Sunday, March 15, 2015

Enthusiastic!

*after being tucked in bed for the night, Caleb shouted down, "MOM, DAD, MOM, DAD, MOM, DAD" until Nate went to see what he needed*

Caleb: Dad, what does "enthusiastic" mean?
Nate: It means you get excited about everything.
Caleb.  OH!  I'M enthusiastic!

Caleb, you are the most enthusiastic person I have ever met, and I love you all the more because of it!  Never stop being you.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

27 weeks 1 day

I have officially made it to the point in my pregnancy where I delivered Caleb!  If I make it through the night, as I tell myself, this baby will have a better start than his oldest brother.  After seeing your tiny baby struggle, that's a big deal!

It's crazy to think that this little guy (gosh, I wish we had a name for him!) is about two and a half pounds right about now.  On his ultrasound last week, he looked so much like Caleb did when he was born!  He's got the same face shape, the same chubbyish cheeks...
It's crazy to think that that's what's growing inside of me, kicking all day long, getting stronger every day.

Stay put for another three months, Little Guy, ok?

So.  This pregnancy.  You see, after dealing with the pain of infertility, and the struggle of having a micro preemie, I try not to take a single day of my pregnancy for granted.  I'm so very grateful that I get to have this experience.  So I don't want to complain, not at all, but I just have to say...this sucks.  Even though my pregnancy with Russell taught me that I'd rather be 40 weeks pregnant than have a newborn, I'm just really looking forward to this being over.  And can you blame me?  I was sick to the point where you couldn't even mention food to me until 15 weeks (and needed one ER visit for IV fluids when I had a stomach virus), I bled from 13-18 weeks (requiring another ER visit) and was on bed rest that whole time, and then at 26 weeks I needed surgery (and another ER visit and 3-day hospital stay) to have my gall bladder removed.  Seriously?  This has just been a horrible experience all around.  I'd like to think that now it's time to relax and enjoy the rest of my pregnancy (last time I wasn't all that uncomfortable when I got huge in my last trimester), but I can't shake the feeling that something is coming next.  Maybe preeclampsia (I did have a little protein in my urine while I was in the hospital, which I've never had before).  Maybe preterm labor.  Maybe the placental abruption will rear its ugly head again.  Maybe something else obscure, like that gall bladder mess, that isn't even on my radar.  I don't know.  All I know is that I'm anxious to cross the finish line.

On a more generic update:

I've been throwing up about once every other week, and needing to pop a zofran for nausea a few times a week.  It's usually water first thing in the morning that pushes me over the edge and sends me to throw up.  
I have awful heartburn, especially in the evenings or after eating chocolate, and it requires a zantac and a tums to combat it.  
My hair is falling out like mad, but my thyroid is a-ok.  
I passed my glucose test with flying colors (thank goodness, because most of the time I feel like I'm getting low blood sugar and I need candy of some sort to make me feel less queasy).  
I've gained around 15 pounds, which is right on track...but that's sort of a guess, because I always retain a ton of fluids when I'm on an IV, so I literally gained at least 8 pounds in my 3 days in the hospital.  I'm still losing it after coming home 4 days ago.
Both my hips ache when I sleep at night, even though I've been using a pillow between my legs since at least 10 weeks.  My right hip is much worse, and it's definitely something more than sciatic nerve pain.  Sometimes when I roll over at night I'll feel my hip joint pop and feel instant relief.  I also have to be careful not to aggravate the nerve when I give myself my progesterone shot on that side.
I've definitely adopted a waddle since my surgery, and I think it's here to stay.
And since pregnancy isn't all bad, my skin is clearer than ever!  Because I have PCOS, I have acne from my messed up hormones.  My hormones must be doing something right right now, and I'm really enjoying having clear skin.  :)
I don't have to deal with insane cravings, which is nice.  There are some foods that I think about more than others (chocolate cake, strawberries, and goldfish crackers at the moment), but this is the first pregnancy where I'm not a slave to whatever sounds good.  That's a pretty nice feeling.
I also haven't had headaches with this pregnancy.  I had debilitating headaches with the first two, so I really appreciate that I don't need to be taking tylenol all day long, taking naps, turning off the lights and closing the curtains, and drinking tons of water and even caffeine to try to get the headaches to subside.  That was seriously awful, so I'm so happy to not have to deal with that!

Well, happy 27+1 to me and my third baby boy!  I would go get some cake to celebrate, but leaving the house (read: putting on real clothes, aka, maternity pants that will make contact with my incisions) doesn't appeal to me, so I just had some chocolate cake that our awesome neighbors brought us when they brought dinner a few days ago.  I finished it up.  No shame.

