Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dr. Epley and Dr. Patrick

Doctor Epley says Callie's eyes look very good (on Wed. - I am a bit late in posting this, lol!). Her vision is 20/20 in both eyes, which is what we were waiting for, and why we were using a medication as a chemical patch. She no longer needs any patching!

We are still seeing a little deviation in her alignment, but will just watch it for now. Dr. Epley's plan is if she is still deviating next time, we will look into glasses. If that doesn't work, we would be looking at surgery again.

Yesterday Callie went to see Dr. Patrick, her cranio-sacral chiropractor. It has been about 3 weeks since her last visit, and we definitely saw her tone creeping back up. There was such a dramatic difference in how she could walk after her appointment...and he worked a little on her eye alignment, which is already showing some improvement. Lord willing, we won't need to go the surgery route to correct this for her!

There are some definite challenges to going to traditional doctors and unconventional doctors and of those comes in the recommendations we are given. For example: Dr. Epley says that patching Callie's eyes won't help her alignment. Cyndi Ringoen, her NT says it will because it forces her to use different muscles to see things, which in turn helps her see things together, but only if done through traditional patches, not chemical ones.

Or her AFO's (the braces she wears on her legs/feet). Dr. Patrick and Miss Cyndi both say it would be good to get her the shorter ones to see if we can start working her out of them and let her balance start to compensate for the loss of support now, before she is even more dependent on it. Her PT, Miss Heidi, says this is a very precarious time for Callie and it would be detrimental to go with the shorter AFO's.

Or her PT, who says stretches are good for everyone, but Callie wouldn't get anything extra from doing stretches at this point because she is active enough. Dr. Patrick highly recommends that Callie do stretches each day, and even added a couple more to what we were doing, and that it would really help to loosen the muscles and add to her ability to walk more normally.

I mentioned to Dr. Patrick some of these differences in recommendations. He said the difference is that both he and Cyndi are working to change her brain lay out to CORRECT the cp. One day their hope is that there would be no sign of the cp unless she were to have a brain scan. The other school of thinking is that they are just treating symptoms and working to get the most function, but believe the cp to be a static condition. I found this to be very helpful when figuring out what recommendations to follow - I have to be in the camp of working towards re-routing her brain, normalizing her tone, and helping her to overcome her cp! She has already come so far, further than medical professionals thought she could based on the damage they saw on her brain at 2 months of age. Why not continue this progress?!

Thank you so much for the prayers for this appointment!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The sun came out!!!

We have had a very wet with the sun out, we took advantage of the weather, and had a BBQ picnic dinner outside.

During dinner we read about Lewis and Clark's travels (history), and had a brief intro to muscles (our next science unit). After everyone was finished we worked a bit on our scripture memory. I love getting to enjoy the company of my children! I love learning along side them. And I love being out in the sunshine, soaking in some vit. D together!

I am so blessed that it is almost embarrassing!

I had a cute pic to go with this, but can't get the pics off my camera right now...I will have to refer to my amazing husband when he is available to help out on this one!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

All About Me Update

I am already feeling a little better about things. Not having gained as much as I thought I would have (or really should have!), really helped...getting on the treadmill for 30 minutes also really helped!

I consider it one of God's gifts to me that I have only gone up 1.3 lbs in 25 days. Really, that is not bad when I consider all the bad choices I have made with junk food and gluttany!

I really don't know why I go back to over-eatting...I feel so much better when I don't. I have more energy. I am able to keep the house better. I am able to get more school and therapy done. I have more patience with my children. I have more energy at the end of the day to take care of any last minute issues at bedtime. I have more energy to spend time with my husband at the end of the day, too...

And yet, I find myself back here, all too often - needing to start over, re-evaluate my priorities and get back to doing what I know I ought!

All About Me

I have really NOT been doing well - as evidence by my lack of saying anything...after a month of not even getting on the scale, I bit the bullet and did it today.

The ticker at the right has definitely moved in the wrong direction, but not as much as I thought it would! My last body test was 25 days ago, and I only went up 1.3 lbs in that time. Before that, I had been going much more quickly in the wrong direction in the previous month...I didn't change the ticker because I thought I would just 'get it together' and then it wouldn't matter that I was going the wrong didn't happen like that!

I thought about changing the goal weight, but decided that no, I really still want to work towards making that 100 lbs weight loss goal!

I can actually tell a difference in this weight I have gained...I feel fatter, my clothes do not fit as well, I feel sluggish. And I know it wouldn't take much to start FEELING a difference the other way, to feeling better, either.

