Monday, May 19, 2014

Vasa Previa: almost done!

I thought that with being in the hospital, I’d do a lot of updating and posting about what it’s been like. Nope. I’ve been here 3 weeks now and have only posted once. I’ve actually had a lot to entertain me and haven’t really gotten bored much. But… Joel pointed out that I probably ought to update. I’d like to remember these things, too, so I will. (Warning: this is going to be extremely long. I probably wouldn’t read it if I were you, but I want to remember all of these things, so I’m keeping it all in here.)

The Plan

Like I said, I’ve now been here for 3 weeks. It’s Monday and on Wednesday I’ll be 34 weeks. That’s when the c-section is scheduled! There weren’t any morning slots available, so it’s scheduled for 6:00 pm, which isn’t ideal since I have to fast 8 hours beforehand (not good for a pregnant woman). If the 7:30 slot opens up we’ll take that. That would be the best. Tomorrow morning when my doctor visits we’ll decide what to do. If a morning slot hasn’t opened we’ll either stick with the 6:00 or see if there’s a morning slot for Thursday. I’m quite anxious for tomorrow Smile.

Daily Life

I have a bit of a schedule (the nurses are sometimes late) that helps give structure to my days. 

6:00 am: The nurse comes in to give me Nifedipine (medicine that stops the contractions), take my vitals and put me on the monitor (baby’s heart rate and contractions) for an hour.

Sometime after 6:00 am: Dr. Seale comes in to check on me (that’s why I have to do the monitoring so early; he needs to be able to check the strip).

7:00 am – 12:00 pm: Once monitoring is done (I can’t sleep while on the monitor) I do different things. I order breakfast and then either get ready for the day, sleep, or just waste my time on the computer or watching tv. Pretty much all of those things happen, I just never know the order.

12:00 pm: Time for more Nifedipine! Then I’ll usually order lunch.

2:00 pm: Back on the monitor for an hour.

Sometime between 5:00 and 6:30: Order dinner.

6:00 pm: Nifedipine again

6:00pm – 10:00 pm: Hang out doing whatever. Often Joel and the kids are here around 6:00 and we hang out. Sometimes in my room, sometimes in the Ronald McDonald Family Room (awesome place!). Occasionally they come before dinner. Depends on the day.

10:00 pm – 11:00 pm: I get ready for bed right before 10:00 and then I’m monitored for an hour again.

11:00 pm – midnight: Depends. Sometimes I finish up whatever project I was working on and go to bed, sometimes I stay up till the nurse comes in again.

Midnight: Nifedipine, then sleep. The nurses leave me alone till 6:00 am.

The Nifedipine and monitoring times are really what make the schedule.Here are some things I’ve done in-between to stay entertained:

  • Watch movies, Hulu, Netflix, TV, etc, usually while doing something else. I have a hard time just watching and not doing.
  • Puzzles (I’m on my 2nd. Quite challenging ones.)
  • Different crafting projects I’ve been needing to accomplish for years (wahoo!)
  • Playing an addicting and frustrating game on my phone: 2048
  • Chat on the phone
  • Chat with the nurses
  • Have visitors
  • Do my hair
  • Work on different projects on the computer
  • Browse the internet
  • SLEEP (The first week I had a ton of energy, but I guess my body is slowing down because I now need a few naps throughout the day and the 6:00 am wake-ups kill me)
  • Read
  • Go to the Ronald McDonald Family room with Joel and the kids
  • Video chat
  • Getting my nails done twice by my awesome cousin (thanks Tamara!)

That pretty much covers it.

Joel and the Kids

One of my biggest concerns about being in the hospital was for my family. I knew Joel could handle it, but I also knew it would be hard and I hated thinking about all of the stress it was going to put on him. I also worried about how the kids would handle it. (Kids are 6, 4 and 1 1/2.)

They’re doing great!

I mean, not that they wouldn’t like for me to be home, but they really are doing well. I think for the kids it helps that Joel is able to be home with them (his bosses have been awesome about letting him work from home) and I think that adds the stability they need. He also brings them up to visit me everyday and we video chat throughout the day. They call on video chat every night to do scriptures and prayers together. I love that.

Joel has been keeping up with the laundry, doing housework, working on the yard, taking care of the kids and visiting me. I’m not sure how he’s doing it all. I struggle with just my jobs when I’m home and he’s doing both of ours like a champ!

There have been a lot of awesome people who have helped make it easier for him. For me, dinner is one of the hardest things of the day (the days I don’t have to worry about it just go better for me) and we’ve been very blessed to have a lot of people help out with that. People have sent gift cards to restaurants and a bunch of people have brought dinner over. That helps so much! Joel works right up until dinnertime, so it’s nice for him to not have to worry about that. His mom has also watched the kids a bunch when he has meetings at work. And we’ve had so many people offer to help out if he needs it. There has seriously been so much kindness shown towards us and we really appreciate it! It makes me feel so much better to know that people are helping out so much to take some of the strain off Joel. Thanks everyone!

And for anyone who might have been wondering, Joel has changed more poopy diapers in the past 3 weeks than he has in the past 6 1/2 years that we’ve had kids and he’s been doing it without complaining. Smile  I change all of them unless I’m not home or it’s my birthday or Mother’s Day. (I don’t mind one bit. He absolutely hates it and has a strong gag reflex, so I like to be able to do that service for him.) I’m sure he’ll be glad for me to get back to take that over again Smile.

I’ve also been well-taken care of by others. Visitors, well-wishes and gifts have been plentiful Smile.  People are so kind!

Other Tidbits

Here are some other things from the past 3 weeks:

  • Food: The food was quite depressing the first week. The menu isn’t very big and since I can’t have gluten, it was even smaller. Luckily, the 2nd week I was brought a menu for the cafĂ©. Since I’m here long-term I can order from that and the menu changes each day and it’s much fancier food than the regular menu. It is available Mon-Fri, so the weekends are a little sad, but it’s definitely better than that first week. I’ve also learned different tricks to ordering and getting what I want (like they have smoothies and milkshakes even though they’re not listed on any menu). I also have tons of yummy snacks that people have brought me, so that helps.
  • IV:  When I posted last time, I was going to have to have my IV thing changed every 3 days. The policy has recently changed and it’s now every 4. That’s nice because it’s not the most pleasant thing.  The nurses also have to flush the IV a few times a day so that it doesn’t get clogged and they have to cover it when I shower.
  • Nurses: There are a TON of different nurses here! The one I’ve had the most is Aggie. She’s nice. But I’ve also had tons that I’ve seen just once. I guess there’s around 120 here, about 60-80 are full-time and the others are part-time.
  • Ronald McDonald Family Room: The kids love this place! I’m quite grateful for it, too. Their favorite part is that it is completely stocked with fun food! They also love the toys to play with. Here’s what it looks like: http://ogdenregional.com/service/ronald-mcdonald-room. We don’t go there everytime they come, but probably 65% of the time.
  • Room: My room is tiny! Like really small. But the window opens up and outside my window is an area with trees and plants. Nothing else. No people walking around, no cars going by. It’s in-between some buildings. It’s quite nice. There’s a recliner right by the window and it’s nice to sit there and listen to the birds. It helps me forget (a little bit) that I haven’t been outside in 3 weeks.
  • Baby’s Health: Our sweet little baby is doing awesome! My doctor always comments that we could take the heart rate strips and put it in a textbook for how a perfectly healthy baby should look. That’s reassuring. Hopefully all of that continues once he’s out. He’s also a wriggly little guy! I’m glad for that. It helps me know that he’s not smashing the vessel in-between being monitored.
  • My Health: I’m doing well. I sometimes have contractions, but they always go away (which means they’re false labor, not true labor). Most are just tightenings, but I do get consistent and painful ones at times. Not a fan of those. Glad I’m in the hospital!
  • Rainstorms and the Full Moon: Have you ever heard that strange things happen when there’s a full-moon? Well, it’s true. More women go into labor that night, the ER is more full, and it makes crazy people more crazy. I keep quizzing my nurses on it. They all say full-moon nights are definitely busy. In fact, when it was a full-moon last week both myself and my sister, Kim (2 weeks ahead of me with twins), were having contractions. Hers were so bad that she had to go to the hospital to get a shot to stop them. All of the storms we’d been having that week also caused a lot of contractions for me. Apparently it’s the barometric pressure. I didn’t realize that before. I’m glad the storms are gone because although I’m still having contractions, they’re not as consistent or painful. Come to think of it, it was pouring rain when I came into the hospital with bad bad contractions over 3 weeks ago. Crazy!
  • I love social media! Through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter I’ve been able to connect with other women going through this same thing. In fact, there are currently 4 others throughout the country in the hospital with vasa previa. 2 of us have the same c-section date and one has hers 2 days after. Kind of fun to have buddies who know what this is like. Smile
  • Why 34 weeks?: The recommendation for vasa previa is to be hospitalized between 28 and 32 weeks (30-32 is most common) and to deliver via c-section before 35 weeks. A bunch of things I’ve read say between 34 and 35, which makes it interesting that a lot of women on the Facebook page are going till 36 weeks. Most seem to be 35 or 36 and 34 is actually quite rare. BUT the vase previa vessel over my cervix is a really big one and doctors are worried that although I’m in the hospital, it might not be fast enough if baby were to start bleeding. That’s why it’s best for me to have the c-section at 34 weeks. Safer for the baby. Gotta get him out before this ticking-time-bomb goes off (and the contractions are certainly a motivator to do it sooner rather than later).

Emotionally, How I’m Doing

I feel like this is an important section to add for anyone who might be going through the same thing. It’s a big part of it.

I’m actually doing really well with being hospitalized. The first two days were the hardest. I cried a lot. I also had a breakdown when I wasn’t able to help Kaylee (my 6 year old) get ready for her kindergarten “opera” and when I realized I’d be missing the last month of school for her (thankfully, Joel brought her up the next day so that I could help her get ready for the evening performance for the parents). And then 2 days ago I had another crying session because I was missing being with my family and I was scared for what was to come. Luckily, none of those moments lasted long and most of the time I feel great!

It’s actually quite relaxing being here. Like I said before, I haven’t really gotten bored very often. I’ve also been able to get a lot of projects done and to do some good studying and thinking. It just feels like a really long pampering time (you know… besides the times I have to get poked with needles and such).  I am excited to be back with my family, though. I miss them (although, I’m trying to figure out how in the world I’m going to get back into caring for a house and family… this is pretty cozy here Winking smile ).

I’m feeling anxious about the c-section coming up. I’ve just never had one, so I don’t know what to expect. I keep telling myself that women have them all the time and it’ll be fine, which I know, but I’m still not looking forward to the actual surgery.

I also hate not knowing how my baby will be. How much NICU time will he need and what will that be like? Also, what will it be like right after he’s born? Will I even get to hold him? I’m hoping that since he is 34 weeks and not earlier and since I have had 2 rounds of the steroid shots for his lungs, that he’ll do well and that I’ll be able to hold him. I hate not knowing when the kids will even be able to meet him. That makes me sad. There are just so many unknowns coming up. I’m excited, but really anxious, too.  Even with all of the craziness with the vasa previa, I’ve still know what the plan was up until now (hospitalized and then c-section at 34 weeks). No one knows what the plan will be once he comes.

 

That pretty much covers it. I think it’s everything I’ve thought about sharing over the past 3 weeks.

Thank you to all for your kindness and prayers!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Vasa Previa: medical stuff on hospital bed rest

It’s Thursday and I’ve been in the hospital since Monday afternoon. I’ll admit, Monday was pretty terrible for me. I was an emotional wreck. Although I was completely relieved to be admitted because of the contractions (they’d come even when I was taking it easy and they hurt) I felt like I was going into prison. I didn’t want to leave my family for longer than I had to and it just seemed awful. I cried a lot.

Luckily, after a good night’s rest I felt much better Tuesday. I woke up with a better attitude and tried to get into a vacation mindset. I’ve felt pretty good emotionally ever since.I’ve received a lot of kind words and support from everyone. Joel’s bosses are great and he’s able to work from home while I’m here. We also have tons of people willing to help him with that and to watch the kids when he needs to go in for a meeting or just needs a break.

