Sunday, October 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Sunshine!

Our precious little girl! Sunshine. Baby Sweet. Littlefoot. How blessed we are to have you in our lives! I remember you being placed in my arms one year ago, how did the time go by so quickly? Not a day has gone by that I haven't marveled that you are actually mine to keep. It's a joy watching you explore your world, taking in every new thing with an excitement we take for granted.

So, happy birthday sweet girl. May this be a year of blessings as you continue to grow in grace.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

New York, New York

Things I learned on my first trip to NYC:
  • New York is not intimidating, overwhelming maybe, but not intimidating.
  • A NYC taxi ride is..interesting...
  • Getting to the airport by subway takes about the same time as a taxi ride and is much cheaper.
  • I think I would need 2 weeks to be able to see everything I want to.
  • It is possible to go to NYC without a carseat. 
  • Times Square is media ADD. So much to look at but so hard to focus on one thing before something else grabs your attention.
  • When we have been experiencing drought conditions in Texas, it is guaranteed to rain nearly every day while we are in NYC.
  • Rain doesn't stop people, there were just as many people walking around in the rain as when it wasn't raining. And apparently umbrellas are optional?
  • Grocery shopping in NYC is quite different. I can't imagine living there and having to shop that regularly. I like to plan a menu for a week and make one trip. Grocery shopping is not my favorite past time.
  • When leaving the city it doesn't take much time at all to get to rural areas.
  • Madeline is an excellent traveler. She stayed mostly entertained or slept on the plane. She enjoyed being pushed around in her stroller. If she got tired she would fall asleep without a peep while we were walking around.
  • Her favorite was Times Square. Passersby kept trying to say hi to her or get her attention and while she usually likes "talking" to people, she couldn't keep her eyes off of the blinking lights.
....

Friday, September 16, 2011

The When?

You know, "When are you going to have kids?" and all of it's variations. What is it about these questions that gets me burning up inside and turns my stomach?

After this weekend it has been confirmed to me why I dread pregnancy announcements from family and close friends. Always, without fail, because someone is currently pregnant or has just announced, when I go to family gatherings or spend time with those groups of friends, the scrutiny is always turned towards me. The questions and the "cute" comments start.   Please, by all means discuss amongst yourself their pregnancies, I can always not share in the conversation or leave the room if I want, but please don't turn the focus to me, I don't want the attention.

Long before we experienced infertility, I didn't like these types of questions. I thought they were too personal and had the possibility of causing hurt because there are too many unknown factors to consider. And now I have first hand knowledge of how complicated it can be. I also figure people are more than willing to share this information so I don't need to pry.

On the surface I might look healthy. I try to take care of myself, eat right and exercise. But did you know on the inside it's a different story? Do you really want to know that we are "on hold" right now because pregnancy causes my body to start attacking my liver? That after both pregnancies I had to go on steroids to "fix" this problem that can never really be fixed?  When things are that messed up, is it really wise to try to become pregnant and carry a baby? It would only make things worse for both of us. Yes, there is something to be said about putting things in God's hands but I've also only been given this body so I have to be a good steward of it. Do you think I like having to wait? And that in the back of my mind is the fear that it took us years to have one baby, how long might it take for another. And that we aren't getting younger.

Yes, lots of emotions and not really good ones either. So your cute little comment, your nosy questions, your commentary, it can really hurt. It doesn't have the innocence you think it does.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Scary Firsts

Madeline suddenly started feeling poorly one Sunday evening after being her usual cheerful self the entire day. All of a sudden she started screaming, reminiscent of her colic days. I felt her head and noticed she was much warmer than usual. I took her temperature and it was 100, not a true fever but higher than her normal.

We took her home from our visit and I tried laying down with her as that usually comforts her. As soon as we both lay down, she vomited all over me. That was always one of my biggest mommy fears, having to clean up vomit and here I was covered in it. At the time I didn't even think about it, I jumped into action, stripping us both and climbing immediately into the shower. She calmed down a bit during the shower and was a little more comfortable. I'm not sure how, but I knew the vomiting was only caused by her crying so hard for so long and not part of her sickness. At that point I was convinced she just had an elevated temperature and was crying due to teething pain. (coming up on 11 months now and still no teeth, though I can see them through her gums.)

The next morning she was still not feeling well, limp, and this time she had a fever though not high enough to be very concerned. I knew then that it wasn't teething, though she was still eating normally and had no other symptoms of sickness. That afternoon I decided to call the nurse for advice on whether we should bring her in or not. We arranged an appointment for the next morning and she spent the day only wanting to be held by mommy; daddy just wouldn't do.

