December 22, 2011

Hello followers

Thank you to all of you who periodically check in on our blog.  I apologize for not updating since Cora was born.  Life with two kids is a lot crazier than I was expecting :)

Here's a little recap of our life over the past 2.5 months:

Max is doing very well.  He still loves school and is making a lot of progress.  Unfortunately, he has been sick for most the winter season so far.  He ends an antibiotic and is back on one a few weeks later.  We are dealing with some pretty nasty mouth sores right now.  His pediatrician originally said they were canker sores, but they are spreading so I am not to sure if that's what we're dealing with or not.  I am actually waiting for a call from nephrology as I type this.  The poor guy is in a lot of pain though, so I am hoping to get something figured out before Christmas so that he can enjoy his gifts from Santa. 

Cora is getting big, although everyone tells us that she is tiny.  According to her stats, she is only in the 15th percentile for weight and 10th percentile for height, but hey we're not big people either!  She is on the charts so I'm happy.  She is smiling and starting to coo now.  She is definitely a mama's girl, but she does have her daddy wrapped tightly around her little finger.  Max absolutely adores her.  He wants to be in her face all the time and loves to make her smile.  He is such a good big brother :)

We are finally getting settled into our new house and love all of the extra space that we have.  We are looking forward to having the room to host our first New Years Eve party, Cora's baptism and Max's 4th birthday in the upcoming months. 

Overall, life is good.

We want to wish all of our old and new followers a very Merry Christmas and heath, happiness and happy memories in the new year. 

October 4, 2011

Introducing Cora Anne Livingston

September 26, 2011
6 pounds 8 ounces
19.25 inches long
Absolute Perfection

Recovery Room

Going Home

4 days old

6 days old

Melt mama's heart

The very proud big brother and his "baby sister"

We welcomed our little girl into the world last week.  Life is perfect.  Cora is perfect. Max is the world's best big brother and melts his mama's heart at least once a day with the sweet things that he does and/or says to Cora.  Like when Cora and I went with Tim to drop Max off at school on Monday so that he could show his new sister off.  Oh the cuteness! He couldn't say enough about her to his friends and teachers. When someone new came up to see her he would yell, "look what we found!" When it was time for him to line up and head to his classroom he yelled, "Bye mommy! Bye daddy! Bye Baby Cora!"  She is the first thing he talks about when he wakes up and he can't go night night until he tells her goodnight and gives her kisses. It's enough to make a mama tear up on a daily basis.

The time is already going way to fast and it's only been 8 days.

August 23, 2011

What a busy month!

Hello Followers:

The months of July and August have been crazy busy around here! 

As you all know we celebrated Max's first kidneyversary on July 8!  It was neat to look back on where we were exactly a year ago that day.  All of those emotions that I had the morning of the surgery came rushing back as I thought about that moment when I walked out of his hospital room not knowing what the outcome of the upcoming surgery was going to be.  I had the feeling of power because I was about to save my son's life, but I also felt powerless because I was about to give up all of the control with Max's care.  That is hard for a mama to do.  What a day though!  I barely remember anything about that day, but it is a day that we will hold close to our hearts for the rest of our lives because it was the day that Max got his second chance at life.  A chance at a "normal" life. 

The middle of July had us celebrating Tim's 30th Birthday!  We celebrated by going to dinner and then heading back to the house to eat his favorite dessert- Country Cousin's Banana Cream Pie.  The day after his birthday, I gave him the gift of going out of town for a long weekend.  I joined my dad, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends at Dale Hollow Lake for a little camping trip.  We typically go down there every year, but it was my first time in 4 years since we were a little preoccupied with Max and his needs.  I had a great time, but I was ready to come home to my own bed by the time I came home on day 4.  Being 6 months pregnant and sleeping on a cot are not a good combo, but it was a great little get away :o)

We ended July by closing on our new home.  We decided not to go down the building route and found something that we love in a great neighborhood that suited our needs.  We are getting settled, but it's definitely a slow process.  My third trimester exhaustion hit hard right before closing so it's getting hard for me to want to unpack and organize.  We're getting there- slow but sure.

August has been full of emptying boxes, painting and putting rooms together.  We finally got to Miss Cora's room this past weekend, so I am starting to feel a little more prepared for her arrival- only 5 more weeks!!!

Max spent 14 days of this month feeling pretty under the weather.  He had a fever for those two weeks which was not fun.  He had his labs drawn 3 times and a urine test to check for UTIs.  All came back looking great.  So he was diagnosed with a sinus infection and put on an antibiotic.  He is finally fever free and starting to feel better despite a lingering stuffy nose and cough.  Now mama has one heck of a nasty cough and can't seem to get rid of it (even with an antibiotic).  I really hope it leaves soon because it's making it very hard to get any sleep.

