Monday, March 30, 2015

Of Monday Morning Mental Lists and DONUTS.

Faith's pump went off at 4:30am.  I went in to reset it for the second time overnight (per usual), and she required a second diaper and pajama change (per usual).  I perform both on autopilot, vowing to one day develop a diaper capable of bearing the load of the intestinally challenged.  Pun completely intended and very, very true.  You don't even know.
Don't be fooled.  She is back to her usual chipper self.  She missed a nap yesterday and wanted to be held ALL THE HOURS of the afternoon.  Also, note Baby Boy protruding from my belly.  He's starting to wiggle a bit in there.  

I ambled back to bed in the dark with full intentions to fall back asleep, as I usually do.  The second trimester has been a lot kinder to my sleeping habits, and the insomnia has all but disappeared.  This morning, however, though my eyes were tired with sleep, my brain was wide awake writing mental post-it notes about the many things I need to do today, catching up after a week spent away from home in the hospital.

Faith, and her entire face, love tilapia!  Fish for the win!

I fought it for a good hour, willing myself to fall back asleep, but my brain just wouldn't shut off.

Follow-up labs at Children's this morning.  Pick up formula from Pediatrician.  Call Walgreens about error in formula order.  Order baseball uniform.  Find out game schedule.  Locate Easter baskets.  Find a flattering maternity Easter dress (do those exist?).  Dye Easter eggs.  Baby brunch on Saturday.  Clean hardwood.  Buy dog food...  

Then, naturally, I had to check my weather app to see if today would be a suitable day for the park considering Becks is on Spring Break or would the museum be a better choice?  Weather looks promising, and everyone will probably be at the museum.  Park it is.

What's going on on Instagram at 4:55am?  Facebook?  

Also, I'm thinking about donuts.  The closest Dunkin's is a 15-minute drive away, or I could opt for the closer grocery store bakery variety.  But, a blueberry cake donut sounds soooooooo good.  Why am I always hungry? #pregnant

Call financial advisor.  Check on tax returns.  Respond to a week's worth of emails.  Finish TpT project.  Purchase baby shower gifts.  The dog hair is OUT OF CONTROL.  Run vacuum...

Finally, at 6am, I relent.  I start a pot of coffee that is probably (definitely) a little on the stale side because I haven't been helping Brandon drink it for the past four months, and pour myself a cup. Which is actually more like milk with a splash of coffee because, you know, caffeine.   I formalize my mental list on actual paper, read a passage from the She Reads Truth Lent study (I'm about 40 days behind), and then begin checking things off of my actual list.

Order baseball uniform.

Respond to emails.

It's now 7:15am and I hear Becks awake upstairs.  He's under strict orders to not leave his bedroom until 8:00am when school isn't in session.  Unless I'm making a 7:30am donut run.  In which case, he makes pretty good company and has decent taste in pastries.
"Legos are my life," he says.  

Happy Monday :)

PS.  Random pictures compliments of the weekend.

One thing not on my list - supplies for the Final Four!  Look at me, so ahead at life!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

This is life, lately.

What is normal?

I have started this post numerous times in my head, trying to find a way to explain what life has been like the past year and half without sounding like I'm feeling sorry for myself or like parenting is a burden.  Because, believe me, I couldn't feel more opposite of both of those statements.

However, when you parent a child with special needs, the new normal that you settle into after having a baby never really comes.  Spending the first five months of Faith's life tethered to IVs and wires and tubes, while being confined to the very limiting space of a sterile hospital bedroom, isn't really fitting of the soft, squishy newborn phase experienced after the birth of a healthy baby.  That's not to say that parenting a healthy baby doesn't come with it's own set of challenges, but more than likely you're not confronted with mortality or medical interventions that may affect your child's quality of life and, therefore, your life and the life of your family on a daily basis.

Nor do you find that normal once you're home and still tethered to IVs and tubes. Of course, it becomes very rote to flick the bubbles from an IV line or reset a feeding pump every four hours or set your sterile field before you access your child's central line or wait for a delivery of medical supplies to your front door, but never normal.  There is always the sense of, Am I really doing this right now?  

Those five months in the hospital were hard.  We were mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted.  I think I've said it before, but I have no idea how bills were paid or how our pantry stayed stocked or how our minds didn't implode from the stress.  I know that our great God sustained us when we truly thought we wouldn't make it another day.  We also had incredible support from family and friends who helped us out with Becks, brought meals, cleaned our home, did loads of laundry, and sent gas cards and gift cards.  They went above and beyond the call of duty, and we are eternally grateful for months of support and love from them.

A Lot of Medical Talk...