Tuesday she hadn't improved and continued running a fever. She was examined, much to her anger, had a catheter placed for a urine sample, (really angry about that) and had to have her blood drawn. Her urine analysis came back negative but her white blood cell count was over double what it should be. So they gave her a heavy duty shot of antibiotics and asked us to return the next day. Tuesday passed much like Monday and I was only able to put her down once she was more deeply asleep.

Wednesday morning just as I buckled her into her car seat to go to the doctor, she vomited pretty much everything from her bottle. A quick change and clean up and we left. Upon just seeing Madeline, her doctor was concerned that she hadn't improved at all, she was still limp and clingy and still running a fever. The antibiotics should have made her start to feel better, but she wasn't. She suggested the possibilities of pneumonia and meningitis and asked if Madeline had been coughing. I said that she had coughed a few times but I couldn't tell if it was "fake" coughing, (sometimes she imitates us coughing.) Her doctor didn't want to take any chances so she ordered a chest x-ray. Her blood and urine cultures were both negative which was good. While waiting for another antibiotic shot, Madeline vomited again. Doctor told us to stop solid foods for now and just focus on giving her small amounts of pedialyte for the next few hours and try formula again in the afternoon.

Later in the afternoon, the doctor called to tell me surprisingly, Madeline had walking pneumonia!! I was told to once again bring her back in the next morning to see how she was doing. By that evening she still wasn't improving. Her fever would only come down for about 6 hours with ibuprofen but even with medicine had not gone away. She was still vomiting if I gave her anymore than 2 ounces at a time and I started to fear that she was getting dehydrated.

The next morning she was even vomiting with just an ounce and I was starting to get really worried. The moment her doctor walked in and saw her she asked me to take her to the emergency room at the children's hospital. She looked worried as well, wondering if it might be meningitis.

I called Brandon, tried calling my mom, called my grandmother asking her to pray and to get a hold of my mom, while I drove down the street to the hospital.

Fortunately we didn't have to wait at all for Madeline to be seen. I brought with me all the paper work for tests and results the pediatrician had performed so Madeline didn't have to endure much sticking. The ER doctor didn't think she had meningitis, just that she had become dehydrated. So they decided to give her IV fluids and watched her for several hours.

After many hours we tried giving her a popsicle which she enjoyed so we asked to start giving her fluids by mouth. We were brought some pedialyte which she eagerly drank. Still she seemed upset, we didn't see much change in her attitude, and were still a bit concerned when the doctor said we could go home.

When we got home we saw a dramatic difference in her. She was playing, smiling and growling at us again. Especially with the growling we knew she was feeling more like her usual self. We were able to start giving formula again that evening and she kept it down. Praise God!! She continued to improve the next day and then the fever was gone!

It was so hard to see that dramatic a difference in a little girl who is usually so cheerful. And especially hard when she couldn't really tell us what was wrong. It's still a mystery where she caught whatever caused the pneumonia, none of us had been sick and she hadn't been around anyone who was sick. Who knows? I'm just glad we are past it and our sunshine is shining once again.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Stuffed

What do you do when your head is so full of..well...everything!! To do lists, household chores, home projects, projects for someone else, when to pay the bills, managing finances, marketing for a class, outside commitments, wrestling with emotional and spiritual matters... the list goes on and on.

Lately, I've just been shoving it all aside, ignoring it and getting nothing accomplished. I know this isn't the right way to handle it. I'm just overwhelmed. Part of me likes that my perfectionistic, organized ways have gone out the window, but on the other hand, I've swung almost entirely in the other direction. I need to find balance.

Perhaps I should carry around a small notebook and when things pop into my head, write them down so I can deal with them later instead of forgetting until it's too late. Maybe then I wouldn't feel like my head is so stuffed that I can't even think.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Making Changes

I've been lax about posting, mostly because I have been so uninspired by my blog title and blog URL. Isn't that just the most ridiculous reason ever? For some reason, I would look at those at the top of the page and think, "Blah, I'm going somewhere else."  It isn't the only area online that I've changed. I recently got really tired of my username on one of the forums I frequent and decided to change that too. A fresh start of sorts.

I would like to use some of my graphics background and redesign the look of my little space on the web. A little harder since we said goodbye to our scanner and sent it off to recycle, but not impossible.  I'd like to start working on more projects, get creative, not only here but around the house as well.

For the last several months I haven't had the strength or interest to accomplish anything. Due to health concerns and adjusting to life with our precious girl, I have been more or less in survival mode. It is awesome to actually feel excited about anything again.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sarah

Our precious little girl, you would have been 2 years old now. You were a very welcome surprise after more than a year of infertility and doctors telling us we would need assistance to even have a baby. While I was nervous about finally becoming a mother, I still loved you from the moment I knew about you and I couldn't wait to meet you. Sadly, you left us far too soon. I know you are where you need to be. I thank God that you don't know any pain or sadness, only the joy of heaven and being with your loving Father. I still look forward to meeting you, it will just have to wait a little longer.

