T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Friday, May 31, 2013

Vacation 2013 - Part Two - Swimming

A big attraction on our vacation was the indoor, heated swimming pool at the hotel. Both kids will be taking swimming lessons this summer. It's just too cold here during the non-summer months for me to be the least bit motivated to take them to year round swimming. T is getting pretty good in the water but I still do not want him life-vest free unless either myself or his dad can be close by, and I am not a fan of swimming. I cannot recall when I lost my love of swimming but unless the water is a balmy 85-90 degrees I don't do swimming. The first night I did suit up "just in case", so I am throwing in a profile pic of me in my swim suit. It is not a maternity suit but I thought it is the first photo that actually shows the growing baby bump, otherwise, most folks cannot tell I am pregnant. Plus, I am reading my hypno-birthing book and it has reminded me to integrate the baby into our lives now so I am trying to do so already in the blog.

The kids had SO much fun. It took Lil Sister about 5 seconds to get the hang of the life vest and getting around in it. Like her first time swimming in this pool 3 years ago, she took to the water like a fish. Every night we were there the kids swam for at least an hour. Each night they made new friends. I was particularly proud of T because one evening there was another boy there that kept getting into trouble and he befriended that young man and kept him out of trouble. He is my little peacekeeper. 

Lil Sister was particularly proud of her hand-me-down swim suit complete with tutu and a strawberry on the front.  T was so happy that he could wear his glasses in the pool - those new sport glasses are getting their money's worth. The good thing about swimming was the kids slept really good come bed time. Speaking of sleeping, they would not sleep on the hotel beds - we had to make up bedrolls on the floor for them (aka pallets as they called them). Worked like a charm and they would sleep all night and we did not have to rent an extra room.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Vacation 2013 - Part One - Visiting Our Elders

We embarked on Tuesday,  May 21st. I had to work on the 20th but we had spent the previous weekend preparing for our trip. I actually managed to pack all of my things and all the kids things into one suitcase for the three of us. Hubby paid me a huge compliment and said I packed like his parents - that is actually saying a lot. I was quite efficient. I did not need to pack all the shorts that I did because it was so cold and rainy most of the time we did not even use them. Still, we had plenty to wear especially after washing at the hotel.

We drove straight through the first day. We made several stops to let the kids rest and stretch. We did pre-medicate Lil Sister with low dose Zofran. She, like her mother, gets really motion sick. The meds worked like a charm, and she did great without a stitch of nausea or vomiting. They took their naps in the car and then woke up to watch one show. We arrived at our hotel just in time for dinner, baths, and bedtime. We tried to stay on our own local time but it was tough not falling into the other time zone since it allowed us to sleep in an extra hour.

The next day we met up with Grandma and Grandpa N in a neighboring town for visiting with family. The main reason for this trip was to visit with family, particularly some of our elderly relatives that we may not get a chance to see again. All in their 90's. They all still live on their own but some are moving slower these days.

First stop, Aunt P and Uncle B's place. Aunt P is Grandma N's sister. They only have one grandson and he has never been married so they will likely never have any great-grandchildren. We like to think of the kids as their surrogate great-grandkids. It was fun that several other family members who heard we were in town came by to visit as well.The kids had a great time recruiting new playmates in their elderly relatives, all of whom were eager to play or read to them. Plus, I had strategically packed some new toys to entertain them - sticker books, reading books, paper dolls, Lego action figures, etc. Uncle B had to show off his small garden. He is 93 years young and still plays three rounds of golf a week.

Then onto Aunt L and Uncle M's place - they have a giant garden and a rather large yard which we took advantage of as the kids were desperate to run around. Both were long time educators and Uncle M was the city's mayor for a while. Aunt L and Uncle M do not have any grandchildren so again, our kids are the surrogate grandkids. I love "chatting" politics with Uncle M although this visit I did not get much chance as young T kept asking him about his travels to Egypt and told him how he was already saving for a trip to see the mummies there. They kindly provided us some cuttings from the garden to plant in our yard (spinach and ground cherries) and also some roses for each of the kids to enjoy on the car ride back to the hotel, although our little super heroes fell asleep. Aunt L is Grandpa N's older sister. I definitely see a resemblance in the photo of them side by side. Sweet, sweet lady a lot like dear Grandpa N. I also had to sneak in a profile pic of my shadow.

