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Friday, December 30, 2011

Welcome Home!

It was like awaking to a new world
I have been home since Wednesday night, but have failed to inform you of that fact. I have been too busy celebrating!!

My own bed, room and mommy!
Oh, and with my own oxygen machine and monitor which sets off scary beeps through the night alternating with Lucas' banshee wails. We are a musical family.

...And a new boarder

But at least it was Christmas and decorated thusly!!

And I met Lucas in person

May I say it again?

What child is this??

He's a sleepy elf!

And here I am reacquainting myself with my toys at last!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Baby, New Lessons

Lucas in the car beating me in the race to home

Here they go again! Mommy and abba are on a new and wild ride. Yesterday, Tuesday, they brought Lucas home - turns out that this bottle gagging episode was a "flucas" - while I remained hospital bound for another night thanks to my dramatic tactics. More on that later. First let us discuss the new challenge that Lucas presents to mommy and abba.

Though exhausted, drained and in need of sleep after two weeks in the hospital with me and just four days after Lucas' birth, there was no rest for the weary. Immediately Lucas decided to put the once-again new parents to the test. And with the lights turned on yet again late into the night, they were forced to break out the Baby Whisperer and speed read through all the possible problems and possibilities that could be occurring as Lucas remained ill consoled for most of the night.

There were they, yet again, learning a new cry, wondering what it meant, guessing if something was ailing him, anything from reflux to room temperature in the ice box apartment. The diaper - did that factor in? Or had Lucas already developed bad habits and just wanted to be held? So many options for such a small new life.

He already smiles!

I think, in the end, nothing serious was concluded and a few hours of sleep were strung together. But did you notice how they had to consult the Baby Whisperer - a book by an adult written for adults? Answers were not to be had at the Baby Blogs, for this is where we withhold information including our top secrets about why we are crying.

Even though I was born a mere 16 months ago, all bets are off. I was in the hospital for a full week after my birth essentially raised by Russian-Israeli nurses who put me on a strict four-hour regimen. I was on my own in the preemie ward (though I was not technically a preemie) and then when we got home I was immediately inducted into my own room. I had a different, softer cry and I slept like an angel. Plus I only took bottles at the time (my pre-latte days) so even my feedings were scrupulously recorded.

Lucas had the less intense care in the regular nursery and only three full days of that. Nothing has been established for him. Plus he sounds like a noisy sleeper - he occasionally squeak-cries and it sounds like the rev up to a big cry, then he drifts off to sleep again. And mommy and abba know this because he has to sleep in their room because there is no room for him in the inn, er, in my room. At some point mommy awoke to notice her arm through the bars on the bassinet with her fingers resting on the choochung (pacifier) holding it in place in Lucas' mouth, because they did notice that the choochung did help a little.

As for me, I am passing the days with excellent O2 levels. When I sleep those levels sometimes drop a little, but not much. So yesterday, as I was enjoying an O2 saturation of high 90s with no additional oxygen, I decided to take a short nap - just minutes before the doctors entered my room. There had already been chatter about releasing me and it was a 90 percent chance I'd be home that night. All was well. Until the doctors walked in. Instantly, sensing even from a deep sleep a need to be dramatic, my O2 saturation levels plunged from a comfortable 92 to 85, setting off all sorts of bells, whistles and alarms. Immediately the team of doctors rendered their verdict: I was not to go home unless we had a pre-arranged tank of O2 awaiting me there.

And of course, all the paperwork and the machines require more than one day of running around to obtain it all. So abba is continuing his running around today to secure my very own home O2 tank. I'm sure it will look great next to the Christmas tree!

My latest performance sort of stole some thunder from Lucas' homecoming. He was kicked out of the maternity ward at the same time I was putting on my show for the doctors. Mommy, abba and Mimi brought him home and then abba and mimi came back to the hospital. No one saw his cute little Christmas outfit with the reindeer on his feet and butt (well some angels with meals on wheels who came to bring food did get the privilege later). There were no glorious family photos or any welcoming parties. Just an empty cold apartment that many of us haven't seen for days if not weeks (or ever in Lucas' case).