Friday, June 10, 2011

To Love...

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to be sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket-- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable." --CS Lewis

What wisdom!! And oh, how I need to be reminded of this time and time again. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tranquility

All is quiet where I sit, a moment in time when I have nothing pressing to do, a time I can just breathe and relax for a bit. A precious baby is sleeping in her bed next to me, breath coming heavily due to her stuffy nose. Even though she's been stuffy for the last couple of days, it hasn't dampened her sunny spirit. I can't put in words how much I enjoy being near her when she sleeps. Seeing that beautiful little face so at peace, her damp, crazy hair going all directions, little balled up fists flung out at her sides, legs pulled up, bottom up in the air. Beauty only God could make.

This is a moment I sometimes feared I would miss. And yet it is a moment I could never comprehend before. Something so simple yet indescribably beautiful. I don't know if it is because we had a longer wait, that I have been missing Sarah so much lately. I don't know if it's because I spent years questioning (even in the midst of infertility) whether I even wanted to have children. But I do know that God put us together. He knew that I needed Madeline in my life as much as she needs me. I feel like she is teaching me so many more things then I am teaching her. Teaching me to slow down, to savor the day, enjoy the little things, recognize the small victories, and to really smile once again.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Different Perspective on Blessings

Listening to the radio while driving home today, I heard a new song playing. At first I wasn't really listening, I picked up a couple of words here and there;
"...blessings through raindrops...healing comes through tears..trials of life...mercies in disguise..." 
"Yeah, Yeah, another song about how life is hard," I thought, "I don't need another reminder."
I continued driving not really listening until I heard the line,  
"We know that pain reminds this heart that this is not our home."
Straight to the heart. Now I really listened.
"What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise"
Huge lump in my throat, tears streaming down my face.

I can't pretend that life has been easy lately. I can't pretend that I haven't been hurting. I really don't understand it at times. I don't know what to do with it so I try to ignore it, push it away, hope it just disappears. After all, I have so much to be thankful for. People might look at my life and think I have everything, there is no reason for the pain. But nevertheless, it's deep and excruciating, drowning me, keeping me down.

Those words reminded me of a truth that was revealed to my heart (not just knowing it in my mind) over a year ago, having a baby was not going to "fix" the pain, it was not an answer to the deeper issues that lay beneath.

It also reminded me the reason I feel restless at times, the reason I don't feel completely comfortable in this life is because this world is not my home. The further in my walk with Christ I come, the more uncomfortable I become; with the ways of this world, with my own ways.

I like the motive behind the songs. You grow up hearing the word, "blessing" used all the time. And eventually it starts to sound a little hollow when you are walking through trials. You hear how this person and that is "so blessed" because God gave them _____. And yet you don't get _____ so what, you aren't blessed? But maybe the blessing is found more along the journey. Maybe it's found in really trusting that God is doing something through all the pain. Shaping something so beautiful from something seemingly so ugly. It's so hard to feel that, to understand it in your heart, not just your head, when you are in the midst of it.

Conclusion: I have far to go. Life IS hard, Life IS painful at times. But God is doing something with it and through it. I have to hold onto that when I am desperately treading water, He won't let me drown.

Blessings by Laura Story

Laura shares her heart behind the song

Friday, January 7, 2011

Madeline's Debut

The week Madeline was due I became quite a bit restless. I was never anxious for her to hurry up, I wanted her to come when she was ready. But I was ready to meet this little miss. While I had been physically uncomfortable for some time, I was enjoying the last moments when I knew caring for her was easiest.

That Monday was my 40 week OB appointment. The doctor checked my progress and let me know I was still where I had been the week before (1 cm, 70-80% effaced). She told me she was pretty sure she would be seeing me before I made it to another weekly appointment but if I was still pregnant they would schedule an induction on October 22. When I got home from that appointment I noticed (gasped was more like it)  I was spotting pretty heavily and wondered if that was significant. Brandon was more then a little freaked out by it and wanted to call the doctor immediately.  But the spotting slowed within an hour and was pretty much gone by the next day.

Wednesday the 13th was her due date and it went by much as any other day. I was getting frequent phone calls from family members, "Did you have the baby yet?"  Me thinking (as I rolled my eyes): "Don't you think I would let you know when she arrives?" What I kept repeating was, "No, she can take her time and come when she is ready." My aunt was rooting for her to be born on the 13th because that is her birthday.