Now for the medical stuff for anyone who might be faced with this in their future:

  • I am on bed rest. I have bathroom privileges and can sit in a chair a couple times a day and go around the hospital in a wheelchair. If it weren’t for the contractions, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be on actual bed rest. Darn.
  • I have some of those leg compression things that I need to wear any time I’m not up. They were annoying at first, but then I tried to think of them as leg massages. It helped some. Now I barely notice them.
  • I have an IV line start in my hand. They’ll change it every 3 days. They flush it at least 2 times a day to make sure it doesn’t clot up. It’s there so that if there’s an emergency c-section it’s ready to go.
  • They also have a bin of fluids and papers and everything else they’d need in the case of an emergency c-section. It’s right by my bed and every new nurse is told that’s where it is. They’re prepared to have me ready for the section in a matter of a minute or two. For now I can wear my own clothes, but if there are any signs that a c-section could be coming they’ll probably have me wear a hospital gown.
  • I take a medicine called Nifedipine to stop the contractions. I take it every 6 hours and it can’t be missed. I still have the occasional contraction, but they aren’t painful or consistent. If contractions start “breaking through” we’ll most likely just do a c-section, even if my cervix isn’t changing. You just never know when one of those contractions will be a real one.
  • They do a non stress test (NST) once a day. They’ll do it more if I want. Baby’s heart is looking good so far.
  • I am also taking a prenatal and stool softener (sorry, TMI, but when you’re in bed and not moving they want you to take it – I want people to know what they can expect).
  • I was given a second round of steroid shots. The first on Tuesday and the second Wednesday. Seriously, ouch! But I’m so glad to have them. They can make a huge difference for sweet babies.
  • They do basic stats every morning and evening (listen to heart, lungs, check feet, temperature, things like that. They take my blood pressure before giving me Nifedipine each time. It’s a blood pressure lowering medicine, so they have to make sure my blood pressure isn’t too low (it is a calcium blocker and I guess the cervix needs calcium, so it helps it to not contract).

I think that’s about it. My regular OB comes in to check on me every morning. I actually get good sleep here, too. I take my Nifedipine on the 12’s and 6’s and they don’t wake me up otherwise. I was woken up more often from kids at home.

As far as getting bored here, goes, it hasn’t happened yet. In fact, I feel really busy. I brought tons of projects to do and have hardly gotten to any of them. Between nurses coming in and chatting with them, my family coming 1-2 times a day, phone calls, meals, Skype, responding to texts, etc. I really don’t have a ton of down time. I checked facebook and instagram way more when I was at home than I do here. Hopefully this can last till delivery time Smile.

Vasa Previa Update: hospitalized

Well, unfortunately the contractions kept coming and I’m now in the hospital. Darn. That’s one week and two days earlier than the original plan of 32 weeks. Here’s what happened…

Sunday

Sunday I went to church and then came home and slept most of the day. After waking up and eating dinner I mostly relaxed, but also got my hospital bags packed up and ready. By the evening I was definitely having contractions. I got in the bath with Epsom salt (supposed to help stop labor) and a big glass of water to drink around 10:00 and the back contractions actually picked up. They were very painful!

When I’d gone to the hospital the Friday before, the nurse and doctor told me to first try different methods of stopping the contractions first, so that’s what I was doing. By the time I knew for sure they were contractions and that they weren’t going away it was 10:30. That’s the time we left for the hospital Friday. Thinking about repeating that night made me want to cry. I was exhausted and couldn’t imagine doing that again. I kept trying to get rid of them (walking, changing positions, heating pad, etc) so that I could hold off going in till Monday.

Around midnight I went downstairs to try different positions. I actually decided to lay upside down off of the couch in hopes that gravity would at least pull baby away from the blood vessel. Believe it or not, I felt almost immediate relief from the pressure in the pelvic area. That made me feel better, but the contractions were still happening. I was so so stressed out. I was worried I’d suddenly see blood and it’d be my fault because I didn’t want to go in. I finally decided to pray about it.

I prayed and pleaded with my Heavenly Father that either the contractions would stop and it would be okay to wait till morning to see the doctor or that I’d just know that I needed to go in. And that my baby would be safe. Even before I said “amen” my body felt tingly and relaxed for the first time in days. The pain completely went away. I knew that was my answer and that it would be okay for me to get some rest that night.

Monday

I slept great! And even though I went to bed at 1:00 and woke up around 4:45 (Logan had a bad dream) and I got up a little after 5:00 (contractions started again, though not as intense) I felt well rested and much better.

Once I could no longer sleep because of the contractions I got up to see if walking around would help them go away (with Braxton Hicks, that should help). They eased some, but were still there. I ate breakfast, got ready for the day, laid upside down again, and waited for the doctors office to open.

On the way to taking Logan to Joy School I called the perinatologist. I had an appointment for an NST at 1:30 that afternoon and I wanted to see if I could also have tests done to see how my cervix was doing and if I could do it earlier in the day. The doctor was in with a patient, but they said they had time at 1:00 for an ultrasound.

A few minutes later their office called back. They had talked to the doctor, who said come in as soon as I could for an ultrasound because with vasa previa I shouldn’t be having any contractions at all, even if they’re not “true labor.” That’s what I thought!

So I dropped Logan off, arranged for Joel’s mom to meet in the hospital parking lot to pick up Emma, and went and met Joel at work to head in to the doctor’s office (it’s at the hospital).

The doctor there was the only one of the 3 specialists at that practice I hadn’t met yet. Dr. Jeslen (sp?). She was very nice. We just did a quick ultrasound to check cervical length (4) and amniotic fluid. Baby looked good, but she felt me contracting just with her hand on my stomach, so she recommended I get admitted that day. She said I had time to gather things and eat lunch if I wanted (this was around 10:30). We set up admittance for 2:00.

Joel left to pick up Emma and Logan and I headed home to finish gathering my stuff and do all the last minute things I could before leaving for possibly a month.

Before going in we went out to eat at Zupa’s as a family, then Joel and all the kids took me in. We wanted the kids with me so that it would be less weird for them to suddenly come visit me there. I think it worked. All of them have been great about this.

So I came in 1 week and 2 days earlier than planned (just before 31 weeks), but it was such a relief to have the doctor say I needed to come in. As much as I hate being away from my family and being confined to my bed, it was freaking me out being at home with contractions.

This is already an insanely long post (what’s new with my vasa previa posts?), so I’ll do a new one detailing the medical stuff that’s going on and then maybe another about what it’s like to be here.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Vasa Previa Update: Week 30

Unfortunately, this week hasn’t been as boring as lasts…

Monday Ultrasound and NST

At the appointment with the specialist on Monday I had both an ultrasound and a nonstress test (NST). Baby is doing good! His stomach has caught up and is in the 40 something percentile (much better than 14th) and overall he’s in the 54th!!!!! That makes me feel so much better! It’s estimated that he weighs about 3 lbs 4 oz. Not bad!

Baby’s heart rate was also good with the NST. He’s a squirt and it’s always hard to get a read on it. We had to do it twice because the results the first time weren’t good enough (it dropped his heart rate a lot). I laid on my side to get it to work the second time.

Thursday NST and Appointment with Regular OB

Baby’s heart rate again looked great this day. Although we thought it dropped way low there for a bit. Turns out the machine was again having a hard time picking up little guys heart and it was picking up mine. Little squirt really makes it tricky.

