Saturday, January 28, 2012

Daddy's Little Helper

Today Dan is tearing out a rose bush that hardly ever blooms (so it just tears the crud out of his skin when he mows instead). He's been trying to convince me to get rid of it since about a day after we moved in. I drug my feet because I love roses, and having rose bushes reminds me of my Grandma Uni. But it really is about dead, and its more of a nuisance than pretty, so Dan wins. He about jumped for joy last week when I told him he could rip it out. We're going to start storing our trash and recycle cans back there so we can get them out of the garage...especially since we have a new little person's stuff to store out there! So we went to Home Depot to get some pavers to build a little patio for the bins and hopefully make it easier to get in and out each week.


Daddy's Little Helper


I thought he did a pretty good job! And we did this BEFORE Grandad comes to visit in a few weeks...guess we'll have to come up with some other projects for that visit! :-)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Home, Sweet Home

I don't think I have ever been this relieved to walk into our house!  We are HOME!!  The preliminary results of Evelyn's labs are pointing to the urine infection that we already knew she had.  Her spinal and blood cultures are looking good - they both will incubate for 5-7 days to be sure.  Her white blood cell count is high, but she is fighting the urine infection so this is not surprising.  They gave her another round of the powerful antibiotics and sent us home to rest more comfortably tonight.  Evelyn will go in to see her pediatrician again on Monday, and there are some follow-up outpatient tests that we will be doing.  The ultrasound to check her anatomy and be sure that she does not have a blockage in her urinary tract causing the infections.  It looks like we will be doing the ultrasound either Monday or Tuesday.  Then a dye test (there's a long technical word for it...but dye test is so much easier to say!) in a couple of weeks.  They like to wait to do this until she has completely gotten rid of the infection and is off antibiotics.  It sounds like she will likely have one more urine culture in a couple of weeks (poor baby!!) as well.  We really appreciate everyone's prayers that she will continue to fight this, that her body will respond to the antibiotics, and that these future tests will show what we know to be true - she is healthy and whole!

An ordeal like this can really cause you to take a step back and examine your life.  To realize some things.  And maybe even change as a result of it.  Some things I have realized and wondered through this entire ordeal...from the trivial to the not so trivial:

...They should have rocking chairs in rooms at a children's hospital...
I know I mentioned this in my post earlier today, but really, they should!  I could have rocked her for hours and hours last night, hoping to take away some of her suffering and pain.  But in those roll-out cot chairs, your back starts to hurt because it doesn't really support you can only last so long.  We did figure out that putting a pillow behind you helps with that!

...The should have baby utensils available for use at a children's hospital...
Again, something I was surprised by!  We were using big 'ol adult sized metal spoons to feed her.  If we would have lived closer, I would have ran home to grab one of hers!  We have some friends who live very close to the hospital - had we ended up staying for longer, I would have taken her up on borrowing some of their gear!

...My baby girl is a trooper...
Seriously, I think about what she went through last night - all after she has been feeling bad for an entire week before.  I think only Dan, Amber (her nanny) and I really realized how bad she was feeling all week running a fever (and probably hurting when she peed!).  There were times that she was inconsolable and you just paced the hallway while she cried, feeling completely helpless and wanting to take it all away from her.  Then she sat in an exam room going through the tests and labs she had to last night for about 2 1/2 hours total...pretty much crying (and let's be honest, screaming) the entire time.  Poor baby girl is hoarse today from it!

...My husband is amazing, and has one of the biggest servant's hearts I've ever known...
I have realized a new level of loving my husband through this.  Watching him protect his baby girl and try to soothe her crying last night made my heart full.  He is truly created to lead this family - to provide and protect us.  Every time I woke up last night and saw him curled up somewhere else attempting to get some sleep, I was reminded of how much he loves me.  Then he let me curl up on the cot chair again this afternoon and him dearly.

...The Father's love is even deeper than this...
This entire week, I have just wanted to take away Evelyn's pain and suffering.  To make her whole again.  To comfort her as she hurt.  To take all her pain on myself.  And I began to realize this is the Father's heart toward me (and all of us!).  He never desired for us to suffer or endure pain, and so he provided a way for the pain to be placed upon Himself, so that we can be made whole.  I'd do that in a heartbeat for Evelyn.  I pray that this revelation will resonate long in my heart as I remember His tenderness and loving kindness toward me.

