Jun 28, 2010

A Day in the Life.....

For the first time in a long while I have slowed down and just enjoyed life without any busyness. So what did we do today? Well, we slept and took naps. Actually, a certain little person did while I took advantage of some pictures. A newborn and my camera are a dangerous time-waster for me.Then Hunter stole the camera from me in the middle of my photo shoot and decided he wanted to be the man behind the lense. It took a while for me to get it back from him because he was loving posing us so much. Tessa decided to start crying and Ainsley wanted to pose for her brother in a way she never will for me. I figure this is typical life with three kids who all want to do their own thing while getting involved in your projects.Then they rolled around on the bed for a while enjoying each other and cuddling "baby sissy". I love this foot shot.When that got boring (actually when Ainsley threw a fit and went down for her nap), Hunter decided to make an elaborate road system in his room out of pillows with a blue paper lake all around. It covered his whole room and went up into his bed where he had his "town" built.I tried briefly to go outside, but the 108 degree weather drove me back in, though I wanted to enjoy my flowers a little more.My front walk looks like a jungle right now. But at least everything is blooming.So instead of working outside, I got the inside all tidy and nice looking. Also, I know I am back to normal since I felt the urge to create. I made some of these with a friend yesterday.Ainsley woke up with hair all a wreck, but wanted to model the hair bow anyways.After some more play time and clean up time and dinner, then it was bath time. Why do they like my big tub better than theirs? Empty bath bubble containers make great toys.
And that's a quiet day in the life of me. Kinda boring maybe, but it's the first time in a long time that I haven't ran errands, cooked, entertained, worked, or done one of the various other chores that seem to always await me. The house is clean, dinner was brought from friends at church, and I got to just enjoy my kiddos. It was kinda nice for a change.

Jun 22, 2010

Grateful

Grateful. I feel so very grateful.
I looked around at the other babies sharing the room in Tessa's NICU unit and they were all so much worse off. Across from her was a baby who had fallen into a coma at 15 hours old, and a week later had still not awoken. Tests had been inconclusive. Her family was there holding her most of the days and spoke of prayers said for her. Next to Tessa was a baby who had been born at a little over a pound and four months later was still struggling to breathe. His cry was unnatural and he had a very swollen head. His mom read by his bed most afternoons. When she left one day, the nurses struggled for over an hour to get an IV into him (he cried the whole time), and they finally had to put it in his head. It was hard to listen to. There was a pound and a half baby sharing the room as well and one day his dad sat next to his bed for most of the afternoon and read his Bible. When they got Tessa ready to leave the room, she cried and the nurse remarked it was a such a wonderful sound to hear a healthy baby cry rather than a sick baby cry or no cry at all. They moved Tessa out to a more private room for the last night because they needed the room for two other sick babies coming in. One was born the day before at 23 weeks. I have never seen a baby hand so small! The size of my thumbnail! The parents had posted on the bed a homemade card that said "with God all things are possible."
And here is my baby. Happy, healthy, whole. She just has a large scar on her bottom to show for all that trouble. Here she is making faces. I love the baby "O"!

Little Tessa is pretty much just a normal baby. Sleeps well, eats well. She loves her binkie and spends most of her waking time with it in her mouth. She likes to fall asleep with it and still spends most of her time in her cradle or in someone's arms.

I know God is listening to all those other parent's prayers. I know He is answering in His own way and timing and each family will have their own story to tell. I know not why He chose to answer us in such a wonderful way. But I am grateful. So. Very. Grateful.

Jun 18, 2010

Home!

We are so happy to be home with Tessa! She was discharged from the NICU on Monday afternoon, and we have spent a delightful week just being quiet and home. After the wild last week of being back and forth to the NICU and the house completely full of family, we just needed to be quiet and home. No visitors, no trips out, just home. Hunter was a bit of a mess the first part of this week. He was completely exhausted, out of his routine, and throwing a major attitude. So I just decided to not have visitors until he was more settled and he is doing much better today.

Tessa had her newborn checkup today. She is doing great, gaining weight, healing well, but her hip area is still sore and she hates being dressed or changing position because of it. Today she seems to having a harder time with pain. The doctor told us to give her tylenol as she needs it and I hope this helps her. She is such a good little baby. She doesn't cry much, is really contented, and sleeps very well at night. She eats like a champ and is happy just looking around at whoever is holding her in her awake times.


I took some newborn photos of Tessa this week while she was still in her newborn, curled-up phase. I absolutely love this yawning photo of her.

