Wednesday, April 30, 2014

12 weeks

Last week I had my first OB appointment for Baby Mo #3. Honestly, I was a little nervous because my last visit a few years ago revealed my baby had died. I kept pushing those thoughts out of my mind.

We were ecstatic to see the baby moving so much the tech had a hard time capturing photos. It was funny because she kept talking about how the legs were outstretched and she doesn't usually see that.


We talked a little about avoiding pre-term labor but since it was so sudden with the twins, it is hard to provide a solution. He talked about possibly doing some kind of Progesterone shot once a week starting at 16 weeks for the duration of the pregnancy. I am classified as high risk again, which I expected. There is one thing they saw in the ultrasound that we need to keep an eye on. The top ultrasound photo shows a vertical gray line in the sac by the baby's feet. It is an amniotic sheet like a wall in the amniotic fluid. It could have been caused by scar tissue from my D&C. Usually that pushes out of the way as the baby grows. We will have to watch that it doesn't somehow get wrapped around the baby in a way that would cut off circulation.

I have felt pretty great so far except this week. But my pregnancy was quite easy with the twins, too. This week I have been exhausted and struggled with a migraine in my eye. I am thankful for all the ways my mom has helped. There isn't one thing she would say no to if I needed it, even if she is tired herself!

The kids are so excited about the baby. Adam is very protective, telling me things that I shouldn't be doing like mowing the lawn this summer. Obviously he wants a baby brother and would like to name him Max. He has also informed me that he is forgetful lately because the baby has affected his brain, too, just like me! My favorite is that Shannon had a conversation with him and asked "Do you think it would be okay if we put the new baby's crib under your loft bed?" "Sure Dad!" "The baby will wake up in the middle of the night and cry. You will need to change its diaper and give it something to eat." "Well, Dad, I'm going to be sleeping pretty hard..."

Sara kisses my belly, talks to the baby, and tells me she is so happy I'm going to have a baby. Obviously she wants a baby sister and would like to name her Kaylie. The other day when I explained how tired I was she told me "Considering that, I think you should plan for a nap today." I have noticed a strong mothering instinct in her since she was very small. I imagine some days she will be a great helper...and other days she will want to take over!

It is no surprise that we struggled with infertility for 6 years before our 3rd IVF led to welcoming Adam and Sara into the world. A few days after implantation, we learned there was 1 last embryo that survived to 5 days of life and it was frozen. Because Shannon and I believe that life begins at Day 1, we were not about to destroy that 5 day life. Time kept ticking and I wasn't getting any younger so we made the decision to rescue the member of our family who had been waiting since October 4, 2008. It has been a long road of shots, shots, and more shots. If you have not been thru this process, you have no idea how difficult it is. It definitely shows how much strength you have.

Here is the earliest picture we have of our baby after 5 days of conception. God is so amazing.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

5 year check ups

We had our routine visit with Dr. Neese just after the kids' birthday. Adam is 42" tall (31st percentile) and weighs 35lbs (11th percentile). He continues on the track to be Mr. Tall and Skinny. Sara is 41 1/2" tall (31st percentile) and weighs 32.5lbs (5th percentile). Sara has had phenomenal growth since her robotic surgery. Adam has grown 2" in the past year and Sara has grown 2 1/2" in the past year. I can't believe how tall both of them have gotten!

We discussed shots that are needed before Kindergarten and Adam constantly clearing his throat. I started him on Zyrtec again and that seems to have helped. I pointed out a mole that has developed on Sara's head but Dr. Neese isn't concerned about it. The largest part of our conversation centered around Adam's challenge to focus during preschool. The teacher mentioned to me recently that she feels he is developmentally behind with impulse control. What mom wants to hear their rock star preemie is developmentally behind? I thought that was all behind us! Dr. Neese feels like most of it is just that Adam is very young compared to the other kids in his class. We did discuss the possibility of ADD because Shannon was diagnosed with that last summer and we definitely see some of those tendencies with Adam. Dr. Neese stated that studies indicate about 5% of children born full-term with no complications are diagnosed with ADD. However, for preemies who had some type of stress to the brain (such as an IVH brain bleed like Adam had), the rate can be 25-30% so it is something we may need to pay attention to further down the road. He suggested that we do not give the Kindergarten teacher any leading information to begin with and let her assess the first few weeks on her own. Then we can touch base with her about 3 weeks in to see if she is seeing any issues to work thru. Sounds like a plan to me!

