Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Keaton was sent on a scavenger hunt throughout the house to find his remaining two presents. He got a set of scriptures, with his name on them, a carrying case with a strap, as well as a new scout shirt and Wolf handbook for Cub Scouts. Tuesday will be his first day joining the pack, and he cannot wait! He wanted to wear his new scout shirt all day today. We let him wear it for a few hours, and I took some pictures for you.
Keaton is a very bright boy who is very articulate. He has a very deep thought process. He is our most emotional and sensitive child. He takes things very personally, and demonstrates a very soft side when it comes to his brothers and sisters. He calls himself "An Expert Mathematician" and enjoys school very much. Keaton is very perceptive, and is always the first to notice if I have gotten a haircut or am wearing a new shirt. He always compliments me on how I look.
Keaton will be getting baptized a member of our church at the end of October. We are very excited for him, and Keaton is looking forward to it very much. Happy Birthday Keaton!
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
So yesterday I called my PCP, whom I have only seen once for a sinus infection, and told them all about my referral needs. I had the fax number, name, Doctor's office, dates...pretty much everything they needed to send a referral. I knew that this sort of thing could be done over the phone. I have worked in Doctor's offices before. I was a great Insurance Coordinator. I'm not ignorant when it comes to the workings of a Doctor's office. This is something that can easily be done over the phone. So I called.
Stupid Receptionist: We have to have you seen by the Doctor.
Brilliant Former Insurance Biller (Me): I don't need an examination. Besides, it's not a referral for me, it's a referral for my unborn baby, whom you can't examine anyway because you are not classified as an OB office. I just need a referral sent over to my baby's Cardiologist so the insurance will allow it.
Stupid Receptionist: But we NEVER do referrals unless we know what's going on with the patient. You'll have to come in.
Me: Well, you can't examine the patient because the patient is a fetus.
Stupid Receptionist: We simply CANNOT do it over the phone.
I made an appointment for this morning, to show up in person, to tell the doctor, in person, how a referral works.
Nice Male Nurse: Shaina? Let's have you come back. Now if you can just step on the scale, we'll get you started.
Me: I'm not here to be examined. I just need to get a referral.
Nice Male Nurse who obviously knows when NOT to mess with a pregnant lady: Very well then. Come right back here and have a seat.
I wait. The Physician's Assistant comes in. She shows concern over my baby's poorly developed heart. She immediately takes my information and writes up the required referrals that I need. She tells me modern medicine is amazing and my baby will be healed in no time. (I practically snort. She should not be making promises like that.) She sends me on my way out the door.
I try to breeze past checkout, because I know what's coming.
Stupid Receptionist: Here is your insurance card, Shaina. That will be 20 dollars for copay.
Brilliant Former Insurance Biller who knew this would happen (me): I came in just for a referral. Not an examination.
Stupid Receptionist: Yes, but you saw the doctor. That means it was an examination. 20 dollars please.
Annoyed Pregnant Lady (me): That is because you FORCED me to come in to see the doctor, when I know perfectly well that this could have been done over the phone. However, you wouldn't allow me to do it over the phone, and required me to show up in person. I repeat, I was not examined. The patient isn't even technically me, so I will NOT pay a copay simply to get a referral.
Sick Male Patient in the waiting room: (Looks terrified at the confrontation)
Stupid Receptionist #2 chimes in: But that is how we bill. You come in to see us, and therefore you must pay a copay.
Fired up Pregnant Lady (me): I will not pay a copay for something that should have been done over the phone. I refuse to.
Stupid Receptionist #2: Well, I can leave a note for our billing person, and see what they say about this.
Me, walking out the door: Fine.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Secondly, I ran out of crushed ice this morning!! Good thing I live a few miles from a Sonic. I saw last night that I was precariously close to finishing my bag of ice, which seemed like it had a sizable amount in it just a few hours before... So I stocked up again. Three bags. Should last a few more days at least.
