2:11 PM

I was made to raise my voice, Lift my hands up and rejoice!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Merry Christmas Eve! I cannot believe it is our son's first Christmas. I am so thankful for all that the Lord has blessed me with. I have an amazing fiance, beautiful son, great friends and an unbelievable family. The only thing on my Christmas list this year is prayers for strength and wisdom in the coming year to help our son grow and prosper. I ask that he will fall in love with God and fulfill the Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:37-39). Brian, Kaleb and I will be in church this evening thanking Him for all of our blessings, praying for the future and remembered the real reason for the season.

I hope everyone has a great Christmas! I'll post some pictures this weekend!

3:24 PM

Self Sacrifice

This weekend was a great success. We had our first annual Shankford-Peterford Christmas. Each year we are going to let the kids exchange gifts and have dinner. Riley got Kaleb the cutest cowboy boot slippers and two t-shirts from Bass Pro. We grilled out in the freezing rain (Thank you Brian's!) and even got some pictures of the kids asleep after the long night. I can't wait to see them when they are older!

Brian did a very self-sacrificing thing yesterday. We were eating dinner with my sister and we were both very sad. I miss her like crazy. We got this house in hopes she could move back in with us since we would have 3 bedrooms. Problem is, she can't fit anything into the bedroom. Olivia has 150+ pairs of shoes in boxes. A closet for each season of clothing. A queen size bed and a "get ready room" at my mom's. No way we could accommodate her at this house. The condo she at least, had her own bath room and a huge closet/bedroom. I know, I know she's just across the street but it's not the same.

My mom tried to separate us when we were little too. We asked for walkie talkies for Christmas and used them to sneak into bed with each other. Every morning my mom would find us in bed together. Fast forward to high school, my mom still insisted that we would "outgrow" this whole sharing a room phase. So she just slept in my bed. No walkie talkies needed. The first night I had ever slept without her was my freshman year of college. We never outgrew that phase, ever. When she lived at the condo most of the time Brian would end up in her bed and she'd be in mine. That's us.

Brian decided to give up his basement for Olivia. She cried. It was totally his idea and an amazing one. She will have a huge open area and a bathroom. Plus I will be able to help her with her nursing stuff and she'll get to see her nephew grow. I know eventually we'll have to separate but it's never for long. One day we'll live next door to each other on a ton of acreage. Until then she is taking over the man-cave :) Thank you Brian. We both love you very much.

11:25 AM


This photo was taken when Brian had known each other a week. One week. We sat up talking until 7 in the morning on our second date and I was hooked. We said, "I love you" on Day 4. I had already moved a ton of my stuff into his house by day 6. I cannot tell you how many times I heard "you're crazy" or how "stupid" we were being. We just knew. We worked really hard to get off 13th street and into our very first condo. It seems like such a long time ago...

Brian recently had a conversation with one of the major doubters of our relationship. He almost had a cow when he heard we were engaged, have a baby, a beautiful home and are still head-over-heels in love. That is my inspiration for Y3W this week and a song to boot!

Headed out to California
Everybody tried to warn us
Said we wouldn't make it any further
Than that worn out Chevy would

We broke down a time or two
Thought maybe we didn't think it through
We were all we had to turn to
When it wasn't looking good

Looking back, laughin'
Cause they called us crazy...

We were young
We were wild
We were restless
Had to go, had to fly, had to get away
Took a chance on that feeling baby

We were loving blind, borderline wreck less
We were living for the minute we were spinning in
Baby we were a lot of things,
But we weren't crazy

Just a couple kids a couple years ago
Now we got a couple kids of our own
Turned out right and proved them wrong
Look at us, going strong

Looking back, laughin'
Cause they called us crazy...

We were young
We were wild
We were restless
Had to go, had to fly, had to get away
Took a chance on that feeling baby

We were loving blind, borderline wreck less
We were living for the minute we were spinning in
Baby we were a lot of things,
But we weren't crazy

Could've set it down
When things got tough
We could've walked away from this love
That've been crazy

We were young
We were wild
We were restless
Had to go, had to fly, had to get away
Took a chance on that feeling baby

We were loving blind, borderline wreck less
We were living for the minute we were spinning in
Baby we were a lot of things,
But we weren't crazy

3:45 PM

Tis The Season!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When someone calls into my work they have to identify themselves or the person they are referring to by two letters and then a series of numbers. To make sure we get the correct letters many people start with, "B as in boy or C as in cat." We have heard it all. We once had a list going of idiotic things people have said:

J as in Giraffe
D as in doggy-style (Ew. No you didn't)
K as in Cat

This morning I got this one,"C as in Christmas. X as in Christmas" What!? Okay. I wanted to say I as in Idiot. Tis the reason for the season!

Anyhoo, tomorrow is church night again. Olivia is taking Kaleb. I think we might make this a tradition until he's old enough to sit through an evening church service. I'm excited again. It's nice to get away to talk to God and experience the real reason for the season. This is going to be a very tough holiday season for us financially. Brian is off work and I was off for 8 weeks right before him. Our income has been drastically reduced. We made sure Kaleb was taken care of on gifts and the rest is up in the air. We decided to revert back to the old homemade gifts :) The ones I am doing for my family is actually really amazing. It has me logging at like 40 hours of work time on it but it will be worth it. It will also cover everyone in my extended family (grandma, grandpa, ect). I know that our economy is struggling and we are not the only ones tight on our budget. It doesn't matter to us. Our son is taken care of on gifts and the rest of this holiday is going to be spent focusing on what we are so very thankful for. We've been reading the story of the birth of Jesus in Matthew and Luke each night around the Christmas tree. Kaleb is all smiles and usually falls right to sleep after we read a few verses. God has blessed us in so many ways this year. We still cannot fathom what we did to deserve such a wonderful life.

On a lighter note I got emailed the not-yet-released new book in the Twilight series called, "Midnight Sun." I can't print it but I can read it on my desktop. It is the first book from Edward's point of view. Amazing. If anyone wants it drop me a line and I'll grab your email.

If you are reading Jess I lost your email already! Ah. Can you send it to me again? If not, I'll have Brian call Brian to see how your days back to work went (lol, I know... we should call ourselves!) and get it again. The pictures of Riley and Santa are amazing!

4:05 PM

Weekend Warriors

Monday, December 15, 2008

This weekend went blindingly fast. Too fast. Friday Brian and I made the trip out to West Chester to do some shopping in the Voice of America park. My main stop was the Carter's Outlet. It was great :) Kaleb was such a good boy. He started grunting when we were in line. Brian looked at him and told him, "Behave son. You need to quiet down." And he did. It was so stinking funny. All the women in line cracked up. We got Kaleb some cute Christmas pajamas too. Brian and I ate at Cici's before heading back to this side of town.

Saturday I planned on sleeping in and Brian was going to take Kaleb all morning. Egh. Didn't happen. Kaleb decided to scream his head off... all day. Sure enough, stick your finger in his mouth and he gnawed on it for hours. We alternated fingers, wet wash clothes and chew-things. Kaleb has hated his swing and it was in our storage room. I dragged it out to the kitchen so that I could get some dinner made. He loved it! Who knew? He also took a 1/2 jar of banana's. I guess they must have felt good on his sore gums. We put the other half in his bottle. He is such a hungry boy all the time :) My mom and dad decided to take our wild man so we could eat dinner. He ended up falling asleep so we let him stay. Brian and I made buckeyes together and watched a movie. It was such a good time. Apparently after we fell asleep Brian attempted to roll over so that his back was to me. I climbed (gracefully, of course) over him so that I could snuggle back into his arms. I don't remember any of it except waking up on the wrong side of the bed.

Sunday we went to church with the Shankford's. I'm happy to report Riley & Kaleb behaved like little angels. We all headed to the mall to get the kids picture taken with Santa. They both were amazing the whole time. Our Brian's, were not! This is what we see waiting in line for Santa:

The rest are pictures I snapped of my stinker this weekend. When he was a happy boy!