And since there are only two pairs of pajama pants that are comfortable on my post-surgery belly, there will be no 27+1 picture today.  But here are the other random belly shots I've taken recently:

21 weeks

23 weeks

24 weeks

23w4d with Caleb and 23 weeks with Russell

25 weeks

26 weeks

I'll let you imagine just how big I must be now and I promise I'll try to remember to take a picture the next time I actually put on something other than pajamas.  :)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Gall Bladder Woes

Once again, I woke up at 3:30AM.  Instead of bleeding, this time I was in intense pain.  For the first few seconds, if felt like an awful back ache.  It didn't take long to escalate and become unbearable.  It felt like labor cramps, but it engulfed my rib cage.  I woke Nate and told him I was in pain, then went downstairs to try to walk it off.  I thought maybe the baby had cozied up in my rib cage, and I tried to push him out.  I thought maybe I had a spinal infection caused by my weekly progesterone shots.  I thought maybe it was appendicitis, but I couldn't tell where my appendix might be since my anatomy is all squished together because of my growing belly.  The thought that I could be in labor at 26 weeks 2 days put me over the edge.  That is just way too early to be having a baby!  And besides, my belly didn't feel tight.  I tried rocking on my hands and knees.  I tried massaging my back against the door jam.  I tried breathing through the pain.  After about an hour, I sent Nate a text saying that I needed him to come downstairs to give me a blessing.  I don't remember what was said, but I do remember thinking that this wasn't going to go away on its own.

So we left our sleeping boys in their beds, called a neighbor to come sleep on our couch, and left for the emergency room.

I was in so much pain!!!!  They had to put me in a wheelchair (they wanted to send me straight to labor and delivery, which freaked me out) and Nate had to answer all of the questions because I couldn't talk or think through the pain.  There was no question my pain level was at a 10!  I never thought I'd be able to say that, because I am no wimp, but this was a 10, no doubt!

They ended up taking a urine sample, getting some blood, doing a non-stress test (monitoring the baby's heartbeat and my contractions), and starting an IV with morphine.  After the morphine kicked in, I felt like I could function like a semi-sane human again.  There was still no way I was going to go anywhere without a wheelchair, and by the time the morphine started to wear off I started writhing around on the bed again, but I had a few hours where I could think through the pain, which was nice.

Anyway, long story short, they were going to assume that it was kidney stones and we'd just have to control the pain while waiting for them to pass.  My blood, urine, and kidney ultrasounds showed nothing to lead them to believe that it was kidney stones, but it was their best guess since they couldn't do an MRI on a pregnant patient.  They were discussing admitting me for pain management (ie, giving me a morphine pump), because a few hours of morphine and some oral pain meds were clearly not going to do the trick.  When those meds were wearing off and the pain was coming back, it was easier to tell that the pain was originating from just under my rib cage on my right side.  The wonderful L&D nurse (seriously, I hope she delivers this baby in 3 months) had a "light bulb" moment and said, "Let's do an ultrasound of your gall bladder!"

So they did it, and it took a while to get the results back, so they admitted me on the Mother/Baby floor, set me up with a morphine pump (literal life-saver, there) and let me order lunch.  I took a few bites of food and couldn't keep it down.  I didn't exactly feel sick, but my stomach was just rejecting anything, even juice and crackers.

Eventually, in comes the surgeon, Dr. Patterson, to explain to me that I do, indeed have gall stones.  Two large ones and many small ones.  The small ones could travel through the duct and into my liver or pancreas and cause all sorts of serious problems there, and one of the large ones is currently blocking the gall bladder duct, causing the spasms and pain.  He said that the best course of action for me would be surgery to remove my gall bladder, and if I hadn't had lunch (even though I threw it up...) he could have done it then and there.  He also said that it's common for pregnant women to develop gall stones, and that they only feel safe removing gall bladders during the second trimester, before the growing uterus makes it too difficult to do it laproscopically.  Since I'm less than 2 weeks away from my third trimester, time was of the essence.

So I immediately start "fasting" and we plan to do the surgery in about four hours.  It's usually an outpatient surgery, but since I'm pregnant they wanted to keep me at least overnight so they could do a continual non-stress test to make sure the baby was alright and that the surgery wouldn't cause me to go into labor.  Then, on second thought, the nurse comes back in and says that they want to transfer me to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, where they have neonatologists and an awesome NICU (the very same one that Caleb stayed at for his first 100 days of life) that could take care of us in the rare chance that this surgery caused the baby to come early.  And since I was on morphine, the only way they could send me was via ambulance.