I bought Keaton a cub scout shirt and all the accessory patches, neckerchiefs, and books. He turns 8 on Sunday, and will be so excited to get to go to cub scouts next week.
I have received a few bills that are claimed to be "uncovered" by the insurance company. Ha Ha. I scoff at that. Having experience in billing insurances, most times it is a simple matter of not putting down the right code, or not having the referral needed, or some other minor nuisance. I cleared up some stuff. Requested things to be billed again, and found out that I need to go see my PCP, who is my doctor in name only, to get a referral for all the cardiology appointments I have had, and will have. I find it frustrating that I have to go see my PCP tomorrow morning, just so he can send a referral for me. It should be going through my OB, not my PCP, but I have no say in it. Lame. One more stupid co-pay to pay, instead of them just faxing it for me.
I had that PCP listed as my kids' primary doc as well, but upon anticipating the special needs and care our baby will demand, I think it's important to find a more specialized pediatrician to care for him, so I switched all of our kids over to the new Doctor, and we will meet with him in a few weeks to "prepare" him for the onslaught of care that our little guy will need. Hope he's up for it.
I also discovered that not only will I have my normal hospital stay copay when I have the baby, but the baby will also be billed a copay for that same hospital stay, and then when he is transferred across the street to the Children's Hospital, he will be charged another hospital stay copay. The numbers are making me sick. Things are adding up, especially with all my appointments this next month, and each one requires a copay....ug.
So enough of the copay troubles. Blah blah blah.
I've been staying busy typing up all my recipes for my recipe blurb book! I anticipate being done by the end of October so it can go on sale and you all can buy them for Christmas presents!! Sounds great, right? It's looking to be a pretty cool recipe book, if I do say so myself.
Gotta go. Another cup of crushed ice is calling my name.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Even though I had to wear a belt with these pants pre-pregnancy, they fit just fine now. Even better, they stay up amazingly well. I've worn them all day and haven't had to hike up my pants once today!! It's a miraculous day, I tell you. So for the last six or seven weeks that I have left being pregnant, it seems I have found some new maternity jeans to wear. The "non" maternity jeans. I'm ecstatic.
I've still been wearing most of my normal shirts and skirts throughout my pregnancy. It seems almost odd that they look better when I wear them now, as opposed to when I'm not pregnant. Oh well. I'm just happy I feel cute in the clothes I have.
This OB appointment today was very standard. Weight, measurement, urine sample. All are fine. I've gained almost 15 pounds with this baby. My iron levels are fine (something The Husband was worried about because of my insane addiction to crushed ice--I devour up to 3 big bags of ice a week now) and my glucose levels were great. No worries with me. However, I was warned that the appointments would be numerous now. I'll start weekly appointments with my OB, weekly appointments with the Neonatologist, and I'll need to go up to Denver quite a few times for appointments with the Cardiologist team and Neonatologists, and OB Doctors up there. Whew. It's going to be a very busy October.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Even though I didn't take pictures, and I don't have any evidence left over from the games we played, I'll try to give you some highlights.
First off, imagine the food. If there is one thing people are good at, it's providing a variety of super yummy munchies. We had brownies, cookies, doughnuts, pixie sticks, popcorn, chocolate, chips, salsas, dips, crackers, cheeses, and even more that I can't remember right now.
The first game we played was called "The Name Game". Original, I know. It's a great way to get to know everyone's names right off the bat. One person stands in the middle and everyone else is sitting in a circle around that person. Once everyone's names are identified, one person in the circle starts by saying the name of someone in the group. That person has to respond by saying someone else's name before the person in the middle whacks them on the knee with the rolled up magazine they are holding. The goal is for the person in the middle to take the place of someone sitting in the circle. Sounds easy enough, but when people are saying each other's names faster than you can locate them sitting in the circle, you tend to get a bit turned around and might even find yourself whacking the wrong person. Or if you are sitting in the circle, you might be so stunned that your name is called, that you can't think of someone else's name fast enough before the threat of the rolled up magazine becomes a reality.
