Saturday, October 31, 2009

Birth Story: Keaton Taylor

When Kamy was 9 months old, we got pregnant with Keaton. When we found out we were having a baby brother, we looked through the baby name book again. This time, we were finding names that were odd, and laughing about why people would name their babies names like Thor and Wainer. While going back and forth, trying to find all the terrible names, one of us yelled out "Keaton". We both stopped, looked at each other, and said "Hey, we like that name". So we decided to name our baby Keaton. At that point, we weren't trying to go for all "K" names. That part came later. We just honestly thought Keaton was a cool name. His middle name, Taylor, is a family name on Heath's side of the family.


Due to my extremely quick labor with my first baby, my doctor (and myself) were very concerned that I might not make it to the hospital in time to deliver this baby. So during my 38th week, my doctor brought me in on a planned day, so I could labor safely in the hospital. On September 27th, a Thursday afternoon, he broke my water. I was already 4-5 cm dilated, so it didn't take me long to get things started. Just by breaking my water, my contractions started. A few hours later, my doctor came to check on me, and noticed that the baby's hand was coming through first, just before his head. So during a contraction (because the cervix stretches during contractions), he pushed Keaton's head back up inside, pushed the hand out of the way, and let the head come back down. THIS. WAS. MURDEROUS! I did not have an epidural. It hurt so bad!


Well, that wasn't the end of that. Two more times the doctor had to push Keaton's hand back up inside me to allow the head to present first. After the third time, with tears streaming down my face, I told him I didn't care if the hand was delivered first, there was no way he was doing that to me again!! A few minutes later, Keaton was born, and he did indeed have his hand right up by his forehead as he was being delivered.


Just three hours after my water was broken, without a hint of labor beforehand, Keaton Taylor was born. He weighed 6 lbs 7 oz, if I remember correctly, and had some cute hair that was a bit curly. He was born with eyebrows too, which was odd. He was so darn cute.



Here are some pictures of his blessing day, barely two weeks after he was born.




This next picture, he is about 6 weeks old. Sorry for the scratched up picture, but you can still see how cute the kids were.

If I had to envision how this next baby will look, based on the ultrasounds, I think he will look like Keaton does in this picture, with big chubby cheeks and cute fuzzy hair. I guess we will see soon!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Birth Story: Kamyren Amille

Before my friend Colleen had her 5th baby (a few weeks ago), she posted the birth stories of her prior four kids. I thought it was a great idea to document, and pass the time before the baby came, so I'm copying her idea. For the next few days, you'll have the pleasure of reading about the day each of my children made their debut into this world. It will be as accurate as I remember, specific enough for details, but brief enough for modesty sake. Hope you enjoy.

Kamy was our first baby. Although we didn't TRY to get pregnant right after we got married, we didn't prevent it either. She was conceived most likely the first week of our marriage. A true honeymoon baby. As soon as we found out we were pregnant, we went to the mall to browse through baby name books. We both liked the name Kamyren, and decided to spell it uniquely, and figured we would call her Kamy for short. Heath picked out her middle name Amille, which means "of the family of God". So right away, we had her name. For some reason, we knew it would be a girl. I don't ever remember picking out a boy's name. Interesting.

At 16 weeks, an ultrasound confirmed that she was a girl. I was working at a bank, as a teller, through my 7th month of pregnancy. Heath was working at Fed Ex, and going to school part time. I have only ONE picture, taken of me when I was pregnant with Kamy. I couldn't find it to post, but it was taken at Christmas by my dad. We didn't have a camera that worked very well at that time, as you can see by the following pictures. Every picture I have of Kamy, when she was newborn, is very very blurry. Anyway, Heath and I didn't take many pictures during this time. Bummer.

The morning I went into labor with Kamy was a whirlwind. I had slept great that night, waking up a few times to use the bathroom, as was usual. At 7am, I was up. I went to the bathroom, feeling fine, and got back into bed next to Heath. My younger sister Shavonne was sleeping over because she had clinical rounds to do that morning. She got up and got ready. I got up and went to the bathroom again. She left, saying she'd check on me later that day. I got back into bed, chatting with Heath, and had a contraction. It was about 7:20am at that point.

I continued chatting with Heath, and a few minutes later, had another contraction. A few minutes after that, another contraction. The contractions continued, about 2-3 minutes apart, and were getting very strong. I made a comment to Heath that I remember everyone saying that the best way to relax during the LONG HOURS AND HOURS before you are in labor, is to take a bath. So I had Heath start a bath, and I got in the tub, and tried to relax. About 6 minutes later, I had a revelation. I told Heath that I thought I was in transition. If indeed I was in transition, I didn't have long before the baby came, and I'd better get to the hospital.

It took the next 20 minutes for me to get dressed, because the contractions were so intense, and were right on top of each other. I could barely get my foot in the leg of my pants before I'd have to stop, lie down, and wait for the contraction to end. During this time, I had Heath call my parents and my older sister Kim, all three of which were planned to be at the delivery, and lived about 45 minutes away. I made him go in the other room because the sound of his voice made my contractions hurt more. He told them we were on our way to the hospital to have our baby. They said they were on their way too.