2:19 PM


Friday, December 12, 2008

ABC’s Good Morning America does a weekend piece called “Y3W” for “Your Week in 3 Words.” Ordinary people use cameras to capture their week in images and then choose three words (or groups of three words) to express it all. It’s powerful and moving: a soldier in Iraq standing by a wall with a sign: “Happy Birthday Morgan;” a baby stumbling across a floor to waiting hands with the words “Her First Steps;” a hand with the words “Lost My Job” written on it, and when the hand is removed a “For Sale” sign in front of a house. Powerful. I am going to "attempt" to do these each Friday. Here we go:
It's as simple as that! I love my boys. I made it through my first FULL week at work since before Kaleb was born and it has me thinking how much I love and miss them!

I hope everyone has an amazing weekend!

11:50 AM


December 11, 2008

First things first, Kaleb is 11 weeks old today. 11 on the 11th! He is such a big boy. He can sit on my hip now when we are making a bottle with very little support around his neck. He picks his head up for really long periods too. Yesterday he set a feeding record in our house. 12 ounces. Yep. 1-2. That is 2 bottles! I almost didn't believe Brian when he told me until later that night our hungry hippo took 8 for my sister. All my mom said was, "Good luck financing that."

Church was amazing. It is so different than anything I have ever known. The church is non-denominational but the preacher was raised like Brian (pentecostal). I get so uncomfortable when people talk out during the service. I went to a quiet Presbyterian church with a choir and soft-spoken pastor. This church had a full band and Marvin Hurley (the pastor) gives one heck of a sermon! There is absolutely NO way to fall asleep or go of course with him! I cannot explain what is was like to have Brian & Jessica there... I just kept hoping they didn't think this was crazy. Jessica was raised in a Presbyterian church like me- I know she's not used to this way either. She cried twice and I wanted so badly to hold her hand and tell her I love them. Shanky handled it for me though :) It was amazing to get to see them together in church for the first time. The sermon touched on some many things that are going on right now. How is it that we can go to the movies and spend a ton of money on snacks, tickets, drinks but come to church and offer up a dollar? Or how is it that we can go to football games and get so passionate about it... screaming in the stands but come to church and rest quietly in the pew. I've always understood that you can go straight to hell from a church pew- it's so much more than just showing up. You have to believe it, live it and be a witness for God. It renewed Brian and I on how to live our life just a little bit more for God. We held hands and prayed at the end. Our little family is finding is finding it's way and I'm glad we have the Lord leading us. We are headed to Jess's church on Sunday :)

Brian and I talked all the way home from Oxford. I found out so much more about him. We both agreed the moment we really felt God was in the chapel after Kaleb's birth. Brian told me that he believes God made us for each other. We thrive together. We build each other up and we do even better now that we are a family. Every single heartbreak, relationship, decision led us into that bar the night we met. I feel so blessed to know how rare it is to have what we have.

We picked up Kaleb from my sister. She kept him busy! She took him to the mall and got him a ton of clothes. We are going to put him in one of the outfits for Christmas Eve. It's the cutest sweater outfit! She also got their pictures taken with Santa. They look so adorable. We got Kaleb home and gave him a bath. I could barely keep his eyes open after we did our nightly "baby massage." He was still sleeping this morning when I left for work. He's so good at knowing when it's bed time :) I hope he never outgrows that!

And for fun I was playing with this new photo program. I did some of Kaleb and then Riley. I stole this picture Jess- it's just too cute!

They are so sleepy!

I've always wanted to know how to do the color accents. Now that I know we'll probably do some of his Christmas pictures this way :)

She is so stinking adorable! Brian & Jess are very lucky! :)

It is quite possible that when we get these two together on Sunday I might explode with happiness. We are so blessed!

2:58 PM


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

As a new mother I don’t have a lot of time to reflect these days. My time is spent running from person to place, packing bags, putting out fires and taking care of my beautiful son and fiancé. The weekend passed all too quickly but I found myself in the shower last night (or this morning- the clock was teetering on the edge of 1 am) reflecting on my life right now.

On Friendship:

This is the one that sticks out in my head the most right now. We shared a wonderful night on Saturday with Brian & Jessica. We decided to have a “baby free” night. Although our children went to their grandparent’s houses it was anything but baby free. The night started out comparing notes, as always. Riley is smiling, gaining weight, sleeping in her big girl bed and hating her swing. Both of our children will find a “jumperoo” under the tree this year. Poor Riley has acid reflux but it is being managed well now. As soon as they cross the threshold of our house it’s like the great divide. Brian and Brian run off to the self proclaimed, “man-cave” or “manrage.” Far be it for us to understand why they would rather sit in the garage with a space heater than with us. My Brian says we speak in code, “Yeah I’d rather see him in the jumeroo than the play station. He will just have more range when he gets excited. Yes I’ve been nesting. Did you see the Ohio nesties are getting together in January?” Okay, I can see how that could be confusing from the outside. Brian and Brian are more alike than any two people I have ever met. At times they even look alike. It would make sense they would both be with women so very close.

Since the day I met Jessica we hit it off right away. We share everything. There is no façade or anything we need to hide. “I don’t know how to fix this with my baby, we literally have no money, our insurance sucks, this economy is killing us, listen to what Brian did…” I feel like I have known her forever. We opened a bottle of wine and talked babies, weddings and Christmas for a while. I got to share the video of Kaleb’s birth with her this weekend. I turned around mid-video and huge alligator tears were streaming down her face. My eyes welled to the brim too in that moment. It was for the same reasons I cried when I heard the news that Riley was here and healthy. Love, in its purest form. We shared so much that evening. They even got to stay the night because the roads got too bad. We even made plans for family vacations, Christmas Eve Midnight service and church service. Nothing like strengthening a bond even MORE with God.

No friendship will ever touch the way I feel about my sister. It goes beyond words but the friends I do have, I treasure. I know I can always count on Char. She pulled me out of the darkest time in my life. Jessica is my partner in crime. I can think of another person I’d like to share motherhood with… Kristi has become my sounding board and I don’t think I could make it through a work day without Ashley. So many different personalities but I quietly thank God for each one.

On Faith:

I don’t know how I ever coexisted in a relationship with someone who didn’t believe. It is such a part of who I am and the way I want to raise my children. My life revolves around my faith and belief in God. Each quiet moment I am thanking God for my amazing life and for the strength to teach my son how to live a purpose-driven, God filled life.

I got an email survey the other day that you send your friends to fill out about you and they send back. The question read: If I were stranded on a desert island and I could bring one item what would it be? I told Ashley she’d bring her cell phone to call for help. She told me I’d bring a bible so when the cell phone stopped working we could pray our way out of there! The answer made me laugh but I knew it was true.

Kaleb will be dedicated in January by my brother-in-law, Donald. We couldn’t think of a preacher who loved Kaleb more to help us dedicate his life back to God. It really is an overwhelming ceremony and such an important part of beginning Kaleb’s life. Brian and I continue to search for a church attend and become members. We are trying to find a balance between my traditional church and his love of modern music and sermons. We are having a ton of fun along the way exploring churches. We are headed to one tonight (sans Kaleb- thank you Auntie O!) and Sunday with Brian and Jessica. On Christmas Eve we’ll be sitting in the pew as the clock tolls midnight in a candle light service with Brian and Jessica. (Kaleb and Riley are going to be fast asleep in Riley’s bed =)) We all have way too much to be thankful for this year to not have ourselves praising God and reflecting on our many blessings.

On Brian:

How can I write and not mention him? He drives me absolutely insane but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We laugh constantly. We lay on the floor of our son’s bedroom watching him sleep together. We pray together. He is everything I prayed for in a husband and father. He is literally the half that makes me whole.

All of my previous relationships look like such a joke now. If I ever had any doubt about spending the rest of my life with Brian, September 25 changed it all. There are things that we shared in the midnight hour of the chapel at Christ Hospital that only God will ever understand. As we begged, pleaded, bargained and cried to God for our son’s healing Brian and I saw our lives in each other and our son. I’m not sure there is anyone in this world that could break the bond we share. (Okay, okay I can hear you gagging as you are reading) Besides, there aren’t really words to express what he means to me.

Okay I got my heavy reflective piece out of the way. I’ll update tomorrow and let you know how our night went in church!

4:15 PM

Even More Inspiring... I can do this! :)

Thursday December 4, 2008

There are 20 days until Christmas Eve and I have zero shopping done. Yep. Zero. I talked about it back in like my August blog. Having children really does push you back on your time. Sheesh.