After their power nap and dinner, we hit the pool. Stay tuned. More photos to come.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Profile Pics

I would have posted some profile pics sooner but there really has not been much to show - literally. Still, I want to document since I've done so with the last two kiddos.

I am currently 17 weeks and we had our 16 week check up this week - we're a little behind because of vacation. Everything is looking good. The kids were completely speechless when they heard her heartbeat. T told the doctor he says prayers for his baby every night and hopes she is healthy and comes out on his birthday. Heaven help me if we have to wait that long. However, he was really wanting her to come out soon and was praying she would come out after our vacation. I then had to explain if she comes out too soon she will not survive so he changed his prayers, but a little too much the other way - still I am just touched he says prayers for her (Lil Sister does too). Lil Sis just said to him, "Thank you for taking care of my baby." We explained this is quite the family affair and this baby really is their baby as much as it can possibly be. 

Of late I've mostly switched to maternity clothes the majority of which are borrowed. This is awesome. I like that I don't have to purchase anything. I am not a fan of buying stuff for short term use. My neighbor was kind enough to loan me her stuff and I have plenty of professional clothes for work. 

Overall, I am finally gaining weight. Two pounds total. I did not drop too much but also had not been gaining so it is good that I am finally in the positive. My blood pressure was 100/48 which would explain my dizziness and lightheaded feelings I've been struggling with. I've been learning not to sit up suddenly - makes me really empathetic for my elderly patients struggling with orthostatic hypotension. However, it's not really a concern since it's high blood pressures we worry about in OB patients. 

I am getting pretty good fetal movement now. I anticipate her to be tiny, a lot like her older sister and maybe even a bit smaller just because her movements have not been as aggressive as Lil Sister's were at this same stage. My placenta is in the perfect position to be able to feel a lot of action so I think it's just because she's tiny. Fine by me - I am not a giant person and tiny babies come out easier.

Speaking of coming out, I've been doing a lot of reading and practicing of hypnobirthing. I am totally intrigued by the concept and a lot of it makes a lot of psychological and physiological sense to me. I am very scientifically driven in my medical practices and what I thought was some weird vodoo practice is actually quite logical. Plus, the relaxation exercises have helped me work through some of the not-so-fun aspects of being pregnant including some hip pain, headaches, and nausea. It has helped significantly. Plus, tonight when T interrupted my phone conversation to say, "I flushed too much toilet paper down the toilet and it's clogged and flooding" I maintained calm and relaxed, ended my call, and took care of it without vomiting. I was pretty impressed, especially since I also have had no drugs for nausea today. My 90 minutes of relaxation practice during the kids' naps today did a lot of good.

Here are some of the past profile pics. I've had Hubby take photos every two weeks as I am headed out for work. Working backwards - 16 weeks, 14 weeks, 12 weeks - front and side views.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Elementary School Carnival 2013

Before embarking on our vacation we opted to stay behind and allow the kids to attend the local elementary school carnival. We attended last year and had a great time so we really wanted to keep the tradition alive. 

It was even better this year than last. Chilly weather but plenty of fun to be had. The big draw for the kids were the games - most of which were free and there were prizes just for playing. I thought the most cleaver was the giant, life-sized Angry Birds Game. The kids really got a kick out of launching the giant turret. Of course, the bounce houses were also a big attraction, too. Enjoy the photos...

Monday, May 27, 2013

Tap Dance Recital

At 16 weeks pregnant (in this photo), here I am, the tap dancing nurse practitioner.

The action shots are not that great as the lighting was not all that great either. However, I have to document the event. I worked hard for 9 months refreshing my memory of all those tap moves from many years past. 

My true passion is for ballet but with all the kids have going on and working, I cannot maintain the focus and commitment I need to get back into that type of shape. Plus, a year ago when I signed up for dance we were thinking about having a third child and I knew my ballet body is not conducive to having a baby. Hence, tap dancing it was. Plus, I took an intermediate class instead of advanced. It was perfect. I could show up about half the time and be just where I needed to be. I did suffer pregnancy mom brain the week leading up to the recital and just simply forgot entire chunks of both the programs. My instructor chuckled saying, "That's new? Are you trying to get out of being in the front row of these performances." 