We had some not so good news come out of this month so far.  Max had his bladder testing today and we unfortunately got the news that he has reflux into his transplanted kidney.  What that means is that when Max's bladder is full of urine, the urine flows up into the kidney instead of coming out through the urethra.  This unfortunately means that Max will not be able to have his vesicostomy closed until the reflux is resolved because it would damage the kidney and we'd be back at square one.  At this point, we don't know the severity of the reflux.  We will be meeting with the urologist on Monday (8/29) to discuss the results and the plan for how we fix it.  The good news that we did get today was that the pressures in his bladder have decreased significantly and that his bladder is holding more than double what it was at his last test.  I will keep you all posted on what the plan is once we meet with the doctor.  Please pray that the reflux isn't severe and that it's easily fixable.  Remember, we are hoping to avoid the bladder reconstruction, so prayers that he has made enough improvement to do so, are also greatly appreciated. 

On a much happier note.  We are ending this month with the start of preschool for one very excited 3 year old little boy.  Max will be started his first day of preschool tomorrow afternoon.  I can't believe that my little boy is old enough for school already.  As hard as it's going to be for me to drop him off and leave him with people that we barely know, I know that this is something that he and I both need.  He is going to have a blast and hopefully learn a lot while he is there.  Sigh.  What am I going to do with my free 3 hours a day for 4 days a week- at least for the next 5 week until Miss Cora makes her arrival!

Hope everyone has had a great summer!

July 9, 2011

Happy Kidneyversary Max!

I have a hard time believing that we are at the one year mark since Max's kidney transplant.  I still have to remind myself of the rollercoaster ride that we were on just a short year ago.  Believe it or not, I barely remember life before July 8, 2010.  The dialysis and endless meds seem like a lifetime ago.  Fighting to keep Max alive was what got us out of bed every day.  When I look back on some of my past blog posts, I have a hard time believing that that was me writing those words.  I feel like I am looking into someone else's life and can't believe what that family has gone through to get their little boy to where he is today.  Then I realize that that was our life.  All of the surgeries, hospital stays and visits, dialysis treatments, tests, therapy sessions, blood draws, the sleepless nights and all of the tears- we lived that.  Not only did we live it, but we survived it, and I am so proud of who we have become because of the journey that we chose to live.  It was a journey of struggle and heartache, but it was also a journey of determination and love for one little boy.  A little boy who has taught us more in his three years of life than we have learned in our 28-30 years of life. 

One year ago today, July 8, 2011, Max got his second chance at life.  A chance that no one believed he would get because they didn't think he would survive past a few days old.  Because of the faith and determination that our medical team, family, friends and strangers had, Max got that chance.  We truly believe that without the support team that we have following us down this path, we would have never gotten to where we are today.  It's because of all of you and your prayers that Max is alive today.  We will never be able to repay you for that, but please know that we will never forget what all of you have done for us and we will forever be grateful of your love and support. 

Max's accomplishments over the course of a year:
  • Max went from saying 2 words (ah and dada) to speaking sentences (nonstop!)
  • Max went from bearing no weight at all on his feet to standing within weeks of transplant
  • Max went from hopping on his rearend to running
  • Max went from gagging on anything that came near his mouth to eating Mac-n-Cheese and carrots (we're still working diligently on this, but he has made HUGE progress!)
  • Max went from taking approximately 10 medications to only 4
  • Max has graduated from both speech and physical therapy
Those are some of his biggest accomplishments of the year, but I am sure as soon as I his "Publish Now" I will think of 12 more. 

Of course I can't end this post without telling you some very good news regarding Max's kidney.  The antibody that was attacking Max's kidney back in September and October of 2010 is officially GONE!  Can I repeat that?  The antibody that was trying to rid of Max's kidney is G-O-N-E!!!!

Can I get a WOOHOO?!?

June 22, 2011

June 2011

Hello All:

Life is still good here on the Livingston front.  Max is officially three which is still crazy to think about.  His labs are still good and he continues to do very well both developmentally and in growth.  He has gained a little bit of an attitude since his third birthday which means that his new favorite word is "NO!"  Mommy and daddy are NOT very excited about it.  He spends a little more time in time out these days as well.  He is testing his boundaries more and more each day and mommy seems to be loosing her patience with it a little more than daddy is, but that's a three year old for you.

