Battle with Right-Sided Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH)

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Monday, November 26, 2012


  I had to make a whole new blog!   So this will be the last post on Whitney's blog!  I hope it will still help future CDH parents on thier journey.  I'm sure I'll always refer back to it because I love looking at all of her pictures and reading how amazing she is.  I hope one day I can make this blog into a book.  So, this blog has used up all it's picture space which is why I'm just doing a whole new one.  Luckily it came at perfect timing with the birth of our son Cameron!  So here is the address, I hope you all still continue to follow our family's story! 
It's called The Montgomery Montage

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cameron Alaka‘iponopau‘ole Montgomery

Alicia is very occupied with nourishing our brand new baby boy so today I’ll be in charge of handling the blog.  So with great pride and joy we welcome to the world Cameron Alakaiponopauole Montgomery.  Cameron was born early in the morning at 2:07am, weighing 8 pounds 5 ounces, and measuring at 19 and ¾ inches.  No noticeable complications with the baby and mommy is doing just fine in recovery.

We arrived at the hospital around 7:30pm Saturday night for a planned induction.  We were assigned our delivery room at about 8:30pm.  They had to ask a million little questions and get an intravenous started.  Alicia needed some blood drawn, and this experience only seemed to validate her fear of needles, unfortunately.  Alicia started induction around 10:30pm.  At that time the doctor said that Alicia was 3 centimeters dilated.  The plan was to play it out for a while and then when contractions started getting uncomfortable, she’d get an epidural.  Between 10:30pm and 12:30am it was pretty uneventful, we watched Netflix.   At 12:30am, the contractions started getting stronger, and Alicia asked me to give her massages until she felt better.  For about an hour, Alicia continued to have some contractions, but she said that they just felt like menstrual cramps and weren’t that bad.  During this time I was exhausted and I fell asleep.  Then at 1:30am, Alicia said they started feeling like stronger cramps and so she asked the nurse to order an epidural and Alicia woke me up shortly after that.  So when I woke up, Alicia was visibly getting more and more uncomfortable.  It took about 20-30 minutes for the anesthesiologist to arrive and at 2am, it was too late, Alicia was in full blown labor and was ready to deliver!  Yep, Alicia delivered Cameron with no pain meds and she did it as gracefully as you see it in the movies.  J  The rest happened very fast and Cameron was born at 2:07am.  Alicia tore only a little bit and didn’t need stitches.  I got to cut the cord, and Cameron was immediately put on mommy’s chest for skin-to-skin time.  Cameron made his first little cries and opened his eyes and for the next hour we just adored our new little guy.

So that’s his birth story all summed up.


Alakaiponopauole is the Hawaiian name that we’ve bestowed to our new son.  It means “forever a righteous leader” and expresses our hopes and desires for the future of our son. 

We’re so excited to have him as part of our family and feel privileged to be able to raise him in our growing family. 

I’m a little nervous as to how Whitney will react to having a new baby brother in the home, but I know things will turn out just fine.




Thursday, November 8, 2012

Eating (video)

This is the second time Whitney has eaten since April! It was cheese again and it was amazing again! And I got it on video this time! Proof! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