...I am incredibly blessed...
As I walked the halls of our floor in the hospital, I saw many babies - some younger than Evelyn - who were not as fortunate as we are.  We spent one night there...they are spending many.  Colored pictures from their siblings hang on the doors...mobiles hang on their cribs...and dark circles surround their parents eyes, that somehow are still full of hope.  I pray for these babies.  I hurt for their parents.  To endure what we did last night for endless night after night, week after week...I don't know how they do it.  I pray the Lord gives them strength.  I thank Him for my sweet angel, who is healthy and whole.  I am truly blessed.  And I am blessed to live in Corpus.  Yes, I said that.  I hate it here, but I am thankful to be here when my baby needed care like she has these past days.  Driscoll Children's Hospital is incredible, and it's in our back yard.  We didn't have to travel miles to get there.  We could have come home to sleep or shower if we wanted.  It is less than 20 minutes from our house.  The doctors are excellent, and the nurses are wonderful (shout out to Sandra, Evelyn's favorite nurse...she was the only one who got smiles - until she was the one to give Evelyn her last dose of antibiotic in a shot!).  They made our stay there bearable.  They seemed to genuinely care.  They probably get yelled at, and questioned as they go about their thankless work.  Because as parents, it's easy to get caught up in what we are going through...and we forget that caring for children has to be very difficult.  Seeing what they see, and hearing what they hear on a daily basis - I can't imagine.  Their hearts are full, and their hands are willing.  May they never burn out - and be ever content to be the hands and feet of Jesus to these hurting families.  I wish I could remember the names of every nurse and doctor who came in.  And I wish I didn't let my exhaustion keep me from joyfully answering their questions.  But I pray they find joy in what they do.

The LORD gives strength to His people; the LORD blesses His people with peace.
(Psalm 29:11)

Perhaps the Scariest Moment of my Life

And when I say the scariest moment of my life, I could very well be talking about Dan, Evelyn, or myself.  When we left our pediatrician's office on Wednesday, she said she wanted to see Evelyn again on Friday if her fever had not completely broken.  She was still running temps in the high 99s and low 100s on Friday morning, so I called to get her in.  I guess I didn't really know what to expect, but was thinking we would be in and out, maybe she's change her meds or something.  Well, we ended up at Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus (thank GOD there is an amazing children's hospital here and we didn't have to travel!).  Because her fever was still hanging around, her pediatrician wanted to do a full work-up to be sure there was no infection in her blood or spinal fluid.  So I called Dan home from work (I generally am home on Fridays), and texted my family and a couple of friends here.  I needed to run by the house before going to the hospital to grab my breast pump and her milk.  By the time I had packed Evelyn up and gotten home, our friend Leah was there to hang with me until Dan got to the hospital.  It was perfect timing because Evelyn had actually fallen asleep in the car, so Leah stayed with her while I ran inside to pack a change of clothes, toothbrushes, etc.  We got to the hospital around 4:00 and began the waiting game.  

Daddy bronco bustin' with Evelyn to pass the time

Thankfully I grabbed some of her toys from home while I was there...something halfway normal for her!

It wasn't until about 8:00 the they finally started the labs on her...and we had no idea what we were in for.  At this point, I was still holding it together pretty well...I didn't want Evelyn to pick up on my being upset...but that was all about to change.

First they drew blood so that they could test for infection as well as get her cell count.  She was finally able to eat (she had missed a bottle and it was about 2 hours past when she usually eats dinner), and of course that's when they came to draw blood.  She got so upset she gagged and vomited half of what we finally got her to eat.  It was my first catch puke in your hand Mom moment.  Then came the really scary part - the lumbar puncture (i.e., spinal tap).  They actually wouldn't let Dan and I in the room for this one, and I'm guessing it's because they have to tie her down to do it.  All I know is she was SCREAMING and crying, and I felt so helpless standing there in the hallway.  This is where I completely broke down...tears, snot, everything streaming down your face bawling...thank God for my husband who loves me for better or for worse, because this wasn't one of my finer moments.  He kept saying, let's just go back to the room (which was only about 20 feet away from where we were standing), but I couldn't bring myself to leave my baby girl.  So we stood outside the hall and prayed and cried for the 20 or so minutes that the procedure took.  It felt like 20 years.  It was the most scared and the most helpless I have ever felt in my entire life.  After that, they let us back in the room for her urine (catheter, again...poor baby) and setting up her IV.  They worked for 35 minutes to put in an IV...right hand, left hand, right foot, left foot...and couldn't get one in.  Every time they hit a vein, it would blow - the nurses said it was a combination of her being so upset (she was still we are trying to hold her down) and slightly dehydrated.  They finally gave up and decided to try again in the morning, and just gave her the shot of antibiotics (in both legs, because apparently it was too high of a dose to put into one muscle).