June has been keeping us busy so far.  We started the month off with the birth of my best friends baby girl.  Miss Harlow made her debut late in the evening on May 31st.  She is absolutely perfect and beautiful.  It's possibly the coolest thing to see your best friend become a mommy.  To see the love in her eyes as she stares at her daughter is one of those moments that I will remember forever.  Congratulations Rick and Allie!

My immediate family took a trip to Gatlinburg this month as well.  It was so nice to be able to get away for a long weekend.  We all had a great time and can't wait to get another trip in soon.  This was our first weekend away since Max's transplant- it was long overdo.  During this trip we were able to meet up with 3 of our transplant buddies.  It was one of the coolest experiences of my life watching these four little miracles running around and playing with each other.  I had met all but one of the families before this weekend, but you would've never known that we all just met less than a year ago.  Something just felt right about being with this group of people.  You didn't have to explain anything to anyone- they just knew.  They don't judge if your child is behind the other kids his/her age- they celebrate the progress that each individual has made.  We talked about gtubes, granulation tissue, PD catheters, eating/drinking issues, therapy sessions, dialysis, medications, labs and feeding pumps and no one had to ask what the other person was talking about.  No one looked at you like you had three heads when you asked a question about something kidney and/or bladder related, because they all knew exactly what we had been through and will continue to go through for the rest of our lives.  These are our people and it felt oh so good to be able to communicate with them face to face about every day challenges without feeling like we are the "odd" ones.  I can 't wait to hang out with these wonderful families again and to see the milestones that each of our kids have made in the time that we will be apart.  Those few hours that we were together was another one of those moments that I will never forget.

On June 6, we were invited by Dr. G to join him and another transplant family at the Cincinnati Reds game to surprise Dr. Ben.  This was also one of those moments in life that we won't ever forget.  Dr. Ben is unfortunately leaving us at the end of the month to take an attending position at CHOP (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia).  As most of you know, Dr. Ben has been with Max since the beginning of his fellowship.  Max was only 6 weeks old when we met Dr. Ben.  Little did we know that on July 1, 2008 we would meet one of the doctors that would not only make a huge impact on our lives with his bedside manner and easy going personality, but we had just met someone who was going to have a huge part in saving our son's life.  Dr. Ben never made a decision about Max's care without confronting Tim or I to ask our opinion.  If we were unsure of something, Ben would be there to answer any of our questions and if he didn't know the answer he wasn't afraid to say so.  If he didn't hear from us after a couple of weeks he would call or email us just to check in and make sure everything was still going well.  He went out of his way to come to the dialysis unit every time Max was there for a treatment to make sure he was doing well and to see if we needed anything.  He came in on his day off once because something unexpected happened to Max.  Guys, these are just a handful of the things that he did for us as a fellow.  Can you imagine what kind of attending  he is going to be?  Dr. Ben is going to be one of the best attending doctors that CHOP has ever seen.  We are so devastated that we aren't going to be apart of it, but we are overjoyed that we got him for the three years of his fellowship.  As heartbreaking as it is to lose a doctor like him, we wouldn't have traded the time that we have gotten with him.  He got Max, Tim and I through the hardest 3 years of our lives.  It's impossible to repay someone for saving your son's life.  All we can do is take comfort in the fact that what Dr. Ben learned in his three years of being Max's fellow will help him in saving another child's life and that is enough to put us at peace with him leaving CCHMC.  Dr. Ben- you will never be replaced and will be missed greatly. Remember that you are always welcome to come back :)

On June 20th, Tim and I signed a contract on our new home.  We got word that our financing was approved and that we will be closing on July 29th.  We are so very excited about our new adventure in our new home!

Enjoy the rest of your June!  We will see you all again in July.

PS: For some reason I am not able to load more than one picture at a time due to computer issues.  I promise to get pictures of our Gatlinburg trip and of our night at the Red's game up as soon as my computer will allow me to do so. I just didn't want to delay the update any longer :)

May 13, 2011

Happy Burpbay Max!

May 12, 2008

                                                                  May 12, 2011

Thanks again for all that you have done for us over the past 3 years.  It's been fun :)
Sorry for not getting this up yesterday.  Blogger was in read only mode while they did maintenance.

May 9, 2011

All is well

What a month!  I don't feel like we have stopped since March.  All is going very well though.  Max's labs are beautiful (knock on wood) and he has graduated from every 3 week clinic visits to every 4 weeks. 