I don't think I've ever formally shared Faith's diagnosis, but outside of being born faaaaaar too early and the host of complications that come with prematurity, she also developed Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) when she was three weeks old, which is fancy talk for the death of her intestines.  In Faith's case, her bowel then perforated causing the bacteria in her gut to leak into her bloodstream making her severely ill VERY fast.  She transferred from the hospital where she was born to Cincinnati Children's Hospital so that she could have emergency surgery.  It was during that surgery where they resected a large portion of her small intestine that had died.  Two subsequent surgeries required more resection, and left her with less than half of her small intestine and 90% of her colon.  Thus, she has Short Bowel or "Short Gut" Syndrome.  Because of this, she is susceptible to malabsorption, malnutrition, and dehydration.  Her body's inability to absorb nutrients the way someone with normal bowel function  does is why she came home on TPN (total parenteral nutrition) and lipids (fats) and a feeding tube.  In the beginning, these three things worked together to provide her the appropriate composition of fluids and nutrition.  As she grew, she needed less and less support from her IV nutrition, which is why she is now central-line free and able to thrive on only her feeding tube and what she takes by mouth each day.

Faith is followed very closely by a team of physicians, nurses, and therapists who ensure that she's healthy and growing.  Outside of our visits to one of the best Gastro-Intestinal (GI) teams in the nation, she has received Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech Therapy.
In a sense, I have traded my teaching degree for that of a nurse.  And, it's all pretty overwhelming sometimes. Frustrating, too, because I don't always know all the answers and have to rely on my intuition and frequent phone calls to my GI nurse.  I'm a well-known control freak, and the fact that I have little control over Faith's circumstance makes me crazy sometimes!


If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we have been in the hospital with Faith since Sunday.  She's not been her usual self for sometime, and last week was apparently her tipping point.  Two trips to the ER, a visit to her pediatrician and Urgent Care finally landed her an admission.  Her sodium levels were scary high and she was extremely dehydrated.  She cried all day on Sunday, likely because she had a massive headache as a result of this.  You feel so helpless when you have a kiddo with medical needs who cannot communicate how terribly she feels.  They started her on IV fluids upon admission which helped to correct her sodium levels temporarily, but they've been on the rise on and off all week long.  Because of this, we cannot be safely discharged home.  Further, Faith doesn't have a line anymore so we're unable to run IV fluids at home anymore (nor do we want to!).  Thus, it's trial and error, trying to find the correct solution.

Very quickly we were reminded what a blessing it is to have your family home under one roof.  It's not easy on life in general to have your family separated between home and the hospital.  On one hand, I want to spend as much time as possible with Faith, who's completely out of her element in strange place getting pricked and poked every four hours and not feeling her normal self.  And, then, there's Becks, who's endured such dramatic life changes in the past year and half.  I'm so grateful that kids are so resilient because it's not been easy on him either.  B and I both agree that keeping things as normal as possible during Faith's admissions is important, so one of us has made sure to get him off to school and be here when he gets off the bus each day.  Still, it's not the same to wake up to only one parent and be short your favorite sister.

And, I miss my husband.  While we spend as much time together as possible at the hospital, we don't get to wake up next to each other or decompress about our days as we normally would. B and I would both agree that this past year and a half has tried our marriage in ways we never thought possible.  Marriage in general is far from easy, but the stress of the past year has really stretched us and worn us thin on many occasions.

The Good News...

Faith's hospital stay will be short-lived.  She is not critically or terminally ill, and we are so grateful for that.  We will get to go home and resume life as normal as normal can be, as soon as the team figures out how to regulate her sodium.  In the meantime, we'll rock-paper-scissors over who has to stay on the uncomfortable pull-out chair overnight, take Faith on long stroller rides back and forth across the concourse of the hospital when the confines of her hospital room become too much, and pray that we'll all be home together soon.

 Thank you for your kind words of support and love!  We appreciate all the prayers we can get!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Of Coffee and Christ.

I have been absolutely terrible about my quiet time lately.  

While in the throes of the first trimester, I developed aversions to coffee and sleep - two things that made getting up at 5am to have my quiet time each morning much more tolerable when I was able to tolerate them.  But, after many nights of insomnia, I found myself clinging to every last second of sleep when I could enjoy it, often waiting until I absolutely had to get Becks up for school before I would rise and then creeping back under the covers while he was showering and dressing for the day.  Knowing that I wouldn't enjoy a cup of coffee once I made it downstairs made it even harder to pull the covers back!

Generally, I've felt pretty "off" lately. I blame these crazy hormones that have taken over my body and drained my motivation.  {Admission: I pretty much took up residence in front of our fireplace for the entire month of January, moving only when necessary.  I was convinced I'd succumbed to some type of pregnancy coma and/or depression.  It was awful.} 

 These are not really good excuses for not spending time with my Savior, though, and my lack of connection has really been weighing heavy on my heart lately.  It's especially apparent when I'm feeding Faith her nightly bottle, sitting in the quiet darkness, reflecting back over the day and realizing I haven't spent a single second talking to Him. The one who has done so much, and yet I talk to Him so little.

  I know that I need to dig back into the word and abide in his presence.  Less of me, more of Him.  

Have you ever felt like your prayer life was drab?  Your Bible reading an inferior priority on your to-do list?  Your time with Him non-existent? 

Me, too.  I'm here right now, feeling the disconnect but knowing better.  