So here we are, at another new day. I am so glad God has so much patience with my personal sin of gluttany and turning to food for comfort instead of Him. I am so glad that God's mercies are new each and every morning!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I have the *best* husband!

Words can not express how awesome my husband is, or just how great a Daddy he is! He has been working on a rental property this week in Shelton. We were going to meet him down there tomorrow after we go see Dr. Epley (Callie's eye doctor)...but tonight, as I was grilling our dinner on the BBQ (J's favorite - hot dogs), he surprised us by coming home. He even brought 2 balloons for J (something I had failed to remember needed to be done last night to go with our birthday tradition). He said, "I couldn't miss my son's birthday!" Then he took over BBQing for me.

Is he an incredible man or what?!

My Love, you are so awesome! I praise and thank my God for you each and every day. I don't know what I could have possibly done in life to deserve such a wonderful husband and father for my children! Thank you so much for all that you do for us!

We got a small cake for him, sang happy birthday, and let him blow out the candles. All in all, it has been a great day for J. He even got to see his Daddy!

Callie sleeping

Callie is getting stronger each and every day. Her walking is improving so much. She is working so hard, that she is exhausting is a precious picture of her sleeping last night. (She has been putting Sarah in her shirt, and saying she is in her pack, and after being put to bed, did the same thing before going to sleep.)

Dinner helper last night

Birthday Party!

We have 3 birthdays in 9 weeks. And if they were to all have parties, it would be inviting the same people to them...for at home parties, that is fine by us! We love having people over for a BBQ and cake! But none of the birthday children (Ashley, Brianna or Justice), had ever had an out of the house, 'big' party. Ashley and Brianna really wanted to do something extra special this year. So with a combined birthday party, we went to Jungle Playland! 4 families, 20 children, (not counting babies) and lots of fun and laughter later, it was a huge success!

There are much better pics of the cakes here...but we had a little trouble with them. The train was put together on a big cutting board that wouldn't fit in the fridge or the big freezer. So we put it in the freezer and left the door open (but as closed as possible) just long enough for the frosting to harden a bit. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Instead, the freezer defrosted, dripping water onto BOTH cakes! By the time we made it in the car, with the frosting that hadn't cured at all, the cakes were not in the best shape...we are choosing to blame the train for running into the castle, lol!

Ashley and Brianna got to choose a special stuffed animal to make. Ashley went with a koala and Brianna liked the dalmation best. They have become treasured keepsakes since the party and come with us when we go out, and go to bed with the girls at night!

Thank you to everyone who made their birthday party special!

Happy birthday Ashley, Brianna and Justice!

Happy 2nd Birthday, Little Man!

It is so hard to believe 2 years have already passed since J's amazing birth! His unassisted home water birth was absolutely amazing, and you can read about it in the post right after this was such a healing experience after Callie's traumatic birth - which you can read about under the about Callie tab at the top.

J has becoming such a character! For his birthday, everyone pitched in to get him a train set. The boy LOVES trains, and this has been so much fun for him...and everyone else, too. It is so cute to listen to him say, "Toot, toot!" as he drives the trains around the track. I hope to get it on video to post I said before, I have lots of posts to make!

His speech is really coming along, too. He is repeated everything everyone says, except for the first sound of the word, which he with near perfect accuracy, skips over, lol!

Justice has so much fun playing with all of his sisters, but has a very special relationship with Callie. He loves to help Callie...she just doesn't always see it as helpful (like when he decides she needs to go faster and pushes her walker, or tries to bring her walker to her when she has left it and ends up running her over, lol).

Justice has also become very protective. Especially of Callie and Serenity. If one of them is upset, hurt or crying, he is right there trying to make it right. If a stranger looks at Seren, he will come over and position himself between them and her and will hold her, as if to make sure they won't take her. It is very sweet!

J loves books and short spurts of time. He has come to enjoy launching his body onto and off of different objects...such as onto the bed, out of the crib, off the couch, into the ball pit at Jungle Playland (where his birthday party was on Friday)...he is definitely a BOY, even with 6 sisters!

His favorite toys are trains, trucks and balls. He is so full of personality, and is developing a sense of humor that makes us all laugh! He is full of energy and keeps us on our toes, too. What a joy and a blessing he is to our family.

Happy birthday, Little Man. We love you so much and we are so proud of you!

2 years ago today...

I started this blog 2 years ago next month...which means 2 years ago today, it didn't let me tell you what happened 2 years ago today!