After I finally got dressed, which in retrospect, I should have just thrown on a robe, Heath helped me down to the car. During the 8 minute trip to the hospital, I had 4 contractions. Every bump in the road was murderous! Heath pulled up to the entrance round-about, left the car there, and walked in with me. The short elevator ride up to the 3rd floor was shared by a guy who looked terrified to be in there with us. I had Heath hold the door open on the 3rd floor until my contraction ended, and I could move. I walked up to the labor and delivery desk and told them I was about to have a baby. They almost laughed at me, but pointed to a room right across the hallway. I made it to the bed before my next contraction hit.

It took a few minutes before the tech could help me undress, seeing as how I wasn't doing it myself, and by the time she helped me out of my clothes, I was grunting with the pain of the contraction. She knew that wasn't the sound of someone in the first stages of labor, so she got a nurse, who checked me immediately, and then yelled for a doctor. "This baby is coming NOW!"

They managed to find a doctor in the hallway, still in his white shirt and tie. I don't even know if he managed to get gloves on before I had the baby, but Heath said he had to throw away his shirt and tie afterwards. Sorry Doc! During that moment, I remember looking around at the tiny room I was in. It was empty just a minute beforehand. Now it was filled with tons of nurses, and other people doing their jobs. In the doorway stood a guy in scrubs, wearing tennis shoes, and leaning on a push broom. I remember wondering what the heck this person was doing in my room, but he seemed perfectly at ease. I still don't know who he was or what purpose he had there. He certainly wasn't going to be cleaning up anything with that broom of his. I guess all modesty is lost as soon as you have a baby. Just about anyone can walk in, especially if they are wearing scrubs and holding a broom.

Anyway, a few hours later, my parents arrive, and my sister arrived some time after that. They were all surprised to see that I had already had the baby...hours earlier. My parents even stopped off for breakfast on the way, assuming that they had plenty of time. Ah, I still laugh about that. Turns out, we had the baby 11 minutes after arriving at the hospital, and barely an hour after my first contraction. Who knew a first baby could come so fast?

She was born March 10 (6 days after our 9 month anniversary),weighing 7 lbs 5 oz, at 8:16am. Perfect little baby.
Here are some pictures from the first few days after we got home from the hospital. Don't you just love the couch?


I love this last picture.
So that is the story of how our little Kamy made her debut into the world. Fast and furious!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Incredibly Blessed

People have been asking me if Heath has enough time off to be with me at the hospital. Because he hasn't worked at his job for more than a few months, he only had 20 hours of leave accrued. So our plan was for him to be with me Wednesday, when I had the baby, then go back to work Thursday and Friday. Sometime the following week, when the baby was scheduled for surgery, he would take that day off as well, to be my support in the hospital. Besides that, he would be at work. With my mom coming to be with the kids for a few weeks, it was going to work out.

However, Heath's boss told him last week that they have some sort of "emergency" leave that they would give Heath. So he came home saying he had a week of leave, free and clear, that his work was giving him due to what our family was about to go through. Amazing how things work out!

Then a few days ago, something happened, and Heath was told that the emergency leave wasn't available anymore. So we were back to him having just the two days off.

That was until this morning. I just got a call from Heath saying that so many people from work have too many vacation days, and every paycheck, they just get written off, because they can't use how many they have. Instead of their vacation time going to waste, a group of people have donated their extra vacation time to Heath. With this change of events, Heath now has enough vacation hours put to his name, that he doesn't have to go to work all of November or December. Two months of paid leave. Can you imagine that? And he still has a job to go back to in January. He even had to tell people he didn't need anymore hours of leave donated to him.

So even though my husband isn't much of a homebody, and sitting at home everyday isn't as pleasant a situation as it is for me, he will be able to be with me at the hospital as much as possible. He will also be home when the baby and I are home, in December, and since the baby's immune system will be so fragile, Heath will be able to run errands and do all those things that I was worried about getting done.

I cannot express to you how many ways the Lord has blessed us during this time. This is just one more example of that. With such a fragile time in the economy, and a fragile time for our little family, Heavenly Father has made it possible for us to be together, to lean on each other's strength, and to not have any financial worries during this time. What a huge blessing for us.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

On The Road To Recovery!

Well, hopefully I'll be completely better by this weekend!! On Sunday I stayed home and rested. Monday I was much worse and had absolutely NO energy, and the cough was turning me inside out. Throughout these past few days, I had lots of concerned friends that prayed for me, brought me medicines, brought me pie, called and emailed me to make sure I was ok, and watched Georgie so I could go to the doctor.

Tuesday I had my regularly scheduled OB appointment (my last one. Yikes), and by that point I decided that I needed some strong medicine to nip this in the bud. Quickly. So when my doctor walked in, he pleasantly said "How are you today?" Well, I sure told him how I felt. I told him I was sick with bronchitis and added to that in a day or two would be laryngitis, based on how my voice was already almost gone, and that this is a repeating sickness I get every October, which usually lasts at least 6 weeks with a cough that is absolutely tortuous, and if it continues like last year, it would turn into pneumonia. I then told him that if I continued to by sick, that it would ruin everything because I wouldn't be allowed in the NICU to see my baby and that would be the worst possible thing for me to face right now and that I needed some strong medicine to get me better FAST!

