Monday, September 4, 2017

Coming February 2018!

As most of you seen a couple weeks ago, we are pregnant again!! Yay! And oh no, what were we thinking? There's so much to how God has worked through this pregnancy, but we have to go back to December to get the whole story...

December 10th Jim and I went to the Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant concert for our anniversary. I am generally not a Christmas music fan and can't wait for the radio stations to go back to normal after Christmas. But after just losing Toodles and it being our 5 year anniversary we were desperate for something to numb the pain and get us in the Christmas spirit for the girls. So what the heck right? God moved mountains for me in particular that night. A man sat next to me and the whole concert I was just drawn to him. At first out of slight annoyance because he literally sang at the top of his lungs the entire concert. I kept looking around expecting someone else to hear him and be annoyed with me and not a soul gave him a glance. But at some point, I realized maybe I couldn't hear Amy Grant or Michael W. Smith loud and clear over him, but he had an amazingly beautiful voice and was just as much a pleasure to listen to as the concert we were there for. And to be honest... I had no clue who Amy Grant was anyways.

Poor Jim, he was such a good sport and put up with me crying the entire concert. But about halfway through the concert my sobbing went from letting all the pain out to some intense healing. Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant had a guest singer, Jordan Smith the winner of some season of The Voice. My God can that guy sing!!! He sang a couple songs and every time the whole Target center just echoed with his voice and filled your soul like nothing else. He sang Oh Holy Night and I swear to you this absolute overwhelming peace just flooded my whole body. When he got to the part about "fall on your knees" I literally almost fell to my knees because I was just complete mush. this video doesn't begin to do it the justice hearing it live did but just so you get an idea! Before he sang this song Amy Grant was singing some good old fashioned Christmas carols and had everyone standing up singing with her and when he came out we all continued standing and swaying. Well back to the man I was so drawn to... he swayed one way and Jim was swaying the opposite and I was in the middle getting bumped by both of them and too mushy to sway with either of them. But I kept thinking, I should grab this guy's hand, or put my arm around him or something but I chickened out. Finally at the end of the concert everyone was getting up to run out the doors and Jim and I and this man and his wife stayed sitting to avoid the crowd and I just knew it was now or never and I'm a believer in you should really tell people when they have an impact on you. So I turned to him and said, "I just have to tell you thank you, you have such a beautiful voice and it was such a blessing for me to listen to you all night." He shook my hand and said, "Wow, thank you, my name is Sam, it's so nice to meet you." I instantly knew, I told you guys over and over how 1 Samuel had such an impact on my pregnancy with Toodles. We talked a little more, turns out he worked backstage for Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant and had just retired, that's how he knew every song so well. He had just retired and this was the first time he had seen the concert on this side of the stage. At some point, he reached behind me and shook Jim's hand. Eventually we left and still got stuck in the crowd for forever, but it gave me some time to think because my mind was going 1000 mph after all the emotions and thoughts of the night!

 As Jim and I were walking through the parking garage I told Jim "I think if we ever have another baby we need to name him Samuel. I know it sounds awkward and uncomfortable since I have an ex named Sam, but God just keeps putting this on my heart and mind over and over again and there has to be a purpose." Bless Jim, he was just like "uh we should talk about this I guess, where did you get all that out of this concert?!" So I told him how I was drawn to that man all night and when he told me his name was Sam I just knew. Jim was surprised that was the guy's name and I told Jim he had told him when he shook his hand and introduced himself. That's when Jim told me "I think you were sitting next to an angel." I kinda laughed and he went on "that guy shook my hand but to be honest I couldn't really hear anything he said and just seen his mouth moving but until he shook my hand I hadn't even noticed him." I laughed at him again and was like "whatever, I know you heard him singing all night" and Jim said "no Heather, I never heard him." I was pretty shocked since the guy sang at the TOP of his lungs and seriously I could barely hear anything else until Oh Holy Night.

We chatted the rest of the way home about it and the more we talked the more excited we became about our future. That despite what happened, God has so much in store for us and who are we to keep receiving his gifts like this. When we got home I couldn't wait to grab my Bible and reread 1 Samuel 1 for the millionth time. But this time, something told me to continue reading. Suddenly I shouted at Jim, "hunny! Did you know there is a 1 Samuel 2?! There's such good stuff in here!" and that night I learned 1 Samuel 2:20 "Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying "May the Lord give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the Lord." and my heart was mended.

Fast forward to April and we still weren't pregnant and we were becoming frustrated. What happened to God's promise we felt in December. What happened to our baby Samuel we had prayed for so often. Every single month my heart broke again and again when we found out there was not a baby yet. But after April we couldn't take it anymore. We love our girls and our family we have, we still knew adoption was in our future, maybe this wasn't how Samuel was to come to us. I couldn't handle the disappointment every month and Jim couldn't watch me hurt anymore. So we decided to stop trying. To be clear, us trying has always been just not us preventing. But we got lazy, and didn't go to the store and I was watching my grandma overnights and I never made the doctor appointment but didn't really think anything about it.

 June came and we headed to Iowa June 10th for Jim's mom's family reunion. That night I woke up at 2 am to Oh Holy Night by Jordan Smith BLARING in my head. I literally sat up and searched the room from our bed looking for where this insanely loud music was coming from! Finally got up and went to the bathroom and it started fading out but I was totally shook up and couldn't figure out what the heck that was about. The next morning we went down to the hotel lobby for breakfast and Jill came to talk to us about checking out and out of nowhere I almost puked my breakfast up on her but managed to convince her we had it figured out and go ahead, we would be ready to leave in 10 minutes. The girls and Jim finished their breakfast and I practically dragged them back to our room and stared at the toilet for 10 minutes trying to figure out if I was going to puke and figured out I must be pregnant. We got in the truck to go and I told Jim, he didn't even bat an eye when I told him and just said "ok, let's do this." That was Sunday, felt fine the rest of the day, felt find Monday, felt fine Tuesday and pretty much had myself convinced I wasn't pregnant. So Wednesday I scheduled an appointment to donate plasma and figured if  I was pregnant we would find out, since that was how we found out I was pregnant with Toodles. If I wasn't, well we need the money either way. Appointment went fine and I decided screw it, stopped at Walgreens and picked up the test. Barely barely a line. Great! Now what?! Jim and I decided it was probably a yes after Iowa and scheduled an appointment to confirm. Day of appointment I was like I am not going to be the girl that cried wolf, we're taking a second test before I show my face there. This one was pretty solid.

