Reincarnated As A Mother

Friday, July 31, 2009

We have a launch date... sort of. (Day 63)

Day 63... let me just point out to you, in case you are not keeping hash marks on a dry erase board in your bathroom for every day I'm in here (I am), today equals 9 whole weeks on hospital bed arrest! Oy. No complaining today, though, because we finally do have a light at the end of the ol' tunnel. Dr. Lovelace said he will not let me go one day past my 35 week mark-- he's going to check his schedule and start inducing me (hopefully we can avoid a c-section) on either Monday, August 10th or Tuesday, August 11th. That's if I don't go on my own before then. So I now have a date (and more importantly, my children have a timeline) when this phase will all come to an end. (Insert big sigh here for sound effect). My doc still hopes to give this little guy every opportunity to grow and get stronger before we start the NICU chapter.
My new soul sister, Kim (she's related to my friend and was in here for several weeks but had her baby about a week and a half ago) came in yesterday to give me the "mother's" view of NICU. It was so helpful to hear how she has handled the feeding tube and IV on her baby, how she's handled leaving her behind when she goes home to get some sleep and how it all works behind the closed NICU doors. She's taken away a lot of that "fear of the unknown".
My cousin Leah came up last night and gave my feet and head a "relaxation" massage. Oh, I slept well last night. Then today, my Aunt Daleen came in (armed with chocolate and cherries) and my cousin Kelly--- who gave me a pedicure. I know I am going to go through major withdrawal when my life gets back to normal.
My mom came up too. My friend Stacey took the girls swimming at the YMCA today. My mother brought pictures of the girls' latest obsession-- a fairy house they all built the other day.
Did you know that a fairy house can only be made of 100 percent natural items? If there is anything man-made, a fairy will not enter. Already, our resident fairy (who I hear resembles a certain Grammy from Vegas) has left fairy dust, foreign coins and other treats to the delight of the girls. See, they are having more fun this summer than if I were home.
Finally, late this afternoon, my two friends Teresa and Amber came up armed with milkshakes. They were giving me a hard time that when they gave my name at the front desk downstairs-- as Lonni Barker... the clerk corrected them and said, "oh you mean Lonni Leavitt Barker". There's a joke in there somewhere about how long I've been here.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ahhh...Thursdays are Massage Days (Day 62)

My mom is taking the girls school shopping this morning. It's kind of surreal that school will be starting again so soon. My favorite daytime nurse, Liz and I told Dr. Lovelace this morning (there's strength in numbers) he needs to set an exact date that he will deliver the baby-- in case I don't go first. Liz feels if I have a date to shoot for-- it will make things easier for me mentally. Dr. Lovelace said to keep going as long as I can to save the baby from more time in NICU. I agree, but I still want an exact date. So stay tuned... I know he won't let me go past 35 weeks of pregnancy (and that's less than 2 weeks).
The 12 and 13 year old girls I was over in my church all came up to visit me last night. Including leaders, there were about a dozen of them. It made me miss these darling, fun girls. They are so funny (and if I could just harness their energy)!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bad Hair Day-- Again! (Day 61)

My kids were just in here visiting. And being the sweet little angels they are-- they pointed out that my hair looks really "squawky" (rhymes with hockey). As if that wasn't enough of an ego boost... Holland told me I look different-- "oh, probably because I don't see you very often". What's up with that? They see me every few days. I guess it's just another sign that we are all very OVER this experience. I got advance permission from my doctor today to go on a wheelchair ride with Saint Dee (my mom) and the three girls to the cafeteria for lunch. For those of you keeping up, today's lunch was much healthier. Oh, we were still quite the spectacle but it was fun.
Byron came up last night-- it wasn't a good night for either of us. I was having a hard time getting back into the "waiting game" zone and he's just tired of all this and all the other pressures going on in life. We are both doing better today and have our game faces back on again.
I have pretty much nothing to report on the medical front. Its all about the same as it was yesterday. Ho. Hum.
P.S. I've been getting the best emails of love and encouragement from some of you or messages on facebook-- if you are up to it, instead put them as comments on this blog-- so I will forever have a record.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

1 is the lonliest number... (Day 60 in here)

Today is weigh-in day and guess what? I lost a pound!!! 1 pound. Ug. I'm supposed to be fattening this baby up.
I also asked my doctor how rare my situation is--- I'm probably in the 1 % of pregnancies.
So one seems to be a bit of a theme today. At least it worked for the title of my post. I'm running out of ideas.
My nurse just brought in my 33 week (how far along the baby is) certificate. I've made it to 60 days in here. In a few more days that will be 9 weeks. How insane. The record in here, in case you are wondering, is 100 days. And the poor woman who owns that distinction had two small children at home, had her husband file for divorce and lost her job during that period. I really don't have it so bad in here.
In fact, I've all along felt quite loved. Last night a couple of my friends, who under the guise of coming up for our regular movie night, sprung a surprise baby shower on me. I loved it. It was so fun. We had dinner, a super cool juice concoction that turned blue (in Spartacus's all boy honor), played a game, opened presents and had the yummiest "tres leches" cake. Mucho love and thanks to Mary K, her mom, Mary, Jeannie, Joannah, Susan and Gina (and her cute daughter Erin). I'm just one of these people that can't believe there are so many loving, giving and amazing women in this world. I wholeheartedly treasure my friends!
My brother Doug, brought my mom by on the way home from the airport. They got here for the tail end of the shower. It was perfect. And it is so good to have her home. My girls keep calling me "Grammy"... They are doing much better and even built a Fairy house with her this morning.
As for Dr. Lovelace, he came in quite late today (with his surgery scrubs on and dress shoes). I was pouring my heart out.. that I'm having a hard time shifting back to the "waiting game" after feeling like I was going to deliver for the past few days. All has settled down. I'm not even feeling that many contractions. He told me to relax and get focused again. That all can change in 5 or 10 minutes. He reminded me how much my body had changed since Friday in getting ready to go. So here we go again.

Monday, July 27, 2009

More Waiting and Seeing (Day 59)

I'm still here. I know some of you have questioned that. But I made it to another day. And I'm still somewhat sane. Dr. Lovelace made it back Sunday afternoon. He talked to me for quite a while about my crazy weekend and his thoughts on the ultrasounds. He and the Perinatologist feel that the heart is probably NOT enlarged-- but since Spartacus' chest is so small it give the heart the illusion of being large. Dr. Lovelace spent a lot of time explaining how the lung fields grow and work and what will happen in the seconds and minutes after birth. Bottom line-- there is nothing we can do but wait and see if he has enough lung field capacity. He said keeping the baby in the womb will not make any difference when it comes to the growth of these "lung fields". However, it will help in other areas of growth-- such as weight gain etc. By the way, the Perinatologist, Dr. Lee's ultrasound showed Spartacus at 3 and a half pounds (instead of 3 1/4). So we'll gladly take that measurement.
I'm still feeling pretty calm and hopeful that all will be do-able. I have no doubts when it come to the baby surviving, I just hope I'm strong enough to handle whatever hurdles we will face. My womb is still "irritated" but not acting up nearly as much as this past weekend. In fact, I don't feel "different" like I felt over the weekend. However, I do believe the nurses all think I'm coming down to delivery time sometime soon. For example, my favorite day nurse, Liz suggested I only eat toast for dinner Saturday night. And Dr. Lovelace says things are looking calmer today but all could change in 10 minutes.
My mom gets home tonight and that will be a mighty comfort for me if things happen. Byron brought the girls up for the afternoon yesterday. They all seem to be in a much calmer state. A friend had brought in these adorable animal sticker books (so they'll have something to do here) and that kept them quite busy. Reese did ask me twice if once the baby is born if the baby and I could come live at her house. You'll be proud of me. Instead of crying, I told her I thought that was a terrific idea.
P.S. Listen to this verse from the Bible my friend Jeanette sent me: Exodus 14:14 "The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still." Could anything be more fitting?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