He said "Well, that's a lot of big words you just used. Since you are done self-diagnosing, what do you recommend for medicine?" I replied that a Z-Pack should do the trick. He chuckled, wrote it down on his piece of paper, and asked me if I needed anything else. At that point, I realized I was being a bit demanding. So I apologized, but reaffirmed that I could not be sick come next week.

He looked at me and said "I'm just teasing you, Shaina. I totally agree with everything you have said. You can't be sick. You need to be with your baby, and this is exactly the medicine I would have given you. So, what else can I do for you?" I just love my doctor. Wish he could be my PCP instead of just my OB.

Anyway, I got my medication. I have 6 days to get completely recovered. And I Will!!!

Last night was our annual Trunk-or-Treat, a church Halloween party. There was a chili cookoff, along with some super games for the kids, and then trunk-or-treating. Heath took the kids and I stayed home and rested. They all had a great time. Here is a picture of them before they went. We have a ballerina, spiderman, a pirate, and Robin Hood.


The boys got their costumes from our friend Melanie, who not only brought over some medicine for me, but a huge box of dress up clothes for the boys to pick from. The girls rummaged through our box of dress up clothes to find their costumes. They all have a party at school on Friday, where they will get to wear their costumes again, and on Saturday they'll get to go Trick or Treating. So it's a fun week for them filled with costumes and candy. They are loving that combination...especially Kolby, who is still our sugar fanatic.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Closing Up

Here I sit, on a Sunday afternoon when I should be at church. However, I am home, in my comfy black lounge pants, with a toothpaste stain on my shirt, lying on the couch and drinking a cup of hot honey/lemon tea to help my throat. It seems that I'm starting my yearly tradition of getting bronchitis and laryngitis. My throat is closing up. My cough is getting more pronounced, and I'm so annoyed by it!

It's not that I'm getting sick, it's the timing of the whole thing. If I even have the slightest cough, runny nose, sneeze, or hint of sickness after I have the baby, I won't be allowed into the NICU. Right now I have 10 days to get completely healed or I won't be allowed to see my baby. That tears me apart.

So I'm going to get a priesthood blessing tonight, and if I'm still out of sorts by my Tuesday OB appointment, I will plead for antibiotics to get this under control.

In the meantime, I sit. I cough. I feel my throat closing up rapidly. I know I'm in trouble.

Baptism


Yesterday was Keaton's baptism day! He became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Keaton has been waiting for this day for a long time. When he was 3 years old, he wished on a star. Afterward, he told me that he had wished he was 8 years old so he could be baptized. He is such a sweet boy. He really is our child with a big heart.
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Keaton was baptized and confirmed by his dad. I'm so glad that I married such an honorable and worthy man, that he can baptize our children and bestow blessings upon us through the priesthood. Keaton and his dad also sang a song during the baptism. It's so sweet to hear your little child singing. Their young and innocent voice is so special.
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Keaton's special day was shared with his friend, Zach, who was also baptized. It was a wonderful program. Afterward, we all went to Zach's family's house to have root beer floats! It's a tradition in my family to have that as a treat after baptisms.

Congratulations on your big day, Keaton!! We are so proud of you and this decision you made to be baptized. We love you so much!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Blog Button

My friend Jennifer made me a blog button! So now, if you want, you can add that button to your blogs with a short sentence so people know what it's for, and it will direct people straight to blurb to buy the cookbook.

Just copy and past the HTML code, in the box under the button, into your sidebar list.
Thanks so much for all the support already!

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Recipe Book!!


I just finished my recipe book today!! I sent it through to Blurb and ordered a few copies for myself. So as of today, my book is now for sale! The book is about 8x8 square, and is a soft cover. It has all of the recipes that are posted on my sidebar, plus many others.

The book has 98 pages and almost 100 recipes.

It includes many color pictures, but not every recipe has a picture. I tried to include as many recipes as possible, without having the book get too expensive.

The book is available through BLURB and here is a direct link to the book! The book is priced at $25.95.

(If anyone knows how to make a button that would use the above picture as a link either to my blog, or to blurb, could you let me know!! I'd love to be able to advertise this as much as possible.)
Also, if you click on the blurb link on the right-hand column of my blog, it will direct you to the blurb site to buy the book.
Also, I'm looking for some short testimonials, for those of you who have tried my recipes. When I get the button link set up, I'll make a more detailed post about the recipe book, the recipes contained in it, as well as comments from you, so more people will buy the book. If you are interested in helping me with this, email me your comments at kamyrensmiles@hotmail.com
Thank you so much!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One Year Ago...

Exactly one year ago today we moved to Colorado. After packing up the house in S.C. (which we only had lived there for 8 months), cleaning it, and driving 3 days across country, we unloaded everything into this house that Heath had rented for us. The house was really dirty and old-feeling, especially after having just left the relatively new house that we had lived in, and how long I had spent cleaning every nook and cranny of it, it seemed so terrible to me. (As a sided note, Heath came here 2 weeks before the kids and I did, because he needed to start work before we could move. So I was left with the kids to clean, pack, and move. It was hard.) I remember my sister calling a few hours after we got here, and she asked how I liked the house. I believe I sat down and cried.