I told the kids to get in a photo with her. They loved posing with her, but this pose was accidental, and incidently, happens to be my favorite. Just look at their expressions! I wonder what they are plotting....Little Tessa. Home and happy.Look at those lips and cheeks! I can't even handle all those little baby soft rolls. They needed to be kissed quite a bit! We have a little brunette on our hands. A surprise because our other two are blond!
Welcome sweet Tessa! We are already so in love with our newest little girl.

Jun 12, 2010

Tessa Kaytlyn Plumb - our little miracle


It's been a wild ride this week. I think I'll just start from the beginning because I've experienced my own little miracle this week in my daughter, Tessa Kaytlyn, who was born Tuesday morning at 11:17 am. We named her Tessa because I just simply love that name. Classy, not too cutesy for a grown up, not too common, and beautiful. I also thought it fit my other two children's names which are English/Scottish too. Kaytlyn is after our sisters. Shari KAY, KATIE Marcia, and Krista LYNN. We just combined parts of their names, which is why we spell it the way we do also.
Here I am on Ainsley's birthday with only two days to go! I am so excited and ready and apprehensive.... The first blessing is that both sets of Grandparents were able to be here this week to take care of the kids and switch off being with us in the hospital. My kids have had a wonderful time with them, my house has been cleaned spotless, and I don't have to worry about details at home in such a stressful week for me.

I've never felt so excited or so apprehensive when having my children. I arrived at the Community hospital as scheduled on Tuesday morning, and really had my nerves under control until they wheeled me into the OR and were prepping me for surgery. All of a sudden, I just felt so nervous, but the hospital staff and OR team was probably the kindest and nicest team I have ever experienced. In fact, I didn't meet a doctor, nurse, or staff member at the hospital who wasn't completely wonderful, kind and attentive - the whole week! It was definately the best birth experience at a hospital out of the three. All of them made me feel so at ease - even when I started barfing on the OR table from the anethesia. Luckily, they were able to get that under control. They had already started the surgery a few seconds before they let Tone in, and within 10 minutes, we heard a little cry. They stopped for a minute to unwrap the cord, then we heard a larger cry and some choking while they suctioned out her mouth. I got a brief glimpse of something pink, but they didn't stop to show her to us. They wisked her out as fast as they could with a whole team of specialists following behind. Finally, they beckoned through the window for Tone to come, and I waited and wondered. Within ten minutes they were back with her to show her to me all wrapped up. They let me see her and touch her face for a second and assured me she was doing great and the tumor was small. Then they left again with her to check her out further. I said goodbye to her and was wheeled into recovery for an hour to wait and wonder some more.
Tessa was looked at by a whole team and they discovered that she was doing wonderful, the tumor wasn't harming her in any way, and they let the family into the NICU to check her out. The kids and all the grandparents got to meet her and they let them stay with her while she was awake for about an hour and a half. Tessa weighed 7 lbs 4 oz, with the tumor, and was 17 inches long. A little peanut for only being a week early.I heard reports from family the whole day who got to see her, but I didn't get to meet her until about 10 am the next day because I had to be off my IV first and able to get up. This is a picture of me meeting her for the first time and holding her. I have never been so delighted in my life!The neonatologist told me to treat her like any other baby. I couldn't hurt the tumor and I could hold her and change her and nurse her as normal. He also said that we were incredibly lucky. Tessa got an MRI, ultrasound and CAT scan on it, and they discovered it was completely fluid filled, not attached to any organs or muscle, and very small - like a small water balloon about 2.5 inches across. This is not the case most of the time with these tumors, and it's usually a much more serious case. He said usually it grows to be about the size of the baby's head and has veins and solid components in it, and can affect the baby internally. With so many people praying for her in the last few weeks, we don't believe it was luck. We believe we experienced our own little miracle. It really didn't grow from the time it was discovered at 19 weeks gestation to the time she was born. It just stopped. A miracle I believe.
After monitoring her for a whole day, they decided that Tessa was doing so well, that she could get out of the NICU and room with me. That was a wonderful day. I held her all afternoon long, and she was doing great nursing. That night though, I had a really scary episode with her in my room all by myself. The drugs they put me on were too strong and they actually caused me to hallucinate. I was off the morphine drip and was on Oxicodon, and it really messed with me. Tessa was not sleeping well in her bassinet, and I hadn't had a good night's sleep in a few days. On the drug, I thought nurses were in the room who weren't there, and people were going in and out and doing strange scary things and I know now they weren't actually there. I couldn't wake up or talk to them, and I couldn't tell what was real and what wasn't. I finally roused myself, and I was so afraid to fall back asleep. I put Tessa on my stomach to calm her down, and everytime I started to fall asleep I would pull myself out of it in sheer panic. She quickly calmed down on my chest and eventually I felt the drug loosen it's hold and I finally fell asleep too. During the night though, she started having some choking on mucus episodes. She would have to be suctioned out to start breathing again. It happened twice luckily with the nurses present when they changed her diaper. I am so glad it didn't happen while I was hallucinating and having trouble telling reality from dreams. God took care of us, since for most of that scary time she was on her back in the bassinet, and being on her back was what was causing the choking. The next day, we spent a lot of time holding her in my room and the kids took turns holding her and it was a great day. There was even some talk of sending her home for a day before her surgery. That day was short lived.Her choking problems started to be more frequent and scary. It happened any time you laid her on her back (which she hated). The descision was made for her to stay in the nursery where I could go feed her, but she would be on an oxygen monitor. It was hard to let her go back, but her choking freaked me out! The doctor believed it was related to reflux when I started feeding her and that she needed more maturity.