Nevertheless, he is warming the apartment for me and my impending arrival home today. We did get to meet on Skype, finally, on Tuesday night. Lucas from home and me from the hospital. I kissed the iPad with sheer joy. He sort of just zoned out like newborns do, but deep down he really appreciated the gesture. I could tell.

And now that he has arrived home Lucie, of all "people," has met my baby brother in person before I have!

Grand welcoming committee: Lucie

Lucie met Lucas before I did!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Let the Games Begin

Merry Crib-mas!
It is almost comical, but just as Lucas was getting ready to beat me out the doors of the hospital his own saturation levels dipped low when the nurses tried to give him a bottle. Now, this is nothing serious, but it was enough for the doctors to hang onto him as well for another day. As they are doing with me.

Honestly, I think they just love our family too much. It will be hard to see us go. Tears will be shed for sure. We have lit up various wards with Christmas cheer and Hanukkah candles. GongGong, like a little child, brought a suitcase worth of presents to the hospital and decorated my bed with reindeer antlers and slippers. Sure enough, he's almost as big a hit as I am.

Practicing for meeting baby brother
Meanwhile, I have telepathically communicated to Lucas the advantages of lattes over bottles and he seems to have gotten the picture. Thus his refluxing episode when a nurse deigned to give him a bottle rather than call mommy to the nursery. He's a quick learner, that one. I think I may have my hands full.

Time will only tell what tomorrow will hold for all of our releases. Mommy politely suggested to the doctors today that we be allowed to go outside and breathe some non hospital germ-free air. We did, and I slept.

Snoozing outside. Note what the O2 mask did to my cheeks!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

For Unto Us a Child is Born!

My final photo as an only child, just hours
before my brother's arrival

Before the famous website EmmyLeaks (named after my Zia Em who leaked the news of my brother's birth on Facebook prior to my even knowing about it and getting the chance to announce it myself!!) exposes even more top secret information, I would like to take this occasion of Christmas day to say:

Hark the Herald Angels Sing! And Joy to the World! Because...

For unto us a child is born! Unto us (another) son is given! And his name shall be called (and finally I have more info to release than Zia Em): Lucas Peter Jansezian.

Not wanting to steal any thunder from Jesus, which was quite humble and respectful of him, Lucas decided to be born two days before Christmas, on Christmas Eve Eve, Dec. 23 at 8:30 p.m. on the dot. It was a Friday night, Erev Shabbat, and the fourth night of Hanukkah.

But to weave in another Christmas carol, I'd like to ask, What Child is This? I mean, I haven't met him yet. I have no proof of his existence. There has been no DNA sample presented to me validating our biological connection. And, from the pictures I've seen, there is also no physical resemblance between my Euro-styled self and this dark-skinned, swarthy child. He has a mohawk and I have a swirl. His skin already looks tan compared to my porcelain complexion, and yet Lucas has yet to see the sun. Perplexing issues for a baby to reconcile.

We do have some similarities, however. We both beat our due dates, but me by three weeks, Lucas by just over three hours. I win! We both suffered from diaper change trauma, a temporary condition experienced when transitioning from womb to reality of the unnatural phenomenon of wearing pampers. And we both made appearances on Skype within mere hours after our births and then began our modeling careers at an astoundingly young age with our faces constantly sought after by paparazzi.

The bad news is that while he didn't beat me out of the womb, he might beat me out of the hospital! Lucas is scheduled to be released tomorrow while my status is touch and go. My levels must be in the 90s without an O2 tube in my nose while I sleep. Until then, I am stuck here. Of course, we know the real reason for the doctors keeping me here – and that is my magnetism and charm. However, they use the excuse of this darned machine that measures O2 saturation levels in my blood. So, to throw in another Christmas carol, pray for a Silent Night! Please!!! And in the spirit of Hanukkah, pray that we may also say tomorrow, “Nes gadol haya po!” A great miracle happened here!

My Christmas cantata with the doctors earlier today
(See how they look at me? No wonder they are keeping me)

At the very least, Ephraim's mommy, Dassie, had a great idea for us based on our overwhelming Skype usage: Perhaps I could meet my baby brother via computer even though we are just a few floors away. That could work until I am un-quarantined and less of an infectious biohazard to others!