The NST also picked up that I was having contractions pretty regularly (every 3-4 minutes). That surprised me. I could feel some tightening on some of them (felt like baby was stretching), but about half I didn’t feel at all.

The doctor wasn’t worried about them. They were probably Braxton Hicks (which I’ve never noticed with my other pregnancies), they weren’t painful and the baby’s heart rate was fine. It made me a little anxious to know contractions were actually happening, but I went home not feeling too worried at this point. Braxton Hicks happen.

I should mention that before my 3:00 appointment I had been working in the front flower beds all morning. Nothing terribly strenuous, but probably not taking it as easy as I should have.

Thursday Evening

That evening my back hurt on the right side in the middle and my stomach felt “weird.” I finally used a heating pad on my back and that helped it. I kept trying to figure out whether or not I was still having contractions, but I wasn’t sure.

Friday

All I wanted to do Friday was work in the yard again. Or clean out the garage. Or something productive and physical. But I knew that wasn’t a good idea because of the contractions from the previous day. So I was lazy most of the morning and then by the afternoon my messy house was driving me nuts. I had the kids help me clean the main floor of the house (which is just a kitchen and living room). I picked up stuff from the floor and I swept. Then I got ready for the day (showering, makeup, straightening hair). I did my makeup and hair in my bed, so not strenuous.

During that time I started to feel “weird” again. My lower back was hurting really bad and I couldn’t figure out what was going on with my stomach. It was uncomfortable and had tons of pressure at the bottom of it. I felt a little nauseous, too. I noticed some tightening, but thought it might just be baby stretching because it was never my full stomach.

Joel and I were dropping off our kids with his parents and going out to dinner with friends. I didn’t want to miss that, plus I wasn’t sure what was going on. It’s hard because pregnancy comes with a lot of aches and pains anyway. We still went to dinner and just discussed that we might need to leave in the middle. I pretty much decided I’d use the time out with them to evaluate what was going on and we could head to the hospital after if needed. I also thought maybe it was normal pregnancy back pain and maybe some gas or something.

We had dinner (it was delicious!) and then grabbed some ice cream after so we could talk with our friends more. It was a lot of fun, but by the end of it my back was really hurting and I was pretty sure I wasn’t having gas. There were weird pains and cramps and tightening going on. We called Joel’s parents to ask if the kids could stay there longer while we headed to the hospital just to be safe, but we then realized we’d forgotten my brother and his wife and child were supposed to be spending the night at our house (just a quick passing through on a long drive) and they were almost there. We changed plans and picked the kids up then headed home. We put the kids to bed there since we could leave them with my brother and we headed to the hospital.

Headed to the Hospital

On the way there we got pulled over for rolling through a stop sign in our neighborhood. This was the gist of the conversation after he told us why he pulled us over and asked for Joel’s license:

P: Are you headed somewhere fun tonight?
Me: The hospital (while patting my stomach).
P: It’s that time, is it?
Joel: We’re hoping not. It’s much too early.
Me: It’s a high risk pregnancy and they told us to be overly cautious, so we’re heading in.
P: Well, whether you’re making this up or not it’s a great story and I’m going to let you go. Good luck.

So that was nice of him. Then we drove two blocks and got stopped for 5 minutes by a train. Blah.

Hospital

Once we finally made it to the hospital (around 11:00) I got checked in and monitored. I was definitely having contractions. I felt just like I did when I was in the early stages of labor with my other kids. The contractions were 3 minutes apart, so they gave me a shot of Terbutaline. Crazy stuff! The nurse told me it would feel like I had just had 3 cups of coffee. My heart was racing! Joel could see my clothes move from it in my throat and chest area. Glad they warned me or I would have thought I was about to die or something. I was super jittery, too.

But it worked! The contractions went away almost immediately. Unfortunately, my doctor was out of town just for the night for a meeting. Another doctor came into talk to me. He was nice, but I would have felt way more comfortable with my doctor, who knew everything that was going on. The doctor said I was free to go when I felt comfortable to since baby looked fine and my contractions were gone. It was 1:00 am by this point. He also said I was welcome to stay as long as I wanted because of my situation.

I did end up staying 2 more hours just to make myself feel comfortable that contractions wouldn’t start up again and that baby was safe. It was quite miserable. I had a few more contractions, but since they weren’t in a pattern, they weren’t concerned. Also, baby’s heart rate kept going up quite a bit (180’s, sometimes higher), so that concerned me (his baseline is usually in the 130’s and 140’s). They said it was okay because he was super active and that’s a good thing to have the spike then. And the medicine that made my heart race could make his race a bit, too.  We ended up leaving at 3:00 am with instructions for modified bed rest for the next two days and to go into see my doctor on Monday (I already have an appointment with the specialist for a NST, so I’ll see him).  I’m quite anxious for that appointment.

Saturday

I have been quite exhausted today and have been taking it easy. So boring! I was achy this morning, I’m guessing from all of the contractions yesterday my uterus was just worn out. I took a bath and I felt better.

We went to a BBQ with friends for dinner. I wasn’t going to go, but decided I was bored out of my mind (plus I see this group only once or twice a year and wanted to see them) and went. It was an hour away and we stayed quite awhile. It was fun.

While there my upper leg and back started hurting. We were sitting in the kitchen around the table or counter most of the time, so it could be from that. I did feel a contraction or two on the drive home and my back really started to hurt. I took a bath when I got home and felt fine during it. About 10 minutes after the bath my back started hurting a ton!

I put a heating pad on it and that’s what I’m doing now while writing this. The pain is easing up quite a bit, so that’s good. My plan for now is to wait and see if the pain gets worse and/or if I feel anything in my stomach. At the hospital they told me that since the shot worked it meant I wasn’t in “true labor” and my cervix shouldn’t have changed. They couldn’t check it because of the “pelvic rest.” I would have needed a special ultrasound to check it and it was 1:00 in the morning, so I don’t think they really wanted to (or could… I don’t know). So hopefully it was all just false labor caused by over-exerting myself and it won’t happen so fully like that again.

It’s definitely made me anxious. I was planning on going into the hospital at 32 weeks and the thought of going in sooner is quite upsetting. I’ll obviously go in whenever I need to for my baby, but I hate having to leave my family for so long (and after being in the hospital for 4 hours, I really have no desire to go back).

So, that’s it! Hopefully things will go back to being boring because I am really not a fan of all this excitement.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Vasa Previa Update: Weeks 28 and 29

A lot has been going on, but nothing exciting (thankfully – that’s good in a vasa previa pregnancy). This is a pretty boring post as a result, but I want to document everything for myself (and for others with vasa previa who want lots of details).

