Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Kami Kraziness


I've been promising more pictures and videos of Kami.
Well, here they are. She is just the funniest thing. She has had me laughing all day.

I have discovered a few things that are interesting about her this week. She attacks the broom when I sweep, and attacks the Swiffer when I mop. She hates the noise the Swiffer makes when I push the button to spray the solution. She wants to cuddle when she's tired and thinks that I should get off the phone and pay attention to her! She hates the sound of "hold" music on the phone, but loves to hear Bleu on the phone. She likes people more than dogs, and loves loves loves kids. She's usually perfectly content sitting in my lap licking my hand when I want her to be still. She hates the camera, and wants to bite the dog that's on the screen. Haha. Oh, and she thinks that when I have my hair in a bun that it is her responsibility to chew it up and pull it out.
videoSo here's the story about the box. Bleu's cousins got a Build A Bear for Tristan and I took it out of the box and set the box down. Kami was really intrigued by it, so I pushed it over to her and scratched on it to see if she would play with it, but she didn't seem to interested. So I just left her and went back to what I was doing. After inspecting the box, she sniffed, cocked her head and barked at it a while. Then she bit into it, then she just took off and came back and picked it up and just started running all over the house with it. And..... well.... yeah. The movie explains it.
So then I was trying to get a picture of her next to me to show how big she is. And it was almost working. She would look at the camera just until the light would go off. So they are all fuzzy, and then when I was taking pictures of just her, she didn't like the camera facing her. It's pretty funny.
video



Oh, Yeah. She likes to lick. Love her, hate that about her. :)


Monday, October 12, 2009

Tristan would be six months old today! I decided that instead of being sad and saying that I've been without him for six months, I'm going to be happy and say...

Yay! I'm six months closer to being with my baby boy! I love you Tristan! I miss you so much and I can't wait to see you again!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Finally


Well Bleu and I have gone to visit Tristan a number of times and every time we go we forget stuff to clean his stone, and the camera. Well, we FINALLY remembered both when we took mom and dad out to see it. Funny thing is, Mom forgot HER camera. Haha. So mom, I'll send you a copy.

So here it is. I don't know when I'll be able to visit him without bawling, but I think I have a good excuse. This week has been pretty rough on me. Bleu left for his deployment on Tuesday, which I'll tell more later, our first baby would have been a year old this week, and Tristan would be six months old tomorrow. So hard times all around, but we are doing what we can.

Okay. Bleu left for his deployment Tuesday morning: we had to be at the airport at 6am. I'm really glad I brought my purse because they let me go to the gate with a pass and ID. We waited for a while and everyone was fine, talking, laughing, joking, we had some breakfast and were just enjoying ourselves. When the PA announced that they would be boarding their flight soon, I could just feel the mood change from pleasant to dread. Waited a little longer and when they started calling the zones to board, all of the family members started clinging to their soldiers, and all of the wives started crying. There's no way to prepare yourself for something like that. I stood at the window with the other family members and we waited and watched the plane leave the terminal. One of the wives standing next to me was holding a four month old baby with tears streaming down her face. She and I turned to each other and she reached up and hugged me. I had never met her before, but we introduced ourselves and walked to the door together. She isn't sure if her husband will be coming home for Thanksgiving so she will probably not see her husband till October of next year. I told her about how Bleu and I both have webcams so we can see each other and she said that was one of her ideas, but they just couldn't afford it. I felt awful for her. I talked to Bleu and he said that maybe we could get him a ticket to come home. If we have the money, I really want to send him home to see his family. I can't imagine what she's going through. My Bishop from our Single's Ward asked if there was anything he could do for me and I told him that we appreciated all of the prayers. And it's so true. So if you ever have a spare moment, send a prayer on behalf of the soldiers and their families. Even thought we don't hear them, we sure can feel them.

Meanwhile, Kami is a puppy through and through. She's growing so big and she's in her toddler stage of running, chewing, jumping, etc. She will definitely keep me busy for the time being. She really smart and just wants to make us happy. It truthfully only takes her a few days to train her to do something. She's great at potty training when we remind her ever few hours, but when we say "go potty" she knows what that means and happily wags her tail and goes to the back door. She sits and stays, she knows that she needs to sit to get her toys, she will drop her toys as long as they don't get stuck in her teeth, she is getting better at fetch, she comes when I call her, we are working on laying on her bed on command, she stays quiet all night and waits to be let out of her crate, she sits and waits for her food instead of barrelling over me, and we started socializing her with other dogs at a dog park. This is the really funny part. She loves the dog park because there are people and kids there. She could care less about the dogs, and will bite them when they stick their noses in her face. So slowly I think she's getting used to it. She actually played with a Springer Spaniel a few days ago. It was big progress. She is starting to show her personality and she's still the cutest thing ever. She doesn't cause too much trouble. We have cords all over the living room and she doesn't chew on them. She knows not to. She doesn't chew on shoes. (One swift swat to the face was enough for her to learn.) So I don't regret the day Bleu brought her home at all. I will be putting up a few pictures and videos soon. She's already outgrown the ones I took a few weeks ago! :) Till next time. Love Ya!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Okay--

Wow. SO much has happened that I don't even know where to start!

Okay well I guess I will start with my health. I haven't been to a Doctor since my last post simply because there hasn't been a need to be! Yay! I have been having my feet zoned and have been feeling much better. I have been having some pain in my kidney, but we are thinking that it's getting back into the swing of things and needs some time to work better. I've been working on the emotional and spiritual side of my life and it feels great. It's a lot of work coming from the depths out into the light. It was a huge climb in a short amount of time, but we are almost there.

Well some of you have heard that we moved! It's true! And it was quick. Bleu knew how much I didn't like being in the apartments, so he was determined to find me a house to rent that would allow a dog. He and I both want a dog, but for different reasons. I want company and someone to give my attention to, and he wanted someone to be here to protect me. :) Well, we found this cute little house just six block away. It's about 1,000 square feet and the landlord is charging us less than our apartment. Super great. So we found this house on a Saturday, and looked at it on a Monday, signed a lease on Wednesday, and were completely moved out of our apartment by Saturday. Wheew!

So here is my cute little living room. There are built in shelves on the wall and corner shelves.

My kitchen has lots of storage and an original drain-sink. I love it.






Because we don't have our on-site pay to use washer and dryer, we had to buy some. Oh, darn. Bleu got me some gently used front loading stackables and they are amazing!!
One week later..... I told Bleu after we had been looking at dogs for what seemed like forever, I told him, " I'm tired of looking at dogs. The only two that we agree on is the doberman and the great dane. Just pick one." That very same day, he came to work with a steel blue colored great dane puppy with blue eyes. She's the sweetest little thing ever and She's so smart and very well behaved for her age. Just after a day or two of practice, she will sit and stay, and we are working on lay down. She knows that she's not allowed on the carpet, and does pretty good when there's nothing baracading the doorway. She's very curious and playful. She cuddles when she's sleepy and plays on her own as well as with Bleu and me.

These are from the first week we had her. She's already grown so much and will keep growing and growing and growing...... We named her Kami and as you can see, she LOVES Bleu. She loves when he comes home and plays with her. It's cute, but I'll admit I get jealous every now and again. :)


video
Okay that's all I can do for today. I will report later!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

I've Missed You!

