Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Long Road


Finding out that I was having a 3rd child was a shock.  This was not happening.  I looked at that test and immediately took myself and that little test over to my sister-in-law's house to make her look at it.  I knew I saw a line, but it was barely there.  I thought that if someone else looked at it, they might NOT see the line.  When she opened the door, I held it out to her without a word.  "Your pregnant?!?!?!?"  Yep.  She could see that little line, too.  What was I going to to?  I had almost lost my sweet Annie at just 23 weeks.  What if it happened again?  I drove straight to the doctor's office.  My good friend, Sara, is a nurse (and the clinic coordinator) at my OBGYN office.  I called her on the way.  When I arrived, I showed her the test.  She saw the line.  I took another test.  Guess what!  That one was positive, too. 

~This isn't the actual test.  That would just be gross.~

 I sat down in Sara's office and cried...for two hours (I am pretty sure she wasn't prepared for such a long visit).  My tears were NOT tears of sadness.  Mack and I had always wanted 3 or 4 babies.  My tears were tears of joy and WORRY.  To help ease my stress, Sara got me in to an ultrasound.  There was already a little heartbeat.  My midwife already had a plan in mind for making this a successful pregnancy.  When I saw that little bean, I got up the nerve to tell Mack.  I called him and gave him the news....not knowing how he would react.  He was shocked, but happy.  And then his happiness turned into worry.  The poor man had already been a single parent for the 59 days that I was on bed rest with Annie.  I told him of the plan to have a cerclage performed at 12 weeks.  His panic began to decrease.  During the next 6 weeks, I spent my time being very sick and trying to hold down a little bit of food.  This was the case with the other two, so I knew things were on the right track.  The cerclage went as planned and I was (hopefully) not going to encounter any of the problems I had with Annie.  Well, I did great until the day I turned 18 weeks.  Something felt different.  Wrong.  I knew the feeling (pressure) all too well.  When I went in, Charlie had dropped and the cerclage was beginning to pull.  Yep.  Bed rest again.  This time I was in the bed/on the sofa for 149 days.  During this time, I had 18 P17 shots.  These hurt like crazy, but are supposed to help with maturing the baby.  149 days... I don't know how I didn't go insane.  At 34 weeks and a few days, the decision was made to remove the cerclage (since I had been at 4 centimeters for weeks).  My water immediately broke.  The day was finally here.  Charlie was born that night. 

He gave a little cry when started breathing, but couldn't seem to regulate his breaths.  For the second time, I watched a respiratory therapist take my sweet baby to the NICU.  Unfortunately, Charlie had to be placed on the Vent. 

As scary as all of this was at the time, it was the best thing for him.  Once he came off the vent, he was ready to be fed with a bottle and quickly started to make improvements.  The day before we left to come home, I witnessed a going home party for one of the babies that had been in the same room of the NICU with Charlie.  She had been there for 6 months and 5 days.  I can't imagine how hard that must have been on her parents.   

Each day as I left the hospital, I said prayers for all of the babies and their families.  Some of them had such a long road ahead of them.  Charlie needed a bit of help, but he was healthy.  What a blessing.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Can you slow it down, please?


Annie is 4 1/2 years old.  I just don't know how that happened.  Didn't I just bring her home from the hospital last year?  I need for time to slow down!

We found out we were having a girl pretty early in the pregnancy.  Everything was going great until I hit 23 weeks.  I went in for a normal ultra sound and my life was quickly changed.  For some reason, Annie had already "dropped" and I was 3 centimeters dilated.  As you all know, 23 week babies are not given a good chance of survival.  I was in complete shock.  I was sent over to the hospital to wait for what would be my new perinatologist to visit.  With two steroid shots for her lungs and a very strict bed rest to be enforced by my family, I was allowed to go home.  While I was there, I began preparing myself for the "what if's" that I was facing.  How on earth would I be able to keep this baby inside me for 17 more weeks?  How would I take care of my Max?  What if she didn't live? 
We started making "mini-goals."  First goal was to get me to 26 weeks.  Then it was to get to 28.  Then, 30 and so on.  The days went by very slowly.  I spent most of my days watching the Food Network.  This was actually cruel and unusual punishment for a woman that could not get up and cook AND who happened to have gestational diabetes.  I went to the doctor (or my amazing midwife) once or twice a week.  It is awfully sad that I looked forward to the days when I could get out of the house (to get poked and prodded).  I had many high level ultra sounds.  With each week that passed, my heart began to beat again.  I was in and out of the hospital (in labor) 5 times before Annie entered this world.  Amazingly enough, I made it to 32 weeks and 5 days.  It was a scary delivery.  I had a placenta abruption.  No epidural.  LOTS of pain that I swore I would NEVER go through again. And she wasn't breathing when she arrived. 
The NICU is a sad place.  Even though many, many babies are there for a short time and go home to live normal, happy lives, it is just sad.  No one wants to see their sweet baby with IV's, feeding tubes, and vents to help them breathe. 
*On a side note, those doctors and nurses are a true gift from God.  What a hard job they have!  They not only take care of babies as small as 1 pound 2 ounces (this was the baby next to Annie), but they take care of the emotional (nutso) mothers.  They are better than I am.*

Finally, after 16 LONG days in the NICU, I brought my platinum blonde Annie home. 