So Far So Good On Sunday (Day 58)

I made it through the night. I woke up a handful of times with a few issues, but I didn't deliver and for that I am grateful. Spartacus is still looking strong on his monitoring and I've settled down to about 1 contraction every 15 minutes (if I stay still and on my side). Dr. Lovelace gets back into town sometime this afternoon and my mom flies in Monday night. So gotta keep going....
Sherry, one of my close girlfriends from Arizona had a lay-over yesterday (she's a flight attendant for Southwest). So guess how she spent much of her day off? Hanging with me and Spartacus. She also brought a little potted cactus, to remind me of all my beloved friends and family in Arizona, homemade cookies from Stacy and Anita and etc. etc. It was so nice to have her here with me.
She snapped a few pictures from her cell phone. You know how I keep talking about the certificates I earn for each week the baby turns? Here is the latest with week 33 scheduled to come Tuesday (another reason to make it to Tuesday, don't you think?).
Here's my dear Sherry. I'm leaning on her heavily-- so not used to standing for very long-- scary, huh?
And this is the picture, I will probably regret for the rest of my life for posting-- but so many of you have asked to see "La Belly". If you can handle the glare of my white stomach-- I'm 8 months prego. And Stacy, yes, I did have the guts to post this!

Okay, that's enough humiliation for today. This Sunday morning has been crazy busy with my cousins, my friend Gary who just moved up here this week from CA and some young men from church who brought me the Sacrament (we used zucchini bread instead of regular bread-- that's probably a once in a lifetime thing). Byron and the girls should be up this afternoon. Today should go by quickly at this rate.
I've had so many emails and phone calls of late- of friends from all over the country who tell me their prayer groups, congregations and relatives are praying for me and my situation. How blessed I feel and how humble. How do I ever begin to express my gratitude? Those pleas to heaven are why I believe I am still here and why Spartacus has been the recipient of so many blessings and miracles.
I was thinking this morning that how difficult it must be for our loving Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ to not answer every prayer fully. To not heal every person or child who is sick, suffering, struggling, injured and hurt. How we have been placed on this earth to learn the principle of faith. And without these experiences, we would not stretch, grow or even learn to be patient. I think what I am trying to say is that I really am thankful for this trial and hope I will emerge from this experience a stronger and better person.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

We've been on a ride... (Day 57)

This is really long but it has been a roller coaster in here (more so than usual).
I had just about given up on getting my ultrasound yesterday when Dr. Lovelace showed up at 6:30pm. Byron and Tim and Jennifer Snooks were supposed to be here at the same time for date night (it was Jenn's birthday). Dr. Lovelace wheeled me over to his office (Byron got there about ten minutes later).
Okay, so here's the results of the Ultrasound. First the good news-- Spartacus is weighing in at about 3 pounds 4 ounces. So he's now well over the big 3 lb mark-- I'm thrilled. He also is measuring at about the same-- still approximately 2 weeks behind where his age is (3 weeks behind on his arms). And my Placenta is still at a level 2-- which means its starting to deteriorate but is still functional.
Now for the iffy news. I refuse to call it bad news because we just don't know. Spartacus' bladder is full once again. But Dr. Lovelace started wondering if there was something wrong. It appears to be slightly larger and one of the Ureters (I know I'm not remembering this word right) is enlarged-- probably just backed up a bit because he's not draining his bladder efficiently. His Kidneys do look fine and not stressed. But as for the bladder, Dr. Lovelace said it could clear up after he is born or he could need surgery.
Unfortunately, there is more. The doctor is more worried about his heart. It appears to be enlarged, the walls slightly thickened and Spartacus' chest looks smaller than it should be. Therefore, the bigger concern is if there is enough room for lung tissue to develop and be effective. Once again, there is absolutely nothing that can be done on this side. All must wait and be determined after he is born.
I think Byron has more faith than I do. He was much calmer than I was. Of course, he doesn't have hormones coursing through his body. Tim and Jenn where waiting for us when we got back. They had brought in PF Changs. And can I just tell you how much I adore them? I mean, how many friends do you know who would spend their birthday with someone on bed arrest?
Shortly after dinner, I had what I thought was a very painful contraction-- but it never eased up. I was in pain on my right side and my right back. I started bleeding and the nurses immediately put me on monitors. I was in so much pain, I started sweating like a pig stuck in a fur coat during summer. Nice visual, eh? And then, I started shaking uncontrollably. Jenn fanned me, rubbed my legs and coached me like a Douala. (This while Tim and Bryon had their noses in some computer program). This went on for over an hour. The nurses determined my uterus was very agitated (from either the wheel chair ride or the ultrasound). When the nurse was about to give me Tributalyne (spelling?) to try and settle me down... the pain moved to a dull ache.
They finally took me off the monitors at about ten. (I went on again at midnight). Some birthday celebration for Jenn. Bishop Firmage and his wife came by last night as well. The five of them kept me laughing -- even when it hurt. So that was good.
I finally got to bed after 1am. Dr. Lovelace came in just after seven this morning and went over his concerns again from the ultrasound. He's going out of town for the day-- great timing-- sigh. But ordered another ultrasound, this time from the Perinatologist, Dr. Lee (love him, we didn't know each other but were at BYU at the same time and he grew up close friends with some of my good friends in Pasadena).
After Dr. Lovelace left, I vomited. Not because Dr. Lovelace left, mind you. I don't know why. Once I got hooked up for monitoring, Spartacus looked good but I was having some pretty regular and strong contractions. About every four minutes or so. Liz (my favorite daytime nurse) put me on my side and things settled down some.
Dr. Lee (the Perinatologist) just finished his uber Ultrasound. He thought the bladder looked slightly enlarged-- but he didn't find any back-up. So he's not worried about that. Phew.
He is "concerned" (do they teach all doctors to use that word in med. school?) about the small looking chest, the heart that looks large (is it because the chest is so small?) and the lack of room for lung tissue.
He said it's probably because I have so little fluid, the baby is under such stress or we could see some genetics coming into play (my girls are small and Byron and I were both munchkins as children).
There is nothing we can do but wait and see what the real story is after he is born. Dr. Lee said we could have anything from the baby not have enough lung tissue so he would not survive, to chronic lung issues in his life, to being just fine. He's seen it all on babies who are much worse and babies who are much better.
Dr. Lee would also like a pediatric cardiology specialist to do his own Ultrasound on Monday. It's not really going to change anything, just prepare us more, I guess.
So that's where we are. And I have to say, I'm pretty calm and ready for whatever our future holds. I just hope it holds a bit longer. I hate to be greedy for miracles, but we've had so many, I believe everything will be fine and we'll handle what isn't.