So here we are, almost 16 weeks pregnant! I had no intentions of not saying something right when we found out, because we no longer believe in the magic 12 week number. (For those that have never dealt with pregnancy, your miscarriage probability is supposed to drop after that point) We were 16 and a half weeks when Toodles passed and didn't even figure it out until 20 weeks, so if it's going to happen it's going to happen and the number doesn't matter. So we started telling people as we seen them. In fact, after that first pregnancy test I went to the IF:Table and told my mentor mom from MOPS this last year. Which led to me telling our church secretary, which led to me messaging our youth pastor's wife etc. etc. And we weren't even really sure yet! That's how well I do secrets! Later I found out... I woke up to Jordan Smith at almost exactly 2 weeks pregnant and started blabbing to everyone at 2 1/2 weeks which the normal person doesn't even know they're pregnant yet! But I figured I was further than that. But I wasn't ready to write the blog yet. Some things came up that I wanted answers to before we started telling people then we went on the neverending vacation and finally tonight is the night!

Wondering what came up? So our first ultrasound we thought we were around 9 weeks. Ended up we were around 7... but there was an extra blob in the picture. The ultrasound tech called it a yolk sack but in 2 other pregnancies I never heard of such a thing and that REALLY looked like an extra baby to me. Googled yolk sacks and they all looked like a ring, but ours was solid. So I totally talked myself into there were 2 babies in there. We were prepared for we know about disappearing twins and if that was a second baby it was definitely a little smaller and we either would or already had lost it. But ya never know. My Dr wanted to schedule an appointment right away just to check my blood pressure since it was so screwy with Toodles. At that appointment I told him my fears and he said the exact same thing happened to his sister and law and with our history we weren't taking that chance, we would redo the ultrasound in a month. So right before our first official OB appointment we did the second ultrasound and only 1 baby! Phew!! They did find the yolk sack again and this time it looked like Dr. Google showed. At my appointment my Dr was talking about my history with the girls. Since I was on hospital bedrest with them, they quit testing me for preeclampsia since I was already being monitored so closely. Problem with that is there is now new research about how to treat a pregnancy after a preeclampsia pregnancy. So he decided to send me to Maternal Fetal Medicine at the U of M and since they quit testing they could make the call on how we wanted  to treat it. I figured I would just walk in they would say yes you had it, take a baby aspirin every day, not deliver past 38 weeks (you're placenta is more likely to die quicker with a following preeclamspia pregnancy) and send me on my way. But oh no, Maternal Fetal Medicine doesn't work that way and how quickly I forgot in the last 5 years. (with the girls the top MFM in the nation for that year, told me I wouldn't make it past 22 weeks and they don't resuscitate before 24 weeks) This time around they talked about since I had it so early with the girls I was more likely to get it early again, and IF I make it past 36 weeks I could deliver in Princeton, but I probably wasn't going to make it that far and then I need to deliver at the U. I will probably end up giving myself shots of blood thinners before I was done. But don't worry, they are going to closely monitor me and I'll have growth ultrasounds every 4 weeks starting at 18 weeks and if I reach 30 weeks they will be every 2 weeks until I deliver. When I see my regular doctor I'm going to have xyz tests every appointment and blah blah blah. All I could think was... or I have a perfectly normal pregnancy and you could be a little more hopeful, but what do I know, I only beat their odds by 7 weeks last time. When I scheduled the appointment I was all excited to see our old buddies, but of the 10-15ish MFM doctors I could have seen of course I got the one that admitted me with the girls and I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

On that note, how are we doing? Trying to take it day by day, ultimately I'm terrified every moment of every day and the weeks between appointments sucks. Particularly right now when I know I lost a baby around this gestational age. Right after we found out the girls were laying on me and I asked them to get off me because they were squishing me and they looked like they were going to cry and asked if they hurt the baby and if that was how Toodles died, because they squished him. Talk about break your heart into a billion pieces! And questions happen often, every time we walk into the clinic they ask if I remember that time we were there and I cried because baby Toodles had died? As often as they bring me to tears with painful questions they bring me to tears with their giant hearts. They have to kiss and hug my belly most nights and fairly often during the day and they tell the baby "aww, you're just SOOOO cuuuute!!!" We told the girls if it was a boy we would name him Samuel and Isabell got in a fight with our doctor's nurse about "Baby Samuel." They were checking for the heartbeat with the doppler and my Dr told them to come over and listen to their baby and Isabell went "aww, it's Baby Samuel." Our Dr and nurse looked at her with this look like wait a minute, and Kim asked them what if it's a girl?! Isabell gave her this evil glare and said I don't want a sister, it's a boy and it's name is Samuel" and literally turned her back on Kim and wouldn't talk to her the rest of the appointment! Usually my girls love Kim! So if we have a girl my family is going to need therapy.

Ultimately though, we are getting to watch God's better plan play out before our eyes and are constantly reminded that He knows best and we need to just keep trusting in Him. I have 2 friends that I was pregnant at the same time with with the girls that are due within a month of me. 1 of which we are trying really hard to line up our days and right now if I go to 38 weeks we will only have a 5 day gap, but she figures she's going to go late so.... Eee! Another friend that miscarried about the same gestation but a couple months after us is due shortly before us. A relative that had several miscarriages is due 4 days before me. Ultimately we wish we had Toodles, but if we did... we wouldn't be surrounded by so many people that know our pain and are experiencing our same fears and joy right now. We as humans are meant to do life together and what a blessing to be able to not only do, but bring life into this world together. I need these people right now, I hate that we know the same pain, but we do and we can either ignore, deny, be angry about it... or we can embrace each other, love each other and thank God we have each other to get through this with. A man in the NICU tonight shared with me James 1:2-3 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." Then James 1:12 "Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." He was speaking for his own trials their family is dealing with in the NICU.... but I think he just gave us Samuel's middle name....

God's blessings!
-Heather, Jim, Anabell, Isabell, Toodles and Baby Blob (Anabell's name for Baby... UNTIL it comes out of mommy's tummy, then it's Baby Samuel)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Unexplainable Pain

I have horrible coping mechanisms. It started right after we lost Toodles. I obsessed over a certain person mixing up the details and sharing the details as though it was their own story. I was angry and obsessed over that anger. Jim called me out on it and I think I've kinda moved on. The last 2 weeks I have chosen to obsess over everyone else's problems and ignore my own. Dealing with my loss is too much and I can't think about it anymore. So I surrounded myself with everyone else's drama and it's worked. I have successfully temporarily forgotten the pain of losing my baby. Instead I now carry everyone else's pain and guess what? It sucks, it's worse than the pain I started with. Losing a baby is hard, but watching all the people in my life hurt each other is harder. See, losing my baby was horrible, it was painful, but it was just something that happened. There's no good explanation, there's no reason, it just is what it is. But people... people suck. I have friends feeling pain I can't imagine, I have friends hurting people, I have friends calling each other names and gossiping. I have friends that are being hurt by other friends, I have friends that have lost hopes and dreams for their future because of other people's mistakes... and all their pain is caused by people, there is a reason, there is an explanation, it is painful and horrible and it's all because of one person's actions that hurts someone else. Why do we do this to each other? I'm no better... I'm so busy avoiding my own stuff I've gotten myself into the middle of all this too. I've chosen sides, I've thought I was standing up for the hurt but in the process I'm really just hurting the other person and the cycle never ends. I don't know how to make it all stop so I carry the pain as my own and it hurts. I'm burnt out. The worst part of this whole thing is there is not a single person that is going to read this and think it's not about them or that they at least know who I'm talking about, and you're kinda right. I do have exact situations and stories in mind, but there's not just one, there's not just 5, remember I said I buried myself in this right? This is how I'm coping. feeling everyone else's pain so I just keep hunting it out and man I've gotten good at finding it. But it's so much more than that, it's all of us doing it to all of us. 