Actually I will start with 2 years ago from yesterday. I was feeling off all day. Had to make frequent trips to the bathroom...and HAD to go shopping. It was a Saturday, and Father's Day was the next day. Chris' dad was getting ready to go long haul trucking, so we would be getting together with them, possibly for the last time before he was gone for many weeks at a time (sometimes as much as 10+ weeks at a time - but we didn't know that at the time...we thought we would see him about once a month!) Chris was on a change (working) that morning, that he thought might take all day.

At one point, I saw Chris' mom while we were out shopping. Shortly thereafter, I was literally stuck in a bathroom, unable to get off the toilet, trying to manage my 5 children in a shopping cart just outside the stall...I almost called Chris' mom saying I needed some help, but I refrained. At this point, I decided to pay close attention to exactly how I was feeling, knowing that we could be welcoming baby J anytime in the next week or so. I was 36 weeks 3 days along, and felt good about delivering unassisted at home at that point. I hadn't slept well the night before, and thought that might just be the problem.

After getting a couple books at Barnes and Noble (and allowing them to do my gift wrapping for the first time ever!), I brought everyone home for naps, instead of to the grocery store, which I had planned...I just didn't feel up to it! As I was getting the last little one down, Chris finished his call. The twins were playing outside. I really wanted to take a nap, but with Chris being done working, he asked if we could continue watching 24, season 5 or 6, I think. I decided (against better judgement!) to watch with him instead of taking that nap I was looking forward to - a decision I would later come to regret!

We had a very low key rest of the day. BBQ'd burgers for dinner. Played at home. Normal stuff...but I still wasn't feeling well. By the time we put everyone to bed, I was having minor contractions every 10 minutes.

At 11 pm, the intensity was picking up, but not the frequency. I had to stop and concentrate through the peaks of the contractions, and they were lasting a good 60-75 seconds each. We decided to call Chris' parents (who were coming to help with the birth - and bringing the scale) to give them a heads up before his dad went to bed (normally about 11:30). 2 minutes after hanging up with them, my water broke. I used 2 bath towels to contain the mess as I made my way upstairs and got into the birthing tub. Then called Mom and Dad back...who were already getting into bed because THEY were especially tired that evening...they got dressed and were on their way shortly.

Chris parents arrived at about midnight. Chris and I were still watching 24. FIL went to sleep on our couch for awhile as I labored. We turned off 24 at about 1:30 am, as the contractions were getting more intense than I wanted to have a suspenseful show playing!

Chris and his mom were awesome coaches as usual. The water was amazing. Each time I got out to use the bathroom, I realized just how great it was to labor in the water! Contractions were getting really intense, but still 8 minutes apart. Between contractions, we talked about when or if we should wake the twins who really wanted to be at the birth. We decided since none of us *really* knew how to deliver a baby, to not add a pair of eight year olds to the confusion!

I checked myself and found I was at about a 7 and 90% effaced at 2:25 am...not sure if checking did something or if it was coincidence, but that is when transition started in a big way! All of a sudden, I wasn't getting any break at all between double peak contractions. Not sure how long it lasted, couldn't have been abnormally long, especially since J was born just 22 minutes later, but it seemed really long at the time!

I prayed through the contractions, and thanked God every time they subsided even a little bit. Just when I thought I couldn't handle another one, I had my first pushing contraction! With that first push, out came J's head. With the next push, his body quickly followed. We brought him up for his first breath of air, and to check his vitals. It was 2:47 am, on Father's day, June 21st, 2009 when Justice Shannon Andrew made his appearance into the world. We chose his first name for the meaning. Shannon name is is Grandpa's middle name, and Andrew is his Great Grandpa's middle name. He is the first in his generation to carry on the family name for both of them!

My first thought was how tiny he looked...but really, he looked so good! He turned pink almost right away, he was alert and looking around, muscle tone, breaths per minute, heart rate, all very good! What a relief. In that moment, my mind was flooded with thoughts of our last birth, Callie. And the difference between that and now. Not knowing for over an hour if she had even survived. Not getting to see her for 16 long hours. Fighting the hospital staff to allow me to pump as soon as I could to cue my milk to come in. Having my tiny, frail baby whisked away...and then at this moment, to be sitting in this birthing tub, holding my so-close-to-term healthy baby, delivered in the peace of our own home, welcomed first into this world by the loving hands of his Daddy, was so different. It was such a relief! All those what ifs and should we really be going unassisted to deliver this baby thoughts dissolved in that moment as J latched right on, looking so healthy.