(*Side note:  When Nate told the boys that I was going to ride in an ambulance, Caleb said, "NO WAY!" like he was jealous because it was so cool.  Russ said, "Oh no!" like he was concerned because I must be really hurt.  Those boys are so different!  And so funny!*)

Anyway, I end up in L&D at UVRMC.  We waited all night to see the on-call surgeon, who wasn't exactly on-call...they tried for hours to reach him, and he just never answered his phone.  They would have gone with another surgeon, but Dr. Patterson had already talked to him and gone over my test results and medical history with him, so he "knew" me and my situation.  They eventually realized that the surgery wouldn't happen that night, and let me eat a little jello and drink some apple juice.  I promptly threw it all up.  Nice.  The surgeon, Dr. Rasmussen, ended up coming in late that night and talked to me about the risks and benefits of doing the surgery.  He basically put the choice in my hands.  I felt a little like I would be crazy to opt for the surgery, but crazy not to.  It was dangerous either way.  If we chose not to do the surgery, it could cause serious problems for my liver and pancreas, or cause me to be in extreme pain for the rest of my pregnancy, and once we got into the third trimester they wouldn't be able to do anything about it without delivering the baby first.  If we chose to go with the surgery, it needed to be done ASAP to minimize the chance that they'd have to do a big incision (instead of laproscopic) which would require a longer hospitalization and a much harder recovery.  It could also cause me to go into labor and deliver a baby at 26 weeks, which is kind of a big deal!  That's even earlier than Caleb, who was born at 27 weeks 1 day!  We were to let him know in the morning.  So Nate and I talked and prayed about it, and I just felt strongly that I trusted the first doctor's opinion more, and he suggested the surgery right then and there.  I felt that the off chance of going into labor, or needing an open incision and longer recovery time, were worth the risk.  After all, if I went into labor, they could probably stop it, or at least hold it off for a few weeks.  Not to mention, I couldn't spend the rest of my pregnancy dependent on morphine, and there was no way I could handle the pain without it.  And then there's the fact that I was completely unable to eat or drink....So surgery was our decision.

Yes, this is my post-surgical belly.  All incisions were glued shut.  The lower one is the biggest one, and it's about a finger-length above my belly button, and maybe 1.5 inches long.  Baby Boy likes to kick it.  I don't like that so much.  It was pretty badly bruised coming out of surgery.   The two on the side are super easy to ignore, and the one on the top gets easily irritated just because of its location, but it's not so bad otherwise.

So they did surgery the next morning!  It went well.  Four laproscopic incisions.  The doctor said my gall bladder was starting to look inflamed.  Baby was going nuts afterwards, tons of movement with a good, strong heartbeat.  It was all very comforting.  Before going into the OR I was feeling like another "gall bladder attack" was coming on, which just confirmed that this surgery was the right choice.  And when I came out of the OR, that pain was completely gone.  It was replaced by a new pain, the kind you feel after you've been cut open and an internal organ was removed, but that kind of pain is more tolerable because you know that it will improve with time.
Yes, this is my gall bladder and those are the stones.  I have no idea if they're as bad as normal, or worse, but you can see two bigger ones and many smaller ones.

They let me order a late lunch, and I didn't throw up!  And I haven't thrown up since (although I've been eating really small portions)!

They monitored my little guy all through that night and until they discharged me around noon the next day.  He has a really steady heartbeat.  I felt like I got to know him better through this.  After all, he went through everything right there with me!  He's been through a lot for an unborn baby!  The heart monitor picked up and magnified his hiccups, and he hiccuped a lot!  He also would kick all day long against the monitor, which makes a really loud sound.  This kid is gonna have personality, I tell ya.  But after all of this, I feel more bonded to him.
Have you ever wondered what the outside of a uterus looks like from inside the abdominal cavity?  Wonder no more!  That's where my little guy is housed.  I'd guess he's just over two pounds right now, and safe and sound inside of his little womb.  Awww!

I was discharged after 2 nights and 2.5 days total.  Recovering at home has been hard...my lungs hurt, which is a normal part of recovering from an abdominal surgery.  I need to cough and breathe deeply, but it just hurts so much!  I've got a slight fever, and that first night at home my oxygen levels had me worried.  But today I woke up feeling half-way like a functioning human, and tomorrow will be just a little better, so I think I'll be ok.  :)  We'll see how living a gall bladder-less life effects me...good thing I never really jumped on that bacon bandwagon!  It's safe to say I'll be sad if I can never comfortably eat a donut again.  So far I haven't had any morning sickness or heartburn.  I can't say it has anything to do with the surgery, but hey, I'll take it!  There's a good chance that I can go on living without ever thinking of my lack of a gall bladder ever again, and that's the goal.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Feeding Tube Awareness Week

Parents of tube-fed kids usually have a love/hate relationship with their child's tube.  More love than hate from me, though.  We all wish our kids didn't need it (uh...how nice would it be to have a kid who can stay healthy without daily medical intervention???) but we're so glad the tube is an option!  It keeps them alive!