New medicine

It's called Periactin.  Generic name is Cyproheptadine. Technically it's an antihistamine used for allergies and sometimes is prescribed for migraines.  But in the tube feeding world, it's widely used and it works really well as an appetite stimulant and decreases vomiting.  Our new GI doctor, here in CA, prescribed it and we just started using it last Saturday.  I'm not sure why our previous GI dr. never prescribed it or even mentioned it.  Whitney obviously has slow motility because even feeding her the slowest rate, she vomits about 2 to 4 times a day.  So this med increases the kids appetite which means they are digesting their food better/faster to make them hungry.  Lots of kids who are trying to be tube weaned take this to increase their oral intake of food.  For us, it's actually helping Whitney to not throw up.  She still doesn't eat by mouth but she is finally digesting all the calories and nutrients her body needs to grow. It's only been a week but it's been wonderful.  I pray this medicine will work for a long time and that she won't get immune to it.  Every time we try something new, it only works for a little while before she's back to vomiting several times a day.  Like, every formula change (similac, alimentum, neocate, goats milk, compleat), or new medicine (prevacid, erythromicin) or different way of feeding her (slow or fast, bolus or slow drip, pump or syringe), or surgery (g tube, botox injections in her pylorus, removal of adhesions from her intestines), works at first, she'll stop vomiting, but a week or more later, her body still vomits.  In a previous post I asked which would be better; a fundo or a GJ tube.  I couldn't stop thinking about how much I wanted to avoid both of those options.  Like I couldn't even think of them being options because I really wanted something else to work, something like a medication.  I don't think the fundo or the GJ tube would really solve anything, she'd still vomit and retch with them.  But the thing is, I just can't stand to take my baby to the hospital.  I know she's been through all these surgeries and stuff before and I've tried to be super brave for her, but I just can't anymore.  It doesn't get easier every time, it gets harder.  Anyways, so since she has been on this med, she only throw's up once a day or less!  And it's usually caused by her getting hurt and crying too much.  "Normally" she'd vomit every single morning, and then a few times through out the day just randomly.  This past week she'll only vomit if, say, she falls of the couch or piano bench or accidentally pull her hair or stub her toes or fingers (you know toddlers).  She's also getting a little more adventurous at licking new foods.  So far the only side effect is that her nap time is different, like one day she'll sleep for 4 hours, then the next she won't even take a nap.  Which really stinks for me because I really depended on those naps at this stage in my pregnancy because I don't get much good sleep at night.  But luckily, Whitney will hang out in her crib happily for a couple of hours awake.  So we just try to make up for it by putting her to bed earlier, while still giving her a chance for a nap or even just quiet time.  I'm not exactly sure if this medicine working means that she has a specific diagnosis or not, but I'm just glad it's helping her (for now).  She definitely seems happier, because she doesn't vomit as much and because she is getting much needed calories and nutrients.  She is still being feed on a continuous slow drip all day and night.  I don't think she is ready to handle large amounts of food at one time yet.  But if this med continues to work, that schedule may be possible.  I just wish there was a better way to help her GI system to function better, but it all goes back to her CDH.  Every CDH baby is different which is way it's so hard to figure her out! Having your insides develop abnormally and then having them surgically "messed with" a few times really throws your body off balance.  I am so grateful this medication is working and that Whitney is feeling better.  Also thank you all for your support and prayers for her and us on this crazy journey. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Cardiology Appt.

 Whitney did amazing at her cardio appointment today.  I mean like, she didn't hardly even whine let alone cry and vomit.  I am still in shock at how well she behaved.  There have been maybe a couple other dr. appts (recently) that she did well with emotionally.  But you know, her entire life, she hates going to the dr.! I'm not sure why she did so well, but I'm so proud of her.  I really wish there was some way I could reward her.  But I guess that is also the beauty of it, she's not bribed or reward for her behavior.  No candy, no new toy, no forbidden toy, no french fries, she's just herself.  

Whitney stood on the scale perfectly, weighing in about 27 lbs.  She stood against the wall wonderfully for her height and is about 35 inches tall.  It's so awesome that she's not failure to thrive anymore, she's just perfect.  Whitney held out her arm so nicely for the blood pressure cuff. Held out her cute little finger the the pulse oximeter.  Super surprisingly she did so well during the EKG.  She was a tad nervous but still let the nurse put the stickers on her chest and hook up the machine.  

The rest of the time she climbed on chairs and walked up and down the step stool.  It took forever for the Dr. to come in and talk to us.  I gave him Whitney's recent Cardiac Cath results and he said it was very helpful.  He just wants to get an ultrasound of her heart so make sure the pressures still look okay. He was a little worried about her being off the Sildenafil because according to the notes, the pressure in her lung/LPA are still on the high side.  It's a little scary knowing her heart and lungs don't function perfectly.  But I know they work great for her and will keep working her whole long life with very little intervention.  This new cardiologist is really nice, so I'm really glad for that.  He examined Whitney too and she didn't even get scared! 

