Friday, November 28, 2008

I had an epiphany yesterday. I don't think I like smoked meat. You see, where we used to live in Appalachia-ville, the seven adults had choices of 3 main meat dishes, 2 non-starchy veggie dishes, and 14 starches-including a bowl of canned peas and a pea salad. Not sure what happened to the plain canned corn, it must have been left in the refrigerator.

Over this dinner, Shane's grandmother told us the story of her latest visit with one of her doctors. The doctor asks her at each visit if she's passed out but doesn't offer an explanation to why she's asking. Alma finally thinks to look on the print out from the pharmacy and sees that passing out is indeed "going to happen to her" on this medicine, along with a whole slew of other things. Shane explained to her that these were possible side effects that happen to some people, but since she's taken it for months, she's probably going to do fine. She disagreed, saying she saw the list and knows this is bad stuff for her to be on.

But I digress-back to the meat. The smoked turkey reminded me of pork-which I don't like. It dawned on me that maybe it's the smoked taste of ham I don't like, not the ham itself. Alas, my brother in law loves his smoker and Shane wants to make one for himself, so smoked turkey is probably on my Thanksgiving menu for many years to come. (As long as there's some Appalachia style dressing to go with it, I'll cope.)

Over at my parents' house, I wanted to put my youngest brother in a smoker. Right off the bat he says, "You look good for just having a baby." Uhh, thanks.

A bit later he was whining about why Ashlyn & Shane like football. He said the family can't understand where Ashlyn gets it. I said, "She likes her Daddy and he likes football, so she watches it as well. And, by the way, it's more likely that this family is the strange one because it's not that uncommon to watch football on Thanksgiving."

Of course, that opens the gate for him to parrot my dad and say, "You know, growing up you never liked what the family liked. Everyone else liked drag racing & cars but you." At which point I called his attention the the fact that I am a girl. He pointed to my mom (who also likes cars and such).

Okay, so my mom and I also liked sewing, cooking, and craft shows but we never expected the boys to like them. I also liked camping, water skiing, and wading in the creek out back but because I wasn't obsessed with the hobby they were all into at the time, I get called out on it at every family get together. Does it matter that I was a fan of Shirley Muldowney and kept her autographed picture as a treasure for years? Apparently not, little brother.

I was pretty miffed by my brother last night as I replayed the day in my head. However, even with all that, I am thankful for both my Foxfire in laws and my family (even though I feel like I've been in the psych ward on One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest after we leave my childhood home).

Shane's family has been very generous & gracious to us. I've seen much healing in my relationship with my parents in the last few years. It's all good, even with too many starches and tangled up compliments.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Strange Happenings

Sarah Palin called today. We chatted about benefit options for our pregnancy center staff. She asked if the girls had read the article accusing her (Palin) of encouraging daughters to disobey their parents. I told her that the girls did indeed see that article and laughed at it. A few minutes after the call, I reminded myself that I need to buy a nicer jacket to wear to all the black tie affairs where Sarah & I will pal around.

Then Audrey woke me up crying for some breakfast.

Just as strange, but true, is the phenomenon of having my tree up before Shane's birthday (it was Sunday, he turned 37!) but still having my plants out on the porch. The weather is so warm I've not needed to bring them in. I think my artificial fir trees look a little funny next to my real asparagus's almost Twilight Zone-ish...

Happy Thanksgiving-may it be free of anything strange...oh, wait, most of us will be with family and that's a sure thing for weirdness to happen. Be blessed!

Friday, November 21, 2008

If you've been reading for at least a couple of months, you know we agonized over the decision to permanently limit our family size. I wrote about it in this post and had the most comments ever.

We decided we didn't feel at peace with such an irreversible decision and we began talking to my OB about other options.

Then we had our second child with a knotted cord. There's nothing genetic about a cord knotting, except maybe the extra long cords that allow for easier bow ties. We aren't superstitious or anything, but after Audrey's delivery we felt another baby would "tempt the fates" and that bothered us. (Please know we don't believe in fate, that's just the simplist way to convey the way we feel.)

One week later, as I was going to the hospital for all the tests that stemmed from the complications, I said to Shane that he needed to call his doctor and schedule his appointment-we were done.

My cardiologist confirmed this. He gave us a stern warning that this should be our last pregnancy. Any other pregnancies would probably result in the same story, and possibly even worse. That just confirmed what we were both thinking. Shane's appointment is December 9th.

So how do I reconcile this? With sound medical advice, it's easy. We were open to the Lord regarding having more children and with this last delivery, he shut the door.