So for Feeding Tube Awareness Week this year, I'd like to share some of the things we love about that little piece of silicone that happens to save our kids on a daily basis!

*****
I can give him medicine without hearing him whine.  I can also give him medicine while he's asleep!  You know how when your kid has a high fever and you have to alternate tylenol and motrin every four hours?  Never mind what time he goes to bed, I can continue to give him medicine to keep his fever down without interrupting his slumber!
*****
I can keep him hydrated while sick.  You know when your kid can't keep anything down, and it's all you can do to make sure they eat popsicles, or a tiny bit of electrolyte drink every hour?  Well, I can just put Caleb on his feeding pump and set it to deliver gatorade or pedialyte at 20ml/hour, or whatever speed he's able to handle without throwing it up.  It's pretty darn handy.  In fact, at this very moment he's set to get 300ml at a rate of 80ml/hour because he has a cold and whenever he coughs with too much food in his tummy, he throws up.  He used to need IV fluids whenever he got sick, but in the almost 4 years that he's had his tube he has only needed an IV for sickness once!  And that was because his blood sugar was doing some wonky things after a day of puking, even though he was able to keep down 20ml/hour of gatorade for an entire night before going to the ER.
*****
I love that we can make sure he gets exactly the nutrients that he needs.  I've heard so many people lament that their kid will only eat hot dogs, pb&j, or quesadillas.  No veggies?  No problem.  I can rest easy knowing that he "eats" more healthy than pretty much any other kid his age.  Even though he is a veggie fan.  ;)
*****
Got a gassy baby?  No problem.  Just hook him up and burp him!  It's called "venting" and it's an easy way to get the air out of the tummy.
*****
You know how feeding a kid is a big production with all the mess involved?  You've got to do all sorts of dishes, wipe down the table, sweep the floor, wipe the kid's face, and sometimes even change the kid's clothes?  Not with a tube!  Unless the syringe disconnects unexpectedly and you spill formula all over (it happens), or the tubing disconnects while they're sleeping and instead of feeding the kid you feed the bed (it happens, and it's why Caleb's bed will always have a mattress protector)...but other than those instances, it's pretty mess-free!  All you have to clean afterwards is a tube and a syringe.  Not bad at all!
*****
When your kid is about to toss their cookies and they just look so uncomfortable...if you can work fast, instead of sending him to the bathroom to hurl, just hook up the tube and syringe and vent him.  You'll get his stomach contents out through his tube instead of letting them come up and out of his mouth.  It's so much more comfortable.  Just imagine needing to throw up, and not having to feel the discomfort of actually throwing up.  Amazing.
*****
Road trips are so much easier when you can tube feed your kid.  Imagine there's a long stretch where there aren't any fast food places (not that there are any fast food places where we can feed Caleb, anyway because of his food restrictions.  Only Chick-fil-a, which needs to expand across the country!).  Just hook him up on schedule and feed him.  Easy peasy.
*****

Well, right there is a pretty good list of reasons why it's awesome to have a kid with a feeding tube.  There are a million reasons why kids need feeding tubes--some aspirate food and drink into their lungs, causing recurrent pneumonia; some have severe oral aversions; some have low muscle tone; some have problems digesting; some have anatomical problems, like esophageal stricture or short gut syndrome; some are too weak to eat enough (like babies with congenital heart disease, or other organ failure); some need to go on a special formula and refuse to drink it by mouth because it's pretty yucky tasting (like Caleb); etc--and there's not a single parent alive who doesn't wish their kid didn't need a tube.  It's commonly believed that a kid won't starve himself.  To that I say, a healthy kid won't starve himself.  And we all want healthy kids.  For us, using a tube to feed Caleb is the best way to keep him healthy, despite his disease and special diet.  So instead of hating our circumstance, I choose to see the silver linings.  It's pretty awesome that we can use a tube to keep Caleb alive and thriving.  And it's pretty awesome that we can use it to help him burp, too.  ;)

Happy Feeding Tube Awareness Week!

This is Caleb with an OG (orogastric) feeding tube at a few days old.

This is Caleb with an NG (nasogastric) feeding tube at almost five months old.

This is Caleb during his year of being tube-free.  He was about 15 months at the time.

This is Caleb with an NG tube for the second separate time in his life, around 18 months old.

Caleb with his g-tube (gastrostomy) at about 22 months old.

Caleb today, at 5 years 3 months, getting fed lunch with his g-tube.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Board and Batten in the Front Room


Ok guys, I did this project way back in early September, when Caleb started preschool and before I was pregnant.  It took 3-4 days to do it all.  I'm just now getting around to blogging about it because a) this hasn't been a very smooth pregnancy and it's just hard to get around to anything, and b) I finally have it furnished and decorated how I want it (mostly).  Also, our camera is broken (the lens won't open??) so I finally just decided to use my phone.  Forgive the quality of the pictures.  You'd think I'd at least be able to edit them in photoshop since we get it for free through my hubby's work, but no.  I don't know how.  If you know of a good tutorial that will teach me the basics of photo editing with photoshop, send it my way!