Kaleb went to his Aunt Jennifer's for a little bit yesterday. She had to sing at a funeral that Donald was preaching. Kaleb was a great boy during her singing and she went to change him when she was done. Right as she went to go back into the service he started talking to her. Growling like a grizzly, ohhhhing and ahhhing. She decided to stay in the back, lol. Nothing like a hungry grizzly to liven up a funeral service! Kaleb must have had a good time, he has 4 amazing cousins to keep him entertained over there. I can't wait to see him and Jadon play together next year!

We also took Kaleb with us to see Dr.Grim yesterday for my follow up appointment. You cannot see my c-section scar at all. It looks like the tiniest wrinkle. The three people who work in his office loved seeing Kaleb again. We also took his Jim Abbott stuff. Dr. Grim told us about him and we wanted to make sure he saw what amazing things he already helped Kaleb get. I wrote Dr.Grim a really long thank you note a while back so he already knew about the photo/letter but it was great to show him in person. It was actually kind of sad leaving. So much of my time was spent there that they are almost like family to us. I just hope that Dr.Grim stays in practice for the next couple of years... I don't know what I'd do if someone else had to deliver my other children! They also got there own ultrasound machine at their office. It was ordered right after Kaleb was born. Jamie said he was so torn up about missing Kaleb's hand he no long wants Midwest Radiological in there doing his ultrasounds. He's doing them himself from now on... and check this... they are 3D-4D! That makes me excited for my next pregnancy. Although we have plenty of time to wait for that... :)

Kaleb and I went to be at 8:30. Yep. He got up once at midnight. It was so relaxing! Jessica told me Riley has been in her big girl bed for 3 weeks. Since Jessica and I pretty much share the same thoughts, willpower, anxieties, even husbands (we are practically married to the same man) I know that I can put Kaleb in his room. I can do this! I have new inspiration now :) I guess we'll give the big boy bed another try this weekend. Wish me luck!

4:04 PM

You Inspire Me

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

There is a girl who I work with, Liz. She sits directly across from me and for a very long time it we were the only 2 in our entire pod of 6 :) She is married to Mark and they have a 23 month old son, Grant. We, of course, share a ton of stories and I pump her for advice all the time. When it comes down to Kaleb in his own room I wanted her advice. Grant sleeps in his bed. How did she do it?

Get this. He has slept in his own room, in his big boy crib since day 1 from the hospital. It is amazing she has that kind of willpower! When I asked how long she rocked him before she cut off that routine and switched to the story book routine she said "never". He has always laid in his own bed, no rocking needed. Brian and I decided they are our sleep inspiration. Seriously. They should write a book. I know a ton of the girls at my work (imagine 99% of them) have co-sleeping issues. I do not want to be these parents. I don't want to share a bunk bed with my first grader.

With our hopes set high we decided to take the advice of my mom and Liz. We noticed Kaleb was cranky and hadn't slept in a while. Bathed. Check. Bottle. Check. Diaper. Check. Pacifier. Got it. We laid him down, wide awake, tucked him in and closed the door. We only pretended to leave. Come on people- we are not super human! We both crouched down next to his bed and peeked through his bumper and watched him go to sleep. It took all of about 4 minutes. We wanted to be sure so we stayed 15 minutes. It's a wonder we didn't wake him up. We laughed the whole time wondering if we are going to be this crazy about our other children. We watched our shows and cuddled up next to the Christmas tree. We listened to his deep breathing on our monitor until it was time for us to go to bed.

Road block. I was in bed for all of an hour listening to him rustle around and I could not take it anymore. I know he was asleep but he was making little baby sleep noises and I couldn't see what he was doing. Next, I lost my willpower. I took the sleeping baby from his crib and carried him to our room and into his bassinet. Bad mom, I know. My sister-in-law Becky suggested getting one of those tiny cameras that you can clip onto the crib and it reaches our television. We can leave it on all night and when he makes noise I can see him on the television. Brian agreed I won't get very far on our gig if I can't see him at night. We will keep trying until I get my video thing... I know I can do this :) Kaleb sleeps so much better in his nice, quiet room. It's me who needs the inspiration!

I wonder if it will be possible for him to take the monitor and camera to his college dorm? Hmmmmm.....

Here are a few pictures of my boys on Turkey Day. Yes, they match. I could seriously bite them! I hope he pays this much attention to us when he is older!
Kaleb's face cracks me up in this one!

5:58 PM

What A Stinker!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Kaleb's first Thanksgiving was amazing. He was such a good boy. He is entertained so easily that each new stop was an adventure for him. He did get a little fussy at Grandma Luther's but straightened himself out after a warm bottle and a long car ride. He was pretty fussy in the afternoon the entire break. He's drooling like a mad man and gnawing on his pacifier. I know it's too early for teeth but if I didn't know better...

On Sunday we took Kaleb to church. We ran into one of Brian's old friends who is a pastor at a new church out in Oxford. Kaleb was a great boy all morning. He watched a couple episodes of 'Bob The Builder.' He loves watching him. He sits in his bouncy seat smiling and kicking his chubby little legs the whole time. Once the music started in church he was all smiles again. They have a full band and Kaleb didn't mind it a bit. When they stopped to preach he went nuts. I ended up having to take him out to the car because he just did not want to be in that church. Once I get him to the car and turn the radio on this is the face I get...

The Pastor told us it's a sign of a great kid if he screams in church. Yeah. I believe that. This is the first time I have ever had to remove him from anywhere. I think it had something to do with gas, teeth or the very wet, nasty weather. Maybe a combo. We'll try again soon. I think I'm going to get my sister to watch him Wednesday night so we can try again. I would like to hear the sermon that sounded very interesting before my wild banshee went crazy in the church pew.

This morning our doodle went to the doctor for his 2 month check up! Great news. He has grown into his enormous head. When Kaleb was born he was in the 12th percentile on everything. We didn't mind considering he was born 4 weeks early. Now, 8 weeks later he has shot up into the 75th percentile on everything. His head, length and weight are all huge. The doctor told us he's never seen an improvement like this on a preterm baby. Kaleb is now 13 pounds 4 ounces, 24 inches long, and his head is 16 3/4 inches. We hope he keeps growing like this (although we are running out of clothes fast-we are in the 6 months already!) He also got 4 shots today. It was so hard for Brian and I to not cry. Ugh. Poor little guy!

On a heavy note I need to clear the air. I am very proud of my son. Every single inch of him. I have no issue with anything. Brian has no issue with anything. The very second Brian told me he was missing his hand I said, "He's healthy right?" When he said 'yes' my exact words were, "Who cares!? Now go be with him!" I remember it like it just happened. I made a decision in that brief second that I really didn't care. Correction. I didn't need to make a decision, I already knew. The reason I didn't share pictures from his ICU stay is because they are personal. I'm not going to post pictures on the internet of my son with an IV in his forehead, feeding tube, oxygen mask inside a fish bowl so swollen he cannot open his eyes. Those pictures are for family and close friends only. Some people might post those pictures for sympathy or whatever. Kaleb needs no sympathy or pitty. He's perfect. Just because I didn't post those pictures or let anyone post those pictures does NOT mean I'm ashamed or worried what someone might think, it means I'm a good mom. God gave Brian and I Kaleb for a reason. We do not question His ways or His purpose. We got exactly what we prayed for regardless of what anyone thinks our "lack of birth pictures" means.

You are way. off. base. Maybe I should send them a link to this blog so they can see exactly how I feel about our son. Now that my vent is over here is a picture of my little thinker!

3:27 PM

Ho Ho and The Bass Pro

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Last night after work we loaded Kaleb up and headed to Bass Pro. We had some things that we needed to pick up before the long weekend. They were giving out free pictures with Santa. We got Kaleb's done. He is so stinking cute! The picture is really unfocused. I guess that's what you get for having 3 teenage boys working the camera. We are going to get his pictures with Santa done again regardless. Kaleb was staring up into the lights the whole time. He's obsessed with overhead lighting. Silly boy. Brian took him around and showed him the fish and bears. I laughed the whole time. Kaleb looked very interested actually.