It's a little sad to fold up my maternity clothes knowing I'll be getting rid of them, not just storing them. No more kicks from an unborn child, no more sonograms, no more tiny fingers & toes. We're savoring Audrey...

It'll be nice to look forward though, and move past the diaper bag stage. We've almost always been in a diaper bag stage!

Hmmmm, have I ever mentioned that our hearts have always been open to adoption? ;)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wrapping Up Down Time

The days between hospital stays was a lot like the week following Christmas-cozy & lazy. Shane was off, we had nothing much on the agenda, people brought us great food, and we sat around all day in our PJs staring at Audrey. It was really nice to have Shane home, with zero work stress. His fun side really came out and he played with the girls even more than he usually does.

Because of the complications I ran into last week, my OB suggested Shane take another week off to babysit me (my words, not hers). I don't like the idea of being supervised, but it has been nice having him around even longer.

We NEVER put up our Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. Never. As a matter of fact, for the last few years, I've tried to give Thanksgiving it's due after another Christian woman made the excellent point that we have so much to be thankful for and it's not right to simply use Thanksgiving as a launching pad for Christmas.

However, it looks like the red & green will come out tomorrow. We've got furniture to move and boxes to haul, so Shane thought it'd be best for him to do it early while he's still home rather than try to squeeze it in next weekend after he's been back at work. The girls are excited and I guess I am too a little :) I do love Christmas!

Things on my mind right now:
*What to get Shane for his birthday Sunday! I feel like Rip Van Winkle-like we've slept through the last three weeks. The holidays are upon us but we've been too busy with all this medical stuff to even know what day it is! His birthday really caught me by surprise.
*How to downsize Christmas-most of Shane's leave the last few weeks was covered with sick/vacation time, but not all of it, plus he is having a lot of dental work done and another procedure further south ;)
*Going sugar free again-can I really do it? One day down...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Link Love

Just stumbled across these two links and couldn't resist posting them here.

With a family of six females, we may be using these as stocking stuffers.

I was looking for ideas for our local newspaper's birth announcement for Audrey and came across these shirts at Cafe Press. Some are totally corny, but some are kinda funny.

I'd love to have more links for you but my tween is demanding computer time. Ahh, the joys of a big family-one sleeping in the bassinet next to me and another one old enough to have her own online life, lol.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It appears I've missed most of International Babywearing Week, but I can't let it pass by with no comment.

I've already used my new brown & pink sling with Aurdey. The day before I went to the hospital we did our maiden voyage and she loved it. I brought it to the doctor's office on Wednesday morning and was so glad I did. I didn't actually use it while dealing with the c-section complications at the hospital, but a friend watched Audrey for a little while the first day and the sling was a lifesaver for her. Last night when we were watching Lost, Audrey had been nursing forever, I swear. I got out the sling and rocked her and she was immediately content and soon fell asleep.

Before Audrey we had many babywearing adventures with Bethany & Jaika. With Bethany, I had a Maya Wrap ring sling that I had to retire half way through with Jaika because I wore it too thin to safely use. In the meantime, my mom & I tried our hand at making ring slings, so I have a small variety of ring slings-even one made of black silk for a formal occasions. This website was a huge help. At the very end of my babywearing with Jaika, I bought some gauzy fabric to use as a wrap. We tried it out once and she loved it but since the need wasn't there, it got retired to the storage tote for later use. With Jaika, we indulged and bought an Ergo from this site- the cheapest new one I could find (ebay Ergos sell for at least the price of a new one! Don't shop there for an Ergo!). We've used it so much, it has paid for itself a million times over. I even used it just a few months ago while on vacation-and it's masculine enough many dads are willing to use it.

Faves: Ring slings for nursing infants (the tail allows for modest nursing), Ergo for toddlers. I'd like to try a Mei Tai soon, and the coolest brand I've discovered is Baby Hawk.

Here are some actions shots of babywearing-enjoy!

Jaybird in the Maya Wrap Ring Sling at a children's theater's Narnia performance (2007)

Jay doesn't get left out of geocaching with the family!

Jay & Mom with the Ergo at a Renaissance Fair

Jay almost ready for a nap in the Ergo at big sisters' karate tournament.

