Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Beautiful spring flowers

Here is my shout out to Dorothy, who took some fabulous spring photos. Check them out here!

My Mom the Author!

Last Saturday we got to go see my mom read one of her stories. It has been published in the Oregon Stories book that celebrates Oregon's 150th anniversary. You can get all the details on her blog here.

You can buy a copy of it here, or you can watch my blog for a cool giveaway. We will start the giveaway next week, and the prize will be an autographed copy of the book!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Breastpump Blues

Over the last few months I have had this reoccurring dream. I am out in the woods, away from everyone, and enjoying some peaceful time. I have just finished hiking into a spot that has a waterfall not far away, and I can hear it burbling. I have my camp site set up, and a fire working on burning down. I can roast my dinner soon.

Then, I look down and notice a wet spot spreading on my chest. First it is just on one side, but then the other side starts leaking too. In a matter of minutes my whole shirt is soaked in breast milk, and it just keeps getting wetter. I get the pump parts out of my back pack, pull the pump out (don't ask my how I managed to pack it in) and get ready to pump. I pull off my wet shirt and bra, and then it hits me. I can't pump. There is no electricity, and I don't have a battery pack. My breasts hurt from being engorged. I am eight miles from the trail head, it is getting dark, and I can't pump.

Usually I wake up about this point in the dream, my pajamas wet from my leaking breasts, and my daughter fussing because she is hungry. I sigh, take care of Maddy, get the pump parts from the kitchen, and pump the milk for her.

Some days I want to yell at the pump. My daughter is a year old, I want to be done with pumping. I want her to be a *normal* baby and breastfeed when she is hungry. I don't want to plan my social life around when I need to pump. I don't want to spend hours explaining to insurance company employees, convincing them to continue to cover the pump until Maddy is two. I don't want to wash the pump parts, or have Michael wash the pump parts, every day. I don't want to deal with pumped milk, fresh, refrigerated or frozen.

I don't want to, but I will. I know it is important for Maddy. I know that this is what she needs. I know that there is no other way to provide this important nutrition. I know that I am lucky to live in a time and place where we have high quality breast pumps. I know I am lucky that the insurance did finally cover it. I know that we are blessed to have a thickener that we can add to it so that Maddy doesn't get sick because it ends up in her nasal cavity.

I really believe that I am doing the right thing. Knowing doesn't stop the dream. Knowing doesn't stop a twinge of jealousy when I watch my sister nurse her baby. And knowing doesn't stop the occasional urge to take the breast pump somewhere far away, and shoot it until all that is left is plastic smithereens. Needless to say, it is a blessing for the breast pump that I don't own a gun.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Joshua's talk from last Sunday

I am going to tell you about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and my testimony. Joseph Smith prayed to Heavenly Father, and saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They answered his prayers, and told him none of the churches on the earth at that time were true. Later, Angel Moroni visited Joseph. Over the years Joseph was given the gold plates, and then he translated them through the power of the priesthood. He also received many revelations for the church.
We should all read the Book of Mormon. The true things taught in the Book of Mormon will help us make good decisions. We can learn a lot from the prophets in the Book of Mormon to help us know what we should do. Those prophets saw our day, and knew we would be reading their words.
Our church is built of the gospel truths that are contained in the Book of Mormon and that have been revealed to modern day prophets. Joseph Smith was the first of the modern day prophets, and he taught us that God still speaks to men on earth. He also showed us that if we have sincere questions, that God wants us to ask Him for answers, and that He will give us answers when we ask.
There is no problem that we have that Heavenly Father can’t help us with. When I follow the example of Joseph Smith, and have faith that my prayers will be answered, it brings me closer to Heavenly Father and strengthens my testimony.



Friday, April 16, 2010

Help Save the World...

There are millions of ways to change the world. My children did a jog-a-thon today to raise money for a track at their school. Maddy makes people smile every day when she smiles at them. Michael and the twins are going to help clean out a garage for a service project tomorrow. I made dinner for a family at church this week. All of these are small ways that we help other people.

My mom is doing a very cool fundraiser for helping make clean water available to people all over the world. She is going to walk a half marathon, called the Goat Mountain Gallop, and is trying to get people to sponsor her doing that. If you donate to help make it happen, you can even win some very cool soaps. So, go to her blog here, make a donation to support clean water, and then leave a comment for her letting her know that you did it. (Please tell her that you heard about it on my blog.)

Help change the world, with one lick of your mouse. This morning she had raised almost $200, the goal is to make at least another $100 before she leaves to gallop in the morning!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Middle of the night ramble.....