I've been without the internet for about two or three weeks and it's been tough. BUT! It's here, and I have LOADS to talk about so look forward to lots of posts about lots of changes for the Hawkleys. Till next time....

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Jury Has Reached a Verdict.

As you might know, I've seen a doctor about my swelling and feeling sick and so forth. I saw the kidney specialist today and we talked about what's been going on lately and he looked at the lab results that my last doctor sent to him.

.............DRUMROLL.......................

Because my protein levels are so low and comparable to a very sick person, the doctor made a suggestion that I didn't want to hear. I'll be starting dialysis at the beginning of next month and we will do lab work every month to monitor the progression. If that doesn't go well then the next step would be to start thinking about having family members tested for a tissue match in case the need for a transplant arises.

So the next step for me is to tell you that I am completely and totally kidding about all of that. Hee hee! I'm fine. The doc says it's most likely that the numbers are so low because pregnancy can do that to a woman's protein, and they've stayed that low because of the deep depression I was in and it caused my appetite to drop, which lead to the malnutrition. Just to check it out, he's doing pretty much a repeat to see how I'm progressing and says that from a kidney perspective, he doesn't see any problems. The swelling in my ankles is almost gone, which feels GREAT!

I'm also working with a Health Coach on getting back into a healthy lifestyle with eating the foods that my body needs and starting a personalized exercise program. I will actually be checked up on every few weeks to see if I'm doing what I said I would. :) I continue to loose weight for reasons unknown to me, but I'm thinking that these new lifestyle changes will help me be a healthier person.

I also have to factor in that I have been through a WHOLE LOT physically and spiritually the past few months and these have definitely taken their toll. I was beaten down in many ways and those all need to be addressed. It's a hard knock life. But that's life--it wasn't meant to be easy.

So there you have it. Just another day in Paradise.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Update on Life in the Crazy Lane

Well Hawaii was amazing. Scuba diving was AWESOME. The beach was great. It was super nice to get away - just the two of us and enjoy eachother's company.

Because two weeks off work just wasn't enough for me, I decided to go ahead and get 1st and 2nd degree burns on the back of my legs. hmph. I didn't really decide that, but I was the one dumb enough to depend on keeping my legs underwater. Bad idea. Horrible idea.

Today, almost two weeks post-burn, I am almost able to walk normally and without grimacing. I tried to go to work Monday and was sent home by my boss. So I went to my doctor and when I showed her the burns.... ( which were now deep red in color and mostly covered in blisters) I made her gasp. Yes. LITERALLY gasp and "oh.. no...." over and over. She told me that it's basically one big open wound and to consider myself scolded. She is having me treated as a burn victim. I've been slathered with ointment, covered in gauze and wrapped with ace bandages. Plus given antibiotics and awesome pain killers. I have to change the dressings twice a day, which Sara has been wonderful enough to help me with for the first few days. Now I've mastered it on my own. It's humbling to go to a doctor and show her what I did to myself, but I'm so glad that I went in because it's helped so so much. I'm on the second bout of blisters, and my left leg's skin has turned black, but I feel so much better. The swelling in my legs is down dramatically--my right knee is almost able to straighten. But my feet are still an issue.

I had the opportunity to see a Reflexologist in Farmington that's a friend of Bleu's family. She zoned my feet and talked to me about all of the emotions that go alongside the problems I'm having with my kidneys and overall health. It was great to actually have an idea of what I can do to help fix it! there are alot of things that need addressed, and I have a lot of work to do, but now that I know, it's like a new light. I feel like there is an end in sight and it's very encouraging. I will be seeing her again soon, and I also have an appointment with a Nephrologist later in the month.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Doctor Says....


"I'm confused, too. You have no reason to be sick."

Whaaattt?

So the lowdown according to last month's lab results is: I have "strikingly" low protein levels in my blood comparable to a person who is in-the-hospital-sick or suffering from a chronic illness. The protein is what keeps the water in the veins. Because I have no protein, the water is escaping through the walls of the veins and pooling in my feet, which is causing the swelling. The two reasons for that to happen is kidney or liver disfunction, which my labs show neither. So I have no reason for this to be happening.

I told her that I was confused because of all of the protein that I eat, and I eat well. She's confused, too. So we took some more blood to check the protein again. If my protein level has improved at all, she is going to assume a nutritional imbalance and it should slowly get better. If there is no change, or it's the same then she will be doing phone consultations with a kidney specialist, liver specialist, and a vascular surgeon to see if I need to be refered to one of them.

In the meantime, I am eating more protein and calories, and I'm going to start wearing compression socks at night to try and control the swelling. I should get the lab results tomorrow. Hopefully all goes well and I won't be refered to a surgeon--Scary! /:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More Bloodwork

Well it's been one month and I'm going in for my follow up. I'm doing it all over again. Bloodwork. I really don't enjoy it.
I've been feeling a little better lately, my sick feeling is not a daily thing and the headaches are pretty rare anymore. I've been having some sharp stomach pains so we'll have to talk about that tomorrow. My appetite is a little better and I'm eating more so that's probably helping me take more calories. We shall see in a few days. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Great News:


I'm Malnourished! Why is that news so great?? Because it's NOT Kidney Disease. When was the last time that your doctor told you that you needed to take in more Protein and Calories? Weird, but oh well. My cholesterol is normal, but my good cholesterol is way low, and my protein is way low. So I'm taking more vitamins, eating more protein and calories, and Bleu is determined to get me running in the morning. Hmmmm. I don't like that idea. But I'm happy to know that I'm Malnourished. Crazy. But hopefully all of these changes will help me feel better. Staying away from the calories is not the best way to eat healthy. That's why it's called a balanced diet. :) But I'm also happy to report that my sugar/sweets aversion stuck with me. I still can't eat very much and rarely find myself craving sweets. I still crave fruit. YESSSS!! It's so good.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Trust in the Lord....

...with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. --Proverbs 3:5-6

I've been consistently sick for about a month now. None of my symptoms made any sense and I just assumed that I was still physically and emotionally recovering from Tristan's birth and death. When Bleu (the Doctor hater ;)) suggested that I see a doctor, I realized that this has gone far enough.

After yet another sleepless night, I was laying my head on the table at work concentrating on feeling well enough to make it through a six hour day. My boss came into the room and said my name, startling me -- I was almost asleep with two very large copiers going behind me. She said "Mickaela, go home. Get some rest; we'll be fine without you."

So I filled in 1.25 hours for the day and went home and made an appointment to see a doctor. Yesterday I went in and the doctor ordered a urinalysis and blood work including a full blood count, liver function, kidney function.... the works. I got a call today and she asked to have me come back in for the very same thing on Thursday. I won't explain everything she did just to make a long and boring story short.

I have very low protein count, and she is concerned enough that she wants to do another blood and urine test for kidney disease. I looked online and finally all of my symptoms make sense.

swelling of feet
headaches
upset stomach
fatigue
dizziness
loss of memory
forgetfulness
lack of concentration

They seem pretty random until they all show up on one page as a list of symptoms. We don't know for sure, that's why we are testing further. But I would really appreciate a few extra prayers on behalf of the doctors and lab technicians so that they can see what is happening and what needs to be done.

Love you all..