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's Complicated

I've never had a single complication post partum, so I guess it was my turn. Monday night I heard a gurgle sound in my chest. I thought I might be getting a chest cold. The next day or so I realized that each time I would lie down, I'd be short of breath. Tuesday night the shortness of breath and gurgling increased to the point that I spent most of the night sleeping upright on the couch so I could breathe. I was scared. I knew I had fluid on my chest at this point and thoughts of congestive heart failure crossed my mind. With the fog that comes in the middle of a scary night, I wondered if whatever was happening would lead to my children not having a mother. Of course I didn't tell Shane about my fears until it was all over-he was not happy with me!

I'm not going to go into the psychological reasons for not going to the ER at 3am, but lets just say I'm a little neurotic about not bothering people (like my doctor, a grandma to watch the kids) and I didn't want to be wrong and humiliated when turned away from the hospital with a chest cold.

Once we got past my OB's receptionist who wondered why in the world I'd need to be seen with shortness of breath, we were told to come "right now" to the doctor's office. After she assessed the symptoms, she told me she suspected one of two things-a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs) or pulmonary edema (fluid around the lungs/heart). Hearing the word "embolism" is not a good way for an exhausted mom with a new baby to start the day. The fight to keep back the tears started. I'm not really a cryer, but by the afternoon every hospital staff I came across saw me sob.

Shane, Audrey & I headed to the hospital for a chest x-ray, CT scan with the contrast dye to look for a blood clot, an EKG, and an Echocardiogram. Audrey couldn't nurse for a while after one of the tests but we coped-with tears.

The tests showed it was not a blood clot-praise the Lord! Basically, several factors from the C-section led to my heart getting backed up on it's job to rid the body of the fluid, so fluid was accumulating in my lungs and throughout my body. My wonderful doctor prescribed 4 rounds of Lasix in about 2 days time, which brought many liters of fluid off my body. I was so delighted to see my ankles again this morning! My maternity clothes I had to wear to the doctor's office were pretty saggy when we came home today. I'm about 15lbs lighter than before I went in. Crazy.

So Audrey & I made our residence in room 4203 for a couple of nights. She brought many visitors to our room since the nurses on that floor don't get to see many babies. I bet they don't see many girls night out parties either, but we had one-complete with Mexican food, Starbucks, and girl talk late into the night!

This event made so many things more real. Life can change on a dime. None of us are exempt from health problems. All of us will have some event that ends our lives. I know that's a downer, sorry...

On a brighter note, we've never felt more blessed by our friends & family than in the last 9 days. Between Audrey's emergency arrival and this week's crisis, God must have tired of hearing our names lifted up to Him! Even though it was all scary, I took great comfort in knowing so many people were praying. On top of that, many people offered to help with the girls or to bring me anything I might need-one friend even stayed the night with me so Shane could go home and give the girls a "normal" evening. There were more offers to help than we had needs to spread around! We had many visitors who brought encouragement and prayer-I've lost count of how many times people circled up around my bed to pray. I'm in awe & greatly humbled.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Elisa update

Just wanted to follow up with an update about my cousin and her baby boy, Austin. Austin was born while we were still in the hospital, but I'm fuzzy on the day-either Thursday or Friday. Elisa got to go home Saturday and Austin is still there just getting stronger. He's currently taking two feeding via bottle per day and will gradually increase those as he gains strength. We are so happy there are no complications at all! Well, except that he caught his mom & dad off guard a bit and they have to hurry up and get his room ready!

Elisa is actually my step cousin, so we don't have a lot of childhood memories together, but I do remember she and her step mom (my aunt) took my cousins & me ice skating. If I remember right, Matt, who was then her boyfriend but is now her husband was there, too. Elisa was either a teenager or in her early 20's and I must have been around Jr High age. I thought she hung the moon. I looked up to her so much...she was so pretty.

Not much has changed-I still think she's beautiful, full of grace and joy. She's so easy to be around, even if we don't see each other for several years at a time.

Austin & Audrey also have more than their close birthdays and relatives in common-both were surprise babies. I know Elisa feels the same about about Austin-our babies are a treasure, a gift from the Lord that we didn't even know we needed.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Audrey's Birth Story

I'm going to start out with one of the moments that stood out to me the most. After being at the hospital for about an hour, I looked around and saw myself encircled by three outstanding women friends. They all had eyes fixed on the monitor, watching Audrey's heart rate in response to contractions. They watched the monitor, I watched them. I understood what the monitor was indicating and didn't really want to see it, but I felt a great peace watching Drs. Smith & Hollis and Andrea (our friend who's a L&D nurse) as they weighed the options. As Dr. Smith leaned in to me and said she was no longer comfortable just watching the heart rate drop and we'd need to do a C-section, the tears came and my chin trembled but I knew I was in a safe place.