Late every night for the last week or so Brandon and I had been going to the park to walk; mainly to tire me out enough so I could sleep better at night. The 13th was no exception. By the time we went around 10 pm. I remember thinking Baby was happy in her nice, warm environment and was going to stick around in there as long as she could. Around 10:45, towards the end of the walk, I noticed I was having a strange feeling, not like the braxton hicks contractions I had been having, and no where near painful. After 10 minutes or so it dawned on me, maybe these are real contractions and I should be timing them. It was happening every 3-5 minutes. We went back home and continued timing for an hour and they met all the qualifications for a call to the doctor except they were erratic. They lasted at least a minute long but some were 2 minutes apart while others were 5 minutes apart. We decided to call anyway and they told us to go to the hospital.

I was checked and disappointed that I had not progressed at all since Monday's appointment. It was confirmed that I was indeed having contractions so they watched me for a bit to see if  I was going to progress further. Then they gave me the choice to labor at the hospital or go home to labor. I chose to go home since there I would be able to eat at least. I was released around 4 in the morning.

I slept fitfully at best the rest of the morning finally giving up around 8am or so. Brandon decided to stay home from work since I was continuing to have contractions. I took it easy that day, resting and trying to relax. The contractions weren't too painful but were distracting enough that I couldn't even take a nap. The pain increased and yet they were still erratic, we had no idea how to tell when to call or go back in. I always had this fear I wouldn't know when I was in true labor (and when to go to the hospital) and was assured many times that "I would just know." They lied.

Finally in the early afternoon Brandon called and I was instructed to go walk to see if they would pick up and call back in an hour. We walked all the way around our tiny complex and it took me 45 minutes before I had had enough. It took so long because I was having to stop so frequently, by that time I was in enough pain that I didn't want to walk anywhere. When Brandon called back they told us to come back in. I gave Brandon enough time to take a shower. (that was the fastest shower I've ever seen the man take, and he likes his long showers, usually until the hot water runs out) While he was at that I put the cookie dough away for the cookies I was baking earlier in the day. I'm not sure what possessed me to bake cookies while in labor, perhaps for distraction? We headed back to the hospital at 8 pm.

When the doctor (not mine, but one of her partners) initially checked, much to my disappointment  I was only dilated to 3cm. But he told me I wasn't leaving without our baby! Finally! We were going to meet her! I had wanted to try laboring without an epidural but at that point I had been in labor for nearly 24 hours and I hadn't really slept, I was exhausted. I wanted to do everything to keep from having a C section, so I opted for an epidural in order to rest.

Around midnight I was checked again and found that I was dilated 6cm. At that time the doctor decided to break my water to be sure there was no meconium. Sure enough there was. Fantastic! They explained that she would be taken out of the room immediately after she was born to clean out her airway and make sure there were no problems. They also decided to give Baby an amnio infusion to try to clean out the amniotic fluid as much as possible so it was less likely she would inhale any. I guess Baby didn't want it in there because she kept pushing the catheter back out every time the nurse placed it.

A couple of hours later the nurse checked and told me I was now 9 1/2 cm dilated and would begin pushing shortly. I had been fairly calm but at that point I began to feel anxious. I was cold and shaking uncontrollably, (probably due to nerves) I had never done this before and the thought suddenly overwhelmed me.

I had always planned for just Brandon to be there with me but my parents and sister had driven in when we called them around 8pm. After the epidural was placed, they took turns visiting with me, keeping me company as we all waited. When it came time for pushing I allowed my mother and sister to stay if they wanted to.  Katherine even got to assist with leg holding. Since the epidural was wonky I could feel awareness in my right side and move my leg myself, but there was a total absence of feeling in my left side, not even enough to move my leg. And it just so happened the bed was broken on the left side so she ended up holding my dead weight of a leg for me.

Pushing was difficult, I couldn't feel any pain, not even pressure, so it was hard to know if I was doing anything productive. In hindsight I should have asked for a mirror so I could at least see some progress. Pushing didn't take long, maybe 30 - 45 minutes before the nurse called the doctor in for delivery.

From this point on remembering is fuzzy for me. I remember the doctor being so quiet and the nurse giving me instruction. I remember Brandon's surprised "Wow!!" and Katherine's gasp and looking down as if in a dream to see a little gray, unmoving face, she looked like a doll. Then I asked what I was supposed to do since the doctor didn't give me any instructions. Shortly, she was out and I know she was crying but at this point I have a total blank. I also know they took her away immediately while the doctor told me I had a 2nd degree tear and he needed to repair it.

Sometime a little later, they brought Madeline back in and Brandon was able to hold her and give her her first bottle. The repair took quite some time. And though I can't really remember the details I know she was handed to me (I have a picture to prove it). I do remember having a surreal feeling that she was actually mine. (My mom later told me that when I said out loud that I didn't feel like she was really mine that worried her.) After I was able to get some good sleep that feeling was completely gone and I was in awe of my beautiful girl.