BTW the appointment was on Halloween so we wore our cool skeleton shirts.  I got so many compliments!  It was fun having every one enjoy my baby skeleton shirt!

 "I'm so cute"

 "I'm so brave"


 "This is fun!"

 "I don't need this barf cup!"

 "There, I licked it, now throw it away please."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Trunk or Treat

 Trunk or Treat is a tradition our church does every Halloween. I believe that almost every ward every where puts on a little Halloween party like this! They also all serve chilli, I highly dislike chilli.  So the idea is to decorate your car and pass out candy in the parking lot.  We didn't really decorate our car this year, our black car is kinda broken but if it weren't, I would have dressed it up like a skeleton too! Orange car was just a good car to sit in.  They also have some games planned for the kids to play but we just let Whitney run around inside. 

This year it was on my birthday!  I don't mind, it's not like I have much else to do, but my friends did make me a cake and came over after the trunk or treating to celebrate with me and we played catch phrase.  We love cake and catch phrase!  Keawe let me sleep in and he mostly took care of Whitney, which was totally nice! He also took me out on a date the night before my birthday.  We shared a plate at Cafe Rio, shared a caramel apple from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, went to Micheal's for some yarn, and then he bought me a balloon at Party City.  It was so nice being able to go out with just him!  Just focusing on each other and not worrying about Whitney.  Thanks so much to my friend who volunteered to watch her for us!  I can see now why it's important still 'date' your spouse and keep the romance!  It's hard to do that with kids!

Anyways, once we got Whitney to carry her skeleton bucket, she really loved trick or treating!  She was so cute saying trick or treat and grabbing a piece of candy and putting it in her bucket and saying thank you.  Keawe took her around, then I took her around.  I got some good candy!  Everyone loved my shirt and thought we were all so cute as skeletons.  Whitney thinks it's so funny how the baby on my shirt has his hand positioned, and she always said "high five baby" and gave the baby a high five! I think she's so funny!  There is no way Whitney would have put up with a big fancy costume...she freaks out if I put a long sleeved shirt on her and won't stop crying till I take it off!  Maybe next year?  Also, on Halloween, we did not go out trick or treating, for one, nobody in our little town does. I think it's a religious thing.  Also, Whitney really doesn't need the germs, I don't need the candy, and Keawe needs to study.  Maybe we'll find a place next year, although I'm sure our needs will be the same!

Enjoy our pictures!  And no, I'm not having twins, I'm just 38 weeks pregnant! AKA I'm huge and due any day now! 

Thursday, October 25, 2012


I can't believe I'm about to have kids!  Two of them!  It's not just Whitney anymore!  There will be another one to talk about and take care of!  We are just super excited!  A lot of my friends have two kids by now and it just looks like so much fun!  Although we are the only ones with kids within my "mormon (first year) dental students wives friends" they are still a great support to us and will be awesome "aunts and uncles."  I wanted to mention that they threw me a great baby shower. I'm so sad I didn't get any pictures!  It was way cute.  It was so much fun and I got some much needed gifts!  It was so different to see all the blue stuff when I'm so used to pink!  I'm glad I get to have a boy and a girl (although we do want more...later). 

The mama, at 37 weeks pregnant with baby boy Cameron

Keawe and I were also able to take the maternity tour at the Loma Linda University Hospital were Cameron will be born at.  It really sounds like a great hospital because they really encourage skin to skin contact for a whole hour after delivery!  They don't just take the baby away from you and do and the test and shots, they wait and they can also do it at the bed side!  They encourage you to "room in" with your baby so that he's not in the nursery, he's by you the whole time.  I think that all this is awesome and they really help with breast feeding too.  I technically don't know how to take care of a newborn (who does?) but I've been reading some books about it and I think this hospital will be really helpful.  I've said before that I'm totally nervous something will go wrong, yet also really hopeful that this will be a wonderful birthing experience. 