Another memorable moment was before any crisis started and I started thinking about how many people had already prayed for me that morning. I am simply awed by God's work and his people.

Shane and I had stayed up watching LOST hoping (but not admitting to hoping) that something would happen. When the due date is past and you crawl into bed at the close of the day, it's hard giving in to being pregnant one more day.

About 3am, some random contractions woke me up. Eventually I decided to get up and move thinking it'd bring some consistency. I was washing dishes at 4:20 am :) Still without any textbook strong/regular contractions, I tried this, a tried & true technique for bringing on labor when the body is "ripe". Two minutes in, the contractions were hospital-trip-worthy. But they'd only last about an hour without needing more NS.

I went back to bed to rest and do more NS. The contractions hurt enough for me to wake Shane around 6. The girls had Pop Tarts (a rare food at our house) for the day the baby came, so I told Shane I was feeling a bit Pop Tarty and of course he had to ask a couple of times, "How do you know?". :)

I called my labor & delivery nurse best pal Andrea and asked her what criteria she'd like me to meet before coming in. I was perky and happy, so she & I both knew it was too soon. We chatted a bit more and Shane and I made ourselves busy with just being busy...he blogged and I cooked breakfast. That cracked him up-I'm standing over the stove and stopping every few minutes to breathe through a contraction. He was uncomfortable still being home so he threatened that if I had the baby on the kitchen floor he'd never forgive me, lol.

Around 8:30 or 9am Shane's mom came to stay with the girls and at 9:30, Andrea called to check on me. After hearing Shane's report she said to make our way that direction-although without the NS, there were no contractions. I would have stayed home much longer-hours maybe, which is important to note.

We casually made our way to the hospital, with strong contractions along the 30 miles there but nothing once we arrived (I was NOT doing NS in front of all the med people in my room!). After being on the monitor a little while, things got intense fast. I hope I can remember it all accurately without too much fluff...

Arrival time: 10:30 am. Dilated to a 6/7 which surprised me given the choppy contractions. I got my first epidural (something I should have done a long time ago!). I wasn't in pain or even having contractions but started to immediately after the med staff & students left the room and I started NS for a mere few minutes.

Audrey's heart rate wasn't rebounding after the contractions, so I was turned to my side (and my water broke on its own then) and given oxygen. It was getting close to noon and Dr. Smith was on her way. Once she arrived, the circle of friends occurred and the C-section decision was made. Audrey's heart rate was dipping and staying too low after each contraction. Something was causing her to not get enough oxygen. I cried but mostly because of lack of sleep and the quick change to the intense situation.

Shane made calls and went out to tell his mom and our girls, who had arrived shortly before. Audrey was born at 12:42. She weighed 7 lbs 14 oz and was 19.5 inches long. Moments after she was born, the shocked announcement was made that there was a knot in the cord. For those of us in the room who knew about Jay's, this was simply unbelievable. Two children, in a row, born alive with true knots in their cords. I still can't wrap my brain around it.

Her cord wasn't tight in the womb, so it probably wasn't causing the heart tone problems. More than likely (from what I understand) it was a result of a tired placenta not being capable of delivering enough oxygen. A live birth with a knotted cord is rare, two in a row are even more rare. All of these variables made for a strange birth story. Shane may have the best take on it-the enemy is against us, prowling around like a lion seeking someone to devour. Praise the Lord he didn't succeed (again) this time!

I was able to recover right there on the L&D floor as opposed to the ICU like before, so Audrey was able to join me and nurse. We were only there a short time before we joined family and friends in our room. Audrey & I enjoyed the resort, I mean hospital, for two more days until coming home on Friday.

Everything is going well at home. The big girls love, love, love Audrey. She seems pretty laid back, although she has some kinda thing for waking every hour on the hour throughout the night. It's hardest for me at night, when the simple shifting of baby, pillows, and burp cloths becomes a big ordeal, but thankfully Shane will be home a while to help out.

Thank you all who prayed for our family, we know God heard those prayers and answered them with a healthy baby!

Friday, November 7, 2008

We're home

Summer's post was so perfect! Thanks Summer, love ya!

We're home and sure do have a story to tell. We have some great pictures, too. Right now it's time to nurse & rest, so I'll report back later. Praise God for rescuing yet another one of our babies! I'll fill you all in soon.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Right on Time....

