Gitter Family Update – 22 weeks preggers and 18 months old!

14 06 2012

I can’t believe that I’m nearing the end of my 22nd week of pregnancy and that Tucker turned 18 months yesterday! It’s all gone by so quickly! I haven’t been very good about keeping up with all that is changing in our lives lately – for the 2 of you that read this but more importantly for me to remember exactly where we, The Gitters, were on June 14, 2012. So here it goes…


Our little stinker pot is talking up a storm trying to keep up with his favorite girl in the world, his cousin E – who moved in 2 doors down a few months ago. E is almost three and honestly I don’t think he could love her anymore. Yesterday Jim told me that Tucker wouldn’t let her go through until she gave him a kiss. so, adorable! One of my pregnant epiphanies was creating a Step 2/Little Tikes playground in our backyard for the kids…it has come to life and a few weeks ago we added the Naturally Playful® Front Porch Playhouse by Step2 – I got a good price and free shipping, and I know the resale value on this stuff is great if kept in good condition. They LOVE it, it took a couple of times out in the yard, but they are so funny in there now. We have a little swing and slide set from Eric’s cousins, a see-saw, the Step2 Clubhouse Climber, a picnic table and umbrella, and of course some of Bogey’s toys. They’ve been having a blast between the Step 2 community and the kiddie pools, sprinklers and the water table they love to live outside!

He’s gotten crazy fast on his feet and is just a tank of a kid and will push you out of the way to get where he wants to be. We are working on manners, and waiting your turn – he’s not so good at those yet. We’ve been experimenting with potty training, which he responds well to, we offer and he says yes or no, with yes he races to the bathroom, and when he says no we just let it be. Before bath we sit on the Elmo seat and if he goes, great if not he’s still pretty little. He’s talking a ton – some of it is still pretty gibberish, but he speaks VERY well for an 18 month old boy. A married couple, and friends of mine from high school own their own photography business, McManigal Photography and have taken all of Tucker’s pictures since he was a newborn – Chris was out at my parents house this past week trying to capture Tucker at 18 months…well it was a challenge to say the least. He was constantly moving, didn’t want to stay anywhere, and wouldn’t laugh at my ridiculous singing and dancing (which I paid for with a very sore pelvis the next day!) . He never sits still anymore and keeps me on my feet – but I must say he and Eric looked SOOOOOOOOO handsome! their outfits were the only thing that turned out how I wanted, we will see if the pictures depicted what I saw in my head- thanks for the lil boy tie Auntie Melly! (:

Tucker has no idea what life has in store for him, we’re working on body parts and he knows mouth, nose, 1 eye 2 eyes, hair, ear, cheek, toes, and fingers. We’re learning belly and trying to explain that the baby is in my belly but he just doesn’t care, and when we’ve tried to get him to gently pat the baby he pounds on my belly like bongo drums. So we will have to try a new approach to the upcoming changes in his life. We have a babysitter who comes to the house on a regular basis now, and we couldn’t LOVE her more! She’s fantastic and Tucker adores her. He has no issues with me leaving in the morning when Katherine is there, he calls her Kath-Kath and he is sufficiently tired after a day with her. We count our blessing everyday for having found her.

Here’s a few recent pictures of Tucker – they are not as numerous as they once were…

Baby Girl Gitter:

She’s a growing girl! I had my first u/s a couple weeks ago, and got a call a couple days after from my midwife’s office suggesting that I do a follow up ultrasound because her femur bone is 20% of her head circumference. Apparently the normal range is 17%-19%, my midwife wasn’t too concerned but per the recommendation of the radiologist we made another appointment for 2 weeks later (tomorrow already!) to check again, I was told it could be a couple of factors – it could be that she’ll be tall, which over all she’s much bigger than Tucker at 20 weeks (Tucker was 49.8% and she is 68.9% but Tucker was born in the 98% weight and 99% height), that she was in a strange position and the measurement could have been off. I couldn’t help but google it, and I couldn’t find anything bad about that – and to be quite honest, it wouldn’t change how much we love her or that God chose us to be her parents, she’s ours as long as God will allow it. So tomorrow we’re going in to see her again on the U/S and watch her twist and turn. I have a serious baby bump going on now – I think looks bigger looking down than in the mirror, but I can still fit into all my heels and I’m not a swollen whale, yet. I am considering a maternity belt, this one sits in my back and causes crazy pain when she lies in a certain spot, and she’s a stubborn one to move, totally my girl! But we’re on the downside of the maternity hill, with less time left than we’ve put in – that’s a good feeling.

