Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Well-baby check-ups

Today was well-baby check-up day for both Simon & Rachel. Poor Simon, he was ok in the waiting room. He went to play on the ramp built into the office & another little girl shoved him a bit & said, "Mine." He promptly started crying like his heart was broken! Once I finally got him calmed down (all it took was some John Deere gummies), the receptionist called me up to the window. She apologized, but said that actually our appointments were for tomorrow. I told her that I'd gotten a call yesterday (Monday) confirming today (Tuesday's) appointments. There must have been some glitch in their system b/c she said that had happened before. The biggest problem for me was that I had Brenda (mother-in-law) there with me & wouldn't have anyone tomorrow. I explained & she want back to ask Dr. H if it was ok for us to be squeezed in. He apparently said yes.

Eventually, they called us back to the actual rooms. That's when Simon started screaming & crying like a kicked puppy. Ever since he had to have his blood drawn he's HATED going to any doctor. He screamed all through getting stripped down to his diaper. He screamed while they weighed Rachel (14 lbs 10 oz). He continued screaming as they weighed him (30 lbs 14 oz). The screaming continued while they were measured for height (Rachel 25 3/4" & Simon 37"). He even continued screaming through the physical exam including in Dr. H's ears as he used his stethescope. I don't think he stopped screaming until well after Brenda took him out to the waiting room again. He did give Dr. H a hug before he left though - even while he was crying.

We knew Rachel was going to have to get shots, so we sent Simon (with Brenda) out before Rachel started crying too. I stayed with Rachel. She was really happy while Dr. H examined her. She smiled & wiggled for him. He rolled her around & actually gave her a raspberry on her tummy! For some reason, (yes I know I'm probably biased) I think he likes my kids exceptionally much. Anyway, Rachel even smiled for the shot lady - that is until she got stuck the 1st time! Then she shrieked loud enough that Brenda could hear her out in the waiting area! Her whole body turned red! She finally got over it, but it took a LONG time!

Anyway, the day went fairly well! Thank goodness for help from my mother-in-law though! Too bad my mom couldn't make it, but it was probably good for a change to do something with my mother-in-law! Hope everyone else had an ok day!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Reconcile yourself

Well, today I rested. I still don't feel great, but I guess maybe I'm not as bad as I was. Mother Nature is definitely taking her pound of blood from me though! I met w/ my Creighton Instructor today & even though I'm limited for how long I'll be doing this, it is nice to know the information so I can spread the word! We also went to the Sacrament of Reconciliation tonight. It was Andrew's first one. I tend to avoid this Sacrament b/c I have too much pride to tell another human my faults and weaknesses. However, tonight's Confession seems to have made me feel better.

What a wonderful thing. It is nice to know that even though we have sinful natures, we are always allowed access to the Sacrament of Reconciliation to reconcile with God and beg His forgiveness. While it may seem possible (no doubt easier) to do this one-on-one with God, adding in another human as a 'stand-in' for God (as well as a human who's been there done that & can give advice) gives the whole reconciliation aspect new meaning. You must first humble yourself before you can truly admit fault. You must first humble yourself to discuss your faults. The courage that it takes to do this can only come from God. The ability to discern your faults is a sign of a developing conscience. Having a 'stand-in' for God allows you to understand that this is a step forward and to ensure that you don't go too far. In other words, the Sacrament of Reconciliation uses the priest (the 'stand-in' for God) to help you mend your relationship with God through humility, courage, and conscience. I don't think its truly possible to do that on your own...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

My apologies & appreciation!

I'm sorry for the downer post yesterday. I was feeling really down. I think it worked out ok today though. I'm still not thrilled w/ my new body, but I have a little bit of a better understanding right now of 1) why I felt that way last night & 2) that even if *I* hate my body, no one else sees it like I do. Andrew (and lots of others) were very sweet to me last night! I really appreciate it.

