Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bloodwork

I don't have exact numbers (we'll blame it on the drugs)...but of course we did blood tests several times during the week in the hospital.  When I checked in my hemoglobin was 10.something low.  I knew I had been feeling a little better, so it was good to see my hgb so much higher--a far cry from 8.4!  During surgery I don't think I lost much blood.  I think I remember them saying something like 29 mL when I woke up and I was thinking it was close to a fluid ounce.  Maybe??  It also could have been a drug-induced dream that seemed real (been having a few of those).  At any rate, I didn't need a blood transfusion at all, yay!  My hemoglobin on Friday was 11.3, so it was already going up on its own.  My platelets, white blood cells, and potassium levels were all good as well. 

I have not done much since I've been home.  My crochet project is very lonely.  I have done a lot of sleeping--2 naps today already.  The pain meds make me sleepy, but when I sleep I have scary dreams.  I am taking less and less and hope to ditch anything with narcotics in it soon.  I am sore, and there's not really a comfortable spot to sit in the house.  Mitch did the grocery shopping again today--I couldn't even pretend to want to go!   

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I am Home!

I got home this afternoon and somehow already managed to overdo it.  Without doing anything, I promise!!  I did get a nice long shower and a nap.  Everyone was excited to see me, and my reunions with Tirzah and Malachi were particularly sweet.  Sadly, not long after I walked in the door it was time for Karen and Marc to walk out and head home for KY so they can be back to work on Monday.  I am afraid to open my email.  I think I will do that later when I'm feeling a little better.  There is much more I have to write, and I will return to the computer soon...let's face it, it's not all THAT much work to sit in the chair in front of the computer, but my gut is protesting at the moment.  :)

Thanks so much to everyone for your prayers, phone calls, visits, flowers and gifts.  It means SO much to me.

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This is me & Tirzah at the hospital on Friday night.  Mitch & Patrick brought her up so I could nurse her and while they were here we watched part of the movie Lethal Weapon 4.  I was laughing way too hard.  We were so rowdy too...I apologized to the nurses later, who didn't seem to think we were too loud.  :)  But oh boy, I sure was sore at midnight afterwards!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Home tomorrow!

Not much to update, but I wanted to let everyone know that as of now (providing today goes well) Steph will be coming home tomorrow (Saturday).

~Kristin

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Extra, Extra!

The title is my attempt at being witty despite my sickness.  LOL  The surgeon was in today and talked to Steph about her spleen.  Not only was her spleen 3 to 4 times normal size (about the size of a football), but she also had TWO accessory spleens.  It is good that they were discovered, because had they been left, Steph could have seen a repeat of her recent health issues.

She seems to be doing better, but is still in pain.  At the moment it looks like she'll be coming home tomorrow.  She was able to sit up and crochet for a while today, and also had some solid foods for the first time since she went in.  When I talked to her around supper time she was eating chicken strips, french fries, and applesauce.  They have taken her off the Fentanyl and she was just having Tylenol earlier today but they added Vicodin as well because the Tylenol wasn't quite cutting it.

Continue to pray for her recovery.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Skinny

We all know that Steph is skinny... but it turns out her veins are too.  Earlier this evening she was having some issues with her IV site.  Redness and streaking meant she needed to have a new IV placed.  The LPN made an attempt, then called the RN.  The RN then called the Charge Nurse, and the Charge Nurse called the Nursing Supervisor.  They did eventually get a new line placed.  Steph took one look at it and said, "Is that the size they use for babies?".  Turns out, it was.  With her skinny veins, that's what it took to get a working line.  What it means for her treatment is that it takes a bit longer to administer any IV meds.

Steph is still dealing with a lot of nausea.  The bad line was discovered as they were going to administer another dose of Zofran (an anti-nausea drug).  So, not only was she poked repeatedly, but had to endure with a queasy tummy.  Fun! :(  On the plus side, she was able to take several short walks today.

Prayer requests for now are that Steph's bowels would move.  This is one of the prereq's for discharge.  Also pray that she would not get the virus that has been plaguing her home (and now mine!).