In the same week, Sara had a routine visit with her Pediatric Nephrologist, Dr. Gordillo. Her blood pressure is great. Her weight is great. Her growth rate is back on the curve. And her urinalysis came back normal. The protein continues to be absent from her urine so her blood pressure medication is doing its job. He will coordinate blood work with her next robotic surgery in the summer to make it easiest on her.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Egg Hunt

As Easter got closer, the kids kept talking about doing an egg hunt in the back yard like we did last year. Apparently it was memorable but I didn't lead on that I was planning it again. Thankfully my mom helped with some of the purchases and stuffing about 50 eggs since I had been feeling so worn out in my first trimester.

After we got home from church, I snuck outside to do the hiding. It amazes me how easy it is to completely distract the kids. I came in the back door and Adam said "Where were you Mom?" "What do you mean? I've been here." "No, I called for you and you didn't answer." "Maybe I was in the bathroom."

Then he started asking about the egg hunt. "What egg hunt?" "Mom, we had bags of plastic eggs in the pantry. Come here, let me show you." "Where?" "Up there, Mom." "Adam, that's some plastic grass." 

I finally told them to go outside and they saw some.

It is really funny when they walk by ones that are so obvious. Here is a yellow one right behind Sara's head.


And she kept walking right on by...

It was cute when they were sharing eggs.


See the green one by the top of the slide?


Adam didn't. Now he is heading back down the steps.


Sara found it!








And then we had the fun of opening all the eggs.


Adam just made one big pile of stuff.


Sara, on the other hand...organized piles of stickers, different kinds of candy, and money.


I'm thankful the kids know that Easter isn't just about fun with plastic eggs! Happy Easter!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sara's first broken bone

I guess it doesn't surprise me since Sara is more of a daredevil than Adam but it was a silly accident instead of a high flying adventure! On Saturday she had just finished jumping on the neighbor's massively awesome trampoline and was getting out. As Shannon turned around to look at Adam, he heard Sara scream and looked back to see her laying on the ground.

Shannon carried her into the house, pulled all the leaves out of her hair, and tried to assess the situation as she cried uncontrollably and held her left arm. We snuggled, got some ice, and made her comfortable on the couch for a bit. After an hour she had calmed down but every time we tried to move her arm either to bend more or straighten, she would cry. It didn't really look swollen and there was no bruising but we decided to play it safe and take her to the ER.

We finally figured out that she tried to go down the ladder facing front, slipped, and her elbow hit the metal support of the trampoline once she landed in the grass.

I was thankful they moved us thru pretty quickly. They took vitals and her blood pressure was 110/68 and her heartrate was quite elevated. I told the nurse the BP was high compared to her last nephrology appointment a few days ago, which was 86/56. She said it was a sign of pain.

The doctor came in and was moving Sara's arm around and pushing on her elbow. No tears, not even a wince. The doctor asked if what he was doing hurt and she said yes. They were going to do x-rays but I thought for sure it wouldn't show anything since she was much more calm. 3 of the x-rays were no problem for her but 1 she couldn't hold her arm up without it shaking uncontrollably. The doc came back after looking at the films and confirmed her arm was broken right above the elbow. He expressed his absolute shock over Sara's calm demeanor and explained how hard he had pushed on the spot where it was broken and that would have caused a lot of pain. It had been a while since we got a reminder of how amazing her pain tolerance is.

It took 2 sets of hands to get the splint set from her armpit to her wrist.


We tried the sling for a bit but she really didn't care for it because it wouldn't adjust small enough.


Sara had only had a few snacks at the ER and missed dinner but she decided when she got home that she was tired and just wanted to go to bed. The doc had written a prescription for pain medication but Sara has never needed anything strong and she didn't want it. We gave her some Tylenol and headed up to her new room.  She needed a little help balancing on the first step of her loft but figured it out and climbed right up to tuck herself in. I told her how well she did at the hospital and that I was very proud of how brave she was. She smiled and said "Mom, I like it when you say that to me. It makes me happy." It was a very neat moment for me.

We spent the next few days working thru some logistics...how to get her dressed, whether she could go to the bathroom on her own, sleeping positions to make her comfortable. Tonight she figured out that she could rest her bowl against her cast in order to scoop her strawberry shortcake easier. The hardest task is tearing toilet paper off the roll so I have had to leave some piles pre-torn on a stool for her.