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bleu's Coming Home!

------Aloha!------
And I don't mean hello.
I mean goodbye.
Cause we are leaving!
To Hawaii!
For a whole WEEK!



Bleu and I decided we need a vacation and LOTS of time together. We didn't get too much of a honeymoon when we got married besides two nights in a hotel.... and both of us were sick..... and I went to school two days later.
We talked about going to Hawaii before we got married, just after we got married, a while after we got married..... and now we've stopped talking about it. I just booked the flight and hotel. My heart was POUNDING! I've never spent that much money all at once--YIKES! But we've been saving for something like this for a long time, and BY GOLLY, WE NEED A BREAK!

Just so you all know the latest, Bleu is on the list for deployment in September. (another reason Hawaii sounds nice) It's a "most likely" situation. Bleu seems to be okay with it on the outside, and I've come to terms with the idea. Bleu and I have been apart for half of our marriage, and we will still be apart for half of our marriage when he gets home in 2010. But I've thought about it all and I would just rather get it over and done with. I thought of ways to postpone, but it's inevitable...... so why not just do it now before we have any kids and I'm working.

I have thought about some different options that I have, and I might go back to school and get my CNA. I've thought about it before and after the wonderful care that I received at the hospital, I think I would enjoy doing something like that. We are also thinking of buying a house, but might need to wait till Bleu gets a job. We aren't sure if we will be able to get one before he leaves, but we will try. He really wants to work at Airport #2 in West Jordan as a Helicopter Mechanic.

We decided that no matter what happens---whether he leaves or stays---we are going to have a great summer together and do lots of things like camping, hiking, and whatever else we come up with.....like going to Hawaii. :)

Aloha.....

Monday, June 1, 2009

My Therapy

I have suffered from Anxiety and Depression for years without anyone recognizing it.
Only after a wise Family Practice Doctor spotted me, did I know that my "not feeling well" symptoms wasn't a virus. I went in to the Dr. and told him about my headaches and body aches. He checked me out and started asking me about my eating habits, which were not good, and sleeping patterns, also not good, school, stress, etc. He asked if I had ever been treated for my Depression and Anxiety. I looked at him and started to cry.

As I now battle Postpartum Depression, and it's a beast, I look back on the years and notice that my ups and downs are sometimes triggered by my environment, the situation, but a lot of times.......how I feel about myself.
one definition of depression is: a mental state characterized by a pessimistic sense of inadequacy and a despondent lack of activity. Depression is often linked with low self-esteem and in my opinion, makes matters much worse.

Bleu and I were having a discussion on the phone and he was very confused at why I was feeling so inadequate, sad and like I had failed. It just didn't make any sense to him and when he repeated it back, it didn't make sense to me either, but that's how I felt. So Bleu talked to me and finally convinced me that I was an amazing woman and had done so well with everything that was happening and he called me Super Woman. He said that I need to learn how to be more confident on my own because he might not be here all the time to remind me. He also frankly told me that he was tired of hearing me say things that put myself down because it's not true.


So since there is no Super Woman, I found this Wonder Woman Notebook. And the first page says:
I AM WONDER WOMAN!
This is my Wonder Woman notebook. Sometimes I need to remind myself and be reminded by Bleu and others that I'm not as bad as I think. I can't depend on others to keep reminding me, so this is my way of reminding myself that I'm great. So this is where I can write down the reasons that I'm Wonder Woman. Also, I hope that Bleu will contribute so that when he's gone, I can read what he wrote.

The main things that Bleu has me try to remember are:
keep thinking about good things
Bleu loves me very much
I'm doing a good job
I'm beautiful

My WW book only has a few pages filled, but it's a start. I've already had to re-read and remind myself a few times.... but that's what it's for. I've also printed some of the comments from a lot of you that read this blog that have made me feel so good. They are taped in the pages. I have a picture of Rosie the Riveter, and an email from a friend that made me feel good. When I told mom about it, she said it was a good idea, and wrote a letter in it, too.

Somedays I'm WW because I shared my testimony with someone, or touched someone in some way. Other days I'm WW because I got out of bed at nine instead of ten. I also write things that make me feel good like smelling lilacs at the park or knowing that Bleu loves me.

Today I'm Wonder Woman because I am so proud of my son and know that he has taught so many people more than I could ever imagine already.

I would really love for you, whoever is reading, to write a note, letter, whatever to Wonder Woman and share your testimony with me. They make me feel the best! It will all go into the WW notebook to help me remember on bad days. And if Tristan has taught you something, please --I would love to know because I might not have learned it yet. I love you so much--everyone who has been here for me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pictures and Poem

There was a man that offered to take some pictures of Tristan at the Hospital and the nurses strongly suggested that I let him. So I figured if they were free, why not go ahead and do it? I said that I didn't want much and he didn't do much--BUT he did a beautiful job. There's a lady that works with him that made a little cardboard book with the pictures and some words in and around them. It's just as perfect as it can be. On the back it has this poem and I thought it was very sweet and wanted to share it, since I haven't been feeling up to blogging very much. So here's just a glimpse of what they did.


The world may never notice
If a flower doesn't bloom,
Or even pause to wonder
If the petals fall too soon.
But every life that ever forms,
Or ever comes to be,
Touches the world in some small way
For all eternity
.
author unknown

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Time to Stop Crying

Every time I look at our blog, it makes me cry because of all of the wonderful support and love that everyone has shown. I love you all so much. Now, it's time to stop crying.

Mom and I went to my two week post-op appointment with Dr. Luikenaar. She looked at the incision and said it looked great. Because I didn't get stapled, we didn't really have anything to do but talk about what happened, and how long everything will take to heal. She also said that I could take the steri-strips off in the shower any time and that is exactly what I did today. I was a little nervous, because without my glasses, I couldn't see what was going on down there. But they are all off, and I'm still in one piece.

As for the recovery, I'm doing really well. Mom and I go on a walk around the apartment complex every day. My walking is getting better every day, I'm able to go up and down the stairs without help, and I've started helping in the kitchen. I think I would survive without mom here, but it sure is nice to have her. I don't think I could do all of the work that she does around here. I still get pretty tired easily and try to take it easy. I'm planning on going back to work at the beginning of June.

As for Bleu, he went back to Virginia Wednesday evening. Because he missed almost two weeks of school, he was scheduled to go back to 4th Platoon--where he sits and waits for an opening in a class, or starts over. Before he left, he said that he anticipated being in 4th Platoon for at least a week. Well, Heavenly Father is truly watching out for us. One soldier went A-WAL and there was one opening in a class and Bleu got in the very same day he got on base. So he's only been set back two weeks and should be done with school by the end of June. We are both super excited for him to come home.

