Thursday, July 30, 2009

Help for Christian

I know many of you have been following baby Christian's story, and for that I thank you. He is making amazing progress, and I know that is partly because of all the positive healing thoughts coming his way. Well, you know I'm not generally the type to ask, but Christian needs a bit more than that right now. He needs funds.

Christian will soon be starting Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments, which have been proven to help children with brain injury to recover at least some function. They are truly amazing, and right now, are Christian's best hope for walking, talking, and playing again. Of course these treatments are expensive, costing about $100 per session. They are not covered by insurance.

It is also possible for Christian to receive at-home treatments in between visits to the official HBOT center, but he needs a special chamber to do that, of course. Amazingly, one of the August moms found one on craigslist for $4000. After sharing Christian's story with the owner, she agreed to part with the chamber for $2500. Now, that's a spectacular deal, but it's still out of reach for Christian's family right now.

This is where you come in. If 250 people donated as little as $10 each, it would be paid for! If 100 people donated $25, we'd have it! I KNOW we can do this. Please, if you can spare anything, it will be put to good use. After we have enough for the at-home HBOT chamber, the remainder of donations will go toward the HBOT Center treatments.

Like I said, I don't normally ask for much. But Christian needs your help. Please keep him in your thoughts, as always. But please also consider donating to help him get this much-needed piece of equipment. THANK YOU! The link to Chip In is on the right!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Christian's Story

This is something I wrote for my August Moms' Group...wanted to share it here as well.

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 is a day that the Quintero family won’t ever forget. That afternoon, 11-month-old Christian fell in the family pool and nearly drowned. His big brother Gabe pulled him out of the pool, and his mother Shauna frantically did CPR while waiting for paramedics to arrive. Even at the hospital, they could not get a pulse, and Shauna was asked to come in and say goodbye to her little boy. During their last attempt to save Christian, Shauna touched her son’s leg, called out his name, and his heart started beating again! Amazing! Of course, this was not the end of the story, but rather the beginning of a long, hard struggle for Christian and his family as he fights every day to survive and recover.

But they are not alone. The Quinteros don’t just have their wonderfully supportive family and friends surrounding them. In this spectacularly small world where any person is just a mouse click or keystroke away from another, the Quinteros also have hundreds of people all over the world praying for them and for little Christian. But how is this possible? How has Christian’s story reached so many in such a short time? Maybe I should start at the beginning.

In November/December of 2007, a group of about 100 women were meeting each other on an online message board. We had all just found out we were pregnant with babies due in August 2008. There were women who were expecting their first child, and those expecting their fourth. Women who had been trying for years to get pregnant, some who had gone through countless infertility treatments, and some who had gotten pregnant easily or even by “accident.” There were women who had lost previous pregnancies, even had to deal with stillbirth. We came from all over the US, Europe, and even Australia. We were as varied in personality and circumstance as any group could be, but we were united in our love of our August babies.

As the months went on, we grew closer. We were devastated when our numbers were diminished as some among us had miscarriages and lost their precious babies. We were thrilled when announcements of twins came, and when other women found us and joined in. We shared our joys, our fears, our aches, our pains, and our complaints about spouses who just “didn’t get it.” We became a family. As time went on, we posted pictures of our growing bellies, shared gender ultrasound results, and discussed baby names.

And then, all of a sudden, it seemed, it was June, and babies started arriving. Paige was first, born so early, and we all furiously prayed for her as she fought in the NICU, and celebrated when she went home. July and August brought a cascade of babies, birth stories, and pictures of beautiful, wrinkly newborns. Some babies even waited until September to make their appearances. But we were all still the “August Moms.” By that point, we’d been together 8-9 months.

Many so-called “due date groups” peter out after babies are born. Moms get busy, don’t have time to get online anymore, or just aren’t interested now that their due dates have come and gone. Not so for our group. If anything, we became stronger after our babies were born. Instead of Braxton hicks contractions and swollen ankles, though, we complained about sleepless nights and cranky, teething babies. Instead of feeling kicks or seeing sonograms, we cheered about rolling over, sleeping through the night, and first teeth. We shared pictures, stories, and even videos of our little ones, and became even closer. We started calling each other our children’s “Internet Aunties.”

Many of us became “friends” on Facebook, and continued connecting. We had “meet-ups,” where members met each other in person. Some continue to get together regularly. And we kept posting on our message boards daily, asking questions, sharing advice, and generally doing what friends do. We had found caring, loving, loyal, and true friends on the internet. I guess stranger things have happened.

Then, as we were busy reading through posts and updates about first steps, plans for birthday parties, and other fun things, tragedy struck. One of our precious August babies, little M, died suddenly in her crib during a nap. She was just over nine months old. We were horror-stricken. We all felt so deeply for M’s mommy, and hugged our children all the tighter as those awful “what ifs” ran through our minds. But the group banded together through our grief, and rallied around M’s family. We sent cards, remembrance gifts, and messages of love and support. While little M is gone, she will always be an August baby, and her mother will always belong in our group. We love and miss them so much.

Things were just starting to get back to “normal” after little M’s passing, and we saw Shauna’s update. Her beautiful boy Christian had fallen in the pool. He was in critical condition. She asked for our prayers. We didn’t know anything else. The group flurried into action. Messages were sent, updates shared, and panicked posts started about how Christian was doing. There were frantic pleas of “Not another August baby!” One of the August Moms called Shauna to check on him, and filled everyone in. We were so glad to hear that he was getting more stable all the time but dismayed that his situation was still extremely critical.