I was in two pieces - the big number "Footloose" that combined all the tap classes and then our own class number which I think was the best number of them all "Come Follow the Band". It was a 1920's style with the Charleston and various other "flapper-type" moves integrated. Plus, it had a lot more upper body action, which I like, and tap often lacks as well as being a pretty good cardio work out, too.  I know some folks took videos so if it becomes available I will share the link and you can chuckle with me as I watch. In the group photos I am second from the right in the front. As I said, they are kind of blurry but you get the gist - I had my cheerleader smile on the whole time, too.

I had a great time. I am quite relieved to be done as the time commitment was impinging on our family quite a lot but I survived, had a great time, and when I was all done the kids and Hubby all told me how proud they were of me. That meant a lot to have them, as well as my mom and sis, cheering me on. I also truly appreciated my husband being so supportive of my Thursday nights at dance and always willingly hanging with the kids or coming home early so I could go to class. I know some husbands would gripe or complain or flat out refuse but as he always says, "How can it be babysitting if it's for your own children? It is a delight to hang with these little people."

Next year I'll be taking off to bond with the new baby and ensure 3 kids does not overwhelm our world too much.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Updates, Updates...

Really, we actually have a lot of postings upcoming. We just returned from our first vacation in about 3 years. It was wonderful and I will start posting photos soon. Right now we are in the process of going through photos just to catalog where we went, who we saw, what we did, and how we felt. It was not some exotic trip or the big family outing to Disneyland. Rather, it was our Memorial Holiday trip where we wanted it to be about family and celebrating our family members who are still with us and those who have passed on. I see so many of our younger generation of folks these days forgetting their forefathers - those who are even still with us - and we feel strongly that we instill an appreciation for our elders in our children that many of today's youth lack.

With that being said, we also went to the elementary school carnival before departing on our trip so we have a whole posting on that as well. Lots to report on.

For now, a bit on this past Mother's Day. We actually did not celebrate me all that much. We had plans for our moms. Seeing my Auntie E and feeling earthly life as fleeting, I opted to skip my own celebration and just be with our moms. We spent one of the weekend days with Hubby's mom and one of them with my mom. There were lunches and barbeques as well as T's last t-ball game. Gosh - more to blog about there. Oh, and my tap dancing recital, too. As I said, lots to catch up on.

One thing I do always insist on, though, for me on Mother's Day is a photo with my kids. So here you have it. It's pretty casual since we were all tired of a weekend packed with games and gatherings but I do love my kiddos - all three of them. Even 3.0 has been getting in on the action since I've really started to feel her move around the past couple weeks. 

Stay tuned for plenty more updates. I may hit a record number of postings in one week.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Thoughts on Auntie E...

This posting started out being a family update but alas, thoughts of my Auntie E fill my mind. The photo you see here is of a recent visit with her. T wanted to read to her from his Dick and Jane book. She loves him so. As she says, "I prayed for him to be born and look at what an amazing guy we got." In fact, she did pray for his conception. Let me tell you, she is definitely dialed in with the Man Upstairs. When she prays, big things happen.

We have been making some trips to a neighboring city, about a 45 minute drive, to visit my aunt E. She has terminal cancer and she is a favorite great aunt of the kids. She loves kids. She was a kindergarten school teacher for decades in Las Vegas before relocating here in Idaho. Deeply religious person, too. Very devout Catholic. It has been hard on her not being able to attend church EVERYDAY! She even had to give up her volunteer work teaching the nuns of her local parish how to read and write English. I know, it's like I'm copying from some piece of literature. She is that caliber of woman. I used to think my Grandma Z, my mom's mom, was the most amazing person. Now I am beginning to see as my aunt and even my own mother is growing older, that these women are quickly becoming like their mother before them. It has been so wonderful having Auntie E (and Uncle E) relatively close so we can visit with them. It has been so tough watching my aunt get frailer and frailer. It has been tough for the kids to understand.

Honestly, this ordeal for my aunt has impacted me in a few ways. First, I have come to think and feel that she has little she needs to learn from her process of dying but rather it is a matter of those of us around her learning and growing from it. I think Auntie has reached that amazing stage of elderhood, as Hubby and refer to it, where she is truly wise and has very little more on this earth to learn but rather has the job of teaching those around them. I think all that has been happening is for the rest of our benefit and growth. 

