Monday, February 24, 2014

Hard Things

I want to write Aaron's story and I will.  But not right at this moment.  But I want to post first that he was born by c-section on Tuesday, February 18th at 1:03 p.m. and has been my smallest and baldest baby at 6 lbs. 4 ounces.  Early this morning, February 24th, about 4 a.m. he passed away peacefully.  He was about 5 days old and it was right that he go.  We are both home from the hospital now, just in different "homes".  We had some beautiful, miraculous time with him and I know that he is still mine and that I will see him again.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Birthday Party!!

I love birthdays!  Growing up we didn't have elaborate birthdays or traditions but that day was always very special.  We chose our dinner and cake and ice cream and always had at least one present to open.  We rarely had parties that I remember but it didn't matter because my parents made our family birthdays wonderful.

But this year, her first in school full time, Megan has friends!  She talks about girls at school all the time and of course has her friends at church.  With the approaching chaos of Aaron's birth, I decided to throw Megan a party and even after her list of girls went to 16 I said ok.  How can I deny all her friends?  Although I was secretly hoping that not everyone would show up because that's a lot of little girls!  We ended up with about 13 total and so for 2 hours yesterday it was chaotic and LOUD but everyone seemed to get along, I had a good number of structured activities and some free play time -- and I think everyone went home happy!!

First of all, Megan wanted a Frozen themed party.  I was initially very excited about this thinking that we could spend most of the party watching the movie!  But it doesn't come out until the 18th of March so then I had to get creative.  All the Frozen themed parties online involved a lot of purchasing of Frozen merchandise which I was not about to do so we had to get creative.

The cake.  I am not a decorator!  But Megan and all the girls loved the cake.  Six-year olds are not picky thank goodness!  Just a simple, double layer round cake with white icing on the bottom and blue on the top.  I did buy Frozen figurines to go on the top and then made snowflakes out of piping royal icing.  That wasn't too hard except for being so thin that only half actually made it to the cake in one piece!  Good thing about having a big party?  No cake left over!  Although there's still plenty of ice cream . . . 

I saw the idea for the tulle tied onto a string of lights on Pinterest and added the snowflakes for a very festive garland that just might have to stay up for a few weeks more!  The white snowflakes are from our Christmas tree and the blue and silver are ones that I got completely lucky and found on clearance at Walmart.  Plastic ornaments!  I didn't think it would be difficult to find snow related leftovers from Christmas but it was.

The living room was draped with Dollar store crepe paper, paper snowflakes I've been cutting for weeks (weeks!!!) and a "chandelier" in the center with more of the blue and white snowflakes.  Very cute.

Megan loved the decorations although she did ask me if we could paint the walls blue.  Apparently it just wasn't quite a enough . . . 

So what do you do with 13 5 and 6 year olds for games?  Especially non-competitive ones?  Oh my.
We started with ice painting.
Paint on black paper with salt water -- equal parts Epsom salt and hot water (to dissolve it).  Or more Epsom than water works a little better.  When it dries the salt crystallizes and looks like ice.  It actually is really cool.

Then pin the carrot on the Olaf (thank goodness for Chopper who is an amazing artist and did a fantastic Olaf on posterboard for me!!) 

Megan went first and got it exactly right.  She says she didn't peek but I have my doubts!

Then on "making snowmen" which involved wrapping each other up in toilet paper and putting on hats and scarves.  Apparently I need to buy better toilet paper because it kept breaking but the kids had fun with it and then threw the leftovers at each other.  Always good to have a snowball fight! 

Sorry, I was trying to get a picture of Megan's friend and she completely photobombed it and when I checked the picture she apparently also had a wedgie.  I had to post it because it's funny!

Back to the table for coloring Frozen pictures which was actually really good for keeping them occupied while Megan opened presents.

We always say that presents are necessary.  I know they're fun but Megan has a hard time in the spotlight and isn't usually very gracious when opening presents (but mommy I already have one of those!).  Of course she is 6.  But I appreciate the thought of those who do buy her presents and I always just pray that they will be understanding.  She really is thankful and excited, it just usually doesn't come out until everyone leaves.

Me probably giving the gratitude/happy talk.

