November 16, 2011

You know you live in the country....

We live in an extra small city setting in rural country.  We are between 35 and 45 minutes away from small cities and we live between 2 and 3 hours away from major cities.  Sometimes, since our extra small town has a small StuffMart and a small grocery store I forget that we are really in a rural setting; however, many times things remind us...

A pony in the yard reminds me, we aren't in the big city anymore Toto!

Red Tide....

Have you ever heard of Red Tide?   We hadn't heard of it either, but unfortunately we experienced it this year.

 As our Indian Summer just seemed to drag on and on this year we decided to take a little time to explore Corpus Christi and the beaches in southern Texas.   The kids were so excited.  We had spent the summer in and out of hospitals and doctors' offices with baby Luke, that a weekend on the beach seemed like the perfect escape.

We planned and packed and packed some more and finally set out to our destination.  It was going to be F-U-N!!!  We got down to the area and visited with relatives and played with cousins and had a great time!  Finally our beach day came and we loaded up the car and packed sunscreen, snacks, towels, shovels, and then packed the same stuff in a baby version as well.  We were loaded down...and excited to feel the sand in our toes and the sun on our nose.

We drove up to the beach and thought Woo-Hoo no crowd.  We drove up to the ranger station to pay our entrance fee and were looked at rather oddly as he noticed our shovels and pails and eager faces!  Mr. Ranger looked at my husband and said that it was rather hard to swim right now because of the red tide....we thought oh well we can still play on the beach. 

Mr. Ranger said it might be rather unpleasant to play on the beach.  We said, "Nah...can't be that bad".  We wanted to feel the sand in our toes and the sun on our nose.  He said there are no refunds after you pay the entrance fee.  We smiled paid our $10.00 for the day and proceeded to scoff at the unadventurous ranger...we were not to be deterred from a fun day at the beach!!!!

The Corpus Christi state park is one of the only beaches that allows vehicles to be driven on the sand.  We turned on the 4 wheel drive and were so excited about our day...then things started to become a little unsteady.  It started out as a wiff, a slight unpleasant odor wafting up from the sea.   Hmmm....that is unpleasant I thought. 

We drove a little farther and then the kids almost in unison said, "what is the smell????  It is terrible!!!"   I smelled it too, but thought we should hurry and get out of that area to escape the smell, we were going to have a fun day. 

Then things sharply one glance we knew that there would be no sand for the feet or sun for the face. One glance undid all the planning and packing and anticipation. One glance....

...that was it. The end of a glorious idea! However, ever the optimist...I can now say we all have first hand knowledge of Red Tide....our recreational outing turned into an educational one and that should count for something...but it doesn't count for sandy toes!

November 12, 2011

A New Skill....

All 3 of my daughters have taken up piano.  They all seem to really enjoy the lessons and some tolerate practice better than others, but my oldest dear daughter is drawn to it.  It seems as if she must play when she walks by...her fingers have to seek the melody.  My 9 year old daughter who has been playing the longest also seems to love mastering each new song and gets excited as she gets close to finishing another book.  My 6 year old is just enjoying the music and tolerates practicing well enough.   Recently the girls participated in a recital to showcase their new skills.   They did so well!!!  I was excited and nervous for them but they played like champs!  

When I was a little girl and was in some kind of recital we would always come home to a cake made in our honor.  I wanted to carry on that tradition for my girls so I made 2 boxes of cupcakes and arranged them to look like piano keys!  They were excited about the end result, but have asked multiple times what I would have done if they hadn't performed well.  I gave them the standard mom answer and said they would always perform well in my eyes! 

We have so thoroughly enjoyed our season of piano and can't wait for many more recitals!

Such beautifully, talented girls!

Just because he is so stinking cute!

November 11, 2011

Meeting Those Who Love You!!!

Eventually we had to bust our little baby from the NICU.  After 15 hours they finally were convinced that there wasn't anything else that could be done for him until he could see the pediatric orthopedist.   We were so glad to get him from the baby jail because so many people wanted to meet him....
We were all so excited to welcome baby Luke! 

WOW, I have been blessed!