Meanwhile, it is Christmas day and Santa has yet to make an appearance in the Jewish state of Israel. I guess that is understandable. And since I probably won't believe in him, I am okay with that. Better luck next year for us. However, someone even more special than Santa took a special ride on a sleigh fashioned by Al Italia Airlines, across the Atlantic Ocean and several timezones, in order to come see me: GongGong has arrived! And rumor has it that he, like Santa, brought a few suitcases of gifts that we will open one of these days when we all return home.

GongGong??!! Shock.

And awe!

Here is GongGong cheating on me with Lucas

At least we still have two Christmases left: We could be Greek (great name choice for Lucas, sounds Greek) and celebrate Greek (and other Orthodox) Christmas on Jan. 6. And then, to round out, we have Jerusalem Armenian Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 18. Hopefully we don't need to wait that long. But in the meantime, we have options.

So, to all of you who read this today, because you most likely missed the birth announcement because it was on Shabbat and you were observing, Happy Hanukkah and at least you got to know the name first. And to those of you who are reading this post-Christmas because you were too busy with enviable family time, good food and fun presents around the tree, remember, the first shall be last and Merry Christmas! We all win in the end.

Merry Christmas or Happy Sixth Night everyone!

From floor 0, the maternity ward,
via Skype AND Facetime,
through New York City,
to the 3rd floor children's ward at
Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in Jerusalem.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

RSV*P Times Two (Updated)

Look at me back when I had my freedom just two weeks ago
OUTSIDE of a hospital prison bed!
Oh that this post were about a party invitation, this being the holiday season and all. I would répondez s'il vous plaît. But that is not what this post is about. Instead, this is about the actual virus that the lab has finally determined that I have: RSV. Read about all the fun involved with that on another page.

Although, perhaps it is a party of sorts. I just found out that my friend Ephraim, in addition to having the adenovirus, he also has RSV, which he picked up while here. So it is a party in some ways and us buddies have RSVP'd to be in attendance!

And more proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Do you remember this video of me and one of my classmates that went viral? (No pun intended.)

Well, this cute girl in the pink shirt was also believed to have RSV and was in another hospital across the city from me.

Oh, and then there are these photos. Note not the rodent in my hand, but the pacifier attached to my shirt in the first picture.

Pacifier attached to shirt

Pacifier NOT attached to shirt. In the hands of another cute girl.
We can't determine with any certainty whether we exchanged viruses while air-kissing or sharing my pacifier, but needless to say, any gathering of us crumb crunchers is a viable breeding ground for these germs. As are hospitals. Now mommy has a cement wall of congestion in her sinuses, again, and abba is warding off his own small cold. Mimi is still standing strong and I can only hope she remains unscathed by this madness so I have somebody healthy to care for me.

I guess that makes my brother a smart one for holding on a couple more days while the rest of us out here sort out our problems. Anyway, its my show and I didn't ask him to RSVP just yet and steal my thunder!

Meanwhile, mommy wants to know how "nesting" - the phenomenon of organizing your house in the last days of pregnancy - can occur in a hospital room. Will she clean the pediatric ward instead? Will she organize files on her computer for lack of a physical space to set straight? Also, they say not to go to the hospital until contractions are 3 minutes apart. That is what she did with me and it worked out well for her. But if you are already in the hospital, do you wait until they are like 15 seconds apart to make the 2 minute journey from one ward, down the elevator, to the delivery room?

While here, holed up in the hospital, mommy had the unfortunate opportunity to receive in her inbox  one of those now irritating pregnancy timeline emails:

"Five things you should do before going into labor:

  • Have your house cleaned
  • Prepare food
  • Indulge in a little pampering
  • Have some fun
  • Find a doctor for your baby"

Hahaha, yea right. Pampering? Prepare food? Luxuries not to be had for her any time soon, I think. I get the pampering and food at the moment, as planned. Maybe she will have someone clean her house - and that only because we left in a flurry not to return any time soon. Trust me, I can tell that even cleaning would be a welcome diversion from the hospital for the rest of my family.

