This month also happens to be NICU [neonatal intensive care unit] awareness month! So double blog it is :)
As I am sure most of you know, our little girl was brought into the world at 31 weeks, 9 weeks early. My whole pregnancy was a scary, complicated ride that the further along I got, the scarier it got. I had hyperemesis Gravidarium [ Princess Kate also suffers this- so it has been all over news lately] from day one, and oh how it was awful! From my third week of pregnancy I was the OBGYN's office every other day for IV fluids & IV Phenergan, which barely touched the nausea. I lost enough weight in the beginning to make my doctor concerned.
I started having blood pressure problems around 16 weeks, and was put on bed rest for a few months at a time. It was miserable and super boring, but I had the end sight of a healthy little baby on the way. At 26 weeks when my blood pressure skyrocketed, I was admitted into the hospital [one of the many times I stayed 1+ nights there] and given med's to bring it down. This happened a few times, and my wonderful obgyn let us know that she would be ecstatic to get us to 28 weeks. In fact, the day I hit 28 weeks she called me and said We made it!! When I was 30 weeks along, I woke up so sick. I had a blinding migraine and a lot of vomiting & the amount of protein I was spilling in my urine had doubled. My sister also has a history of pre-eclampsia so Dr. Neri decided to be safe and get me into the hospital.
We got checked in, and I got to meet the maternal fetal specialist, Dr. Kenney. He specializes in babies born before 36 weeks gestation. The migraine at this point was so bad that I was maxed out a drug stronger than Morphine & Percocet combined. After a few days of this, it was decided that we couldn't keep me on all of these medications. So, at 9:59 we were told I needed a csection now, and at 10:03am our little girl was pulled out.
It was terrifying. When we were first admitted the charge nurse from the NICU came down and talked to us about some of the things that could happen when babies are born at this gestation. Nothing is scarier going into a csection knowing your baby could be born with a brain bleed, in organ failure, not breathing, etc. It was the most terrifying time of my life laying there on the OR table.
This little girl came into this world at 10:03am on January 2nd 2013
She weighed 4 pounds 4 ounces.
The days in the NICU were so long. Thankfully recovery went well for me, but that was a double edged sword. I felt guilty for recovering from a Csection so quickly and so well. I was suppose to have a baby to take care of. I was suppose to be exhausted. Instead, I had to put my trust in others to take care of my baby and to help her in ways that I never could.
The neonatologist and the NICU nurses that we were blessed to have working on our daughter were angels. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father knew exactly the kind of people we needed to work on our little Mikayla. What a blessing it truly was. There was one certain nurse that I really clicked with. She talked to me about PPD, and how it was okay to feel sad and be scared and to feel all of these things. She would always dictate and explain what the doctor was saying so we could understand what was going on.
Holding our baby for the first time at a little over one week old.
All things considering Mikayla had a fairly uneventful NICU stay. She had a hole in her chest wall that almost required surgery, but it ended up clearing itself up. Every time her machine would go off, I would wake up from a dead sleep and jump up. My incision regretted that choice, but it would worry me every time.
Our little girl still struggles with her health. She is in need of eye surgeries [already had 2] because of her prematurity. She is small, she will be 2 in January and is still under 20 pounds. The day that she was able to start [they are still big on her] wearing size 12 month clothing was such a happy day!
This is Mikayla this past August. Happy, Healthy and Fisty!
September is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome awareness month. This disease has affected my ways in so many way's I cannot even count. I wish that more women were aware of what is going on with their bodies, more tuned into them so they can tell their doctor when they think something is not right. I also wish more doctors would listen when women do find the courage to come in.
My journey with this disease was DISCOVERED, not STARTED 10 years ago. I had always suffered severely bad acne and I was going on an intensive acne medication [Accutane] Little did I know, acne is a symptom of PCOS. I was at the dermatologist and since this was such an intensive medication I had to have my blood checked ones a month to make sure it was not harming my body at all. He was doing a preliminary blood panel and found that my testosterone was through the roof. I was referred to an OBGYN and was diagnosed with this at 13 years old.
As a 13 year old I was oblivious to anything that this meant. I knew when I had my periods they were painful, that my mom had to take me to the ER sometimes while on my period, but was never given a definitive answer as to what cause the pain. Drugged, treated & streeted. When I was diagnosed I was told that I would most likely need help getting pregnant when I was older. That was all I was told.