Proud Big Brother!

Emily was suprised to see someone smaller than her!

Grandbaby number 14 for Grandmommy too!

Aunt Rebecca fell in love instantly!
Grandbaby number 14 for Granddaddy!

Luke makes Grandbaby number 14 for Nana!!!

Great Grandma and Grandpa love baby Luke!

Sister loving on baby!

Another sister loving on baby!
Aunt Shannon was so ready to meet Baby Luke!

Cousins are important people in our lives!!!
Finally after 5 days of being in the hospital and being poked and prodded and x-rayed and bothered we were very ready to go home!

After being held for so many days it was hard to be put down!

The next day we would begin taking care of his club feet at a hospital 2 hours wasn't as bad as it sounds but that is a story for another day.

November 10, 2011

Meeting Luke

Luke and his Daddy were whisked off to the NICU to make sure that there were no other problems than the apparent AMC.  I was left with the surgeons and the sweetest OB nurse ever to work.  (Just a note about my amazing nurses.  I was hospitalized earlier in my pregnancy and met a very sweet nurse during my 24 hour stay, when I went in to be induced with Mr. Luke she happened to be working again and she chose to be our nurse.  Then when Luke didn't come and didn't come it was time for our nurse to go home to her sweet family....the nurse who replaced her was amazing but not somebody I had a connection with.  When it was time to go for the section the 2nd nurse they pulled in to help was a wonderfully friendly face from our homeschool co-op.   So along every step of our unique set of circumstances God provided us with loving faces. )

The hospital had a rule about seeing babies in the NICU after a section.   You could visit the baby once you could move your toes.  While my husband was with him I was OK to rest but since Luke was born in the middle of the night his Daddy couldn't stay with him very long.  So I started to become a little panicky.  I wanted to be with my baby all I could think was this little baby who had been surrounded by love for the last 9 months was now laying among strangers.  I just needed to be with him.  Every few minutes I would try to wiggle my toes.  I couldn't do it.  I knew I should be resting I hadn't slept in close to 48 hours but all I could do was focus on my baby. 

Hours and hours past and finally 4 hours later I could wiggle my toes enough to satisfy the nurses.  My husband was sleeping and I didn't want to disturb him and it was almost time for shift change and my nurse knew I couldn't handle being made to wait any longer so she hurried and got me ready to go meet my son.

What seemed like forever finally passed and I was wheeled into the NICU.  We passed baby after baby and then as if by instinct I knew when we got to baby Luke,  He was sleeping so sweetly and contently.  His nurse said he had eaten after they bathed him when he arrived and he had been sleeping ever since.  I asked to be able to hold him and they lifted him gently into my arms.   His sweet small, warm body filled my arms and my heart. 

I spent the next hour getting to know him...counting his toes and his fingers...touching his hair...smelling his sweet baby smell.    I don't have pictures of that first meeting because I just couldn't be bothered in that moment to care to ask someone to do the favor, but it is filed away with the most important memories.

To be honest once I was holding him the AMC didn't seem as bad or as scary.  Yes his little feet were twisted and his wrists were tightly held in a drooping position but it seemed OK.   He couldn't move his left arm at all on his own but both elbow joints worked smoothly.  He seemed perfect.  I couldn't tell you if the amount of research that I did helped to make me feel more peaceful or not but I do know that I didn't worry.  I knew the basic treatment plan and really in that moment it just didn't matter.  It would work would be a long road but it would work out. 

Finally my nurse said I needed to go but I could come back was hard parting but he was doing great.

November 9, 2011

Our son...

After we made the decision to go ahead with the c-section it became a hurry and wait situation.  They had a scheduled c-section ahead of us and then a poor lady needed an emergency section.  Baby Luke was just fine to wait as long as there were no contractions or pitocin.   So he was just hanging out while his Mommy was just hanging on.

They wheeled me down the hall and started their procedures.  This was one of those big moments in life and I wanted to take it all in.  I wanted to remember the details...but at the same time all I could focus on was baby Luke's heartrate monitor.  Everytime his heart beat I would breathe.  It is an amazing thing that God created when he tangled Momma's and baby's together.