That's the update for now. I need to find out what I'm going to be doing for the next month--if I feel good enough to travel, I'd like to see all of my family before going back to work. But I also have lots of things that need taken care of here. That's all for now, Love you all.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oh Mother, My Mother

Oh Mother, my mother
I touch your tears
Invisible fingers
Soothing your skin
I know you think of me so often
In the day, in the night,
In your dreams
Going into an empty nursery
Knowing I'll never be there
But I am.. in your heart
In your soul, I shall always be
For you gave so unselfishly of yourself.
Inside of you, you created
Such a world for me
A world of laughter, of love
Of sadness, of sorrow
Every emotion people come to know
You shared with me.
And even though I may never
Feel your arms around me
I felt your heart beating,
Like a lullaby, singing me to sleep
And your spirit giving me a safe haven already protecting me
Nurturing me
Preparing me of things to come.
But sometimes the journey
Of life pulls souls apart
And yes, I had to go on
To another place.
I wish I could stay
I wish this was a decision
I could make
And I know you do too.
Know this wherever you are:
I will always remember
That yours was the first love
The first joy, the first soul
I will ever know
You gave me the courage to
Go on in my journey
I hope I can do the same for you
Your heart beat will always
Call me to you.
Love, Your Child

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Little Soldier Boy


Tristan Michael Hawkley
April 12, 2009-April 13, 2009

For those of you who don't know:

Easter Sunday, I dropped Bleu off at the airport around noon before going to church. After Church, I was laying in be reading when my water broke around four o'clock. Sarah was home, and we packed up and went to the hospital. I called my mom and she left immediately from Shelley, Idaho. I left a message with Bleu, who was on his way to Georgia on a layover to Virginia.

When we arrived, I explained the situation to the doctors and they put me on observation. Because I was only 31 weeks, I was given a shot of steroids to jump start the development of Tristan's lungs. The goal was to keep me pregnant for 48 hours to give the two doses of steroids time to take effect. I was put on a fetal monitor to keep tabs on his heartbeat. My contractions had started en route to the hospital and felt stronger by then. When I first arrived, I was dilated to a two, and about an hour later, was a three.

After the doctors had gotten all of the monitors hooked up, they said that we would just keep him in as long as we can for the steroids. But, at the first sign of distress on the baby, or me, they would go straight to the O.R.

My brother-in-law, Gavin, and Grandpa Wayne came and gave me a blessing. Gavin informed us that Bleu was on a plane back to Salt Lake and would be here at midnight. Just after talking to a Pediatric Specialist and signing papers for operation, I had a contraction, and heard Tristan's heart rate drop dramatically. Just as soon as the contraction left, his heart rate came up again. The doctor came in and I knew we were going to have to do a C-section right then. He said "It's time to have a baby."

Everything went fine with the exception of the internal fetal monitor(s). (I don't want to talk about it)

The Specialist came in again after looking at Tristan and told me that his head was large in comparisson to the rest of his body, and his left side is smaller than the right. They did a scan and found that there was no lung tissue in the left side. His right lung is fine, but the chances of his survival off of ventilation is slim. He also said that the pressure of the excessive amniotic fluid had bruised his body pretty badly.

I was able to see Tristan a few minutes later, and I knew that my little boy was the one with the brown curly hair. The nurse told me that there was a hemorrhage in his head between his skin and skull. She explained that type of hemorrhage just keeps going because the skin is so stretchy that it doesn't stop the bleeding. They had ordered blood and fluids from the bank to compensate for the fluids lost. She said that they would try to keep him alive until Bleu got there.

Two volunteer Priesthood holders came and gave Tristan a blessing. I stayed with him until Bleu came. Bleu and Gavin gave him a name and a blessing, and then Bleu and I were left alone with Tristan to say goodbye. He was taken off of the ventilator between 1 and 2 and went shortly after.

We had a very small funeral service for our immediate family members Saturday April 18.

Tristan was a blessing right from the start. Bleu and I love him very much and are proud to be his parents. We are excited and looking forward to seeing him again. We have such loving and supportive friends and family that help us along the way. We all love you, Tristan. We'll see you again someday.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Quick Update

I went to see Dr. Luikenaar this morning, and since I'm 30 weeks, I was hoping to measure around 34 cm because I've been 4 cm too big the past two appointments. Well, no such luck. I am 36 cm. Dr. Luikenaar didn't seem too concerned. She said that she's seen women measure 50 cm before. (I REALLY REALLY hope it doesn't come to that)

She did check my cervix like Dr. Byrne suggested, and said that I'm dilated to a one, but very long. She said that it's further than she'd like to see me at this stage, but again, not too worried.

The baby's heartbeat was fine, and my blood pressure, temperature, and weight (160.5!) were all fine, too. So I see her again in two weeks. I have an ultrasound a week from tomorrow, so we will see what's going on inside then!

I'm still getting used to the bed rest thing. It's so hard to stay down when there is so much that I want to do. But I have a stack of books, and I get bigger and more uncomfortable every day so it gets easier to stay down because of the contractions.

Bleu gets to come see me this weekend. He's excited to have a turn taking care of me. His training is going pretty good for him. They are doing more hands on training, so it's more entertaining, but the computer and classroom stuff still drives him bonkers. He's in student leadership and has some authority and responsibility so that takes up a little more of his down time. He's getting good grades, and just can't wait to come home. He is still planning on applying for the mechanic job out at airport #2 in West Jordan when he gets home. So that's the plan for now.

Well that's all till next time! Love ya

Saturday, March 28, 2009

BIG BUDDA BELLY

I knew I was getting big, but I've grown so much in one month! Just so you can see the difference, here is my picture from 25 weeks.And here we are at 29 weeks. I look completely different. I even have dark hair and glasses.I had a friend tell me that I need to take pictures every week now so we can see just how big I get before I go into labor. I told Bleu that I wanted to try and make it to Memorial Day weekend because he might be able to come home. He just laughed. That would be 37 weeks, and I haven't really found anyone that thinks I will make it that far.

Has anyone else noticed that I always have exactly the same clothes on in every single picture?? It's not on purpose either! I think I have one with a different pair of pants. But I wear those sweats ALL the time. they are so comfortable. The only time I'm not wearing them is when they're in the wash, or when I'm at work. Now that I'm done working, I will forever be in those sweat pants. I'm not complaining one bit.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Photo Tag from Heidi

1. Go to your picture folder on your computer or wherever you store your pictures.

2. Go to your 6th folder and then choose the 6th picture.

3. Post it on your blog and then tell the story that goes with the picture.

4. Tag 6 other lucky people to do the same thing and leave a comment on their blog telling them about it.
Um.. I'm not in this picture at all, but it was the 6th one. I'm just playin' by the rules here, okay? This was our Dixon Family Reunion '08 in Idaho Falls on the Fourth of July. We spent the day at Freeman Park and had a few canopies set up, and there was a big field that we played all sorts of games on. This was a trust-building activity. We were divided up into teams because we have so many people. But the idea of this particular activity was that the team members would make two lines facing eachother and be able to "bounce" someone who was laying on thier back in everyone's arms. They start on one end, and you all bounce them and slowly move them to the end of the line. There were a few falls, but we had fun.

Now I am tagging.... Stacy, Sharon, Jennifer Carlson, Jennifer Anderson, Danna, and Raelynn.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Another Ultrasound

I had an appointment with Dr. Luikenaar on Monday and everything went pretty standard. I asked her if I could get a temporary Handicapped Parking Permit for when I need to go somewhere and I don't have someone to drop me off at the door. She said that was a good idea and she would sign the papers...she just didn't know what papers need to be signed. :) So I did some research the next day and found the form for her to fill out, and dropped it off for her this morning. The office is going to fax it to the DMV for me, and that's that! Easy!