I also really like my OB/GYN Dr. I see him once a week now, which still to me seems like a lot but I do like knowing Cameron is growing well and that I'm healthy too.  He will be out of town and then super busy for the next two weeks so I have to see one of his partners.  But the plan is to have Cameron on the 11th of Nov. and Dr. Balli will be able to deliver him.  I'll be 40 weeks and I have several good reasons why I want to be induced then (if Cameron doesn't come sooner of course), so don't judge.  :) It's just how I feel and how my life works.

So Whitney is doing pretty well! She had a recent GI Dr. appt. here and it didn't go too well.  Whitney was upset and crying and barfing the whole time.  The Dr. had an accent that was very difficult to understand. That alone means that I must switch Dr.'s, because I feel that I cannot do my best to take care of Whitney when I can't understand what the Dr. is even saying!  I'm sure he's a perfectly good GI Dr., but I don't feel comfortable saying "what?" every other minute.  I just want what's best for Whitney and that means that I have to be able to connect with the Dr.  Anyways, he was saying something about doing the GJ tube again, and if that doesn't stay in then to do a separate J tube.  I told him why we didn't do it that way, but he still thinks it will be fine.  He also suggested a motility test, where they xray her for like an hour to see if she has slow motility.  Well, I've already decided that this test was pointless because we know she does and there's nothing they can do about it.  I don't want reglan or eryped meds because they don't help.  Then he suggested a medicine that is used to treat kids with cyclic vomiting syndrome.  I'm not sure that's what Whitney has but I want to try it (as soon as we get our ins. figured out).  I'd rather exhaust all the medicine options before we do any kind of surgery.  Although I do believe that Whitney would benefit from getting the GJ tube again.  But first I want to talk to her GI Dr. in AZ about it.  And my question for the surgeon in AZ is... What's better and or less risky... doing a separate J tube or doing a fundo on Whitney?  So after that GI appt. he wants to see her again in 3 months!?  I was like what!?  Normally a Dr. wants to see her in a month of trying out a new medicine to see if it's working or not.  So what the heck am I suppose to do with this vomit machine for three months?  It was just weird.  Anyways, we are seeing the GI in AZ in Dec. so that's good.  Whitney is throwing up a few times a day, for medical and psychological reasons.  Meaning, she doesn't digest her formula and when she is upset or just doesn't feel good, out it all comes.  The poor girl is usually covered in vomit in the morning.  So I have to bath her and then I get her all dressed pretty.  But by night time she is usually naked, again, because she got vomit on herself.  I'm starting to feel like a bum mom because I'm just so tired (being huge preggo) and don't take Whitney out much anymore.  Except for all these Dr. appt.s we usually just hang out inside, but she doesn't complain!  So here are the pictures in perfect order of her daily pattern of dressed and bathed in the mornings, then naked by night time!  Such is life!

Sunday, October 21, 2012


 Whitney driving us to the pumpkin patch

 Putting directions in the GPS

Adjusting the visor

 Getting some snacks

 Okay, now you know I'm joking... she doesn't really eat snacks!  (or drive!)

She's so corny!

Knocking on the pumpkin, or as she calls it, orange apple.

With Gramma

With Mama

Wish we had money to go into the petting zoo.  Although, I think the goats would have eaten her feeding tube!

She did not like sitting on the scratchy hay!

Hay! I don't like this stuff!

We just carried her up the big hay bales and had fun.

She doesn't scare crows, she just too cute!

That would be Brianna and Clayton, haha!

And here's farmer Mom and farmer Dad!

Whitney loved playing with all these flags! Counting them and naming them!

 Tall corn maze! Maybe we'll go in next year!

Grampa & Gramma with Whitney

Daddy couldn't go with us because he was at school.  But I'm glad my family got to do one last fun thing with us before the went back home.  We didn't have money to buy a pumpkin so I secretly put one under my shirt! For some reason nobody noticed! But it'll take another month before its ready to come out...


Brianna, Mama, Whitney, Colton, and Clayton at Live Oak Canyon Pumpkin Patch.