I made the difficult decision today to send Tirzah back home.  Since I have my own nursing baby (who is now not feeling 100%) and a toddler who spent the better part of last night throwing up, and now a 10yo with the same issue, I felt it was better for Tirzah to be home with her own family.  This morning she just wasn't her normal happy self, and I know she was really missing her big brother's and sister.  The big kids here just weren't cutting it - though they did do a great job helping out.  I feel like I let Steph down, but she's reassured me that it was the right thing to do.  (Sorry I couldn't keep up my end of the bargin Steph.  Thanks for being so understanding.)

Bonnie took Tirzah up to see Steph around 11am and ended up keeping her for the afternoon.  After taking her up to see Steph a second time, she headed over here, picked up Tirzah's stuff, and taxied her home.  Thanks, Bonnie, for all your help over the last couple of days!!

I don't have any information yet on when Steph will be released (see above prayer requests).  She has had a low grade fever, no movement of the bowels, and is still in a good amount of pain.  These are all factors in her eventual release.  Continue to pray for her recovery, and for her family as they wait for her return home.

~Kristin, for Steph

Wednesday update

I didn't get a chance to update last night as things were a bit crazy around here... 

Yesterday, Bonnie stopped by and brought Tirzah up to the hospital so Steph could nurse.  It went well, but Tirzah was wanting to jump and crawl all over Steph.  Last night I  got a chance to take Tirzah up to the hospital to nurse again.

Steph is still in a lot of pain, and last night she was pretty swollen.  I talked to her again this morning and she now has  a compression band for her abdomen and says that seems to be helping.  When I was visiting last night she was unable to walk around because of the pain (and some anxiety) but after getting the band she was able to take a couple short walks.

Mitch was unable to go up to the hospital and sit with Steph at all yesterday as he seems to be suffering from the virus that went through their house recently.  And now, we seem to have it starting here.  Pray for everyone -- health, and healing!!

In close, here's a picture from the first night at my house.  Our cat Susie has taken a liking to Tirzah... at least a sleeping Tirzah.  LOL

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The morning after

I talked to Steph briefly this morning.  She is in a lot of pain which is exacerbated by any movement.  Pray that for her as she heals.  She thought perhaps they would be keeping her until Thursday but is still a bit foggy when it comes to details.  When I have more information I'll post again.

Kristin, for Steph

Monday, January 25, 2010

Out of surgery

Surgery was completed about 4:30pm.  They were able to do laparoscopic surgery, so no big incisions (this was a concern because of how enlarged her spleen had become).  Big praise there!  She should be awake within an hour and then Mitch will be allowed in to see her.  Pray for peace for him as he waits.

Mitch dropped Tirzah off here on his way back to the hospital this afternoon and she seems to be adjusting well.  Pray for me tonight as I'll be dealing with TWO babies who generally do not sleep through the night. ")

The doctor said that Steph should be sitting up by this evening, and they would like her to be up and walking around as soon as possible to avoid complications (such as, fluid build up).  Pray for a smooth and timely recovery.

Again,
Kristin, for Steph

Mini-update

Mitch called at about 12:20pm and let me know Steph was being wheeled in for surgery.  I was at speech with my dd so was unable to update until now.  The next updates will be more timely. ")

Keep Steph in your prayers, and pray for God's guiding hand as the surgeons work and make decisions over the next hour or so... surgery should be done around 3pm.

Kristin, for Steph

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bananas and Raspberries

The banana stickers strike again...this time Tirzah is the proud owner of a "Natural Nutrition" sticker.  :)  That's just about as perfect as it can get.  She has a dried banana chip in her mouth...it didn't work out so well, but she seemed to enjoy it while she had it!

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And I got this video last night...she was being quite cute and cooperative!  It's only 28 seconds long...go ahead, you have time to watch it...  =)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Crocheting to keep me busy...

...AND keep me sitting around resting!  I decided that it would be good to have a crochet project to work on while I was ticking time away in the hospital.  TV gets boring fast, and this is a rare hospital visit where I won't have a sweet little newborn to keep me company (nor keep me *awake* ).  :)  I was having trouble getting inspired and motivated, though.  I finally decided on an afghan, and to motivate myself I figured I should choose something that I can enter in the fair in the fall.  I finally decided on this free pattern from the coats and clark website (that link is really slow to load).