I'm still feeling bad (hurting a lot) right now, so I'm actually going to send both the kiddos to my mother-in-law tomorrow. That's a first EVER! Hopefully I'll feel better by Tuesday - they both have doctor's appointments.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Another night in the ER

Yep, we spent another night (very early morning) in the ER... It wasn't for me though - it was for my husband, Andrew. He has a kidney stone. He was huffing & puffing, moaning & groaning the entire trip into the hospital. I've heard kidney stones be compared to childbirth for men, so I figure he was very much in pain. They actually got to him really quickly and even dosed him with pain meds fairly early into our visit. We arrived around 1 am and left around 345 am. Not too bad considering some previous visits we've had were well over 4 hours...

Anyway, they sent him home w/ prescriptions for pain, nausea, and swelling (Flowmax to be exact) and a little funnel sieve to catch the stone when it comes out. He's spending a lot of time sleeping (all the drugs have that side-effect). I keep waking him up to drink and/or pee to get that thing GONE! Hopefully he'll be feeling better soon.

Simon & Rachel appear to both be on the mend. Both have snotty noses (probably allergies). Simon coughs at night some, but doesn't wake himself up like he was doing. Rachel's rash seems to have already responded to the cream, but before the next time for her rub-down she's itchy & fussy again. Of course, she's also completely made both her fists chapped by chewing on them b/c she's already teething. By this time Simon had already cut a tooth I think. However, they're doing pretty well.

I'm *really* tired. I was driver last night & I have a phobia about being in the ER for a serious reason alone w/ only the patient - especially it seems if intense pain is involved. I had a flash-back to my time in college w/ my then boyfriend (later fiancé). His trip did not turn out well... I was alone w/ him until his parents could arrive & witnessed some of the most tremendous pain in an individual that I think I've ever seen. I was 20, in the middle of finals week before Christmas, and watching my boyfriend writhe in pain. Not a good place to be or a good memory. It seemed to have been set off last night by the sight of skinny hairy dark-skinned legs poking out of a hospital gown while the owner of said legs suffered pain that I could do nothing to fix. I tried to not let it bother me, but by the end of the night I was stretched to my limits & even though Andrew was feeling much better (thanks to IV Dilaudid & Toradol) by the time we left, I was beyond stressed.

Right now stress does funny things to me. For one it makes me much more emotional than ever before. I don't know if its b/c I've been exposed to so much lately that its made me more sensitive instead of desensitizing me. Or if its because I've been told so often that its ok to be emotional and to be sure to share it with those that love me. Anyway, since I had to be strong while we were at the hospital & on the drive to & from, I internalized it all like usual... My breathing gets really shallow, my chest tightens, my shoulders round, my jaws clamp, and I slump forward. The problem with that right now is that these rocks on my chest don't like chest tightening - they take up too much space and aren't flexible enough, plus there's still some healing going on in there from the vigorous scraping they did during surgery. These rocks also don't like when I round my shoulders &/or slump forward. Again, its a space and flexibility issue as well as tenderness from a still healing chest wall.

I kept having to tell myself to take deep breaths, sit up straight, and keep my jaws relaxed. Andrew noticed & kept asking me what was wrong. While we were in the hospital or in-route (to or from the hospital), I couldn't risk telling him - he needed me to be strong since he was concerned it could be more serious than simple kidney stones. So I used the standard "nothing" answer.

Once we got home he cornered me (he was feeling no pain thanks to wonderful IV pain meds) and asked me what was wrong. Even though sometimes I suspect it hurts him for me to mention my late fiancé (for several reasons, he's said its hard/impossible to compete w/ a dead man, he knows there's nothing he can do to erase the pain for me, and he's reminded that we could have never been thrust together), I told him how hard it is for me to be the only one there when there's a serious issue b/c it reminds me of my past. That past to me feels like a failure even though I know there's nothing I could have done to combat my late fiancé's melanoma in his brain. Its irrational, but emotions generally are irrational. Being the sensitive guy that he is (those of you that've met him probably don't see this aspect of him, but its true for me & the kids) he reassured me that he was ok and would be ok. We 'made-up' as it were by talking a little bit and hugging/holding a lot.