28 week ultrasound

Tuesday (28 weeks) I went into see the specialist. Baby’s growth has gone up from the 38th percentile to the 42nd!  Wahoo! His stomach is still measuring a week behind (14th percentile), but I think it was 2 weeks behind before, so only one week is good. I guess they only worry about overall weight when they consider IUGR and the smaller stomach is okay. Neither doctor (specialist or regular OB) seemed concerned. In fact, I won’t have another big ultrasound till week 32 (4 weeks from the last one).  Fluid levels look good and the baby was bum down. Both good things!

Unfortunately, it looks like he’s now head down again. Not a huge deal, but it’s better to have a cushy bum near the exposed vessels than a hard head. I have started twice a week nonstress tests (NST), so if his head were to get too close to the vessels and push on them we should be able to catch it.

1-hour glucose test and Tdap

Right after that 28 week ultrasound Tuesday I had an appointment with my regular OB. I had to do the 1-hour glucose test. Yuck, but do-able. I also got a Tdap vaccine. That was unexpected. It’s for whooping cough and most kids have 5 rounds of the DTaP vaccine when they’re little and then adults should occasionally get the booster. I had one when I was pregnant with Emma and I thought I was good for at least 15 years, but apparently you should get one with each pregnancy for the baby. The vaccine crosses the placenta and helps protect the baby from whooping cough until they can start being vaccinated from it themselves (starting at 2 months). Up until the steroid shots, the Tdap vaccine with Emma was the worst shot I’ve had, so I was not happy to find out I’d need to get it again.

First I went and got my blood drawn for the glucose test, then I went in for the Tdap. I hardly felt it! Apparently, after having the steroid shots a few days before, the awful Tdap shot was nothing (besides the sore arm for days later).

3-hour glucose test

Unfortunately, I failed the 1-hour glucose test. Barely. But I still failed. There’s a good chance that it was from having the steroid shots so soon before. They can mess with the blood sugar. Darn.

So today (Monday) I did the 3-hour test. My wonderful mother-in-law watched Logan and Emma for me. They slept over last night since it’s a fasting test and I wanted to wake up first thing and go (Kaylee was at school and then she played at her friends house after). I got to the hospital for the lab work around 8:40. It’s called the 3-hour glucose test, but I was there for 4. First I had to get all checked-in and then they drew my blood to make sure I was ready for the test (from the fast). Once the results of that blood came back I drank the glucose, then waited an hour and they drew my blood at 10:35. Then again at 11:35 and 12:35.

Luckily, Ogden Regional has a private room with a bed for the pregnant women doing this test (and for babies who need their blood drawn… like when Emma had to get some blood tests done). It was lovely! I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was still miserable and I was quite nauseous and starving from it all, but I was able to lie down! I read blogs on my phone and napped off and on while eating ice chips they provided me with. I had to do the 3-hour test with Emma at a different hospital and had to be in the waiting room the whole time. I definitely preferred a bed Smile.

Nonstress Test (NST)

The crazy part of today is that I had an appointment for a nonstress test at 12:45. My last blood draw was at 12:35. Good thing they were both at the same hospital (my regular OB is at the other hospital). As soon as I was done with that I rushed to my van to drive around to the other side of the hospital. I ate a fruit/nut bar on the way.

The NST was pretty uneventful. I chatted with the nurse doing the test. She was nice. She works part-time there, part-time up in labor and delivery, so I asked different questions about the hospital and such.

Usually the NSTs are done while the mom is laying back, but I need to do them while sitting up or standing. Not easy for them. The nurse had to hold the monitor on the whole time because it wasn’t going to stay with the bands while I was sitting up. They monitor the baby’s heart for 20 minutes. Everything looked good! They also did a quick ultrasound to measure the amniotic fluid levels. That’s good, too. That’s when they saw that he’s head down.

I go back Thursday for another NST. I’ll go every Monday and Thursday just to make sure everything is good. I’m sure it will be.

I was finished at 2:30, which means I was at the hospital for almost 6 hours! And I hadn’t eaten anything besides the fruit/nut bar and tons of glucose since 9:30 the night before. Soooo not okay for a pregnant woman. Blah. But it’s over. And my OB called right after I left the hospital to let me know that the results of the 3-hour test were normal, so no gestational diabetes. Wahoo!

Other

Still no name. This is hard! Let us know if you have any ideas.

I’m not feeling as nervous today. It comes and goes. Just wish I was holding my healthy baby boy in my arms right now. It’s hard to be patient.

I’m pretty sure the rest of the updates will be pretty boring, just like this one. At least I hope. I’ll continue to do the twice a week NSTs and then go into the hospital in 3+ weeks and deliver via c-section around 34 weeks. That’s when there will be big news (and cute pictures!).

(BTW, I’m 29 weeks on Wednesday.)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Vasa Previa Update: the steroid shots

This is such a small thing, but because I like reading exactly what people have been through with all of this I’m going to post it.

I had the second steroid shot today (I’m 27 weeks and 2 days) to help baby’s lungs develop and I just have to get on here and say, “ouch!!!” Yesterday’s was unpleasant, but today’s was even worse. Luckily, it passed quickly.

During it, and for about 2 or 3 minutes after, I felt quite nauseous (both days) and worried about passing out. They were intramuscular shots (big needles and they go deep) kind of in my hip/back. Yesterday’s was on the right, today’s on the left. I was told it would be in my bum, so just above it was a little better, I guess.

It stung a lot going in, but really, that pain was all done within 5 minutes. Except today it probably took an extra 5 minutes to walk it off. Not bad, though. Both sides feel a little bruised, but nothing terrible. I’ve been quite tired both days and EXTREMELY thirsty!!! That’s probably the most annoying thing. I can not quench my thirst (having a cold doesn’t help that)!

I’m so so happy to have them done! I’ve felt quite helpless throughout all of this and enduring the pain of the shots made me feel like I was actually doing something to help my baby, so that’s good.

Now here’s to hoping his little lungs are growing big and strong!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Vasa Previa Update: Weeks 26 and 27

I’m breaking this into sections since this is so long. You can skip to what interests you.

26 weeks: possible small stomach

Last week I had an appointment with the perinatologist at 26 weeks (Dr. Spencer this time). It was mostly uneventful. Baby looks good, was bum down and still not by the cervix (wahoo!). The only thing noteworthy is that the baby went from the 50th percentile at 23 weeks to 38th percentile at 26 weeks. His abdominal measurement was low and brought down the overall percentile. This isn’t serious unless it keeps going down and/or gets below the 10th percentile. It would mean intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) which is where the baby isn’t getting enough nutrients. It could be from an incompetent or dying placenta or from the vessels between the placenta and baby not working correctly (which could be a problem with velamentous cord insertion, which I have).