So we also heard the heartbeat again, which was normal, and measured my belly. Two weeks ago I was 26 weeks and measuring 30 cm. This week I am 28 weeks and measuring 32 cm. So I'm still 4 cm too big, but at least it's been steady. After all of the fun stuff, I got two different nurses -- one gave me a shot in the butt, and the other poked me in the arm to draw blood. :( But the good news is that my Glucose test was fine, and my Iron level is fine.

This morning, I had another ultrasound. We did the standard stuff, measuring the head, and legs, and heart rate. I wanted the stenographer to tell me which bump is what body part, because I can't figure it out. His head is down in my pelvis, his bum is above my belly button, and his feet are kicking me in the right ribcage.

Dr. Byrne came in and we took an AFI (Amniotic Fluid Index) which was still a 32. Then of course, Dr. Byrne poked, and shook and jabbed the poor kid for a few minutes, and still no movement. We got a great view of his tongue, and it did move, which is good, but still no swallowing. His belly is still empty. Here is the little clip of his tongue moving.
video

The Nurse got the cutest view of his little lips and nose, but didn't snap a picture. It was just plain adorable. I teared up a little bit. We could see his lips, and his chubby chin, and his nostrils. I wish I had a picture to show you. But here are some that she did save.

This is his face. You can see his eyelids and his lips. I love those chubby little cheeks!!
videoThis is a video of the same shot. The little circle on the left side is a cross section of his arm. At the very end of the clip you can see it move just a little... That's movement at his shoulders that the doctor looks for. His shoulders move pretty well. I've seen his arms in all different kinds of positions. He's usually in a boxing pose, though. My little fighter.

Here's another profile looking at the side of his face, focusing on the tongue.

And.... yes. It's a boy.

Dr. Byrne asked if I had talked to Dr. Luikenaar about delivering at the University Hospital, and we all agree that would be the best option. She asked if Bleu would be able to come home for the delivery, and I told her that we aren't sure. But I did ask her if I were able to carry to a certain number of weeks and be able to schedule a C Section; there may be a possibility for Bleu to be here. You know, if we could plan ahead if I carried far enough. I asked how far do I need to carry for everything to be okay. She said that she would be comfortable with anything after 34 weeks and 36 would be better. It was kindof like "let's try and make it that far" I really don't think my body will be able to hold till 38 or 40 weeks..and I'm beginning to feel like Dr. Byrne shares that prediction. So 36 weeks is the goal 34 would be okay.

One of the things that Dr. Byrne said that I should be watching for is leaking fluid. I have heard that some women aren't sure when thier water breaks. So we talked about that, too. She said that there are a few differences between leaking fluid/water breaking and loosing control of your bladder. Coughing, sneezing, laughing, or sudden movements can cause you to wet your pants a bit. She says that usually is very short, and quits. Fluid continues. Activity level is a good clue too, because if I'm laying down watching a movie, reading, and start feeling wet, that would most likely be fluid. Also she said if I wake up in a puddle, that's fluid. She said that because the reason for my water to break would be from the pressure, and that would cause the fluid to gush more than leak and that I should head to the U when that happens, and go straight to Delivery, not Emergency. If it's an unlikely false alarm, I'm there, and we can check everything out to make sure I'm okay to go home.

Dr. Byrne asked if Dr. Luikenaar had checked my cervix at the last appointment. I said no, and she said that we might do that next time. Probably to see if it's closed, or if there's any dialation.

Because he's not swallowing, I asked if he will have a sucking reflex and if he will have to stay in the hospital until that is resolved. She said that will be one thing that we will have to wait to see; sometimes babies aren't born with the reflex, but develop it, and he does need to stay in the hospital until we find out if he has it, if he will develop it, or if he will be able to eat at all. So I asked if he isn't able to suck or swallow, will we put a feeding tube in? She said that there is that possibility. A feeding tube can be put through his nose into his stomach, but those are only temporary (about 2 weeks) and if the development takes longer than that, they will probably put a tube straight through his tummy to his stomach. I've had experience with these, and that's not a problem. I even know which model and accessories I want! :) If the tongue thing is neurological, there is a chance that eating orally may be learned later in life. But again...we'll have to wait and see. But it's good to be prepared. Whatever the case may be, I feel very strongly about having him just on my milk and not the feeding stuff they give them in the hospital. So I might be feeling like a cow, but he's getting the nutrition he needs. :) MOO.

So there ya go. Not really a whole mess of new discoveries, but no news is good news. I feel better this week mostly because I'm learning to chill and sit down. I think that the bed rest is going to be good for the both of us. I will need the extra energy after the surgery. I have an appointment with Dr. Luikenaar on April 7th and another ultrasound on the 15th.

We are so excited to see him!! Love you all

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I got tagged!

4 Jobs I've Had:
  1. The Learning Center working with disabled children--Best Job EVER! I miss it so much!
  2. Waitress at Red Lobster
  3. ArtTix Ticket seller--phone jobs suck.
  4. Night Janitor at Family History Library. Great Location, Crappy hours, Smelly work.
  5. Print Room at WesTech Engineering. Gopher work--I love it.
4 Movies I've watched more than once:
  1. Lonestar State of Mind--hilarious
  2. Iron Man--Bleu LOVES it
  3. Italian Job--we both love it
  4. Borne Trilogy--awesome
4 Places I've been:
  1. Las Vegas, Nevada
  2. Disneyland, California
  3. Waikiki, Hawaii
  4. Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
4 Places I've lived:
  1. Shelley, Idaho
  2. Bakersfield, California
  3. Pocatello, Idaho
  4. Salt Lake City, Utah
4 People who email me regularly:
  1. My Mommy
  2. Sharon Lawley
  3. Katie
  4. Carol Williams
4 Favorite Foods:
  1. Orange Juice
  2. Chicken Taco Salad
  3. Steak n' Potatoes
  4. Nachos
4 Things I'm looking forward to this year:
  1. Having my husband home
  2. being a mommy
  3. buying a house
  4. building a family
4 TV shows I watch:
  1. Seinfeld
  2. King of Queens
  3. Scrubs
  4. House
4 People I tag:
  1. Danna Pettit
  2. Sharon Lawley
  3. Torrie Nicholas
  4. Katie Purser
Now go to a picture folder and upload the 4th picture:

This is Christmas Break before Bleu and I got married. We spent three weeks making my dress, planning the wedding, and I was BEAT! Whenever I took a nap, or slept at night, all three dogs (mine, mom's and trina's) were always sleeping with me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Water Balloon

Water Balloons are so fun aren't they?

I remember making them when I was a kid and only filling them up a little so they would last longer. But it was also very fun to fill the really big ones until they were so tight we could barely tie it off.

Well, I think you know where I'm going with this. I guess you can just think of me as a giant water balloon---the kind that you fill up till it's too tight to tie.

I had my appointment today and I'm not terribly surprised, but definitely disappointed. I am being considered a "Very High-risk Pregnancy" and have been put on Modified Bed rest. Dr. Luikenaar changed the orders to allow me to work 4 hours at the most for the next two weeks so that I can train a replacement. After the two weeks, I will be staying home. I can't do any lifting over 20lbs, no bending, no walking (prolonged). It's okay for me to get up to fix meals, etc. and also said it's okay to go to the grocery store, but keeping in mind the walking part. She said that it's not as strict as staying in bed all day long, because of blood clots, but just to stay down, take it slow, and easy.

