Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mexico: A Trip Full of Ups and Downs

I had to laugh when I saw my last post. I was reminded by how stressed out I was the week before we left for vacation. I was really hoping vacation was going to change that. 
We left on Sunday the 12th very early in the morning. The first flight was great. Our second flight was 4 hours long and on a very large jet. Since the time lined up well with nap time the girls took a nice long nap (with the assistance of a little Benadryl...guilty mommy confession). Upon descent, Lucy's ears started to bother her and she began to cry. We tried the paci, a lollipop, a drink, and she refused everything. The cry escalated to a full scream as we descended through horrible turbulence. I reached a point where I knew if I kept the screaming baby on my lap I would puke. I was sweating and feeling super nauseous. I knew W was also feeling nauseous, but out of necessity I passed her off. Shortly after W was searching madly for a bag to be sick in. Poor guy. I made that point that at least no one around us knew he was sick. Had it been me, the whole plane probably would have known. 

During the plane ride W was sitting next to my mom. He said she was acting a little strange and almost acting paranoid. There was a lot of turbulence and it was a rough flight. I think the main reason it didn't bother me that much is because I was distracted by the crying/screaming baby on my lap. 

Lucy continued to cry as we waited to go through customs. Eventually W got her calmed down and we got on our shuttle to the resort. 

The resort was beautiful and we spent some time just hanging out Sunday afternoon. We went for dinner, but no one was hungry so we went back to our rooms to put the girls down. 

My mom's room was right next to ours so we went to hang out in her room once the girls were down. 

It became apparent then that she was acting unusual. She was very scattered and confused. We ordered room service and she said her stomach hurt and that she didn't feel well. She then started vomiting as we took our dinner out onto the balcony to eat. Good times! 

My mom isn't one to get sick. For probably the next 45 minutes she spent getting sick. As time progressed, she started to make less sense. She was slurring her speech, and talking about things completely unrelated and not making sense at times. W stepped out into the hallway and I stayed in the room with her. I knew I couldn't leave her in that state. My gut said something was wrong. If nothing else W and I made the plan for me to stay in her room with her that night. 

The whole time she'd been sitting on the bathroom floor with the door open and I was standing in the next room over. All of a sudden, she shrieked, threw her arms up in the air, and fell back on the floor, hitting her head on the marble floor. Then she started to have a seizure. I poked my head out into the hallway, screamed for W, and he came running in. He immediately went to her side and told me to call for help. I picked up the phone and called the emergency extension. As I was doing this I heard W saying, "Breathe Anne, I need you to breathe." Those were some of the scariest words I've ever heard! I decided then to run down to the lobby for help since we were close and I wasn't really getting anywhere on the phone.

I found help in the lobby and they followed me back up to the room. At that point the seizure had stopped and my mom was doing this crazy snoring thing. She was in and out of consciousness. 

I can't say how long it took, but we called for a dr to come to the room. It was almost humorous how they kept informing us that the dr wasn't included in our "all inclusive" trip. We didn't care, we knew she needed to be seen by a dr. They actually wouldn't call the paramedics until a dr saw her. 

The dr that came to the room was amazing. He spoke excellent English and was calm and helpful. He determined that she needed to go to the hospital based on her behavior and the paramedics were called. 

The whole time W was by her side. He was talking to her, trying to keep her awake and calm. I would periodically talk to her to help keep her awake. I could tell she recognized me but everyone else in the room was a stranger to her (there were at least 5 other people). 

When the paramedics arrived they decided to put an IV in. That process was difficult and eventually led to her just pulling it out anyway. They got her on the stretcher and W decided to go with her to the hospital while I stayed at the resort with the girls. I was so grateful for him in those moments. He stayed so calm and was so helpful. 

I was able to get ahold of my FiL but not my step-dad. At $4.00 a minute from the room phone, I asked my FiL to keep calling my step-dad until he reached him. I spoke with Scott (my step-dad) shortly after and he asked if he needed to come. I told him yes, he needed to come. Unfortunately my brother's passport wasn't valid so he had to make arrangements for him as well. 

W called me from the hospital a few hours later. He told me my mom had had another seizure in the ambulance and one when she arrived at the hospital. He said the care was excellent at the hospital and there were very quick to get her sedated (to prevent more seizures) and on all sorts of tubes and wires. She was in the ICU. At that point they told him she would likely be sedated all of the following day. They shared with him the ICU visiting hours which was for 15 minutes 4 times a day. He then took a taxi back to the hotel. 

When he arrived back at the hotel I was trying to sleep but woke up quickly. He said his taxi driver got pulled over by the police and that took an extra 20 minutes to get home. When the taxi pulled over a van also did and he joked he thought he was going to get kidnapped. 

My step-dad got on the first plane possible and was in Cancun by 3 pm the following day. He rented a car and went straight to the hospital. Since my mom's room was there and paid for he planned to stay there and visit her as much as possible. 