But not just yet as we remain tethered to IV cords and oxygen masks here at my hospital.

See that red bulb on my foot - I am the Israeli version of Rudolph.
I have a red toe that glows rather than nose!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Simply Irresistible

I believe, after a week, I have finally caught onto the ruse here: The doctors are extending my hospital visit because they want me to stay! I daresay they will actually miss me if they let me go.

Every morning I have at least two audiences with the doctors. At first, one comes in alone, sort of like a scout. He or she has a brief conversation with mommy, abba or mimi and then turns his or her attention to me. That is usually my cue to perform. I turn up the charm, break out my smile and usually clap my hands in sheer joy and bounce on the bed to reinforce my good progress.

Then, about an hour later, that same doctor brings back a whole audience of doctors and I repeat my performance for a larger crowd and of course, more ecstatically. I didn't realize that patients were required to put on a show, but the team enters my room very expectantly these days knowing that I don't disappoint. No matter what the prognosis, they all leave smiling after my brief show. I suppose I can understand why they want me to stay here. In fact, today, the head of pediatrics and another head-of-something-important doctor both came by and requested to take their photo with me. This picture will be used in a donor newsletter sent out by the hospital and will possibly make these doctors very famous! My irresistibility obviously knows no bounds.

We have now reached the one week mark at my hospital. It was this time last week that I dramatically arrived at the ER and was transferred to my new room. I have seen many doctors from some of my previous stays here. In my short life I have spent three full weeks at Hadassah Ein Karen Hospital and many other shorter visits even dating back to my pre-birth days. I have availed myself of all but three floors in this nine-floor building. Impressive for a young one such as myself.

I have also learned how to sleep well with tubes and wires wrapped around me and with the incessant beeping of other babies' oxygen machines. That reminds me - my roommate Gili went home tonight! I am happy for her, but I miss her already. And plus, she was much quieter and in need of much less O2 than my new neighbor.

Ephraim with his family after lighting the first Hanukkah candle.
He will probably be discharged tomorrow with his very own oxygen tank!

This being the wonderful holiday of Hanukkah, replete with delicious donuts and fun candles, I am not the only entertainment around here. Every day a stream of entertainers comes through my room with candy, gifts, music and other shenanigans. If there is any season of the year to spend time in a hospital in the Jewish state, I have hit pay dirt! The candy and entertainment are abundant!

Bring on the clowns

I got a personal serenade by a lovely violinist

I was in awe

In fact, I nearly leapt from my bed in glee

Brava!! This made me want to take violin lessons.
Hmm, maybe after my discharge.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm Baaaaack... to my Shenanihans

My swirl has taken a serious hit from
this mystery virus. Out.Of. Control.
After two harrowing days of feverish sleeping and lethargic listlessness, I emerged from the fog on Saturday morning to rediscover my award-winning smile, food and, among others, my very cute roommate. More on her, and my outstanding luck, later.

In the meantime, as doctors not-so-feverishly try to discover which virus is the reason for the thing in my lungs that is causing my low O2 levels, I continue on my path to wellness nonetheless. Although I haven't seen him, mommy reassures me that Ephraim from my class is also here, just across the hall. He was as shocked as I was to find out that we were both here, but still not allowed to play with each other. That is a crime. So close yet so far.

"Daniel is here too?? Its about time - I've been in the hospital,
in these weird PJs, all alone for a week before he got here!
Cause for rejoicing - we are not alone

Now if only we could play together
Yesterday, mommy decided to pull back the curtain by my bed so I could see that, yes, there is a world out there. And this was my first view:

When the curtain was removed from
between our prison, er I mean hospital, beds,
I discovered this cutie next to me.

Hi Gili! (Boy did I luck out!)

This isn't a bad set up!

They say that a sign of a baby's recovery is their eating. Well, in my case its not just eating but my selection in eating. I patently refused to accept any more of the hospital slop for dinner and instead ate half of mommy's bowl of pasta. That is a true sign of my recovery.