Why?! There is real, unexplainable pain in this world, there are wild fires and cancer and miscarriages and apparently that's not enough for us? We don't know what else to do with our unexplainable pain so we hurt others because we can control that. It's all about control. All these pains around me have been around me for months...some for years... and I've faced it a couple times and just moved on. Right now though, I'm not moving on. I'm drowning in the drama and I can't figure out how to fix everyone else's problems so I continue to let it take me down. But I can control this. I can walk away or I can speak up. I can continue the gossip or I can let it stop with me. I can call people out or I can ignore it. It's all a control issue. But whatever I choose someone is still going to hurt.

Sometimes I think the explainable hurts are more painful, because it means someone or something has CHOSEN to cause this hurt we feel. Someone took the time and the resources to make us feel this way. Someone actually wanted us to feel this way. But there is hope for this type of pain. Losing my baby... nobody wished that on me, and if they did well that's a whole other issue... but typically people don't wish that kind of pain, nobody did this to me, I didn't even do it to myself. I have nobody to be mad at, I have nobody to blame... but worst of all, I have nobody to forgive. How do you move on without forgiveness? I can move on from that person I obsessed about right after Toodles, because I can realize that person didn't do it on purpose, they weren't trying to hurt me and I can forgive them. They don't even have to apologize for me to give them forgiveness. It is a gift I can give anyone at any time but most of all it is a gift to myself. Forgiveness is permission for me to move on and continue my life without that pain constantly eating at me. But when your baby dies for no reason, when you have that kind of loss... who do you forgive? How do you move on from that? I posted the other day I was angry at God... but I wasn't angry at Him for my miscarriage, I was angry at Him because I was angry at humanity. I was angry that everyone keeps hurting each other, that there is so much explainable pain in this world and it doesn't stop. I was angry because I know how the story ends and I'm ready for that world. I'm ready for the explainable pain to stop. I'm ready for people to quit hurting people. I'm ready to see and live in His perfect world. I'm not saying I'm ready to die, or I'm thinking about dying even, this isn't a suicide note, it's just my dreaming of His perfect world and the harsh realization this isn't it. But only he can choose when it will happen and so I'm angry I have to live this life here and not there. When it comes to losing my baby I don't even have God to forgive, because I'm not angry at Him for it, I don't blame Him for it, and I never did. So who or what do I forgive?

While I learn how to move on without the gift of forgiveness, I challenge all of you in my life to please forgive each other, please stop hurting each other, please move on in your lives without that pain. Because when the unexplainable pain comes and it will, probably when you least expect it... and you don't know how to cope... I don't want you to be able to hunt out the explainable pain. I don't want anyone else to ever feel all this pain. So if not for me, do it for yourselves and your someday unexplainable pain. 

Heather, Jim, Anabell, Isabell and Toodles

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

1 Week In

Who knew so much of your life could change in 1 week? A week ago right now I was sliding into a raging hot bathtub to deliver my baby. Today I wore a pair of jeans that I literally tried on a week and a half ago that had a 2 inch gap that I was not going to get to button no matter how much breath holding I did. A week and a half ago I swore I felt the baby kicking and had the girls rubbing my belly trying to feel it. Today the girls are crying because they miss their daddy, yesterday it was because they missed their teacher, the day before they missed someone else etc. etc. And one of these days they are going to be crying because they realize they miss their baby Toodles and that day is going to crush me.

Yesterday, exactly 1 week after we found out there was no heartbeat, I had to have my follow up appointment with my Dr. Man do I love him and his team, but man do they exhaust me. His nurse, that I've adored since the first day we met and discovered we were fellow preemie moms is just amazing. As she was leaving the room she told me she got an email last week and we must have been members at Immanuel at some time because she got a prayer request from a friend of hers there for us. She said she printed it out and put it on her fridge and she has been praying like crazy for us everyday. I started to tear up and just kept saying thank you, that means the world and before either of us could burst into ugly sobbing she quietly said goodbye and walked out of the room. My Dr came in a couple minutes later and said, hey, did my nurse tell you she got a prayer request for you? It was one of the few times that opened up the conversation to talk about my faith with him. Then I confused him because we had to discuss our future baby planning and I told him God smacked this baby in our face and if God smacks another one we'll go with it, if not I don't think so. My Dr., like everyone else I tell that too went wait a minute, I thought we just discussed this baby was planned? How exactly did God smack that in your face? So like everyone else, I explained our family was complete. Jim and I were happy with us and the girls and God just put it everywhere. Every time we opened the Bible we landed on verses about having children, and everywhere we looked were fathers and their sons and mothers and their sons and He just put it on our heart to have a son. Then my Dr opened up my file to see that the Placenta and Pathalogical test results were in. He read through them quick and said there really wasn't anything that gave him cause to concern, everything looked as it should for a baby that had passed away in the womb, especially if it was 4 weeks ago. He did mention that they didn't find any internal sex organs so it was likely a boy, but we wouldn't be positive until the genetic testing comes back. So while some people are struggling with this baby was a "God thing" I can't really explain how else Jim and I knew from the start we were getting pregnant and we were having a son. That's exactly what God put on our hearts and that's exactly what he gave us. But back to the appointment. I started out saying it was exhausting... and it was. I absolutely adore my Dr but part of what I love is that he is usually so straightforward, matter of fact, does his research and knows what he's talking about, not emotionless but similar to me needs to warm up a little. His motto is he gives you 3 options, 1, what he thinks is best 2 the option he doesn't recommend and 3 the middle option and lets you choose, but he always has every bit of info for each to help you make your own informed decision. Love that! But I seen it last week and I seen it again yesterday, this wasn't easy for him either. I guess in my head, I thought like this is just part of the job, it sucks, but they would just move on, especially when I've literally seen this Dr. like 4 times before last week, he doesn't really know me, he'll be fine. But maybe it's not that easy and part of his healing process I'm guessing is he needed to hash out every detail of the last 20 weeks and every appointment we had and I had and try to find an answer somewhere. While I've accepted we lost our baby to an umbilical chord accident, he maybe hasn't. I've relived every moment 1,000 times in my head and nowhere did I find blame in him, in myself, in anything anyone did. It was a freak accident, it sucks, but it's an answer. So many people lose a baby and have no answers. We get one, whether it's true or not (don't google umbilical chord strangulation/deaths etc because it will tell you like a less than 1% chance that is what happens and Dr's use it as an easy answer) but I seen it with my own eyes, I untangled it with my Dr myself, it was real. So whether it was the cause of death or an after effect maybe doesn't matter, because it gave us something. But it is exhausting trying to put on a happy face and failing and having someone trying to make it ok when sometimes it's just not and it's exhausting spending 45 minutes reliving the best and worst moments of your life. So anyways, I'm glad that's over and I have 3 to 4 weeks before I have to see him again, thank you antidepressants or I would have a year before I'm due for THE womanly check up. Might have to go back to my old Dr for that one, but I have some time to not be depressed by the sight of my Dr. 