We ended up eating dinner and stopping at Babies R Us. Kaleb stayed up the whole time and then visited my parents. He was awake from 3 pm- 10:30 pm! He was so tired by the time we put him in bed. That did the trick. When I left for work this morning at 5:30 he was still sleeping. Our first real all night slumber. So now we know to keep him entertained all night if we want to get some sleep. He was also 2 months old yesterday. He's growing so fast.

We have a long weekend coming up. I'll be sure to update soon! Happy Thanksgiving! =)

3:22 PM

The Big Boy Bed

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh how fast the weekend passes. Too fast.

Kaleb took all of his naps this weekend in his own bed. In his own room. He slept like a rock. Our monitor is so powerful that if I turn it up I can hear him breathing. That is a relief. It is the only thing that kept me from running in there every two seconds to check on him. Once the sun went down it was harder to leave him in alone. Brian was such a trooper and coached me through it. Kaleb might just be making the transition into his room sooner than expected. Brian and I have become so comfortable as parents. We are confident in our abilities and are so blessed to have each other.

Saturday was amazing. Char did so great with our tickets. We had great seats in the director's hall. They even paid for our tickets as a "thanksgiving present." I even argued, "there are no thanksgiving presents." I think she was bribing me away from the baby. Twilight was everything I expected and more. I thought it told the story very well and didn't mess with my version of the the events too much. Poor Cody fell asleep within the first 20 minutes :( Brian did enjoy the movie. I'm going to try to get him to read the other 3 books. He got up to go to the bathroom and on the way back in crunched one of those plastic pretzel holders during a really quiet scene. Char and I laughed for like 10 minutes.

When we got home about midnight we should've gone to bed. We both wanted to use this time to catch up on sleep. We sat up talking and laughing. We finally fell into bed at like 2 in the morning. So much for getting extra rest. I woke up about 8 and went to see the baby. He was sitting up in his seat on the counter watching my mom make breakfast. It was so stinking cute.

I'm back to work for 3 days this week. I'm so excited for the long weekend! I'm very happy all of our family schedules work out. We only have 3 stops that are pretty spaced out. I can't complain- I love seeing everyone! I had a very tough Monday morning. I fell down the stairs. Yes, fell. Face first all the way down and slammed into the wall at the bottom. Brian had Kaleb in front of me and ran to help me up. It would have been hilarious if it didn't make me cry alligator tears. I was in a hurry and I dropped Kaleb off at grandma's. I was half way to work and realized I didn't kiss him goodbye and cried the rest of the way. I was such a bad mom this morning. Brian will have the baby tomorrow so I don't have to worry about rushing- I really hope Kaleb gets his balance from his dad!

4:14 PM

Mrs.Thompson and My Green Robe

Friday, November 21, 2008
"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

This was the quote in my email bible verse this morning. It seems simple enough. Be thankful for EVERYTHING, good or bad because it is God's plan for you. This verse brings me back to something that happened while Kaleb was still in the ICU. The fact that I couldn't bring myself to blog during this time meant that some stories were left out. We literally experienced this verse firsthand.

It was day 5 of our hospital stay. My parents were down that morning visiting. After the morning doctor from Children's made his rounds he decided that it was time for Kaleb's feeding tube to come out. Although I assured the nurse I'd seen this done a ton of times she politely requested we wait outside because his coughing and sputtering could really upset me. I agreed reluctantly. As we were sitting in the ICU waiting area having our morning coffee the pediatric specialist from University came and sat down with us. We had seen him the previous day who told us Kaleb wouldn't need to be transferred and let me hold him for the first time (he's still my favorite).

He looked exhausted. He wasn't wearing his dress clothes. He was in scrubs coming straight from surgery. "He's going to need more surgery. It looks like it's effecting his heart and there is a valve that isn't closing. He'll be able to live with it for now but will need to be closely monitored until he's old enough to have the surgery done." I almost died. No one had ever said anything about Kaleb's heart. My mom started shaking and we were all asking 100 questions at once. I had seen Kaleb's chest x-ray myself. I saw the tiny hole in his lung but his heart looked fine. This wasn't happening. I finally caught my breath and asked, "You're talking about Kaleb right?" He got a horrified look on his face, "You're not Mrs. Thompson?"

Sweet relief passed over me. I sank back into my chair and took quick, gasping breaths in and out. It turns out a little boy was born on the same day as Kaleb and his mother and I wore the very same robe. I didn't think I would ever be thankful for Kaleb's lung issues during his first days of life until that very moment. I was overwhelmed with thankfulness. That night Brian and I prayed for Mrs. Thompson, her son and his ailing heart. I have found numerous reasons to be thankful for our stay since leaving the hospital.

We are stronger family because of that fateful week. Brian and I learned that we lean on each other in times of crisis. We turn to God and our family. We keep constant prayer and spread the word as far as it will reach. We have always been thankful for our tiny miracle. We laughed at how very strong our son was, breathing so hard that he actually 'popped' a hole in his lung by himself. What a fighter! I learned that day that spending the rest of my life with Brian wasn't enough, eternity just seemed to fit better for our family. And with God all of that was possible; all of this IS possible. Everything that happened to us or will happen is part of his plan. Thanksgiving brings on an entire new meaning this year.

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. " John 15:5

Our Son. Our Faith. Our Family. With God anything is possible :)

4:15 PM

The Long Winter Nap

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I have never been more excited to see anyone than I was to see my boy's yesterday. I literally tore into my driveway on two wheels. I jumped out of the car, leaving my purse inside, and ran as fast as possible up the never ending stairs to get to my family. I ripped off my coat and didn't even wait for my hands to warm up before I grabbed Kaleb from Brian. He didn't mind. He was just happy to have mom home.

Brian did so good yesterday. When I got home he did nothing but praise me for being such a great mom. He realized yesterday how hard it was to do anything but parent. I feel very blessed to have such an amazing partner. He plays with Kaleb, changes diapers, feeds him, sleeps with him and even lets him play video games with him. They are so stinking cute together. It's all I can do to not bite them when they are being adorable together. The sleep the same way, make the same noises and even twitch in their sleep. I worry about having another baby. I can't imagine how I could ever love another human the way I love Kaleb.

Once I was home I popped my little man in the tub. He loves bath time. He kicks and talks and smiles the whole time. After he got a bath and ate some dinner my mom brought over some an amazing steak dinner for Brian and I. (Did I mention how much I love living across the street?) Brian rocked Kaleb to sleep around 8 pm. Brian and I headed off to bed around 11 and tried to wake up Kaleb to eat. He usually eats every 3-4 hours and figured he was going to wake up about midnight right after we fell asleep. He was sacked out and didn't budge when we changed his diaper so we let him sleep. This was a picture we grabbed with the phone before bed.

I woke up at 3 in the morning freaking out. I reached into Kaleb's bed and nudged him. He was fine. Still sleeping like a baby :) He finally woke up for a bottle around 3:30. Our little grizzly bear slept for almost 7 hours! If we played with his schedule a bit and he keeps sleeping this long at night we could get him to sleep through the night soon. That would be amazing! I guess Kaleb was settling in for his long winter nap.

On a lighter note Twilight comes out this weekend in the theater. Char read the books also so my mom is going to take the baby on Saturday and we are all going to go to the movies. Our first night out since Kaleb was born. It's supposed to be some pretty crazy crowds (ugh.) but I'm excited to see the movie. I really hope it doesn't ruin my view of the book. I don't really like seeing things through other people's imagination, mine works just fine. At least Brian will get to see what I obsessed about for like 2 months and talked constantly about. I hope Kaleb is a reader too :)

Tomorrow is Friday and I will have made it through my first week back to work. Thank the Lord!

3:29 PM

Back In The Swing

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Today wasn't as bad as I imagined.

Brian was able to get up with Kaleb for the first time since we got him home from the hospital. We can't complain- he only gets up once and wants a bottle. I got up at 6 to start getting ready for work. I already had everything ready for Brian's big day alone with Kaleb. The boys got up about 7 for breakfast. I rocked Kaleb for a little bit that morning while Brian was doing some things before I left. He was staring up at me with these big, blue eyes and I started crying. I didn't want to cry. It just overwhelmed me. I packed up my things, said goodbye to my boys and headed off to work.