We went over the ultrasound results and she confirmed that a Vaginal Delivery would most likely not happen. She wants to see me every two weeks starting now, and also have an ultrasound every two weeks starting now to measure the fluid. We want to keep the baby inside as long as we can to make sure he develops as much as he needs to.

So kind of frustrated... I'm a pretty active person, so it's going to be hard for me to be on bed rest, but Sara was with me and she knows all of the rules, and will be the enforcer. I do have a sewing machine that I can learn some more on, and I think I'll have mom teach me to crochet some blankets for the little man, and maybe one for her, and whoever else. :) I love to read, and it's getting sunny, so maybe I can set up a chair out in the sun and bask with a book or two. (That was Bleu's idea.)

Speaking of the daddy.... He's taking it all like a champ. He even wanted me to talk to the landlord about moving to the ground level so I don't have to climb stairs. :) Sweet, but I really don't want to move. He asked to talk to Sara and made sure that she would take care of me and take me to the hospital. He said that he would be talking to his Drill Sergeants about when the next 4 day weekend is and whether or not he can take a few days off and fly home to see me. He's being very supportive and wishes he could be here. He's doing such a good job.

Well I think that's about it for now. Thanks again to everyone for reading, sending words of encouragement, your prayers, and everything. It means so much and our little family appreciates it SO much! We love you!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

SMILE


Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You'll get by
If you smile through your tears and sorrow,
Smile, and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through
If you light up your face with gladness,
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying,
Smile, what's the use in crying?
You'll find that life is still worth while, if you just Smile.

Well, what else can I do?

I got a phone call a few days ago from a nurse at Dr. Luikenaar's office saying that it would be fine for me to fly.

THEN

I got a phone call this morning from a nurse. Dr. Luikenaar said that after thinking about what we found in the last ultrasound, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to fly in my condition. She said that I need to stay in areas that have the Hospitals that are capable of what we might need in case I deliver early.

Also, the nurse asked about FMLA and if I wanted to stop working right now. I said that I wanted to work as long as I can depending on how I feel and when the baby comes. The nurse said "well, Dr. Luikenaar may want to put you on moderate bedrest, meaning no trips, no long walks, strenuous activity....you would be able to get up for things like cooking and using the bathroom. She also wanted to see you before you planned on going anywhere."

I have an appointment scheduled for the 23rd, and told the nurse about it. She said yes, but Dr. Luikenaar would like to see me sooner than that. So we made an appointment for tomorrow at 4pm to discuss the ultrasound results and FMLA and the Bedrest subject.

I was able to talk to Bleu during his lunch break and told him the news. He was a little frustrated that it had changed from "ok" to "not ok" in two days, but understands that we need to do what's best for the baby. He said "well, you have a sewing machine, you could definately get a lot done." :) He took a big breath and said "Well, we'll just do what we can."

I'm really hoping that I will be able to go to our Girl's Weekend Out, but I will have to discuss it with the Doctor. I don't know how much driving I'll be allowed to do by myself.

SO! I will be going in to see her tomorrow, and I will be sure to let you know what happens.

Till tomorrow--

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ultrasound Update

I had an ultrasound this morning. Bleu and I had discussed earlier about his opinion that I should stop having ultrasounds and wait till the baby is born to do anything. I told him that I agree with the Dr.'s and I also agree with him, and that I would be talking to Dr. Byrne about our concerns. If the ultrasounds are strictly precautionary, then I would ask not to have any more ultrasounds till the end of the pregnancy.


Dr. Byrne has given me the go ahead to say that this is Arthrogryposis. We were hoping that it was Dystal Arthrogryposis where the hands and feet are the only ones effected, but there is a "progression" or diminished fetal movement at the hips and knees. His hands are clenched, with overlapping fingers, and his wrists have started to cock backwards.
video


That's not really good or bad news, it's just new news. We measured the amount of amniotic fluid, and found an excess and after checking his face for swallowing movement and belly for fullnes, we are assuming that he is not swallowing the way he should. This could mean a symptom of Arthrogryposis, or could also be a Neurological disorder that can't be diagnosed at this time.


The risks of these factors are,
If the amniotic fluid is not measured, or kept track of, it could get to an unsafe volume and cause the membranes to rupture and start a pre-term labor, also leading to a chance of severe hemmorage. I should be watching for leaking fluid, or contracting of my stomach (more than 4-5 times in an hour.) If the amount becomes too excessive, we may have to drain some of the fluid by way of amniocentisis. AGAIN.

If the baby becomes fixed in a position, Example: his knees and hips don't move, A vaginal delivery will be difficult for mom and baby, if not impossible. In a normal delivery, the baby's head is the biggest, and most difficult to deliver. But if his hips and knees don't straighten out, that will be a different story. If we don't know the status of the baby before delivery, and we try natural, he could get stuck in the birth canal, which is unsafe for both mom and baby.

Dr. Byrne and I went over mine and Bleu's concerns and she said that it is both necessary and precautionary to be having routine ultrasounds basically because there isn't really another way to check the fluid levels other than by measurements from an ultrasound. She highly suggested that I deliver at the University Hospital so that specific types of Specialists can be there if we need them to see the baby directly after the birth. If his Arthrogryposis effects his knees, I may not have to do the casting for his club feet. Alot of kids learn to walk more successfully on thier knees. So we'll see how he does before making any decisions.

All in all, I am still overwhelmingly greatful that he's still with me. There are so many things that could have gone wrong that haven't. I thank Heavenly Father for that every day. He's my little angel and I'm so blessed to have him. I think he teaches me something new every day already. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support. I can't tell you how much it means to me.

Bleu started class this morning, so I'm excited to say that there is an end in sight. Only 15 weeks to go. It's a coin toss whether or not he'll make it home in time for the delivery. I think it all depends on the wee one, and how long he wants to stay in my belly. I was planning on flying out to see Bleu for his birthday, but I've left messages with both of my doctors asking if after all of our findings, it will be safe. I'll be at 28 weeks. In a normal pregnancy it would probably be fine. But I'm always better safe than sorry.

I love you all, and thank you so much for everything. Keep those prayers comin'!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hoaddy-Tow!



25 weeks! Wide Load comin' through! At Church one of the girls told me she was that big when she delivered. Thanks.

So there you go. I'm getting bigger every day. I went to see Dr. Luikenaar last week and weighed in at a whopping 152 lbs- the heaviest I've ever been in my whole life. Dr. L. said not to worry like most women do because I'm still on track. When we lifted my shirt to measure my belly, she looked at it and said, "oh, ya. that's ALL baby fat. NO mommy fat there. You'll have no trouble losing weight after the baby." :) That made me feel pretty good.

We measured my tummy, PERFECT! And listened to the heartbeat which was in the range that it should be. So everything was fine and dandy. I will go back to her in 3 weeks for a glucose tolerance test, and we'll check my iron levels again, and I get a shot for something I can't remember-I think it's for Rheubella? I'll be 28 weeks at that time, and then I'll be going in every 2 weeks. I can't believe it's come so fast!

So I also have an ultrasound appointment for tomorrow morning where I will be asking Dr. Byrne if all of this is really necessary. If there is no change, than I want to know if it really makes a difference or what exactly they are doing. Cause it's a little annoying going in so often.