Then it was play time and dress up time and spend some time outdoors (yesterday was pretty nice, today back to ick) and I got to know some of the moms of Megan's friends which was awesome for me!  Her friends from school that came were all very sweet and had nice parents (moms) as well.  It makes me happy.

And then home!  We were planning on making bracelets but things ran wild towards the end so I just sent the beads and ribbon home with the girls.  And their ice pictures.  No other goodie bags -- after all they just had cake and ice cream right before dinner!!  

I think it went well though!  Megan says she liked it and the chaos was not bad -- just busy.  But I was sore and exhausted by the end!  Chopper and I went for a late dinner date afterwards to "celebrate" and talk about stuff.  Dinner dates are my favorite dates lately even though I still cook something for the kids before we go.  It is WONDERFUL to have food served to me and spend time talking to Chopper that doesn't involve kid interruptions and my frustration and growing anger over fixing yet another meal that the kids don't eat.  Picky eating in this house is rampant and drives me crazy.  But that's another rant for another time.

Megan is 6!!  She is sweet and kind, shares willingly and is creative and artistic.  She wants to "dress" me every morning, choose my jewelry and makeup (what little I have), gets along with Abby a good portion of the time and loves William and Aaron (in the tummy) to pieces.  She is a good student learning by leaps and bounds and although she still has her quirks about crowds and spotlight and people she is overcoming so many of her fears and anxieties.  I've flipped through her baby book this week and love to see how far she has come and yet what still remains of that adorable, chubby baby that came home with us in Montana in the snow.  I'm grateful for the daughter that she is, the relationship we are developing, and am excited to see her future!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Just briefly

Today is going to be busy cleaning the house and getting it ready for Megan's birthday party at 2:30. So far we have 9 confirmed girls and 1 maybe out of 16 total.  But no definite no's which has me worried.  I could still have 16 girls!!

But I thought I would take a moment and post that we met the surgeon yesterday.  HIs office switched the appointment to another time at the last minute and then we waited an hour past our new appointment time but I'd rather that.  In a way it's nice to know that he is taking time to do what needs to be done for the babies and not worried about trivial things like appointments with prospective parents!

Chopper and I both liked him and we feel that he will make the best decision for our son.  He got the impression that he is cautious about procedures rather than having a "well we can try this attitude" and we like that.  He will work with what he KNOWS -- or the best of what he can know.

I'm also comforted that final diagnostics will not be as invasive as I thought.  They won't do a catheterization unless there's a procedure involved.  He doesn't want to do one just to get a picture of the heart with the contrast dye pumping through.  Instead, they'll do several echocardiograms in order to get the pictures of his heart from multiple angles and gather all the information that they can.  

They'll be looking at a few things:  first the blockage of the pulmonary artery, second whether or not the sinusoids are diseased (if they are then we'll have to go transplant), third if his PDA is straight or squiggly -- that's a duct that I can't remember the medical name for at this moment but is present in all infants to divert blood to the lungs since they don't breathe yet but it closes after a baby is born.  They'll use prostaglandins through the umbilical line to keep it open until they are able to determine what it looks like.  A straight PDA means they can do a stent inserted through catheterization.  A squiggly one means they'll need to graft a shunt onto another part of the heart to divert blood flow and that will be a surgical procedure but one where they hopefully will use the heart/lung machine very little if at all.  They'll also be looking at the tricuspid valve.  The size of that will determine if they're able to "save" the right side of the heart.  But honestly, he says it's already appearing small which is not good.  Finally, they have some concerns about something that makes our baby unique -- oh joy -- tissue under the aortic valve that is causing a blockage.  They may be able to surgically take care of that tissue but if not, again we're in it for the transplant.

He talked quite a bit about transplant though.  Either way the options have a pick your poison kind of ring to them -- choose a partial heart but good immunity or choose destroyed immunity but a new heart.  Either way we'll outlive him.  Either way there will be issues pretty much his whole life.  But he's counseled us to seriously look into heart transplant and make a preliminary decision before the birth because things will most likely move very quickly once he's born.  Honestly, we haven't really considered it all.  But there's been so much to absorb and learn.  I've done some searching online and it seems as if the medical sites -- hospitals and doctors who have transplant pages -- gloss over it.  I want to know what life is like after a transplant?  What can I expect in my daily routine?  What will his life be like?  I'm frustrated by the lack of "real" information out there and hopefully I'll be able to find it here in the next two weeks.