The nurse asked me my name and why I was there.   The anethetician asked me my name and why I was there.   The doctor asked me my name and why I was there; I wanted to look at one of them and say, I had an enlarged gall bladder that needed to come out,  but I was too nervous to be funny.

They were ready to begin and in just mere moments I felt pressure and then the absence of it and then a cry.   A lusty cry that was angry from being jerked from his warm home.  And with that cry it all became all right.  All the months of pleading with God had brought to fruition an answer to prayer, and just like that I could exhale the breath I had been holding for the last several months.  The first chapter was over and Luke was here.  I no longer had to fear my body betraying another baby....we made it....Luke made it. (The bible doesn't tell us much about our life before we are conceived but I always imagine baby Timothy telling his brother good may be the farthest thing from the truth but it is a nice image.)
The NICU nurse ran little Luke past me and I was able to see him and all of that dark hair.  The other nurses huddled in the corner saying his APGAR is 9 does he have to go to NICU???   While the nurses and doctors were trying to decide if Luke did indeed need the NICU the nurses started gathering statistics.  He was born at exactly 12:59 AM on 6-11-11.  He weighed
 6lbs 13oz with an indeterminable length (around 19 in).

In the end the hospital wanted to make sure that all of his issues were isolated to orthopedics and nothing underlying so he was whisked away to the NICU.  I sent my husband with him and again I was all alone, but this time the "what - if" monsters had been slayed and my soul was soothed.

It would be hours before I could truly meet my little boy, but that is for another post....

November 8, 2011

Baby Day!!!

Post 1
Post 2
Post 3

On June 9, 2011....I woke up to what I thought would be my last full day of pregnancy. I had one last doctors appointment. I had a few things left to buy and prepare before we met our sweet little bundle and I had a guinea pig to pick up and deliver to my daughter!

Lots of family was coming into town that day as well and I was excited and nervous.

After everything was done that day and everyone was prepared and loved on and everything that I needed to do was done...I was a wreck!

I walked around the house just trying to find something to do. I wanted to giggle emphatically at the fact that I was going to hold my baby the next day and shout from the roof tops how happy I was to meet him and simultaneously I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry for fear that maybe he too couldn't stay with us.

Finally I tried to sleep and I slept fitfully but luckily we were due at the hospital at 6 AM so we had to be up at 4:30 AM anyway!

So after all i's were dotted and all t's were crossed we were off to the hospital to meet our baby boy. The baby I had prayed daily for along time. The baby that was so wanted by our family.
So we got to the hospital and took one last picture of the baby in the belly and started to make preparations to meet baby Luke!

The nurses came in and hooked up IV's and asked the same question in 12 different ways. I answered them as if my life depended on it with a smile on my face. The day you get to meet your baby is such a magical day and it is hard to mess it up...especially when there isn't any pain yet!

Eventually all was arranged and I was ready to start the pitocin. I was ready for labor I was excited by the baby warmer in the room and I couldn't wait for the drug to start to work. Couldn't wait!!!! However, wait we did....and wait....and wait!

4 hours later I hadn't had 1 contraction! They had upped the dosage every so often and since this wasn't my first rodeo the nursing staff thought I would see the baby very quickly....HA!

So after 6 hours of no contractions....I was convinced they had given me a placebo. It was really saline not pitocin that was in this IV. The doctor came in and said maybe they should break my water and that would help speed things they did and it didn't!

I had company coming all day and while I was happy for the sweet distractions. I was becoming very anxious to meet my little man.

Throughout the day I would alternate walking and sitting and laying down....doing anything that I felt like would help things along. Nothing really helped. Around 10:00 that night everyone started to depart for the night. The nurses were ready for me to rest and I was becoming a little nervous. My nerves were starting to get the best of me. I wasn't in any pain but I wanted my little guy to be alright. My lingering thoughts in the back of my head were not staying where they needed to stay...due to the excitement of the day and the lack of sleep the night before I was becoming desperate. The "what if's" were playing an ugly song and I was a captive audience.