Okay, it is 2 am, I got Maddy back to sleep half an hour ago, and I still can't sleep. I know I am just wired because we have a hearing on Wednesday, but that doesn't make the falling asleep any easier. After staring at the ceiling for a while, I decided to check a few blogs, and then to write a quick post.

So, for all of you thinking about it, please pray that the judge who hears our case will make a wise decision and be guided by the Lord. We honestly have no idea what the final outcome will be, but it will affect our family, our children, and the lives of a number of people, so we want the right thing to happen. We didn't go into it by choice, we tried to come to an agreement without having to put it before a judge, but the other side wanted a hearing, and didn't want to negotiate, so we weren't left with much of a choice. There won't really be any winners, so I just hope it is a decision that lets everyone move forward in the ways that the Lord desires.

Maddy has a new "food." She now gets thickened coconut milk as a daytime "food" in her bottle. After she has a week or two to get used to it, we will help her learn to drink out of a cup with it. She has been growing so well, that her nutritionist finally feels that we have enough of a "weight cushion" to be able to replace some of the volume that she has gotten from breast milk with the coconut milk. Since there is about 10 calories an ounce in coconut milk, as opposed to 20 calories per ounce in breast milk, we couldn't try this when every single ounce of intake was needed to keep her from losing weight.

For the official announcement, Maddy was 17 pounds and 10 ounces today. That is up to the 8th percentile, which is really good for her. She also went up another 1/4 inch and is now almost 27 3/4 inches. She is finally starting to have a little bit of baby fat. She is in no danger of being considered chunky, but she does have a roll on her thighs, which is beautiful to see.

I won't be on until we get home Wednesday night. We have to go to Bend for the hearing, and since there is snow on the passes, and more supposed to come down tomorrow and Wednesday, we are going to Bend tomorrow afternoon, and then staying the night. It will be the first time we will have been away from Maddy overnight (one of us stayed with her every night she was in the hospital) and I am very glad that Anna agreed to watch her. I have no worries for Maddy, and I know she will have so much fun she will hardly notice we are gone. The big kids get to go to a favorite friend's house too, so they are thrilled to be rid of us for a night. be young again.....

Well, my eyes are getting heavy, and I think I am ready to look at the insides of my eyelids. Night all!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ups, Downs, and Crazy Days

Life keeps going, and unemployment keeps going too. My routine is pretty different with Michael home. In many ways it is nice to spend more time with him, and for him to get to be part of Maddy's growth and changes. Michael and I get more dates, and more snuggle time. All of the kids get more attention from both of us.

Other changes are more neutral. I don't get to listen to NPR as much because Michael says it puts him to sleep. I end up listening to more "Oldies" music than I ever thought I could stand. The laundry isn't done the way I like it, but I get more help doing it. We both are looking for jobs, so we can help each other with resumes, cover letters, etc. but we both are trying to fit in time to find jobs.

Money is super tight, as usual. We have a hearing this week that might reduce Michael's spousal support, or take it away completely for now. It is a blessing that there is that option, but it is stressful getting ready for it without an attorney to help. We had been told we qualified for OHP (Oregon Health Plan, Oregon's Medicaid program) and food stamps, back when Michael was first laid off. They were supposed to start on April 2nd, but when they didn't show up we went back to DHS, and found out the lady that told us we qualified no longer works there, and we don't qualify.

Over all we are mostly happy, relatively hopeful, and grateful for wonderful parents who are supportive in so many ways. We may have to move, since all the jobs that we have gotten phone interviews for are out of state, or we may get lucky and find a job here. We may have a long unemployment, we have been told a year is about average for Michael's profession, or we may be blessed to find something soon.

No matter how long it takes to find work, and no matter what challenges we face, I am so grateful for the gospel, for the knowledge that my Heavenly Father loves me, and that there is a plan greater than I can imagine. I will be grateful when I can see more of the plan, but until then, I am following in faith.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Unintended Consequences

I don't forward emails often, but I have a good friend who sends lots of funny things my way. I thought this was funny, and deserved to be passed on. What unintended consequences does deforestation have in your life?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

One Year Ago.....

One year ago today, about 20 minutes before now (it is 8:13am) they finally broke my water. They had been trying to induce labor for almost two days at that point. While there was nothing wrong with the baby, my blood pressure was high enough that they had decided to induce me before it went high enough to be dangerous.