However, I had good reason. I was very sick. I had pneumonia, bronchitis, and laryngitis. All at once. It was horrible. Not only were those three things bad enough, but I needed to help unload our moving truck, and the day after we got here, Heath had to go back to work. So I was on my deathbed with four kids to watch, a house to move into, school to register for, food to buy, and I knew absolutely NOBODY. Plus, with my voice completely gone, I couldn't just go out and do stuff, or get stuff done over the phone. I was at my end.

I remember trying to hang up some clothes. I honestly didn't even have the energy to pick up a hanger and put it on the rod in the closet. I have never been so sick in my life.

Anyway, a few weeks after that, and a huge dose of medication from the Urgent Care Center, I was doing better. I started meeting people at church. I pleaded for friends. They accommodated me. Now, a year later, I am completely encircled about by so many loving friends who have become my family here.

It's been a very good year. It was a move we needed to make, and it was a good decision. We love being in Colorado, and feel this is the place we need to be. Even though the first few weeks were hard for me here, it turned out to be the best thing for our family.

(Keep up the book recommendations! I'm researching every suggestion and making a list!)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Books

I need some books to bring with me to the hospital, so I'm asking for some recommendations. Please, no books that are about or have trauma/mortality relating to infants. It would be too much for me. I like mystery books, sweet love stories, intrigue, suspense, action, young adult, and even some science fiction.

So give me some fun reading. I'll have a lot of time to do it.

Taking a Moment


Some days you need to just take a moment and enjoy doing nothing. However, it's the moments of "nothing" that prove to be something. Georgie loves taking baths, and afterward, having her hair dried with the blow dryer. She got dressed herself, with a little skirt she calls her "hips" and a pink striped shirt that she put on inside out. Today I indulged her requests, and also painted her "feets" and hands in pretty pink sparkly nail polish. She was so excited.


Afterward we had her favorite lunch, mac & cheese and applesauce. She also ate half a pear, which I am still encouraging her to finish so it doesn't go to waste. If you look closely, her little doggie purse, which holds all sorts of treasures in it's little zipper pouch, also got a taste of the mac & cheese.

Later, I'm dropping her off at a friends house while I have another OB appointment. She is very happy about playing with her friends.

So even though I feel like I didn't get much done today, I know that in Georgie's mind, it was a perfect day already.

Monday, October 19, 2009

80 Recipes and Counting...

Just wanted to give you all an update on my recipe book that I'll have available to order through BLURB. I've added all of the recipes found on my sidebar, as well as many more. So far, the count is up to 80 recipes. I have soups, salads, main dishes, breakfast items, desserts, drinks, dips, and breads.

I have the rest of this week to finish adding the recipes that I want, and then edit it and send it back to BLURB to print and make ready for sales! I'm hoping you are just as excited as I am.

The title of the recipe book is "Just Because...I Like To Cook". As mentioned before, all proceeds for the book will go to help with medical costs for our special Baby K. I'll have it ready for order by the beginning of November!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Quiet Day, Rockin' Night

Yesterday the baby was pretty quiet in my tummy all day. Since the kids had no school due to Parent/Teacher Conferences, we all went to the park around lunchtime to release some energy (the kids) and to socialize with friends (me). Well, I guess they socialized with their friends too.

So after sitting on a hard picnic bench for a few hours, I got up and realized that perhaps I should have moved around more. The baby was so wedged down low in my pelvis, that it made for a very uncomfortable rest of the day.

I realized around 9:30pm, after I had cleaned up some of the house, made dinner, taken a hot bath to relax, and watched some primetime television, that I hadn't paid attention to how the baby was moving. It seemed like quite a while since the little guy had demonstrated his acrobatic skills. Usually he is quite active in the evenings, and this night, he was pretty quiet. I got worried a bit. To top it off, I was feeling achy and crampy and I was afraid that these were all signs that the baby was quieting down in the birth canal, preparing for me to go into labor. I prayed for him to start moving around.

The last thing we need, on top of all the baby's "conditions", is to be born premature. So I was a bit restless for a few hours, hoping that I was just being paranoid. Luckily, the baby had a good 30 minutes of hiccups, which seemed to waken him up efficiently. He spent the next two hours hosting a circus in my belly. At one point I gasped out loud at how strong the elephant inside me had kicked me, that I was sure I would hear a "pop" and my water would break. Luckily, it is still intact.

The baby definitely heard my prayers for him to be active, and continued to have a great party all night long. He definitely isn't a tenderfoot. I'm sure that after he's born, he will be more than strong enough to withstand all the procedures and surgeries he will go through. Let's just hope that during the next 3 weeks, he is somewhat more sensitive with his watery environment, and doesn't end up breaking through too early!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

3 Weeks From Today


I just got a call from the hospital in Denver, and they scheduled the day to do the amnio, and to induce me by breaking my water. November 4th. That is the day I will have my baby. That is the day our world officially changes. That day is just three weeks away from today.
One one hand, it feels really good to have a day. For those who don't know, I have stupidly fast labors, and there was a big concern over getting me to the Denver hospital on time, if I went into labor on my own. So it's wonderful to not have that concern.
On the other hand, it is just three weeks away. Remember that post about stopping time?? Three weeks suddenly seems too close.