I turned around before I got to the highway. I forgot my pictures. I needed those to get through the day. I finally got them and headed back out. I only cried for another second on the way. I know that this is just temporary. Even Brian reminded me that Kaleb isn't doing anything exciting right now. Eat. Sleep. Poop. I can handle 8 hours away.

Work was work. It was nice to get back into the swing of things. I miss my friends too. I had about 700+ emails waiting. I spent most of my morning sorting those. I accidentally logged myself off our system and was locked out for a while. I couldn't remember my password from 8 weeks ago- go figure!

I'm so excited to head home to my boys! I didn't realize Thanksgiving was so close. I'll have to get everything ready for Turkey Day soon. I have so much to be Thankful for this year. The Lord has truly blessed us.

9:05 PM

And we have a laugh

Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Kaleb laughed. It was amazing. It was like I was seeing him for the first time all over again. Kaleb and I decided to spend the entire Monday together. It was such a cold morning. Just as the sun rose the sky darkened and snow began to fall for the first time this winter. He loved looking at the snow flakes. He fell asleep rocking in the new glider and not even ten minutes later he was laughing in his sleep. My parent's got to hear the laugh too when he visited later. Right now he's only doing it in his sleep. I can't wait for Brian to be able to hear him.

Friday night I was exhausted. I stayed up until 2 am baking brownies for the catering on Friday. Then I worked the lunch buffet at Pictoria Towers. The catering went great and The Party Platter got invited back in 2 weeks. It's such a great money maker. I also got up with Kaleb and was running on zero. That night I was like a zombie. My parent's offered to take Kaleb so that we could get some uninterrupted sleep. We took him over and said we'd give it a try :)

My mom sent me pictures of him every 15 minutes for the first hour. I cried before we got into bed and Brian did a great job of reminding me he was just across the street. Once we got into bed and the lights were out... Brian cried. He got up and got dressed to go get him. I reminded him that he would be the one getting him at the 4 am feeding. I did my job and encouraged him to come back to bed. We finally got to sleep. I woke up at 4 and really wanted to go get him. I was able to hold on until 6 am. He was asleep in my mom's bed so I climbed in and cuddled up to my little love bug.

I've been preparing myself for the big return to work tomorrow. I'm hoping I can blog a lot more once I'm settled in... I have about 20 pictures to take with me.

He loves looking for me and Brian. He's getting so big!

5:43 PM

Picking Our Path

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Kaleb had a busy week. He came down with the sniffles so we spent a good chunk of our day suctioning our poor little guy. We ran the vaporizer constantly. He's back to normal now. Even throughout the runny nose he was still a very good baby. We are so blessed :)

We headed down to Children's to see the Plastic's Specialist on Tuesday. We both felt very nervous with all of the decisions facing us. What road would be best for our little boy? Walking through Children's made me feel like the luckiest woman in the world. "What hand?" I kept thinking as we saw all the sick faces in the hospital. We finally made it to our doctor and waited for almost an hour to see him. When he finally came in and did an exam he weighed out our options:

1. Surgery- He stated he would NOT do our surgery. He stated that Kaleb is PERFECT. A hand transplant is much more complex than most transplants. Bones, nerves, muscles... everything has to be in "sync." Brian and I would have to move to Lexington for 6 months and it would cause Kaleb tremendous pain and rehab. And after all that his transplant could fail leaving him more scarred than before. He told us there are other surgeons who would do this surgery but he highly recommends against this route.

2. Prosthetic hand- Kaleb could come down when he's 2 and they'll fit him for a hand. Each year the prosthetics get more advanced and easier to use. He would get refitted each year or with any growth spurts. Kaleb's doctor told us that he will probably get fitted, learn to work with the hand and then come home and chuck it in his toy box. By the time Kaleb is 2 he'll have perfect use of his "helper hand." We both liked the sound of that, 'helper hand.' He has a full rotation on it (like a wrist) and some beginning bones in his wrist so it will be even better for his use.

3. Nothing. Kaleb will be able to function like an ordinary child. Ordinary. Ha. Our son will never be ordinary. Jim Abbott strongly encouraged us to go this route. His parent's treated him just like his siblings. He said it was the best thing they ever could have done for him.

When the doctor finished weighing Kaleb's options a funny thing happened. Brian and I looked at each other. The familiar almond shape of his eye and the light smile gracing his lips told me he was on my level. We felt relief. Kaleb's doctor stopped us. He told us how refreshing it is to have parent's completely fine with being told there child probably wouldn't be esthetically pleasing right away. He said he usually has to spend hours in visits trying to calm devastated parents who he has to tell surgery isn't the best option. He complimented our bond, faith and strength.

Brian and I decided to let Kaleb have the prosthetic option. Nothing like having a 250K hand in our toy box. We can live with that :) When Kaleb is old enough he can decide if surgery is right for him. They are doing amazing things with stem cells and who knows what they can offer him in 20 years? Our son is perfect. That is where we go from here. We said a prayer pulling away from Children's as we listened to the breathing of our flawless son. Sweet relief...

On the work front I am going back to work on November 19th. I need to finish up some things and will be at UMR through the end of the year, at least. I'm pulling double duty because The Party Platter is really getting huge. The shop is almost done. More news on that to come. On the positive note Brian has a TON of days off in December. Kaleb will spend the other days with my grandma, Brian's sister and Olivia. More relief. I couldn't feel better about who he gets to spend his days with... amazing.

We are going to put up Christmas decorations this weekend before Thanksgiving so that we can deal with our busy month better. I couldn't think of a better way to spend the holidays... with my boys!

4:39 PM

November already!?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Kaleb had his one month visit on October 30th. He's getting soooo big. He's just an ounce shy of 10 pounds! His head grew so much that the nurse measured it three times. Seriously, look at Brian & I... our kid is going to have a melon! :) He is eating so much now that he gets a phlegm build up in the back of his throat. He sounds like a foghorn for about an hour and it's hard for him to sleep. The doctor suggested switching to the soy formula. I suggested cereal. He said he shouldn't eat cereal until he can sit supported. (Ummm he does that now) We decided to try the switch first. Kaleb was also slated to get his second round of hepatitis. He was poked so much in the hospital that one shot didn't seem like much to us. The nurse told Brian to hold his upper body because he was probably going to scream. "No. He won't," Brian responded. They went back and forth for a minute until finally she gave him the shot. Kaleb grunted. He didn't even lose his pacifier. He IS daddy's boy.

Friday was a warm Halloween! We got the video camera out for the first time since his birth. I also broke down and watched my c-section. It was very emotional for me but it was amazing. I'm so glad we have it! Kaleb dressed up as a grizzly bear!
We got to visit my cousin Mike and his wife Mandi. Their son Carter was so cute and he was so excited to see Kaleb. It's so nice to have them living so close. I really enjoyed the visit. We headed to my aunt's after that so everyone could get there fix of our little bear!
We tried an entire can of the soy formula and it made no difference. We broke down and put a little bit of cereal in his bottle. It did the trick. He has less phlegm and seems more satisfied although he doesn't sleep any longer at night. He's a big eater! We are doing 2 scoops formula to 1 scoop cereal. He seems satisfied... for now!

We go to the plastic department at Children's tomorrow. Friday is the orthopedic visit. We also decided to have my brother-in-law dedicate/babtize Kaleb soon. I'll keep everyone posted!

2:56 PM

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps" Proverbs 16:9

Monday, October 27, 2008

This blog took me a very long time to finish. It is my story of healing, comfort and understanding.

I've gone through different stages since Kaleb's birth. I could almost walk myself through the stages of grief but felt selfish... what did I have to grieve about? I have a happy, healthy and beautiful son. I thanked God for our tiny miracle and prayed for comfort. I realized I was grieving for Kaleb. Each mother can understand my pain. Life is hard. There are challenges each person faces without an extra adversity. I suddenly was plagued with sadness. Questions flooded my mind. How hard would it be to tie his shoes? Play video games? Climb a tree? I broke down one night to Brian. As tears streaked down my face I turned to him, "What if no one wants to go to homecoming with him? What if someone is mean to him? How hard is life going to be for him?" My breaths came in uh-uh-uh huh's. Brian smiled and said one word that instantly made me feel better, "Olivia." He was right. People we're mean to her. Very mean. Not because she was different but just the opposite. People were mean because she is beautiful. I've witnessed it first hand. Brian and I have watched her tears wondering how people can be that mean and angry. People who don't even know her. She was still amazing and perfect. My parent's raised her that way. Brian also confided in me that since the day Kaleb was born he's been dressing himself with one hand. He told me at first it was tough but now it's no problem. He actually showed me too. He even tied his shoes.