So beyond my appointment yesterday, here's where I'm at 1 week later. Am I hurting? Yes. Am I sad? Yes. Do hugs still make me cry? If you hugged me Sunday you know, if not... yes. Am I sleeping? No. But man have I been productive in the hours of midnight to 6am I've read books... like I haven't had time to read a book in 4 years and I read a whole book the other night and it was lovely! I spent 1 night watching YouTube videos of Christian women speakers. Somehow ended up watching 3 hours of 3 different sermons on King David and Samuel 1 by 3 different speakers. Know what I couldn't find in all my YouTube and Google searching that night? A popular Christian woman talking about a miscarriage or loss of a baby. Why does a simple search not bring up 100s of stories? I know I'm not the only one, I can't be! Most of my circle or friends and acquaintances have had a miscarriage. I can't even tell you how many women have shared their story with me since I shared last week. Why aren't we talking about them? If someone else won't... guess what, I will! I have no filter, if I'm going through something I write about it. It's healing. Do I regret my post last week? Yes and no. I don't regret being open about what we went through, but your love and support overwhelms me. I literally just want to spend a day in my pjs, or for those that know me better you know what I shower, ugly crying, with a Pepsi and bag of Doritos in my bed and maybe some doughnuts, but I constantly have people stopping by, calling, texting, messaging. I love you all so much, and am totally blown away by all the love and support we are receiving, but it's so overwhelming. At the same time, I tried doing a day by myself with the girls and by 10am all 3 of us were at each other's throats and done for the day. So do I know what I want? I'm still a girl, so no. But the big one... am I ok? Yes! So 2 blog posts ago I told you all how we got to having this baby and I ended it with "I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now, I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord." 1 Samuel 27-28. I didn't just write that because it was a cute Bible verse I found fitting to our situation. I wrote that because I had prayed on it so many times in the months before getting pregnant and my whole pregnancy and I believed in it and I still do. Every last word is His truth and I find comfort in that. God put this baby on our hearts and we gave it all to Him and His glory. We knew from the start it was for Him, that if it was for us, we wouldn't have tried for it, we were content where we were. As soon as we found out we were pregnant Jim and I talked and talked and talked about how this child was for God and His glory and that we had to remember that, that was why I wrote that blog post. I wanted to share what God was doing in our lives. And it's why I'm continuing to write about it now. Jim and I are so proud that we have no idea what God's plan is right now, but just that we get to be used for it. His plan is so much bigger than us, and I know we listened to Him, and I know we followed Him, and I know this hurts, but He wouldn't have done this if there wasn't something bigger in store for us. I have no idea what that plan is, I might have an inkling, but I'm just going to keep listening to Him and see where He leads us. A wise hugger I've talked to lately mentioned to remember that "something big" might not seem that big, but if only 1 person walks away from us and our story and got something from it we did "something big." How true is that? My biggest fear I mentioned before was to not leave this situation bitter, if 1 other person leaves a similar situation with the same frame of mind because of me, I have done God's work and for that I'm so blessed and so lucky and so grateful to be a part of that. So while I'm sad and hurting, and overwhelmed and not sleeping, I am in such a good place with our situation. I'm not angry at anyone, not even God, I'm not bitter, I'm not playing the blame game, there's no ugly in our situation. I'm still excited for our future, I know right now it doesn't include Toodles, but instead of us teaching him about this world, someday he will get to teach us about Heaven. How cool is that? How many times does the Bible tell us not to be of this world that our God has so much more in store for us? Toodles knows that, he will never experience the hurt, the anger, the just plain evil of this world and when all that is washed away and Jim and I and the girls feel lost in Heaven, Toodles will be there. Toodles can guide us as we learn about God's perfect plan. And in the meantime, I'm still excited to see what God has in store for our futures on Earth. 

I still have so much more to say and share, but I'm just going to stop here for now. Thank you everyone for your kind words about my writing, but as much as I enjoy that you enjoy it... it really is a huge part of my healing and right now I NEED it. I can type 100 times faster than I can write, so with 2 busy little ladies, I need fast. I have always loved writing and some people probably remember my 20-30 page "notes" in middle and high school and this is just an upgrade from that. Thank you for reading it and hopefully someone is getting something out of it, because that is the goal of why I share it publicly versus just having a journal on my computer. So again, thank you.
God's blessing on all of you.
Love, Heather, Jim, Anabell, Isabell and Toodles

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Goodbye to Toodles

I'm not sure where to start with this or how to even write it, but I'm ready to share it. So may God give me the words and I'll just start from the beginning.

On Monday afternoon I had a regular prenatal Doctor's Appointment. I wasn't that excited, I was looking forward to Friday we had our 20 week ultrasound and would get to find out if we were having a boy or a girl! But my doctor was unable to find Baby Toodle's heartbeat. He spent a good 15-20 minutes, long enough for me to share most the girl's birth history with his intern when he finally said he gave up. He was positive he heard movements just couldn't narrow in on the heartbeat and since I have an ultrasound Friday he could send me for one now, but would hate for them to accidentally tell me something I was planning on hearing Friday with Jim. I agreed to wait until Friday and we finished up my appointment. My nurse had to grab me a wrist brace because the carpal tunnel in my left wrist was acting up. While she was gone I emailed Jim to tell him we couldn't find the heartbeat, but whatever no big deal. Clicked "send" and burst into tears. The nurse came back in and asked and I said "I don't know, we couldn't find a heartbeat and I said I would wait until Friday, but I don't know anymore." She she told me she was going to talk to my Doctor and she would be right back. He came back in with her and reassured me we would go ahead with an ultrasound, he still had no concerns, I measured 27 weeks, he heard movement, everything looked great, but I was the most important part and if I wasn't comfortable he didn't want me going home worried. So I headed over to ultrasound where before she even had a chance to say anything I knew something was wrong, The girls were always moving around, hitting, kicking, rolling, and there was nothing. Then the next words out of her mouth were "I'm having troubles finding the heartbeat, I'm going to call your doctor." And I knew... I burst into tears, I had the girls with me this whole time and they just kept asking "mommy what's wrong" "mommy why are you crying" and I just couldn't tell them anything. How do you tell your 4 year old daughters their baby Toodles didn't have a heartbeat and died in their mommy's tummy? Finally that was exactly what I told them, their baby had died in my tummy and there was no more baby Toodles. Then my nurse came back to bring me back to clinic and I just dissolved on her. (I'm pretty sure it is a prerequisite to be a good hugger to become a nurse, keep this in mind if that's the degree you're working on.) As she was walking us back, both girls lost it and burst into uncontrollable sobs. Try and comfort 2 4 year olds that have no idea what's really going on while you're trying to relearn how to breathe yourself. Again, thank you to our nurse that found some fruit snacks for the girls and a box of kleenex for me! My doctor came back in with tears in his eyes and pretty much in shock himself, he kept saying "I swear I heard movement, I really didn't have any reason to suspect there was a concern, I'm so sorry. I'm just so so sorry." That moment and many others in the last couple days solidified his place as my doctor. (I had actually switched to him right before this pregnancy while I was trying to balance my blood pressure with medicine safe during pregnancy.) Then he started laying out the plan. The baby looked like it had passed about 4 weeks ago and my body was not delivering it naturally. At this point we needed to consider inducing labor or start risking infections and other problems. He told me I could come back anytime between that night and the next 1 to 2 maybe even 3 days to deliver but that it needed to be done with week. I told him I would be back that night but I had to find someplace for my children and get things in order and I'd be back.