Of course, you could find yourself in the circle like Colleen, who is a few weeks away from giving birth to her 5th boy. She lasted about 12 seconds, trying to find the faces that belonged to the names. As valiant as her efforts were, it was evident she looked more like a 3 year old doing the potty dance, trying desperately to finish out her turn before she could excuse herself to go to the bathroom. We were all laughing so hard. We excused her immediately, and she ran to the bathroom. I think she made it in time.
Another game we played is a twist on charades. In this game, four people leave the room while the rest of the group decides on a person, a place, and a thing. They do not have to be related to each other. Person #1 comes back in the room and we tell them the three things. An example could be Elvis Presley (person) High School (place) and plunger (thing). Then we bring out person #2, who watches as person #1 acts out the three things. Without person #2 voicing what they think the three things are, we bring out person #3, who watches as person #2 acts out what they think the three things are, without doing the exact same actions that they saw person #1 doing. Then the same is done with person #4. In the end, you usually end up with completely different things being acted out. It is a very hilarious game. One of my favorites....especially when you see the Relief Society President trying to act out "Madonna". Just hilarious.
We also played "Telephone Pictionary", which I've described before. It's a game that always gets me laughing so hard. On one paper, we went from canning pears, to having triplets with their own stinky diaper pails. It's amazing how quickly a drawing can change everything. We also played "This is a Spoon", which seems easy and obvious, but proves to be a disaster waiting to happen. I had a handful of other games too, but we never go around to them. Besides all the games we played, we talked and socialized with each other and laughed and ate and ate some more. The party went until 1am.
I really wanted to have this time to enjoy being with all my friends. After the baby is born, I'll have to be a hermit for a while, until the baby's immune system is strong enough for us to be out in public again. I'll sure miss being social with everyone. Anyway, I had such a great time having everyone over at my house. Friends really do make life good.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Just as a reminder, we played this Garbage Bag Game and this Pictionary Game, as well as music videos and other games in Februrary, and the year before, in California, we all celebrated on the town '80's style.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Today, when he came home from school, he excitedly ran up to me and showed me his new gap in his smile. He lost a tooth at school, and proudly displayed it in a little baggie. Then, he showed me his other tooth, the upper left one, and it was hanging on by a thread. He didn't tell me he had so many loose teeth. Keaton quickly pulled that one out and put all three teeth together in the same baggie.
Just in time for Halloween, Keaton has quite the Jack-o-Lantern smile.
Dang. The Tooth Fairy has no cash tonight. Wonder if Keaton will be as forgiving the 2nd night in a row.
Honey Oat Rolls
In a small sauce pan, combine 4 TBSP of butter, 1 cup of water, and 1/4 cup of honey. Heat through.
In a large bowl, sift together 1 cup of white flour, 1 cup of wheat flour, 1/2 cup of oats, 1 tsp of salt and 1 TBSP of yeast.
When your water-butter-honey mixture is heated through, pour it over the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add 1 egg. Mix.
Add an additional 1 1/2 cups of white flour, forming a soft dough. Knead about 5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about an hour.
Form dough into rolls and line on a greased baking sheet. Let rise for an additional 30 minutes.
Bake at 375 for about 22 minutes. Makes between 18 and 24 rolls, depending on the size.
I served these rolls with my Baked Potato Soup (see sidebar for recipe link) and it was a PERFECT meal.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
So a few months ago, I finally bought the pattern so I can make a purse to join the one Melissa made for me. If one is good, two had to be better, right? Anyway, I had the pattern and the material just sitting around, waiting for the day when I felt like making it. Yesterday, when faced with the need to clean my bedroom, but seeking any excuse why NOT to clean it, I decided that it was time to break out the pattern and make a purse!
