday / last night was largely peaceful; olen is SO happy to be back at the breast. his lusty gulping has eased into a contentment heretofore unparralleled. just baby steps.... we're a good ways off from our 'normal' on demand nursing life, but there's been no vomiting now since friday morning, and more importantly, no vomiting since going back on the breast -- albeit in a very limited fashion-- in 24 hours.

it is intensely gratifying to see our son's loving and sweet natured self relaxed and well nourished. from 4 AM to 8:30 PM, olen even regained a pound of the weight he lost!! the combination of the nutritive IV in his PICC line and mama's milk has done our boy well. (isn't that remarkable?)

our expansive village continues to do us such good what with all manner of support. oh, we are thankful.

mama even got more sleep than any night thus far-- 3 shifts of sleep that averaged something that neared 2 hours of sleep a pop. thanks to olen's dear own (hop on) pop, who rubbed mama's shoulders during pumping time and tended to cleaning / sterilizing the pump kit parts and preparing the expressed milk for storage and kept mama plied with water & snacks & the best hugs ever-- all potent enrichments to mothering.

today makes a week since olen became ill and as of shortly before midnight tonight, we've been here a week. whew!

what a time. thank you, suzanne, for the very good supper last evening, the junky mags (olen's daddy & i both enjoyed them during our nighttime wakefulness) & too, for the coffee mother asked you to pick up-- we'd intended to pay you for it, and would like to!! so sorry we forgot our manners. i / we continue to be humbled by the kindness of this group of women. i am honored and blessed to be so taken in.

sue & mark, we will do nearly anything to repay you for keeping our beloved bert all week and into when we're able to retrieve him. it has been a blessing not to worry about him and to instead know that he's romping with willie & bruno and eating cottage cheese in his food, sleeping on the bed and in general, loving his stay at the robinson-havlish canine spa. thank you! (peggy says she's sending sue on a cruise!)

and yes, leslie, we'll take you up on reading material and foodstuffs if it's no bother. you've been true blue. thank you.

sorry for the mass mail, but time is precious. hold all you love a little closer.

with dreams of crumping up in our big family bed all together,
paige, for the family babcock

IV. We're Home!

Good Folks,

Thank you all for the support and good thoughts.

We are home from hospital after a week.Diggy and I arrived here with the babe this afternoon and Daddy just arrived home from work. Olen is doing well, back to nursing with great gusto, chattering away and smiling the most beautiful smile I've ever seen. The surgery was very successful; his incision looks wonderful. Internally, things seem to be moving along quite well. Not always in pain, he does, however get cranky when tired or hurting and he cries and thrashes a bit, but settles in loving arms.

We're all very tired. This evening, and likely many successive days, we're tucking into bed early and laying low to regain strength & energy. Please feel free to call or email. We'll be turning the ringer off the phone regularly to rest but will check messages frequently and return calls. Tomorrow I'll be far better equipped to settle into the routine of home. (Sue, I'll holler later tonight or in the morning about coming to get Bert.)

We are enormously grateful for our son's health-- for those who helped him get well (bless those surgeons, anesthesiologists, and all the Vanderbilt Children's staff, most epecially the nurses & care partners-- they were superb), and for all of you dear good folks who helped us bear it out.

We won't be traveling as planned for the holiday. We'll sadly miss our traditional celebration with the Christenson and Babcock families, though we hope to make an alternate trip to visit sooner rather than later. All the same: happy happy Thanksgiving. Our abundant harvest is family & friends this year, a community we're glad to call our village.

with love,
paige, eric & olen


  1. So glad the Babcock family is home again...
    Blessings on you three.

  2. Oh my!! What an ordeal. So glad to hear your little man is on the mend. The photo at the top is absolutely adorable!!

  3. Paige-- I am so sorry to hear of Olen's surgery and hospitalization. My youngest, Elliot, spent three weeks in the hospital on a feeding tube when he was a newborn. It was the worst thing I've ever been through. I am so happy to hear he is well and you are all recovering at home.

    Warmest wishes-

    Katie Allison Granju