Miss Audrey Shayne arrived today at 12:42 p.m., weighing in at 7lbs 14oz. She is healthy and beautiful. I will leave the juicy delivery details to Wendy, but she and Shane are feeling very thankful for their newest miracle and are once again amazed at God's grace! Audrey did have to be delivered via c-section so they will have to stay in the hospital a few days. Continue to keep them all in your prayers as they recover and adapt to one more little blessing. (I got to see all of her sisters too, and they were quite excited as well!)

Since Audrey was born on the 5th, I read Psalm 5 this afternoon with her in mind. The last two verses are "But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield."
May Audrey always pursue righteousness and take refuge in the Lord. May she be surrounded by His favor as with a shield....just as she was in her mother's womb.

Wendy's friend, Summer.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What kind of plant are you?

In an attempt to post something other than pregnancy talk, I've switched topics to horticulture. Hmm, sounds intriguing, huh?

As I was watering my plants the other day, I thought of my mums. Last year I bought a huge pot of bright white mums and set it at the edge of my shrubs. Now my gardening skills may not even be a good as my sewing skills, but at least I can water them (well, usually-don't ask my husband to confirm that).

My mums were beautiful (because someone else planted them, I'm sure). They did their thing and died. I left them in the pot, even though someone mentioned that if I'd put them in the ground, they'd come back the next year. This year, I pulled the dead stems out and refilled it (not so beautifully) with mums from Wal-Mart.

While working with my flowers, I thought about our spiritual lives. Are we annuals or perennials? Annuals have to be replanted each year, but perennials come back on their own. Do we only pull out our generosity and thanksgiving at the holidays? Even the world does this. How are we to be different, to be set apart?

We are called to have our spiritual fruit ripening year round, aren't we? Don't we want to be perennials?

I'm challenging myself to analyze my thoughts and actions this holiday season (which is on us by the way, Jack in the Box is offering holiday themed drinks, so it's official). It's easy to get stirred up emotionally this time of year. Would I act the same in January or is my "holiday spirit" simply that-for the sake of the holidays?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It Happened

The water broke.

Mother-in-law was called to watch the kids.

Admittance was made to the hospital.

But it wasn't me. It was my cousin, Elisa. My due date, her (almost) delivery.

She is only 33 weeks, so of course my jealousy is feigned. We're lifting Elisa and her baby boy up in prayer-doctors are trying to stall her delivery. Although this is serious, it's nothing like her first baby's birth, which occurred just after her baby shower-months too early. Thankfully all her babies are beautiful & healthy and we pray the same for this third one on the way.

As for me, I'm fine with not delivering yet. I am pining to lay eyes on my baby girl and to cuddle her. There is nothing else on my to-do list I want to do, nothing else really needing to be done before she gets here, so boredom is lurking. I'm looking forward to Shane's two weeks off and our break from school, but that's all. No physical issues to complain about. We get so see her tomorrow in our sonogram that will measure the health of her little home & placenta.

Maybe you all are ready for delivery so I will post on something else besides pregnancy ;) Don't worry, I won't be pregnant forever (or so I keep telling myself).

Be blessed-and pray for Elisa & her baby please.

ETA: 11/3-Elisa is still pregnant, they've stopped the contractions, given antibiotics & steroids and will now just wait & see. They're hoping for a few more days but since her water has broken, they won't do much to stop her at this point. They think the baby weighs about 4 lbs. Thanks for keeping her in your prayers, I'll keep you updated on who delivers first :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

More on Voting

I've just been reading some of John Holzmann's blog-he's a co-founder of our Sonlight Curriculum. As I've read his notes and books that are part of our curriculum and tried to stay up with him occasionally on the Sonlighter's Forums, I've realized how very intelligent he his; I respect him greatly.

I'm totally with John on this post. And this post with the singing kids is just you think they'd all still be singing if the lyrics included Obama's stance on infanticide? Yeah, go change.

I can not fathom why someone would vote for Obama, especially a Christian. Is that too strong of a statement? Even if you cut out all the other issues he supports that I don't, the issue of life alone should be enough to repel any Christian away from voting for him. The Bible makes it crystal clear that we are to support the cause of the unborn. Obama makes it equally clear he cares nothing for the unborn. These can't be reconciled!

(Side note about the previous link: It's from the website of a prochoice group. Upon first glance, his stance sounds nice and PC, but you'll notice he never mentions "abstinence" but instead is in favor of post-pregnancy solutions and comprehensive sex ed-which doesn't include abstinence, but instead pushes contraception-often misused in that age group anyway, and alternative lifestyles. Don't be fooled by the PC talk.)

I heard a good point-if someone is skewed on the issue of life, then it's very likely they are not sound on other issues.