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's Official, EIGHT WEEKS IN HERE!!!!! (Day 56)

So Marti... is this really your daily soap opera fix? I'll try and make it more exciting. I am scheduled for an ultra sound late this afternoon. At least that gives us all a little bit of a cliff hanger. Will Spartacus have grown? In our last episode (ultrasound) he was averaging two weeks behind in his measurements... will he have caught up? Or will he now be three weeks behind (not good)? Will I have any amniotic fluid? Will his bladder be full? Tune in later for the shocking (ug, I've been watching too much TV) results!
Actually, it's to bad there is not a camera crew staking out my room. I've had quite the emotional outburst. I talked to Holland last night and she completely broke down and sobbed that she is tired of all of this and wants me home. She was crying so hard she was whimpering. Of course, I started sobbing and have been an emotional wreck ever since. I finally told her to go have Daddy hold her. Of course, about then, my nurse assistant came in to take my vitals. Before I knew it, I had three very kind nurses in my room -- all of whom I'm sure thought I had officially and finally lost it. Honestly, I do think I would have been able to pull myself together much faster if they had not come in, trying to calm me and to get me to talk about it.
Byron had planned to come up here tonight for "date night" but we will see how the girls do today. Holland sure sets the tone for the other two.
I must have made the nurses' report-- because first thing this morning, my nurse came in talking about what a rough night I had last night. I, of course, lost it again. I at least held it somewhat together for Dr. Lovelace. He'd also heard. But had the great suggestion of trying to get clearance for Byron to take Holland into NICU to see the tiny babies in the hopes of helping her to understand why it is better I stay in here.
Now, don't all of you get worried about me. I'm pulling it together once again. Elly came and spent her lunch with me and Jean brought her weekly fresh bouquet of roses. So I'm already in a much better space. And my room spells yummy.
My Mom did make it home to Vegas just fine. We heard that there is still no movement on the house they've put an offer on up here. It is a "short" sale and has been languishing on someone's desk (for a while, in the wrong department). Now you know I try not to speak ill of others-- but geez, the people at Citibank must be mentally challenged. Our poor real estate agent, Paul has earned his Sainthood by having to listen to their excuses. We are trying to keep it all in perspective in that their home in Las Vegas is still very much available. It sometimes seems that everything in our lives right now is out of our control.
I'll make sure to let you all know what the Ultrasound shows.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

No Bed Sores-- just soreness. (Day 55)

Hi everyone. Not a lot to report medically. Let's see, I'm still here, having periodic contractions and contractions every time I get up to go to the bathroom. Dr. Lovelace confirmed what I already knew-- Spartacus is looking pretty good lately. He's getting bigger and so there is more movement on the monitoring. As I've mentioned before, with my lack of amniotic fluid for cushioning-- I can really feel every time he moves or kicks. Oy.
Dr. Lovelace and I had quite the conversation this morning about the Mafia-- his experiences in Colorado-- and then mine of growing up in Vegas and then covering those crazy guys when I was a squeaky, young reporter.
My mom is leaving town today. She's flying to Las Vegas this afternoon to re-charge her batteries and spend some time with my dad. Once again, my friends are stepping in to cover her well-deserved break. Thank you!
I also had a fast Wednesday. My friend Susanne (who owns White Water Pizza) brought up TONS of food for lunch, then Mary K and her mother came by, then Korri (Byron's little sister from Utah) and her two girls stopped in, then my neighbor Tina and her children arrived, then the hospital's Relaxation Therapist, then my mother and finally, Byron. Whew!
Byron and I feasted on the food, talked a ton and went over names--- I hate to admit we are nowhere, yuck. This coming up with a boy name is awfully hard. But I did get a good back rub out of the evening. I'll check in tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another day, another dollar (I wish, I'd be rich) Day 54

I'm hunkering down and getting back into my "I can do this" mode. Now that I made my 32 week goal-- I've set my sites on another 2 to 3 weeks in here. I'm having about two contractions an hour. Dr. Lovelace said that's probably less than a woman having a normal pregnancy at this stage. He talked to me for quite a while this morning about different scenarios of what will happen when it's "my time". If I can have a normal delivery (still a pretty good option-- at least today), Spartacus, being so small will likely come quite fast. If it's a c-section, it will likely be an emergency one and I will be put completely under- ick. I'm fine with whatever it takes at this point. I'll just roll with it. Dr. Lovelace wants to try and do another ultrasound this week to see how he's growing. Once again, that will determine a lot.
My mom brought the girls up yesterday. I've now decided to refer to them as "the locusts". They hardly say hello before they have gone through my refrigerator and every snack in my room. I don't ever have to worry about food spoiling in here. You'd think they've been starved for the entire time I've been away. Holland even went through my hospital menu and decided what "we" needed to order for dinner: spaghetti and meatballs, a side salad with Ranch and a piece of chocolate cake. When I tried to order something else, she said no, that doesn't sound good. All I can say is it's a good thing I don't have much of an appetite in here (who would with all the laying around I do).
One of the nurse assistants came in to meet the girls-- how brave of her. They decided to perform for her and sang their hilarious song: The cannibal king with the big nose ring....
You gotta picture Reese with her favorite blue dress on (she's worn it every single time she's visited me in the hospital except for twice) and her sparkly yellow high heeled Minnie Mouse shoes with the red and white polka dot bows on them. Karen, the nurse assistant took them out into what I call the real world (the hallway beyond my door) and had them perform for the nurses. Evidently, they enjoyed the adulation so much, they sang several songs. So now my girls are famous on the 2nd floor of St. Luke's.
My mom and I stayed in the safety and quiet of my room!!
The visit was great until it came time for them to go. When it was Reese's turn to kiss me goodbye-- listen to this-- she said "Mommy, I miss you so much. Can you come over to my house?" Okay, just stab me in the heart. By the time I get out of here, I'll be a visitor in my own home.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More of what I missed... Greer's 6th Birthday

The day before I made my "fateful" trip to St. Luke's, Greer turned 6. I'm finally getting around to posting some pictures. (This was on May 27th). Greer is 3rd from the left, Holland is 2nd from the right and Reese is, of course, front and center. Since I was leashed to the couch, Grandpa Bodily had taken pity on our family and offered Greer the chance to have a swimming party. Thankfully, she said yes.

