Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Georgia under snow

I am spending the day being very thankful.

I am thankful for a warm house.

I am thankful for a pantry and fridge full of food.

I am thankful for a husband who left work ahead of the chaos and was able to get home in 'only' two and a half hours...

as opposed to 6...

or 16...

or who is still stuck out on the roads.

It's a mess out there and people are just getting home.

It's taken people almost 20 hours in some cases.

Others gave up and are still at shelters.

We have friends and coworkers who got stuck spending the night at the office.

We have friends who left work at 2:00 yesterday and got home at 2:30 this morning...

with their two year old in the car...

I am thankful my husband has four wheel drive.

And I am thankful he is the type of person that he is.

He could have stayed at home with us last night, while all the chaos was going on outside, but he didn't.

There was a guy who got stuck on our road. He doesn't live in our neighborhood.

He lives about 45 minutes away on a good day but was cutting through our neighborhood because his GPS told him the roads weren't as blocked.

Which was correct, but that's because we live on a massive, steep hill that everyone in the neighborhood knows not to attempt during a storm.

He has a friend who lives about 10 minutes away, on a good day.

My husband took this poor guy the 5 miles or so up the road, to a midway point, where his friend could come and get him.

It took 3 hours to get there and back and my husband had to walk the last half hour because the entrance to our neighborhood was completely blocked with cars.

Now, those aren't just cars pulled over to the side of the road. The white SUV and white minivan on the left side of the road, those are two of four vehicles that are all crashed together. Several of the cars on the right are also 'bumped' together, so it's not even a matter of just moving cars out of the way. There's some damage issues too.

I am very thankful for our many blessings. I am also thankful for a big hearted and helpful husband who does whatever he can for strangers stuck in the snow. :-)

Friday, January 24, 2014


Big M has started his chemo and after testing there were no further masses found. The Dr is confident that after he finishes his chemo treatments (5 more to go) we shouldn't have any further problems.

I feel so much better. At least one load is lifted.

My Old Lady is still hurting. We're trying some new meds.

Elle has ended up with the cough that Ali has had for two weeks. We're going to the Dr for it today. She has laryngitis and it is so sad to see her try to cry and have a tiny squeak come out.

But, my husband is finally feeling better. Ali is better. Big M is going to be ok. I'm feeling very thankful for the small victories right now.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Alternate uses for a sports bra

Vomit catcher.


Probably one of the grossest moments to date, with both children.

In related news, Elle had her first shower today...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Dog Post

Let me first say, that the dogs are so great with Elle. Well, Big M is great, my Old Lady doesn't really care, which is about how she felt about Ali too.

Big M & Elle

It's taken me a while to finish this post because I can't do it without crying.

My Old Lady is failing. She's almost 12 and last week I took her to the vet because she hasn't been 'right' for a few months now. The vet thinks she either has dementia or a brain tumor, but we won't know which unless we do a CAT scan or MRI. I don't know if we're going to be able to do that though. She wanders around the house lost. Really, I think she's lost. She runs into things and frequently when she 'finds' my husband or I, she stands right behind our legs like she's trying not to lose us again. She stands in the corner of a room and grunts at the wall. I think she doesn't know how the wall got there, or how to get around it. We had her vision checked and there's nothing wrong with her sight. She also has extreme degenerative arthritis in her spine and her back legs are not responding the way she thinks they should. She falls over if she turns around too quickly. She can't stand on one leg to scratch anymore. She's having trouble squatting to go to the bathroom. She tries to get on the couch and misses, and falls backwards. She will pace around and around a room not knowing where to sit because sitting hurts, getting up hurts, she doesn't actually 'sit' anymore, she just makes it part way down and then falls. It hurts my heart to watch her struggle. The new pain meds we got aren't helping even though we just doubled the dose (per the vet). I don't know what's going to happen next or what else we can do for her.

Also, we had a lump removed from Big M last week. We've had half a dozen or more similar looking lumps removed from both dogs over the years. They're boxers. They get lumps. They've all been benign or at worst stage 1 mast cell and easily removed. This lump came back different. It was diagnosed as an apocrine ductular adenocarcinoma. Apparently these are not typically malignant but when they are, it can be very aggressive. Guess which one we have. We will meet with the oncologist today to start chemo on him. First we have to do some x-rays though to make sure there are no other tumors. That part scares me the most. I'm terrified they'll find more.

And, Ali, has been sick the last two weeks. I spent Monday and Tuesday night last week going back and forth between the girls rooms tending to which ever one was crying at the time. My husband has had it twice and Elle's nose has started running and she has a small cough too. So, needless to say, lack of sleep hasn't helped me in the coping department in trying to plan and deal with both dogs being sick at the same time. Honestly, I've had to not think about Big M. He's the only one with no visual, obvious issues and I can pretend there's nothing wrong, for now.