Max will be celebrating his third birthday this Thursday.  With his third birthday fast approaching, lots of changes are being made.  He will be graduating from the First Steps program on Tuesday which means no more therapy.  He is slowly making progress with eating orally, so everyone is in agreement to let him have a break from therapy and see how he does over the summer.  At this point, the ball is in Max's court.  He has all of the skills he needs to take all feeds by mouth, its just a matter of when Max decides that he wants to do it.  His biggest issue right now is that he is afraid to chew anything thicker than a mash potato consistency.  His favorite food at this point is a fine chunky pureed mac-n-cheese.  Like I said, he is making progress and its just a matter of time.

Our other big piece of news is that Max has officially been enrolled into a preschool program.  He will start school this August.  I am still not quite sure how I feel about this, but I know that Max needs this and that he is going to love it.  I just have to learn and accept that he is growing up and that I need to give up a little of my control over his care.  Everyone seems to be well aware of my concerns with germs and illnesses and they are going to work with us when it comes to flu season and other illnesses that will be floating around the classroom. Sigh.  He can't be three already :(

We have been very busy this month finalizing our house plans.  We are getting very close to signing a contract with All American Homes and we should break ground sometime in June.  *Fingers crossed*

 We are also very excited to announce that Max will have a little sister this fall. We have had two ultrasounds and everything looks great thus far. Our fluid levels are perfect and her heart, brain and bladder look good. Her kidneys were undetectable on the ultrasound which is good- this means that they are not engorged with fluid like Max's were :)  We will be having a level 2 ultrasound with a perinatalogist on May 25th.  This will be a full anatomy scan and will give us a much better idea on how she is doing.  We are still nervous, but are confident that everything is going to be just fine.  We are truly blessed and can't wait to meet her!

Life is good. 

I think our new posting routine is going to be monthly.  If something comes up I will definitely post to keep all of you updated, but things are going very well and we are very busy with the new house, new baby and a very busy little boy.  I will definitely be posting on Thursday to talk about our big three year old :)

Have a great week everyone!

March 29, 2011

Funeral Arrangements

The layout will be Thursday evening from 4-8pm at Muehlenkamp-Erschell Funeral Home in Ft. Thomas (across from St. Thomas Church).

The mass is at 10:30am at St. Mary's in Alexandria followed by the burial at St. Stephen Cemetary in Ft. Thomas.

Thanks again for all of your thoughts and prayers.

March 28, 2011

Rest in Peace

A little after 11:00 this morning, Heaven gained an angel. 

Rest in Peace "Pawpaw" Larry.

We love you and will miss you greatly. 


I will post funeral arrangements after the meeting with the funeral home tomorrow morning.

Thank you to all that prayed for his peace and comfort. 

March 22, 2011

Updates and Prayers

Hello to all of you who are still checking in on us.  I sincerely apologize for the very long delay in updating the blog.  We have had a very busy and craptastic last few weeks.  We ended February with a move back into my parents house after we sold our house.  That went smoothly, but moving while pregnant and with a toddler are both exhausting. 

Max's labs have also sent us on a lovely roller coaster ride.  We believe they are up and down due to dehydration.  We are pumping him full of fluids but also trying to allow him to feel hungry so that he will start eating for us.  There is a very fine line between the two and its difficult to try and keep both his kidney happy and his feeling of hunger in tact.  I am beyond frustrated with the whole process.  I just want my kid to eat.  His problem is that he is stubborn.  He doesn't want to sit down long enough to eat.  He will take a few bites (on his own because he is all of a sudden Mr. Independent and doesn't want us to help) and then he fights with us because he "wans to get down an pway."  He hasn't figured out how to chew anything either so he is still on a puree.  Like I said, very frustrating to say the least.  On the bright side, he is starting to drink a little more by mouth. 


We are asking all of you for prayers.  We are also asking that you ask all that you know to please pray.  Some of you may remember that Tim's dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor three years ago.  This brain tumor is now winning.  Despite the couple of rounds of chemo that Larry endured 6 weeks ago, the tumor continued to grow and Larry slowly got worse.  3 weeks ago, it was decided that it was time to stop treatment and call Hospice in.  In 3 short weeks Larry has gone downhill very fast.  Tim came home this evening from visiting with his dad and said that he was no longer eating and could barely talk.  Larry hasn't gotten out of bed since Sunday afternoon. 

I will forever cherish the memories that we have with Larry.  He is a great man with a huge heart.  When Max was in the NICU, Larry was at his bedside a few times a week.  He would always tell me who was praying for Max and all of the stories he would tell the ladies at work about his only grandchild.  He is so proud to be Max's "pawpaw."  You can see his face light up, even now, when Max walks in the room and shouts "PAWPAW!"  Max is the light of his life.

Please pray for peace and comfort for both Larry and the entire Livingston family.  Goodbyes suck,  especially when it could very well be the last time you say it to someone.