Finally we were back in our room and able to try and get some rest.  She was so hungry from not really having dinner, or anything since lunch earlier in the day, so we were able to give her a bottle and get her to sleep.  We were a little bit surprised that at a children's hospital on the baby floor, they don't have rocking chairs!  She actually went down fairly easily....but being in a hospital, not 30 minutes after she went to sleep they were waking her up to take her blood pressure (which she HATES!) and take her temperature.  Finally, her fever had broken and was normal.  She slept for 1-2 hour stretches, and had a play time at midnight where she was rolling all over in her crib and squealing and smiling....ahhh, our baby girl is back!!  It's been 5 days of not a normal baby, so we were relieved to see her "back"!  

Sleeping arrangements were quite fun.  They only give us one chair that folds out into a half cot (it's about 4 feet long and 2 feet wide).  There's one other plastic chair in here as well.  Dan, being the wonderful man that he is, refused to share time on the cot and let me sleep there.  He started the night sleeping study hall style on a table pushed up against the wall in the plastic chair.  That lasted about an hour until his back got a little sore, so he moved to the closet floor.  He started there sitting with his legs tucked up to his chest and leaning against the wall...and ended up on the floor with a pillow for his head and a pillow under his blanket.  He wins Daddy/Husband/Man of the Decade Award!!  None of us slept real well...but I think he, by far, got the worst sleep of all of us!

 Drinking some water so she can stay hydrated!
(and then we can maybe go home!!)
A much needed nap for Daddy and Evelyn

This morning, she's been much more normal.  Her fever hasn't returned and she's acting like herself (minus being a little fussy from being tired).  Preliminary results from her spinal and blood cultures are clean (we'll get full results in about 5 days), so the doctor has ruled out meningitis (THANK GOD!!).  It seems to be a nasty urine infection that is requiring some hefty antibiotics to kill.  We will have an ultrasound on Monday to try to see if this is a fluke UTI or if there is something anatomically causing it.  From there we may have to do a dye test to check her bladder drainage.  All of that is done outpatient, though, and isn't immediately necessary.  The best news is that we may be able to go home today!  If she continues to be fever-less, stays hydrated, and is able to keep oral antibiotics down, they are going to let us go home tonight!  I think we'll all sleep better if that's the case, so of course we are praying for that!

Note:  I'll repost the bronco bustin' video when we get home...the hospital has all sorts of blocks on websites, so I can't put it into youtube (which makes it much easier to post here!)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Poor Baby Girl!

My sweet baby girl has a urinary tract and possible kidney infection! :-( I want to cry!!  

It all started overnight on Sunday.  She woke up around 1am, which is not normal for her.  I went in to check on her and realized she was burning up - so we started fever reducers and figured it was teething (she has yet to cut a tooth).  On Monday morning, she woke up shivering so I called her pediatrician wanting to be sure it was normal for a baby to get fever chills like that (it is).  She said to rotate Tylenol and Motrin and if the fever went above 102 to bring her in.  She never went above 102, but was extremely fussy and restless.  She would bat at her ears, and threw up a couple of times (both times we thought she gagged on something causing the vomiting).  She was also eating terribly and wouldn't let us put anything in her mouth.  You think, teething, right?  So did we.  So we waited out 3 nights of little sleep (I calculated that I got about 8 hours over three nights...Dan was looking at around 10-12 - maybe).  She would always sleep fairly well for the first few hours, but of course we weren't smart enough to go down with her.  Then she would wake up between 12-1, burning up and fussy.  I usually took this shift and fed her (if she would eat) and gave her baths to bring the fever down.  Then around 3am Dan would take over and rock her in the recliner.