My sadness turned to anger. I did everything I was supposed to in my pregnancy. I never smoked. I didn't drink. I didn't so much as put a Tylenol in my body without my doctor's permission. Anger boiled up in me. I've watched more than one woman defile her body during pregnancy. Smoking because, "I don't want a big baby" or "I can't take my medicine and this is all that helps me." Drinking because, "The doctor said one glass of wine was fine." Yeah. One glass, not one bottle. I was mad at God. I was mad at myself. I couldn't face those women either. I am still terrified my anger with boil over since they have no idea how thankful they should be. I didn't care about me. I didn't want this for my son.

I prayed. I prayed hard for comfort and understanding. Ta-da. God delivered my answer in a Joel Osteen special on Sunday morning. After his sermon I did some digging of my own in the bible.

"Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." John 9:3

My ears rang. My heart fluttered. I suddenly understood. God did this so he could work through my son. When I was pregnant I prayed for God to help us guide our son to do His work. I prayed for Kaleb's faith to grow beyond measure. I prayed for more knowledge. Brian and I wanted to teach him God's word. Of course, in my mind I was thinking Kaleb would go to be a preacher or doctor. I never imagined God would guide Kaleb through his hand. This passage spoke to me. I didn't do anything to have God punish me; God was rewarding our family. Christ says of uncommon disabilities that they are not always to be looked upon as special punishments for sin; sometimes they are for God to manifest his works.

“Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him dumb or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.” Exodus 4:10-12

The Lord made Kaleb this way and he was going to teach him how to help others. I suddenly knew. Kaleb was destined for greatness. He was going to be so much better than a construction worker, computer programmer or scientist. He is going to live up to his name. He is God's warrior. Kaleb will plan his course but the Lord will determine his steps.

Brian & I will be close behind.

9:50 AM

Visiting Riley

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Riley is so beautiful. She is so perfect and tiny. It's hard to believe our little guy was there just a month ago! I couldn't believe how overwhelmed I got when I saw her... Jessica and I have been through so much in the last year. We followed each others pregnancy step by step and shared the same fears, wishes and excitement for the future. I cannot even begin to tell you how many nights we just sat talking about our babies. We are parent's now. All of our prayers have been answered... both Riley & Kaleb are here and healthy. We are two very blessed women. We are equally lucky to have Brian & Brian around. I cannot wait to share the journey through parenthood with them. It is truly overwhelming to love three people so much :) Even sitting here writing I get tears thinking of their perfect little family. They deserve it sooo much.

How can you not get overwhelmed looking at those pictures? Maybe I'm just biased. Kaleb has been really constipated lately. When we got home from visiting Riley he decided that it was time to let everything out. I mean everything. Olivia told me she couldn't handle it so I went in to help her change him. He has gone so much it filled his diaper and got all over his legs and back. Olivia was gagging and dry heaving and we were both laughing so hard that Brian came running into the room. I told him to go and run some warm water in the kitchen faucet. He was so dirty we were just going to hold him under there to get most of it off. On the way to the kitchen he peed on me... he loved being under the water and as we were cleaning him he peed into the air and on Olivia. Brian took pictures and laughed the entire time. Good thing he's in a cast or I'm sure he would've gotten it too!

Kaleb is waking up so I should get going! We have a busy day :)

9:26 AM

Riley is Here!

We got the news this morning that Brian & Jessica had their baby girl this morning! Both Brian and I immediately started crying. We love them so much!

Riley Faith Shanks
6 pounds 11 ounces
19 inches long
Both mom and baby are doing great. I don't have a ton of details because I got my information through Brian... who got his information through the other Brian. Every lady knows what that is like :) We are going to the hospital tonight so Kaleb can meet his new girlfriend!
Thank God for another healthy baby in our lives!

12:52 AM

Kaleb's Birth Story

On Tuesday September 23 my mom and I headed to Dr.Grim’s office for my 36 week appointment. At the visit my blood pressure measured in the 170’s and they decided to perform a NST (non-stress test). Kaleb’s heart was fine but my blood pressure was not. Even after laying down for the NST my blood pressure did not waiver. Although I was 36 weeks my ultrasounds showed I was at 38 weeks and according to my LMP I would be at 41 weeks. With all of my symptoms and swelling the doctor was concerned about becoming toxic and scheduled me for an induction on the 24th.

We arrived at the hospital and got checked in. I was a -3 station and not dilated at all. I was having random contractions but it wasn’t anything worth measuring. After 4 rounds of medication applied directly to my cervix and increasing contractions over 12 hours I was checked for progress again. I was less than a finger tip dilated. They decided I would have a c-section within the hour. Both Brian and I felt relieved we would meet our son very soon!

The order for the C-section was given and they attempted to wheel me into the operating room before my mom and sister could arrive at the hospital to see us into the room. I cried and Dr. Grim agreed to go grab some breakfast so I got to see mom and Olivia before being wheeled into surgery. The epidural was amazing! Our anesthesiologist was amazing and talked with us for 45 minutes. He also agreed to take tons of pictures and video tape the birth for us. He even asked if we had any requests for what the Ipod would be playing when our son was born.

Once I was on the table Brian held my hand and kept me distracted. At one point I heard a huge splash and everyone talk about not falling in the blood. The drainage bag holding all of my blood had fallen off the bed and exploded on the floor. I didn’t find this out until the next day. Brian did amazing even though I’m sure he was freaking out!

At 8:31 am on September 25, 2008 our son Kaleb Brian Peters was born. He weighed in at 7 pounds 7 ounces and was 21 inches long. Jimi Hendricks’s was playing when he entered the world. I knew immediately something wasn’t right. They didn’t hold him over the curtain but took him straight to the warmer. Brian left my side to be with Kaleb. I strained for what seemed like hours to see what was going on above me. I could hear our son crying and felt instantly relieved.

When Brian returned to my side I knew immediately something wasn’t right. He said, “Don’t worry. Kaleb is fine. He is healthy but he is missing his left hand.” I felt like I was in a dream. What? His what? I couldn’t catch my breath. I grabbed Brian’s hand, “He’s healthy right? He’s okay? It’s just his hand?” I could still hear his screams behind me. “Yes He’s fine.” I instantly felt relief, “Then who cares?! He’s healthy… go be with him!” Brian took my order seriously and went to stand next to his son.

They let Brian bring him to me and give him a kiss before they both headed to the NICU. Kaleb was having trouble breathing on his own and his APGAR score was only a 5. When they both left the room I could feel one serious panic attack coming on. I felt physically sick. I couldn’t comprehend what was happening. What couldn’t he breathe? What happened to his hand?

Dr. Grim leaned over the curtain and asked how I was holding up. “Okay…” I replied. “Have you ever heard of Jim Abbott?” asked Dr. Grim. He spent the next 45 minutes keeping me entertained and preoccupied. He told me all about Jim being born without his hand just like Kaleb. He ended up playing major league baseball and college football. He even pitched a no-hitter for the Yankee’s. I am truly grateful for my doctor during those scary minutes away from Brian and our son. He was amazing.

I was wheeled into recovery. As the visitor’s came in I could feel myself getting tired. The cocktail in my epidural was making me very sleepy and I was shaking uncontrollably. Soon after my face started itching. My eyes were burning from the tears. How was my son? My sister and mother came to tell me he is beautiful and not to worry because he is doing just fine but needs a little help to breathe.

After an hour I was taken to my room. I still hadn’t seen my son but for a few seconds. The doctor came down to do her report. Was it just me or did she look like she was 25? She informed me that although Kaleb weighed in very large he still has preterm lungs. They determined he was 36 weeks and 1 day when he was born. His face was bruised from using the forceps to get him out. She told me he has a spot above his eye that could grow into a large birth mark that would need to eventually be surgically removed. Kaleb was working so hard to breathe that he literaly “popped” a tiny whole in his left lung and the air he was breathing was leaking into his chest cavity. They had him on a hood vent with oxygen. She also told me that his neck looked larger than normal. I lost it.