So hopefully I will have some good news for everyone tomorrow.

Love you!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Cute Craft

I am learning how to sew! And I keep picking the fabric that's hard to sew. Hmmm. Well I thought this would be a piece of cake, and then I realized that I don't really know how to sew yet. :) It's just a square, right? with curved corners, loopy fabric, and bias tape, and a needle that doesn't always stay threaded....... Easy right?

Well I did get it done in one night, so I guess that's a start. It was fun because it's for my cute little baby boy.


You like my model? It's all I have right now. I know he's nowhere near as cute as who it's meant for, but he'll do. :)

So there's a cute little pocket to keep his little head warm.
And of course, we have "Stressed Out Duck" - really, that's what it said on the package. How cute is that?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009






I don't know if anyone remembers, but I went to my friend, Kristy's house and we took pictures of my "half-way mark." We took these when I was 20 weeks, and I've just gotten the energy to put them on the blog. We realized that 20 weeks is not quite far enough... so there were only a few angles that worked to catch the belly. But here are a few that I like.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dear Universe:

Some questions for you...

1. Why does my kitchen NEVER stay clean?
2. If death is part of life, why is it the hardest part?
3. I don't get jet lag. It's 8:30 and Bleu is out like a light. Why can't our brains change time zones, too?
4. How come 9 months is only an eternity when you are pregnant.... and when you aren't pregnant, it's gone before you know it?
5. How come I forget EVERYTHING that is important, but can remember the most random details that don't make any difference in anything?
6. Where are my keys?
7. I don't understand that we get up every morning, go to work, come home, go to bed, get up, go to work..... etc. Tell me again why I wanted to grow up so bad??
8. Why is money so important, and what would life be without it?
9. Why can't I be good at Math?
10. How do motivated people stay motivated? On second thought... How can I stay motivated?
11. Why do we (humans) have to be so stinky? Really- We fart, poop, sweat, we get morning breath, and just all day bad breath...... I'd like to smell like the forest, personally.
12. Why was I so bendy and flexible in High School and now I can't touch my toes? (besides the big belly in the way)
13. How come being pregnant can be so wonderful and awful at the same time?
14. Why can't women hand off the pain to the husband for a weekend-like vacation from pregnant pain. I vote that goes into consideration.
15. Why do I want to eat very peculiar things? And where did all of these EMOTIONS come from?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hungry, Hungry Hippo

It's been four weeks already! Sara took our monthly picture last night and I am surprised every time. I don't realize how big I'm getting till I see the picture. :) It's exciting.

So here we are at 21 weeks. Dr. Luikenaar said that the top of the uterus is right at my belly button, which is exactly where it should be. That's a good sign that the baby is growing at the right pace.

Of course we have the first "modest" picture to send to Bleu, which I'm sure all of the females will see, too. Every time Bleu introduced me to the females in South Carolina, they said how excited they are for me and how cute I look in my pictures and they've seen all of my ultrasound pictures, and on and on. Bleu is a proud daddy. :)

And here we have the scandalous skin picture. My Relief Society President kindly mentioned "why, you're as big as Jenny was right before she had her baby!... How far along are you? Oh, well you are going to... at this rate, you... " :) She means well. Inside my head I hear the song "I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas"


This is just me and Sara being dorks. I was laughing while we were taking pictures, and my stomach was bouncing. I shake my stomach, pat it, and I was looking at how far my belly button stuck out and she thought that was funny and wanted a picture of it. So there you go.

Well that's all for now, I just wanted to show everyone how we are both growing! I love you all!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Let me Clarify

I think I might have scared a few people in my update about Arthrogryposis. When I talked to Dr. Burne at the Diagnostic Center, I asked her "So is arthrogryposis what we are looking at?" and she told me yes. In my head, I was thinking that she meant that we were pretty darn sure that was the case, and it was pretty well diagnosed.

I had an appointment with Dr. Luikenaar (my regular OB) and we went over the notes on file from Dr. Burne. Dr. Luikenaar is the greatest doctor for me. She eased my worries about the concerns and let me know that they could be caused by any number of things. She said that the baby wasn't moving as much as Dr. Burne would have liked to see, but that might be a one-time thing......"maybe the baby was tired, and had a long day and didn't want to move..." Dr. Burne included in her notes that there was an excess of amniotic fluid. The only reason that is a cause for concern is that some forms of arthrogryposis effect the tongue. So if there is more amniotic fluid than normal, the baby may not be swallowing correctly. Dr. Luikenaar said "sometimes that just happens, and there's a little bit more fluid, and that's fine." We also talked about how it's a really good thing that I am feeling the baby move around. Dr. Luikenaar said that's great, and even a little surprising, because it's so early to be feeling him move. But she did say to keep track and notice any changes or patterns so that if the movement fades, or happens less often, we might want to make note of that.

So there hasn't been a diagnosis of anything other than his club feet, and that he's a very stubborn little boy. What we are doing is watching him to see if any other symptoms of arthrogryposis or anything else come up. There are also a few neurological disorders that are associated with these feet/hand characteristics, but those symptoms won't show up until he starts developing (or not developing) certain skills outside the womb, such as eye contact, response to voice or noise, etc.

Just as a reminder, we did see some movement in my last ultrasound, just not as much as we would have liked to see. Dr. Burne, Dr. Luikenaar and I agree that having an ultrasound every month to check his growth and movement is a good idea. So I will definately have my share of ultrasounds by the time I meet this little trouble-maker of ours.

So I hope I didn't scare anyone about anything, and I just wanted to clarify and update on the newest information that we have.

I Love you all and thank you so much for all of your support. You're the best family anyone could ask for.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Family Day, Graduation, and AIT

I was able to fly down to see Bleu for Family Day and Graduation. It was really cool. Bleu met a guy named Steven Cooper who is living in Lehi with his wife Graceann and son Blake. He enlisted in Murray, and was sent to do training in both his and his wife's home town. :) So Graceann has been visiting Columbia since the middle of December. Cooper's parent's let me stay in a house they own and is up for sale. So we spent most of our time with the Cooper family, and they are a great welcoming and friendly family.

The Coopers and I went to Fort Jackson around 9 to get a good seat. Family Day didn't start till 10 and it was cold outside. We all forgot blankets, I didn't bring my jacket, and we had a three year old boy with us. So Shari (Cooper's mom) bought two blankets, and Jon (Cooper's dad) bought some hot chocolate and we all got to know eachother and sat close and shared blankets. :)
After they got through all of the stuff nobody came to hear, the big guy in charge went to the podium and asked what we were there for and a few people shouted "to see our soldiers!" He said we must not want to see them that bad, and asked us again. Everyone shouted "to see our soldiers!" He said "I don't think they can hear you. WHAT ARE YOU HERE FOR?" And everyone started screaming "to see our soldiers!" and stomping on the bleachers, whistling, and making all kinds of noise. And he yelled into the microphone "WELL THEN LET'S BRING 'EM OUT!"

Then from across the (huge) field, in the woods, there came smoke grenades colored yellow, purple, and green. That made us all start screaming and making even more noise. You could vaguely hear Toby Keith's song "Courtesy of the Red White and Blue".