February 21, 2011

The First Emails

Below are the very first emails that I sent out when we found out something was wrong with Max.  I hadn't started the blog yet, so I thought I would post the first set of updates that were sent out in those beginning days.  I didn't edit anything so excuse the typos and the lack of knowledge :)

Sent on January 30, 2008:

Hello Everyone!

I don't know if you have heard or not, but we went for an ultrasound on Monday and found out that our little boy is having some complications. His bladder and both kidneys are engorged with urine which means that he is not producing enough amniotic fluid to help develop his lungs. So, we went for another ultrasound yesterday and they diagnosed him with Posterior Urethral Valve Syndrome. All that is causing this havoc is a flap of tissue blocking the tube in his penis to allow the urine flow which is causing it to fill his bladder and back flow into his kidneys. We go tomorrow (Thursday) for a bladder tap- they will insert a needle through my belly into his bladder to drain the fluid which they will then send for a urinalysis. On Friday I will go for an ultrasound to see if his bladder is filling back up. If it is, then we move on to the next step. If it doesn't that means that his kidneys are failing and there is nothing else that they can do to help him. Tim and I are very positive that his little kidneys are still functioning. So once we see his little bladder full of pee on Friday we go for another bladder tap on Monday. This will show whether we have full kidney function or partial (you CAN survive on less than 100% kidney function). Once this is done we will go (I am assuming sometime next week) for a bladder shunt. For this procedure they will give me an epidural and insert a device the width of a pen into my belly to place the shunt into his bladder so that it will drain into his completely dry amniotic sac. Once they do this I will have to be seen ONCE A WEEK for the remainder of the pregnancy to be sure that he hasn't pulled the shunt out or that it hasn't fallen out. If this is the case we start over with replacing the shunt. Once he is born we will then have surgery to remove that stinking flap of tissue so that he can pee on his own.

His heart and brain look great from the ultrasound. The doctor said that his chest cavity is measuring about a week behind, but she isn't too worried about this because is heart is in proportion to his chest size. We are staying positive that since is heart and heartbeat look good this may mean that the kidneys are still functioning. (We don't know if this is an accurate assumption though.)

With all of that said, we need all of the prayer that we can get. Once we know for sure that his kidneys are functioning (PLEASE GOD!) then, in our opinion, we are on our way to a healthy baby boy.

Also, Tony II and my dad DO NOT want to know what we are having so if you talk to them don't mention a baby boy!

Please keep us in your prayers that all goes well and that Baby Max is a strong fighter! We will keep you updated once we find anything out.

If you could please pass this onto anyone that I may have forgotten. I don't have Lou and Nancy's or Dianne's email address handy if someone could pass this on to them.

All of our love,

Beth, Tim and Max
Sent on February 5, 2008:
Hello All!

We have started the week out with more tests. Friday's results came back a little better than the first set and Monday's results came back a little better as well (except for the protein levels in his urine). Today (Tuesday) I was called in for another (fourth) bladder tap to see if the protein levels got worse because of the urine sitting in his bladder all weekend. We will have those results tomorrow. As of right now, Tim and I are feeling pretty hopeful that this little man may have a chance at life. We have a fetal MRI and a fetal care evaluation set up for Monday the 11th- which to us seems like a long wait to be getting this ball rolling, but it was the soonest Children's could get us in. The MRI's results will then be combined with the results of the 4 bladder taps to determine how much damage has been done to the kidneys. We will then sit down with the urologist, the open fetal surgeon and a whole bunch of other doctors and counselors to discuss what our options are.

As of right now we do not know the condition of his kidneys or lungs. The doctor we saw today mentioned that, just from what he can tell on the ultrasound, that his kidneys will not function properly for long term use, which would mean a transplant. I don't know what "long term" means though. I will be getting a phone call tomorrow (Wednesday) with the results from today's test and hopefully some more information for what this could all mean for Max.

Please keep us in your prayers that all goes well over the next week or so. We appreciate all of the phone calls, thoughts and prayers that we have been showered with over the past week and a half. Thank you to everyone! We will keep you updated as we receive new information.

Thank you!

Beth, Tim and Max

Sent on February 11, 2008:

Hello everyone!