Patrick went with me to the fabric store to help me pick out colors.  I thought he was teasing, but it turns out he happens to like making things with yarn.  He is trying to convince me to knit him a pair of socks, but I complained over the high price of "sock yarn" (about $6 for enough to make 1 pair).  Never mind that I don't know HOW to knit socks.  He is sure I can do it.  :)  I am not sure the hospital wants me to bring all the necessary knitting tools along with me.  They look too much like weapons.  So I'll stick to my blanket idea for now, and leave sock knitting to the more talented members of Patrick's family!!  :)

{This is going to end up like the bread.  I know it is.  You wait and see...in a couple weeks I'll be looking on youtube or knittinghelp.com for videos on how to knit socks.  I'm still baking bread, by the way.}

Here is a sample block with the colors we chose:
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Surgery on Monday

This is it--the hours are starting to count down.  I am so grateful that Mitch's mom and step-dad, Karen and Marc, are coming up to help out this week.  They were able to take some time off from their jobs and are driving (in the nasty storm that is now upon us) from Kentucky.  They'll be here later this afternoon.  Kristin is going to keep Tirzah for me while I am in the hospital.  I have worked hard every day to build up a small supply of frozen breastmilk for her, but she just so happens to have the {special} ability to nurse Tirzah in my absence.  :)  I know that it will mean more restful nights for the people living at my house, and I'm praying that Kristin's nights are restful.  I'm grateful also for her sacrifice!  A sewing friend (who makes adorable dog diapers) is going to bring Tirzah to visit me in the hospital.  She has also offered to come help me cut out diapers soon and I am SO excited.

On Monday Mitch will drive me to the hospital.  My day looks something like this:
Midnight-- Nothing more to eat or drink except small sips of water (no more than 30 ml/hour)
10:30 am Check in for surgery
12:30 pm Surgery scheduled to begin, and estimated to last 156 min
3:00 pm Into recovery
4:30 pm Admitted and moved to room
At this point Mitch is planning on staying with me as long as he can, then going home.  He can't be with me at all in recovery, so it doesn't make sense for him to sit there and wait for all those hours.  Since the hospital is less than 10 min away, I think I'm comfortable with him going back home.  I do hope he'll come up and see me as soon as I am in my room, though.  The surgeon plans on keeping me for two nights, so if all goes well I will come home on Wednesday.  Kristin will update my blog, and I'm giving Mitch a list of important numbers to call for an immediate update.

That's the plan!  Of course there are so many other things running through my head.  It's pretty easy for me to find something to worry about.  For example, am I going to feel really loopy afterward?  Will I get sick?  How soon will I be able to pump?  But whenever I start to feel overwhelmed I remember that God is sovereign over all of it.  Nothing that happens, even "unexpected" things, is out of His control.

It's not all easy sailin' around here.  We have had a yucky vomit/diarrhea virus go through the house this past week.  I am concerned about Karen and Marc coming into our house of sickness.  Certainly I have worried about getting it as well.  I did have some "back door trots" as Mitch calls it yesterday afternoon, but I was feeling much better last night.  There's no doubt about it, that was the real thing, and I hope that's ALL I get.  Yee-haw!  (Sorry for the TMI).  So when you are remembering to pray for me during the surgery, also pray for the health and comfort of my family.  :)

If you have any questions, just ask or email me: stephtheis at gmail.com.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tirzah is 9 months old (yesterday)!!

Yesterday Patrick came up to me while helping Tirzah walk--she was holding onto his sleeve only to steady herself!  She has taken a couple steps on her own, but is not really ready to venture off without holding on to something.  She turns her feet in and walks on the sides of them, so she doesn't quite have the balance/coordination down.

Tirzah, at 9 months you
~want to get into everything
~try to copy the things that everyone else is doing
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~bump your head a lot as you learn to balance on two feet (or two knees)
~will not fall asleep by yourself
~like to be held over my left shoulder (or Micah's, Eden's, or Patrick's) and patted on the back
~like to sleep near Mommy all night long, even if you're not nursing
~go to bed at night around 9 pm and get up around 7 am
~take one or two naps in a day, sometimes 2 hours long
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~like to eat some foods but not others
~refuse to miss family dinner around the table
~will try anything that is on our plates
~love to hold a fork or spoon
~ate chicken enchiladas for supper last night and loved it
~also think it's cool to eat Mommy's ice cream or yogurt
~think baby food jarred meats is something bad
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~put every little thing you find on the floor in your mouth
~say "hiiiiiii Da"
~have a new love for bath time
~can sit up in the tub and take a bath with your brothers
~love to splash water and don't mind when it gets in your face
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~love to play in the pantry (see the mess you made out of my onions!)
~also love to empty the cupboard with the cups in it
~roll the cups around on the floor (they roll funny)
~love balls
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~pull up on everything, even things that are not stable and cause you to fall
~are learning how to go DOWN and up the stairs
~think downstairs is the best place in the world to play
~cry whenever anyone shuts the gate and leaves you upstairs
~love shoes, and "attack" any daycare parent wearing shoes
~are very friendly and will crawl to anyone who is sitting on the floor nearby
~simply love to play and love people

