Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What a year!

What a week or rather..What A Year! After a most full week celebrating Bella's 6th Birthday and Samuel's 1st birthday, a goodbye visit with my sister and her family of 6 before they leave for Belgium, Samuel's long awaited baptism, a field day at Bella's school, st pattys day, and a rather big shift to a new pediatrician and then ending on a most foul note with a turn in Samuel's already precarious health for the worst and spending all day in the Sacred Heart ER yesterday... I am officially DONE.

I am most thankful for the times of family togetherness and making memories but I could easily have done without the illness, mad dashes to the store for forgotten "absolutely necessary" birthday food, plate items etc.., and the all round feeling that there was impending doom in the cards for Samuel hanging on to that magic baseline of good health. Jason says every time we scheduled a baptism (3 times to be exact), I was basically ensuring that Sam would end up in the hospital again. SO.. I am thankful we had the chance to introduce our sweet son to God this weekend but I was not suprised when his teetering health decided to fall off a cliff that night.

So to recap the week..

Bella's field day was mid week and she had a great time. I will have to post those pics later as this will be most likely my longest post ever! Bella's actual birthday was on Friday and started out with her favorite breakfast and she was pretty excited too that it was a non-uniform day at school kicking off spring break. She wore her favorite color blue and looked like such a grown up little lady to me.

Bella's big gift from her grandparents and family was the wooden playhouse that Jason had spent most of the day Friday putting together with his dad and a friend. Thankfully the friend is a general contractor (a huge help!). That project might have dragged on forever had it not been for his expertise.

At that point, Samuel was doing well and rested in his little reclined chair most of the day watching from the back door since the weather was so amazing. While the men worked away at the playset, I took Bella and her sister to meet 5 little buddies and their siblings at a local play park to celebrate her birthday.

They had a lot of fun and it was a low-key, low stress event for me. What more do you need than a beautiful day, a playground, friends, a kite, some bubble blowing, and popsicles? It was a great time and I am glad we did not try to take on a much more involved type of party.

Halfway through the party I had this realization that in all the chaos of this year, my little girls had grown up. I wasn't having to panic about if they would run off in the public setting or have a tantrum. No toddler moments anymore. They are little ladies.. don't get me wrong, they still make me pull my hair out with sibling issues and drama but overall they are far more independent. I can't believe she is 6 now.

Then the girls were so excited when they got home and saw the new playset. I am certain it will be a lifesaver this summer since I don't see us heading to the beach too often with Sammy in the heat. The pool and the play set will keep them fairly busy.

Sam's trouble all started that Friday night after being touch and go for weeks fghting an ear infection that has not wanted to budge. He had already gone though cefdiner, augmenten and just finished a z pac which we hoped would be the ultimate warrior. We were wrong. After a nice calm day watching the men work on the playhouse, by nightfall he sounded wet and was struggling a bit to breathe. His GI was beginning to give him the cramps and I could see trouble in our future. By Saturday (his 1st birthday) he was switched to pedialyte and in general a fairly unhappy boy.

Sammy watched quietly through most of his family birthday party on Saturday.
It was a cowboy theme with BBQ and lots of cousins. We almost called it off but then figured he would just lay around either way and might be perked up by grandparents and family. I had a breakdown in the morning in tears considering that there were so many days this year that I thought we would never have this 1st birthday.

When it came time to blow out his candles, I told him we would make some wishes for him. He really did not want to touch his own cake or even get messy. He just enjoyed watching his sisters and cousins playing
together. I made wishes for him for good health and relief from all these transitionary periods of horrible pain. I wished for weight gain and acheivement of milestones. I wished for him to have a voice so he could communicate. Most of all, I wished for more birthdays. Healthy, happy ones.

That night (as with most nights during illness) he was again miserable. He woke up however acting stronger and we decided to proceed with his scheduled baptism. We went to the contemporary style service for this as we knew it would be more difficult with the girls and all the family and cousins if we tried to make it work in the traditional service. Sam seemed rather good and even smiled and bopped to the contemporary rock band music. He was incredibly tired and overall just done in when we headed home for lots of rest. I worried it was too much for him. We snapped a couple photos of him but he was not in the greatest mood for family pictures either. He later had a bad night with the Ears, GI, Breathing issues again. I really wanted this week starting his 2nd year to be happy, hopeful and bright.

Then Sunday night took the more worrisome turn for the worse and after two nights of not sleeping, I was full of panic about being able to have all my faculties in place for taking action if needed. He had only had 1 symptomatic bradycardia over the weekend but was now having more short drops. Yesterday we went to the Dr and they felt he was in respiratory distress, not good o2 saturations, and still had incredibly infected ears. How did none of the antibiotics do anything to help him? He also was dropping weight and was now down to 15 lbs 13 oz. from 16 lb 7oz last week.

So off we went to the ER an hour away at Sacred Heart. They know him there rather well and immediately ran chest x rays and blood work, put him back on o2, started an IV with fluids and a shot of antibiotics. Lab work came back with high white blood count, low blood platelets and a bunch of slightly off figures. We had a long talk with the resident and made the decision to avoid another hospitalization at home and get another antibiotic shot the next day at the Dr's office but return for admission if anything esculates.

He did not get the medications that help regulate his bradycardia while we were in the ER and so it made for a not so fun trip home. He had 3 low brady episodes and then a rather bad night at home with bad breathing and moaning in pain. I was a nervous wreck all night but by 4 am he finally seemed rather restful and caught up on some sleep. I am giving only pedialyte today with hopes he will keep tolerating that and avoid total GI shutdown. I am just worried he will loose too much weight in this process. He weighed more than this 6 months ago. We had a followup appt back at our pediatrician today and he got another shot of antibiotics. All of this has made us consider the medport that was once before recommended but never placed. It would allow easy IV access for fluids, blood draws and antibiotics but could open him up to more infections. I just don't know whether we should do it and it seems it is up to us to decide.