Now, let me tell you how this went down.  Ever since I built the window seat this room has felt so much more cozy and inviting.

Just for a fun little reference, this is what it looked like on the listing we saw when we were going to buy this house:
10980 N 6000 W, Highland, UT 84003
Yes, seriously.  

This is how it looked on our home listing when we were going to sell our house last spring:
Yes, I do believe that I like my decorating tastes much better.  ;)  But to me, it was still lacking a little something.

It lacks no more!  Let me tell you what I did to make it look like this:

The first thing I needed to do was decide on a paint color.  You can't tell in the middle picture, but the walls were stained from dust and smoke accumulation (from the fireplace) behind all of the pictures that the former owners had on the walls.  I wanted a nice, neutral "greige" (gray/beige).  I found inspiration on pinterest and painted on samples of Revere Pewter and Analytical Gray, keeping in mind that this room gets tons of natural light.  I ended up choosing Revere Pewter (it's slightly lighter than Analytical Gray) and had it mixed at Home Depot, even though it's a Benjamin Moore color.  I left the bottom portion white, obviously, to make my job easier.

For the woodwork, I started with a little inspiration here and here and here.  I took what I liked from these sources to get an idea of how I wanted the spacing and how fancy I wanted the trim to be.  I didn't want it to feel too formal, because I wanted it to feel like it belongs with the rest of the house, so I decided on a plain board for the top.  This is a pretty big room, so I didn't want to space the battens too close for fear that it would make it look too busy.  I taped the battens up and decided that 19 inches from the middle of one board to the middle of the next was just right.  I also didn't want the top to be any higher than the fireplace, and I had to be careful not to go too high to sort of cut the room in half (that would look a little funny).  I settled on just shy of 48 inches for the total height, since the walls are 8 feet and the vault is 10'3".

I had to replace the baseboards, because the existing baseboards were that cheap, nasty fake oak.  If I hadn't needed to do that, this project would have been much cheaper and faster!  But I don't mind.  I love beautiful baseboards and there's something satisfying about making a mitered cut (with an electric miter saw, of course...it would not be satisfying to do that many cuts by hand!).  If you can use your existing baseboards, this project would require no mitered cuts!  All straight cuts, which is less intimidating to many people.  I wish I could remember the total cost of this project, but it's been too long...I want to say it was around $300?  Worth it, in my mind!

To decrease the cost, I used MDF "Bender Board" as the battens, which is only a quarter inch thick and is 3-3/4" wide.  It is the same thickness as the top of the baseboard, so it has a seamless appearance.  The top board is a 1x4 primed trim board (which is actually only 3.5"x3/4"...why do they call that a 1x4?).  It sticks out farther than the battens, but I prefer that rather than having the battens stick out farther than the baseboards.  It's personal preference, I guess.  But it was cheaper this way, which I'm a fan of.  :)

Also, my walls are textured.  I've seen people put some sort of board all along the bottom to hide the texture, but I didn't do that.  I can see the texture when the light is shining on it just right, but it doesn't bother me one bit.  Again, it's all personal preference, but I don't think it's worth it to go to the trouble and cost of putting a whole extra layer on your wall just to hide the texture.  It still looks great if you don't do that!

After putting up the baseboards, I taped up the battens to make sure the spacing was right (I had to make a few minor adjustments to go around outlets--and I can promise you that no one will notice the imperfections).  Then I nailed the top board on (making sure it was level) then nailed on all of the battens (making sure they were plumb).  I had the battens cut for free at Home Depot, and that made my job so much easier.  There were no gaps between any battens and the top board, because Home Depot's cutting machine is so much more accurate than if I had done it myself.  I love that they offer that service!  After everything was nailed in, I countersunk the nails and filled in and sanded the nail holes, then I calked all of the spaces.  Calk makes a huge difference, friends.  Huge.  It's magical stuff.  The calk also helped stabilize a few of the battens that were somewhat loose since very few of them got nailed into studs.  Not a single one wiggles any more.  ;)  Then was the painstaking painting.  Everything came primed white except for the battens, so I used primer on the battens and then I was able to paint everything with one coat of white.  I used high gloss paint, because that's what makes woodwork look so fancy!  It's also easier to clean, and dust is a big problem in my old house.  :)

Here are some more shots of my new favorite room in the house!

That shelf in the corner was a free score that I refinished for $30.  I have yet to dress the shelves (right now they hold the pictures that I don't know where to hang), but I think it'll be a great place to keep books.
 This room is a great place to enjoy a good book!
 Ah, I love that window seat!