I was sobbing so hard I could feel it pulling on my incision. My son was only about 2 hours old. I needed to see him. I felt like I couldn’t breathe until I could see his face. My nurse told me that my bed couldn’t fit back there so I could go down when I got up that evening at 5 pm. “She’s nuts,“ I told myself. I told her she could help me up now or I’d do it myself. By 11 am I walked to wheelchair and got to see my son.

He was the most amazing thing I have ever laid eyes on. He had a “fishbowl” on his head which helped him get oxygen. He had a tiny IV in his head and monitor’s all over his body. I sat and held his hand as long as I could. Finally a much older doctor came to talk to Brian and I.
His neck is normal. The spot above his eye was not a birthmark and had already disappeared. He would need to stay until he could breathe without help and if the hole in his lung didn’t heal he would need to be transferred for a chest tube. The doctors determined that his hand wasn’t anything genetic. It is a condition called ABS or amniotic band syndrome. It effects 1/2000 births and it is completely random. The amniotic band theory is that ABS occurs due to a partial rupture of the amniotic sac. This rupture involves only the amnion; the chorion remains intact. Fibrous bands of the ruptured amnion float in the amniotic fluid and can encircle and trap some part of the fetus. Later, as the fetus grows but the bands do not, the bands become constricting. This constriction reduces blood circulation and Kaleb’s left fingers are missing. Not his hand like we originally determined.

We took a sigh of relief. We decided the second he was born that his hand didn’t matter and he didn’t need it. He was perfect and the most amazing gift from God. We prayed for the next days watching Kaleb’s progress. All we cared about were his tiny lungs.

For the first 4 days of his life he got worse. We spent hours in the chapel praying for our son. We had prayer chain’s across the nation…even a church in Guatemala! I was pumping like mad women. When Kaleb was ready to eat I was going to give him the best! His oxygen requirements continued to increase or stayed the same. No improvements yet.

On Sunday morning I woke up about 5 am with the sunrise. I prayed for my little man and decided to head to the NICU alone. My mom and Brian were sleeping peacefully and I was walking on my own since day 2. As soon as I walked into the room the nurse was changing his bed around and she had just taken his IV out. His lung hole had healed itself! She handed me the oxygen mask and I finally got to hold my son. He was wired down and I had to constantly hold oxygen support to his tiny face. Tears of joy streamed down my face as the sun rose over the 9th floor ICU. Gospel music was playing in his radio. It was the best feeling in the world. I memorized every inch of Kaleb... his smell... his features. Brian and my mom came rushing in when they noticed I was MIA. They both cried when they saw my joy.

Over the next 3 days our son steadily improved. He was moved to a nasal cannula and taken off the hood vent. He started feeding from an NG tube . He moved to the bottle and finally I got to breast feed. I was discharged on day 4 but simply moved to another room at Christ Hospital. I was no longer a patient but they allowed me to stay with our son.

On October 2, 2008, 7 days after his birth, we were discharged and got to bring our son home. As I sit here writing his birth story almost a month later I cannot believe all that has happened. We moved to a new home. Kaleb is growing so fast. He changes so much each day. We cannot thank God enough for all he has given us. Our life is truly a blessing and we look forward to our life as a family of 3!

7:48 PM

You Are Evicted!

Dear Kaleb,

We know that you are not wanting to come out but Dr. Grim notified us that you are being evicted. Effective: immediately.

We can't wait to meet you !


Mom & Dad

So I went for my normal check up on Tuesday and had blood pressure readings in the 160's. I had a non stress test and Kaleb is fine but I've developed Pre-E and we are being induced right now.

Officially, I am exactly 38 weeks today. We are in the L&D and being given tons of meds but we probably won't see any action til at least Thursday or Friday. Either way the next time I blog we'll have out little man here!!

10:45 AM

30 what!? Yep. Days.

Ericka Bryant has been selected as “An Agent of Change”!

Ericka Bryant, Medical Benefits Administrator (MBA), has consistently gone above and beyond what has been asked of her and does so with a smile on her face. As a result of her contributions, she has been named one of ten UHC employees selected in September to receive the prestigious Change Agent Award.

Recently Ericka was asked to mentor several MBAs from the Oklahoma City office. She created a PowerPoint presentation that was so impressive it has been used as a template for all subsequent training between our offices. She has also created several training aids for her group that have allowed us to more efficiently handle our work while simultaneously increasing our quality results. Ericka demonstrates initiative and uses innovative methods that get results.

Ericka’s "can do" attitude is contagious and she has really become a role model for her peers. We appreciate Ericka's contribution and feel fortunate to have her on our team.

Ericka will receive a certificate and will be featured in upcoming issues of Everything Matters and Transitions. Please take a few minutes to recognize and congratulate Ericka on her achievement……better hurry, she’s due to have a baby any day now!

If you would like to learn more about the Change Agent Award please visit Frontier. Nominations can be sent via email to change_agents@uhc.com.

Carol Meiers
Director, Operations

That is always a huge positive! :) Did you notice it says she is due to have a baby any day now? I think I'm going to read it out loud to Kaleb and see if it helps him see that it's time to come now! This weekend was exhausting. We were up and back from Blanchester what seemed like a thousand times. It was such a sad time and the worst part for me was not being able to comfort the people I love. Ugh. Talk about feeling helpless! Donald, my bro-in-law to be, was able to come up and pastor the service so I know his words helped comfort Brian. On Saturday my feet were so swollen and tingling before noon. Dr. Grim was not a happy camper. He told me to lay down immediately and take my blood pressure. If it was high I needed to go straight to L&D. That wasn't exactly an option from the middle of a cemetery! I finally got it taken and it wasn't high (thank goodness!) but I was able to get them up for the rest of the weekend.

We got Kaleb some more pacifiers and the support for his crib. The only thing left on our list is the glider which we went to get but they were all gone. Boo. I'm going to look at the other locations this week. We got some of our fall out and sterilized all of his bottles. We cleaned some closets and did a good chunk of laundry. I'm hoping by October 1st to be totally ready for baby. At that point I will be "officially" full term and begging for him to come! Either way 30 days is not that long to wait! I can't believe we are on the final count down!

9:14 AM


What a week. On Sunday hurricane force winds decided to rip through the area and knock out power to about a million people. Work was closed for me on Monday but I started having mild contractions. I wasn't able to return to work after a long ordeal this week with the baby and contractions and numbness. Ugh. Exhausting. I did manage to pull it together for work today. One day work weeks are something I could get used to :)

One of our very close friend's Mom died suddenly on Wednesday. Brian had lived with them for a while and was very shook up by the whole thing. We made the trip to Wilmington on Wednesday when we heard the news. We have the layout and funeral this weekend. I just hope I can hold it together long enough to be supportive for Brian & Jessica. This whole being emotional and pregnant thing means I'm not very good at dealing with death right now.

The only thing keeping me going is that ticker that is counting down to less than 30 days soon. Hopefully I'll make some progress this weekend... with my house, my cervix and baby stuff!

6:38 PM


Bahahahah SO. TRUE.

12:04 PM

Weekly Visits Now

I was not a happy camper after today's appointment. When Jamie asked how I was and I didn't answer with the usual, "Great!" She laughed. She said welcome to the last 4-5 weeks of pregnancy. My BP was pretty high but the doc wasn't concerned. Neither am I.

The only thing he suggested was more cortisone for my itchy self. Umm I tried that! He started internals today too. It wasn't bad at all truthfully. I've seen the women on television moan and freak out when they are checked for progress. Ummm not that big of a deal. My cervix is thick and not dilated at all. Crap. And I tested positive for the group B strep. No big deal right? Tons of women have it and it's not anything I did. Wrong. Since I'm allergic to penicillin (the anti-drug I need for this) they had to run a bunch of tests and I'm immune/allergic to most of the antibiotics. Now I have to be given this special one that won't hurt me. Awesome. Not really that big of an issue I just have to remember to tell L&D to give me the specific antibiotic. I hate allergies. Brian is allergic to penicillin too. Kaleb has no chance.

We finally landed on a Pediatric Office after getting another recommendation from Dr. Grim. I am calling today to check for any pre-natal requirements and get Kaleb set up. I am also finishing the final touches for Brian's insurance since we're adding Kaleb to his policy (which is way better than mine).