We STILL love you!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

From the Archives: My Girls

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I was digging through photos on the computer tonight and came across this sweet video Eden made sometime when I wasn't looking. :)  It was on September 25, 2009, so Tirzah is 5 months old. I'm 99% sure Eden wrote this song herself (she has been doing that lately). I'll have to ask her to make sure, but she's already in bed for the night. Just after this Eden took a picture of Tirzah asleep, so the song must have worked!  [It turned out blurry, so I posted a different one below.]



Oh the sweet days when Tirzah sucked her thumb!

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I'm going to step out on a limb here and share a song Eden left on my desk just today. I hope she doesn't mind. It's so neat to see God working in her heart.

"My Tower, Oh God"
by Eden Theis

Chorus
My tower, oh God
Is you
My stronghold, oh God,
Is you
My power, oh God,
Is you, is you
(repeat 1x)

Verse 1
Oh God on high,
Oh God we glorify,
We glorify

Verse 2
You sent your Son,
You love us so.
He died for us,
And took the pain,
Now it's done.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oopsy Daisy!

Tirzah has certainly had a hard day for falls today!  She has not quite got her whole balancing act down, and took a few good falls, including one that landed her forehead right into the leg of my sewing table.  Poor girl!

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

5 inches off Eden's hair

Eden was in need of a haircut.  For months we talked about growing it out and donating to Locks of Love, but finally we couldn't take any more waiting.  It was difficult to comb and manage.

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She is begging me now to let her have bangs like mine.  What do you think...should I let her have bangs???  It is cute pulled back like this, but she doesn't like wearing it that way.  Silly girl!

Did you notice I got my hair cut?  Patrick did too, we went yesterday on his day off from school!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The God Particle

Have you heard of the Large Hadron Collider?  The so-called "big bang machine?"  I recently read an article in The Week magazine that had me quite amused.  Let me fill you in.  Among other things, the machine is designed to generate enough energy (hopefully) to find a subatomic particle called the Higgs boson.  Also known as "the God particle."  From The Week:
"According to the matehmatical equations that make up the reigning theory of physics, known as the Standard Model, the Higgs boson is the piece of the atom that endows all the other pieces with their mass.  It is 'what allows us to exist,' says physics professor Tejinder Virdee of Imperial College London.  'Without the Higgs boson we would all be puffs of radiation.'"
Oh, really?

"The data might also help explain why the visible universe accounts for only 4 percent of the universe's total mass.  When physicists this year crank up the LHC to its highest energies, the collisions they produce could throw off clues to the whereabouts of the remaining, invisible mass, which scientists call 'dark matter.'"

Oh my!

I love the next part of the article.  The Week asks the question, "What if they don't find these particles?"

"They may have to rethink the laws of physics....'There have been thousands of theoretical papers,' says physicist John Ellis.  'I've written hundreds of them myself.  What if it all turns out to be a pile of garbage?'"  {emphasis mine}

Whew!  Stop looking.  Stop spending billions of dollars.  I know the answer.

John 1:1-5 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

Hebrews 1:3  "He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power."

Hebrews 11:3 "By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible." {emphasis mine}

That's some more good ole country boy sense.  :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tirzah and Mommy

Mitch took a turn behind the camera...he's doing great (even though I'm a terrible teacher)!!

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{Hiiiiiiiii}

And a couple more with Daddy too cute not to post...

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{Hey Dad, I need to tell you something!}

Friday, January 15, 2010

Malachi steals the show!

It was Caleb's birthday party. The cake was delicious. I used a most unhealthy recipe from hershey's.

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Caleb opened his presents...a bike helmet, a picture puzzle book, and a new bike! The bike was not assembled yet, but the kids were a flurry of activity buzzing around to help get it assembled.