Thank You..and You...and You!

It is always so amazing to me that there is strength in numbers. That even though I don't know many of you, I have been comforted by your words. I have friends here who have cried with me. I have friends from afar who are willing to drop everything to come be with me. I have family and friends who pray for me daily. Believe it or not, I actually FEEL your love. It is impressive. It is powerful. It is of more help to me than I can express.
I know I am not ever alone.

I am going to continue to prepare for this baby's arrival. I am going to continue to fall more in love with him every day. I am going to continue to give him the best environment to develop and grow healthy and strong. I am going to continue.

Thank you, each one of you, for being part of this journey with me. Today is a better day. I plan on each day getting better and better until I get a chance to see my beautiful baby. Then we will start on a new journey, together.

In the meantime, today seemed like a great day to treat myself to a yummy snack. I bought these avocados last weekend, and had them mingling together with my apples to ripen for a few days. Today they were nice and soft, perfect to make some guacamole with. I also had some yummy spicy bean dip, and some homemade salsa. Bring on the Nachos!! Georgie and I shared this plate of goodness, and it really hit the spot.

To top it all off, of course, I had cup after cup (after cup) of crushed ice. Life really isn't that bad after all.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Strike Out

I'm all struck out. I've had a few foul balls. I'm at the end of the inning and I don't know how much longer I can hold strong in the game....and yet, the pitcher is still throwing balls at me. They are coming fast. They are curve balls. They are mean. They are hitting me at all my vulnerable spots. I can't take much more.

The anatomy ultrasound today in Denver went fairly well. At least, I thought so, until the Doctor came in to explain their findings. For the first time this pregnancy, our baby was face up. This meant that they could get some great views of the baby's face. He's got big chubby cheeks that are adorable. He has enough hair that even I could see it on the ultrasound. He likes to suck on his fist. He looks like he has my nose.

He also seems to have a cleft lip.

I was assured that from what they could see, his gums all look intact, so it is a minor deformity of the lip on his right hand side. They can't tell the full extent of his cleft lip, and won't be able to until he is born. There are a few things that could arise because of this complication. First, he could have trouble breastfeeding. Really, I could go on about some of the other things they talked about, but that was the last straw for me.

The only thing I have been holding out hope for, with every complication with this baby, is that I would still be able to breastfeed him. I've been told by the Cardiologists that it should be ok to breastfeed him in the days before his surgery. My OB doctors and Perinatologists assure me that this is acceptable as well. However, after talking to the nurse at the NICU, she told me one of his lines that will go through his umbilical cord, to deliver medicine and fluids, will not only make it impossible to hold him, but I wouldn't get to breastfeed him either.

I know...I know. I can pump...the baby will get the breast milk...and then after his surgery and recovery I can breastfeed him. I know all that. But you know what, it doesn't seem good enough to have to wait weeks to do that. I want to breastfeed him in the beginning. Before his surgery. When he is hours old. I want to hold him through the night. I want to change his diaper. I want to rub lotion on his body. I want to nurse him!! I don't want to have to walk down the hall, or up to another floor, or across the street to another hospital to see my baby in a "hands off" approach. It's killing me.

Then today, when the doc said breastfeeding may be impossible. I wanted to scream "Are you kidding me?" Seriously. I have just had the only thing I was holding on to ripped from me. I know it's not a definite possibility. His cleft lip could be more minimal than they anticipate. It could be easily fixed right away. I could be moping over nothing. I just feel like I've been very accommodating with all the setbacks. All I want to do is breastfeed my baby. It shouldn't be so difficult.

Because this baby now has two strikes against him (heart defect and cleft deformity), these conditions COULD be linked with a chromosomal abnormality (specifically the 22nd chromosome). An amnio will be scheduled around 38 weeks, both to check on his chromosomes and to make sure the baby's lungs are ready for delivery. If he's ready, I'll have the baby after that.

Until then, I GET to meet with the "Oral" team, to learn more about the cleft lip, and I GET to go in for stress tests twice a week (thankfully here in Colorado Springs), to monitor the baby's heart rate. The good news is, I can continue my weekly checkups with my OB here. I don't need to go to Denver to meet with any more OB doctors, until I'm 38 weeks and they are ready to do the amnio.

Another piece of good news is that the baby is over 5 pounds now. Even though I continue to measure small, the baby is measuring perfectly. He is strong and healthy. I just need to be strong now. Please pray that I'll have the strength for this. I just feel like I am getting beat down at every turn.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Just Hear Me Out!


I made another purse.

