Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Today I'm thankful for so many things:

  • My wonderful husband
  • Two beautiful daughters
  • Five precious Angels watching over our family
  • A growing, thriving baby kicking my belly
  • Our warm home
  • The gift of friendship
  • A loving extended family
  • The blessing of a large, nourshing meal
  • Intelligent doctors
  • A sunny morning for Andy's race
  • And the comfort of God's grace, without which, none of these blessings would exist.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's starting already

Today, while the girls were eating lunch and I was making my own, Charlotte said, "Mommy, thanks for not playing with us today because we're having SO much fun!" I have been banished from playing with them lately, unless it is a game of Trouble or some other specific game. But general playroom activities are apparently not Mommy-appropriate. :(

The Mommy-Phase-Out is happening already...and they're only 3 & 5.

My knight in shining Escort

Last week, my high-risk OB changed up my medication after I told him of the weird side effects I was having (shortness of breath, heart palpitations, BAD dry mouth causing my throat to close up, etc.). So I started a new med on Monday night.

Fast forward to Thursday: I had just dropped each girl off at her respective school and thought I'd hit the Michael's Craft Store $1 bins for stocking stuffers. I was walking around and finding some fun things, when I started to feel "weird". My belly was hurting and I immediately felt like I was beyond exhaustion. I told the baby that we would head home and rest in just a moment. Almost instantly, I started to fall over into my cart (Michael's carts are made for someone 4'11" or shorter). I tried to find somewhere to sit and finally made my way to a bench at the front of the store. The following is my conversation with the cashier who was standing right next to me:

Me: "Excuse you have water? I'd be happy to buy a bottle of water or something. I think I'm fainting."
She: "Ummm, we have a water fountain at the back of the store."
Me: "Honey, I'm not making to the back of the store!"
She: "Oh, I'm sorry."

And she proceeded to turn around and continue stuffing bags with fliers.


So I called Andy who dropped everything and came to my rescue. He instinctively brought a beverage and drove me home. He drove around and picked up the girls from their schools, brought them home, made lunch for everyone, and offered to take the rest of the day off to care for me. He did go back to work (at my urging) and I spent the rest of the day feeling funky and "off".

The doc said he thought it was hypoglycemia but I'm not convinced. I think it was the meds.

Fast forward AGAIN to yesterday. We were in church (sitting in the front row, center) and I felt that feeling again. Knowing I did NOT want to faint in the front row (or at all, really), I sat down. I eventually got to my feet and made my way to the drinking fountain. I returned to my seat and spent the rest of my time praying that I wouldn't fall over. Fortunately, managed to avoid it so that was good.

I see my doc again on Wednesday so hopefully we can figure something out. My blood pressures are getting higher and higher at home, which doesn't bode well for the whole "avoiding bed rest for as long as possible" plan. Shucks.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Trusting His plan

In the last two years, we have endured the losses of five babies. Each time, I wondered what God's plan was in all of the heartache.

Several days after the loss of our first baby (a son we named Samuel Richard), I was driving home from an appointment and heard a woman on the radio talking about the death of her brother. He was the youngest of 8 children and at age 20, was involved in a terrible car accident. She spoke of how her whole family came together and praised God for his 20 years, singing praise songs and praying around his bed as they turned off the machines that were keeping him alive.

She said that as she looked around the room, experiencing the deepest sadness of her life, she felt as if God was asking her, "Are you willing to give me thanks for that which I may never give you the privilege of understanding?" I have remembered that line because in my deepest sadness the first night we found out Sam had died, every time I woke up (which was countless times--I didn't sleep much), I had some random praise song in my head and I kept wishing it away so I could live, more like wallow, in my sadness. I didn't understand why these songs were playing, uninvited, over and over in my brain. But when I heard this woman speaking, she was speaking directly to my broken heart and answering the elusive WHY?.

It was after Sam's death that I started the Support After Miscarriage (SAM) ministry at our church because in my desperation for help and answers, I called my church--they could direct me to no one for help. Well, I talked to our associate pastor but I wanted to talk to someone who had walked this path before me. Since there was no one for me, I decided to make sure that another woman wouldn't have to feel as alone and scared as I did during those times.

This brings me to the reason for tonight's post. A close friend lost her precious baby today. She found out last week, during an ultrasound, that her baby had no heartbeat. Her husband called me on the way home from the doctor's office to ask how he could best comfort her. After our conversation, I immediately called my friend (they were in separate cars) and tried to comfort and mourn with her. This couple lives about 90 miles away so the phone is my only channel to support her. I wish I could do more but realistically, what I needed during those times was someone to listen and offer advice; I didn't necessarily want folks hanging around my house when I was feeling that low. I am saddened to receive her calls, knowing that her heart is shattered and she's feeling at her physical and emotional worst right now. And on the flip side, I am anxious to answer to calls because I know what it would have meant to me to have someone to call. It's such a double-edged sword--but it is mine to wield and I must be diligent in doing so.

So while I may never have the full "privilege of understanding" why God's plan for me included such sorrowful losses, I believe with all of my soul's strength that helping this friend, at this time, endure her suffering was part of His plan all along. I wish I could be supporting her through something completely joyous, but alas, we were not promised a life without affliction. But we are mandated to love, support, and encourage our sisters and brothers, especially during the darkest of times.