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Zeke, Josh, and Malachi had the most fun playing with the box. Our eyes weren't totally on Malachi and the small home tool kit lying on the floor. Suddenly, he let out a cry. It took me about half a second to survey the scene and figure out he'd cut his finger on a small box cutter. We didn't even remember it was in the kit. Mitch rushed Malachi to the sink, but our carpet was already stained with blood. One quick look and I knew it would have to be stitched. He sliced it right along the side of his index finger on his right hand, on the side of the finger next to the thumb, between the first and second knuckle. We quickly reacted to have our older kids get their buddies in bed, Patrick buckled Tirzah in the carseat, and Micah started the truck. We put a quick bandage on Malachi's hand from our first aid training kits. The whole thing took maybe 10 min. The hospital is only a few minutes away, and once in the ER we were given a room right away. (It was pretty quiet in there last night...guess Thursdays are slow). Malachi is our first kid to need stitches. Yeah, it would be him. The whole thing was really painful for me to watch. Mitch is normally very queasy with blood, but he held Malachi the entire time and did wonderfully. The PA said that normally they have to wrap two-year-olds in blankets and have lots of hands holding them down, but Malachi sat bravely on Mitch's lap. The worst part was when the PA was inspecting the wound to see if his tendon had been cut. She wasn't able to see--there was too much blood and his finger was too small. Malachi was pretty scared through it all, screamed with the numbing shots and cried during the stitches, but he did great. I don't know if you've ever seen a wound stitched, but this was my first time. I soaked in everything, while cringing and looking away at times. Mostly I am in awe of the PA and the nurses. I don't think I could EVER hold a kid down and do what needs to be done. Ouch. :) They bandaged him up good and even put a splint on his finger to keep it stabilized. I told him it looks like a gun. We arrived home not even an hour and a half after we left.

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I loved how Patrick came and sat close and comforted him after we arrived home.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy Birthday, Caleb!

9 years ago today, Caleb slipped into this world at 5 minutes after midnight.  He was my easiest childbirth ever (of course, I did have the "perfect" epidural...if there is such a thing).

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2001
As a baby, Caleb was great.  Nursing wasn't so great, and by 8 months I had completely weaned him to a bottle.  He spit up a lot, and we put him on reflux meds at 6 months.  He did not like to cosleep, went to bed on his own with a nuk, and woke up every day at 5:30 a.m.
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2002
Caleb was an adorable toddler.  We loved giving him attention and doting on him.  He was SO funny.
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2003
Caleb climbed (and jumped off of) EVERYTHING.  It's a wonder he didn't break anything or need stitches.  2 year olds became my favorite with Caleb around.  Potty training was a cinch during the day, but took a little longer to get night trained.
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2004
Like all my boys, Caleb loved superheros, playing outside, and just being boyish.  We call him our defiant compliant child.  He is compliant and willing to do what we ask most of the time.  Sometimes, though, he is just the polar opposite and very defiant.  We do have a temper!
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2005
Caleb was a fast learner, no formal preschool required.  He was especially good at numbers and adding.
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2006
Caleb headed to school later this year.  He did great!  His speech was a little funny, but we were not concerned.
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2007
Caleb is starting to read.  He loves school.  He is starting to hate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (I think it is because he can't spread the jelly very well).  He doesn't always deal well with unexpected changes.  If something doesn't go the way he wants to, he'll either pout or change his mind decide that what he REALLY wanted was what happened.
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2008
Caleb has a very long list of what he wants to be when he grows up.  He wants to do everything from make movies to running a bakery.  He basically has a million ideas of how he's going to make the world a better place.  We are homeschooling 1st grade and Caleb is proving to be an A+ student.
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2009
Caleb is responsible in school and quick to get his work done.  He loves to play imaginative games with Eden and Zeke, or to play computer or video games. 
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2010
Caleb doesn't change much at all.  He still gets up early (5:30ish), goes to bed early, and prefers to sleep alone.  He still has a wild imagination about what he's going to do for the world.  He loves to play pretend games.  He loves to play computer and Wii.  He still hates jelly on his sandwiches.  He excels at math and reading.  He still talks funny sometimes (but we have really nailed down the "s" sound).  He tells very long stories.  He longs for the undivided attention of his parents.  :)

Happy Birthday, Buddy!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Don't mind the smudge on the camera lens...Malachi probably did it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Should it stay or go?