We have a lot to let you all know about from our visit to Children's Hospital today. We started the day at 6:30 in the morning for a MRI of the baby to get a good look at his lungs, kidneys and bladder. His lungs are only right above average for size at this point in the pregnancy. In other words they are on the small side, but still on the low end of "average." Not great but not horrible news at this point. His kidneys are extremely enlarged but are not showing any cysts or increased echogencity (brightness to the kidneys). This is a good sign that we still have some kidney function. We were told that his case is "severe" and were given some options. We could move forward and place a shunt like I mentioned in a previous email or we could do the open fetal surgery. This is where it gets VERY scary! We have opted to move on and do open fetal surgery. The surgeon told us that the shunt, in his case, would only help develop the lungs more so than help the kidneys. The shunt needs a descent amount of pressure in the bladder to force the urine out into the amniotic sac in order to fill it up, but his pressure is building up into his kidneys instead. This could cause more damage to his kidneys since there wouldn't be as much relief as we would like. The shunt would also have to be reinserting usually about every 2 weeks, which increases a risk for both of us. The open fetal surgery is VERY risky to myself and to Max as well, but we truly feel that this is the best option for Max to have a chance at life. With the surgery, his lungs will have a much better chance for development and there will not be any added damage to his kidneys and bladder. The process of the surgery is this: they will perform a "c-section" and deliver only his bottom half. They will then cut about a 1 inch incision into his lower abdomen and then into his bladder. They will sew the flaps from his bladder to his skin to keep the bladder open for drainage. This will mean that he will be born with a small hole in his belly that will be closed shortly after birth. He will then have a catheter inserted until he is strong enough and big enough to have the obstruction removed. One of the risks that this surgery has is preterm labor. They usually expect the baby to be 8-10 weeks early. I will be on bed rest after the surgery until we deliver. The surgery will happen this coming Wednesday (Feb. 13) around 11am at Children's Hospital. I will recover there from 3-5 days and then sent home. They will have to see me anywhere from 1-2 times per week until we deliver at Good Sam to make sure everything is looking good and developing properly.

We will be the 3rd open fetal surgery done in Cincinnati and only about the 9th in the US. There have been some successes, but there isn't enough data to give statistics on it. The doctors and surgeons that are involved are very knowledgeable and seem to be pretty optimistic this is the best route to go.

This is a ton of information and I am sorry if it is all confusing- it has been a VERY long day :o) Tim and I are extremely nervous and scared, but like I said before we think this is the best thing for us to do. We appreciate and love each and every one of you for all of the thoughts and prayers that you have give to us. We are truly, truly blessed to have each of you in our lives. Please, please, please keep us in your prayers for a little while longer that all goes well during the surgery and that this little man stays in the oven until at least the end of April or May.

All of our love and thanks,

Beth, Tim and Max

Sent on February 19, 2008:

Hello Everyone!

We got home from the hospital yesterday (Monday) and all went well with the surgery last Wednesday. The doctor's said that the ultrasound they did on Thursday couldn't have looked any better. It looks to be that Max is producing some urine on his own and there are already some pockets of fluid around him the in the amniotic sac to help develop his lungs. We won't really know what kind of kidney function Max has until after he is born and they can do some blood work on him. The urologist that sat in on the surgery went ahead and poked a hole in the flap of tissue that was blocking his urine flow. This may mean that they won't have to do this after he is born, but we won't know until then. As soon as I woke up in the recovery room all of the nurses said that his feet are very cute!!! I can't wait until I get to see them!

I am doing pretty well. I am a little tender, but it gets better every day. Max is loving that he now has some fluid to swim in. He is moving around like crazy which is so awesome to feel! Tim actually got to feel it for the first time tonight- it was priceless to see his face when we felt his first kick.

I go back to the doctor on Thursday for another ultrasound to make sure all is continuing to go well. The doctor's told me that the hard part now is to keep me pregnant, so that is our new goal! We have to keep him in there for hopefully another 10 weeks, but I am shooting for 12. This would put me at 35 weeks pregnant when we would deliver.

Anyway, we are very happy with the results of the surgery and are very glad that we took that route. We truly believe that this little boy is going to surprise all of us and grow up to be a very strong and determined young man. He is our little miracle baby! Thanks again to everyone for all that you have done for us. Please continue will of all of the prayers that you have been blessing us with- they are helping! We will keep you all updated as new information is given to us.

If you have any questions please call.  I will be here at home on my lovely couch searching the web and watching a ton of movies!

Thanks again for everything!

Love and thanks,

Beth, Tim, and Max

Sent on March 5, 2008:

Hello Everyone!!!

It has been three weeks since our surgery and everything is going pretty well. I had a doctor's appointment last Monday and Max is measuring right on target and weighing in at 1 pound 12 ounces! The only concern was that his amniotic fluid levels weren't increasing, so I was told that if they didn't increase by my next appointment (Today) that I was going to be put into the hospital on IV's. I was told to increase my water intake to see if it would help any. So for a week and a half I have been downing nearly 2 gallons of water/fluids a day. I am serious when I say nearly 2 GALLONS!!! I went in today for another ultrasound and his fluid levels did go up a little bit, so I got to come back home- thank goodness! They just said that we will continue to monitor his levels every week to make sure they are increasing. I will continue with drinking my water in hopes that it continues to help!