I know. I know. Shouldn't I be cleaning my house like crazy nesting 9 month pregnant lady?? Shouldn't I be doing all the laundry that never seems to be completely done? Shouldn't I be making freezer meals, in preparation for the time I will be away from my family? Shouldn't I be going to Sonic because once again, I am down to 1/2 a bag of crushed ice?? Shouldn't I be finishing the Christmas gifts I need to get done before I have the baby? Shouldn't I be playing with my 3 year old?
So I probably should be doing all those things, and more. Instead, I made another purse. In my defense, I was doing laundry at the same time. So there. Plus, it's got the most awesome corduroy fabric on the bottom, and my sewing job is amazing this time, if I do say so myself. I might just not be a beginner seamstress after all...but not quite intermediate. I still have a long way to go. However, I'm very proud of how I sewed this purse. You can check it out more closely, if you live by me. I'll accept your praise. I did good.
Laundry just beeped. See. I do other things besides make purses.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Stylish Rice Heating Bags

Our weather suddenly turned freakishly cold this weekend. Besides the usual hot baths, putting on socks, and wrapping up in our Snuggi, I wanted another way to stay warm. I remembered that I had all the supplies to make these rice bag warmers that are infused with scented oil. Sounded like the perfect way to occupy my time today.

So I made one for me, and another for a friend having a birthday today. It has a decorative cover, which can be removed for washing. The inside bag is filled with rice that has been scented in some yummy smelling oil. I used a pomegranate scent and it smells super yummy. Just pop the rice bag into the microwave for 1-3 minutes, and enjoy the good smelling warmth for hours.

If you want to make one, here is the tutorial I followed.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Stopping Time

I think if there was ever a moment when I wanted time to stop, I might choose now. The more I learn about what the next month will bring, the more I don't want it to happen.

Yesterday I walked through the Cardiac ICU and the Neonatal ICU. Both places almost brought me to tears. Although I know our baby will be excellently taken care of, it is heartbreaking for me to see what is in his future.

I saw babies heavily sedated so they won't feel the pain that comes after surgery.

I saw so many tubes and monitors attached to the babies, that it made it virtually impossible for anyone to hold them.

I saw feeding tubes replacing breastfeeding.

I saw some babies who had nobody in their rooms.

I saw some mothers sleeping on little fold-out beds, clearly uncomfortable and exhausted.

I saw people eating in the cafeteria, instead of enjoying a nice meal at home with their families.

I saw no siblings visiting their little brother or sister, because it isn't allowed based on all the influx of sickness going around.

I saw how things would be for me, in the weeks I will be there, and I just pray I have the strength to survive it.

I know that it will be just a short time to go through, but that thought doesn't seem to matter right now. It is going to be hard. We were told, during yesterday's appointment, that they could delay surgery for up to a week. That just means that there is one more week of living at the hospital, away from my family. We were also told that they could bring me up there a week or two BEFORE I have the baby, just to ensure that when I go into labor, I am there, instead of worrying about having a super fast labor (like all my other children) and not making it to the hospital in time. I don't want to be up there that long! I think I'd rather take my chances at having a fast labor, and delivering here in Colorado Springs, instead of up in Denver. We'd both get transferred up there the next day anyway, so it doesn't seem that bad of a situation, compared to living up in Denver at the Ronald McDonald house for a week or two. How would we manage the kids during that time? It's just too much to try to move them between houses. So we hope that my OB doctors come up with a different solution, the closer we get.

There is still the possibility that the baby's surgeries could go in a different direction than the original plan. He has a really nice fat artery that they think might be manageable, and if they can get the pulmonary valve to work, by ballooning it, and get blood flow through the right ventricle, there is a small possibility (5% chance) that his heart could become a functioning 4 chamber heart. Although they don't hold much hope for it, there is still something they see on ultrasound that could make it possible. Nothing can be decided until he is born, and they get a better look through all the procedures he will undergo in his first few days of life. We were told that as far as congenital birth defects go, our baby's deformity is a 7, based on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst. His heart formed this way when he was about 8 weeks gestation, and since it's been this way from the beginning, there isn't much chance for his heart to change ways, even with certain surgeries. So that's another reason this new direction of surgeries has such a slim chance of working. Sometimes you just can't change the way nature made things. Again, it's a wait and see scenario.

So, I'm just in the moment right now. I don't want time to move on. Somebody stop the clock.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

34 Weeks and a Baby Shower!

My friends threw me the most delightful baby shower last night. I brought my camera to get a picture of everyone, but didn't ever get around to it. However, over 20 women came to celebrate this baby boy joining our family.

Before I started opening gifts, I wanted everyone to know how grateful I was to them, not just for coming to the shower, but for all the love, support, prayers, encouragement, and service that they have shown me, and will show me over the next few months. Upon thinking about what I would say, I knew it would be hard to get through, but when I started crying even before I started speaking...well, it was very difficult for me to get through. These women have become my family. My home. I need them. I am not usually an emotional person, and I try my hardest not to break down in front of anyone, even the husband. Anyway, I seriously wanted to run and hide, with everyone watching me struggle with what I wanted to say, but I hope they understood that I am very very grateful for everything.

My friend Paula made the most amazing little bear cake for the shower. Since she made tons of cupcakes too, I got to bring the bear cake home with me. I cut off a slice of his foot to sample this morning, and it is a very yummy pound cake with buttercream icing. She did a great job. Another friend, Trinette, helped plan and organize the shower for me. I was overwhelmed with love. Thank you girls!