Tirzah has thin, whispy hair.  She was born with a good amount of hair, but hasn't grown much since then.  That's kind of what happens with my kids, especially the ones that end up having curly hair.  Here she is at birth:

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So, Mitch always wants to shave the kids' hair off when they are born. I would NEVER do that. I think he says it just to drive me nuts. He has always made comments about Tirzah's crazy hair, but he seems to have stepped it up a notch lately. He says things like "She would be pretty if you'd cut that hair off." LOL But SOME PEOPLE have actually agreed with him. Argh!

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So I proposed a blog poll. Should I cut her hair or not? I am including a couple pictures to help you capture the part that we're talking about here. We have nicknamed it "the comb-over". Mitch still thinks I should just shave it all over, but most people say I should just take the scissors to this uber long part.

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I don't really put bows in it like that, but it does help display how long that "piece" of hair is there on top. Micah just saw the picture and laughed and called it the "Eiffel tower". Man, I live with some really mean people!

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And there you have it. The comb-over. Should it stay or should it go? Vote in the poll to the right until Saturday, January 23. :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Good Pictures Today

I do love the sunshine!  Sun coming through the windows on the west side of our house means I get to take some good pictures without even trying hard.

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This picture of Patrick was good like it was...it originally had some great blues in it (blue is my favorite color)...however, I had some fun editing with my Creative Memories Memory Manager program.

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Tirzah was so beautiful sleeping in her carseat.
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Josh is always the little man (he's my favorite).  LOL...I say that all the time, and I don't really think I have a favorite child, but I love to say it just to be funny.  And out of all my kids, he really has been the easiest, and there's something to say for that!

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Could there BE a better picture that depicts Caleb's personality PLUS the stage of life he is in?


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I took this picture yesterday of Tirzah under not-so-great light (I had to use the flash).  Do you see what she is doing?  She had been chewing on her fingers all evening and they were RED.  But while I was holding her she actually SUCKED...briefly...on her thumb.  I was so excited.  I grabbed my camera, but she was too close to get a picture.  I handed her to Eden and she continued to work on her thumb a little bit.  I am desperately hoping this child will either suck her thumb or suck a pacifier and learn to put herself to sleep again soon.  Maybe even to sleep through the night (dare I hope?)!!  And I might mention it would be especially nice if she would do so before my surgery on the 25th, when I am going to leave her in the love and trust of Kristin.  :)

Speaking of that, I have been pumping milk once every day.  I just can't bring myself to wean the child.  I can't justify it.  But I have pumped one side and nursed the other side to get her a little satisfied, then offered her the rest of the milk in the bottle.  So far I've done it 3 times.  She is not "mad" at the bottle anymore.  She has figured out how to suck on it (seriously, she didn't even know how to suck on it to get the milk out at first), but she mostly plays.  My immediate goal is to keep pumping milk every day and get her used to a bottle.  Then while I am in the hospital I plan to pump and send the milk to Kristin's house.  I have another friend that will bring Tirzah up to the hospital for a visit to actually nurse, too.   Each day that I offer her the bottle and she doesn't take it all, I save what is left over and freeze it.  By 2 weeks from now, I should have enough supply to take over for Kristin to have until I can get her milk.  My surgeon advised me to pump and throw away milk for the first 24 hours.  I am doing some research on this general practice, however, and I have reason to believe it is not necessary.  I am going to keep researching, and hopefully I will be able to discuss it with my anesthesiologist and make a more informed decision from there.  One thing the kellymom website suggested was to ask for drugs that would be given to a mother undergoing a c-section.  Now, obviously I will be under general anesthesia, but certainly anything given to me for pain afterward can follow those guidelines.  That made a lot of sense to me!