When Nate works from home, he uses this desk.  He hooks up his laptop to the extra screen and keeps a spare mouse, mouse pad, and keyboard in the drawer.

So, what do you think?  I think I can imagine it in every room in my house!



TDC Before and After

Thursday, January 22, 2015

20 Weeks!

I'm so glad to be halfway!  This has not been an easy pregnancy.  From 6-14 weeks, I had pretty bad morning sickness and lost about 5 pounds from throwing up and being unable to eat much of anything.  Then at 13.5 weeks I woke in the night with bleeding, and was diagnosed with placental abruption.  I proceeded to bleed until I was about 18 weeks.  Now I haven't bled for over two weeks and it's been such a relief!

My routine 20-week anatomy ultrasound went well.  The baby is super active and measuring just right (two days big, actually).  My placenta is low-laying, but there is no placenta previa visible, which is good news.  There were two slight abnormalities, though.

First, the ultrasound showed what the doctor described as a "shadow" on the baby's heart.  It's called an echogenic focus, and it's basically nothing.  My doctor said it's the most common abnormality he sees on ultrasounds.  From my research, it sounds like it's a slight calcification in the baby's heart, between the ventricles or by the valve.  It sounds like it doesn't affect the function of the heart at all, which is good news.  They'll do a follow-up ultrasound later on (the doctor said 32-34 weeks) and if it hasn't resolved then we'll just have to notify the pediatrician when he's born and they may or may not want to do an EKG later on.  Thanks to Dr. Google, I found out that an echogenic focus is a marker for chromosomal anomalies, such as Down Syndrome.  There are many markers for DS that can be seen on an ultrasound, so having one marker shouldn't be significant, especially since I'm not of "advanced maternal age."  But having a perfectly clear ultrasound in no way guarantees that your baby will have healthy chromosomes anyhow.  So it's probably nothing, but now chromosome problems are on my mind and I probably won't rest entirely easy until the baby is born.

The other problem seen on the ultrasound is my amniotic fluid.  The fluid levels are fine, but it's very...dirty.  It looks like bleeding for five weeks straight leaves lots of "particles" floating around in the fluid.  If you've ever seen an ultrasound, you know that the black spaces around the baby are anmiotic fluid.  My black spaces looked like they were filled with layers of glitter floating around.  You could literally see them bouncing off of the walls.  It was honestly a little alarming to me.  The ultrasound tech said that we'd need an ultrasound in a month to follow up, but the doctor wants me to have another ultrasound to measure my cervical length at 26 weeks (you know, to make sure I'm not at risk of dilating early again) so they'll just check the amniotic fluid at that time.  The tech did say that she has no reason to believe that the dirty appearance is due to infection, so she would guess it's because of the bleeding...and while I agree with her, just hearing the word "infection" freaks me out.  We have reason to believe that Caleb was born 13 weeks early because my placenta was infected with strep and staph.  It would have killed him had he not been born when he was.  So naturally it scares me to think that there's even a slight possibility of an infection.  When Caleb started getting sick from the infection he stopped kicking (which was my only indication that anything was wrong, even though I was dilated to 4cm by that time and hadn't had a single contraction), so you can bet that I'm going to be hyper aware of this baby's level of activity.  So far he moves around more often than not--he's so active!  So that's very comforting.  If that doesn't keep up, I'm going to be calling my OB right away!

Those were the only concerns arising from the ultrasound.

Otherwise, I've been feeling much better.  I still throw up from time to time, first thing in the morning (it's always taking a sip of water with my medicine that puts me over the edge and sends me to bend over the porcelain throne, even when I eat a few bites of bland cereal before getting up).  The difference between the nausea and vomiting between the first trimester and now is that now the urge to throw up comes on super suddenly, and once I throw up I feel better immediately.  In the first trimester, I would feel on the verge of vomiting for 12 hours before throwing up, and throwing up never provided relief.  It was pretty bad.  Now I honestly can't complain.  It's not so bad at all.  I still take zofran maybe four times a week to control the nausea, but even that is perfectly fine with me.

My cramps have also decreased drastically.  They were awful the week of Christmas, when I was out and about more than usual at family gatherings.  Time spent in the car brought on cramps so awful that I ended up downloading a contraction timing app.  There were a few scary moments there!  But once Christmas was over the cramps went away almost entirely.  I credit the weekly progesterone shots, honestly.  They're designed to prevent preterm labor, and I think that's just what they're doing!  I started them the week before Christmas, so it seems that it took about a week and a half to get in my system and now they're doing their job!  Yay!  I'm still having plenty of braxton hicks contractions, but those don't worry me like the cramps did.