In the past ten years I have tried almost every birth control pill to try and control the cysts, have gone 1+ year without a period at one point, I have had an extremely hard time losing weight, no matter what I do. I pluck my chin for hairs. And have had 5 miscarriages. This is an awful disease, I am debilitated during my period without Percocet or Vicodin. non functioning. I am in quite a bit of pain almost every day also. I exercise and eat pretty healthy and still am struggling with losing weight.
I wish someone had told me exactly what this meant, even at 13. I wouldn't have wished to have known the struggles it would bring me and us, but I would have liked to have known what to expect. I wish more people would have awareness. I wish people would talk to young women and girls about their bodies, not have it a taboo subject. Girl's need to know it's not normal for their periods to be extremely painful, and it's not normal to have the symptoms of PCOS that most have.
Did you know that as many as 1 in 10 women and 5 million women are affected by this? My greatest fear is that they wont find a treatment, I will have a complete hysterectomy by 25 and my sweet little daughter will suffer with this.
In August we had some family pictures taken, and Mikayla also happened to be 1 1/2 [or 18 months] in August. I cannot believe my little baby is now on the back half of being two! Where has the time gone?
I have really struggled with finding a photographer that I really like, meaning I like his/her style of photography, prices, and other things that you want in a photographer. We were so spoiled with such a fabulous photographer for our engagements, bridals, wedding pictures, maternity and than some of Mikayla in her first 6 months of life. She did photography as more of a hobby so she didn't charge us an arm & a leg and require a kidney to be thrown in there too :)
So after she moved I was on the hunt for a new one! We tried a few different people out [whose pictures we really liked! but they required more expensive purchases if you wanted any of your pictures] I had just been assigned a new visiting teacher [for non-member friends that is a woman who comes and visits you once a month to see how you are doing, if you need anything, etc.] she happens to be a photographer! She gave us 1/2 off a photo session so I figure I would give it a shot!! LOVE her! I think the photo's turned out so good and we will for sure be having her do Mikayla's 2 year pictures!!
On July 22nd my grandma went in to have open heart surgery. The surgery ended up being seven hours long and everything went as planned. She had a little bit of a hard time waking from the medication they gave her to put her to sleep, but other than that she was doing great. Later on that week she was still recovering as expected, and we were talking about where she would go for cardiac rehab. She was able to get a bed at Madonna here in Lincoln, which is exactly where she wanted to go! They are a great place to go to rehab and she was very much looking forward to seeing her friends and I was very much looking forward to not having to drive to Omaha and to go eat lunch with her over there every day! We were all counting our blessings and so grateful that she had pulled through the surgery like a champ. Almost a week later they ended up having to put a pace maker in her heart also.
Fast Forward to Sunday August 3rd. Grandma had been talking to the APRN about how excited she was to go to Madonna and all of the things that I had previously mentioned. Grandma was put on the toilet in her room and than the APRN left; she got a page about 10 minutes later saying my grandma had coded. They performed CPR and took her back up to the CICU [Cardiac Intensive Care Unit] where she coded one more time [for a total of two times] and the wonderful doctors were able to bring her back each time. After some more testing and trying to figure out what was going on she was taken down to the Cath Lab to figure out the cause of everything that was going on. It was determined that she had suffered a massive heart attack from a blood clot in her heart. She was in the Cath Lab & surgery for about 3-4 hours where they repaired some damage that was done from the heart attack to some work they had done to her heart in the initial open heart surgery.
After that surgery she was very critical and it was touch and go quite a few times. John and I were at the hospital for hours and hours, chris and Katrina was there for quite some time and my mom and step dad never left. I will save some of the gory details, but grandma was put on life support and every function in her body was on a machine so that her whole body could rest. The thought was that if her body could rest and the machines do the work for her, that she would be able to come off the machines within a reasonable time and her body would grow stronger and stronger each day.
Before she was taken back to the cath lab that Sunday my older brother Chris and step-dad Chuck was able to administer a blessing to her. John & I were unable to be there for that as we were rushing up to Omaha from Lincoln, so we didn't make it in time. But I was later told that the blessing stated the choice to go and be with those she loves in Heaven or to stay here, and although she would be in a lot of pain, was hers; it was her decision to make. While on life support I truly believe that she was in limbo between here and the spirit world, making her decision.