She was so tiny (4 pounds, 8 ounces).  I would look at her in her MASSIVE crib and wonder how they let me bring home something so tiny and fragile.  How could they trust me to take care of her?   Had they met me?  I was seriously unstable at the time...drop of hormones and shingles will do that to you. 

Annie means the world to us.  I wish I could keep her "little" forever.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Drop the Gun!"

Max has become such a great shooter (I can't believe those words just came out of my head).  Never in one million years did I think my 7 year old child would be shooting a BB gun.  In fact, he was only 6 when Santa brought it to him.  I was very much against Santa and his decision to bring such a thing into our home, but I was overruled.  Between my husband and my mother (yes, I said my mother), Max has learned to shoot with pretty good accuracy.  Great, actually.

Here is the target.  A thin piece of orange tape.


Not too shabby.

Apparently shooting a BB gun is hard work.

I am starting to feel sorry for all the animals out there.  Thank goodness I adopted one of my friend's motto.  "You have to eat what you shoot."   

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Daddy's Day

Happy Father's Day!!!!

We had a wonderful Father's Day!  After a yummy french toast breakfast, the children and I went up to visit my dad for brunch.  Mack stayed behind and began playing with the new smoker we got him (he couldn't be more pleased!).  After a fun visit, we headed home to get ready for dinner that night.  I must say, the new smoker was a great idea. 

In many ways, I feel like a married a man just like my dad.  What a huge compliment to Mack!  My dad is the best man alive.  He loves unconditionally.  He turns all situations into something positive.  Dad is patient and...hilarious!  How did I get so lucky to have two men in my life that possess these qualities?  Well, Mack MIGHT need to work on the patient part, but still  :).  We can't all be perfect, can we?   


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Expect the Unexpected

With my 3rd child, I have learned to expect the unexpected. 

I recently read an interesting article (Family Education) on the "terrible two's".  The article explores the many emotions of a two year old.  It discusses how loving and sweet they can be, as well as how sensitive they are.  A particular statement caught my eye... "And when your child feels angry or frustrated, she screams and kicks and bites like a rabid animal."   I had to laugh out loud.  Luckily we have not encountered biting with Charlie, but he can certainly pitch a fit when things are not going the way he wants them to go.  For example, he got very angry when I wouldn't let him crawl all the way inside the washing machine.  The day before I took this picture, I found him sitting inside the machine with his blankets.  What started out as Charlie helping mommy has turned into our newest power struggle.  We both are determined to win! 

I know that this picture is blurry, but I still love it!  It shows his little personality.  This is the look he gives me when I tell him "no."  Well, it is the look when I tell him "no" for the first time.  I often find myself turning around so that he can't see me smiling when I should have a serious look on my face.

Even though he can be a challenge some days, I could seriously eat him up.  I love his personality and silly expressions.  I love how he squeezes me tight when he hugs me.  And I love when he gives me Eskimo kisses.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Saying Goodbye

I have never been a fan of saying goodbye. Today was the last day of Henry and Lucy's Visit. I think the boys wanted to make the most of their last morning together, because I hardly saw them at all. They were either outside or playing Guitar Hero. Seriously, I saw them at breakfast and only one other time. The girls, however, were right under me all morning. But, there was a brief moment when I couldn't hear a sound. I found them in the bathroom. When I entered the room, they turned into monkeys.

Since we were stuck inside due to Charlie being sick, I decided that a long bath would make them happy. I was right.

I found them in PJ's with wet hair in Annie's bed. They needed to "get warm." It was only 94 degrees at the time.
Here are two pictures of the boys in the brief moments that I saw them today. They were seeing how many grapes they could fit into their mouths at one time. I am pretty sure that Henry won. He kept saying, "I have the biggest mouth! I have the biggest mouth!"

I love her giggles!!!

