Friday, May 30, 2008


Alex just rolled over from back to front! Hurray! He will be 5 months in a few days.

helping in Haiti

I wanted to direct you to some people who are making a difference in people's lives in Haiti. First there is Lori and Licia at Real Hope for Haiti. Right now they are really in need of some funds to help keep their clinic and rescue center running.

The Medical Advocacy Team (which I volunteer for) is always in need of financial help to help pay for the costs of paperwork to get children medical visas. This costs about $500-600 per child, not including air fare. Also, Salem has kicked off a very important cleft bottle campaign. You can visit the site (click on the Men Anpil.... button on the right) and donate to purchase bottles for cleft babies. This could help save a life!

There are a lot of other great organizations working in Haiti right now, please prayerfully consider giving.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Alex is doing better!

Thanks for your prayers. He is doing great now, I am not sure what was going on, but for the last two days he has been doing much better. He is eating a lot more, not spitting up or gagging, and actually acts hungry. Still acting like he is teething, and has been chewing and drooling like crazy. I switched his formula to soy, and that seems to have helped so much, the minute we gave it to him, he did a lot better. Maybe a milk sensitivity? Who knows.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Prayers for Jean Alex...advise?

Alex has been acting a bit sick lately. It worries me because it can be a sign of neurological problems. He has been vomiting, a few days ago (a lot), and now just once in a while (after eating). He does not have much of an appetite either. He is still eating, and doesn't have signs of dehydration, but he is not back to his normal, healthy appetite. He acts almost as if he is teething, and just plays when I try to give him his bottles. He is going to be 5 months old soon, and I wonder if this is what is going on. He has been drooling like crazy since last month, and chews on hands, blankets, toys, etc. He doesn't have any bumps on his gums or tell tale signs of teeth coming through. On top of the loss of appetite and occasional vomit/gag he has had a bit of runny and SMELLY poop. If he continues this way after the weekend, I will call the doctor, but right now he seems ok, no fever, runny nose, fussiness. His fontanel is good, incisions are good, acts happy and alert, still sleeping through the night. Any advise, suggestions? Prayers please...I hate to worry!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Check this out...

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Tears welled as I read this email about my son.
Elijah loves being in the Alligator room, he really enjoys the extra freedom that they have and he no longer has to try to sneak out of the Boat Room whenever the gate separating the two rooms is open. Elijah does go back over there sometimes to say “hi” to his old nannies and to help them carry supplies. He’s a great little helper and enjoys bringing things for the nannies from the depot to their rooms. He is such a busy little boy; he’s always on the go, playing with something, running around chasing his friends or trying to escape outside when his nannies aren’t looking! Elijah loves to play outside, especially on the swings or with all the toys on the older children’s play pavilion. His nannies have started to take some of the younger children on walks off the property, along our quiet country roads. Elijah loves to go for walks; he enjoys putting on nicer clothes and sandals and heading out to see the animals, people and vehicles. Sometimes the nannies will take the kids out for over an hour at a time (thankfully they do it in the afternoon when it isn’t so hot) all the kids manage to keep up but it’s fun to watch them coming back home through the gate. Elijah is usually pretty exhausted after his expedition and likes to sway his body into his room taking very slow elaborate movements. Elijah has some pretty funny dance moves; he and A must practice together as they both have a very similar style. Elijah keeps his feet spread apart, firmly placed on the ground and he sways from side to side using his hips, often too he’ll thrust himself back and forth and singing while he dances, it’s a very cute sight. At his friend C’s birthday recently C got a musical instrument set for his birthday, all of the Alligator kids were so excited to see all the new toys. Everyone got their own little instrument to play and they’ve formed their own little band, I’m not sure what repertoire of songs they know and perform but they get are very enthusiastic about making as much noise as possible and sing and dance while they play. It is so sweet to be in the volunteer house and hear snippets of their efforts.Elijah celebrated his own birthday in March, he was such a lucky boy, his mom and dad were at COTP to help him remember his special day. He was excited to open all his presents, his new cars, ball and boat, the perfect boy toys! I’m sure his favourite part of the day was eating the cake, Elijah is always one of the fastest cake eaters at all the parties here, he likes to stuff it in his mouth as quickly as possible just in case there is seconds! It never ceases to amaze me the miracles that I am surrounded by, Elijah is such a perfect example of that, sometimes I have to look back at pictures to remind myself just how far he has come. Elijah was so sick and little as a baby, he fought hard to live and by the grace of God he is an amazing, beautiful, talented little two year old who brings joy and happiness to all of us. He is such a blessing, I can’t believe he’s getting so big, he’s a typical healthy two year; he loves attention, likes to stomp his feet when he isn’t getting his own way, loves to be tickled and plays happily with his friends. This month Elijah weighs 25 pounds 14 ounces.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I am not sure this is what Alex thought of while tasting rice cereal for the first time. He kept spitting it out. I have 3 children and have been through this baby thing before, so I am aware of the signs that babies are ready for solids. He really is ready, I think he was expecting more flavor! Maybe in a few weeks we will introduce something green...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mothers Day!

To my mom, thank you for all the love and support you have given me and my family through the years! I love you.

Friday, May 9, 2008

We are home again

Alex is doing well. He is so happy to be home, and I think he really missed his people. He has been talking, smiling and laughing non stop. Here are some more pics from the last three days.

This last one was taken by our 11 year old son, who missed Alex a lot. He had fun playing with him and all the stuffed animals.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

TV debut

Media event finished...