That hugging/holding got my right tissue angry... As I said yesterday the scab is formed upside down right now, so it catches on everything. I thought I'd designed a really good form of padding for it to let it air-dry, yet not risk being caught on something & torn off. However, the down-side is that I can't feel my entire breast - much less this tissue. So in my insecurity as we slept holding one another, I apparently put too much pressure on it. When I woke up there was a pretty deep depression all around the troubled tissue and the gauze that wasn't supposed to touch it was stuck deep in it. It took most of the day - including a hot shower (to get all the fibers out), some air-drying as well as blow-drying - before the tissue appeared normal again (ie, not depressed). However, one of the times I went to check it, as I pulled my shirt away some tissue on the bottom side pulled away and made it bleed. Bleeding is theoretically good b/c that clearly shows good circulation. However, bleeding is bad when you have a very sensitive 4 year old girl (Abby my niece) and 2 year old boy hovering around. So I found some 'non-stick' gauze & will be trying it now. I hope on Friday that Dr. W clips some of the loosened scab so there's less to catch on stuff. I'm going to point out that in my opinion the risk far outweighs the possible benefits of keeping the scab intact. Especially from where I'm sitting now!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Living life in a vacuum?

Simon's still coughing, but much improved. Rachel got her first rub-down w/ her new prescription cream, so we'll see about her in the morning. My much worried-about right tissue is doing ok, but still being difficult. Last night it was stuck to the gauze I use to protect it, so I had to shower to get it loose. Then I had to come up w/ some method of protecting it w/o actually having anything stick to it. Then the scab decided to form upside-down - curled out away from my body instead of towards/around my body. This makes it decidedly difficult to keep from accidentally pulling it off - something my plastic surgeon could lead to a hole all the way through to the implant. That would mean the implant would be contaminated & need to be removed... A *VERY* unhappy thought.

Well, today I decided that I'd do some much-needed cleaning on the house... Primarily that (to me) means cleaning the floors. That is something I HATE! I really really really really (you get the point) HATE to vacuum. I don't really know why, but its just the way I am. I told Andrew when we first got married that he would have to do all the vacuuming in the house b/c I HATE it. Well, his idea of vacuuming the house has led to him doing it maybe two or three times a YEAR in the 3 years we've been married. I may HATE to vacuum, but I hate having dirty floors (you know dirty enough that white socks soon become dingy brown/black just from walking on them & dog hair, dust bunnies, & God knows what else jumps on anything near the floor) more. So I've started trying to do more vacuuming. I've been putting it off since my surgery & trying to drop hints to Andrew that it needs to be done to no avail... So today, my limit was reached & I drug the good ole Eureka (bought the end of last year) out of the closet.

Well, it all started well & good. Pushing & pulling the vacuum wasn't too challenging for my chest muscles. I thought it may even qualify as exercising them. We don't have a whole lot of carpet (just our living room 28' x 16'), so I considered it slight. Rachel was happily swinging in her swing after her 10 am bottle. She even didn't mind me bumping the base of the swing w/ the vacuum. Then I got to noticing that even though I kept going over the same spots (I'm a checker-board kind of vacuuming person - I go one direction in a section, then I rotate 90 degrees & do it again), visible dirt (yep - it *was* that bad) was just kind of moving. The visible dirt cup also didn't seem to be filling. About 3/4 of the way through I pulled the hose to suck up some stuff under the couch. That's when I noticed that the suction was *really* poor. So I pull off the dust cup & check the neck where the hose meets the body/dust cup of the vacuum. No clog visible, just some icicles from the Christmas tree (yep - that's probably the last time we vacuumed - after Christmas).

However, I *knew* my vacuum had better suction than that. So out comes the handy screw-driver. Yep, I have to use a screw driver to take the hose completely off the vacuum. However, there is apparently (to my knowledge) a good way to get the hard plastic elbow-neck off the flexible hose in order to clean it out. So on the free end I took my broom handle & shoved it up as far as it would reach. I got some stuff out. I figured, hey, I'll use gravity & centripetal force to get some of this crap out too. So I started beating & banging both ends of the hose outside on the railing of my porch. Stuff came flying out & I should have probably had a dust mask on b/c of all the dust (& God knows what else that lives in that kind of environment) flying around.