After swimming and lunch, it was pinata time. Did you know that you absolutely cannot have a 6 year old's birthday party unless you have a Princess pinata? Here's Greer taking a swing. She takes after her mother when it comes to athleticism. My brothers used to tell me I had mosquito legs. She looks just like me as a kid-- poor child.
Reese's turn to vent her frustrations.
Present time! I love this picture because this is so common. Byron's on the couch helping Greer. But notice Sophia in the front right corner. This is typical of our lives. Whenever we are praying, having a family discussion or anything--- one of our girls is doing a headstand, somersault or what I call donkey kicks. Remember the old saying ants in the pants??? I know if you are a parent you can totally relate.
Byron is lighting "the" cake. The week leading up to Greer's birthday, we had gone on line and found pictures of the perfect birthday cake. She wanted a Tinkerbell cake. So we went to two stores until we found the ideal Tinkerbell doll to use as the base and then bought a special pan and just the right colors to make frosting. I had planned to make one of those cakes with the big skirt and the doll sticking out from the waist up. That was all foiled by my bed arrest. So the day before the party, I was frantically calling around to our local bakery. When the baker told me he could make the cake but I'd have to give him more notice-- I burst into tears. Poor guy, he kept saying "don't cry lady, we'll make something work"! He sounded hugely relieved when he found out that Byron would be coming to pick up the cake and not me.
Greer seemed just fine with the finished cake. It had all these rings on it, in the shape of flowers. She was thrilled and hopefully too young to be embarrassed by her mother's little emotional outburst.

What I've Missed... Greer's Kindergarten Graduation

Playing off the theme-- the summer that never was-- here are two pictures from Greer's Kindergarten graduation. She is on the third row up, second from the left (in the blue headband).
I guess the Kindergartners sang several songs and put on quite the show. This took place two days before I came into the hospital-- but I was already on bed rest at home.

Meet Mrs. Karr-- Greer's Kindergarten teacher! She is so cute. She's been periodically emailing notes to her students throughout the summer. Greer absolutely adores her!

I made it to 32 weeks!!! (Day 53)

First off, I have to say, your comments continually remind me what wonderful, treasured friends I have. Thank you, thank you, thank you-- they are such a boost.
Grandpa Bodily (our neighbor we love so much) called to check on me this morning. He told me the night of the big birthday campout-- it was pretty late and he could hear that the girls were still up. So he started howling like a wolf!!! This picture was taken that night-- after the girls had to run down to his house so Reese could pet the wolf. They are all holding up glow in the dark bracelets.
As for me, I'm doing better today. I am only having one or two contractions an hour-- so much, much better than yesterday. Today marks week 32 for the baby. When Byron and I rushed to the hospital nearly 8 weeks ago, I was only 24 1/2 weeks pregnant. Who would have ever thought we'd make it this far. All along this has been my big, nearly impossible (but I felt deep down, I'd make it) goal. Remember, this is about the time Dr. Lovelace says a baby under severe stress (like mine) will oftentimes develop his lungs. So I am thrilled to be here. Really. Okay, part of me is and part of me is soooo tired of this experience. But, once again, it's better to be here than visiting a baby in NICU. So I'll keep on keeping on.
Tuesdays are also "weigh in" days. And I'm happy to report the conspiracy by many of you to get some fat on me and Spartacus is working. (Thanks for the monster milkshake and fries last night-- Elly and Ron)-- I have gained again!!! This time 2 pounds. I actually am starting to look pregnant.
Dr. Lovelace says I have (if all continues to go well), another 2 to 3 weeks in here max. Whooo... (that's me exhaling a very big breath). I realized yesterday that if I make that, I will be getting out just before Holland starts 3rd grade and Greer starts 1st. How surreal. I came in here before school got out for the summer. Byron says this will be my summer that never was...
My mom is flying home for a few days (to deal with some paperwork and house stuff-- but I really think to recharge her batteries that have been sucked dry by three girls). Let's hope nothing happens while she is gone.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy Birthday To Reese, Happy Birthday To Reese...

Byron and my mom did an amazing job helping Reese have a perfect birthday. Remember, all she wanted was to go camping, swimming and have a pink coconut cake. So here's camping out on the upper lawn Friday night. Her birthday was actually a birth-weekend.The gang stayed up until well after midnight. It could be the sugar infusion: S'mores before bed. Notice Reese's finger placement. For some reason, that totally cracks me up.

The "big" girls-- Holland and Greer got to sleep in their own tent. Byron promises those lumps in the picture are actually the girls.
This picture of Reese is from Saturday night. My brother, Doug and his family came over for a birthday BBQ, pink coconut cake and swimming. My mom took some snaps of the girls in the garden. Reese, as the birthday girl wore the flower in her hair all night.
The girls looking clean and cute!
How the girls really look most of the time (when there's no camera around). By the way, LOOK at our corn behind them. When I came into the hospital-- our garden was dirt!!!
After camping all night, Byron made breakfast on the grill, they ate outside, opened presents and then they all went swimming at Grandpa Bodily's (our neighbor who has become part of the family). After an afternoon nap, they went swimming again in the evening with my brother's family. Here's Reese doing her "kick and paddle".

Voila: A Pink Coconut Cake

A little nervous... (Day 52)

Okay, first thing this morning (seven something) as Dr. Lovelace was leaving -- oh gee, how do I say this delicately? I had a huge gush of blood. My nurse put me on the monitors for TWO hours-- ug. Spartacus looked fine but I was averaging 6 contractions an hour. It's now settled down to one every 25 minutes. And I feel slightly crampy. So things have changed a bit today. I, once again, feel off. But am hopeful to have things keep slowing down and stay on bed arrest for a few more weeks.
I guess (including the 300 pound woman who delivered in such a hurry on Friday) they've had three women deliver this past weekend. I'm the last hold-out to still be this unit with my amniotic fluid ruptured. In fact, the nurse told me this morning they've been waiting for me. Didn't like that comment at all!!! I think she was trying to be a comedienne. I did hear one of the pregnant women being rushed over to Labor and Delivery. I heard a huge commotion outside my door this morning at about 3:45 a.m. So I figured another one had "left the building". It all happens so quickly around here. I know with one of the women... she was fine at the top of the hour, looked the best she had in days but felt slightly crampy. Her baby was born within the hour. So I am trying to be very good today and stay down and in bed.
My mom has opted NOT to bring the girls up today. They all say they really wanted to come up again-- but I suspect its not about seeing me but buying huge gumballs from this cool machine in the lobby. So they are off to the library instead.
They did come up for a few hours yesterday afternoon. The Brinton's and their children had come up earlier and played some really fun card games with me. My girls came bursting in with Reese carrying a huge shopping bag to show me many of the presents she had received for her birthday. They also brought me a piece of -- yes, you guessed it-- pink coconut cake. Byron played videos of all the birthday celebration for me-- so I felt almost like I was there. I'll try and load some video today-- but at least some pictures. I've learned the shocking and painful lesson that life (birthday parties) can go on without me and the kids seem just fine.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Full Sunday (Day 51)

Sunday is the perfect day for me to list some of the many things I am thankful for (in no particular order)…
* Uncountable miracles
* Clean sheets every day and a cushiony egg crate mattress.
* A baby in my stomach who knows the meaning of “fight”.
* A husband who can do anything and everything—including throw a 3 year old the perfect party. I love my man!
* Kind, compassionate and capable nurses.
* A big brother who happens to be my most faithful visitor.
* Prayers, fasting and Priesthood Blessings.
* My amazing parents who have made so many sacrifices—for me.
* Three little girls who get wildly excited just to talk to their mother on the phone.
* The widest circle of incredible friends—who bring me treats, books, flowers and most of all laughter and hugs that keep me sane.
* Les Rose’s daily “dose” of YouTube music videos.
* Phone calls from my dearest, far-away friends.
* The re-enforcement that cable TV is a total waste of time and money.
* Loving friends who have stepped in to be surrogate parents to my children.
* Church members (some I’ve never met) who have brought in meals, helped weed the garden and cleaned my house.
* Daily doctor visits from a medical whiz who is singularly focused on giving this baby boy the best chance at survival.
* Hospital Internet
* The young men (and adult driver) who come clear downtown to bring me the Sacrament each Sunday.
* Hope and Faith (still…)
* Absolute proof and confidence that I am very loved—by family, friends, my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My Golden Anniversary (50 days)