I love them so much. I am going miss them and their smiles. Come back soon!!!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Henry and Lucy Visit (INVADE) Day 4

Boo for Day 4. Yesterday I picked up Charlie from his Nana's house after our fun day with friends. I could tell as soon as I saw him that he was not feeling any better. In fact, he seemed a lot worse. He wasn't wheezing like he had been, but he was coughing his little head right off of his body. When I got him home, he felt a little warm. His temperature was 101.8. This was not a good sign considering that he had been on an oral steroid (along with all his other asthma meds) and an antibiotic. Mom and Dad came and picked up Henry and Lucy and took them to their house. We managed to get about 2 hours of sleep...all night. I took Charlie in to see the doctor again this morning. After a chest x-ray and a shot of Rocephin, I picked up his 10 day antibiotic for Pneumonia. Poor guy! He is pretty miserable.
I can't wait to see that sweet smile on his face again.
Henry and Lucy head home tomorrow. Hopefully we can enjoy the day before they leave.

"Rules and Regulations" Broken on Day 4:
*I have no idea. They have been with BB and Pop. This list could be miles long!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 3

Oh my. Look at these boys. They were so exhausted that they slept for about 11 hours. They didn't get up until almost 9 am. That goes for Lucy, too. Check out their hair.

Lucy has a love for all animals. She has enjoyed playing with Simon a lot more than he has enjoyed playing with her. He is old and cranky, but Lucy doesn't mind a bit. She has become VERY attached to our two hermit crabs. I dislike them and would love to let them go in their own environment in a couple of weeks. Hooper and Cooper, the crabs, have been traumatised by all these little hands and are the topic of several heated discussions between the girls and boys.

Speaking of too many heated discussions.....

No! I didn't do this to them! But I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the short time of silence. Sorry, but it was loud in my car! :)

We went over to a friend's house today to swim. Three of the teachers that I teach with were there with their children. The children had a blast. In the picture above, Ty is demonstrating his back flip. In the picture below, Cade is showing on his back flip with a twist. Max and Henry were very impressed!

Jennifer: Stop looking at this right now!

These boys were WILD. I tried to keep them under control, but they were like a pack of wolves. Don't get me wrong, they were polite and actually pretty quiet, but they had lots of ideas that were a little out there! The picture above is of Henry sliding head first into the pool. Pretty sure Jenn wouldn't like that very much.

Here are two of the little ones that joined us today.

Jackie, our host, fixed hot dogs, hamburgers, slaw, chips, watermelon, strawberries, and Symphony brownies. And of course, she made her awesome buffalo chicken dip. Yummy! After swimming and grilling, we were ready to get out of the heat. The heat index was 104 today. Our incredible host (and dear friend) ended the visit with chocolate ice cream cones. She is a perfect example of "southern hospitality." I am so lucky to have her in my life. I have learned so much from Jackie. She is an amazing mother, teacher, and friend.

We had a wonderful day! Well, until we got home and Charlie was sick, sick, sick. He is now running a fever of 102 and coughing (his asthma cough) every 5 seconds. Back to the doctor tomorrow!
"Rules and Regulations" Broken on Day 3:
1. Henry was a bit daring on the diving board.
2. Henry and Lucy were offered a Mountain Dew by a friend and they took it.....I didn't stop them. I am supposed to spoil them, right?
3. To my knowledge, they only drank one bottle of water today. They had a second glass of orange juice......that has some water in it! :)

Henry and Lucy Visit (INVADE) Day 2

After a review of the "rules and regulations," Jenn left to head back home for her trip to Destin. When she left, Pop came over to watch the children while I took Charlie to the doctor. This HOT and HUMID weather is causing his asthma to give him fits. While I was gone, the children completely destroyed my house. Seriously. Pop was just smiling when I returned. Silly man.
Dinner was easy, not healthy. Sorry, Jenn. Hot dogs and Pringles. I didn't even throw in fruit. We were all exhausted!

Earlier in the day, I found Annie, Lucy, and Charlie having a snack in the living room. I can only imagine how fast Jennifer would have swooped in and redirected them to the table. I sat down and enjoyed the snack with them. There was only one little clump of dip on the carpet when we finished. Not to bad for those three.

Lucy is getting tired of me taking so many pictures. "Again," she said. I quickly explained to her that her cuteness was too much and I had to take tons of pictures so her mommy could see her while she was away. That seemed to work. My poor children are completely used to having a camera in their faces.

Look at those lips.

"Rules and Regulations" Broken on Day 2:
*Lucy MAY have worn her life jacket in the shallow end of the pool for a couple of minutes.
*I found an ENTIRE bag of Ruffles, empty, in the basement. I am thinking this may have happened while Pop was here?
*Henry watched a few minutes of Monday Night Raw (which I certainly despise).