Two weeks.  Thank goodness for a family who helps distract me from the dread I'm feeling!!!  The kids are still kids needing my attention, love, discipline, and for me to be a mom.  


Thursday, February 6, 2014

It's That Time . . .

Time to celebrate 6 years old!!!

Yes, she has 6 candles stuck into a mini cupcake.  I took regular size cupcakes to her kindergarten class today so she got mini ones tonight.  And a cake at her party on Saturday.  There is no lack of sugar in this house!

Soooo, I may be going a little overboard this year!  It's hard not to when I know that I'll be neglecting my children in less than 3 weeks AND Megan has friends.  In fact, I'm so tickled about how well she's doing in school and all the girls she talks about that when her list of names to invite to her party ended up at 16 I still said ok.  Of course I'm kind've hoping they don't all show up . . . 

Believe it or not though, we woke up this morning to SNOW!  Now that is a Texas miracle if ever there was one.  The girls were so excited that I was able to use it as bribery to get them ready for school faster and we managed to have about 5 minutes to go out in it before driving to school.
 William CARRIED out his lawn mower (Grandma and Grandpa hit the jackpot at Christmas with that thing and now that we figured out how to get it to STOP making noise, we love it too!) and then was a little confused that he couldn't mow the grass . . . 

 6 years old!!  Snow on her "birth" day and snow today!  One of her teachers asked her if she wished for snow today.  Since she has been praying for beautiful days lately I was surprised when she said, "no, it just came!" 

 Well, if you can't mow the grass, maybe you can blow off the driveway!!  We're thinking of sending William to Michigan to help Grandma and Grandpa with their driveway.  I think they have just a LITTLE bit more snow than we do!  :)

Despite the snow and the COLD (27 degrees-yuck!), we had places to go and things to do!  We decorated the house, went back to school at 10:30 for lunch with the birthday girl, ran to Target to pick up cupcakes, came home and had naps -- well, I wrapped presents -- went back to school for cupcakes!  Busy busy day!  But well worth it.  It was fun to see all of Megan's classmates and friends, her teacher is one of my favorite people EVER, and I do believe she's been happy all day!

After dinner (made by request of course), Megan opened presents. 

And then wanted to color and put together puzzles and put pictures in the snow globe and play with Frozen figures and we had to convince her to eat cake and icecream first!

Which she was ok with really. 
Another busy day tomorrow and a party on Saturday with at least 10 little girls (oh my) and it will have been quite the birthday celebration!  But 6 is definitely exciting!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Report From the Mother Ship

Sitting in the doctor's office today, waiting for my exam, I had a moment of panic.  Not about the baby.  About labor and delivery.  Apparently it has not been long enough since William was born to make me forget labor and delivery.  And since I do it without an epidural, that's a big deal.  Three weeks.  THREE WEEKS!  I'm not looking forward to this.

At the same time, I have a great body for carrying babies apparently.  Except that it has nothing to do with me and I probably should take better care of myself too (pushing 50 pounds gained -- yikes!).  But today after my sonogram (I get one with every visit), my doctor made the comment that the baby is looking really good and that he's doing fantastically pre-nataly.  His estimated weight is 6 lbs. 7 oz.  He moves A LOT and he's breathing.  I asked what that last one means -- in the womb babies go through the motions of breathing.  It pulls the fluid into their lungs and helps with lung development.

I've never been so grateful in my life for being a fantastic mother ship.  Heart problems + premature birth = bad things.  Heart problems + under-developed lungs = bad things.  Heart problems + normal vaginal delivery = better things.  What a blessing to have a body that handles pregnancy well and nurtures healthy babies.  What a blessing to not be stressing about premature delivery or be on bed rest or even to have to worry about him being turned.  I know that not everyone is able to do pregnancy this well and I'm not trying to be boastful, just grateful for my circumstances.

Granted, that gratitude was missing while I lived with my head in the toilet the first trimester and then some!  And I still have my aches and pains of course.  But if I could choose right now, I would hold onto him for just a little bit longer before birth.  But I can't.  And so I'm grateful that so much of this is good.