I've been waiting to mark my 50 days in here so I could joke about my 50th Anniversary and every day being the equivalent of a year in here (sometimes that feels true)-- but I'm not up for much joking today. I woke up at 4am with some... well ... (is there another way to say gushing?) and Spartacus practicing Rugby. Since then I have felt nauseous and a bit off. I just want to curl up and sleep today. I've been thinking how absolutely impossible it would be to stay here in bed day after day if I felt lousy. I'm so very, very thankful that has not been the case.
Dr. Lovelace came in and I told him how I felt. He said, not to freak me out (my words) but he believes when it's my time to deliver it will most likely happen quickly. Things will change rapidly-- so to watch for infection, fever, cramping and more contractions. I had a good one, by the way, while he was examining me. But I still feel I'll be in here for a while longer.. so don't everyone go getting worried!
As an example of how fast things move, Dr. Lovelace told me about a patient who was in here until yesterday. He said she was fine yesterday morning and in fact, looked better (less contractions) than she had all week. And then she crashed.
Let me set the stage: my nurse's assistant had just come in to take my temperature. I was eating a hot lunch so she told me to finish, wait a while and push my call button. I did all that, pushed my button and seriously-- about 45 seconds later it was crazy outside my door. I heard nurses running and yelling and all kinds of commotion. The woman had gone into labor two doors down and the nurses did not think they could get her down the hall to labor and delivery-- so they were calling for the tray that holds all the sterile stuff (I know, love my medical terms) to deliver. I guess, they felt like they might be able to make it... so they wheeled the nearly 300 pound woman-- in her bed and everything out of our unit to L & D. Dr. Lovelace was just closing up in surgery, he said. So his partner took over and he went and delivered the baby-- two minutes after she arrived!!!! Never a dull moment in here. I find it all fascinating, as long as it's not me being the fascinating case!
Today is Reese's 3rd birthday and I'm feeling a little bad that I am not at home orchestrating a birthday celebration. She's at a good age to not expect a big production-- but I struggle with missing out on these milestones. It doesn't help that Greer called me the other night to tell me that I just had to come home-- that I needed to be home for Reese's birthday because 3 is a really big deal. Can we say dagger to my heart? Sorry to whine. I'll quit that. She's in great hands. Pictures will be coming-- but they called this morning to tell me all about the big camp out on the lawn and breakfast cooked over the grill... and all the presents she opened (including the most awesome PINK magic fairy wand from Elly and Ron). And my mom just called to say Eureka-- she found a white coconut cake and the lady in the bakery "sprayed" it pink. Did anyone know that little bakery secret-- that they spray the colors on the frosting??? So all is well at home and we will have one happy little girl-- tired but happy for tonight's family BBQ.
My mom did bring the girls up yesterday and Reese told me she was going to be the "birthday boy"! I said... are you sure? And she thought for a minute and then said, "No, I'm going to be the birthday sister"!! Ah, how their little minds work. It was probably more hilarious if you had been here... rather than me writing it. But I want to remember it, so there.
I think one of my nurse friends (they've all become my friends since I'm the patient that won't go away) felt sorry for me today. Debbie has a light patient load-- (I'm not even her patient today) so she took me out for a wheelchair ride. It was such a nice diversion. She took me in this area of the hospital that has all of these historical pictures of the hospital when it looked like a large Victorian house in 1902 and then how it has changed through the years. There were also all these cool pictures of nurses from the early 1900's all the way up through the days during WW II. I loved it. Plus, we went outside for a spin. The sun felt so nourishing on my lily white skin-- it's supposed to be a record breaker today-- 103 degrees. Back to my 70 degree room.

Friday, July 17, 2009

It's Official: 7 Weeks in here!!! (Day 49)

Whew!! Just dodged a close one. Fridays and Mondays are surgery days for Dr. Lovelace. So after monitoring this morning I thought I'd sneak in a quick shower. I literally had my clean clothes in hand when Dr. Lovelace walked in. I just need to learn to be a patient patient. I certainly don't want a shower interview again. I have enough humiliation in here without pulling that stunt again.
Dr. Lovelace says it looks like I am having one good contraction an hour. He says that's totally normal for a pregnancy at this stage and once again, it is amazing since I've lost all of my amniotic fluid that I have not had an early on-set of contractions. He said quote-- I have one quiet uterus. Quiet in that way, yes but geez, every time the baby moves, I feel like my entire insides are being shifted. Once again, a "benefit" of having no fluid.
I have my favorite daytime nurse assigned to me today. But I'll likely see little of Liz. She's also been assigned to the floor's "problem patient"-- a woman who has "fired" other nurses from her room, is very demanding and time consuming. Can you imagine? I can see how someone would get crabby in here but she sounds very extreme.

Once again, I was very spoiled yesterday with friends bringing in fresh salsa and chips, Butterfinger milkshakes (the drive-in actually gave them an extra one-- so Byron was very happy) and Juliet an old friend (she's not old and neither am I-- we just go way back) from KPNX-- sent me a huge box of gourmet brownies. I'm starting to get the feeling there is a conspiracy out there to fatten me up!!! Spartacus looked good on monitoring so he's liking the non-hospital, yummy treats as well. And all the laughter that goes on in this room. I have very entertaining friends!
By the way, Reese slept great last night. The antibiotics are working and she's feeling good today. Tonight is the start of her big birthday soiree'. Byron and the girls will pitch tents in the yard tonight for the much requested "camping" portion of her beeday. My friend has the girls for half the day today-- to give Saint Dee (my mom's new nickname) a break and a chance to get some errands done on her own.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Made it to another massage day!! (Day 48)

In case you have forgotten-- I know I have not-- today is massage day. 30 minutes of absolute bliss to help with the bed aches. 1pm can't come soon enough. Spartacus has looked good in his monitoring last night and today. He had a little decel-- not a big one-- last night... so I only earned 30 minutes of extra monitoring instead of an hour. I guess I should clarify that-- he earned me...
Dr. Lovelace said all looks good to keep steaming ahead. We had a long talk about the proposed changes in healthcare and how the government is good at enforcement but not great at running anything. I hear a huge sucking sound in the future as we throw gobs of money at a healthcare plan that will probably screw things up even more (however, I do believe something needs to be done-- especially since I currently have a front row seat to out of control health care costs). Okay, enough of a soapbox.
Reese slept decently last night. Oh, praise be to antibiotics. She's still "edgy" today-- but much, much improved from the last two days. It's been too quiet without my "circus triplets" coming up to visit. Maybe tonight.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

There are now 47 hash marks on my wall. (Day 47)