I am getting a lot finished while I sit here throughout the week. We have received our stroller and carseat, Max's bedding and his furniture! Now we just have to start the nursery so that we can get all of it out of the living room. Tim has said that the house is being taken over by baby stuff and that he will eventually be completely pushed out of the upstairs to the basement.

It has been a pretty quiet 3 weeks so I don't have too much to report. Please keep those prayers coming that he continues to bake for another 9+ weeks. Once again, we want to thank everyone for their prayers, love and support! We wouldn't be here without each and everyone of you!

Lots of Love,

Beth, Tim and Max

Sent on March 20, 2008:

Hello to all!!!

I will be 28 weeks tomorrow and still pregnant!!! I still have awhile to go but am feeling wonderful and confident that we will make it to 35 weeks or so. We had an ultrasound and an office visit yesterday. The ultrasound showed that Max's heart rate is still perfect and strong and that his amniotic fluid levels have increased over the past 2 weeks! The two measurable pockets that they spotted totaled 3.4 cm of fluid. It seems very low, which it is, but the doctors like to see one pocket at 2cm to see a positive result for lung development. We have this! So woo hoo for Max!

I went into this appointment very nervous because the doctor that I was seeing is the one that Tim and I are not fond of at all. He has no bedside manner and answers questions with one word. But to my surprise after he listened to Max's heartbeat and measured my belly (all is right on schedule) we both sat down and talked about my questions and what tests I would be doing in the upcoming weeks. Needless to say I left the appointment in very good spirits.

Other than Max's increase in fluid this week, I did get the news that I will be going to the doctors twice a week from here on out for None Stress Tests (NST). Next week is my last week at only going on Wednesdays. I will then go every Monday and Thursday for the usual ultrasound to check fluid levels once a week and for NSTs on both days. Good news here: I get out of the house two times a week instead of one!!!!!! WOOHOO!

I guess that is all I have to report. I can't wait to share some more good news when I hit 30 weeks!

Thanks again for all of the love, support and prayers!!!!

Love and much thanks,

Tim, Beth and Max

Sent on March 31, 2008:
Hello All!

Well I went in for one of our two appointments today and it ends up that I am not going home until Max is born :o( The doctor isn't happy with his fluid levels, so they have me on IV fluids to see if they will increase. They will also monitor Max's heartrate 3 times a day to make sure that all sounds good and one of those will include a none stress test. His concern is that the bigger Max gets the higher the risk of compressing the umbilical cord, which will decrease the amount of blood and oxygen getting to the baby.

The doctor did mention that this is not an emergency of any kind, he just feels more comfortable with me being monitored here at the hospital than coming in twice a week. He did mention that depending on how things go that there is a chance of him taking the baby by the end of the week, but he definitely thinks that Max will be here by the end of April. With that said, they will be giving me a dose of steroids tonight and tomorrow to help his lungs develop a little more before he is born. The doctors said that Max will let them know when he is ready to be born, so they are going to base everything on him and how he "communicates" to us.

Once again, please keep us in your prayers that all goes well and that Max decides that he isn't ready until the end of the month. We greatly appreciate all that you have done for us over the past 2 months. We are truly, truly blessed to have each and every one of you in our lives.

Please feel free to call me while I am here in the hospital.  I will keep you all updated more often as I will now have even more time on my hands!

All of our love and thanks,

Beth, Tim and Max

It's kind of fun to look back and see where we were at this exact moment 3 years ago.

Thank you to all that have followed us throughout the past 3 years.  Your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated.  Here's to many, many more years of fun and encouraging updates on our growing family.

Thanks again,

Beth, Tim, Max and Baby L.

February 13, 2011

Three Years Ago

Three years ago today our son's life was saved.  Some may say that I am the hero in this story, but in our eyes, the true heroes are the doctors that performed this miraculous surgery.  We were only the 6th in the country and the 3rd in the Tri-State area to have this particular surgery done.  How's that for statistics?