Mostly I know it's sleep issues that is making it so overwhelming. I don't want to vent on facebook because I can't deal with those who aren't going to understand how badly it hurts to see my first baby slide out of my life while I try to fix my Big M and keep everyone else in the house healthy, happy and at the very least, fed regularly.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Delivery Post

When I had Ali, I woke up at about 3 am with contractions, spent most of the labor at home, got to the hospital around 1 or 1:30 (a little fuzzy on the details of check in) in full labor and started pushing at about 8. I was ready before then, but there was an emergency down the hall and the doctor wasn't available. I spent two and a half hours pushing and finally Ali was born at 10:36 pm. I was worn out, but having spent only 6 or so hours sitting in the hospital before we got going, I never felt like it was a bad experience. I did have an epidural, but had let the dosage run down to a bare minimum drip and was able to feel every contraction and knew when to push.

This time around was very much it's own experience. I had been to the doctor on the 26th, the day before I was due, and they said I wasn't anywhere close to being ready. I was barely dilated, not effaced at all, she hadn't fully dropped, nada. No baby in the immediate outlook. Ok, well, we really needed Elle to be born in 2013 and were running out of days, so we scheduled an induction for Monday morning, the 30th.

Well, the next morning, Friday the 27th, my water broke at 5:30 am. That was not an experience I really needed to have. That was gross. I would rather have peed my pants. That at least stops, eventually. This doesn't...the whole day...yuck.

At that point, I didn't know what to do. I was contracting, but they were pretty minor. So I pull out my 'What to Expect' book and find that section. Apparently it's a big deal to have your water break so I had to call the emergency labor line and let the doctors know. The other part of this big deal is that I was GBS positive. All that means is that I tested positive for a strain of strep virus that can be passed to the infant during delivery if it's not treated. Treatment is 2 rounds of an IV antibiotic just before delivery. Each round takes about 30 minutes to make it through the IV and into the system. I had to be to the hospital in time to get two rounds with some time in between.

So, we got up, got showered, woke the in laws to let them know what was going on, kissed Ali and headed to the hospital. By the time I got checked in and into the room, I had stopped contracting completely and the nurse asked if I was sure my water had broken because the little swab test she did was negative.


Um, yeah, I'm pretty sure, what else would it have been???

The doctor finally comes in, checks and confirms that it did break and proceeded to 'finish the job'. Now it's really gross and I'm just sitting in it. Blech! She also confirmed that I was about 2 cm at the time. Better than none, but a ways to go.

And, I still wasn't contracting.

So we got the first round of the antibiotic in and then they let me pace around the room. By about 1, I was finally starting to have some decent contractions but after 5 hours, I hadn't dilated any further. So, Pitocin, As soon as they said that, I called for the epidural too. They were going to start them at the same time so that as the Pitocin kicked in, the epidural would be kicking in too.

We got the epidural hooked up and everything waist down got a little tingly but when the nurse came in to hook up the Pitocin she was watching my contractions and getting concerned that, if we start the Pit drip, I'll move along too quickly and we won't have time for the second antibiotic round that still needed to happen. So, she got that set up instead and then 30 minutes or so later, the pitocin.

Two hours later, I was not good. There was something wrong. I felt like there was a pressure on my chest, I was light headed and nauseous. They gave me too strong a dose on the epidural. I was ok, I didn't feel ok, but I wasn't in any danger, however, I had them turn it off. Completely off. It was too much.

It took two hours before I started to finally feel like it was wearing off and when the nurse came in to check on me I asked to have it turned back on to a low, low dose so that when it was time to push, I would still have some feeling, but not all of it. She said sure, and then checked to see how dilated I was first, just to be sure. Last they checked I was barely 3 cm. She then actually said 'oh my!' and the scramble began. I was 9.5 cm and ready to go, now. My husband (who apparently I've neglected through this whole post, he was there, the whole time, he was a trooper, and as bored as I was) had just left to get something to eat since it was about 6:00 by this point. I hadn't eaten since we had left the house at 7 am. I had to call him and tell him to get it to go and get back up to the room, the baby was coming, now. However, they hadn't turned back on the epidural, and by this point I pretty much had full control of my legs and feeling in most of me. I asked several nurses, as they were now sprinting in and out of the room to get things set up for me and for Elle, but no one would turn it back on. They kept telling me it was too late!

My husbands comes in at about 6:15, inhales his dinner, the doctor comes in five minutes later, they get me all set up and I momentarily complained about having to push for two and a half hours during my first pregnancy. The doctor looked at me, then looked 'down' and said 'yeah, it's not going to take that long this time...there's a head'. My husband checked and said, 'yep, there's a head.'

I pushed through three contractions. On the second her head was out, on the third, Elle was born. 6:46 pm. It took all of about 10 minutes. And Elle came out wailing, which cracked up my husband and I since Ali was silent. I had to keep asking if Ali was ok because she never made a sound and I was worried there was something wrong. Elle let us all know she was not happy about the whole process. It was music to me though.

I am glad the epidural hadn't been turned back on. There was still a little left in my system so I think it blunted the worst of the contraction pain. While I had control of my legs while laying in bed, they didn't support me when I tried to go to the bathroom on my own, but it was nice to not be completely immobile after delivery.