I just had the yummiest lunch and the best company. Nope, it wasn't hospital food (shocking!!!)... my friends brought up Costa Vida (fresh Mex/Tex) for lunch. It was killer. Linda Stevens, Colleen Riggs and Caran Daley are hilarious. We laughed and laughed-- it was just what I needed. Notice, I didn't fall for the old cliche' "just what the doctor ordered".
Reese was up half the night again with an earache that is not getting better. And when she woke up with a fever this morning, my mom couldn't get her into the doctor's office fast enough. She threw up twice too. The Pediatrician says she has a full blown ear infection in one ear and one starting in the other. Poor little thing. All she wants is to come up and see her mommy. I'm hoping the antibiotics kick in and she can come up soon. For sure, she has to be better for her big birthday celebration starting Friday night. Actually, it's going to be pretty low key-- that's all Byron can handle right now. Byron is planning on tent camping with the three girls on the upper lawn (geez, I can't figure out why my mom is opting to sleep in the bed in the house). They will roast marshmallows and make smores Friday night over the fire and then cook breakfast on the grill Saturday morning. It's the closest we could come to camping with all that is going on. Remember, all Reese has talked about for the past six months is that she wants to go "camping, swimming and have a pink coconut cake" for her birthday. Then they will head down to Grandpa Bodily's house for the swimming part. My mom is hoping to find a grocery store bakery that can pull together a pink coconut cake. Greer called me the other night and after telling me how much she missed me-- she said I needed to get home for Reese's birthday... that this is a really big birthday that I just can't miss. Reese is turning 3. This is when I really struggle with being stuck in here. Yes, I should be home for this really big birthday and to hold my sick little baby who just wants her mommy. Thankfully, thankfully, thankfully, my mom is there to hold her and Byron is there in the evenings. I keep telling myself we will all get through this with the need for minimal counseling.
Spartacus (let me once again reinforce the fact that this is just a nickname) looked pretty flat or perhaps sleepy today. I'm about to go on again... so hopefully, he'll be wide awake and live up to his name. Dr. Lovelace's visit this morning was highly entertaining. We hardly talked about the baby or my condition (since all seems about the same). Instead we talked about crooked politicians, the infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Phoenix, the Grizzly Diaries and many other random subjects. When this hospital stay is finally over, I'm really going to miss Dr. Lovelace's daily visits.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Yikes, I forgot...

I can't believe I forgot that today is one of those milestone days. First, I made it to 31 weeks (today). I'll have another certificate on the wall (number 6). I also have my weigh in each Tuesday and guess what????? I finally gained some weight instead of losing. I have gained 2 pounds and 8 ounces since last week. I know it sounds a little funny to be in this position-- but I've been losing even though I've been eating like a horse in here. So maybe I have no more muscle to lose. Actually, Dr. Lovelace ordered a hospital Physical Therapist to come and teach me some resistance exercises and stretches to do. To give you an idea of how much my body has deteriorated in here... my calves burn when I stand to brush my teeth. I even had a nightmare last week (I think it was last week, who knows?) that I was too weak to pick the baby up in the infant car seat. Dr. Lovelace heard my pleas and a few minutes ago the P.T. came in and walked me through a few things they will allow me to do. Phew!

Times Flyin' For A Tuesday (Day 46)

I will admit that my brain has gone to mush right along with my body in here. But I have "exercised' it today by working. I've been hired to write a press release for Stevens-Henager College and I just finished it!!!! Once it's approved, I'll shop it to my media contacts tomorrow and hope for some hits. Keep those fingers crossed. It was actually quite fun and good for me. Plus, I figure I'll earn enough to keep Spartacus in diapers for a few months.
Reese kept Byron up all night with an earache. So plans for the kids to visit have been put on hold-- I can't afford to get sick (I know, who can?)... but really, I have to keep working at my new career as an incubator.
Spartacus (a.k.a. Aquamarine according to Reese) is still cooperating. He had one decel last night-- Dr. Lovelace says his M.O. is about one every three hours. I still go back to my theory that he's practicing being a teenager and trying to drive me crazy.
My dear, long-time friend David Glodt just stopped by --by way of Houston. I adore this man. I met him after my junior year of college in the elevator of the Peabody Hotel in Orlando, Florida. I was majoring in Broadcast Journalism and went to Florida with another student and a handful of professors. We went for the Radio and Television News Directors Convention (News Directors are the ones who hire reporters). David-- at the time was the Los Angeles-based Bureau Chief for ABC News. He and I became friends and he ended up being my mentor for my career and has been so good to me over the years. I never made a move in my 15 years of television without his input and advice. He moved from LA to be the head of foreign coverage for ABC and was based in London. Then he "settled" down to be the head of weekend news and the executive producer of the David Brinkley Show. When I lived in North Carolina, I would drive up to Washington D.C. and he'd have me over to the taping of the Brinkley show (with Sam Donaldson, George Will and Cokie Roberts-- which was very, very cool when you are in your twenties and easily starstruck my big media players) and then we would go to breakfast at the Mayflower Hotel. He is brilliant and kind and has been a huge part of my life from college on. He is now retired. He lived and worked in Houston for many years when he was younger and has always had an affinity for the big rodeo based in Houston (I think it's the Houston Livestock Show). Now that he is out of news, he and his partner are over all of the television rights and production for the National Rodeo Association (I think that's what it's called). Anyway, talk about small world-- he comes to the Boise area every July for the Idaho Stampede-- I guess a decent sized but great little rodeo. So lucky me, I get to see him every year. This year, he happened to have to come visit me in the hospital-- but it was great. As I said, I love this guy!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thankful for another day (Day 45)

I'm still here and still just pluggin' away. And yes, I'm still grateful to be here. After my visit to NICU... this is much, much better.
Byron, my mom and the girls were up here much of yesterday. The girls came armed with new artwork, candy, snacks and a little red fire truck for me and Spartacus to play with. We still don't have a name for him... even though Reese is pretty adamant that we name him-- Aquamarine. Nice, huh. I don't think she would get the explanation that he would be beat up starting on day one of kindergarten if we did that to him. Also the Borups came up with homemade coconut sorbet and icecream sandwiches. Yes, I know I'm very spoiled. The Borups used to be over the nursery in our church and Reese LOVES the Borups. We were laughing so hard-- because Reese kept calling Mark (the dad) Sister Borup.
I'm writing this Monday evening, I've had non-stop company today: Jean Richardson with her weekly bouquet of fresh roses, my "Aunt" Peggy from California and her sister, my grandma, cousin and Aunt RoEen. Plus tons of phone calls and a bunch of junk I had to work out on our insurance. So It's crazy how fast this day has gone.
I honestly can't remember anything about monitoring last night or this morning. But I just got off the "belts" and of course Spartacus had another deceleration. Thankfully, I don't freak out about them anymore. It doesn't do any good. I'll spare you the bodily fluids report.
I never made it to craft day today-- first, I had to much company and second, the nurse who usually does it-- is on vacation. It was too crazy last week, so we didn't do it then either. That's fine. It really just is to help pass the time and I have plenty to do in here.
One other thing worth mentioning... we had a freak storm blow in here yesterday afternoon-- lots of thunder, lightning, rain and wind. My family was just showing up at the beginning of it and when they got close to my room-- all the nurses were running down the hall. Evidentally, two women went into labor yesterday-- one right after the other. Both of them are abrupt (where they have lost their fluid)-- just like me, but I also have a weakening placenta. My nurse said whenever they have this "change in pressure" outside, they tend to have women go into labor. My doctor says that's a crock. Either way, I'm feeling blessed I'm still here.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Quiet Sunday (Day 44)