I remember both vaguely and clearly how February 13, 2008 went.  Tim and I arrived early that Wednesday morning.  I got into my hospital gown and had my IV placed.  I sat on the bed in our room and waited.  Mine and Tim's parents arrived in the meantime and waited with us.  Before we went down to the OR waiting room the chaplain came in and said a prayer over myself and our unborn son.  We were then wheeled down to the holding area where I was prepped for surgery.  A nurse walked in and I couldn't place where I knew her from, but Tim knew right away.  Although I didn't know this particular person very well, it was comforting to know that a familiar face was going to be in the OR with me.   Anyway, they had me drink a shot of some very tart medication that helps with nausea.  Then they gave me some versed through my IV to help calm my nerves.  This medication makes you feel like you have a really, really good buzz (or at least that's what they told me since I don't drink). The rest was a blur, but I do remember getting into the OR, sitting on the table and leaning over a nurse while the anesthesiologist put in my epidural. Then I laid down and was told they were going to give me some oxygen.  Yeah, that oxygen had a little something in it because I don't remember anything else. 

I woke up in recovery and the first thing I remember was the nurses telling me how cute the baby's feet are.  I managed to tell them that it wasn't fair that they got to see him before me.  That's all I remember.

I was hooked up to several medications.  I was contracting so they had to do all that they could to keep me from going into labor so most of the medications were to stop that from happening.  They had me on Magnesium, which in my opinion, was created my the devil himself.  Some people this medication gives flu like symptoms to, but in my case it made me extremely HOT.  I wasn't allowed to have anything to drink so I had a major case of cotton mouth.  Tim had my room set to the coolest temperature the thermostat could go to and I was still burning up.  They gave Tim a bucket that he kept ice water in so that he could wrap my in cold wash clothes.  I remember sucking on the rag so that I could get the water and tiny ice cubes that were stuck to it.  Tim kept telling me that I was going to get in trouble, but I was on day 2 of not having anything to drink.  Anyone that came into the room wore twice as many clothes as they normally would because of how cold it was.  Tim would get excited when I woke him up in the middle of the night to see if he could get me some colder water for my rags.  It meant that he got to go out into the hallway where it was warm. For those wondering how long they made me suffer without anything to drink, it was on day 3 that I finally got the sprite that I was begging them for since I came out of surgery.  3 horrible days of nothing in my mouth, but I survived.

I was discharged 5 days later and spent the next 13 weeks on bedrest (7 at home and 6 in the hospital).

It was three years ago that I got the opportunity to save my son's life. I am not a hero. I am mother.

I am also...

January 24, 2011

Max's Labs

Max had his tri-weekly (I think I just made that term up) labs today.  Dr. Ben emailed me the results:

Creatinine .3
BUN 20

In a nutshell, this means that Max's kidney is doing exactly what a kidney should be doing. 

In addition to Max's lab report, he is doing fantastic in all other areas as well.  He is walking, running (not really, but he thinks so), sort of eating and getting ready to be tested for preschool. 

Yeah, we met with the Campbell County schools to see if Max would be eligible to start preschool in August.  Max will graduate from First Steps in May.  This is the program he has been in since he came home from the RCNIC.  They provide a speech therapist and a physical therapist that come to the house to work with Max.  After he is finished with this program, he may still need therapy and the school could provide that along with the educational and social aspects of a classroom setting.  So we will be meeting with the school again in mid March to start the testing to see if he will qualify.  It's a big step for Max and for both Tim and I.  I think Tim and I are having a harder time with it than anyone though.  Max needs this though and we will do whatever is in his best interest.

Life is good.  We are ready for Spring so that we can get outside to play rather than being cooped up in our tiny little "rental" home, but life is good :)

January 11, 2011

.3, 2,400 and 6

Max had labs drawn last week and his creatinine has come down from .4 to .3.  They also did a test called a Cystatin C which is another test that measures kidney function.  He has had a few of these done but this one came back the highest it's every been at 74.  To make that a little more clear- this level was at 6 or 8 while he was on dialysis and in the 40s while he was rejecting his kidney so for it to be at 74 means that Max's kidney function has improved dramatically over the past few months.  Dr. Ben got a fist pump from Dr. G for this.  I love it!

Max also had a level of the antibody that was attacking his kidney taken.  That number started at 11,000.  It is now at 2,400.  He doesn't need to have this level checked for a few months unless his creatinine does funny things again.  This makes all of us very happy :)

We are also celebrating Max's 6 month kidneyversary.  It blows us all away how far he has come over the past 6 months.  It's amazing.  He learns something new every day and you can tell that his little wheels are turning at all times.  He makes my heart smile.

I apologize for not posting in awhile.  I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Here are a few pictures of Max from over the past few weeks.  Have a great week everyone!

                                                                     Christmas Morning
This is what you get when he doesn't nap and it's getting to be around bedtime :) I love it.

Our house is SOLD!!!