After crying in the doc's office because of NO progress Brian and my mom really made me feel better. My mom was happy to remind me that we need to stay close to Kaleb's due date because that will put me off for New Year's Eve too. That is worth the extra time in the oven. Brian was also happy to remind me of the obvious, He's not ready yet! And assured me that we would do everything possible to thin my cervix over the next three weeks. Doctor's orders =)

3:12 PM

Sour Patch Adults :)

I've heard the women say, "Oh you just wait until your in the final stretch honey. Then you'll be in pain." Ummm yeah. Maybe I'm feeling over-yucky because I have my final 4 late shifts stretched into this week. I hate them! Most people would be happy to work 10-7. You get to sleep in but you are still off at a decent hour. Not me. I hate hour lunches and I'm up with Brian at 6 anyway. I don't need another 2 hours of laying there. Ugh. I know I have to cram them all in since I could go at anytime at the end of this month. Maybe they are making me extra whiney today.

The rash is still out of control. Ugh. I broke down and talked to the on-call doc this weekend. He told me I could take some steroids or continue the benadryl I'm doing now at bedtime. Since I have a really bad reaction to steroids and spend most of my time in the bathroom with a really bad stomach ache... I opted for the itching. As long as I was really distracted and not overheated then I did okay. Bedtime is the worst! I had them crank the air at outback, the movie theater and my mom's. The rash spread around my sides, down my legs and started on my arms. The pelvic pain is better. I just feel like I ran a 100 million miles and forgot to stretch. As a result I move extra slow.

We did get a ton finished this weekend. The car is officially read for baby. New air filter, tires fixed and oil changed. Car seat is installed and we've done some practicing on it. Yay. We did dinner at Brian and Jessica's Saturday. It was so nice to only have to cook 1/2 of a meal. The boys grilled we brought mac&cheese and a salad. Jess made yummy green beans. We managed to make it to see The Dark Knight too. Very good but very dark. Brian knows his batman movies... he was calling stuff before it happened. Too bad he doesn't know his candy. When I asked him to get some Sour Patch the guy asked, "kids?" (since they had watermelon flavors and stuff too) You know the name, Sour Patch Kids. Brian says, "No the adult size please." Bahahahaha we laughed for hours on that one.

I go to the doctor tomorrow with about an hour's worth of stuff on my list. I'm getting some answers on where this is headed. Well, I know where this is headed... I just want to know how fast I can get there ;)

Updates Tomorrow.

2:53 PM

Puppps- And I don't mean Satin & Suede!

We couldn't really end this pregnancy without a bang! Of course. I started developing another rash on my stomach. It was very red and blotchy and eventually turned purple. It looked like Kaleb's kicks were bruising me from the inside out. Two nights ago it starts down my legs. It has been 95+ here so I figured it was a heat rash. The only issue I was having is the constant, uncontrollable itching! Ugh. I've never had anything itch soooo bad.

We look it up last night and get the on-call doc. Hello Puppps or Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy... I am a lucky 1/240 women who get the rash which has NO CURE and lasts until 2 weeks post-partum. There are over-the-counter anti-itch creams I can try but that's about all the relief I will get over the next few weeks. Some women suggested witch hazel, flax oil and ice packs. It was generally spread the length of my legs, stomach and arms. It turns out because I'm carrying a boy his little man hormones are dancing with my female hormones and hello rash. It does happen with women who carry girls but it's rare. The good news? I probably won't get this in my next pregnancy because it only occurs during one. Great, cause that is exactly what I am thinking about... my next pregnancy!

I guess if a few rashes is all I have then I'm okay with that. I've had a pretty easy pregnancy. No morning sickness or hospital stays. Just a little rashy =) Let's face it... it's nothing new. I couldn't even use anything but Tide until I was in college. My skin is sensitive. What can I say?

On a very funny note Brian asked me last night if I was having, Toni Braxton's? Huh? I was so confused. Then he said no..no... Stevie Knicks. I got it then. Braxton Hicks. I laughed for about 20 minutes. He tries so hard and it's so stinking cute. I can't wait to hear the stuff that comes out of our son's mouth!

6:05 PM

Nifty Fifty (Days to our Due Date!)

Raise your hand if you are tired. Meeeeeeeeeee.

It was a long, relaxing weekend and I really enjoyed the extra day off work. I got to see the doctor on Friday. I told mom and Brian to hang back because I could do this day on my own. I knew I wasn't getting an internal so I figured it would be the usual. Hello, forgot about Group B Strep test. Not fun. I survived. I did get the ultimate compliment from my doc and nurse about my weight. Not even 20 pounds yet and he usually suggests between 25-40. That is always something good to hear. Maybe it won't take me that long to get the baby weight off. I'm still giving myself 9 up/9 down.

The heat=unbearable. Ugh. I cannot walk from our condo to the car without having to sit and catch my breath. It's so frustrating. I swear people have to think I'm faking it because I move at a glacial pace and still get out of breath. I also got a fun new pain this weekend. "Lightening crotch" I think my nurse once told me. The pelvis/hip area is stretching out for my impending delivery and it's causing the feeling of little "lightening" strikes or like you got hit in the pelvis with a softball. I compare it to how you feel after you just ran a serious marathon or workout. Nothing unbearable, just not fun.

I did manage to get my laundry room and closet cleaned out. Woo. I'm really going to work on that laundry this week. Kaleb's room got some final touches and we packed his diaper bag. We watched the funniest movie What Happens In Vegas. I finally got to see 8 seconds and really understand the whole bull riding thing Brian did for a huge chunk of his life. We were able to catch some of Alabama beating Clemson. Brian was very happy about that =) Cooked out with Brian, Jessica and Riley (in belly still, of course). We sat by the camp fire too. It was so relaxing and was a very enjoyable night. Even O ventured out to tell us some of her drama. Goodness I don't miss those days!

My belly itches constantly. Thank you non-working pregnancy lotions. It's already Wednesday though. I can't complain that much!

3:13 PM

Predictions for Labor Day

Madame Zaritska's reading
Madame Zaritska, our resident clairvoyant, wants to help you prepare for the arrival of your child. Here she does her best to predict certain aspects of your labor and birth experience.What she senses for you.

The day you deliver, outside will be hazy. Your baby will arrive in wee hours of the morning .After a labor lasting approximately 9 hours, your child, a boy, will be born. Your baby will weigh about 7 pounds, 7 ounces, and will be 18-1/2 inches long. This child will have dark brown eyes and a little patch of brown hair.

OK so who can resist a little online physic reading? I know it's factual. It was based on the last animal I saw, the weather, when I was born... You get the idea. :) I don't mind the picture though. Perfect size, 9 hours is short and I'm sure he'll look like his papa!

Back to business:

I cannot believe when I come back from labor day that I will be in September. That is our "scary" month. Half way through I will have hit the "full term" mark and could go at any point. Wow. Thank goodness we have everything in place and just have to pick up a few last minute items. We have our final "to do" list and our bag list too. Even Olivia has her list ready to go since there are things I'll need from mom's house too.

The long weekend we are going to focus on little organizational things. I really want my closets cleaned out, sweaters/big quilts washed and the laundry room organized. I have a feeling we are going to have a lot of help the first few days/weeks and I'm not sending anyone into my closet's until we are better organized. Plus when I'm asking Brian for stuff I want him to have easy access. I know where everything is in my home but asking Brian to find it is another story :)

The only thing we need for Kaleb is more binkies, his bed-sleepy head holder thing (I don't know the technical term), Glider and special garbage can for his room. After talking to a ton of girls from work they highly suggested not wasting money on the diaper genie because the refills are outrageous and it doesn't do anything special. Brian and I need a few things before the birth and we are going to get the carpet's cleaned.

Since I won't be working during the Thanksgiving/Christmas season at UMR we are going to try to start getting some of our Christmas shopping done. We really don't have many to shop for and my family keeps saying they will "understand." But come on, who can really do that? I know with a new baby and the busy season with the catering company I'll probably be happy that I got most of it out of the way now. Can you believe it? Christmas shopping. And this year we'll have a baby. Amazing.

I have to see Dr.Grim in the morning. We are nearing our 1/week appointments too. Yikes.