Talk to me, friends.  How did you wade out of those waters?  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

From the Materni-files...

How are you feeling?  

So, it's been seven years since I've been pregnant, and I've largely forgot what it's like to be sharing your body with another being.  This may come as a shock and please don't think I am in any way not excited and overjoyed and in love with the final result, but I actually do not enjoy being pregnant.  Baby?  Oh, yes, yes, yes!  Over the moon about the baby!  Weight gain and nausea and food aversions and swollen everything and hormones?  Um, notsomuch.  

 This really isn't a complaint as much as it is a fact for me.  There are those of us who loooooooooove being pregnant, those who don't mind it, and those of us who are miserable and pretty much don't like it at all and could nine months just hurry up already?! I fall into the latter category.   

I'd always imagined myself as the basketball belly preggo.   I am not.  I won't fool you.  I'm going to tell you upfront that I will be large and in charge by the end of this pregnancy.  Mostly because I'm on my second brownie of the night and I don't just gain weight here (I'm pointing to my belly), I gain weight here and here and here and here and here (I'm pointing everywhere, plus my belly).  Also, most healthy things sound completely unappealing, unless maybe someone else is cooking them.  The mere thought of baking a sweet potato or throwing together a salad sounds repulsive.  Of all things, thyme - the spice - is what really grosses me out.  Random, I know, but it's actually in a lot of things, and even though I'm happily beyond the all-day-nausea, the thought of thyme still sends my gag reflexes reeling.  

Overall, though, I feel much better.  My energy has returned, most of my motivation to just wake up and do life is on the rebound, and I am really starting to give my leggings a good stretch everyday.  

How exactly did you get pregnant?  I thought you were infertile...

As many pregnancies are, this one is still a bit of a surprise - especially after four years of infertility.  I've joked with some of my girlfriends (who have also conceived after trying bouts of infertility), that I'm convinced that the science behind getting pregnant is a farce.  All the calculating and timing and crazy positions and drugs and ovulation tests are for naught.  Like, God just looks over at his angels, nods with confidence, cracks his knuckles, and declares, Yup.  Today is the day.  BOOM.  Your pregnant.  Because pregnancy seems to occur when you're least expecting it, right?

This is TMI, so feel free to skip the next paragraph...

I was actually in Walmart, with both kids, wearing a really pretty sundress this past summer when I had an issue that required me pushing the entire cart into the restroom (AT WALMART WITH THE KIDS) so I could determine whether or not I'd actually wet myself or if my uterus had chosen that opportune time to expel itself from my body.  Needless to say, I had to figure out a way to dump the cart and exit the store with my backside inches from the wall.  Then I called my doctor panicking a little bit.  I made an appointment and tried to stay off Google.  Because, you know, Dr. Google is well-known for diagnosing DEATH.  So.

The appointment was your run-of-the-mill exam, until he said, Has anyone ever suggested you may have endometriosis?    

Excuse me, come again?  

I knew Dr. Google well enough to know that endometriosis was code for INFERTILITY.  

So, um, no, doc.  In FOUR YEARS, no one has so much mentioned that to me.  Not any other OBGYNs, nor the fertility doctors that we saw.


So, back in September I had surgery - a DNC and a laparoscopy.  There was a little bit of endometriosis, but also a uterine polyp, and both were possible contributing factors to my infertility.  

However - and this is the best however in the history of howevers - I would not be the mommy to my sweet little Faith if this issue had been found any earlier.  My friend, Sarah, said it best: So amazing how God closed the door of fertility just long enough for you to answer the call of adoption and receive your sweet Faith.  Yes, that!  Soooooooooo that!  

Will you find out what you're having?

Of course!  I can hardly wait!  I'll be 15 weeks on Friday, and will schedule a 20 week ultrasound at my next appointment :)

What do you think you're having?

A girl.  Becks is my little prophet child, and he also thinks the baby is a girl, as does Brandon.  A boy or a girl will be just lovely.  

Do you have any names picked out?

Not a one!  Brandon likes traditional, Biblical names...and I do not.  Being a teacher doesn't help this cause, or the fact that everyone is having babies and have already declared their names thereby making them obsolete in my mind.  

Friday, February 13, 2015

You've Got the WRITE Stuff, Baby!

Hi there friends!!  If y'all are anything like us then you are stoked about NKOTB being on tour right now! #ThrowbackGroupie  A few of my favorite blogging friends got together and we are super pumped to be hosting the "You Got the 'Write' Stuf, Baby!" writing resource giveaway in honor of these yummy guys and... 
our sweet little "new kids on the block!"  All of our precious families have recently grown (or are growing...Abby!) and we wanted to give away a few of our favorite writing resources to celebrate!! 

Check out what each of us are giving away below... 
(Click on our pics to visit our blogs and click on our babies to visit our resource in our TPT store)
Click below for 8 chances to win our "You Got the 'Write' Stuff" Bundle!!  The winner will be announced Sunday evening!!  Good luck sweet friends!!