Ahhh, a sigh of relief. It was not so bad. There were 2 tv stations and one radio. I had an interview with the radio and one station, and then the other set up his camera and asked some more questions when the doctor was out of surgery. I think I did a good job, represented myself and MAT well, and didn't get too wordy. I think they wanted short and to the point answers and that is what I gave them. Alex did great too, he was smiley and drooly and didn't mind the cameras one bit. Maybe he will be a movie star or reporter in the future! Thanks for praying. I felt it! Now we will spend the rest of the day relaxing and hanging out before we leave tomorrow.

Story in the Sacramento Bee

Haitian baby comes through brain surgery in Sacramento
By Dorsey Griffith -
Published 12:17 am PDT Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Story appeared in METRO section, Page B4

Alex rests in the lap of host mother on Monday after the baby had neurosurgery at Sutter Memorial Hospital.
Carl Costas /

After the bandages came off Monday, it seemed Alex somehow knew the worst was over.

With his dark eyes darting around the room at Sutter Memorial Hospital, and a big, gummy grin, the Haitian infant showed he had come through a four-hour brain surgery like a champ.

Now the real healing can begin.

Wearing a tiny green hospital gown, the 4-month-old sat in the lap of his volunteer host mother, who had brought him from Haiti to Sacramento for the donated surgery.

On Friday, neurosurgeon Sam Ciricillo repaired a hole in the baby's skull that had allowed part of his brain to push out and form a bubble over his nose. The deformity is called an encephalocele.

It was the infant's second trip to Sacramento and to Sutter Memorial.

Last month, Ciricillo inserted a shunt into the baby's brain to drain fluid accumulating around the encephalocele, relieve dangerous pressure and prepare him for surgery.

Jean Alex made the trip in the arms of Kim, a Washington state resident and volunteer with the Medical Advocacy Team, a program of Remember International Inc.

The nonprofit group recruits American surgeons and hospitals to provide free care to children who otherwise have no access to medical expertise in their own countries.

An American nurse who runs a clinic in rural Haiti where the baby was first seen, said children with facial deformities such as Alex's are often shunned. In rural areas, parents of children with such abnormalities are encouraged to let the babies die.

To repair the problem, Ciricillo said he made an ear-to-ear incision across the top of the baby's skull, removed part of his skull and then cut out the damaged tissue. He also made an incision over the top of the baby's nose to remove additional brain tissue before repairing the hole with bone material.

On Monday, the bubble was still visible above Alex's nose, but only because of expected swelling from the surgery, Ciricillo said.

Alex will be discharged from the hospital today and will remain with his host family in Washington another four to six months to ensure no complications arise.

Ciricillo said only time will tell whether the baby will suffer seizures as a result of brain damage caused by the deformity.

For information on the Medical Advocacy Team or to make a donation, go to

Media event

Today is the day. I am sooo anxious! I will be taking Alex across the street to the hospital courtyard around 11. I heard that one local news channel has confirmed, but the publicist will be calling other stations to see if they are interested as well. Please pray for me this morning if you think about it!

Alex is doing great. He is on antibiotics and tylenol. He seems a little gassy, but other than that he is back to his normal self.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

We are outta here!

Dr. C. came in this morning and said we can go home! We are going to hang around until Thurday, just to be sure Alex is ok and to have a day to relax at the Sharing Place before traveling. I also heard word of a "media event" on Wednesday. Dare I ask what that is? We had a story in the Sacramento Bee a few weeks ago, and they came out again yesterday for a follow up. The hospital's publicist (not sure if this is the correct title) said she was setting up an event for other media to come meet Alex. I am not too excited about this idea, because I am guessing "other media" means television cameras? We will see what happens, but oh man, I hope I don't have to do an on camera interview. I tend to get all tongue tied when it comes to that sort of thing. I do so much better writing, or talking one on one. I used to be very shy when I was younger.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Still here...

Alex is doing fine. His swelling has gone down a bunch, but he still has a bump where his encephalocele was. It doesn't look a lot different yet. He has been rubbing his eyes and forehead lately, and I am sure it is starting to itch like crazy. He is on a fluid restriction and it makes him very irritable that he can't drink however much he wants.

I slept for a long time last night, but still feel tired. Hospitals do that to me after a while! My mom left for home yesterday and I miss having company. I've been watching tv, and thankfully I brought my laptop with me this trip so I can check emails and surf the web!

Thanks for praying for Alex.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Alex is doing well

Out of surgery:

Day after surgery:

We are still in PICU, but he is doing very well. His face is still swollen but can open his eyes more today, and is playing a little. He hasn't smiled his sweet smile yet. He pulled out his IV today while I was changing his diaper, so now he is on oral antibiotics and steroids. He only has his heart monitors and pulse 02 hooked up to him now. He is on a fluid limit to try to help with swelling, so he has been a little angry about not getting to eat as much as he likes, but he is such a trouper!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Alex is in ICU

We have had a long two days! Yesterday morning we left for the airport, flew to Sac. went to several appointments, and met my mom for dinner. We stayed the night with her in her hotel room. We did not sleep well because I set several alarms to wake me so Alex could eat before the cut off. We got up at 4am to check in at the hospital. We didn't get into his room until 3:30pm! I am exhausted. My mom has been a big help and very supportive. It is so nice to just have someone to talk to. I am at the Sharing Place again, taking a little break to update everyone.

Alex was in surgery for almost 4 hours. He did really well and is recovering as well as expected. His little head is all bandaged, except for his encephalocele. It doesn't look a lot different yet, but hopefully in a few weeks his will look like a different little man! Please pray that he won't get an infection, and that the swelling will be under control.

More later...