I feel much more stable now that I'm not bleeding or cramping.  I've even allowed myself to be more active (I actually walked through a few stores in the past week) and I haven't had any problems!  I can tell spending over 5 weeks laying low has weakened my muscles a lot, so it'll take a while to build up my stamina, but I'm glad that I'll be able to be mostly back to normal before long, with the main exception of heavy lifting.

I've also seen a decrease in heartburn recently (weird) and instead of my hair getting thicker, it's falling out more and more (I don't mind, because I have way too much hair as it is, but it's not "normal" for pregnancy, and I'm a little concerned about my thyroid levels, which have yet to be checked this trimester).  I don't have any overpowering food cravings, but I have aversions to ham and mints.  Yuck...just the though of mints...just no.  Since I'm able to eat pretty much anything these days, I've finally put on about 5 pounds in addition to gaining back the weight that I had lost.  And the best part of this pregnancy?  My mood is perfectly normal.  With my first two, I had awful and unpredictable mood swings.  I got mad at the littlest things.  I hated the sound of crying babies and whining children...I seriously hated kids during my first two pregnancies.  Now I feel like I actually have control of my moods, which is the most incredible thing!  I'm a functioning person (unlike before), and it feels great.  :)

17 weeks

18 weeks 2 days

1 day shy of 19 weeks

My little boy at 20 weeks 1 day.  Is that a smile I see?  <3 p="">

Friday, December 19, 2014

Russell is THREE!

Happy third birthday to my little Russell Sprout!

Russ is a pretty chill kid.  He completely skipped the terrible twos.  (But yeah, the threes were more terrible for Caleb, so I'm not holding my breath.)

Here are a few things about Russell these days:

  • He weighs 25 lbs 7 oz ( 4-pound gain in the past year) and measures 35 inches tall (a 3-inch gain in a year).  He's one pound heavier than Caleb was at age 3 and is a quarter of an inch shorter than Caleb was.  Russ sure is a shorty!  He doesn't have his check-up until next week, so I'm not sure where he lies on the growth charts, but I'm fairly certain he isn't on the charts at all.  I think that's where his "healthy" is, though.  I'm more than ok with his weight, hydration, willingness to eat, etc.  I guess I just have small kids!
  • He wears size 18 month clothes.  Most of them fit him just fine, but a few of the shirts are getting small and a good handful of his pants fall right off.  Some 2T shirts look just fine on him, but he's just not quite ready to take the leap and wear all 2T clothes.
  • Speaking of growth and eating, Russell is a fantastic eater.  He loves every kind of fruit, veggie, and meat.  He is a super adventurous eater and willingly eats things like curry and spicy foods (he loves to have Tabasco sauce to dip his foods in).  He demands to have his own green smoothie at lunch when I make them for myself (with apple juice, carrots, spinach, chia seeds, strawberries, and blueberries).  He always wants to snack on things like nuts, fruit leather, and applesauce.  He's a seriously healthy eater.  But he also has a sweet tooth that's hard to ignore!
  • Sometimes when I'm telling Russ what he can have for a snack, he'll tell me, "I don't want that because it won't make my hungry go away."  He wants something more filling.  What a cute way to say it!  When he's done eating, Russ will declare, "My hungry is gone.  I'm done."  And he always clears his plate from the table without being asked, which is greatly appreciated.  
  • Speaking of food, Russell appears to have outgrown his corn intolerance!  A few months ago, we reintroduced corn into his diet (we added gluten back in earlier this summer) and he had no problems!  His stools have been exactly the same as they were without corn (when he was intolerant to corn he had blood and mucus in his poop and complained of tummy aches all day long).  It's amazing to not have to worry about what I feed him!  Although, he has been complaining of tummy aches for the last few days, such as when I offered him a piece of toast (which he had the morning before) and he said, "Yes!...No, I don't want it.  Yesterday when I ate it it made my tummy hurt."  He has said the same thing about other foods, too.  I don't know what the deal is, but I don't like it!  He's very in tune with his body--always has been--but I'm really hoping it's nothing.  Coupled with the super dry skin on his chin, I worry, naturally.  But I'm hoping the rash is not food-relates and is just from the dry weather and that some moisturizer will take care of it.
  • Speaking of eating anything, before I came down with awful morning sickness Russ and I would go out to eat once a week while Caleb was at preschool.  Let me tell you, this kid was the best behaved 2-year-old I'd ever seen in a restaurant!  He always behaved like a little adult, making polite requests of the waitresses all by himself and everything. 
  • A few weeks ago, Russ learned how to climb out of his crib.  We converted his crib to a toddler bed and the first few weeks were torture.  He would not sleep.  Naps were done with.  Bed time took forever.  We would check on him and find him dilly dallying around his room and when asked why he wasn't asleep he would say, "My eyes aren't tired and they won't shut!"  After two weeks of this we finally decided he needed a "motivator."  So we told him, "If you stay in your bed and don't turn on your light, you can have a skittle in the morning/when nap time is over."  It worked like a charm and he's now napping better than he was when he was in his crib!
  • He's been potty trained for 11 months now.  That's so crazy to me!  He's completely independent in the bathroom these days, able to do everything on his own without prompting.  It's dreamy.  :)
  • Russ is already facing forward in his car seat.  We made the switch this summer.  We switched him much earlier than we did Caleb, but it's working out fine.
  • Last Sunday, on the way home from church, Nate asked Russ how his day was.  Russ answered, "I had a rough day."  When Nate asked why, Russell said, "Because they didn't have bubbles in nursery."  The kid loves bubbles!
  • Russell is super excited to be a big brother.  Without prompting, he has already started caressing my belly and giving the baby kisses through my belly and talking to the baby.  The other day he was rubbing my belly and then snapped his hand back and said, "Ouch!  The baby bit me!"
  • He is in a super obsessive animal stage.  He pretends to be an animal almost all day long.  Lately it's been turtles.  Russell is a turtle and Caleb is his owner (brings him food and water, keeps him in a "cage" with toys as a fence, etc).  The other day, Caleb let his turtle out for a walk and the poor turtle somehow got flipped over on his back.  Russell the Turtle had to lie there with his legs up in the air until his owner flipped him back over.  Poor Turtle would have died there on his back if someone hadn't flipped him over!  It made me laugh so hard and I eventually learned that the boys have an app on the tablet where they're veterinarians and have to help wild animals--and there's a turtle who is stuck on its back and you have to help it by turning it over.  Russell is so clever to have thought of that!
  • Russ is super boyish these days.  He loves to make jokes about poop.  Poop!  Where did he get that from??  Caleb never did that.  Russ will literally pick up a brown crayon and say, "Mommy, this crayon is like poop!  HAHAHAHAHA!"  Anything is made funnier to him by saying "poop" or "poopy."  We have to remind him all of the time that it's "inappropriate to joke about poop."  Mostly when he calls someone poopy (nicely, of course) then laughs his head off. 
  • He has had two haircuts in his life now, and both were exclusively to get rid of wispies over his ears and the wispy mullet.  I'm happy to say that his hair seems to be thickening now that he's gained those most recent two pounds.
  • He's a huge fan of jumping lately.  He'll jump off of the couch and land on both feet, jump over a throw pillow on the floor, clearing it completely and landing on both feet, etc.  He's a very good jumper!
  • Russ also likes to rhyme.  He notices when words rhyme and he makes up words all of the time to tell us that they rhyme (thinks like, "Caleb and Baleb rhyme, Mom!").
  • He's also a super good communicator.  Talking has always been a strong suit for both of my kids, and this kid just blows me away with some of the sophisticated things he comes up with.
  • I'm pretty sure he's tone deaf.  It makes me a little sad, I must admit.  The only two songs that he knows all of the words to are Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and I Am a Child of God (because he used to request that we sing them to him every night).  By this age, Caleb knew the words to a ton of songs, and could sing them without missing a note.  Russ enjoys music, but he doesn't seem to enjoy singing.  He maaaaybe gets a few notes right when he sings Twinkle Twinkle.  But not more than a few.  
  • In my mind, Russ has some qualities that make him unique from other kids his age.  The biggest one is his desire to seek harmony and avoid confrontation.  For example, if I'm bringing a blue cup and an orange cup to the table, Caleb will automatically tell me that he wants the color that I'm about to hand to Russell.  If they both declare that they want the orange one, Russ almost always changes his mind to say that he wants the blue one.  He absolutely does not want the one Caleb wants, because that would cause a fight.  How many 2-year-olds are that mature?  And he does that with so many things.  As long as he's not in a super tired/cranky mood, he mostly lets Caleb take toys from him.  Whenever I see it I make it right (I absolutely don't want Caleb to think that's ok), but for the most part Russell couldn't care less.
  • Russell has a "friend" that goes with him everywhere.  It's a little black bear that he calls Baby Bear.  He went through a phase for a few days where he changed his name to Baby Jesus, and today he started telling me that it's just Baby.  He would bring Baby Bear with him everywhere if he could, but he's pretty good about when he needs washed or when I tell him he can't bring his bear with.  He also has a favorite blanket, just a soft brown baby blanket with an elephant on the corner.  He's pretty attached to both his Baby Bear and his Elephant Blanket.

And now for a fun tradition that I started when Caleb turned 3!  Here's an interview to show you what 3-year-old Russ is like!



I've never known another child so young who is so in tune with the feelings of others, so aware of himself, so pleasant, so mature, and still so silly!  You bring balance to our family, Russ, and I'm so glad you joined us when you did!  Happy birthday!