Also, our insurance, Kaiser, decided to put off her surgery and they didn't schedule the surgery for Friday as initially planned. Tessa was supposed to be transported to Children's Hospital on Thursday for a surgery on Friday. We had so many conflicting pieces of news from different nurses, doctors and liasons about when it was going to be. When Kaiser said they were putting it off for two weeks, we got extremely angry and Tone started getting really firm and saying that was unacceptable and calling anyone he thought could help. We had a wonderful liason in the hospital named Abby and another one named Faith who were able to get Kaiser to schedule the surgery as planned for Friday morning and a transport team to take her there in an amublance. Kaiser wanted us to take her home and then take her ourselves (cheaper for them of course), but we were too scared to take her home because of her choking. That was a stressful afternoon with all the phone calls being made and conflicting information about when the surgery was going to happen. No one seemed to know or have an answer.

The night before Tessa's surgery, I went down and gave her a feeding at around 12am and sang to her a long time. I knew the transport team was coming for her at 7am, and I wasn't going to be able to nurse her again for a few days because of her surgery. I walked back to my room and for the first time I fell apart sobbing. I had been doing well until then, but I fell asleep completely exhausted and emotionally spent. I woke up around 3:30am to go give her a last feeding, and she wasn't there in the nursery when I went to check on her. I was told she had been moved back to the NICU from the nursery because she had had a bad choking episode in front of the head doctor, had turned blue and was immediately whisked back to the NICU under her direction. So I went up to the NICU to visit her, and it was hard to keep from sobbing again. I think lack of sleep and hormones were definately kicking in at this point. I vaguely remember someone waking me up at 1am, saying that because of her choking, she may not get transported the next day, but I thought it was just another nurse who had been giving me wrong information all day. Turns out, that was the head doctor. So again I panicked wondering if we were again losing her transport and that her surgery wouldn't get done like it was supposed to that morning. Luckily, with no more feedings during the night, she didn't choke again, and they let her go in the morning as planned. We found out as we were signing the discharge papers for her to go that we had come very close to losing the transport due to other reasons as well. We thank God for that transport that happened on time though everything seemed to be conspiring against it. We watched the transport team load her up, and then I was immediately discharged as well.

Hunter had his kindgarten graduation that morning and we were told to not follow the ambulance because we wouldn't be allowed to see her for a couple hours anyways while they settled her into the NICU and prepped her for surgery. So we went straight to see Hunter get his award at school and "graduate" kindergarten. He was so excited that I was there and I am so happy that I made it! I'm proud of my little guy and his Presidents Award for a perfect report card. From his school, we went straight back to Children's Hospital where we found her in a beautiful, state-of-the-art NICU with her own round-the-clock nurse. She was sleeping, prepped and happy.

Dr. Hodge, her surgeon, met with us briefly, along with her anesthesiologist. They didn't forsee any problems and thought that it would be an easy surgery. He thought that there was enough extra skin to close the gap, and that it wouldn't affect anything internally, though he wasn't sure about the muscle on the left side. Dr. Hodge is one of the central valley's top neonatal surgeons, who had operated on these tumors before. Being that they are extremely rare, this gave us a lot of confidence. I had been reassured by everyone in the medical field I came across, that if he was doing the surgery, then there would be no problems. Dr. Hodge had said it "would be pretty routine for him", and the neonatologist at Community Hospital, where she was born, remarked that only Dr. Hodge could say that.

She went into surgery around 3:30 and came out around 5pm. Only an hour and a half. It was a success! No muscles, organs, or nerves were compromised. We checked out her scar and were very impressed. Dr. Hodge gave her a very straight, neat booty crack where there had been only a tumor before. In fact, her booty is going to look quite normal because of the exceptional job he did. Again, God took care of our little girl in providing an exceptional surgeon for her.

This morning I went to Hunter's last t-ball game before going over to the hospital. It's hard to be a split parent. Feeling that by supporting one child, you are neglecting the other. I was afraid that I wasn't going to be there early enough to pump and give her my milk, but I also didn't want to miss Hunter's last game and desert him. I realize that if they fed her formula that wouldn't have made me a bad mother, but that didn't stop me from feeling a bit guilty.

