1. when we go to CA and the beach 2. the Salt River 3. going to the Verde River with Uncle Ian & Auntie Sarah 4. when we went to that cabin in Flagstaff 5. waking up 6. eating dinner 7. playing outside with my friends 8. building forts outside 9. reading books 10. my Mommy & Daddy 11. my bunkbed 12. fish 13. rocks & minerals 14. playing the piano, & piano lessons with Granny 15. soccer.....I love soccer! 16. birds 17. growing flowers 18. my garden 19. bugs 20. my remote control car
(Anything outdoors is this sweetie's passion. And he lives for his playtime with friends, his cuddle time with Mommy, and projects with Daddy. May that never end! :)
I was discharged from the hospital today around 1:30pm, after my last hydrotherapy. It was so nice to pack up and go home! We stopped at Baja Fresh on the way home for a quick lunch (thanks, Jesse & Sue! :), and I felt so good -- and contracted so little -- that I felt like I must have dreamed the chaos of the last week. LOL Home looks and feels great, and when we arrived the younger kiddos were resting, all was quiet, and Lucas and Aunt Maggie were enjoying some quality time together. It was a great way to re-enter life at home. After a little time in the living room catching up on the week, I was in bed for a much needed nap. I wasn't feeling terribly stressed about the week, but last night it seemed to catch up with me. I am beat!
A huge thank you to all of you who prayed for us and supported us during the last week. We appreciate you so much!
Well, I'll be discharged from the hospital tomorrow morning sometime. I have mixed feelings about it, but I'm willing to give it a try. My OB will see me twice a week to check my Amniotic Fluid Index, and we'll have one more FFN in another week or so, to check the likelihood of baby coming early. This test is very accurate, so hopefully it will be negative again next time. Please pray for us!
My doctor is trying to figure out what to do with me. :)
The good news: - The FFN on Monday was negative, so I'm still not likely to deliver in the next week (test is accurate for 2 weeks). - I'm not having the painful contractions or other labor symptoms I was having over the weekend -- just lots of tightening and mild contractions. - Baby is doing great, and appears to be happy and heathly. - My blood pressure is stable again.
The not-so-good-news: - My fluid (AFI) levels are still too low. - That can be risky and lead to still birth, but can also just be 'one of those things' for some people -- risky, but not actually leading to any obvious issues.
My OB is consulting with a perinatologist, who spoke with me at length today, and they will make a plan. They may decide to send me home on strict bed rest and regular monitoring, or they may decide to keep me a few more days (or longer), just to be sure things are going okay. We are praying for wisdom for them. There is so much at stake, yet we know God is the One in control.
I woke up feeling better about things, and determined to relax and just go with the flow, whether my bedrest continues here in the hospital, or at home. A while later, my blood pressure tanked. It was pretty random. One minute I was feeling pretty normal, the next I almost passed out. The nurses were pretty concerned, and in exchange for adding a little excitement to their morning, I was given an IV and bloodwork. (And to think they were thinking of sending me home today! ;) So far they haven't found a cause for what happened, but we're skipping the next dose of nifedipine, just in case.
Once things were stable again I went down for the AFI (amniotic fluid index). Unfortunately it has dropped again. Despite drinking a ton and daily hydrotherapy. We don't know yet what the next step will be, but I'll update here once we know more. The important part is that baby still looks great.
Andy was able to come and visit for a while, so we've been kicking back together and will share some lunch in a bit. I sure love my hubby. :)
Late Fri. pm update: ~Still off the meds that were being used to control contractions. Contracting more than before, but nothing I'm worried about yet. ~Blood pressure is stabilized; occasional fluttering/heart murmur, but getting better. ~Amniotic fluid levels still down, so they have a perinatologist coming in for a consult tomorrow. ~I was moved out of L & D on Wednesday (good news, since it means they were no longer worried I was about to deliver ;). New room was MUCH smaller, but nice enough. Well, tonight my nurse moved me into a beautiful room, just next door! What a treat. This will make it much easier for my sweet kiddos to come for visits. :)
I'm on my own little roller coaster. First I cried when they admitted me. Now I'm crying because they're talking about whether to send me home! I am thankful things look better, but I am worried we won't be able to control the contractions at home.
For the record, I used to like roller coasters....
Andy and I sat in OB Triage after our follow-up appointment, chatting about how great baby girl looked on the ultrasound, and how strong her little heartbeat is. We thought things were looking up! Until we received some unexpected news. I'd been awarded a personalized Mama Vacation.....
