Saturday, 22 November 2014

Not your typical diet...

When most people think of the D-word they think of a conscious effort to eat healthier and in turn drop a few pounds.  Jadon is not in need of that.  He needs to gain weight.  Just as losing is hard for most of us, gaining seems equally hard for him.

Jadon is small. Like, less than the 3rd percentile.  We feel it would be great for him to be a little bigger before he undergoes cardiac surgery so we are trying to fatten him up a bit. 

Part of the problem is he is unable to swallow anything with chunks.  He chokes on anything that is not the consistency of pureed pumpkin soup.  No lumps whatsoever.  We are guessing this is related to his esophageal atresia that was fixed at two days old.  It is possible that he may need his esophagus dilated or stented.  Hopefully this will be addressed sooner than later.  But in reality, I am guessing it will take a number of months before there is anything done to address this issue.

So... we have resorted to trying to feed him as often as we can during his waking hours.  If we give him a lot at a time, he vomits.  So we continue with frequent, small portions, of infant cereals, yogurt and baby food jars made for babies that are the 4-6 months old.  At this point, we do not blend up our own food as our economy job blender does not puree small quantities to a fine enough consistency. 

Yesterday, Steph came home pleased.  He had found some high fat yogurt.  6% fat!  Maybe this will help!

Another thing that we think might help with weight gain is the good, old, Canadian winter!  In Vietnam, Jadon would sweat profusely with each feeding of his warm bottle.  The temperatures outdoors were humid and often above 30C.   Indoors, the temp was around 25C.   When we kept the indoor temp lower, the room felt chilly :)  In Canada, winter has arrived early.  Snow is scattered along the grass like a loosely woven blanket.  The house is heated, but only to temps around 21C.  This big drop in temp allows Jadon to drink his bottle without his hair and back completely soaking in sweat.  It was as if every bottle was a work-out while we were in Vietnam.  Now, Jadon has a few beads of perspiration on his forehead occasionally, but rarely soaks his hair or clothing with feedings.
Maybe, just maybe his weight will start to increase.

I might be just hopeful, but as I look at this pic taken on night one with Jadon, I think maybe he has gotten a teeny bit fuller in the cheeks.



Monday, 17 November 2014

Finally Home! My wife is AWESOME!

Home at last!  We landed shortly after 9:00, were picked up at the airport by our good friends Yu and Carolyn Chen and got home around 11:00.  It was great to walk in the door with all of us here together!  Mom had prepared a nice snack, as well as picked up fruits and milk, and had baked muffins and prepared a Shepherd's pie for supper tomorrow.  Very little for us to do in the food prep area which is great!

We chatted and hung around for a bit then all the kids went to bed eventually.   Of course, the last one to do so was Jadon.  He is not so sure about things and is trying to figure things out.  He didn't like the winter coat nor the car seat... but being in Canada he will have to put up with them for a long long time!  Once Jadon was looking a little tired Sara was able to lie down with him.  They are sleeping soundly now... hopefully for a long time!

Have I ever mentioned how amazing Jadon's mother is?  How remarkable a woman my wife is?  In an adoption, the primary goal is typically to help create bonding and attachment to the primary caregiver, which in many cases is the mother.  This helps to quickly create a 'safe spot' for the newest, overwhelmed member of the family.  We did the same.  Sara did the majority of the hands-on care giving while I did more of the support work (like prepare and then wash the bottles that Sara would feed to Jadon).  While this is really nice for Sara because she is the one that Jadon opens his arms to the most, and the one the he wants to be held by, and the one he smiles his best for etc... it can also be very tiring.  Because often, she is the ONLY one that he wants, specifically when he is not feeling great - sick or tired.