Around this time my labor (or lack thereof) started to pick up a little I was FINALLY starting to have some contractions. However, the drama started there also. Baby Luke could not tolerate the contractions. Every time my body would contract his heart rate would plummet. All of a sudden my bedside looked like a scene out of a hospital drama. The quiet room was stuffed with medical personnel. They wanted me to lay on this side then turn to the other side and then finally on my elbows and knees with my face lower than my belly. They turned off the pitocin and baby Luke would find his happy place again. All would relax and we would turn the pitocin back on and then the drama would repeat itself. It was now close to midnight and they checked to see if we had made any progress in all of this....I was dilated to a 3.

After the last drama scene the doctors came in to talk to us and told us we needed to start thinking about a c-section. The baby was not tolerating the contractions, I was not very far along, my water had been broken all day, etc.

Way back when we found out that the baby would be born with AMC the subject of his delivery had been one of controversy. Some adamantly said that all AMC babies needed to come via cesarean. Others said no they could come naturally with little complications. I had prayed that the Lord would give us a clear answer and that we wouldn't cause any harm to come to our little guy with our decisions.

Finally I asked that I be able to talk with my hubby by myself and everyone left. I cried....the what-ifs overflowed to the surface. The exhaustion was creating a bleak outlook and the stress of the previous few months all came crashing out in what could only sound like sobs. My husband knew the decision was basically made and I knew we really had no choice but to accept a c-section but to feel like I had some minor control for a few seconds made the difference. We tried to hash out the 'what if' monster but basically until we say our baby they really wouldn't go away.

We told the powers that be that we were agreeing to a c-section and they started the preparations...little Luke was on his way!

July 28, 2011

A Review of Pregnancy....part 3

Part 1

Part 2

To catch up from the beginning go to the links above.

Enjoying our baby (7 1/2 months)

So with my new found approach I was able to try and enjoy my pregnancy. I can't say that I never had dark moments, but they weren't quite as dark.

I began to research and discuss and learn everything that I could about AMC. Arthro means joint and Gryposis means crooked Multiplex means multiple and Congenita means present at birth. AMC is an umbrella diagnosis or an actual diagnosis so that means that my baby either had crooked joints just because or there was an underlying reason and AMC was a secondary condition.

I began to know more about our diagnosis than my OB's. I began dreading doctors appointments because I had learned how to live in my world with a smile on my face and they still thought I needed consoling. They still had the pity face on and I had my game face on. They thought I was in denial and I thought they were overly dramatic.

There were a lot of unknowns. Most of the time when my fears would bubble to the top it was in the form of "what if...". What if the baby had issues that I couldn't care for? What if this is secondary AMC and he has many health issues? What if I did something to cause this? What if I can't care for him and take care of my other children effectively? What if....

Anytime I would formulate these what if questions in front of a health care provider or a friend or family or in my own head the answer was ALWAYS the same....we have to wait and see. That was frustrating, but finally I resolved myself to be patient. I took solace in the words of other AMC mom's, "being pregnant with an AMC baby is the hardest part of the road - waiting and waiting to see what he/she needs from you when all you want to do is to help right now!"

The AMC community was such an answer to prayer. There were mom's who sought me out and sent me messages and gifts to brighten my road. They shared verses from the bible that consoled them and they shared stories some funny and some not of their own journey. They were a blessing in a dark moment. It was so refreshing to have someone know my world...not to just sympathize but to know that they had stood where I was now standing and had survived.

Excited to meet our baby boy (8 1/2 months)

My husband and I interviewed doctors and started making a plan for treatment after birth. We visited Texas Scotish Rite Hospital for Children and met the baby's future orthopedic doctor and took a tour of the hospital. We started making a game plan for our future in as many areas that we could plan for, and for the rest we had a mantra that we repeated over and over again..."I don't know - we will have to wait and see...." It was a hard but sweet time.

If the words on this page seem jumbled and rushed and disjointed then the emotions of that time are being reflected. We were excited, we were preparing, we were scared, we were logical, we were irrational, we were tired.

Then finally...the doctors decided it was time to meet our little man. The "someday" was here and we were going to meet our baby Luke.


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