I have my next appointment with the specialist in 5 days (Tuesday), so we’ll see how his stomach is then. It could very easily have been a mis-measurement, since the little guy would not cooperate very well. If it was IUGR they often deliver early (once it’s determined that baby will get more nutrients outside of the uterus than inside), but since I’m already delivering early, even if this is an issue it probably won’t change much (you know… besides my hope of a super big preemie…). It should be just fine though. 38th percentile isn’t bad.

27 weeks: appointment plans and steroid shots

Today I had an appointment with my regular OB. I am 27 weeks and 1 day. We took a look at the baby and he looks good. Head-down again, but floating happily away from the cervix.

Next Tuesday I’ll first go to the specialist and then go into my regular OB (their offices are at two different hospitals) and do the glucose test. Yuck.

Starting the following week I’ll go into the specialists (I’m switching off between two) on Mondays and then my OB on Thursdays so they can do non-stress tests on the baby. Make sure he’s not resting on the vessel (apparently it’s quite the large one)!

I can actually choose to go into the hospital starting 28 weeks, insurance and doctor-wise (that’s next Wednesday!) even if my body isn’t doing anything yet. If I needed to for peace of mind I could (after days like today with the kids it’s tempting Winking smile), but unless it’s needed sooner, I’m still planning to go in at 32 weeks with the c-section between 33 and 34 weeks.

I got the first dose of the steroid shot today at the appointment to help baby’s lungs develop. Ouch! I’ll get the second one 24 hours from that one. From everything I’ve read about these shots they make a HUGE difference! I’m so grateful for modern medicine for so many reasons these days!!!

How I’m Doing

Emotionally, I’m okay. I just want him out and safe. With Emma I was quite content to keep her in as long as she wanted (which was one day after he due date) because I knew she’d be safe in there. It’s so different to be anxious to get my baby out (and early!).

I get quite emotional after each appointment, but hey, I’m pregnant, right? It’s to be expected. I keep having nightmares and they certainly don’t help, either. I’m feeling super grateful that I don’t do Braxton Hicks because any pains that feel like they “might” be a contraction puts me on edge. I get why people choose to go into the hospital at 28 weeks, but with 3 kids I don’t feel like that’s an option, plus I think I’d go crazy.  (And again, my body is cooperating thus far, so I should be just fine waiting.)

Joel and I went to London to visit my parents a couple weeks ago and it was exactly what I needed. For the first time since finding out about the vasa previa, I was able to think about other things. Plus, it was just comforting to be around my parents. I still have plenty of moments of anxiety and worry, but that get-away helped a ton! 

Physically, I’m doing well. Round-ligament pain isn’t fun, but it’s eased up the past few days. I’m exhausted a lot, but also get spurts of energy for nesting, which is nice. Nausea isn’t bad at all. Some days it is, but mostly it’s gone now. Yay!

Baby Prep

I’ve got his clothes washed and mostly put away. Need to find a good car seat that goes low in weight. Good timing because the one we have just expired. I’m also going to look into some sort of co-sleeping thing. I have co-slept with all of my babies and felt safe with it, but with having a preemie I feel more comfortable having either a bedside co-sleeper or one of those that go in the middle of the bed. I’m going to get that after he’s born, because with the NICU he might be well sleep-trained and not need it anyway. 

Besides the car seat, the biggest thing we need to do is figure out a name!!!! Not easy! For now he is “Baby” or “Blarglesplat.” Weird, I know Smile. Joel came up with it as a funny knick-name to tease the kids and it’s stuck. Logan (age 4) keeps saying we have to come up with a different name before he’s born because if we name him “Gargelsplat” (how Logan says it”) then he’ll think the baby is ugly. I guess we really need to get on the name Winking smile.

I wish I could end this with cute baby pics again, but he was really not being cooperative. Just like the 20 week ultrasound he had his hands in front of his face. I wonder if that’s how he’ll sleep when he’s here Smile

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Vasa Previa Update: 23 weeks

(To find out more about what vasa previa is and what our original plan was/is click here for the first post.)

We had our second appointment with a perinatologist today. It was a different one than we originally saw because the first one was out of town and we really needed to go this week. I’m glad to get a second opinion on it, though, so it was actually a good thing that we saw someone different.

It was an interesting appointment.

First an ultrasound tech checked baby’s size, the amniotic fluid and such. Everything looked good (baby weighs 1.5 lbs at 23 weeks and is in the 46th percentile)! Then the doctor came in.

He started out by telling us that it really isn’t always necessary to be hospitalized with vasa previa and that he wasn’t sure he would recommend it for me. And that delivering so early (by 34 weeks) might not be necessary either. You’d think this would make me feel better, but it actually kind of stressed me out. The guidelines for vasa previa say that you need to be hospitalized for constant monitoring between 30 and 32 weeks and deliver by 34-35 weeks.

He just seemed very nonchalant about the whole situation.

Then he did an ultrasound and looked at the placenta and blood vessels.

His tone changed pretty quickly.

Apparently from the ultrasound pictures he looked at from my 20 week appointment, the vasa previa didn’t look that bad. After doing the ultrasound himself he started talking about hospitalizing between 30 and 32 weeks (and maybe sooner!) and saying that most likely we’d do the c-section by 34 weeks. Big change from what he was saying when he first came in!

I guess that what’s over the cervix isn’t just a wimpy little blood vessel, it’s a great big portion of the cord. And it’s definitely not going to move. I’m glad to know what we’re dealing with. I’ve read stories where doctors were unsure whether or not there actually was vasa previa and they were just guessing on what to do because of it. Some outcomes were pretty sad because they guessed wrong. It’s good to know for sure and to have both doctors agree on the course of action.

I’ll start being monitored closely as soon as I get back from visiting my parents in London. I’m not sure how often at first, but from what he said it sounded like every week or 2. They’ll monitor the baby’s heart rate as well as check to see if my body is showing any signs of labor. Luckily, my body isn’t showing any signs of it at this point.

I thought that week 28 was when we’d really want to start the big-time monitoring because the baby would be so big. He said 26-27. (Although, when I first asked him, before he did the ultrasound, he said baby’s size probably wouldn’t be an issue and to not worry about it. He changed his mind on this also after doing the ultrasound and baby will be monitored a lot.)

So everything might be moving up, time-wise. Who knows. I’ve never done pre-term labor before and my body really doesn’t do much until the last couple weeks before delivery. In fact, I never had braxton hicks or any contractions until the actual day I went into labor with the other three, so hopefully my body does the same this time.