Soon after, our friend Laura arrived with a wheelchair to whisk me away to my new home-away-from-home. I was greeted by a large, sunny room, comfy bed, resort-like restroom, and round-the-clock care at the touch of a button. Expecting to be at home for dinner, and starting to get hungry, I was offered a gourmet fruit salad, followed soon after by a delicious dinner of chicken, steamed veggies, and yummy bread pudding. I was also informed that after dinner (and 2 x daily thereafter) that I would be relaxing uninterrupted in a warm tub of water for a blissful hour.
As my occasional tears dried, and the situation sank in, I realized that in many ways I felt rather matter-of-fact about the change in events. (I was mostly sad to leave Andy and our kiddos.) The night before, I'd been contracting so much that I slept very little, and then only fitfully. There had been times over the weekend that I was in so much pain I knew I would not be able to tell if I was in true labor. I had sensed things were getting a little more intense, and became thankful that my doctor is taking my symptoms seriously rather than reminding me to just 'take it easy'.
As I laid here, resting and taking it all in, I realized that I have a unique opportunity during my time here. Sure, it's hard to be away from my family. And a little stressful. We don't know if I'll be here a few days or for weeks. But in the relative peace of my new home-away-from home I will have the time to read, reflect, and pray that every Mama craves at this stage in life. I am determined to use this time wisely. Life will change when our Sweetie arrives, and here I can begin to prepare.
ps - Lest you think I am superwoman, with an amazing attitude and great courage, please note that I am still quite human and may post more about bedrest in the days to come. And unlike this post, the next one may not be titled, "10 Reasons Bedrest is Great". :)
Yesterday late afternoon Kiara and I had the follow-up appointment at the hospital - she had the second steroid shot for baby's lungs and an ultrasound. Baby still looks great, but unfortunately her amniotic fluid levels, which were already a little too low, had gone down further. They decided to admit Kiara right away for more monitoring and tests. She is still contracting regularly, but they are hoping to get that under control with the new medication. We'll keep you posted when we know more - thanks for the prayers.
Update (Wed. afternoon): The ultrasound looked good this morning -- fluid levels are up a little, baby's heartbeat and activity levels are good, and umbilical cord and placenta seem to be doing their job still. We're waiting for a consult with the neonatologist and a tour of the NICU, just in case. And praying these contractions settle down. Kiara has internet now, so she will be able to update the blog whenever we have more news. Thank you for your prayers!
Although Andy and I intended for me to take a break from leading abuse recovery groups until after baby girl made her arrival, God had other plans. In fact, He practically wrote His plan on the wall for us, so in faith we followed Him. And even with the pregnancy complications, we cannot regret it. This is an amazing group of women!
I am currently leading 5 women (including 1 who is training to facilitate groups in the future) through the Mending the Soul book and workbook. This is my 6th group in about 3 years, and it never ceases to amaze me how God brings the women together and gives them the courage to do this incredibly difficult work.
This is no simple Bible study! These ladies commit to hours of preparation for each group, facing a past of painful abuse and learning to talk about it, dealing with the grief of all they lost through that time in their life and how it still affects them today, and the often painful effects of bringing all of this up in such a tangible way rather than pushing it down and trying to ignore it..
I am no expert -- I can only share with them my own journey of healing. Share the HOPE I found in God and in His ability to heal and redeem the broken pieces of us. I can walk alongside these precious women and encourage them to keep going when they weep over losses, come worn out due to sleepless nights and nightmares, and have difficult conversations with those in their life who do not want to deal with the hard stuff, do not want to admit that they knew what was happening and didn't stop it, or were not safe and available when their child needed them.
Please pray for us. We need it. Pray specifically for continued courage for these women to keep moving forward. Pray for wisdom for me as I listen, cry with them, and help them connect with each other and feel less alone. Please praise Him with me for the times He miraculously gives me the words to say, or a question to draw them out, at exactly the right time.
And please pray for the mens' groups that are going through this same material. The groups look different (let's admit it -- guys work different than girls ;) -- but the struggle and healing that takes place are the same.
We spent most of the day yesterday at my doctor's office, followed by OB Triage. I had a rough weekend (with a few bright spots mixed in, thankfully). I had many more painful contractions than usual, with times where the pain was unbearable. We began to fear that I would not even know if I'd gone into true labor until it was too late. (Yes, I remember the pain of true labor, and yes, it was that bad.)
It was wonderful to be cared for and get some answers and reassurance.
Baby girl is (so far) not on her way. What a relief! (FFN was negative, no dilation.) I am on stricter bedrest for a few weeks, and stronger medication to help control the contractons. We are praying this helps with pain control, also. They have given me the first of two steroid shots that will help baby girl's lungs be as mature as possible whenever she does make her arrival. I am being monitored closely and I am to call my doctor any time I have questions or concerns.