The first day there were a few different theories from the drs about what happened. My mom suffers from bi-polar disorder and is on a lot of medications. When the dr and paramedics arrived to the room I started to pull her meds out and put them on the counter. Their eyes opened wider and wider as I pulled out more and more medications. I don't know exactly what she takes and how much, but I know she has a dr that prescribes way too many medications. Many are controlled substances and dangerous (I guess we all didn't realize how dangerous). The first theory was that it was a lithium overdose. 

I was able to see my mom on Tuesday morning. She seemed to be doing okay but was confused and very slow to process. At that point she was still in the ICU and on some form of sedation. It was interesting to me that the day she went to the hospital she had proudly stated how she'd never been in a hospital. She also commented multiple times about how the resort was very americanized. I guess she got to experience true Mexico and the hospital all in one shot. 

They ran all sorts of tests and scans. The CT scan was clear but the EEG showed inflammation of her brain. 

When my step-dad arrived my anxiety eased some. I knew that he was there to be with her and that she'd also be okay. It was then that W and I decided we needed to try to make the best of our trip.

Despite everything going on with my mom, we tried to stay positive and upbeat for the girls. They had no idea what happened and honestly didn't seem to notice my mom wasn't there. We played in the sand on the beach, swam in the pool, ate lots of great food, and went for walks around and outside of the resort in the stroller. 

Tuesday was a little rough because the stress had mounted and the girls were definitely feeding off of our feelings. Once we recognized it we tried our best to stay super positive. Through tears I told W I still felt like I needed a little break. He let me have time to myself as the girls napped. 

My mom was discharged on Wednesday afternoon. She and my step-dad came back to the resort. On Thursday my mom tried to make the best of her one and only day in the sunshine. We sunned ourselves as the girls napped with W. 

W and I were able to make reservations and go to dinner on Wednesday night at one of the restaurants. It was nice to sit down by ourselves for a meal, but tough to relax knowing my mom who was just released from the hospital was supposed to be in charge on the girls. 

In the end, the drs figured out that Ambien caused her seizure. I guess in the days leading up to our trip she was having difficulty sleeping (she also takes speed for her bi-polar so needs to Ambien to counteract it). In her attempts to get sleep before the trip she took 3 Ambien one night over the course of a few hours and 2 another night. This lead to 5 pills in a 24 hour time period. This was enough that the next night she exhibited withdrawal symptoms: stomach pain, vomiting, confusion, and seizures. I don't think any of us had any idea how dangerous this drug was. 

We tried to have the best trip we could despite the circumstances. The girls loved swimming in the pool, exploring the resort on foot, eating gelato and "treats", playing with their sand toys, and drinking mama's non-alcoholic pina coladas. 

So, it didn't go exactly as we planned, but we were so grateful my mom was okay and that we all came home in one piece. We all flew home together on Friday. There were moments when we were all sitting down for a meal as a family where it was really nice. I could forgot that my mom could have died and my step-dad was there only out of necessity. Instead it felt like a nice family vacation. It was nice that the girls spent more time with my step-dad than they ever had. 

Clara was our little ambassador that would wave and say hi to everyone. The girls were known on the resort by name by much of the staff. They were "the twins with the two different colored eyes". It seems they gain instant celebrity status wherever they go!

W enjoying the sunrise with the girls on our balcony on Monday morning. He had a rough day/night before!

Breakfast with my favorite people. Trying to make the best of things the morning after the craziness. 
Clara exploring after breakfast. 
Sister love
An early morning swim in the pool. 
Playing in the sand with Daddy. 

Big girl!
Daddy carrying the girls back to our room. 
Clara refusing to leave Daddy's side. 

Mama and her girls hanging in the pool. 

Headed to the trampoline with Daddy. 

Lucy checking out her shadow. 
Beautiful beach
Out for a walk.  

Such cuties! 
Love these two!

We used our sun tent...once.

Their new favorite, ring around the rosie. . I love how they hold each others hands. 

The building we stayed in. Every room had a balcony with ocean views. No complaints there.  
Taking a little nap pool-side.  
Vacation is exhausting!
Big girls helping to push their stroller. 

View from the resort looking down the beach. So beautiful!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Last weekend we traveled to Albany to see my sister, dad, and other family. We left Saturday morning and stayed until after dinner on Sunday night. To say the trip was stressful is an understatement. The girls were great in the car, but Clara woke up with a fever and runny nose on Sunday morning. She was super cranky and the pacis made more of an appearance than normal. 

We stayed with my sister. While the sleeping arrangements were better this time, it was still extremely difficult to stay there. My sister and BiL heat their house with a wood stove. They keep it at least 85 degrees all the time. The space is small and cluttered and they don't pick up after themselves. The TV is constantly on (in fact 2 TV's are constantly on right next to each other). My nephew who is 2 years old isn't on any kind of schedule or routine and it was hard to watch. I didn't see them sit down with him for any meals minus the one we went out for. He really only sat for a minute or two and then ran around the restaurant the rest of the time. Otherwise, he grazed on candy and junk food, didn't take any naps, and went to bed around 10 pm. 