Then my placenta was delivered. I had another very brief moment of sitting in the tub, holding my baby in one arm, and my placenta (still attached to the baby) in the other thinking, "Now, what?" We managed to get it taken care of. I passed J off to Dad, who weighed him (and was peed on in the process, lol) in at a whopping 7 lbs 4 oz. Not bat for a 36 weeker, if you ask me! More than double what Callie had weighed just 20 months earlier. Meanwhile I went to take a very quick shower. I was pretty weak and a bit shakey still, but wanted to clean off after being in that water. I got done, dressed in clean pj's and settled into my own bed with my new little bundle...who was now ready to be diapered, dressed, and swaddled...and who wanted to nurse again...the only issue I could see what my rate of bleeding, which I thought would benefit from nursing the baby.

But he was still a pre-term baby. While everyone else went to bed, I stayed up with him for 4 hours checking his coloring and vital signs, making sure he was really ok before I went to sleep...which happened to be almost the same time that my older 5 children woke up.

Anna was the first to come in with Callie in her arms letting me know they were up. I invited her in and told her to come see what I had. Anna said, "There's a baby! You had the baby!" Then she went to tell the other girls, who were awake in their beds. I could hear Bailey's reaction, "No she didn't. You are just kidding."

Anna said, "She really did, come see!"

Bailey said, "We get to see the birth, so Mommy hasn't had the baby yet." (I felt pretty bad at that point...) By now, Anna is practically dragging Bailey in to see her new little brother. Everyone was so excited to have a little boy in the family!

We spent the first part of the morning in bed, letting everyone hold and kiss and love on this new little person. I noticed he was getting a bit overstimulated, and honestly, I was really tired (remember that nap I decided not to take the day before? I was really regretting that decision at this point, lol!), and lay down with J to go to sleep...unfortunately, everyone was hungry. I was not overly successful in getting the bleeding to slow down (and probably SHOULD have gone to the hospital, but didn't), and felt very weak and light headed just with sitting up. I was a bit afraid that getting all the way up would make me faint. Chris was completely OUT. He wouldn't wake up for anything! I wasn't able to get ahold of the neighbors (who had said they would be on call to help with the older ones during and after the birth)...and finally got Chris to wake up about 11 am. The twins could make toast, but we were out of bread. I had planned on getting come cold cereal (a special treat if you ask my children), but hadn't made it to the store yet. We had no oatmeal left. Chris decided to get them donuts...which they said was well worth the wait!

After everyone had eaten, we packed up the crew and headed to Chris' parents...after all, it was father's day, and his dad was leaving in just 10 more days! I hadn't yet been to sleep though, so I spent the afternoon sleeping on the couch with my new baby.

I realize this is long, but it has been fun for me to go back through my memory of J's birth! Now we are 2 years later, the shirt Bailey is wearing is now one of Ashley's favorites, the dress Brianna has on fits Callie, and the outfit Callie is in, will be something we use for Serenity come fall...and the days just keep fying by! I have heard it said that the years measured by growing babies are the fastest...and it is so true! While I couldn't imagine our family without J, (or any of the girls for that matter - each of them are so special and it totally changes the family dynamic when just 1 is not here for some reason) it seems like all of this happened just yesterday.

I will post more about what our special birthday boy is like today in a separate post...along with hopefully the other posts from last week that I have not had a chance to get to!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fun zoo trip Monday!

Everyone had a blast at the zoo! Except for Serenity, who was more just THERE...awake, asleep, looking around...she would have rather been working on crawling at home, lol!

Justice loves animals, and got excited when he was able to see them! I think his favorite were the wolves, who were very active yesterday...we got there are feeding time!

Callie was awesome! She kept saying, "I don't want to walk like this." Then she would leave her walker behind to walk unassisted! She wore out more quickly than she would have had she used her walker full time, but she walked all over the place! At one point, I think she went more than 30 feet before without falling down or touching anything! Yay, Callie! She got so tired that even though she wanted to walk, she was sitting on her walker as often as she could!

My older ones were excited to get to see Heather, AJ (Heather's fiancee) and Scott. They were also excited about their projects! The twins have been working for almost a month now on their projects for the zoo. Bailey did Mt. St. Helens, and Anna studied onions. Then they presented them to staff at the zoo for points. The points can then be used to redeem prizes that they choose from the points store. My younger ones wanted to do it, but not knowing what to expect, I said, 'next time.' Well, it turned out that it can be super informal! Ashley, Brianna and Callie talked to them about what we have learned about bones, and pointed to several bones, and were awarded points, too!