Today, Tessa is doing quite well, taking a bottle very well, pooping (I know, but they have to do it before leaving the NICU), and seems to be undisturbed from the surgery. She's slept a lot, but hasn't cried or complained at all. She's just a happy, peaceful little girl. We have to prop her up over her surgery scar, so she's not resting on it, to feed her and she eats just fine this way.

Most of the time she just sleeps and looks beautiful. She loves having her head stroked and being on her side or tummy. If you talk to her, she quits wiggling and gets really peaceful. She loves that. She is really ticklish, so she cries loudly when the stickers from the probes (which don't hurt her at all) get removed. The funny thing is, she tolerates getting poked from the IV and pricks to the heal. She just doesn't like being tickled! More updates to follow soon I am sure. I hope to report that Tessa will be home and happy in a couple of days. She appears to be doing really well and healing nicely. Here we are smiling for you in our own little miracle story. God has been wonderful in watching out for Tessa every step of the way and letting her thrive!
Thank you all so much for your prayers. I know this has been a long post, but I wanted to let you in on all the details that has shown that God has been in every little tiny part and has been watching out for our little girl in an amazing way! She's amazing and we thank God for our precious daughter He has blessed us with!

Jun 7, 2010

Ainsley's 3rd Birthday

Ainsley's 3rd birthday was this Saturday. Both sets of grandparents were here, so we did a couple days of birthday. Ainsley has been looking forward to this day for months, but it was pretty low key. Being three, I don't think she noticed. To her, it was a very big birthday! We had a pizza dinner and presents and cake on her day, and then the next day we took her and Hunter to ride the kiddie rides at the park near the zoo. It was hot out, so I stayed home and made a princess tea party lunch for everyone when they got back. Ainsley loved it. I have to say I loved seeing grandpa Plumb with his pink tea cup and finger sandwiches eating lunch. Too funny! Ainsley wanted cupcakes AND a castle cake. Well, coming down off of a busy wedding weekend, family in town, and not really feeling up to par, this is what I came up with. Besides, if I had done both, that would have been WAY too much cake! She loved it. Phew!
Ainsley has developed into her own little person, and is so opposite the personality of her brother. She is social, wants to be where all the action is, and does not have near the focus or attention span that he does. She flits around the house as little Miss Sunshine, being a ham and being silly for all around her. She loves her dollies and princess figurines and makes up little stories with them all day long. She wants to please and is quite the drama queen. She cracks me up all day long. I love that little girl.

Now that we have a wedding and birthday out of the way, Tessa Kaytlyn can come at any time! I am scheduled for my c-section at 10:30am tomorrow morning. Soon, we'll have another little girly around the house......


Jun 3, 2010

A Wedding

So my sister Katie got married last weekend in a small ceremony in our backyard. It was absolutely beautiful. It was a hectic two days of prep, but it was gorgeous when it was all said and done. And how did we keep Hunter busy while everyone was busy doing other things? My Aunt saved the day. She gave him a can of little toads in the morning from her yard. He would not stop picking them up and playing with them all day. The poor things were probably terrorized. We did get him to leave them on the porch during the ceremony. Boys.
Since I took the pictures along with my Dad, I thought I'd share some favorites off of my camera with you. This is my favorite ceremony picture. So sweet isn't it? They were so delighted with the day.My sister was absolutely stunningly gorgeous. No surprise there. My two sisters just always are.Brad. What a stud that day.The best photo I think I snapped of Katie that day. I was so happy she chose such easy and fun flowers to work with in her wedding.I think my kids were pretty darn cute if I do say so myself. Of course by the end of the day, Hunter had a button undone on the vest, tie and hat crooked, food down his vest, and had lost the suspenders. I realized towards the end of the day that he still had a fake tattoo on his arm that I hadn't scrubbed off. Oh well. Ainsley ran around barefoot all day, but towards the end decided she needed shoes. She went and put on her rain boots. Obviously the right accessory for the dress, right? Girls.
My family cleans up pretty well don't ya think? Unfortunately, my brother wasn't able to make it so that was a bit sad. By this point in the day I was pretty swollen and sweaty from running around so much, but I figure at 38 weeks pregnant, I get a "pass". My blog will probably get quiet for a week or so. Family is coming in tomorrow (both sets of parents), because I am scheduled to have this baby girl on Tuesday the 8th at 10:30am. They are going to be here for the weekend because Ainsley's birthday is on Saturday and we want to celebrate her third birthday first. She is so stinkin' excited!

So my next post should have lots of news!