I noticed that even though most of the resistance was gone when I used the broom handle, there was still some at what seemed like the very end of the broom handle's reach. That's when I discovered there's no good way to take that hard plastic elbow-neck off the hose. So handy little me, I decide to go get my drain de-clogger stick-thingy. I shove it into the elbow-neck and meet considerable resistance. The end of the stick-thingy just wasn't big enough to pull the stuff out though. So I started beating & banging again hoping for physics to work for me instead of against me. Well, more came out, but not the main clog it seemed. So I again went to work w/ the stick-thingy. I probably jammed that thing in there for 15 minutes trying to break up whatever clog was in there.

So after a good jamming, I take the hose back outside (Rachel has been watching her crazy mom avidly this whole time) and again beat, bang, & swing it trying to dislodge whatever is in there. At this point, I'm kind of expecting a small (large?) animal to come out and fuss at me for disturbing its hibernation. I was half-right... What came out was this nasty, but huge if you count all the pieces, hair-ball with enough dust, crumbs, and what-shall-not-be-thought-of to stuff a throw pillow (if you were of a mind to have all those allergens in a pillow). I didn't try, but I'm pretty sure I cleaned it all out. So at this point, what should have been a 30 minute tops chore has taken me at least an hour & a half & I'm still not done! No wonder I hate vacuuming! I finally finish, but again, it just doesn't seem up to full strength... Geez...

This time I figure since I've cleaned out the hose its time for the dust-cup & the filter to be cleaned. I learned that the filter does indeed come off the housing of the dust-cup. I also learned that some of the nasty dust (and other things) actually form a cake-like/dried-mud-like substance that gets between the fins of the filter. Using time-honored tradition of women everywhere - I again used my porch railing to beat the dirt out of the filter. The dust-cup, thank God, is actually easy to empty, so it was done quickly in the beginning.

Had I really been interested in true cleanliness I would have started all over. However, I apparently don't care *that* much and I do HATE vacuuming *that* much... So while the floor is better than it was, I don't think I'd say its actually clean... Of course, w/ all that beating, banging, swinging, pushing, pulling, twisting, etc my foobs, arms, chest, & head were hurting. I'm just now starting to notice that my eyes are quite itchy as well... I'm also just now starting to realize just how sore my foobs are - quite a bit more than they were earlier today. :-( Oh well, all in the name of cleanliness! After all, cleanliness is next to Godliness the old saying goes.

Monday, March 22, 2010

On the mend, but another one bites the dust?

Well, Simon seems to be on the mend. He's playing a bit more and wheezing a bit less. His breathing only gets bad when he cries for long periods of time or really hard. His nose is running like a fountain (clear, so probably no bacterial infection) though. We're giving him children's Zyrtec (for age 2 - there are several different varieties) and breathing treatments 4 times a day. Since he's been home I haven't heard him cough or have that stridor sound. Yippee!!

Now we've got Rachel who's having some problems. She's been diagnosed w/ eczema for her scalp at her 1 month or maybe it was her 2 month appointment. However, she is now covered on probably 70-75% of her body with a rash. She's not been on any antibiotics and I'm using All Free & Clear plus vinegar rinse water (no fabric softener). She is actually coordinated enough to scratch herself - especially her exposed head. She dug in one night & now looks like someone took a miniature rake to her head. I've got her in mittens, but she's already (after one night) figured out how to take them off pretty quickly. The pediatrician's office called in a prescription steroid cream for her, but we can't pick it up until tomorrow. Plus, it kind of worries me b/c the nurse was *really* serious when she said Rachel could only have it on her body twice a day for a week out of a month and on her face only once. Its not a strong percentage of steroid, but I guess w/ her small body size & such there are lots of risks.

Of course, me w/ my mommy guilt and what my co-workers call my need to confess, I'm paranoid that somehow her skin problem was caused by my chemo. I know its almost been 4 months (will be on Friday), but some of these chemo drugs are supposed to stay in your system for a *really* long time! I mean, they've told me (actually scared me & Andrew to death) that I can't/shouldn't get pregnant for the next 2 years b/c of the high risk of me bleeding out, miscarriage (I already have a 4 out of 6 track record on that), and/or serious birth defects. They also all laugh and dismiss me b/c Andrew & I don't practice barrier or chemical birth control. We use the Creighton Model of Natural Family Planning (CrMS).