Side Note:  Dan is thrilled to report that he has found a channel that plays all of his favorite childhood cartoons - GI Joe, Transformers, etc. - at 3am.

She had a pretty rough day on Tuesday, so I called to make her an appointment for Wednesday.  We felt like the best parents ever when we found out she had a unitary tract infection, not teething.  Fortunately our pediatrician is good about making you not feel like the worst parent in the world, and she said she wouldn't have tested for a UTI until the 3rd day of a fever anyway.  To test for a UTI in a baby, they put a catheter in...yes, a catheter in my baby girl.  It was tragic.  They made me hold her arms down and keep her upper body still while another nurse held her legs and a third nurse did the actual procedure.  Of course, the only person she can see is me, so she wonders what the heck I am doing to her (as I'm bawling...).  Apparently her culture came back positive pretty quickly, which means it's definitely a urinary tract infection.  Now we wait to find out if it's just a UTI or something more.  It could be a kidney infection.  Depending on the results of her lab, they may want to determine what is causing it (apparently the type of bacteria found in the culture can help them determine this).  It could be a fluke infection, it could be that she has a blockage in her urinary tract (something an ultrasound would reveal), or she could have a condition where her bladder doesn't fully empty so urine is backing up into her kidneys.  The latter two could require surgery to repair.  (Breathe in...breathe out...)  We'll know more after her labs come back (later today or tomorrow morning).

She was so listless and unresponsive last night it was scary.  Her fever spiked from 100.3 to 102.7 in about 20 minutes time...which caused her to start breathing really shallowly and fast, as well as sky-rocket her heart rate.  We called the pediatrician about that, and found out it's apparently normal.  The infection and the antibiotics are just battling it out in my little girl's body!  So the evening was a little scary, and restless.  I really thought we were in for another 1-2 hours of sleep night.  I sat rocking her to sleep praying...God, you gotta intervene here because I can't do it.  I'm so tired, and I'm at the end of myself.  I need grace to get through tonight...  He answered with grace in the form of SLEEP!!  She had a really good night last night where she slept for 3 4-hour stretches (it was heavenly!) and wasn't writhing and moaning like she had been.  But she's been back to that throughout today, and her fever has come back.  She starts the oral antibiotics today (she had a shot yesterday..yes, after having to hold my baby down for a catheter, I had to hold her down for a shot!), so I'm hoping they will help get rid of this thing!

We're believing God to fully heal her little body and that surgery will not be required for her.  Will you join us?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Eight Sweet Months

Today you are eight months old, our sweet baby girl!  This month has probably been full of firsts for you. You took your first long road trip to Colorado for Christmas, and did amazing!  You only fussed a few times for being in the car seat that long (18+ hours!), we were so proud of you (and thankful!).  In Colorado you LOVED spending time with your cousins.  They would sit and play with you and make you laugh for hours on end.  It was so much fun watching you laugh and play with them.  You got a jumparoo for Christmas and you love jumping in it, only you are a little bit too short to reach the floor on your own!  Daddy had to build you a box to stand on so you could reach for now.  You also love to play bucking bronco with Daddy - where Daddy will put you on his knee and bounce you up and down.  When he stops, you rock back and forth trying to get him to go again - it's very cute!  You have started so many new foods this month...chicken, avocado, pineapple, prunes, strawberries, blueberries, and macaroni and cheese.  You have also started eating puffs, and just a few days ago you started feeding them to yourself.  We also added breakfast to your solid meals of the day, so you have three solid meals and three or four bottles a day.  You have started getting up at 3:00 or 4:00am wanting to eat again, only you won't nurse anymore - you only want a bottle.  Mommy has mixed emotions about this...she loves spending that quiet time with you, but she's pretty tired! :-)  Some of your biggest firsts this month were in your motor development.  You started rolling all over the place.  One day you rolled right out the bathroom door while Mommy was in the shower, so we have to make sure to shut doors and block you into spaces when you roam.  You are also starting to think about pulling up.  You haven't quite done it fully, but you like to grab on to the edge of the bathtub and pull yourself about and inch or two off the ground.  You have also started babbling like crazy!  For a while, all you would do was squeal and sort of groan at different pitches.  Now you have started moving your mouth and making "ba ba" and "na na" sounds.  Mommy is hoping this turns into "mama" soon! :-)  You have also started doing some really cute things with your mouth.  Sometimes you will just move your jaw up and down - you mostly do this when you are hungry, so we have started teaching you some sign language.  Right now we are just working on "hungry" and "more".  It's so much fun to watch you catch on to things.  You started breathing out of your nose this month, too.  You wrinkle your nose up and breathe out forcefully repeatedly, then laugh.  We aren't quite sure where you learned this from or what you are trying to do, but it's cute so we don't complain!  You are such a curious little girl.  You get distracted very easily when things are going on around you, and you can win just about any staring contest.  You are so much fun to have in our lives, we love watching you grow and explore!