I'm just a waitin' for my doctor to make an appearance today. This is one of the things that drives me the craziest in here-- the waiting for the doctor. Sometimes, he checks me at 7:30 in the morning and other times it's mid to late afternoon. As you know, I abhor the idea of him interviewing me through a shower curtain again... so I just wait.
Spartacus had a doozy of a deceleration with his heart yesterday. The nurse was in here and I kept flipping on to one side, waiting to see if his heart beat would stabilize, then flipping over to the other in the hopes of getting him off his cord. He finally got back on. Byron commented that it only felt like he was off for about a minute. The nurse and I were both like-- are you kidding? It seemed an eternity to me. So we checked it and it was nearly 6 minutes that he was down low. Another prime example of how men and women are just wired differently. Of course, Spartacus looked fine last night and this morning. I think he's just practicing to be a teenager-- to drive me loony.
I was so tired last night. I think I was overloaded with information yesterday. I had my ultrasound and then at 4pm, when Bryon came up for the evening, we were taken on a tour of the NICU. I've been dreading it. But since we've made it to almost 31 weeks-- all the information we were given when we first came in here at 24 weeks has changed.
First of all, it's like Fort Knox to even get into the unit. They currently have 44 babies in there and about a hundred nurses assigned to the unit. Byron found the entire experience comforting. He was impressed by all of the machinery, the set up and lay out of the unit and especially the fact that there seemed to be a nurse with every baby. I, on the other hand, was on the tip of tears for the entire tour. The nurse assigned to show us around kept asking me about my case and then complimenting me on making it this far-- but having to talk about my situation, for some reason was really difficult in that environment.
We didn't go inside any of the rooms, just (me rolled) walked by the doorways. We saw the tiniest little head in one of the incubators. The baby was only 2 lbs. As of yesterday, Spartacus is measuring at nearly 3 pounds (2 lbs 14 oz)... so when I got emotional seeing this tiny little baby, Byron quickly reminded me our little guy is already 1/3 bigger. He's right-- but it was very emotional for me to see where I'll be spending the next chapter of my life.
We asked the nurse what kind of time line we were looking at in there-- of course, it depends on health issues. But on average, if the baby were to be born now, we'd likely have him in NICU for the next 10 weeks, 8 at the best. Ug.
At the end of our extensive tour, we were back out by where you check in and I had it pretty together by then. However, all my emotions went to pot, when a Grandma came running by us sobbing. I know I'll get through the transition to NICU when I have to-- but I know until I get acclimated and my reserves built up-- I'll be a train wreck for the first few days. So once again, I have renewed my resolve to keep doing whatever I need to do to stay on this side of the hospital for as long as possible.
My Saturday night did end on an up note. The nurses let Byron take me on a wheelchair ride after dinner and monitoring. We went just outside the hospital chapel to a little courtyard. It was perfect weather and surrounded by trees and planters, we just relaxed and talked. (Byron says I did 99 percent of the talking-- but those of you who know him well-- know the real truth). Two of my CAP's (nurse assistants) were getting off shift and ended up hanging out with us for an hour. We laughed and laughed. It was a really nice night.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Just Got Back From My Ultrasound...

The news isn't really good but its not really bad either. Dr. Lovelace, himself, came and got me in the wheelchair. And just as we were getting into the elevator and heading towards the tunnels underneath the hospital to go to his office, my friend Dana and her son Will showed up-- so they went with us. Will (who probably had zero desire to go into the examining room) stayed in the waiting room. Poor Will. He's about 18 and I know from many visits that there's mostly a selection of Parenting magazines and the like.
The ultrasound showed that I had a pocket of amniotic fluid-- the most I've had since coming into the hospital (shocking since I've been leaking so much) and Spartacus had a full bladder-- so that was all really good. His feet are still cramped right up there next to his head-- that hasn't changed. And my placenta looked okay-- probably better than expected since it is torn. There are signs of what he calls "calcification"-- little white spots-- a sign it is getting old in the womb. Dr. Lovelace said that's not routine for a normal pregnancy-- but expected with my complications. But he said it's still functional, nothing to be worried about and okay for a while. He'll just keep an eye on that too.
Now for the measuring of Spartacus. I am, as of today 30 weeks and 5 days pregnant. The bones in his arms are only measuring at 27 weeks. And then his abdomen, legs and other areas they measure were showing at 28 weeks. If you remember, the last time we measured-- overall he was only a week behind. So I was disappointed to see he's slipped. However, Dr. Lovelace says he is still within the numbers they allow--he is not in distress, not failing to thrive and he is still "safer" in my womb than in an incubator in the NICU. Dr. Lovelace agreed he is still my miracle baby.
Also, Spartacus weighed in today at 2 lbs 14 ounces. I was hoping to be over the 3 lb mark-- but am hopeful he will start "packing" on the weight now that I am into the magical 30 weeks of pregnancy. Dr. Lovelace said he will in the "30's" put on anywhere from 1/4 lbs to 1/2 lbs a week.
I asked Dr. Lovelace how he felt overall about the ultrasound and he said he's concerned with the "asymmetry" (meaning the difference between weeks)... but he still feels I'll be okay to keep pushing along.
I did have 4 contractions (not painful) in my last monitoring session this morning... so things are changing a bit. But Dr. Lovelace feels like I can keep shooting for more time in here. He also feels the bones in the arm will grow just fine after the baby is born. I reminded him how small my other children are and that Byron and I were both short, stubby and skinny until late ages... so he agreed, some of this could be genetic.
So there you have it. I'm not sure exactly how to feel-- other than just to keep doing what I've been doing. And keep reminding myself of all the miracles I've witnessed.

Just Another Saturday (Day 43 in here)

Thanks everyone for your fun comments. I will try and fill requests by getting a picture taken of my belly (which is getting a bit bigger than when I came in-- I now look about 2 1/2 months prego instead of 7 1/2). So these pictures I've put on today are mostly for my dad who is home in Las Vegas holding down the fort and trying (in this market???) to sell their house.
On Wednesday, the girls went to the family "Doll Party". In a nutshell, the little girls bring their dolls for what started out as a Tea Party where they learned etiquette. It was such a hit, we've done it every year with a different theme. For example, years past have been Egyptian Princesses, Medieval/Camelot, World War II Nurses--- where they learned first aid... You get the idea. Totally fun and yes, over the top. This year's theme was Fiesta de Dolls.
This first picture is of the girls all ready to go in our backyard. Everything's so green-- I miss my yard.
The soiree' was held at my Uncle LeeRen (my mom's brother) and my Aunt Beverly's. By the way, the moustache is a fake. And the little girl in the middle is my cousin's daughter (Capri).