Secondly, I have felt some sympathy for myself with all the toughness this current pregnancy has brought. Oh goodness, I know how blessed I am that all is going good and the baby is healthy. However, vomiting 6-8 times a day, constant nausea, constipation and some other not so fun things that go along with that, headaches, hip pain - I will stop there, has gotten me down a bit. But then I think, at the end of all of this, I get a beautiful baby girl to love and share with the rest of the family. In summary, I get a new life at the end. My aunt, on the other hand, is experiencing pain, itching, jaundice, headaches, swelling, confusion, endless medical procedures - again I will stop there. And at the end of her sufferings, she dies. Considering this, I stop feeling so sad for myself, and keep going and push through whatever ills I have at any particular moment. However, knowing the life she led and the person she is, I have no doubt there are good things in store - likely to be greeted by Grandma Z.

Actually, I had a dream several months ago. I even shared it with Auntie. I do not believe my dreams are prophetic, by any means. If they were, aliens would have invaded Earth years ago. No, the dream goes...

I was at my old home in Nevada visiting with my mom. Actually, there were several of us there - my mom, sis, my own kids, and a few other random folks. We were all sitting around talking and there was a knock at the door. This beautiful woman was at the door and said, "I'm here to take E." I let her in and recognized her as Grandma Z. However, it did not look like a 98 year old white headed woman. This lady was the most beautiful person I had ever seen.Glowingly beautiful. She came in and Auntie E went with her. I immediately told my mom, "We have to go after them. Grandma never learned to drive and they are headed into Vegas. We can't let them go by themselves." I quickly scrambled to see if someone could watch the kids and my mom and I jumped into our tiny old gray Plymouth Horizon and headed down the dirt road from our home. We kept saying, "We are never going to catch them. They left so fast and who knows where they are going." Then I woke up. 

I think the dream was my brain's way of saying, "It's time for Auntie to move on past this life." My heart aches because this earth will be without this amazing woman and our family will be without her calming, sweet presence. But I know I will see her again and she has glorious things in store for her.

Never has anyone been so confident in my abilities and such a lifelong cheerleader in the fashion that Auntie has. Even has a tiny child she would make me feel 10 feet tall. Even if her cooking was not the best (talking biscuits that bounce), it always tasted good to me because it was made for me. 

I pray each night for her family as they live through this tough time watching their beloved wife, mother, and grandmother suffer through the ending stages of a obscure form of cancer. I pray for my own mom who will be losing her sister. Those two may be bickering old ladies sometimes, but they have always been extremely close and it will be a huge impact and loss for my mother. My kids pray each night for Auntie E that she will have more good days than bad ones. I even pray that I will be strong every time I have one more moment with her on this earth so that I can offer her the words of encouragement and medical expertise she asks of me. Mostly, I am grateful for having had the opportunity to know yet another incredible woman who has made me a better person and gives me a goal to strive for - someone so Christ-like that I can hope to one day be more like her.

We love you, Auntie, and are very grateful for you. Thank you for being you.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Blogging Debut...

Yes, we know the gender of our baby, and yes, we did genetic testing. I have a couple things I wanted to blog about related to all of this.

First, why the genetic testing? Well, we actually always had it done with our other kids. Not because we would want to make "big and touch decisions" after the 12 week mark - like later term abortions, which I do not support for any reason - but because we wanted to be prepared. 

Recently, when we've shared with certain folks that we did genetic testing, we have had responses like, "Well, we opted not to have that because OF COURSE we would NEVER do anything to end our pregnancy." Maybe it is me being pregnant and sensitive or maybe it is me just reading into too much. But, when they say that, it makes me feel like they are implying that we would do something. 

Rather than use my defensive communication techniques, which I learned from true professionals, I have opted to just say, "We chose to pursue it and always want to walk into a situation as fully informed as possible." What none of those folks realize is that my mom was told I was going to be born with Downs Syndrome and she opted to continue her pregnancy and care for a baby that may have significant health problems. She did not care and continued a very difficult pregnancy full of complications still the same. Will I ever forget that? Obviously no. 

We also have some friends that we have since lost touch with. They believed that genetic testing for their baby was unnecessary. They did not even consider the possibility that their first born child would be born with a severe chromosomal abnormality that usually does not even permit the child to live past birth. When the child was born they, nor the health care providers, were not prepared either physically or mentally for the challenges that lay ahead. Maybe if that baby had been born at a hospital with the right kind of facilities the outcome may have been a bit different. Maybe if the health care providers delivering the baby knew ahead of time what was to come the NICU team would have been on standby. Maybe something could have been done to prepare the new parents for what to expect the first week, month, or what options they had as far as surgeries before or after birth to treat that child. 