We don't have to like God's plan; we just have to trust it.

Tonight I go to bed praying for the baby who joined our five angels today, the mother whose heart is filled with anguish and mourning, the husband who sincerely wants to support his wife, and that God will give me the appropriate words to encourage my friend as I strive to be the kind of friend I am called to be for her.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Getting bigger

Baby is growing, that's for sure. I was concerned about its fluid level after being so dehydrated with that stomach bug last week. But since I had an ultrasound scheduled for that Monday, I did my best to get fluids and rest in the meantime.

Again, we didn't get our favorite tech, even though I scheduled the appointment with her. I need to make sure the next one IS with her or I'm going to start getting upset. I'll call tomorrow to double check.

Anyway, Baby was moving all around so the tech had a hard time getting some of the shots she needed. Fortunately, we were able to get a couple of good head shots, though. The first one makes me smile because it looks like Baby is laughing. The second one is just a general profile but still amazing to see how much Baby has grown. Measuring a hint big, Baby weighed about 1 1/2 pounds (according to ultrasound which we all know isn't the most reliable in determining fetal weight) so I was pleased. That's some actual weight--we're past the point of measuring strictly in ounces. YAY!!

So here are Baby's latest portraits!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Grand Slam

After Sarah missed trick-or-treating, I kept her home from school on Friday. She lazed around all day and continued being sick. I kept Charlotte as far away from Sarah as I could and tried to keep everything as clean as possible.

Andy came home from work and we ate dinner. I didn't finish my dinner, which isn't like me when I'm pregnant. Andy commented that I must not be feeling well to leave half of my dinner. Ten minutes later, Sarah's virus took hold of me and I was heaving like first trimester morning sickness.

Less than an hour later, Andy followed suit. We sat dumbfounded and scratching our heads, wondering how we'd managed to find ourselves in this position.

We took turns in the bathroom for the rest of the evening. At one point, Andy went upstairs and I thought he might be giving up and trying to sleep. A few minutes later, he returned and said, "Guess what!? We hit a Grand Slam!" He was holding a VERY sick-looking Charlotte and dropped her off with me while he retreated to her room to change her bed sheets. She was nude, covered in smelly yuck, and shivering. I spent the next while cleaning her up and holding her hair back from falling into the garbage can each time she was bent over it.

Eventually, all three of us went upstairs and tried to sleep. Um, that didn't work out so well. Andy spent from about 1am-6am in the spare room or on the floors of each girls' bedrooms, taking turns with the garbage cans. In the morning, Sarah proclaimed, "Daddy slept on my floor and he puked in my garbage can. It woke me up but I went back to sleep." I'd hear, "Daddy!!!! Daddy!!!" every 20-30 minutes, then I'd hear Andy get up, comfort the screamer, head to the bathroom himself, and return to the sick kiddo.

I had called my OB and she had instructed that if I was still vomiting through the night, that in the morning I'd need to be treated for dehydration by IV fluids. So I did my very best to lie still between 2am-5am to allow my body to absorb some of the minute amounts of water I was sipping. At 5am, my body had had enough and revolted against my efforts. By that point, I started to think I was feeling sick because I hadn't had anything solid in my belly for so long. My wonderful husband brought me a cracker and a tiny bit of tea. I had that small amount, lay my head down, and slept for a couple of hours without vomiting.

We all lazed around, slept, vomited, and moaned ALL DAY on Saturday and by evening, I was starting to feel just a hair better. Charlotte was still vomiting, Sarah was definitely not herself, and Andy was questionable.

Sunday found me feeling much improved, Andy on the mend, Charlotte still having some issues every 12 hours or so, but Sarah was not much improved. She was STILL vomiting (remember that her last solid food was a waffle and milk on Thursday morning) and complaining that she couldn't walk because her legs "felt old" (shaky). She said that when she stood up to do something, her eyes would "get dark". I think she was starting to black out.

I took her to Children's ER around 10:30am and after waiting for an hour in admissions, we got a room, waited 40 more minutes to see the doctor, then met the IV nurses. Lovely. After some serious screaming, a failed attempt to stick her vein in her right hand, the nurses finally found and landed a vein in Sarah's left inner elbow. They administered two bags of fluid, some "sugar shots" and other stuff to help increase her sodium and sugar levels. We visited the fish tank, played "I Spy" in the lobby, watched shows, read books, Sarah napped for a few minutes (until the aide came in to take her vitals--grrrrrrr!!!!!!). Finally, at 7:15pm or so, we returned home. We weren't home more than 10 minutes before Charlotte, wo had reportedly been feeling better all day, vomited all over the dinner table. UGH!!!

Monday morning, Sarah woke up feeling much better but Char was still under the weather. I thought it might be a bit of my bronchitis so we went to the peditrician who sent us for a chest x-ray. No bronchitis or pneumonia showed up but she's still coughing and hacking today. They're goign to call tomorrow to check in on us so I'll update them tomorrow.

If you're still reading this, here's the wrap up: We ALL had a stomach virus and spent the entire weekend puking or at the hospital. This was certainly a weekend for the recordbooks--and not in a good way. :(