So I left the hospital in complete shock. I didn't know who to call, what to do. The nurse had already had me call Jim so I needed to call him back to meet me at home not at the clinic. Then I called my friend Jessie. There was nobody else I knew that could care for my kids in this moment better than she could. Went home, packed their stuff and dropped them off. Went home, packed our stuff and headed to the hospital. Got halfway there when I realized I told them I would be back around 7 and I was actually going to be there at like 530 so we decided to grab dinner. Ate at our old family stomping ground, Frontier where we had one of our old waitresses that reminded us what we normally order because we hadn't been there in so long and we were half out of our minds with grief. Checked into the hospital where all I said was I think my nurse called for me earlier and she said, oh, you must be Heather. Then when she finished another nurse walked by and said "just really wanted to give you my condolences at this time." All I could think was "SERIOUSLY?! DOES EVERYONE KNOW?!" Got to my room and they explained everything and what was going on and I started to panic. My worst fear in the whole situation was that I was going to accidentally abort a perfectly healthy baby for no good reason. So I asked for another ultrasound and the same lady from 6 hours earlier came back in for me to reassure me baby was gone. In the meantime my doctor had come in to to talk to us. We started talking about genetic testing and what to do with the remains. I wanted to hit him over the head with a frying pan at this point. The last thing at that moment I wanted to think about was if I wanted to do a mass burial, send the baby to a funeral home or bring it home with myself, to what? Bury it in the garden with the family goldfish someday? No offense to anyone that has had to made that choice and chose that one, we all grieve and deal differently, but I have never been so mortified as the thought of bringing home my dead baby. Thank God Jim agreed and we decided on the mass burial. The nurse thought it was really well done and tasteful and she has never heard a complaint yet. Perfect, because I was also a little freaked out about having a funeral for a 16 week baby that only I even partially "knew" or had any physical connection with. As for the genetic testing, we were all ready to go ahead with that because there is nothing worse than the unknowns. If there was something genetically wrong with this baby that should prevent us from even trying, we should know about that. But then my doctor mentioned sometimes it's like opening Pandora's box and you get much more than your bargained for. Next thing you know, you, your husband and 2 kids are getting medications for something you never even knew existed. It was when he mentioned it could tell us something about our girls we wouldn't necessarily know otherwise I knew we had to. We all agreed knowledge is power.

By time my doctor left and we could get the process started it was already 11pm. I got 3 tablets shoved up by my cervix, made some jokes with my nurse and laid there while the cramping began. When I told my nurse around midnight I was starting to have some cramps she started me on some drugs, morphine and an anti anxiety drug that I don't even remember and I don't remember most the next day. I remember kinda waking up mid morning sometime thinking hey, my nurse didn't wake me up every 4 hours to shove more tablets up by my cervix and then realized I was so out of it she probably did and I had NO clue. Oops, good stuff. Around 2-3pm the cramps got worse and they wouldn't give me anymore drugs. So I was rocking in pain and told my nurse if I can't have more drugs I want a hot bath. She was like "actually, we could probably do that, let me go call the doctor," and I was like "no, either you get me drugs or you get me a bath NOW!" So after she called the dr... haha figures... I got to crawl into a hot bath. I just sat there and felt the pain melt away. Jim kept asking if I wanted to lay down and I kept saying no, I was ok just sitting. Finally I went to slide back in the tub to lay down and out came the baby. Jim ran around looking for a nurse button or a nurse cord to pull and I just started sobbing. My nurse and Dr came in and my Dr told the nurse "gold star to whoever's idea was the bath" and my nurse mumbled "it was her idea, give her the gold star." The placenta was a little more difficult to deliver and called for some yoga-ish type moves I will call bathtub-blooming-flower. My Dr had already cut the cord and had the baby resting on my chest while all that was going on so it probably didn't help I wasn't paying any attention to what was going on down there. Found out later there are all sorts of complications I need to be watching for in case I didn't pass all the placenta, but we'll worry about that later.

So baby Toodles is officially named Toodles. It's in my medical chart and everything! The baby was too early to determine a sex, and we all tried looking. It weighted 4.3 ounces. The baby actually spent the night in the room with us, most of it in the little baby bed thing, but with us. We each took some time to hold it and take pictures and the nurse brought in a bottle of Holy Water and let Jim and I do a private little Baptism of sorts. We said some prayers and Jim spread some water on it and we were able to keep the leftover water. The nurse sat with us and cried with us the whole time. She gave me a hug and asked for my address because when she went through it herself she had found a really great book and she would love to mail it to us. Baby Toodle's official means of death was strangulation from the umbilical cord. It was wrapped around it's neck and body at least 3 or 4 times, it doesn't change we lost our baby, but we're grateful we have answers and don't have to live with quite so many what if's. There is no way to guarantee anything and my Dr said there aren't really any studies on it, but we both agreed my hives were probably associated with the baby dying and my body trying to acknowledge something was wrong. The timing was just all to coincidental and when looking the other way, was there a chance the steroids caused the death? Steroids are more commonly used to prolong a baby or mother's life so that didn't make sense. I was too exhausted to do anything after all the drugs and delivery and emotions of the day so we decided to just crash in the hospital another night and spend the time with the baby while we could.

