Saturday, February 28, 2009

Zach's Lenten Journey

Zach has been improving has smiling efforts this week, and is good for an ear to ear effort several times a day!  After having his casts put on Monday, he was back at Children's on Tuesday to have the left cast redone.  His toes had scrunched up into the cast and were not in a very good position for the continued flattening, or healing of his foot, so Mommy brought him back and they put a new cast on.  He has not had his usual fussy day after casting this week and has been very pleasant.  Mommy and Daddy are really enjoying watching as Zachary grows each day.  It's amazing how much he's grown already, and how fast! Wednesday was Zach's first Ash Wednesday, and we went to mass that evening. You can see all of our foreheads in the pictures!  
We are enjoying the weekend, no major plans, just some much needed relaxation.  Zachary has one more week of cast before consulting with the Doctor once again to evaluate and decide on a plan of action.  Zach sends many hugs and kisses to you all and a BIG Thank You for your continued support and prayers.  Happy Lent - Brian + Kimmie

Monday, February 23, 2009

Filing Nails

Sir Smiles a Lot

After Mimi flew back home on Thursday, Zachary got used to only having Mommy and Daddy around for the weekend.  Mommy was able to paint Zachary's bathroom, and Daddy hung a new towel rack, making our own mini makeover to Zach's space.   For most of the day Sunday Zach showed off his new favorite hobby... smiling.  He's getting pretty good at it, and likes to smile in clusters, with 2 or 3 good ones in a row.  Today was another round of new casts (blue this week), and an afternoon of Zach being pretty pooped out. He did have some visitors today, with Cindy and Matt coming over and  seeing Zach again, and our house for the first time.  He was very pleasant for them, having slept for most of their visit, and making his usual grunting/sleeping sounds. The week ahead has no major plans or events, only a continuation of normalcy (and smiles!).  Enjoy the pictures, and the video of our attempts to file Zachary's nails.  God Bless - Brian + Kimmie 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Let the Casts Continue!

Zachary has been enjoying the past few days with Mimi here to hold him and feed him a bottle or two.  On Monday Zach had a busy day of visitors with Nonni, Barb, and Alice stopping by for the afternoon.  Tuesday was a very hectic day with Zach's appointment at Children's being moved up an entire day.  Mommy and Daddy were able to get him there on time, and after a rather lengthy wait we met with Dr. Miller about Zach's tenotomy (tendon release in his feet).  It seems that Zach's left foot is a little behind his right and still has a bit of a crease in the sole, meaning he cannot have the tenotomy now and will have to have several more weeks of casts before they make a final decision.  So we went with white casts this week and are dealing with a fussy baby boy the day after (he seems VERY sore today).
This evening Zach had yet another visitor when Bill came by and  had a few minutes to hold him while he was surprisingly pleasant, but definitely hungry.  Mimi is only in town for one more day, so she'll have plenty of bonding time tomorrow morning with him before flying back tomorrow afternoon.  It's been great having her here and Zachary loves all the extra attention, and Mommy and Daddy definitely appreciate an extra set of hands!  Enjoy the pictures and keep praying for Zach's healing. - Brian + Kimmie

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mimi's Here!

After the visit to the spinal defects clinic on Tuesday Zachary has been taking it easy, working on his tummy time exercises, and perfecting the art of drooling!  After only a few days of applying some hydrocortisone to his face and neck, Zach's skin has cleared up wonderfully, and he's looking more like the handsome little guy he is!  
Friday brought a busy afternoon at the Zurliene household, with Aunt Jodee, coming by to visit and Zachary's biggest supporter Landon stopping by with his mommy Cheryl and little sis Haley.  They all had a great play date, and Zachary was sufficiently pooped out.  He napped for most of the late afternoon.  Friday evening we all went to the mall and had Zach's 2 month pictures taken, which worked well for a short time, but he quickly tired of all the posing and we decided to call it a night.
Today brought the arrival of Mimi!  She hasn't seen Zachary since he was in the NICU and provided a fantastic Valentine's Day gift for Zach to enjoy... her visit. For the next few days we have nothing planned except plenty of lap time with Mimi for Zach, and enjoying a cold President's Day weekend.  We hope you all have fun and Happy Valentine's Day to you.  Love - Brian + Kimmie