The last few days have been exhausting for Sara.  Saturday evening we went to the hospital and Jadon was admitted.  The two of them stayed there from then until Monday morning around 8:15 when we picked them up on the way to the airport.  I have been fighting this crazy long fever/cough that first Logan and then Rykauna got.  In between fever spells with enough Advil, I feel fine to do some things.  However, we did not want Jadon to get whatever bug this is so.... we have even more limited my direct dealings with him, and even my bottle preparing, feeding etc... were stopped.  I couldn't go to the hospital to stay and help Sara out with Jadon.  Logan went in for about 6 hours to help out as much as he could.  Overnight, it was mommy, mommy and more mommy.  On our two flights today, a total of about 17 hours flying time, Sara had Jadon for the majority of that time.  While the rest of us were sleeping or chilling, she was comforting, entertaining, feeding.  It really bugged me to see Sara working so hard when I was just across the aisle really not able to do very much.  But Sara was an absolute trooper.  No complaints(ok maybe a couple little ones), a smile on her face (with occasional tears), Sara went through this all.  She got likely about 5 or 6 total sleep hours over the last 3 days.

I am so proud of her.  I am blessed to have her as my wife.  Rykauna, Logan, Hudson and Li Lin are blessed to have her as a mother.  And now Jadon will also come to know how blessed he is to also call her mom!

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;  her husband also, and he praises her:

Proverbs 31:10, 28  

Sunday, 16 November 2014

On our way!

Just a short post to get you all know that Jadon just got discharged.   He is fit for travel.   Who knows about the rest of us!  We are heading to the airport in about 10 and hopefully all goes well.   We will be landing in Toronto about 8:45 pm Toronto time.   Thanks so much for all your prayers.   Please continue.   On the home stretch now!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Update on Jadon

I just got back from the hospital.  Jadon spent an ok night but the good news is this morning he coughed up a piece of meat which was what had become caught in his throat.  The bad news is that he developed a fever.  It turns out the he once again has bronchitis!  So, the plan is to keep him in the hospital until tomorrow morning and the kids and I will stop by on the way to the airport to pick Sara and Jadon up.  Talk about last minute!  The doctor would like to keep Jadon hydrated and will give him IV antibiotics to combat his bronchitis.  She wants to make him as healthy as possible for the flight.

Meanwhile, I am fighting the fever that Logan at the beginning of the trip, and Rykauna more recently were fighting.  Because of this I can't stay at the hospital with Sara.  Logan is there right now for a few hours to help Sara with Jadon and to keep her company.  I will take a couple hours sleep to try and get rid of this fever and then we need to get all packed up.

This trip has been quite the challenge in a variety of ways.  Please continue to pray that all would work out and that we will not have any more hiccups before we get our little guy home!

Please Pray Again... Another Night in the Hospital

This post was supposed to be about the fusion between East and West that you find so many places throughout Vietnam... the food, the architecture etc...  however, Jadon is once again in the hospital.

We figured that with three visits to the Family Medical Practice, one overnight there, as well as a cardiologist consult at Tam Duc Hospital (where Jadon had his heart surgery done) was enough of a insight into the medical care in Vietnam.  However, apparently not.  Today at lunch, Jadon aspirated some food.  Due to his esophageal atresia, though repaired, this is a fairly common occurrence.  However today, he didn't seem to be able to clear out his lungs properly, and his breathing was rattly for the rest of the afternoon.  When he wouldn't take more than a couple ounces of his milk bottle, and immediately spit up when we fed him his baby food and cereal, we thought we should bring him in.  Sara and I went with Jadon to FV Hospital, a French Private hospital.  The doctor was concerned that he could not/would not eat and drink.  This is a concern for most children, but with Jadon's small size and his heart shunt - the pediatrician is concerned that if he does not have enough fluid, his blood will thicken and cause issues with his shunt.

So, she has admitted Jadon overnight for observation.  The plan is to have him fast overnight but give him IV fluids to keep him hydrated.  Then attempt to get him to drink tomorrow afternoon and hope all goes well.  When something like this happens, we don't know whether to laugh or cry... so we have done some of both!  We would really appreciate prayers that all would be settled so that we can make our flight on Monday.  We can't wait to be home with Jadon and all the kids!