Fun with Blankets

Tonight we were letting Evelyn roll around and just play by herself (while we sat on the couch and laughed at how cute she was!).  She ended up rolling herself up into a I had to grab the camera!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Olympic Marathon Trials

My friend Nicole is pretty much a rock star!!  Nicole and I were at Northern Colorado together, she was working on her doctorate while I was working on my masters.  She is an elite distance runner and this weekend ran in her third (THIRD!!!) Olympic Trials for the marathon.  Oh, and did I mention that she has 2 kids??!

Dan and I drove up to Houston on Friday to watch Nicole run in the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials.  We got in a little later than we had planned to, so we just saw her briefly on Friday evening.  Friday evening turned into a bundle of fun for us...Evelyn had a rough time both eating dinner and sleeping, and ended up vomiting all over the little blanket they put at the bottom of hotel beds and some of the sheets - sorry downtown Houston Hyatt.  Sure hope those documentaries about hotel rooms are wrong! (We left a note for the cleaning staff that they would probably want to wash it!)  I was the lucky one who got to sleep on that side of the bed! :-)  She was really restless all night and woke up quite a few times - which isn't normal - she usually sleeps really well in between us when we let her do that.  Dan took over around 5:00am, so I think I was running on about 2 hours of sleep all day Saturday.  Fortunately, being at the trials was a pretty amazing experience, so I was running on adrenaline most of the day!
Here is the pack of women coming around their first loop downtown...I didn't get many good shots because I was bawling.  I was so proud of Nicole!!
Three of these four will represent the US in London, Meb Keflezighi, Ryan Hall, and Abdi Abdirahman.
The leaders of the women...Desiree Davila and Kara Goucher are two of the three women who will represent the US in London.  I'm sure the third, Shalane Flanagan, is also in here, I just can't see her in the picture!
Yay - Nicole!!  This is at the 15K mark.
Nicole at about mile 25.9 - after she saw us! :-)
After the race, we met up with Nicole and her family for lunch.
Nicole and Evelyn
Nicole, Evelyn, and Nicole's oldest son, Tyler
The Gaines' and the Hagobians...
Dan, Stacey, Tyler, Nicole, Evelyn, Shay, and Todd
Nicole and I!
This was such a great experience for me.  It was awesome to go support Nicole and cheer her on in what may be the last race of her career.  But it was also pretty incredible to watch all of these amazing athletes compete.  I am kind of a nerd in that I really love the Olympics, and know a lot of useless facts about them.  Part of this is because in my Sport in Global Society class we cover the history of the Olympic Games from Ancient Greece to now, but part of this is because I just really enjoy the idea of something as simple as sport bringing countries together.

Nicole, we are so proud of you!!!  I'm so glad we got to spend time with you and your sweet family!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Eating Puffs!

Finally figuring out how to get these things in my mouth!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Friday, January 6, 2012

Time to Catch Up!

The end of the semester is always crazy for me - lot of grading and appointments with students begging me to give them the 2-200 points they need to get the grade they thought they deserved.  If only they would care so much the other 15 weeks of the semester...  The fall term is always a bit more difficult because we have a major state conference (TAHPERD) that falls every year the week after Thanksgiving.  I'm really not sure who thought that the week after Thanksgiving was an ideal time for a conference, but it clearly wasn't anyone in higher education (TAHPERD is a state organization for health, physical education, recreation, and dance - and is primarily made up of public school teachers in those areas).  Shake up the end of the semester with TAHPERD and getting ready for our first major road trip with a 7 month old, and I got a little behind on blogging!