Here is the purse I made! I am quite pleased at the job I did. I even decided to model it for you, although if you look at Amy Butler's website for this purse, her models do a much better job showing off the beautiful purse. Of course, they aren't almost 8 months pregnant and having a "pajama" day.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Making : A Baby! Well, technically, he's already made. Just growing right now.
Cooking : Tonight it's meatloaf night!
Drinking : Cranberry juice. Love this stuff when I'm pregnant.
Reading: I've got the books "I Am Legend", "The Devil Wears Prada", and "Surrogates" on hold at the Library.
Wanting: The next two months to never end, yet anxious for all the hospital stays and surgeries to be done with.
Looking: At my really messy bedroom and knowing I need to clean it today!
Playing: With the idea of re-doing my little chalkboard wall.
Wasting: Time watching HGTV. I love House Hunters!
Sewing: Nothing right now. Between projects, but wanting to make a purse.
Enjoying: The little voice Georgie has right now.
Waiting: For the husband to finish packing so I can take him to the airport for a 4 day business trip.
Wondering: What this little baby looks like.
Loving: My wonderfully supportive family and friends.
Hoping: I can miraculously get away with not stepping on the scale at my next OB appointment.
Marvelling: At how blessed I am.
Smelling: The cooler air, fresh with rain.
Wearing: Comfy clothes. No shoes until I absolutely have to.
Following: Georgie, trying to get her hair in a ponytail.
Noticing: How tall all of my kids have gotten recently.
Knowing: That I don't know enough.
Thinking: About rearranging my entire house, but realizing that I can't. Or shouldn't. But might anyway.
Bookmarking: How I feel right now, including all of my hopes and fears concerning this baby.
Opening: Another bag of ice. I go through it very quickly!
Giggling: About something Heath said in church yesterday when we were supposed to be reverent. We were shaking with laughter, but now I can't remember what it was that he said.
Feeling: Pretty Darn Good.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Somehow, I think that even if she did wear the tiger ears to church, it would only make her cuter.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
I thought I'd show you a diagram of a normal heart. If you really look at it, it describes very well the functions of a normal heart.
Besides my kid's drawings, which I love, I have come to depend upon a few drawings from our baby's Cardiologist. Since I am a very visual learner, the drawings mean more to me than hours of explanation. So, stay with me as I expain things to you.
Specifically, these simple drawings are not based on the structure of a normal heart, but our baby's heart. For our baby, the bottom chamber of the heart, his right ventricle, did not form at all. There is the tiniest hint that it wanted to start developing, but never did. Coming off that ventricle is the Pulmonary Valve. It should have a nice valve that opens and closes, allowing for one-way blood flow from the lower ventricle to the lungs. The muscle of the ventricle, in theory, should be taking that low-oxygenated blood that just finished circulating through the body, and pump it through that valve, up through the artery, and into the lungs so that it can get oxygenated.
From there, the blood that is now high in oxygen, comes back into the heart on the left side, goes down into the left ventricle, where it is then pumped to the body to oxygenate everything.
So with his right ventricle missing, and an essential valve not working, how will our baby get oxygen throughout his body? As you see in the next picture, there are two openings that are vital in keeping our baby alive. The first is an opening between the two top chambers (or atriums) of the heart. This allows the blue blood (low oxygenated blood) to mix with the red blood (high oxygenated blood). Normally this is so minimal, because of the low pressure/high pressure system, that it doesn't make much of a difference. However, because in our baby, the blue blood has no other place to go, because of the missing right ventricle, the blue blood gets pushed over to the left ventricle, and is then pumped back through the body. This means that although blood is getting pumped through the body, it is constantly getting blood without oxygen in it. Without treatment, the baby cannot live much longer than a few days.
The next opening is something called the Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). This is an opening that is present at birth, but normally closes within the first day or two of a newborn's life. It is an opening between the pulmonary artery (the part in our baby that is a closed off valve that tried to connect to the right ventricle) and the aorta. A small amount of oxygenated blood from the lungs actually comes through that aorta, and because that PDA is still open, some of that oxygenated blood is able to get into the left atrium, thus mixing with the low oxygenated blood, and getting pumped through the body.