I asked about pushing back the c-section to 35 weeks (this is common for vasa previa) and he said maybe and that if my cervix wasn’t seeming to do anything at all, then we might, but that in his experience by 34 weeks (and often sooner) parents AND medical staff were so stressed out by the situation that they chose to deliver then. So we’ll see. At this point I’m just hoping for at least 34 weeks. I even bought 2 little preemie pajamas and some preemie diapers this evening (they’re so little it makes me get all teary-eyed). I’m feeling more of a rush to get prepared than I was before this appointment. I also have all of the Easter basket stuff bought and plan to get them put together and ready to go soon, since who knows if I’ll be home or in the hospital then. Crazy!

We did find out that the placenta is on the back, which is wonderful! It’s in the correct position for the c-section. Two of my last three pregnancies the placenta has been anterior (on the front of the uterus), which isn’t a problem, but it’s not the norm either. If it had been anterior this time it would have made the c-section much more difficult because there would have been the risk of cutting baby’s blood vessels while making the incision and of having to deal with the placenta. Phew! (BTW, the placenta should attach at the top and back of the uterus. At least 3 of my 4 placentas have attached in an abnormal place. Weird.)

Both Joel and I liked this doctor (I like the other one, too). He was definitely no-nonsense as far as giving any false hope. He let us know that sometimes, even when you’re in the hospital things can go wrong. He kept talking about lightning striking and how you hope it doesn’t, but you can’t prevent it. He also said that in reality, it would be up to us and how we felt on when we would be hospitalized, but 30 weeks or sooner might give us peace of mind. But again reminded us that just because we’d be in the hospital, it didn’t guarantee a good outcome.

While I didn’t love hearing this, I’m glad he’s being real with us. I understand the risks. They scare me, but I know that whatever is supposed to happen, will. We’ll just do everything in our power to ensure the best outcome. (And we’ll keep praying A WHOLE LOT!)

I also got the impression from this doctor that I don’t necessarily have to take it as easy as the first specialist said. Which makes me feel better. I’ve been taking it easy, and will continue to do so, but won’t stress out about holding Emma or doing regular household tasks as much (or about spending hours walking around London). I think overall I’ve gone from feeling like a ticking-time-bomb that could go off any minute to feeling like a ticking-time-bomb that has at least a month before going off. I’m less worried for right now (which is nice), but more worried for later on (though I’m sure it’ll all be fine).

And I’m still just feeling EXTREMELY grateful that they caught this! While the whole situation is scary and quite a pain, we’re very blessed that we know and can do something about it.

The absolute best part about this appointment was that we got some awesome shots of our sweet baby boy! He was face down with his hands on his face last time. This time he was face up and looked as if he was posing just for us. The ultrasound tech got a bunch of pictures because she said it would be a shame to miss such a great opportunity. Here are a few.

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It was so fun because this is the first time we’ve had a 3D picture of one of our babies.

I love it! 

He’s so so cute! Just look at those adorable lips!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Vasa Previa and Our Plan

Hey everyone! I haven't posted in awhile and between Facebook and Instagram don't really feel a need to anymore, but I do want to document this vasa previa stuff we're going through for three reasons:
  1. To be able to keep anyone who's interested updated on everything, but with more info than I would do on Facebook.
  2. I've appreciated reading other women's blogs who have experienced this, so I want to share my experience (it's so rare that it's hard to find much info at all). 
  3. To document all of this for myself. 
Our blog seems like the best place to accomplish these things.

This first post will be a general overview of what it is. In the future I might do more posts about my emotions with it, more facts I've found, what I'm thinking, etc. Who knows. But for now I'll just give this explanation (that way family and friends who are curious about it can find out what it is, but then won't need to come back to read until baby actually comes, but those who are going through this and want all the details - like I have been wanting - can have that).

So, for those who don't already know, at my 20 week ultra sound appointment (I'm currently 21 1/2 weeks) I was diagnosed with a condition called vasa previa. 

Since I've researched this for hours and hours, I feel I have a pretty good handle on what it is, but let's see if I can actually explain it correctly.


Vasa Previa
(I realize a lot of you know what these different medical terms mean, but I'll explain them for those who don't.)


placenta and fetus diagramFirst of all, a normal placenta (the baby gets nourishment through this) and umbilical cord insertion looks like the picture to the right. It is on the upper back of the uterus (where the baby is) and the umbilical cord goes right into the middle of it. The perinatologist (baby expert) said to think of the placenta as a mushroom top and the umbilical cord should go right into the middle of it like the mushroom stem. Mine doesn't look like that.
 
I have what is called velamentous cord insertion. The umbilical cord inserted into the side of the placenta instead of the middle and the blood vessels that are usually fully protected within the umbilical cord are going crazy all over. They are within the fetal membranes (basically what makes up the amniotic sac - what ruptures when the "water breaks").

This wouldn't be a huge problem and happens in 1 out of 100 pregnancies, but my placenta is also lying low, close to the cervix (opening where baby will come out) and so those unprotected blood vessels are between the cervix and the baby, as it shows in the image below. 


What that means is that if the baby were to be born vaginally, his body would break the blood vessels (which contain his blood) and he would bleed out in a matter of minutes. That could also happen if I were just to go into labor and the blood vessels were severed. 
 
Another possible complication is that as he grows bigger he could compress those blood vessels and cut off his circulation and nutrients.
 
The Plan
 
Because of these things there is a plan in place. The plan is that I will be on hospital bed rest at 32 weeks and deliver via c-section by 34 weeks (my due date is July 2 and 32 weeks is May 2). I'll need to be in the hospital for constant monitoring of the baby to make sure he's not compressing the blood vessels and in case I go into early labor. 
 
I also need to "take it easy" this pregnancy, which I will, but in reality there isn't any research saying that this is necessary this early on. It's just being extra cautious. As my OB said, I'm still a mom and have to take care of my kids, but if there's ever someone else around to lift and hold Emma (17 months old), they'll need to do it.

I will be working with both the perinatologist and my regluar OB. They will keep in contact with each other to make the best plan. Luckily, both of them have had experience with vasa previa. From my research I've learned that many have never dealt with this before. It's quite rare. Depending on where you look they say it's 1 in every 2500-3000 pregnancies. So we got lucky ;). One perinatologist on a forum was saying that he sees about 6000 women a year for ultrasounds and such and he sees about one case of this every other year. Crazy! So yeah, I'm extremely grateful that both doctors have experience with this.