Now, before you too scoff at this idea, let me explain something to you... The statistics that you know (and everyone loves to bandy about) for barrier and/or chemical birth control methods are for "perfect" use. I don't know about you, but I'm certainly not perfect. However, w/ CrMS the practical use statistic is above 80%. The practical use of the pill is around 70% I think... Condoms are *way* worse - something like 40% or less. Here's a random website I found that gives some of the success/failure rates. Of course, this site (and most like it) neglects to mention the unintended chemical abortions that occur w/ IUDs and hormone birth control. Not to mention the effects of these non-natural methods of birth control on the environment, women's health, men's health, etc. Afterall, where do those condom's go? Where do the hormones the woman's body doesn't use go? (The answer to this one is into the toilet, through the sewage system that does *not* typically try to remove hormones, and back into your drinking water, etc.) What havoc can these hormones cause women while they're initially ingesting them? What happens when unsuspecting men & women (infants, toddlers, children, teens, etc) drink contaminated water, etc? My method (and I'd say any method) of NFP does NONE of that. Instead it uses our bodies in the way they were designed! Yes, it can be difficult to abstain, but people abstain all the time in the name of losing weight, saving up for a big purchase, etc. Why can't we control our sexual appetites - and have it be considered normal - in the same ways? Children are a blessing - not a curse. When I see a woman with multiple children (ie more than 2) I'm especially pleased because children are our future and blessings in our lives no matter how difficult it seems.

Sorry - I didn't really mean to go on such a tangent, but I'm *REALLY* tired of hearing doctors and other women scoff at *my choice* of birth control when they don't know the facts themselves. Of course, this could lead me to another tangent - "a woman's choice" - but I'll try to save you that! ;-) I have a degree in Molecular Biology. I *love* to do research online for articles about things like this. I *love* to investigate things that are important to me. My health is *very* important to me - otherwise I wouldn't be sitting here w/ these rocks on my chest instead of real breasts taking medications that I hate. I feel that people generally would much rather take the easy path & either ridicule those of us that use NFP (whatever method) or simply ignore the fact that NFP even exists.

Of course, I'm also blaming Rachel's skin problems partially on the fact that she's a formula baby & not a breast-fed one. Simon was *really* healthy & any time he got clogged up or had a slight rash I'd administer some breast-milk appropriately (but not by mouth if you get my meaning). It would clear up very quickly. So poor little Rachel has at least 2 things going against her.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sick Simon... :-(

Does anyone have any suggestions for a little boy who has croup but no fever? When we went to the ER last time (he stopped breathing for a short while), they gave him breathing treatments & a steriod. We've given him 2 breathing treatments in 4 hours already & he's still snotting & coughing. We have humidifiers & have put him in cooler PJs. Poor baby even has Stridor. Its all due to allergies we're pretty sure...

We've got the (3) humidifiers running full blast. One is a hot/steam one & doesn't seem to help. The other 2 (one in his bedroom & the other in Rachel's) don't seem to be helping either. We didn't take him outside much b/c its been raining. He is wheezing & congested, so we're using the nebulizer we got for Rachel's RSV. About 20 minutes aftertreatment he's much better altho you can still see him laboring to breathe a bit. He can then sleep for about 4 hours - then the coughing, wheezing, and stridor breathing starts again. So we give him another treatment.The Vicks (both the baby & adult versions, plus the plug-ins) don't seem to be doing much either. He is drinking & making wet diapers, so he is hydrated. He's not cyanotic ever or even seriously in respiratory distress except when he's upset. Today we got him some children's Zyrtec and he's been dosed 1/2 a tsp. We're waiting to see if that improves his night... I sure hope so!

Even though he's sick he's still a sweetheart. I have the sweetest son in the world! Tonight I was laying down w/ him and pretending to sleep to encourage him to sleep. He very gently started rubbing my cheeks, forehead, eyes, and shoulders. When I opened my eyes he'd say really softly, "Sleep mommy." How sweet is that?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Up & Down & All Around...