My grandpa passed away many years ago, along with my great-grandparents. My aunt Linda whom we lost in November, also who my grandma faithfully took care of until she passed. I cannot imagine having to make the decision to go and be pain & disease free and to be with them, or stay on this earth with the people I loved here. She struggled for about 4 days, showing tiny itsy bitsy signs of progress, but nothing medically enough. She was showing signs of an infection on Thursday morning so they were going to take her to get a procedure done to see if she had an infection and how bad it was. At that point the doctor's [the wonderful wonderful wonderful] has a discussion with my mom saying she does have an infection and it is severe and not something that she could really recover from. So the agonizing decision to let my grandma go peacefully was made.
I got a phone call from my mom at 1:00 on Thursday August 7th saying that I needed to not bring Mikayla and get up to the hospital as soon as I could. I pulled John out of class, dropped Kayla off at my mother in laws and we dashed up to Omaha as fast as possible. My mom, stepdad, brother, sister in law, and sister were all there already. We were able to say our goodbyes and my grandma was surrounded by a room full of people who loved her so very much. Being in the room as my grandmother left her mortal body was a very personal, emotional, spiritual thing so I wont go into too much detail as it is very near to my heart.
My grandma's funeral was today. I was prepared to be a complete wreck and a big hot mess. But there was such a spirit there and it was so peaceful and calm, and although I did cry, I felt at peace. I felt at peace because I KNOW without a doubt what happens after we die. I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have learned throughout the years and the testimony that I have gained. Without the testimony of the plan of salvation I would not be able to handle this the way that I am. I am so grateful for knowing that my grandmother is exactly where she chose to be, and having that knowledge, which the only way we knew it was her choice was by her being given a blessing by the priesthood power, makes this so much easier.
I am so grateful for eternal families. I am SO grateful that I know I will see my grandmother again, whole and well. My heart aches for people who do not believe in anything after this life, that their loved ones are not anywhere. I am so grateful for the opportunity to go with my husband and my daughter to the temple next year and be sealed for eternity, so that we can be together and never part; even after this mortal life ends. How amazing this concept of eternal families and being together is, and temples. How grateful I am that we are able to go to the temple and be sealed to our families so that when we cross over to the other side we can be together.
My grandma was a special lady. She did so many things and helped so many people. There were SO many people at her funeral today and it was so wonderful to see how many people's lives she touched and how everyone came to show their support, love, and to say good-bye one last time. She is someone who will never be forgotten by many people, and I am looking forward to teaching my daughter about her great-grandma and how wonderful she was. So many people have been wonderful and offered so much comfort at this time of mixed emotions. Emotions of joy for her to be reunited with her loved ones on the other side of the Veil, sadness that she is no longer physically here with us, gratefulness at the time that we were able to have her and anticipation for when we get to the chance to be with and see her again.
This is the last family picture that we had the chance to take, it was at my sisters youngest kiddo's baby blessing in North Platte, Nebraska. I will be forever grateful for this picture.
There is a quote that has brought me much comfort in the time that I would like to put on here.
"Moreover, we cannot fully appreciate joyful reunions later without tearful separations now. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life" ---Elder Russell M. Nelson
On the fourth of July we decided to hop a train and go to the Brookfield Zoo. It was SO much fun and I am so glad that we went. This was on the fourth of July and we hadn't seen a single street this bare the whole time we were there!
Waiting for the train
They were VERY serious about water conservation
We went to a Dolphin Show while at the zoo. In fact, that was the whole reason why we went to the zoo & it was worth every second! We sat in the "splash zone" and were warned we could get wet. Well, they were not kidding! I thought it meant we would get a little splash [like a sprinkling rain storm] but we were SOAKED!! totally worth it :)
Museum of Industry and Science was such a cool museum!
The museum had a German sub. John loved it [and I thought it was magnificent and kind of breath taking up close] we wanted to go inside of it but all of the tours for the day were sold out. Next time!
There was a section of the museum where it was about future technology. This is the "Best Friend Of The Future" where you can program them to be your best friend.
This is "Farmers Of The Future" where every level of this is a different field and different crops.
They had a body exhibit that I found absolutely fascinating. This is our muscular system
The body in a 3-D form. so cool
There was a machine where it showed the veins in your arm, I thought that this machine was so cool. They always say that there are so many veins in your arm, and I guess it's true!
John & I had so much fun on our trip. This last few quarters had been extremely rough on us with the crazy schedules John and I had, so it was absolutely wonderful to take some time together.