Now those of you who know me, know that I'm hyper-organized - Dan calls me a Type A+ person - and I use this blog as a scrapbook of sorts.  So I'm going to have to back track and actually schedule posts for the days that I would have posted them.  If you're really wanting to keep up on us - you'll want to scroll back to November 30th...right after Thanksgiving and start from there!

Enjoy! (and yes...I pretty much spent the whole day blogging to catch up...I had a little girl who took really good naps today!)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Too Fast, Baby Girl...

While I pretty much hate working now that Evelyn has popped into our lives (anyone know of a 100% online teaching job in sport psychology? Anyone?  Me either), one of the best things about my job is that I do get to stay at home on Fridays with her, as well as all of the normal academic breaks.  So while Dan had to head back to work this week, Evelyn and I have another couple of weeks at home before I have to go back.  I'll have her nanny come for a day here and there so that I can be sure to have everything ready for the spring semester, but for the most part will be home until the 17th.  

Yesterday I was working on some of that spring semester preparation, so I put Evelyn in her exersaucer to play beside me while I worked.  Over the past few days, we have been over annunciating "ba" sounds to her.  She's been a "talker" for weeks, but hasn't really started to do single syllables or string anything together yet.  Yesterday morning, while changing her, I was doing it again and she started to mimic me a little - opening and closing her mouth as I did mine.  Then out of the blue a few hours later...this happened...
I'm so glad I had my phone handy to record it...but wait, you aren't supposed to be this big yet!!!

The next day I was getting ready to take a shower and put Evelyn on the floor to play with some toys.  I've had to start closing our bathroom door while I shower because she's rolling all over the place and rolled out into our bedroom last week!  While I was brushing my teeth, she started doing this...
I thought it was cute, her pressing her squishy little cheek up against the bathtub...and thought maybe she liked the cold feeling....until she started doing this...
The picture doesn't show it all to well, but she was trying to pull herself up on the side of the bathtub.  Woah, woah, woah, baby girl, you really aren't supposed to be this big yet!!  She didn't get much more than an inch or two off the ground this go around, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time.  Sigh...I guess we better get to work on that baby-proofing of the house!

Monday, January 2, 2012

7 Month Follow-up Appointment

We had Evelyn's follow-up appointment to check her weight after we started fortifying her breast milk.  She is doing great!  She's also been eating solids MUCH better these days, so I'm sure that helps as well!

Here are her weight statistics for 7 months (that's all they did):
Weight: 15 pounds, 6 ounces (15 ounces since 6 months) - 14th percentile

She stayed right at the 14th percentile, so she's still little - but gaining like she should! :-)

Cold Weather Running

It's "winter" here in south Texas...which so far has meant that it's only 70-80 degrees instead of 90-100.  There have been a few days that have dropped into the 50s-60s, so I've had to bundle Evelyn up a little when we go for our runs.  I tried a blanket one of the first days, and that failed miserably, so we bought this cute little, if we lived up north she could wear this all the time, outfit.
She still cracks me up because anytime she has a coat or this on, she barely moves.  She'll move her eyes around to see things, but doesn't move her body or head.  It's funny.  I wonder if she thinks she can't move.  It's almost like the kids in A Christmas Story...only she's way cuter.

Come on, Broncos!

Win and you're in, Broncos, come on!!!

Evelyn getting ready to cheer...she's the top of the pyramid this year!
Wrestling with Daddy...Daddy's looking about as good as the Broncos are the last few games.
Hey - at least we had a better record than the Colts (why could this never happen when I lived in Indiana??!) :-)
Hey guys - like my cheerleader pose?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

It's hard work to take a New Year's nap with Daddy...and to make hair this cool looking!
I wanted to shoot some "new year's baby" pictures with Evelyn...only I'm cheap and tried to make her a new year's sash instead of buying one.  She wasn't entirely cooperative.

First, I'm gonna wrestle with my Dad
I'll sit here for a second...but don't think I'm gonna sit still!
Hmmm..this looks like something I want to put in my mouth...
Now I'll just be cute...since Mom took that paper away...
Hey, my pluggie!
Love my pluggie!
Now I'm gonna get my Dad again...