We gave up our civic duty this year because by time things settled down, we had half an hour to get packed up and back to Big Lake and it was just one of those things not worth it in the moment. Bash us if you choose, I started posting this on Facebook and realized I was using this loss out of political anger on Facebook and I will not use this baby and this loss for that. I will use it to spread awareness, to spread hope, to bridge gaps, etc, but I will not use it to spread hate and anger, so anyone that caught it before I took it down I apologize. In the meantime we are grieving and trying to continue parenting and protecting our children the best we can. With that said, I love hugs, but if you try to hug me I'm going to cry, not that I don't want or need that right now, but I ask that you respect my girls and try not to do it right in front of them. They are having a hard time seeing mom and dad so sad as is and they don't need to see it more than they already do. Will I talk about it with you? Sure, but most of it is right here so don't feel like I'm on auto pilot or just repeating myself, I'm pretty good at writing my feelings so this is my outlet for that. And maybe something does come up I didn't think of tonight and that's great too. What do we need right now? Prayers. Anything else is just a bonus, but we truly need prayers. My specific request and maybe Jim will speak to his on his own time, but mine is that I have seen so many people go through this and come out the other side bitter and angry. I don't want that. I have so many friends with fresh babies and babies coming soon and there is nothing in the world that makes me happier for them. My loss shouldn't change their joy and I just hope my thoughts and actions continue that way. I still want to hear about your pregnancy pains and joys and I still want to hear how fat you feel and how your labor lasted 2.5 minutes! (just wishful thinking for all my preggo mamas reading this, I still have love for your and high hopes for your deliveries!) And I want to hear about your baby that sleeps through the night at 2 months and how breastfeeding is easy as cake, or how your baby just won't latch and you've moved on to Target brand because it has the same nutrients and let's be real, it's the cheapest. And I want to hold your babies and give them back when they start to cry, not because I can't handle a crying baby (i can handle 2 at once as a matter of fact) but because it will always be my favorite part about it not being mine! I don't have to do crying! A) it wants your boob anyways or B) nobody fixes things better than mommies and that's how it always should be. So please continue to talk to me, and tell me about your pregnancies and your babies! I want to hear! I might cry and I'm so sorry if I do, but don't think it's because you said the wrong thing or you shouldn't tell me, it's because I love you and your baby so much that it reminds me of the baby I loved so much too. Or sometimes it reminds me of the girls, or sometimes it's just a sad story and my heart breaks for my friend. But my biggest wish and prayer request right now is that this doesn't shut people down from me, it opens them up. I want to hear your stories of loss too, I want to cry together, I want to eat chocolate, ice cream and pizza and just cry. I want to know I'm not alone. I want to know someone walked before me and when someone walks after me I want to be able to offer them the same chocolate, ice cream and pizza and just cry with them too. Or maybe not, I want to just be able to offer them something. To everyone else... I want to live. I want to enjoy life where we're at. I hate snow, but now know I have snow loving friends... I want to see it through your eyes. I want to experience what makes you love it... and then I want you to take my kids while I crawl in a hot bath with a good book and box of chocolate! But really... don't worry about saying the wrong thing, or not saying anything or making a joke too soon, or whatever... don't let my loss ruin our friendship also. I need you, wherever you are at, whatever your role in my life, I may need a little time, but don't give up on me. If I say no this week, don't assume I will say no next week. I may say no the next 6 months, who knows, but someday I'm going to say yes, and we are all going to know why I made you keep asking all that time. So my other prayer request is not to give up on me. To my family... don't hover. I'm sorry, and you know who you are. I don't need your hovering over me being sure I'm not doing something stupid, (my Dr and I agreed to start back up the Prozac and I'm continuing my ProBio5 which I attribute to my happiness off my Prozac) You don't need to come over every 5 minutes, you don't need to take my kids, you don't need to cancel vacations. We will be ok. We have a great support system which does include you, but you are allowed to continue with your lives as well right now. At the same time, while I deal with my grief, I will not be catering to yours over this situation. Thank your for being sad we lost our baby, but it was OUR baby and OUR loss and OUR grief comes first. So we ask for prayers for our family. Our girls are hurting too. And they don't understand why. They have amazing teachers at school that sent them home with books that I'm not ready to read to them and coloring books and crayons and they are helping the girls tremendously. They are both sick and they both just want dad. They don't understand that mom is so sad so for some reason dad is the comforter right now, they just know they need to go to him. They don't understand why 2 of their cubbies teachers were hugging mom and making her cry when they just wanted their hug and kiss goodbye. They don't even understand that the baby that was in mom's tummy is gone. So I ask for prayers for my children, for their own healing and understanding. And Jim... he is my rock and my everything. Monday night we talked and I told him I wanted to just do this alone, get it over with and go back to life. Then I realized I couldn't do this without him, this will not separate us, this will bring us together. Tragedy always does that... it brings together or tears apart. Jim has spent the night by my side in the hospital too many nights to count between this week and bedrest with the girls and has held my hand and brought me medicine and glasses of water and even just hugs and kisses when I needed them and I cannot do life without him. I know we are both grieving differently right now, but I ask for prayers that we get brought together through it all and not torn apart.

And that is where I leave your for now. It's almost 1 in the morning and I can't even see enough to proofread this before I publish it. So here's where we're at right now, raw and real.
As always,God Bless
Heather, Jim, Anabell, Isabell and our angel baby Toodles

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Bells Are Becoming Big Sisters!

It's been awhile again, but the Bells have BIG NEWS!!! They are going to be big sisters in March 2017! (Hopefully!) So that's where this blog comes in... most of you followed our journey with my pregnancy with Anabell and Isabell and their early births and NICU time, through this blog in fact! And most of you heard us say over and over again we were done having kids after such a traumatic experience with the girls we never wanted to live that again. So I'm sure you're all thinking this pregnancy was an "oops!" but I want to clear that up right away! Here goes....

Last August/September God started putting it on my heart to have a son. EVERYWHERE I looked were mom's and their sons, or dad's playing catch with their sons and I felt this urge for my own. But it was football season after all for my nephews, what did I expect right? So I kinda just ignored it and went on with my life. It was also about that time that we started attending Becker Baptist Church. Right away they started up these small groups for this ALL IN series and it sounded intriguing so Jim and I decided it was a great opportunity to get to know our fellow BBC'ers! Every single week God smacked this idea of we needed a son right in my face! I can't even remember what all triggered it, but I remember about halfway through I couldn't ignore it anymore. So I told Jim, "hunny, I think we need to have a baby." He almost puked and was like "yeah, ok, whatever Heather," and didn't even want to discuss it. But I couldn't just get over it, I reminded him going ALL IN for God was dropping our biggest fears and giving it ALL to Him and His glory. What were our biggest fears, but having another couple months on bedrest, another premature birth, another NICU stay, another set of twins, etc. Jim still wasn't ready. About the same time, Jim came to me and was like, "Hey, I think we should get baptized!" I pretty much gave him the same look he gave me about having a baby and was like "um, I already was, I'm good." The last week before our series ended I remember laying on Jim's lap while he continued persisting we get baptized and I continued persisting we have a baby and I was uncontrollably sobbing, "why would God tell me ALL IN is having a baby, and God would tell you ALL IN is getting baptized, why wouldn't God tell us the same thing?" That was the night that changed it all. We sat up late discussing exactly that, why would God tell us different things? Finally we realized, because they were both right. We should be baptized, our friends and family needed to see what was changing in our hearts on the outside and that was symbolized by our baptisms. We had a wonderful chat with Pastor Rob that put my mind at ease about being baptized despite that whole baby baptism thing and it totally made sense! Duh! Of course, I wanted to announce to the world (at least my immediate world) that I was a believer! Yes! Then Jim finally started to get that itch too. Of course he wants a son, so we will try 1 more time, if we get a girl that is wonderful, but we will adopt a son someday instead to complete our family. So the journey began....