It is imperative that the PDA stays open, so immediately after our baby is born, he will be put on medication called Prostaglandin (PGE), which will tell the body to keep it open. Because this won't stay open forever, within a day or two, the baby will have his first open-heart surgery. In this surgery, the Doctors will place a shunt to replace the PDA, thus keeping a way for the heart to receive some of the oxygenated blood from the lungs. Although the body will still get a lot of blue blood, he will get enough red blood to maintain some degree of health. This will be surgery number 1.
Surgeries number 2 and 3 will happen around the time he is 4-6 months old, and 2 years old. These procedures are called the Glenn and Fontan procedures. In steps, the arteries are re-routed to bypass the right atrium and ventricle of the heart. Instead, the blood will finish it's cycle through the body and go directly to the lungs to get oxygenated. From there, it will come back into the left atrium and ventricle to get pumped to the body.
As cautioned, the success of these surgeries depend on the size and strength of his pulmonary arteries, to see if they can withstand the extra burden, as well as how strong the left ventricle is, and whether operating on a one-pump system (instead of a two pump system) can be managed to give our baby as normal a life as possible. Without unforeseen complications or other areas of defects, the success rate is about 75%.Hopefully this was a good update for you. I'm sure the heart functions at a much more complicated level than what I understand, but this was how it was explained to me.
Another baby that is loved and cared for is the "baby" that she says she has in her tummy. Her baby is very demanding, wanting food all the time because "the baby is hungry!", or the baby isn't tired and doesn't want to go to sleep, or the baby wants to be held and needs to come out of her tummy soon. It's very cute.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
"Get off, Napolean. Make yourself a Dang Quesa-dilla!"
Those are a few of the lines from one of my most favorite movies. Napolean Dynamite. It makes me laugh and laugh. We quote that movie frequently. We have embraced their lifestyle..."always and forever". I even made a pretty sweet montage of that movie as the ring tone whenever The Husband calls. My computer is named LaFonda, Kamy wants to wear her hair in a side ponytail, just like Deb, my lips "hurt real bad" if I don't have my chapstick, and well....you get the idea.
Some nights, I just don't know what to make for dinner. I know. Shocking, isn't it? There are plenty of nights when I have meals planned, but just don't feel like making them, or eating them. Last night was a night like that. So I turned to the guidance and wisdom of Napoleon, his dysfunctional brother Kip, and their strangely active Grandmother. I made some dang quesa-dillas.
I buttered one side of the flour tortilla, placed the buttered side down on the frying pan, sprinkled some cheese and chopped chicken on it. Sprinkled it with cumin, chili powder, and garlic, then topped it with another buttered flour tortilla. On the top buttered side, I sprinkled some garlic salt. Brown both sides, cut into wedges, and serve it with SALSA! If I had any red bell pepper, I would have chopped some up and mixed it with the chicken and cheese. That would have been good.
To go along with this meal, I made some mac and cheese, and served some cantaloupe alongside it. Nothing like a completely yellow meal to make you feel happy on a Tuesday night.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
The kids are all playing upstairs, even though I have repeatedly told them to get their chores done. Keaton is wearing his old Captain Hook costume, which when we bought it, was super big on him. Now the velvet red jacket with the lacy collar and cuffs barely reach his wrists. Kamy has some scarves wrapped around her and looks very much like a traveling gypsy. Georgie is wearing the Christmas pajamas that we got her last year, and they look like capris on her now. Kolby is still wearing the jeans, dirty socks, and shirt that he wore yesterday, because getting that kid to take off his clothes at night, to go to bed, seems to be the most difficult thing we could ask him to do.
I'm listening to them all play so nicely together. They really do get along very well with each other.