We have been praying for a friend and his wife who had a big day yesterday with his wife receiving a kidney transplant, donated by her mother. It went well and I pray the Lord holds their family in his arms through recovery.

I am also praying for my sister who returned to Tampa yesterday before a big move to Belgium soon. This week was our last time to see each other before the move. Very hard for all of us. My girls are really going to miss their cousins. Both my sisters will be in Europe at the same time though so hopefully they get to see each other more often. It just will seem like lightyears away from us here. We said goodbye to them down at a park on the beach. More pics to follow at some point.. I realized our kids will probably all be big when they return and that is a tough one. They grow so fast.

I spent much of this week reflecting on that very point. Our lives sail by so fast and if we blink, we miss it. This year was such a blur and for all the hardship and challenges it meant for us, there were beautiful memories too. If I get a few moments to work on it, I am hoping to post a little memory road project reflecting on Sam's first year. What a year it has been!

Monday, March 14, 2011

6 years ago ...

Memory Lane..

We chose her name before we knew her. Isabella means consecrated, devoted, or otherwise promised to God. We also call her Bella, which means beautiful. She fits both perfectly to us. As she was our first child, we were overcome with this new and joyful gift from God. We pledged to always bring her closer to God and raise her in a way that glorifys Him.

Every movement I felt throughout the pregnancy was beautiful to me. It was my sweet Bella keeping me up all those hours as she fluttered about in my belly.. No words could describe those first months feeling another being growing inside me. I was awestruck. How could anyone who has experienced this miracle question that there is an awesome God in control of it all?

Isabella was a gift from God during a very difficult time in my life. My sister and I both discovered we were expecting the same weekend. Our mom had just been diagnosed with a very rapidly progressing Non Hodjkins Lymphoma Cancer and was not expected to get through it. Our babies gave my mother something very exciting to look forward to. She fought hard and as my due date approached, my mother finished her last round of chemo. She wanted to be by my side for the delivery and on some level I think she feared these might be her last chances at sharing these moments. Now 6 years later she has 8 grandchildren!

I delivered Isabella on a Friday, after laboring on pitocin all night for 12 hours. I had to be induced at 1 am (already dilated to 2) at nearly 37 weeks after developing preeclampsia quite suddenly. After remaining calm through a long night and enduring the screams of a woman next door for half that period, I finally accepted the epidural at 9:30 am, only to find it worked to numb my belly contractions but failed once she reached the point of no return, ready to make an entrance. The last time they had checked me I was only a 6 so they were in no hurry to check me again but I explained that I was going to die soon as she was going to come out any minute. So they finally decided to examine me and found she was crowning.

My Dr. (the one who delivered all 3) was occupied in a C section next door so after nurses kept trying to stall me and have me hold my baby in ("You are driving down a long road and you have to go #2..there is no rest stop for 10 miles"..PLEEEASE!)but finally they realized it was t-i-m-e. So another Dr. came in explaining he was pulled from a plate of spaghetti in the break room..then as he read my name and got in position to catch the baby..in comes the nurse who says to him, "Dr. S says she does not want you to intervene on her delivery." There are no words for that situation. He whipped off his gloves and was out the door and I told myself I was ready to just let her come on her own.

Within seconds my Dr. walked in and 2 pushes later Isabella made her entrance into this crazy world. She was gorgeous. Messy, wrinkley.. absolutely beautiful. I only held her a second before she was whisked to the warmer because she had not cleared enough junk from her lungs in her quick delivery. She was breathing fine however they wanted to hear more screaming. She looked great but did spend the next 2 hours in the nursery being bathed and practically pinched by nurses wanting to hear a howling baby. She was just a sweet little thing, not a screamer. When she returned we enjoyed the most heavenly weekend holed up in that private room meeting each other, bonding, learning to nurse. It was bliss.

Ever since, she has been this incredible shining little star in our life. She is loving and thoughtful and although at times a bit of a drama queen (wonder where that comes from?), we would not change a thing about our sweet first baby girl. She has taught us alot in the last 6 years. Now she is this growing young lady that somehow went from diapers and tantrums to the soccer field and the school bus in the blink of an eye. She teaches her little sister everyday and adores her brother, even when his arrival on the scene meant quite a disruption in her normal routine. She turned our world on end when God saw fit to place her in our care. She is a dreamer and our butterfly.. I hope she never changes. Thank you Lord for Isabella. Thank you for all the wonderful moments and milestones of the past 6 years.. we look forward to all that lies ahead.

Birthdays to Celebrate

Bella's actual physical birthday is not until Friday but with Sam's 1st birthday on the following day, we decided to wrap them around two weekends. Additionally, her cousin Keenan's 4th bday was one week prior to hers and so he held a bowling party on saturday.

Her other cousin Jackson is visiting this week and his bday is 5 days after hers (what a busy bday month!), so we decided to combine efforts and have one big 6 year old party for Bella and Jackson with a Lego theme. We had a family party at a local park wedged between the sound side and the gulf. It was beautiful weather with a nice cross breeze and everyone had a great time! Sammy even enjoyed the glorious day and stayed calm and collected the whole time.

The cousins won't have many more opportunities to play like this for a while as my sister's husband's assignment will take them and their 4 kids to Belgium in a few months. My other sister is also overseas right now in Germany. I am so proud of my brother-in-laws and my sisters, for making sacrifices every day in the name of our country. It is hard to be at such a distance from them all. This week is our chance to say good bye.

It is always good to have quality time with my mom.

The kids enjoyed playing with a kite in the breeze.

A highlight to the day was watching an egret along the shore and an ospry up high in it's nest.