Whew today was a physical day for me! I started it by pushing Rachel in her full-sized stroller up to my mom's house. Even though she's next door & that doesn't sound like much, take into account that we're in the country & her house's elevation is probably at least 100-200 ft above mine. Then I forgot something, so I walked back down & up again. Then I still forgot something else so I walked down & had mom come pick me up. Then we went down the hill a bit to pick Daffodils in the field behind my house. That doesn't include all the walking around I did w/ the kiddos to keep them entertained outside (and wear them out so they'll sleep)! I'm exhausted. I think I'm going to bed already b/c we have an early day tomorrow as we journey to Louisville for another doctor's appointment. G'night!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

First day of Nana's Daycare!

Well today was the inaugural day of Nana's Daycare (my mom). For the first time she had all 5 grandchildren at once all day long. Abby, Sarah, and Lukas came early - around 7 30. Simon came around 9 with Rachel & I to follow at about 11. It was a full house. However, I think it went rather well. Abby is 4 and loves to be the 'mother'. Sarah & Simon are both 2 (Sarah's b-day isn't for another couple weeks, but...) and they love to play together. Rachel of course is 3-1/2 months and Lukas is 8 weeks (I think that's right born January 20). They're both still babes in arms. Their older siblings/cousins love them to death (sometimes we're afraid literally). They all ate lunch together (minus the babes), then took naps... Well, Abby & Sarah took a nap, but Simon was too keyed up, so he stayed awake... :-(. When they woke they played for a while, did arts & crafts with me, and then watched Sid the Science Kid and Dino Train. Once they woke up Papa (my dad) began his preparations for St. Patrick's day feast. It was a wonderful day w/ wonderful supper! Tomorrow will most likely be the same minus the feast at the end! Its a good way to not think about my foobs & such, although its also a good way to do something I'm not allowed and/or hurt myself. Overall though, its a wonderful thing. Once I go back to work, mom will have all of them pretty much by herself since dad spends a lot of time on business phone calls & trips. She's in for one heck of a ride! However, these kids are going to be learning a lot from each other & they'll be doing it in a family setting instead of a stranger setting. I feel wonderfully blessed to have this type of relationship and opportunity with my mom for my kids (and nieces & nephew). God bless her for devoting so much time to her grandchildren when she's already raised her own family.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Today I had a mostly normal mom day w/ my little girl (Simon was with his Nanny - my mother-in-law)! The only reason it wasn't normal is b/c I'm still limited & still quite a bit sore. However, it worked out pretty well. We also met with my Creighton instructor and her 6 month old little boy. We also cooked supper - Stuffed Pepper Stew. It wasn't bad, but needs some tweaks next time I make it. All in all it was a pretty good day!

Tomorrow we plan on having a girl day w/ Nana in town. Its her last day of 'freedom' from having all 5 of her grandchildren while their parents work (or in my case - recover). She'll have a 4 year old girl, two 2 year olds (one boy & one girl), and two newborns (one boy & one girl). She's DEFINITELY going to have her hands full! So tomorrow we're going to town out to eat (probably Shogun) and other random stuff.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Simon says the smartest things!

The other night (Saturday) our family went to visit Andrew's dad (Richard) & his wife (Sheila) in their new home. We spent quite a bit more time there than we actually anticipated, but had a good time. Sheila just loves Rachel & Richard is completely taken in by Simon. We had supper together & Simon amazingly ate not only most of a NY strip steak, but also potatoes & salad w/ ranch dressing.

After eating we were playing in the floor (Simon & I) and he noticed that they have a trash bin that spells out "TRASH" on the top. He looks at it & says "T". I nod & congratulate him. He then continues w/ *ALL* the letters. Since this seems like a teaching moment I asked him what it spelled. He, of course, being only 2 didn't know. So I said "trash". Then we went through the letters again. At the end he looks up at me and proudly says "trash" w/ a big grin. I don't know what to think. He's going to be hard to keep up with in school I think b/c he'll get bored too often! Heaven save us from bored little boys!!!!

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Smiling already at 2 weeks

Smiling already at 2 weeks
Rachel has been smiling as a response to other people since day one.

And two shall become one...

And two shall become one...
In 2006, Andrew & I became one before God and family! Shortly thereafter we became 3 with the birth of Simon in 2008... Then 4 with the addition of Rachel in 2009!

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