Traveling alone is stressful, but having to stay at my sister's house and Clara getting sick made it really tough. We went to dinner on Sunday night and there were about 25 people there. These people are practically strangers to the girls and they were definitely a little overwhelmed. There were dogs in the house wresting and it was really loud. We went from one chaotic environment to another. 

We were so grateful to be home but anticipated a bad night with Clara since she hadn't been feeling well. When we were at dinner she felt so warm despite being dosed with Tylenol.

Well, it's now Wednesday and Clara seems to be feeling much better. Unfortunately, Lucy now has the same thing. Monday and Tuesday were really tough with the girls and they were so cranky and both wanted me. There was so much whining and I thought I was going to lose it. At one point yesterday I had to put them both in their cribs and let them cry while I took a break. I finally got a little break today as my mom watched the girls while I left for a few hours. I came home to a hysterical, snotty, drooly Lucy and felt a little guilty. Luckily she snuggled into me and calmed right down. 

On days like this I think about how things are going to be with a baby added to the mix. I can't help but feel extremely overwhelmed and scared. I joked we will all have to live in a bubble because I won't be able to to handle sick toddlers and a baby. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle healthy toddlers and a baby, haha. 

I'm hoping Lucy starts to feel better soon so that we are all healthy for vacation next week. 

19 Months Old

The girls have hit the age (in my opinion) where it's no longer worth it to tell strangers exactly how many months old they are. We are officially into "a year and a half" territory and will be there until they hit two. 

Lucy- You are such a talker at home with us but get so shy around others. You won't repeat or talk much when around others but then are a complete chatterbox at home. I think you use about 20 words consistently and have used a few two word combinations. You are so fast at walking and try to run now. You like to hold an adult's hand when walking and listen well and stick close by (for now at least). You're very daring, especially when grandma dukes is watching you. You took a big fall off your slide one day when she was watching you. You think it's funny to slide down the stairs on your feet while holding our hands. You are sleeping through the night about 75% of the time now. We thought you were teething a few weeks ago but nothing popped through. You tend to get super constipated when teething so that's super unpleasant. Your love for Elmo remains strong and you also love the other characters on Sesame Street. You like playing with your pull toys and being outside. You're so smart and fun to be around. 

Lucy's first lollipop at the pediatrician. 
Don't even think you're getting a bite of this. 

First ride on the carousel. 
That's one dirty butt! Having fun finally being able to play outside. 

Clara- I was reminded of your old nickname "clockwork Clara" recently as you were waking at the same time almost every morning. You're getting so good at walking and are also almost running. We saw an orthopedic dr this month because we were concerned about your hip/balance/gait. The dr agreed your gait was atypical and said it was likely your external rotators are stronger than the internal ones. She said we could go to physical therapy or just wait. After taking the script for PT and talking with W and Lucy's PT, we've decided to wait. You're making so much progress every day. You love playing with the fridge magnets, your kitchen set, and standing in our front window on the ledge. You've really started talking more, especially spontaneously and without as much prompting. You have about 10 words you use consistently at this time. You're still very much into equality and insist on the same things as your sister constantly. I love that you advocate for yourself. You have certain clothing items you love (a Chicago Bears hoodie and a certain pair stride rite shoes). If you find these things you often insist we put them on you. It's cute to see you forming an opinion about things but can be frustrating when we're trying to get out the door and you're already dressed. You love playing and I love watching you learn new things. 
I think she needs more necklaces.
Posing on St. Patrick's day. 
Clara's first ride on the carousel. 
Sitting on daddy's lap at the pediatrician. 
Wearing her favorite shoes with pajamas. 
Nice glasses!
The girls have officially hit the independent toddler phase. We are seeing the emergence of temper tantrums and also noticing the girls asserting themselves and their opinions more. It definitely makes things more challenging. There's lots of head shaking "no" going on around here. It's been a challenging few weeks, but I know it's only a phase. Having grandparents around and things planned during the day helps. 

The girls are also the closest in weight they've ever been in their lives. There is only 14 ounces between them. At their last appointment they weighed 17.2 and 18 pounds. They are still tiny little girls. Both are around 30 inches tall. 

We are so excited to leave for vacation on Sunday. We are going to Mexico again with the girls and bringing my mom this time. I can't wait for sunshine, sand, and relaxation. I'm a little nervous about the traveling and everything with the girls but hoping for the best. I can't believe how old my girls are and how fast time is going. 

St. Patrick's day
Play date buddies. We will miss the girls as they are moving :(
Hanging out in the window sill. This is their new favorite place. 

That's a big dog!
Not surprised by this reaction.