A few other milestones in our lives – after we got back from the Bahamas and we Photoshopped a few pictures for our memory book Eric, Matt, LeAnne and I decided to do weight watchers, then I found out I was pregnant and stopped paying the monthly dues but Eric, LeAnne, and Matt all downloaded an app called iTrackBites for $2.99 and have had AMAZING success with it. We no longer have to Photoshop their pictures – Eric is down almost 50 lbs and is the skinniest he’s ever been and LeAnne has lost close to 20 lbs and Matt has lost over 20 lbs! I’m so proud of the three of them, they look so great and are fitting into clothes they haven’t wore in years! At my last appointment with my Midwife, her and her nurse were ooogling over how great Eric looked, and I’m not gonna lie – I was annoyed when she asked how I’ll handle it when our weights criss-cross going in opposite directions, not her most nurturing moment – but I still LOVE her!

We’ve been busy busy keeping up with the great weather, doctors appointments, and Eric’s INSANE summer work schedule! We’re surviving and thriving – some days there is more love than others, but at the end of the day we give thanks to God for all that we have and all He’s done for us. Life is Good as a Gitter my friends!

Dear Tucker & Baby Girl Gitter,
We have been so busy and summer is just beginning! Tucker I LOVE where you are right now – you are so inquizitive about everything, and are starting to figure everything in life out, you’re a massive bundle of energy but for every ounce of GO you have in you, there is an equal amount of snuggles, love, and kisses. You light up our lives in a way that only you can…honestly, out of all the little boys in the whole wide world how did we end up getting the VERY best one?? I can’t wait to enjoy more summer with you at this stage. And baby girl – you need to take it a little bit easier on my body that you are currently residing in, your brother was a lazy fetus and I very much enjoyed that, although I am really loving that your dad can be more involved earlier and feel you squirming and doing martial arts in my belly! We will continue to work on not lying on the bottom of my tailbone, and getting to feel you grow in my belly. Be nice to your mommy – she’s too busy to stop and take a breather these days! The days are moving so fast and I’m making a vow to use the expensive camera that I HAD TO HAVE to capture more of our moments this summer! I love you both so very much, thank you for all the memories you’re giving me (:

Week 5 – Battery Button Ingestion Awareness

11 06 2012

Oh my goodness…I can’t believe that 2 weeks has passed and I haven’t gotten a chance to discuss my chosen Awarenesses!  But this week, is something that before I found Emmett’s story – it’s not something that I gave much thought to – Button Battery Ingestion.

I honestly can’t tell you how I found his mom’s site/blog or what caused me to read more, but I did.  I’ve become hyper aware around our house about batteries and since Tucker’s favorite of his 5 senses is taste (and he WILL taste anything) I now pay much closer attention to the toys with batteries, but especially button batteries.  And if you have kids you’re well aware how MANY toys have batteries in them – not to mention how many things Eric and I use on a regular basis that have batteries.  Here is a brief synopsis of Emmett’s story:

Saturday, October 16th , 2010 was supposed to be a day of celebration.  We were going to celebrate our son Emmett’s first birthday with a party for him and for his brother Ethan who was turning three. That morning however, Emmett woke up with a fever and was acting unusual and when his symptoms intensified we felt he needed to be seen by a doctor. My husband Michael took Emmett to the urgent care, where he was diagnosed with either the flu or a possible reaction to recent vaccinations. Over the next two days he became lethargic, was coughing up lots of mucus, had no desire to eat and was unable to sleep. We decided he needed to be seen by his own pediatrician and as we were getting ready, Emmett started vomiting up blood.  After hearing Emmett’s symptoms, the pediatrician immediately sent us to the Emergency Department(ED). When we arrived at the ED, Emmett was given two breathing treatments and the physician ordered a chest x-ray. The x-ray showed that an object was lodged in his esophagus!  I was shocked because there had been no sign of him choking on anything. The doctor informed us that the object in Emmett’s throat was a button battery and that the radiologist could identify the serial number of the battery in the x-ray. I was sick, taken aback, confused, ashamed, embarrassed, lost, angry, sad, hopeless and nervous. I think I felt every negative emotion one could feel.  An ambulance rushed us to Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH) where we met Dr. Egan, a pediatric trauma surgeon.  Within 20 minutes of our arrival to PCH, Emmett was rushed into the operating room for the removal of the button battery.

Three hours later Dr. Egan came to inform us of the damage that had been done to Emmett’s poor little body.  His esophagus was severely burned. Emmett was not able to breathe on his own, so a ventilator was placed for his breathing support.  Each day in the Pediatric ICU (PICU) was critical. Emmett was in severe pain which required lots of sedation and pain management.  A few days later when the doctors examined his airway they found that the damage was more severe than expected. The battery literally burned a hole through his esophagus into his trachea (airway) allowing his stomach bile to reflux into his lungs.  Emmett had a stent placed but unfortunately the procedure was unsuccessful.  We felt so hopeless.  After the failure of the stent doctors removed two inches of Emmett’s esophagus and it was rerouted to come out the side of his neck, called a TE fistula. The other end of the esophagus that was attached to the stomach then was stapled shut. The trachea was patched with nearby tissue to close off the airway leak. What was supposed to be a 2 hour surgery turned into a 9 1/2 hour surgery!!