I've also been thinking about this new little boy we will be welcoming to the family in two months. I always enjoy my pregnancies, and as with each one, there comes a point the last few weeks before the baby is born, that you just can't wait to NOT be pregnant anymore. Right now, I'm a bit nervous for that to happen. As long as I am pregnant with this little guy, he is safe and happy and strong. As soon as he is born, our life changes. He'll be taken out of my arms within minutes of being born, and will be monitored closely in the NICU until he has his first open heart surgery, within a day or two. I won't be able to feed him, snuggle to sleep with him, or rub lotion across his arms and legs. At least, I won't be able to do those things right away. That makes my heart ache.
So I'm quite enjoying the time that I have with him right now. At this point, he is completely mine. I feel every little movement he makes. I know when he wakes up at night. I know when he pushes his head against my bladder. I know when he responds to his daddy's voice. Nobody can take that away from me. I am enjoying this time thoroughly.
My last three babies were all born exactly 10 days early. If my body continues with the tradition, this little guy will make his appearance on November 8th. I am in the process of preregistering at the hospital here, as well as in Denver. Things are almost happening too fast for me. I almost hope these next two months go very slowly.
Thankfully, my mom will be able to come spend the month of November with us. While I am in the hospital with the baby, and Heath will be working every day, my mom will be here at home with the kids. I am so grateful that she is willing to sacrifice her time so that I can stay in the hospital with the baby and not have any worries about what's going on at home. I know everything will be just fine. That is a huge burden I don't have to deal with.
Lastly, I am so blessed to have such a wonderful husband. He has been nothing but supportive and loving through this trial. He feels as tender about this situation as I do, but we both feel an overwhelming sense of calm. We know that this is not meant to be a burden in our lives. It will bless us and bring us closer together.
So right now, in my life, things are going very well. People ask me all the time "How are you doing?". I have my moments where emotions get the better of me, but for the most part, I am doing very well. I am healthy. The baby is healthy. The kids are healthy. Heath has a fabulous job with amazing benefits. We have wonderful friends who will sacrifice everything to help us out, and we are surrounded by the love of our Heavenly Father. So "right now" is actually pretty good.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
While he was doing that, I concentrated on filling the cart full of things we like to buy at Costco, including milk, bread, eggs, sour cream, chicken (both frozen and rotisserie) and items for the kid's lunches. We were just about done, and ended up walking down an aisle I usually bypass. It was the candy aisle. Bulk candy. Why tempt fate?
Anyway, we were walking down the candy aisle when something caught my eye. I stopped. I looked. I did not start walking again. I was mesmorized.
The husband came over to see what had grabbed my attention. After all, it's not often that I am the the one who is swayed by chocolate. It was a package of chocolate and pomegranate goodness. Not two flavors I had ever considered to be happily joined, but the idea intrigued me.
The Husband did what I could not bring myself to do. He grabbed a bag and tossed it in the cart. I'm thankful he did. They are just lovely to eat. Next time you are at Costco, take a detour to the candy aisle and get a bag of these. You will be glad you did.
Friday, September 4, 2009
In about 15 minutes, I will have to drink this bottle in it's entirety. Afterward, I will have another ultrasound, not relating to the glucola test, but to see how this baby is doing, and how his heart is growing (or in our case, not growing).
A few days ago, as I was making my way to my regularly scheduled OB appointment, I decided to take a quick picture of my belly for posterity's sake. Here is the picture.
After I took it, and looked at it, I thought that the picture was lying. I feel MUCH bigger than what the picture shows. So I figured I had the camera at a wrong angle or something, and if I showed you this picture, you wouldn't believe that I was 29 1/2 weeks pregnant. (the half matters...believe me!)
So today, I took some more pictures.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I especially love it because it keeps snoopy women from getting too close to your baby. You know what I mean. You are in the store, and some strange person comes up and starts touching all over your baby. These canopies imply "Keep your hands off!" without actually having to say it.