By January, I was starting to get discouraged. The girls only took us a couple months of trying so what's the big deal here? Then I started to get a new itch... I kept seeing videos on Facebook of Syrian refugees arriving in boats in Greece and I needed to be there. Maybe I was wrong about that whole baby thing, maybe God just wanted to see if we would listen, and we did, so now the REAL deal... He wanted us to go to Greece! So I emailed Jim at work one day, because I got so excited I couldn't wait for him to get home and said "Jim, we have to make this work, I'm going to Greece for a month." He came home with that same ol' look on his face, "Heather, you're crazy, let's talk." So I laid it all out there, all the reputable volunteer groups were looking for a month commitment, I knew he couldn't get that time off of work, we just had to find the money and a place for the girls and I was going! So Jim did what Jim does best, he did his research and sent me to do it too. I found this Facebook group with amazing information and was like OK, we don't have to commit to a month, Jim can come with, we can go for a week, this is great! We went back and forth for a couple months and finally decided we needed to do something to commit. So we cancelled our yearly summer vacation to Cass Lake and decided that was the week we would go to Greece. THREE, I kid you not, THREE days later, Turkey signed a deal with the European Union to send the refugees back there and all hell broke loose in Greece. All the volunteers on the island were kicked out, all the camps went from volunteers to military influence. There were riots daily, refugees setting themselves on fire, smoke bombs, tear gas, boats stopped coming over and we knew our plans were over. It became too dangerous for us to go there and with 2 toddler girls at home it just wasn't the time.

So I was back at it with God. No baby, no Greece, what on Earth do you want from me?! June came and I remember talking to Pastor Rob again, while filling the busy bags, and telling him my frustrations and he reminded me to just keep listening. Yep, got that covered, I listen, nothing happens but ok. Gotcha. On top of that, we had cancelled our only family vacation and feeling the stress of not going, but realized, financially, we couldn't have afforded it anyways. So we decided our new mission was to get our finances back in order, we have been steadily falling behind since I quit my job and while we were waiting around for nothing to happen, might as well fix that right? So we sat down, set up a budget, and were rocking it. Just when we started feeling good, I got a knock on the door... we were served court papers for not paying a medical bill. Oh crap, you got to be kidding me! We finally start making a dent and you gotta throw this at us. So we figured that out. Then my blood pressure started dropping for no reason and I went to the Doctor the Thursday after we were served the papers and left so dang mad! The doctor didn't even know the medication I was on for my blood pressure and when I told him it was supposed to be safe during pregnancy he said "well you've been on it awhile and aren't pregnant, you better go home and tell your husband he's doing it wrong." EXCUSE ME?!!?! Then proceeded to offer a pregnancy test that day since I was there anyways. Sure whatever, you dumb jerk, whatever gets me out of here! I left, called my friend Toni to vent and was interrupted by the clinic calling. "Congratulations! You're pregnant!" I practically hung up on the guy and burst into tears! I had NO clue! Whoa!

So here's where God's perfect timing comes into place. That Thursday, we found out? It was 2 days before we were supposed to leave for Cass Lake, which we couldn't afford, so 2 days before we were supposed to leave for Greece which ended up out of control. It was 3 days after we got smacked in the face with court papers, right after we thought we were getting our budget figured out to get our debt paid off. Which in turn forced us to reevaluate our finances again and we made some changes to not only pay off that bill, but get all our debt paid off sooner than we imagined. God knew all along, and His plans are always better than our own!

Now that we have all the background... here's what we know about this pregnancy so far. I am 9 weeks yesterday, due March 26th, the day before Jim's birthday. I have been completely nauseous the last 3 weeks and while I only got sick once (the morning of my sister's wedding, of course!) I am living on peppermint oil and mints. I had my first ultrasound around 6 weeks and while they couldn't guarantee it because it was so early, she was pretty sure there was only 1 baby. But they did find a subchorionic hemorrhage (a blood clot in my uterine lining). Which I also had with the girls and was why I spent 7 weeks on bedrest at home, because I was bleeding. This one is significantly smaller than the one I had with the girls, but I'm not sure if they grow or can change. So I'm trying not to freak out, but our support system has grown so dramatically since we were pregnant with the girls I'm not quite as worried. My first real doctor's appointment is on the 30th and maybe I can find out more about it then. In the meantime, I keep trying to remind myself, this baby was never part of Jim and my plan, this is all for God and in His hands. "I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now, I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord." 1 Samuel 1:27-28

God's blessings, Heather, Jim, Anabell, Isabell and Baby Toodles.

p.s. The girls are very excited and decided the baby shall be named Toodles, watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse if you're unsure who Toodles is! Every morning Isabell asks me, "you have Baby Toodles in your tummy?" and Anabell follows up with, "ME TOO!" She is determined I swallowed Baby Toodles to get it in my tummy, and whatever mom eats, she eats, so she must have a Baby Toodles in her tummy also. I'm not quite ready to completely correct this, so while I've tried telling her she does not have a baby in her tummy, I'm not ready to explain how one got in my tummy.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

August 15th Night 2 and 3

Another long day done! Jim's parents came to visit and give us a little break, which was SO nice! It is beyond frustrating being 20 feet away from half your family and not being able to see or talk to them! The girls cultures haven't finished to know exactly what bacteria we're dealing with, so until they come back and we find out they are the same, they can't be in each other's rooms and we have to wash going between the rooms.