Emmett had a feeding tube (G-tube) placed for his 100% nourishment, since his esophagus was temporarily non-functional. After five weeks in the PICU, Emmett was finally sent home. He required occupational, physical and speech/swallowing therapies each week.

After 5 months of being home Emmett went back to the operating room to have his esophagus reattached.  There were many concerns about reattaching the esophagus since two inches had been removed but to all of our amazement, the two ends of the esophagus joined together perfectly.  Five days later Emmett’s vital signs became unstable. A test revealed a large leak in his newly repaired esophagus.  He was rushed back into the OR where multiple surgeons consulted on what to do.  Because this was such a rare case physicians from out of state where contacted, and together they devised a plan to repair Emmett’s throat.

After many ups and downs, by the end of March we were able to bring Emmett home.  Unfortunately we soon discovered that he could not tolerate the formula that he was being given via G-tube.  He was vomiting up the majority of his meals and also eventually developed pneumonia.

On June 7th, 2011, a new fistula (hole) was discovered. The hole, however, was not in the original location; it was in a completely new location. The physicians believe that the damage was created when the button battery was ingested, but the tissue did not give way until Emmett started vomiting.

On July 20th, Emmett went back into the operating room where they successfully removed the damaged section of the esophagus.  It continues to slowly heal.

Emmett is currently home requiring 100% oxygen support accompanied by a compression vest to help his lungs release secretions.  He continues to be fed through a G – tube and we now have nursing help at home.  Every two weeks he has a procedure to open and widen his esophagus.  This prevents secretions from pooling and overflowing into his airway.  This allows him to be home and finally enjoy being a toddler!

Thus far Emmett has endured 19 surgeries, has been under general anesthesia over 20 times, and has been exposed to almost 200 x-rays. Four inches of his esophagus has been removed and he has spent a total of 7 months living at  Phoenix  Children’s Hospital.  His prognosis is unknown. We are hoping for the best, that one day Emmett will be able to freely live his life.

Emmett’s story touched my heart, and made it ache so for him and his family.  As a mom I would move heaven and earth to keep my children from pain.  In 2010 lone, more than 3,400 swallowing cases were reported in the U.S.  19 children sustained life-threatening or debilitating injuries and others died!  This is especially scary when kids can’t use their words to describe what they did, ate, or what hurts leaving parents in a tailspin guessing what is wrong with their baby.  But Emmet’s Fight gives a list of things that you can look out for and what to do if God-forbid your child, of any age, would swallow a button battery, courtesy of Emmet’s Fight

We can take simple steps to protect our children.

  • Look in your home for any items that may contain coin-sized button batteries:
    Small remotes · Car key fobs · Mini remotes that control MP3 speakers · Calculators · Bathroom scales · Reading lights · Flameless candles · Talking and singing books · Singing greeting cards · Watches · Thermometers · Hearing aids · Flashing jewelry · Ornaments · Games · Toys
  • Place devices out of sight and out of reach of small children.
  • Keep loose or spare batteries locked away.

If a coin-sized button battery is suspected to have been swallowed, you should get help fast following these steps:

  • Go to the emergency room immediately.
  • Tell doctors and nurses that it might be a button battery.
  • If possible, provide the identification number found on the battery’s package.
  • Do not let the child eat or drink until a chest x-ray can determine if a battery is present.
  • Do not induce vomiting.

I hope that you’ll check everything that you use with batteries in your house…if your child is anything like mine they find things that I didn’t even know were there!  I am so grateful that I found this site and have been informed about Emmett’s Fight.  May his story save many others!

Dear Tucker,
I can’t tell you why I was lead to read about Emmett’s story, but I sure am glad that I was.  Emmett survived a horrific thing, when he didn’t even know that he was doing anything wrong.  He was younger than you are now, and even at almost 18 months you are still using that sense of taste more than I’d like on things that you shouldn’t be putting in your mouth.  The sad fact is – I can’t be watching you 24 hours a day.  You’re too fast, and our house would be an episode of accidental hoarders.  What I can do though, is do everything in my power to make our home a safe place for you, your sister, and dog.  Emmett’s Fight brought light to a new way that I can do that for you guys.  We will continue to keep all those in need of God’s healing hands in our night time prayers, and use the knowledge God has given to us to made our lives better.  I love watching you explore the world everyday – although I wouldn’t cry if you decided to do it a little slower and without bruises for your pictures tomorrow!  I love you so much Tuckey Tot!