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Growing Stronger

Zachary has had a very eventful past few days.  He had a wonderful weekend spent mostly at home with Mommy and Daddy, enjoying the time we all can spend together.  On Monday Zachary met with his pediatrician, Dr. Black, for his two month check-up and to get his shots.  He also was able to be weighed without his casts for the first time in a while...10lbs. 10oz., 21 in. long!  As for the percentages, he's pretty low in both height and weight, but considering where he started, he has made some very good progress and we're excited.  After that appointment Zach headed over to Children's to have his new casts put on once again.  He has red ones this week for Valentine's Day!  Next Tuesday he will be visiting with Dr. Miller, the orthopedic surgeon to see about his tenotomy (the procedure to release tendons in his feet so he can raise and lower them).  
Tuesday was a very exhausting day for Zachary, Mommy, and Daddy. We met with all of the specialists and doctors at Children's (eight in all) in the spinal defects clinic, and spent about 4 hours discussing Zachary's progress, his history, and what to expect in the future.  Several of the people we met did not have much information to give, or much to do for Zachary at this time because of his casts, and his young age, (he was the youngest at the clinic and very popular because of that!)but we did meet many new people who had a wealth of information to share with us.
 The urologist was happy to hear about Zachary's full diapers to this point, but has scheduled a test a few weeks out to get a full understanding of where Zachary is at as far as his bladder control, and urine holding capacities.  The test will give us a better idea as to whether or not Zach will need to be cathetered for the next couple of years, or if he will be able to maintain full function without risk of infection.
The neurologist looked at Zach's ultrasounds and was very pleased with the results and the functioning of his shunt.  All seem to be working wonderfully, and his recent increase in head circumference seems to be the result of a growth spurt, and not any fluid or pressure on his brain as we had feared (Praise Jesus!).
We got to see the new braces and boots that are used to continue Zachary's treatment for his clubbed feet.  He'll be in the braces a few weeks after his tenotomy.  He'll wear them full time for 2-3 months, then will need to wear them whenever he sleeps until he is two years old.  Wearing the boots is the most important part of the whole process.  It's like having retainers after braces on your teeth.  If you don't wear them regularly, your teeth (or feet) can very quickly and easily revert back to their previous form.
The final visit of the day was with the physical therapist who evaluated Zachary and felt he was a little behind on his head and neck strength.  He's not lifting his head quite as far as a normal 2 month old would, but with all he's been through so far, that is understandable.  She suggested much more "tummy time" for Zachary, and gave us several exercises to work on to get him caught up.  It was very educational, and Mommy and Daddy have been enjoying the new time spent with Zachary working on his development. 
After a full day of doctors and information we all returned home and proceeded to fall asleep for a couple hours, a much needed and enjoyable rest.  Zach will have more appointments in the next few weeks, but his spinal defects clinic will only be every 3 months for the next year, then every 6 months until he is 10 years old.  What a wonderful blessing all of the doctors and specialists have been, and we continue to praise God each day for all the amazing care they have provided.  We continue to pray for his abundant healing, and for many more positive results and blessings in the future.  Enjoy the pictures and movies and God Bless - Brian + Kimmie

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Someone Knows How To Smile!

Zachary smiled for Mommy a few days ago, but tonight he decided to give us a great big one, and he did it just as Mommy was taking his picture!  He and Mommy stopped by the country club today and visited Daddy and his co-workers for a short time, then headed off to run some errands and spend the rest of the afternoon not sleeping!  He's pretty worn out now and is currently sleeping pretty soundly.  Just thought we'd add a new video, and post a few more pictures for all to enjoy!  Zach sends his Love to all - Brian + Kimmie

Monday, February 2, 2009

Why Am I So Tired?

Zachary had a very busy day today filled with lots of love and holding.  He had his first babysitters today when Nonni and Barb came by to watch him for a few hours while Mommy went in to have her check up.  He was great for them, and by the looks of the pictures, he was enjoying the warm cozy arms to sleep in.  Zach had his new casts put on again this afternoon (blue ones this week) and his feet are definitely past neutral and pointing quite a bit outward. He slept through most of that procedure once again.  This evening Zachary had the chance to visit with Tia and Adam (even Daddy's college friends have been nice enough to stop by!).  They were treated to an awake and mostly pleasant little guy who was very excited to try out his new outfits!  
Tomorrow is the big day at the spina bifida clinic.  Hopefully he will sleep well tonight, he's pretty tired from all the activity and visitors today.  We look forward to an enlightening and positive day tomorrow, and continue to pray for his healing and progress.  God Bless - Brian + Kimmie

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Long Time No Speak!

It's been far too long since the last update to Zachary's blog, so here's a break down of the week that was....
Zach had his new casts put on Monday (white ones this week), and was great for the nurse practitioner who put them on once again. His new casts have his feet past neutral, and his progress has been wonderful (check out his straight feet in the pictures!).  They think it may only be 2-3 weeks longer with the fiberglass casts, then he can have his procedure, and have his plaster casts put on for a month.  This is a couple weeks sooner than we had first expected, so praise God for Zachary's quick healing and progress.  He was surprisingly pleasant Monday night and all day Tuesday, unlike weeks past, where we thought he might be a little sore from the new casts. 
Thursday was a busy day for the whole family.  Zachary had two ultrasounds (one on his head and one renal for his kidneys and bladder), then had a visit with the pediatrician.  He had been spitting up a little more often, and was a bit stuffy, so we took him to get checked out.  The doctor said everything seemed fine, and to continue monitoring Zachary's behavior, but for now he was doing well enough.  You can see from the pictures that he was pretty dead to the world before his ultrasounds, but he still looks good in those overalls!!  He slept through almost the entire procedure and only fussed when the doctor put a big glob of gel in his ear!
This weekend he has been very pleasant.  We had a slight scare yesterday when Mommy talked to the pediatrician to discuss the ultrasound results, and we thought his head might have been retaining a bit of fluid, but after a short time, and some re-evaluation, everything took a turn for the better and Zachary returned to his normal self.  We even had a small milestone yesterday when Zachary looked up at Mommy and gave his first big smile!  We've been anticipating that coming for a few days now, and we're ecstatic it finally happened.
 Super Bowl Sunday arrived and he was a little ball of energy this morning.  We went to church early, then all three of us had breakfast (Mommy and Daddy ordered omelets, Zach got a bottle!), and were able to have a fairly quiet afternoon together before the game.  This week brings Zach's first visit to the spina bifida clinic on Tuesday.  It's the one stop shop for most of Zach's needs, and we should have a few more answers as to a timeline for his continued recovery.  We're overjoyed with his healing to this point, and continue to pray for a full and healthy recovery ahead.  With Love and Praise - Brian + Kimmie