Later today, Andy and I will return to the hospital for more monitoring, the 2nd steroid shot, and a tour of the NICU, just in case.
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement! And a big thank you to my Mom and Aunt Maggie who were available -- even last minute -- to tag team and care for the kids today. They had a wonderful time with you, and we rested easier knowing they were with you. We love you!
My (Kiara's) parents offered to watch our sweeties for a couple nights so we could get away to a resort in town. We celebrated our 12-year anniversary early, since we are anticipating Brooklyn's arrival less than a month before our actual anniversary. We were pretty limited in what we could do -- it would have been a wonderful place to go hiking! -- but it was still a great time away. Bed rest at a resort is definitely more enjoyable than bed rest in your own room at home.
Lucas looks forward to playing with his neighborhood friends ALL DAY LONG. In fact, he often plans his day around the time they get home from school, finishing up his morning routines, chores, and homeschooling early enough to maximize their time together. A day that is thrown off by errands or appointments can leave him in tears, worried he won't have time to play out front. We are blessed to have such wonderful neighbors!
This week, Lucas and Jonathon spent a couple afternoons playing out back in a fort. It wasn't easy to get a good pic of them, but here is a pretty decent one.
We cannot believe you are already three! It is amazing to think of all you went through in your first 2+ years, and the healing we have seen in you in such a short time. Your doctor thinks you are a little miracle! Now that we have your reflux, asthma, food allergies, and eczema mostly under control, no one would guess how much you struggled to get to where you are. :)
We love you sweet boy, and are delighted with the way you are growing up. You are so friendly, creative, and cuddly. You adore babies, and love to keep them entertained. And you work so hard to keep up with the big kids when you are all out front playing. We are so thankful God brought you our way, and cannot imagine our lives without you. We pray often that you will continue to grow up healthy and strong, and will someday want to serve Him with all your heart.
Some friends and cousins who came to your 'out front' party.
Helping Daddy grill up some hot dogs.
The bikes, trikes, and wagons kept on a-rollin',
with hardly a pause to eat.
Until it was time for 'happy cake', that is!
(Daddy made allergy-free cupcakes. Hooray!
You requested suckers on top, and they were a hit!)
Wait......how many fingers?
We can't wait to see what the next year holds for you, Keandre. We love you!
~Mommy & Daddy
ps - A funny little story I want to remember.....
The day we had your party was my actual birthday. You were quite confused by this, and became concerned every time someone wished me a happy birthday. You were quick to remind them, "It's my 'happy party'." Of course, just minutes after your friends and cousins went home, you were the most enthusiastic singer when your brother and sister gave me a gift and sang to me. You had finally had your 'happy party' and you were ready to share the day with Mommy after all! :)
2. And read them stories....lots of stories. 3. My 'To Do' list has been pared down to the bare minimum, and I don't feel guilty at all. 4. We are saving money and gas -- almost no shopping or driving around these days! 5. The kids are doing more chores to help us keep up. (Hooray!) 6. I can pretend I'm sleeping so they go bug Daddy instead of me. 7. We remember to celebrate the little things. (27 weeks & 3 days.....27 weeks & 4 days....) 8. I might actually have time to read some of the books stacked on my bedside table. 9. I'm making a dent in my seriously overcrowded email inbox. 10. I have daily reminders of what an amazing husband I have. I cannot imagine doing this without his comfort and support. I am very blessed!
And one that didn't make the list, but is happening nonetheless, is that God is working on my attitude. I'm tempted to see house arrest bedrest as only a frustration, but there is still much to be thankful for in our situation.
Also, I'm not on 100% bedrest, which is nice. I can get up a little here or there, and even leave the house for a short time every few days as long as I don't end up contracting too much. I definitely think long and hard before deciding how I want to use that precious time out of bed! :)
Our kiddos sleep in their cribs until they are 3 years old. Moving Keandre out at 35 months was early, in our minds! I guess we've been blessed with kiddos who aren't into climbing out of their beds since he was the first to do that, and we pretty easily convinced him that wasn't a good idea. Ultimately, though, we wanted to give him plenty of time to transition to his new bed before his baby sister made her arrival.
Not surprisingly, he loved his big boy bed! But we soon decided it would save space if he moved to the bottom of the bunk bed. So just one month later the toddler bed was taken apart, and Keandre joined the big boy world of twin-size beds. He even has his own little shelf to keep his books on.