It took quite a while to get through all the gifts. Everyone was so generous. Today I get to go through all the stuff, tear off tags, prewash clothing and blankets, and find a home for all the wonderful items. I took a picture of everything grouped together. It's hard to see all the individual items, but there is A LOT there. Thank you everyone!! All of it is MUCH needed!


Today, I had my 34 week checkup with my OB. He was sad to tell me that my complete care is now in the hands of all the Denver team of Doctors. He was originally going to keep seeing me for these last few weeks, and simply report everything to Denver so that I didn't have to travel up there every week, but the Doctors up there want to examine me themselves, and make their own decisions based on their care. So even though I made a tentative appointment to see my OB again in about 10 days, we both are pretty confident that the appointment will be canceled and I'll be up in Denver. I'm sad about that. Not only do I love my OB, but it's somewhat annoying to travel an hour and a half (one way) for a 20 minute appointment and examination. Luckily, it's only for a few weeks, then we'll have a baby.

My OB was also concerned that I haven't been very emotional with him. He wanted to make sure I wasn't keeping everything bottled up. I assured him, especially after my breakdown last night, that I do have moments where my emotions overcome me, but for the most part, I keep things to myself. Just the way I am. It makes me an ideal patient when I'm in labor, because I'm as quiet as a mouse. Anyway, he wanted to make sure I am handling things alright. Very perceptive of him, I must say.

I am also measuring a little small, at 32 instead of 34, but that's not something he's worried about. I always present small, but with the assurance of the ultrasound last week, in determining the baby's weight, we are doing just fine. I even asked if I could refuse to be weighed in. I was told "that's not an option". Oh well. I think I'm just not going to look at the scale anymore.

Tomorrow I begin my first round of appointments in Denver. I have an appointment with the Cardiology team, another Fetal Echo Sonogram (a very specific look at the heart, through ultrasound) and also a tour of the Cardiac ICU, NICU, and all the facilities I will be using in the Children's Hospital. Next week I will meet with everyone at the University Hospital, across the street, where I will be delivering the baby. I will have another ultrasound, this time just for anatomy, and meet the OB staff to talk about my birth plan, and to get a tour of that hospital. Should be fun!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Midnight Expectations

There are a few things you expect to happen in the middle of the night, when you are large with child. Unfortunately, these are not usually anticipated to be pleasant. Let's talk sleep position. For me, when my stomach region isn't swollen with a growing child, I sleep on my belly. I completely flatten out across my mattress, arms cozily crossed under my pillow and supporting my head, with one leg straight and the other bent out, forming a right angle. Sometimes this bent leg crosses over to the space occupied by the husband and there is question over who is taking up more room, but for the most part, this sleep position is not only acceptable, but delightfully comfortable.

As pregnancy progresses, this position becomes anything but comfortable. I try to make it last as long as possible. I strategically place a pillow under my hips to give a bit more clearance to my belly, and lie as much towards my belly as possible, but soon enough, not only does that make me feel compressed and achy, but I get complaints from the baby that he doesn't appreciate taking the brunt of my body weight upon him.

So even with the 13 pillows that you place between your knees, under your hips, around your head, and behind your back, it still seems almost impossible to get in a comfy position to sleep. Then, even if you manage a great position, your body doesn't want to stay in one position for very long, and you soon discover that it is time to roll over onto your other side, (which is no easy feat considering it's like trying to roll over a cement truck), you adjust all the 27 pillows again, kick out of the blankets that seem to molest you with heat, and pray desperately that you can arrange your awkward self again and slip peacefully back into the restless slumber you have come to embrace at this late stage of pregnancy.

Now, this shift in body weight not only takes all the strength you can muster, it also tends to wake up the baby, who then is so delighted in the new found position change, that he takes advantage of it by showing off his new muscles. For the next 30 minutes you are audience to the twists, stretches, bumps, and shakes that leave you with mixed emotion. On the one hand, you are desperately exhausted and just want the baby to quiet down, but on the other hand, you are extremely impressed and very proud at how strong your baby is, and you know that someday you will miss this unique feeling of the baby moving around inside you.

Already the baby has taken after you, and has a pillow that he likes to cozy up to as well. This pillow is called your bladder. It's amazing how quickly your bladder gets to the bursting point. It's not something you can ignore, and one innocent movement from the baby can bring you to pain if you try to wait too long. It can also bring a change of new underclothing, but lets just assume you make it to the bathroom in time.

Struggling out of bed, leaving a trail of 36 pillows, tripping over toys and shoes, just trying to stay focused on remaining upright as you walk...all of this occupies your thoughts as you make your way to the bathroom for the upteenth time that night. You are on auto-pilot as you collapse none too gracefully on the toilet seat, ready to relieve your bursting bladder. Three seconds later, you are done going to the bathroom, and once again, you have a hard time accepting how inadequate your bladder is at holding on to such a small amount, and don't even bother to flush. You'll do it in the morning.

After hoisting yourself up back in bed and adjusting your body, the 57 pillows, the blankets, and pushing aside your husband's sleeping body to give your mammoth self room to spread out, you lie there, suffering from the false hope that you can just drift off into peaceful slumber again. No such luck.