Friday, 14 November 2014

Passports and Lunch with Emmy

Today (Thursday) Rykauna and Hudson are still sick.  Hudson thankfully seems to be getting better.... Rykauna is still running a temp and has developed a nasty cough.  Since today was the day we had prearranged to pick up Jadon's passports and meet Emmy for lunch it goes without saying that some of the family had to stay at the condo.  Since Jadon was really fussy in the morning, and Logan did not really feel like traipsing around doing the passport business, it was decided that just Li Lin and I  would go.  She of course, loved having mom all to herself.

We went first to the Canadian consulate and picked up Jadon's temporary Canadian passport. Next, we cabbed it over to the Vietnamese passport office and waited for Loan to meet us there so we could pick up his Vietnamese passport.  Once that was done, all of our official duties and paperwork were completed.

I headed out to meet Emmy my co-worker for lunch.  Nothing like meeting a co-worker for lunch halfway across the world!  Emmy was here in Vietnam for a family wedding and travel so it was nice to get together.  I had the BEST beef noodle soup I have eaten since here in Vietnam.  Emmy is the "foodie" in our department at work so I knew the restaurant she chose would not disappoint.  It was a nice little break from the constant low-level chaos we have been going through!

Today (Friday) we sort of lay low.  Rykauna is still going through the stages of her fever/cough and we are hoping tomorrow is a better day.  Hudson was up and about and though not his normal perky self, he did eat more and talk more, which are both indicators that he is well on his road to recovery.  He even joined Steph, Logan and Li Lin for a short swim before supper.  We then went shopping to pick up a few things for Jadon... feels weird buying formula and baby food for a 26 month old, but that is what we do!  He is eating a better variety of food and we are trying to decrease his formula intake so he will eat more of other foods but that will be a gradual process.

Just the weekend left in Vietnam, and then we fly home on Monday.  The trip has not gone exactly as planned, what with the illnesses and we haven't seen as much as we would have liked, but the important thing is, Jadon is in our arms and we are bringing him home.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Ho Chi Minh City...home of the haves and the have nots

We have noticed in our short time here that there is very little middle class here.  There is the wealthy and the very poor.  This is true in many countries but the proximity of their coexistence is startling here.  On our way to our first "home" in Vietnam we could see beautiful gated private villas right next to tin shanties.  Literally adjacent to one another.

Beautiful light in the living room


At our new place here in District 7 we are staying at a new condominium tower with modern decor, a gymnasium, pool, small convenience store, 24/7 security and some condo units that are two stories high.  Out our patio living room window we can see squalor that is just behind our building.  There are people living in a rusted old barge just feet from the condo.  We can also see several other thatched huts within view of our balcony.  The view out the back windows gives us a bird's eye view of the life of the people that live along waterways.  At the beginning and end of the day we see a few people standing in dug out canoes paddling their way to the shore presumably to go to work.  It is very sad to see such poverty right next to modern luxury. 

This picture as well as the next two were taken from out balcony.  Notice the "home" on the old barge



HCMC in the background
We have seen BMW dealerships here and motorbikes that look like they were used in the 60's.  We see street vendors trying to shine shoes to make a buck while at the same time there are many malls and stores that are really expensive.   It is hard to explain the way of life here in Saigon because it is not as uniform as we are used to in North America.  What is uniform though are the ever-present face masks.  From the rich in their Burberry shirts and Louis Vuitton bags, to the poor in their worn out attire, many people wear face masks while riding the city transit, walking the streets, and most especially, while riding a motorbike.   Motorbike fashion has its own fibe as well.  Nearly everyone wears helmets...some are really funky.  Some of the women wear long "skirt type" material pieces over their clothes to keep themselves clean.  We are also amazed how many people can fit on a bike.  We have seen a family of four on a bike.  Dad driving, small kid in the middle (sometimes sleeping) and mom in the back holding a young baby.  Some of these moms must have killer abdominal muscles...holding on to a baby while maintaining balance on the back of a bike looks like a difficult task.  On one occasion we witnessed a mom holding a young infant while driving the bike herself and weaving through the crazy HCMC traffic.
These women are wearing gloves and masks that are much bigger than most

Minion mask on this guy

Taking the dog for a ride