Back in my lethargic state, I could only be moved by
Hanukkah donuts. But with a chocolate syringe, wouldn't you too?
There may be nothing better than a chocolate syringe.

When I really came to and discovered the slop the hospital
was trying to pawn off on me, I went on a hunger
 strike until mommy gave me some of her pasta.
Its called discernment. And it means I'm getting better.

And then, best of all, was a visit from Gavriella, one of my Shalva girlfriends if not my main one (this statement is going to cause a riot in Har Nof), on Sunday night! Gavriella always brightens my day and seeing her at the hospital almost sent me into shock. At the first sight of her in my hospital room, I actually turned my back on her until I regained my composure. But when I got over the shock, sheer joy ensued!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Going to Extreme Lengths to get Attention

Me at the ER practicing for biological warfare
Some may say that I will go to extraordinary lengths to get attention. With just 10 days until my baby brother is supposed to be born, I pulled out all the stops. Knowing that in just a matter of days I am going to have to share my parents, grandparents, toys, cat and everything I hold dear, I have made a last-ditch attempt to keep all the focus on me. And I'm doing an admirable job if I might say so myself.

I laid the drama on pretty thick this time: An ambulance ride to the ER, attached to an oxygen tank. Impressive, don't you think? It doesn't get any more hair-raising than this for first-time parents including my 9-month pregnant mommy, concerned grandparents and all the other people in my wake. 

Yes, that is exactly what occurred early Wednesday evening after a nice chit chat with a doctor and a quick measure of my oxygen saturation levels. So effective was this ploy, in fact, that I may have managed to ensure myself, being highly contagious and all, the dedicated attention of one parent for just myself even after my brother is born. 

So here I rest in the hospital, still attached to oxygen, IV and an O2 saturation machine as everyone spends the last remaining days of mommy's pregnancy surrounding me with love and attention. And as an added bonus, I joined my classmate Ephraim, who, like a true champion, has been hijacking his own mommy's undivided attention for nine days now right across the hall from where I am. Smart kid.

I may be making light out of my situation, but no one else is. Even though it has been more than 24 hours, the doctors still aren't sure what I have. The best assumption is that I have followed in the footsteps of Ephraim with the same virus, the fun and lovable "adenovirus," which seems to be plaguing half of the country right now. It is causing me to dig deep for breaths, with all of my muscles, and has created some sort of foggy haze in my lungs. Actually, for all I know, I may have had it before Ephraim since I have been fighting all sorts of ill symptoms for a few weeks now. But every trip to the doctor resulted in the same verdict: Its "just" a virus, which was basically translated as "you are paranoid, over-protective parents, so just deal with the runny nose and crabby, sleep-deprived child because there is no medication to treat a virus." 

And this "just" a virus now equals an indefinite hospital stay that could stretch from several days to several weeks, a feverish, listless baby and frazzled parents. I think the word "virus" has become a curse word in our home.

You know its bad when the usual perky, smiley Daniel doesn't even react to his girlfriends/therapists, Talia and Elysa, who came from Shalva to visit (and not work, I might add, but actually just have fun!). And when Daniel doesn't exert his flirtatious charm with the nurses. That, my friends, means a dire situation. 

The timing is uncanny. This follows abba's bout with strep throat. Oh wait, I tested positive for that too. And this all transpired less than 24 hours after Mimi came flying in to the rescue. Yes, my Mimi moved her tickets earlier so she could be here to help out - even before she knew just exactly the daredevil stunt I would pull. 

And although the drama and attention work in my favor it also threatens Christmas. Mommy hearkens to Michael Scott of The Office who declared once: "Christmas is canceled this year!" 

Ah well, that is where I pull the Armenian card. Being ethnically one-quarter (abba acts like its 100 percent) Armenian, I have the privilege of partaking in three Christmases if I want to. Even though most people celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25, there are two other possibilities: Jan. 6 and Jan. 18. Did you know that we Armenians in Jerusalem celebrate Christmas on Jan. 18? Yes, so I have also calculated that into my schemings. I have another month to cash in on the yuletide festivities while still soaking in the attention lavished upon me now.

Trying to get into the Christmas spirit
- before the virus really kicked in