And while I'm at it, I'll say that I am feeling better to some degree.  The fevers are gone and I don't feel as exhausted.  I believe both were related to the virus and I got a lot of sleeping in during that time.  I still feel pretty weak.  I feel all shaky when I stand for a while.  I get light headed when I bend over to pick things up.  You'd think I was 8 months pregnant!    I got the pneumococcal vaccine on Thursday and my arm was VERY sore on Friday (what a wimp!), but Saturday was mostly better and today is nearly perfect.  The hardest thing for me at the moment besides being weak is eating.  I do a lot of snacking, otherwise when I eat a regular serving at a meal time, I feel stuffed.  Like I had just gorged myself at the buffet.  It feels like it takes hours to digest.  So I don't have a huge appetite.  Yep, just like being 8 months pregnant.  Only the "baby" I'm going to "deliver" is not something we'll be taking pictures of.  :)

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Sunny and -18F

I just thought it was worth blogging about.  Right now at this moment in St. Cloud, MN, it is sunny (beautiful!!) and -18F (-28C).  Right now at this moment at the South Pole Station in Antarctica, it is -18F (-28C).  Unbelievable!!  We have it a little better than they do, though, their windchill makes it feel like -36F.  We have had some pretty cold windchills the past few days, but currently there's not a lot of wind blowing.  It's actually much colder up in northern Alaska at the moment, but I did find this Fox News article, Think Antarctica is Cold? Try America, amusing and a little ironic.  I know that everyone in America is feeling cold and having bad weather, and it's all about perspective, isn't it?  Antarctica will never be much warmer than a few degrees above 0F.  This is their summer, and this is as good as it gets.  For us, our unseasonably cold temperatures will be gone soon.  Everyone will be feeling a little relief.  Over the next 30 hours, our temperatures will climb almost 40 degrees to be 20F, which is a little more like normal.  The next week looks good and warm.  Perspective...it's all about perspective!!  

Life is like that.  One of my favorite quotes about life and attitude was made by Chuck Swindoll. Our YFU exchange students in the area are at an orientation today, and this may be one of the breakout sessions they do to talk about attitudes.  The quote goes like this:
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company ... a church ... a home.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude ... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you ... we are in charge of our Attitudes.
Thankfully, we get to enjoy the sunshine from inside our home where it is a balmy 70F and our kids can dress as if it were summer time. Or not dress at all. Nice, isn't it?

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Surgery Update with Pictures

No, the pictures are not of a surgery.  You can breathe a sigh of relief!  :)  But a blog post just isn't so much fun without pictures.  Now, do I write the surgery update first or put the pictures first? Hmmm...

I met with Dr. Paul Mitchell today.  He was very nice and has a good sense of humor.  He seemed impressed to know I am married to Mitchell Paul. :)  He was thorough and patient with me and asked many questions.  He listened closely to my health history and my family history of spherocytosis.  He again described what spherocytosis is, and explained that the splenectomy does not change the presence of spherocytes in my blood, it only allows them to survive.  Before coming in today, he sent me to have a CT scan done.  He looked at my lab work with me and answered some questions I had.  The most notable thing to see there was my hemoglobin, which had been 8.4 on Dec. 21, was 8.6 on Dec. 23 and still only 8.6 on Dec. 31st.  We looked at the CT scan together and he described the surgical procedure in detail.  The detail from the scans was AMAZING!  He said right away without me even asking that he would like to take my gallbladder out--yay!  He said that would be done first.  As we looked at the scan, it was easy to see the size of my spleen.  When I said we could feel it, we are really only feeling the TIP of it--it's crammed in there good and is close to the same size as my liver (whoa bragging rights!!).  My stomach is really squished and I joked that it keeps me away from the buffets.  A blood vessel attached to my spleen is very large, almost the same size as my aorta.  So my spleen is most likely not just collecting red blood cells, but also white blood cells and platelets as well, contributing to my low blood counts and poor health.  I will feel better with this baby gone, he predicts.  Normally a splenectomy can be done laparascopically.   He confirmed that it may be too big, but they will not know for sure until they are in there.  He said I will stay in the hospital at least for 2 nights, but more if they have to make an incision.  He also described in detail the risks involved.  The main risk is bleeding and subsequently needing a transfusion.  There is an increased risk of infection in life without a spleen, so I must have the pneumococcal vaccine before the surgery (I will get it tomorrow).  I mean it when I said he was thorough--anything that I had read previously or heard from other people that was worth knowing, he said.  It was incredibly reassuring!  We set the surgery date for January 25th.



At this point we are still working on decisions and arrangements for daycare and for Tirzah.  It is difficult.  There are some knowns and some unkowns and we will try to plan for both! 



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{She is quite vicious, I tell you!}
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{Malachi and Josh got some much-needed haircuts}
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{This boy is all kinds of trouble}
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