I'll be going in for extra monitoring to make sure I don't need to go in to the hospital earlier and to check on the baby's growth. Around 28 weeks they'll do steroid shots to get his lungs growing. Even with this they say to still plan on the baby being in the NICU for at least a week, perhaps longer, who knows. I'm hoping that since my other babies have been so big and healthy that he will be bigger and stronger than the average 34 week old :). I'm also hoping that the doctor will end up deciding that I'll be okay to wait till 35 weeks.

Obviously, things could change as time goes on, but that's the plan for now.
 
As difficult as this is we're mostly feeling extremely grateful for the ultra sound techs who spotted this! It's not a routine thing to check (since it's so rare) and it was barely caught.  If anyone has great ideas for thank you gifts to give them, let me know! So even though things will be a bit complicated/stressful during the month of May and we'll have a sweet little preemie, this is the best outcome for our little boy and we're feeling extremely blessed to have discovered it. 
 
If you have any questions about any of it, feel free to ask! I'm finding it therapeutic to talk about it (especially since it's consuming my thoughts at the moment).

Everything really should work out, but we could still use prayers. :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Playing Catch-up

Since I haven’t updated since Emma’s birth (which was Sept. 27, not 26… I need this reminder because I was telling people the wrong date for a few months. Whoops. Glad Joel’s mom is better with dates than I am and corrected me. Now I need to change it at the doctor’s office…) and Emma is almost 6 months old, I figure it’s about time I let those of you who care know what’s going on.

First, an update on my family members because holy smokes a ton is going on with them! (I’m going to update on their kids, spouses, everything for those high school and college friends who know my family, but haven’t heard much in awhile.)

  • In January my parents moved to London. Crazy, I know. Pretty awesome, though. It’s for work and they’ll be there 1-2 years. We miss them, but are so happy they get to have this adventure. Yay for Skype! And for blogs.
  • Kim doesn’t have any big changes happening to her, but that’s okay. Living in Chile with your family for 6 years as an ex-pat gets you off the hook for awhile. Smile Her and Dave now live in Minnesota (gorgeous!) and have 4 darling kids.
  • Brooke and Shaun just had their 5th child, Shaun is graduating from BYU in a few months and they’ll be moving to Texas for his job!!! Crazy, huh? New baby and moving within two months of each other. Exciting stuff! Emma and her new baby, Kenzie, are about 6 months apart. Love that Smile.
  • For those who don’t know, this is where I fit in. We had a baby in September, so that’s pretty exciting.
  • Ryan and Rosa Lee have a cute 2 1/2 year old, Liam. Ryan’s graduating with his masters next month and they’ll be moving to St. George for his job. He’s doing landscape architecture. If you ever want to see some of his work, visit my parents backyard. Amazing!
  • Nathan is a science teacher in St. George. Seriously, how crazy is that?! His students love him and Kaylee loves being able to tell everyone that her uncle teaches science (she’s obsessed with science and wants to be a scientist when she grows up).
  • Paige and Colton had their first baby, Lillia, in January! She has Paige’s eyes and is absolutely adorable. Emma likes to eat her. I do too. Can’t help it when babies are so cute and yummy. They’re living in my parents house while my parents are in London.
  • Kelsi is engaged! Her and Colby will be getting married at the end of April. We really like Colby and are so happy for them. Helping her plan her wedding while my parents are away has been a lot of work, but it is fun. I’m glad to finally be able to get the wedding planning bug out (I was majoring in recreation management with the plan to be a wedding planner for a few months. After a short internship at Thanksgiving Point I changed my mind and did recreation management youth leadership with an emphasis in therapeutic recreation).

Now on to my little family (and this one comes with pictures):

Emma is almost 6 months and as cute as can be! She is a really sweet baby. She just likes to be held all. the. time. Makes it hard to get much done. Good thing she’s adorable! She’s rolling around and getting close to sitting up on her own. She absolutely adores Kaylee and Logan and they feel the same way about her. They even like sharing their stuffed animals with her:
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Kaylee and Logan love going to the library. Logan’s favorite books are the graphic novels (comic books). Joel loves when we get them, as well. IMG_8053

Note: This is the first (and only) time we’ve put curlers in Kaylee’s hair. We put underwear on her head to keep them in place. She thought that was awesome. (The curls turned out cute… we just haven’t had time to do it since).

We went to St. George for our anniversary in February. Emma wore her first swimsuit! It was my swimsuit as a baby. My mom made it Smile. (BTW, we went swimming indoors. It SNOWED that weekend in St. George and the wind was FREEZING! It was still fun, though.)   

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The kids were thrilled to visit Nathan’s classroom! Especially Kaylee, since she wants to be a scientist when she grows up (Kaylee wanted Logan to be her science assistant, but he wants to be a detective, so now her cousin, Connor, is going to be her assistant. Hope he’s okay with that…).  IMG_8128

They’re all going to be good students someday.   IMG_8116

And so is “The Other Dave.”   IMG_8118

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Logan had a hard time figuring out the microscope.  IMG_8133

We hiked on the red rocks at Pioneer Park (love that place!).  IMG_8178

I stayed back with Emma while Nate and Joel took Kaylee and Logan up “the narrows.” The guys couldn’t make it (it’s really, really tight), but the kids were already way ahead of them… so they went up without any of us and Joel and Nate ran around and met them at the top. There were some nice girls in front of them that helped them through. The kids thought it was the coolest thing!  IMG_8162

They loved just climbing all over the rock, too.  IMG_8170

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I was taking pictures on valentine’s day and the kids asked me to take this picture to show that they love each other. IMG_8190

Emma LOVED food the first time she had it. Ate it easily, no faces, no spitting it back out. IMG_8213

Kaylee is weird like her Uncle Dave and a sleep mask doesn’t bother her. Also, check out the book next to her: she’s reading Junie B. Jones. Smarty pants.IMG_8218

Isn’t he handsome? IMG_8074

Just like his daddy SmileIMG_8075

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Besides the things from above, and the big events from the past 6 months (Christmas, Halloween, birthdays, etc) we’ve been keeping busy with every day life. I knew three kids would be busy, but it seems really busy. Not harder or anything. Just much busier! There seems to be at least one kid always needing my attention. It’s good though. They’re good kids.

Kaylee and Logan are in joy school and loving that and the new friends they’ve met there I’m loving it too. Darling kids, good values taught, and awesome new mom friends for me. Joel is keeping busy with work, his calling (elder’s quorum counselor), and Quick Wits. I’ve been running a produce co-op every other week, I teach the 7 year olds in primary (fun calling, especially since I have an awesome team-teacher), planning Kelsi’s wedding with her, and trying to figure out health stuff (if anyone has any favorite paleo recipes, please share!).

Life is good!