That’s when it started. People started posting updates about Christian on their Facebook pages as we got them. We posted about Christian’s situation, and how he, his big brother Gabe, his father Manny, and his mother Shauna (who is also pregnant with Christian’s little brother or sister, due next year) needed all the positive thoughts and prayers they could get. Friends of friends, acquaintances, and coworkers responded in droves. Everyone was touched and moved by Christian’s story, and the prayers and thoughts for the little fighter and his family started. And they haven’t stopped since.

Shauna started a blog called Christian’s Journey ( to keep everyone up to date with the latest happenings in Christian’s world. It already has over a hundred official “followers,” and surely many more unofficial ones. I get messages all the time from Facebook friends asking how Christian is, and they’ve never met him or anyone in his family. Though, I suppose it’s a fact that I’ve never met Christian or his family either. But I know him, and I know them. I am his Internet Auntie, after all.

Christian has come so far, but he still has SO far to go. He just got a g-tube (for feeding) and a trach tube (for breathing) placed, and took his first breath on his own since the accident just yesterday. He is such a fighter! His parents are not deluded, though: they know they are in this for the long haul. Christian’s recovery is going to be lengthy and difficult, not to mention expensive. While they are, of course, devastated that their family has had to endure such tragic circumstances, they are hopefully comforted, at least somewhat, by all the people pulling for Christian.

There are those that condemn message boards and social networking sites like Facebook as frivolous time-wasters, not good for anything but gossiping, spying on old boyfriends, and sharing self-important status messages about what people had for dinner. But then there’s a case like Christian’s. Through the magic of the internet, Christian’s Internet Aunties have organized a worldwide network of positive energy, all aimed at Christian and his family. We know that they feel it, and that it’s helping. Here’s to that circle growing exponentially, and to Christian’s continued progress. We love you, buddy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Our Smart Boy

Sebastian has always loved blocks. But up until recently, he has mostly just gnawed on them. Then, a few weeks ago, he started actually playing with the shape-sorter like it's supposed to be played with! (It's actually mine from when I was a kid!) He opens the lid, gets out a block, closes the lid, and then works until he puts the block through the right hole. Then he opens the lid and starts again. He will do this 20+ times in a row.

Right now he's just proficient at the square and round holes, but the other ones will come in time. We actually have some blocks from a different shape sorter in with the orginial ones, so there are two slightly-different-sized square blocks. The green one goes in a bit easier, since it's smaller, but usually after a while of putting that one in the hole, he'll get bored and go for the bigger (and trickier) yellow square one. Way to challenge yourself, kid!

The green square actually fits through the round hole, too, if he gets it just right, as you can see in the following video:

We're just so amazed that not only is he walking, starting to say some meaningful words (we think), and definitely understanding us more (simple directions, labels, names, etc.), he's showing off his intelligence in just his play skills! SO cool! How did my little tiny baby get so big and smart all of a sudden?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Ironic?

(might have to click on the pic to read his shirt...)

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Walking Wonder

It hasn't even been two weeks, and Sebastian can now walk across an entire room, step over obstacles, and change direction! O.o In this video, he walks over to Daddy and then changes his mind and heads for the door instead. He plays with the door for a while, then comes back.

I can't believe how quickly he went from taking a few wobbly steps and lunging at stuff to really balancing and steadying himself to stay up and move places. He seems to want to walk more than he wants to crawl these days, and generally tries walking first, sometimes falls down, then crawls. Even when he's next to something he could use to cruise, he sometimes just lets go and walks. Ack, where did my baby go?!

(PS: He really does walk back to Daddy eventually....gets distracted by the door for a while but stay with him, he'll do it!)

Poor fiends...

Well, it's official. The baby is getting the dogs into trouble. Sebastian has started handing stuff off, and thinks it's loads of fun to give us things and pass them back and forth. He also, apparently, thinks it's fun to do the same thing (or attempt to!) with the dogs.

Thing is, though, the dogs are not allowed to have anything to do with Sebastian's toys, lest the kid only have bits of mangled plastic and decapitated stuffed animals to play with. The dogs get in big trouble if they put any part of a baby toy in their mouths, complete with stern voices saying, "Dognamehere, LEAVE IT." Usually, Gandalf is the perpetrator. Ella is far too crafty to take any toys while we're anywhere nearby, and does it under cover of darkness or while we're otherwise occupied. Far too many Little People have already met their gnarly end in a dog's chompers, so we try to be really diligent about enforcing this rule.

Gandalf has a particular love for Sebastian's froggy friend pacifier. It's actually pretty cute, becuase he does not ever try to actually destroy it, rather will carry it around and put it next to him while he sleeps, cherishing it, if you will. Still, though, eww. The dog does not need to be lovin' on the baby's stuff with his drooly dog-mouth.

So imagine Gandalf's joy when Sebastian started willingly handing his froggy friend over! Sebastian sees Gandalf lying or sitting somewhere, or even just passing by, and pops the frog out of his mouth and passes it right over to Gandalf's waiting mouth. Then Gandalf gets in trouble for taking it. Poor fiend!

We think it's kind of hilarious, though, how Sebastian seems to totally anthropomorphize (yes, I totally used that word in my blog...I am a geek, after all!) the dogs. He tries to put toys/books/what-have-you in their "hands" while they're sleeping. He tried several times (with all four paws, in turn) to give Ella a toy once, finally giving up and putting it in her mouth instead. At which point the poor pup took it and promptly got reprimanded.

We try to tell Sebastian not to give his toys to the animals. But they are part of the family too, I guess, and in his mind, no different from us. I don't know if the animals should take that as a compliment, or if we human family members should be insulted. Hmm...