No - they were not prepared. Their child eventually passed away from complications as a result of the genetic disorder, and their marriage died, too. We are no longer in contact with either of them because it just became such a messy ordeal between them that we had to step away from the situation and let them move on with their lives. I just wonder, though, if the outcome may have been different had they known ahead of time and could have spent 6 months preparing and laying a foundation of rock for their marriage so that when the floods of a severely ill child came along they would have been prepared and could have cleaved to each other and been prepared months in advance as which kind of health care they would want to provide for that child.

Their story stuck with me for years before we even had children of our own. It made it so that we determined that we always wanted to know what we were going into with each of our children. Now, having other children to consider, we felt it even that much more important to ensure they would be informed in case there was something we would need to prepare them for.

This third time around we actually had the option of a new blood test that takes maternal blood and extracts the baby's blood from it to be grown in a lab. The blood contains the baby's DNA and as such we can determine various genetic disorders as well as baby's gender.

Last Thursday the kids and I were napping and the nurse at my OB office left me two messages saying it was important that I call for the results of our lab work. I tried calling back but it was after hours. I actually took several deep breaths and continued to ready myself for potentially life changing news all while I was packing my bag for tap dancing class. Then I saw that she had left another message at 5:30 on my cell phone. Then I really started to panic. As I was doing so and about to walk out the door to load the car, the land line rang. It was the OB office. I immediately picked up.

The nurse said my results were in and asked if I had a few minutes to go over them. My heart was pounding so loudly in my head. I dropped my bag at my feet and sat down on the bed. She began by saying the results are 99.6% accurate so not 100% but...everything was normal and she could tell us the gender if we wanted. After what I am sure was a long pause on the phone, she repeated, "Do you want to know the baby's gender?" I collected my thoughts still saying a silent prayer of thanks that all was normal and stated that indeed we wanted to know baby's gender. Her reply, "You're having a baby girl." I thanked her and said I would see her at my next appointment. Above and beyond the call of duty to keep calling with results so persistently but also a little disconcerting.

Rule number one I learned as a nurse when calling patients - If there is nothing worrisome to report in lab results say so up front even in the message on the phone. "Hi, this is Nurse J. I have your results in. Nothing worrisome but I did want to review these with you." Hubby actually suggested this to me after a similar experience with the dermatology clinic. Now I do the same with my patients. Especially now, being a NP, it is a bit concerning when the person ordering the lab work calls directly. I still try to call all my own lab results so I ensure no one is left hanging and worried like I was. Especially when calling after normal business hours. 

So, there you have it - the two things I wanted to discuss and document in this posting. At the end of the year our blog becomes a book and will be passed on to our children and grandchildren some day. I want them to be able to read about these experiences which may account for the detail. 

Yes, we are extremely blessed and grateful that there is a 99% chance of everything being great. We do have a significant risk for having a clubbed footed baby because the only "defect" I was born with was having a clubbed foot but I wore a brace for two years and no one can tell otherwise. My "defect" did not stop me from training with a professional ballet company or continuing my dance studies to this day. 

By the way, I missed my tap dance class after that phone call because I was so exciting when hubby got home to tell him the news that I drove off without my tap shoes. Tap dancing is kind of mute - literally - without proper footing attire. Oh well - we have an anticipated healthy baby girl coming in 5 1/2 months and everyone is SO excited. 

T says, "Mom, I guess it's going to be just Dad and me as the men of the house." Lil Sis says, "Now I'll have my own Bebe Sister - YEAH!!!" Me, I say, "Whew, we already have all the girl clothes we need!" T Rex Dad says, "That's what I was aiming for and she's going to be beautiful but probably taller than you, Dear." Yes, I've come to the realization that everyone in this family will be taller than me someday but I will embrace my shortness and enjoy the beautiful family I have been blessed with.

One other side note, this baby girl is also very lucky. I have won two raffles since I've been pregnant. Everyone keeps telling me to go buy lottery tickets, but I actually think my winning lottery ticket is growing in my belly right now in the form of a baby girl.

Enjoy the photos. When I first saw the face profile I immediately saw the same image from Lil Sister's 12 week ultrasound. A couple of other tidbits. She is our only baby from my left ovary - the other two came from the right. Placenta position is left posterior - left back. Weird facts, I know, but I love asking odd questions of my health care providers.