So, the doctor came in, told me that even though the baby wasn't officially far enough down that he thought we should break my water. He explained that since they had been working at inducing me for over 24 hours, that we only had so much time before they would have to decide to do a c-section. Since everyone knew I really didn't want a c-section, he suggested that we break my water and see if that convinced the baby to drop. So, a long piece of wire with a hook on the end came out and a few minutes later we had the huge whoosh, and Maddy dropped into the perfect position.

The doctor said he would be back in an hour to see what she was doing, and that we would come up with a "game-plan" at that point. I could already feel things moving along, so I called Michael and told him that it was time to head up. He wanted to drop the kids off at school, come see how I was doing, and then go back and pick them up. I told him that wouldn't work, to just bring the kids and get up here.

(The twins were disappointed not to get to go to school, since they had their April's Fool joke all worked out. They were wearing shirts with their sister's name on it and were going to try to switch classes. Michael told them to switch shirts back and get in the car. When they realized it was because Maddy was coming, they complied without much arguing!)

By the time they got to the hospital I was in active transition. They had checked me at an hour and I was already dilated to almost 9 cm. The kids went for a little walk with my Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Greg, who were there as support people for the kids. Everyone was hoping I could wait until after 10:45, when my doctor had his last clinic appointment for the morning. (This was about 9:30, so it wasn't that much longer.)

My mom called about that time and I told her if she wanted to be here for this birth, she had better get going. She still had about 20 minutes left in the class she was teaching, but said she would leave as soon as it got out. When she got off the phone her students convinced her to go, that they would be good. It is good she left when she did. She literally got there about 15 minutes before Maddy came out, and just as I started getting positioned to start pushing.(Thanks to all the students who were good kids so my mom felt like she could leave!)

The birth itself wasn't too eventful. The doctor got there a little after 11:00 am. The kids all got settled on a bench to the side of the room. The nurses all got me in position, and they added a little more medication to my epidural. (I almost didn't get an epidural, but decided that since the older kids were going to be there that it would be better to not have them have to deal with all the yelling that would have come with doing it all natural.) Michael got pulled in and told to hold a leg. They made sure all of the right tools were at hand, and Carey Winkler, my doc, came in and got all the right kinds of gloves on.

By then I was ready to push, and kept asking if I could. Everyone told me to wait. (The fact that the twins had been one push each was definitely a factor in the decision to not let me "practice" pushing at all.) Finally we were ready to push, and I started bearing down. Halfway through the push the Carey told me to stop. He told me not to push anymore until he told me. They tried pushing Maddy back in to get teh cord off from around her head, but she wasn't going back, so they snipped the cord, and then told me I could push again.

It only took one more push. (My body seems to be good at the pushing part.) The doctor almost dropped Maddy. (Thank goodness they have the plastic sheeting that has a lip at the end to catch slippery babies that are shooting out of their mommas.) She came out quickly, and the older kids were very excited.

The next half hour is a little blurry. I know I held Maddy. I know that they finished delivering the afterbirth and got Maddy bundled up and under a warmer. I remember seeing all the kid and Michael huddled around Maddy, talking about hair and toes and fingers.

A little later the kids went down to get some lunch. I rested for a while as the Neonatal doctor came to make sure everything was good with Maddy. (She was grunting some, and they were
deciding if she needed to be in the NICU or not.) I pumped, since the didn't want Maddy to nurse until they had decided where she was going. I had a sandwich which tasted fabulous!!

Eventually they decided that Maddy could stay in the room with me, and that they would just check on her a little more regularly, and if something changed they would put her in the NICU then. I was grateful that she never did have to go to the NICU, although she did end up under the billi-lights because she was jaundiced.

Maddy was the first of my kids who knew how to latch on and nurse at birth. She was a natural. She got tired nursing, so we would have her nurse, then have her take some pumped milk from the bottle. She sometimes coughed a little bit when she was eating, but they said it wasn't anything to worry about.

As I look back, it is amazing to me that none of the problems that would eventually lead to Maddy's hospitalizations, the feeding tube, the team of specialists, and the on-going work with Occupational Therapy, were in evidence when she was born. They worries they had at that point weren't ever problems, and the challenges that Maddy would have later were not even a blip on the concern radar. Even the coughing while eating, which we would eventually learn was because she has a short palate, didn't seem to be anything more than a perfect new baby who was learning to nurse.

Despite all of the challenges since Maddy was born, I consider her to be a HUGE blessing in our lives. I am grateful that Heavenly Father sent her to our family, and I know that she loves us, we love her, and she is in the right place.

It has been quite a year, but I wouldn't trade it for anything!! Well, I have a birthday girl who is tired on Momma typing. I hope that aren't too many issues with the post, cause I am not gonna have a chance to check it. My birthday girl needs snuggles!