They all came running and yelling separated into platoons. It was hard for Graceann and I not to cry. It was the best sight.


The guy told us that we should be proud of what our soldiers have accomplished and how they have learned respect, loyalty, leadership, etc. He said that we were basically done and we could be reunited with our soldier, but they were going to stay exactly where they are untill we find them. "So go find your soldiers!" The bleachers gushed people. It's a good thing that Bleu told me he would be in the back. I tried to look at the faces, but they all looked the same. So I just went straight to the back row only to see lots of the back of everyone's heads. I was trying to look at the sides of their faces, but it was hard because they were all at attention! But I spotted one watching me out of the corner of his eye, so I grabbed him and kissed him. Good thing I picked the right one!

We spent Family Day on base and saw the baracks, some shops, and hung out at the park for a few hours. I did have my first super-crazy pregnant craving and that was California Rolls and Chocolate Milk. :) Bleu laughed and said "Are you serious?... ugh.. you are pregnant!" He had to be back by 9 so we dropped both Bleu and Cooper off till Graduation.

Graduation was longer, and we were there earlier. Both Bleu and Cooper were anxious to get off base so we left right away and had lunch. Bleu and I were both tired, and all he wanted to do was have a long hot shower, take a nap and be in civilian clothes. So we were dropped off at the house and spent the day just napping, cuddling, spending time together and talking about the past, present and future. We had dinner with the Coopers at their home and drove back to the base to drop Bleu off. It was a quick trip and it all went by so fast, but I'm really glad I was able to go.

When Bleu got to Fort Eustice, Virginia, he found out that there is another group that hasn't finished their training yet. So they get to wait. They may not start their training till the first part of March, and it takes 15 weeks to complete. The National Guard will most likely be the first to get a spot if one opens, but if their group doesn't start within the next two weeks, he won't be home in time to be here for the baby's birth. We are pretty dissappointed, but I'm taking it as a blessing in disguise. While Bleu is in training, he is considered active duty and the Insurance covers all of our medical bills. So if the baby is born while he's gone, it's covered 100%. I am anticipating lots of therapy, casting, and maybe surgery in the next few years, so it is definately a blessing that the delivery will be covered by the insurance so that we can get a head start on the others.

So there's another herdle to clear. It is going to be an adventure, and I'm sure we will learn some valuable things from it all. It's strengthening to mine and Bleu's relationship. We are learning to come together as husband and wife even over the miles apart. Life is rough. But if it was easy, we would all be pretty bored, wouldn't we? It gives me something to think about and to pray about and to be greatful for. :) This too, shall pass. Someday I'll look back and understand everything and say "that was easier than I thought!"

Someday. But that day.. is not today.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Arthrogryposis

Arthrogryposis is the name given to a group of disorders characterized by multiple joint contractures throughout the body present at birth. In the U.S., it occurs about once per every 3,000 live births, and affects both males and females of all ethnic backgrounds.

Causes
Arthrogryposis is usually caused by decreased fetal movements in the womb. The fetus needs to move his/her limbs to develop muscle and joints. If the joints don't move, extra connective tissue develops around the joint and fixes it in place.

Treatment
There is no cure for arthrogryposis, but early vigorous physical therapy can help stretch out the contracted joints and develop the weak muscles. Splints can also help stretch joints, especially at night. Orthopedic surgery may also be able to relieve or correct joint problems.

So this is a very brief overview of what we may be looking at. I had my ultrasound on Tuesday evening at the University Hospital Fetal Diagnostic Center. The baby wasn't sitting on his head, so we got a good look at his feet, which were concluded to be club feet. Instead of being on his feet, he was upside down on his head. Seriously. It's either one extreme or another. :) The nurse tried to push him around, but as we already know, he is stubborn.

His overall position (physical, not position in the uterus) hasn't changed much. He still has his ankles crossed with his legs slightly bent and his hands in fists up by his face ready to box whoever wants to fight. :) Dr. Burne came in and tried to get him to move his arms and legs to see how progressive the arthrogryposis might be..

She wanted to check at which joints he is able to move. So she took a hold of my stomach and shook him pretty hard and we watched on the screen to see if he would move around. It took a couple of tries, but we did see him moving at his hips and his knees. Then after a few more tries he did flex and open one of his elbows, but because of the way he was basically standing on his head and wouldn't move, we only saw one arm. We weren't able to see everything that we wanted to, but I was proud of him moving as much as he did. I was laughing and saying "GOOD BOY!" Dr. Burne and the nurse were laughing at me. There was of course no movement at his ankles and wrists, and he still hasn't opened his hands. I haven't seen his fingers overlap, and I'm hoping that they don't.

Bleu and I had decided that we didn't want to do any more testing. Dr. Burne told me that there are a few different kinds of Arthrogryposis. One type is pretty mild where the only things effected are the feet (club feet) and hands. Another is more severe where all of the arm and leg joints are effected either permanently extended or bent. There is a type that is progressive and is where all of the joints are effected, and the tissues preventing the joint movement build and swell also effecting organs such as the heart, lungs, and can move into the back. With this particular type, the baby sometimes won't carry full term, or die within the first year of life.

Dr. Burne suggested that I come two weeks later to see if there is any progression in the limit of movement. I told her about mine and Bleu's decision, and we talked about the advantages or disadvantages of doing routine ultrasounds. I told her that it might worry me to have appointments so often. So she suggested that maybe we could do a monthly ultrasound and check his growth as well as his movement. I told her that I would be having a check up with Dr. Luikenaar on Monday and discuss what might be the best thing to consider.

I talked to Bleu and he still doesn't want any more testing or extra ultrasounds. I think that if there is a progression, it would be a good thing for us to know, see how much progression there is, and then we can be mentally prepared for what is to come.

Bleu and I have both been praying about our situation and we are both comforted by the Spirit that everything is going to be alright. And it will be, but in my mind, that doesn't mean that I should sit back and watch life go by. I am going to play a part in this-I'm not going to just let it roll. Just because everything's going to be fine doesn't mean that my work is done for this assignment. It means that we are going to make it through, but what we do with it and how we handle it is the question. I will admit - I am scared. But I can face my fears better if I have been prepared. In D&C it says "But if ye are prepared ye shall not fear." I've made my mind up that there is nothing that can keep me from loving my son, and I know that Bleu feels the same way.

I feel like the best way for me to take this assignment is to have an understanding and to be prepared. I have done some research, and I'm more familiar with Arthrogryposis now than I was when I first heard Dr. Burne telling us about it. I feel like that knowledge can prepare me to make important decisions that I feel are right instead of going in blind and relying on what the Doctors tell me. I have someone right beside me leading me that knows a whole lot more than any doctor. But this is a joint effort. If I don't do my part, He can't do His part. I need to be prepared and know what's going on so we can work through this together.

I also know that another part of this is that Heavenly Father is teaching me that I can't do some things on my own and that I need to learn how to ask for help. Thank you everyone for all of the support that you are to us and the understanding, patience and prayers. Mom, thanks for being my shoulder to cry on (again and again and again) and being there to pick up the phone every time I call. Torrie, thanks for being my personal drill sergeant and encouraging me to be my best. Cheena, thanks for listening to my mindlessness and making me laugh.

I love you all, thanks again for everything you do.