It was a very long day and I was so hungry that the reheated cafeteria baked fish dinner tasted fabulous. I was so happy that Elle was finally here though. It was a long day and a long pregnancy but I had my prize. My beautiful baby girl, my second little red headed beauty! I can't believe they're both red, and I know my husband and I are in for some challenging teenage years, but they're so beautiful and we're so lucky.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Christmas Post

Christmas was wonderful this year. My in laws came down on the 24th and my sister had flown in from Germany a few days before. It was nice to have help with Ali around the house since I was so very, very pregnant that it was really hard to keep up with her. It was hard to do most things actually.

We all went to the children's musical service at our church on Christmas Eve and had a wonderful time. It was a very full church though and the pew we were in was packed. About three quarters of the way through the service I started to overheat and got light headed. fortunately, a family in the pew in front of us had just had to leave since both their young boys had fallen asleep and they deemed it a lost cause, so I snuck out of our row and into theirs where, thankfully, an A/C vent was blowing almost directly on me. Even so, by the end of the service, followed by a long walk to the car, I was contracting pretty heavily and we were starting to think there may actually be a Christmas baby. When I finally laid down to sleep though the contractions subsided.

Christmas morning was so much fun. Ali loved the stockings and helped everyone open their gifts. Out of everything she got, this purple tiara headband and 'fairy' wand were the biggest hits of the day.

I love this dress that my mother in law got her and it cracks me up to watch her 'vacuum'. She thought it was great.

She did completely wear out though and fell asleep at the table during our Christmas dinner. She's NEVER done that before. It was hysterical. I had been trying to get her to finish her lunch and I finally realized that while her eyes were still open...she was out cold, a few minutes later, the eyes closed and she nodded off completely. My father in law got a couple great shots of it.

It was a little sad taking down the decorations and especially the lights outside, Ali loved those, but I was not upset to finally delete Frosty the Snowman from our Tivo recordings. I can recite it for you by heart if you'd like. Ali watched it two or three times every day. Every. Single. Day. There were several other holiday shows she liked also, but Frosty was a huge hit. It got old, very, very fast.

Overall it was a really wonderful holiday and being able to enjoy it through the eyes of a two year old was really the most amazing thing. It really makes you appreciate things more.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Parenting Second Born Children

Ali is at my parents house for the day and my husband had gone to the grocery store for me. Elle was sleeping contentedly in her bouncy chair and I decided to take the opportunity for a shower.

I got the major stuff done, hair, face, etc and hopped out real quick to check on Elle, who was still sleeping. I jumped back in the shower to shave my legs, which was rather past due and of course, half way through the first leg I hear the baby crying.

With your first child, you tend to run out of the shower dripping soap and water to see what matter of trauma has befallen your precious child.

With you second (or more) you run through a mental list of what could potentially be the problem. She was fed and changed within the hour, she had been awake for most of an hour and really ready for a good long nap, Ali wasn't around to have dropped something on her, the dogs were asleep too and tend to ignore her anyway...

I stayed in the shower and finished shaving.

Three minutes later I'm done and come out to find she's back asleep and everything is fine. And I am clean, with shaved legs. Win all around.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Introducing, Elle

It's been a little while, as is probably assumed, we had a baby! December 27th. On her due date. Both of my girls were born on their due dates. We have very punctual children.

There is so much to say and so much to tell. First, I am ditching the 'Baby A' name for my oldest girl, she is Ali and we now have Elle. That's just easier to do now and it get's hard to remember not to type out names.

We are all doing really well. Ali is very interested in the baby and loves to hold her, for about 15-20 seconds at a time, and enjoys helping to feed her and hold the bottle. My mother in law got her a baby doll for Christmas and she has been playing with it almost non stop. She feeds it, burps it, puts it down for naps and keeps it very, very clean. Have I mentioned Ali's obsession with baby wipes? It's a little OCD. I blame my husband...  :)

Elle is a sleeper so far. She's a great eater and has been a very chill baby. We're up at 1 or 1:30 most nights for a feeding and then again around 4:30 or 5. Hard to argue with that kind of schedule. The only real issue is that she frequently gets the hiccups after eating and so it's hard for us to get back to sleep until they subside.

I am doing really well too. Not 100%, but hey, it hasn't even been two weeks yet, right? I have however, lost over 20 lbs. I ended up with a total of 34 gained, BUT!! I maintain that it was a 30 lb pregnancy and a 4 lb Christmas! There is no way I would have gained those last four without all the cakes, and pies, and cookies, and candy, and fudge and homemade bread....etc, etc, etc, in the house the whole week before she was born. So, even with that I'm only 13 lbs away from pre-baby weight. Pretty cool in my book.

There's a ton to tell, the labor and delivery, Christmas, Ali, Elle, us, the dogs, everything but, right now I just wanted to introduce her and let you know she's finally here.

Merry Christmas.
Happy New Year.
Welcome to the world, my wonderful, beautiful, baby girl.