Yesterday morning I called the pediatric orthopaedic doctor for an appointment and we were able to see him this morning. They took the splint off and revealed her little arm full of wrinkles and creases after just a few days.


The doctor came in to give us the great news that the bones were aligned very well and surgery would not be needed! Then they started on the cast--can you believe she picked green?!




They put a ton of gauze around the elbow to protect where it is broken. Her elbow is huge and it was making me laugh. It is extremely heavy for her. I wonder if her left shoulder muscle will be bigger at the end of the 3 weeks of lugging that around!

We go back next Friday for another x-ray to make sure nothing has shifted and surgery is still not warranted. 3 weeks with the cast and probably no physical therapy after that. Healing of a 5 year old is amazing!

The picture below is the best x-ray that shows the break. On the left side of the base of the upper bone, you can see a black line straight thru the bone. It then goes down slightly and out the other side but is hard to see on that side.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Speaking of five...

We are going to be a family of five!

Coming hopefully as close to my October 31 due date as possible. This was my ultrasound a few days ago. The baby is just over an inch and is already sucking its thumb! More details to come...


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

We're Five!

I have been planning the kids' 5th birthday present since before Christmas--to move their bedroom upstairs and make it like a treehouse theme. It has been all hands on deck and a race to the finish to get it done.

Shannon and my mom painted the walls and the ceiling sky blue. One of my friends from the twins group painted a tree and wild flowers on the walls.


Grandpa George spent hours building the lofts with lots of love, through cold winter days and struggling with pain from gout in his hands. Shannon drove to Iowa to pick up the beds and was up late with Grandpa and Grandma staining.





My mom had to stain extra boards to be used for trim. Shannon installed some trim by himself, I installed some by myself, and Shannon worked on it all day with his dad the day before their birthday while Grandma Sue stole the kids away for some fun time.







My mom sewed the curtain for the closet. She also helped me move the beds in place and get the mattresses on, as well as watch the kids a few extra days so I could work on the room. I strung the rope to make a safety rail and did all the decorating.




The kids had no idea all of this was going on upstairs right under their noses!


At 7am I couldn't contain my excitement and let them see their present. For months there was a child safety lock on the door knob. Now it was wrapping paper.




Adam found his bed right away and said "It's like a treehouse!"


Sara was confused and said "You should have built a bed down low for me." We told her she had a bed and she needed to turn around. "Where?"


It was so much fun to see their excitement as they discovered more and more things.




And my cousin Emily was ready to sell her blue chairs just in time!


They kept sneaking away to their new room throughout the day--reading books in bed, carrying more things up there to decorate their shelves, and snuggling in bed with some stuffed animals. When my mom came later with her presents, they took her up there and ran ahead to shut the door before she could see. Then Adam opened it and yelled "Surprise!" They did the same thing to our favorite neighbor when she stopped by with gifts.

After breakfast we got dressed nice to open gifts from the grandparents. We kept it very low key today because of all the energy that went into doing their rooms. We just wanted to enjoy some family time.







They were very excited about all the gifts they got! Clothes and books and Legos and rain boots and Barbies and hula hoops, oh my!

Then we enjoyed some mini cupcakes.



After dinner we had our traditional birthday excursion to the NICU to deliver treats for the staff as our thank you for all they did while Sara and Adam spent 44 and 61 days in the NICU. There was a handful of staff at the window and the kids walked right up, set down their note, and said "We're five!" The nurses laughed and one replied "I remember when you were born!" I love that the kids know their history.

They couldn't wait to go to bed. I was prepared for it to be a challenging night. We got pajamas on and turned out the lights for them to see how dark it would be to get down their bed steps and make it to their new bathroom. And we tucked them in bed.

5 minutes later Adam got up to go potty.

2 minutes later Sara called for me. I stood next to her bed and she said "Mom, I just wanted to tell you something. Today was the greatest day ever!"

2 minutes later Sara got up to go potty.

5 minutes later they were whispering.

10 minutes later they were roaring with laughter and we had to go up there. They had snuck lanterns into their beds.

After an hour and a few more trips into their rooms, I had to threaten if they didn't go to sleep they could sleep in their old bed. Finally, it was quiet.

It certainly is strange to have the door to their room downstairs open and they aren't in there. The start of a whole new season of life. I remember when we were married and there was no sound of feet running in the house or belly laughs. How different life was then. Being a mom to Adam and Sara has been the absolute hardest and most satisfyingly joyous journey of my life.

Happy 5th birthday, my loves!