Of course, all of that is welcoming compared with the alternative. Let's go back to the journey to the toilet. You are still half asleep. You plop yourself down on the toilet, because lets face it...all your muscles have gone to mush and you are desperate to relieve yourself anyway. However, this time things are different. Little did you know, that while you were sleeping between potty breaks, the husband had a potty break of his own. The toilet seat, which you seem to have taken for granted up to this point, is not in it's expected position.

I'll leave it at that.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Baby in a Bag

One of the projects my sisters and I worked on this weekend was making a pattern for the bag nightgowns that newborns wear. Sometimes they have a drawstring around the bottom of the gown. Sometimes they have snaps, or elastic. We chose to just leave it open.

I absolutely love the "bag jammies". I only have one right now, and plan on getting more, but they are my favorite thing to have my newborn wear at night. One reason, is that I don't like to turn on lights when I get up to nurse/change my baby. So not having to worry about all the snaps in jammies that you can't seem to figure out how to properly align, without the help of turning on the lights, makes my life much better during the night. Also, it's just so easy to change them. Simply pull up the gown, change their diaper, and pull the gown back down. There ya go. Baby in a bag. Makes my life more enjoyable.

Anyway, we made one gown (the cream colored one), out of soft stretchy knit, and the other out of the coordinating material. We made the cute striped binding to match it all together, and we made cuffs to fold over the baby's hands so he won't scratch his face. While we were at it, we decided a cute knotted hat and matching booties were just the thing to complete the outfit.



I give complete credit to my sister Sharon for making the pattern for the bag nightgown. She did a fabulous job. It couldn't be cuter. She sewed together the knit gown, and I made the blue gown. I plan on making some more when I get more material.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ultrasound

So I had another ultrasound today. Good news! The baby is growing very well! According to their measurements, he is weighing in at 4 lbs 12 oz. That is just one pound away from what Georgie was, when she was born, so we anticipate this baby boy being at least 7 lbs. Wonderful news, since the bigger he is, the bigger (in theory) his arteries are, and the better able he will be to be healthy and strong. Also, he looks like he has some cute chubby cheeks and a bit of hair.

I have seen this Ultrasound Tech quite a few times in the last two months. I think she is great. We have a good time laughing together.
Also, here are the two Doctors that are ever present at my ultrasounds, Dr. Muench (Perinatologist) and Dr. Brames (Pediatric Cardiologist). They saw some developments at this ultrasound that might possibly lead to a different type of outcome for this baby (all good news), but they are anxious to see what his heart looks like after he is born, when they don't have to look through my body, the placenta, his ribs, and arm or two, and awkward angles. So we will see what the future holds.

For now, my next few weeks are filled with appointments with my OB here, as well as lots of appointments with the entire staff (it seems) up in Denver University Hospital and The Children's Hospital.
My weekend here is filled up though, with these two gals. Two of my sisters, Shavonne and Sharon, flew down to do some projects with me this weekend. We are having a great time already.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

33 Reasons

Today is The Husband's birthday. 33 years old. So here are 33 reasons why I love him.



1. He still finds me attractive (or is very good at pretending) even when I'm weeks away from having a baby.

2. He gets excited when it's meatloaf night.

3. He looks good a little bit scruffy.

4. He is fantastic at copying accents, and finds interesting times to break out with a Russian, Australian, or Southern hick persona. It always makes me laugh.

5. He plays/wrestles with the boys.

6. He has fantastic looking legs...

7. ...and and equally fantastic looking bum (but you'll have to take my word on that).

8. He lets me warm up my icy cold feet against his super hot body, and besides not complaining, he actually likes it, because it cools him down.

9. His singing voice blows me away.

10. He really and truly misses me when we are away from each other.

11. He likes to quote Napoleon Dynamite almost as much as I do.

12. He loves my family.

13. If he wants to watch tv after I go to sleep, he turns the tv down really low so he won't disturb me. It's so low, that I can't hear anything, but it doesn't seem to bother him...or maybe he has better hearing than I do.

14. He doesn't want any popcorn when we go to the movies, so I get the big bucket all to myself.

15. He cuts his own hair, and cuts the boys' hair too. Saves us a fortune, and looks great too.

16. He whistles when he's happy.

17. He calls me during the day, just to check up on me and see how I'm doing.

18. He is just as emotional about our baby as I am.

19. He wants to buy a big piece of property outside the city, build a super cool house, and have a garage full of 4-wheelers. Sounds perfect to me.

20. He decided when he was young how he wanted his life to be, and put forth the effort to be the best he could be. I truly admire that.

21. He tries very hard to help people as much as he can.

22. His hands are so soft and gentle and loving.

23. He humors me a lot.

24. He has nice things to say, about whatever crafts or projects I am working on, even though he really has no interest in them.

25. He always smells good.

26. He has the best shoulder to cry on, even though I try my hardest not to need it.

27. He makes really good hot chocolate.

28. He is a pro at navigating through traffic with ease.

29. When we sleep, he likes to be touching me.

30. He irons his own clothes.

31. He has great faith, and a wonderful sense of spirituality about him.

32. He doesn't force me to cook seafood.

33. He loves me more than I can comprehend.

Love you babe. Happy Birthday!