So who's first? How about Isabell... I don't know if I was clear enough at 3am last night, but she really really isn't nearly as bad as her sister. I know I've posted some pictures on Facebook of Anabell as she was getting worse and worse yesterday, but Isabell really doesn't even resemble her. She has a very few spots on her face, ears and neck, but not the big open sores like Anabell has. I brought her in purely because she had the red swollen skin on her chest and legs like Anabell had a couple days ago and seemed sore when I picked her up. But with would think it was the end of the world for her! She screams bloody murder every time they even grab the blood pressure cuff (maybe she has ptsd about blood pressure readings from her mommy?) So that's been fun! But all the nurses think both girls are crazy they take their meds so well! Every new nurse is like do you want to give it to her? Maybe a juice chaser? Put it in a cup first? I'm like, stop, just take the cap off and shoot it in her mouth already, you're making this too difficult! They look at me like I'm crazy, cringe and go ok... and the girls gladly suck it down like a straw faster than they push the syringe! But her plan... she needs to eat, drink, and take her meds orally before she can go home. She is eating ok, takes her meds like a champ...but she won't drink anything. We've tried every juice you can imagine, water, milk, and all she does is take a sip, says it's icky and won't touch it again. So they can't back off her IV fluids, they can't take out her IV, and we can't go home until that happens. (sound like her in the NICU, breastfeeding/bottles anyone?!) But if she can't step up her game, we can probably go home tomorrow. She has some pretty nasty diarrhea from the antibiotics, but other than that she's doing pretty well. We had a tea party, sent some fun pictures and videos to dad and sister and watched Tangled no fewer than 527 times today! :s But at least it wasn't Frozen!

And Anabell... You really can't tell she's the sicker babe! Seriously! That girl is guzzling all the fluids you can find her, eating everything in sight and being her silly little self! She had fun showing grandma that despite the brace holding her IV on her arm, she can lean back and drop grapes into her mouth since she can't bend it enough to reach her mouth with the brace! Then she'd giggle and giggle! She got her catheter out today and after tinkling a little on my leg she got up and sat on the potty and finally pooped for the first time in a couple days! Sorry about the TMI, but I've never seen a kid poop so much! Somehow this whole experience has made her rock the potty training! But we're almost positive she will be discharged tomorrow. But dad says she has been coloring, taking silly pictures and videos and they have watched Aladdin no fewer than 527  times today! But she has also become quite the fan of Toy Story and has made her rotation through all 3 Toy Stories quite a few times, I know a couple people that will be pretty happy about that one! The creams they started putting on them has worked wonders on her blisters, and they are clearing up quickly! She is still pretty puffy, but I'm just so glad to see her smiling again!

That's pretty much the gist of life right now. Isabell and I had an awesome nurse that let us take a couple hour nap, so I'm finally almost functioning again! But if I don't get to bed soon, that won't last long! So goodnight, and thank you for all your prayers! They seem to be working yet again!

Heather, Jim, Anabell and Isabell

August 14th 2015 3 years later we're back to where we started

I decided instead of filling your Facebook newsfeed with all the updates, to pull this old blog back out. It was always about the girls after all!

So a week ago Wednesday, on August 5th, the girls had their first symptoms of Impetigo. Brought them into their pediatrician, sent us home with an antibiotic cream and all was good. For once, I wasn't stressed about them being sick, or freaking out, or threatening to never leave our house again. Well that backfired! Jump ahead exactly a week... This last Tuesday night the girls were up ALL night taking turns screaming themselves to sleep. After having enough with their sleeping problems for the last month, since we came home from vacation, we decided we were sticking to our guns! They were not coming to bed with us, we were not sleeping on their floor, they could cry all night if that's what it took... And that is exactly what it took, they cried all night. Wednesday morning I very sleepily brought them to our MOPS steering meeting, where I noticed Anabell had red hives and was all swollen around her neck. Figured it was just from her crying all night and went on with our day. Until she started crying after her nap and wouldn't let me touch her. So we brought her into the ER Wednesday night and they sent us home with oral antibiotics and zyrtec for the hives. Isabell had a couple new spots but nothing serious. Then by the end of Thursday Anabell just cowered and wouldn't let anyone near her, she had a couple open sores on her and I just couldn't watch her be miserable anymore. So we brought her back to the ER. It was the same DR from the night before and he was worried about the drastic change and new spots popping up every time he walked into our room. So Anabell got her first ambulance ride to the University of Minnesota Children's Masonic Hospital. (Same hospital I did bedrest when I was pregnant and the girls stayed in the NICU) They put her on some pain meds and IV antibiotics and she seemed to be doing much better this morning after finally getting a little sleep. Then after her nap this afternoon, all the red hives she had turned into blisters and started spreading like wildfire. Her whole scalp is now covered with them, a lot of her face and starting on her arms and chest. So dermatology came in and looked at her and the current diagnosis is she has the staph version of Impetigo and it is releasing toxins into her body and it has spread throughout her body and is causing the new blisters. Also known as staph scalding. They are pretty sure it's going to get worse before it gets better and she will likely lose a good portion of her outer layer of skin all over her body. Then tonight she was doing better again and was hanging out with daddy while I went to get Isabell (I'll get back to Isabell soon) and her IV ended up swelling up and getting extremely painful. So they had to replace it and it sounds like it was quite the ordeal. She's had a rough night after all that, but I just checked on her and she looked pretty peaceful sleeping and they started her treatment of her sores so they were looking a lot better too...but it was 2:30am and dark so I will know more tomorrow.

Back to Isabell. Through Anabell's whole ordeal she has been a champ. After we realized Anabell was getting admitted, Jim brought her to my friend Jessie's house. She seemed to have had a great night overnight and fun today playing with her friends. In fact, when I went to pick her up she didn't even acknowledge me and didn't want to leave! I'm grateful she has somewhere she was that comfortable and I didn't have to worry about her while I was worrying about her sister! So I had talked to her pediatrician this afternoon and updated her on Anabell and asked if we should start Isabell on antibiotics also. She agreed, and my game plan was to get the antibiotics, run home, feed Chompers, shower, pick up Isabell and bring her to Jim's parents. Was going fine until I noticed she had a lot of the red swelling Anabell had 2 days ago. Still not as many blisters, but after watching that exact same looking skin turn to giant blisters right before my eyes today, I decided to call Anabell's DR at the U and see if I should bring Isabell in too. Decided that was best...and here we are. Admitted next door to her sister! :( On the bright side, after some mild trial and error with Anabell, we have a better idea what we're dealing with, caught it earlier and can start treatment quicker so hopefully she won't end up as severe as Anabell.

I'm finding the irony in a couple things here...3 years ago exactly I was on bedrest 2 floors below and down the hall and was just starting this blog! Unfortunately the food has gotten worse in 3 years, but other than that not a whole ton has changed, besides why in the world do kids have better rooms than pregnant ladies?! Then I can't believe I quarantined the girls last cold and flu season because I was so freaked out about them ending up back in the hospital, then the first sickness I don't freak out about is the one that lands us there. But it is what is and here we are. I'm going to go try and get my 2 1/2 hours sleep before they come do vitals at 5:30am again and I will update more as we know more! As before, we would be so extremely grateful for all your prayers! It is the hardest thing in the world watching your child in so much pain and not being able to do anything about it, and here I am watching both of them. My heart hurts, but I'm giving it to God to fix along with my babies. I just pray they can have comfort and healing soon. And thank you for all your prayers!
Heather, Jim, Anabell and Isabell