Look how cute my Senor Uncle LeeRen and Senorita Beverly are... the hosts of the party.
And here's my lovely mother (Grammy) with the little Senoritas.
Here's Uncle LeeRen "escorting" the girls and "presenting" the girls at the party.
Here's all the cousins. Aren't they cute? They learned how to make tortillas, made woven bracelets, tissue papers flowers for their hair and learned how to do a Spanish dance (which the girls performed for me here in the hospital-- it was hilarious!!).
I just got word I'm being summoned for my ultrasound. So I'll post later.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I've Survived 6 Weeks (Day 42)

Sigh... 6 weeks is a really, really long time. In case you were wondering. I've finally attached pictures so you can get a glimpse of my cell. First up, here's Reese showing off the "guest quarters"-- this is the bed Byron claims is made for 18 year olds, not 40 something year olds. Here's my life--- actually where I spend my life-- in this bed. Holland and Greer are snuggled in. By the way, if you had told me two months ago that I'd be putting pictures of me on the internet for all to see-- sans makeup--I'd have thought no way. But since my pride, my privacy and my dignity have been stirpped in here-- I've learned to let go of my vanity too.

Here's Miss Wanna Be Vanna White showing off my refrigerator. Notice the microwave on the right and all of the priceless artwork created by my girls.
This is the view of my ceiling from my bed. If you visit, there's no need to count the painted leaves-- I've counted them many times. 22. The girls all take turns snuggling with me in bed. The girls have asked to spend the night-- not gonna happen in this lifetime.
Okay, so now that you have a visual, I'll update you on all of the exciting happenings. Actually, I'm not being sarcastic. I did get to take my wheelchair ride down to the cafeteria yesterday with the girls and my mom for lunch. However, I did question what happened to the mother I grew up with. Listen to what she bought the girls for lunch: fried onion rings, fried tater tots, fried chicken strips, fried spring rolls, a huge doughnut to share, a bag of chocolate, caramel covered pecans and of course soda pop and lemonade. When I was growing up... I clearly remember spinach and brussel sprouts on the menu!!! We were quite the spectacle-- my mom pushing the wheelchair. Holland trying to help. Reese and Greer on either side of me holding my hands. It was really quite fun.
My close girlfriend, Pam showed up with lots of treats last night and the movie: 7 Pounds with Will Smith. We loved it-- but a warning, you'll be completely confused and lost for the first 2/3rds of the movie... before anything starts to make sense. But its worth it.
As for today, Dr. Lovelace did not show up until after lunchtime. He is going to get an ultrasound done sometime today or this weekend. So we'll have a much better picture of how Spartacus is doing. The other point worth mentioning is that the baby is now at only a 2-3 percent chance of having brain bleeds if he is born now. That was a huge concern when we came in at 24 weeks. The Neonatologist warned us to prepare for that expected consequence of pre-mature birth and told us all about it in great, horrible detail. So once again, I'm feeling very blessed.
My insurance has also assigned a Perinatal Nurse to me (she's in Minnesota and will check in every few days via telephone). She is specifically there to cheer me on, keep me focused and answer any questions I may have about development and complications. Pretty cool move but I also realize she's watching to make sure no unnecessary tests are run or money spent.
And late this afternoon, my friend Julie Pascente waltzed through the door giving me quite the fun surprise. She lives in Phoenix and I haven't seen her for probably 6 years. She and her boyfriend came to Boise to visit her sister and stopped by my room with a stack of what I call brain candy-- People, Star and the National Enquirerer. Plus chocolate.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Patience, Patience My Dear (41 days on hospital arrest)

This morning Byron told me I'm not really pregnant-- I've actually been committed and am in the insane asylum. He dared me to post this! So please, everyone, give him a hard time!!!
On the Spartacus front (yes, I'm prego-- he's kicking in my belly to prove it), all still looks good. At his morning visit, Dr. Lovelace said he will try to get an ultrasound done in the next few days so we can see how he is growing. Should we start taking some wagers as to how much he weighs? (You can't take the Vegas out of the girl).
I had tons of company yesterday-- including my Uncle Bill and Aunt Karen from Wyoming. No, they didn't come all the way over here just to see me, our Walker family reunion starts tonight. I also got a job. Yes, a little contract work from my hospital bed. Shocking, I know. My friend works for Stevens-Heneger College. I'll be writing a press release for them. Cool to have to engage my brain again.
My mom is coming up here with the girls. They made her promise they can get lunch from the cafeteria at the hospital. Whatever. I've never bragged about them having taste, have I?
BULLETIN: My fav. nurse just came in and I told her the girls were coming up for their big lunch. She got permission for me to go with them to the cafeteria. So I apologize for ripping on the food. I'm as giddy as the girls for our outing. They just brought in the wheelchair.
My mom is also bringing pictures they took from the mother/daughter extravaganza yesterday at my Aunt's house. The theme this year was: A Mexican Fiesta. So once they tell me all about it, I'll edit it down and tell you about their latest adventure.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

40 Days and 40 Nights

Yup, I've tied Noah. I will forever look at what Noah and those on his ark endured in a new and very personal light. I have it much better though-- instead of a boat full of animal dung, I have a room full of flowers (plus no rain). Looking back over my nearly six week stay in here-- part of it feels like its gone by in a blip and the bigger part of me feels like I've been here for an eternity. It's too hard to put into words. I've been here so long, the head of the hospital's room service dropped in yesterday to get my "expert" opinion on the quality of food, service and variety. Wow, do I feel important. Ha! Since I've now tried everything on the menu (several times except for the meatloaf and a lasagne made of spinach and mushrooms) I had plenty of experience to draw upon.
Then I didn't even have to order off the menu for lunch yesterday. Elly is back from Holland and she and Stacy brought in this yummy lunch from a French Cafe in downtown Boise. We had a lovely time. My much loved Aunt RoEen also came by. She's up from Salt Lake for a family reunion tihs weekend. In case you are curious, I won't be going.
As for Spartacus, he had one of those humdingers (don't know if I've ever used that word before) of a deceleration-- two or three minutes before I was supposed to get off the heart monitors last night-- the little pill! So I was up pretty late, staying on the monitors, to make sure he was okay. He of course, looked fine and he looked good this morning. I also had some pretty good bleeding last night-- but Dr. Lovelace didn't seem too concerned. He just said keep going and he'll be in tomorrow. So I'm just going to be like Nemo... and keep swimmin'.
My mom has taken the girls to a family mother/daughter extravaganza. I'll give you a rundown in the next day or so.
My dear friend Bianca passed away last night after her seven year battle with cancer. She's much younger than me and one of those exceptional people that everyone loves. It seems like the good ones are always taken too early, doesn't it? She is an only child and my very full heart goes out to her wonderful parents. Bianca was a producer at channel 12 in Phoenix when I was there. We'd often sneak out to lunch together when we really were too busy and didn't have the time. She went undercover for me on several of my investigations and she was on the weekend cabin trip when Byron and I went from being just friends to having some sparks. I have so many memories with Bianca and anyone who knows her will testify she had one of the best laughs in the world. Not suprisingly, she was showered with love and well wishes from friends from all over the world in her final few weeks. I'm sure she left us knowing she is loved and adored.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Whoooppppeeee! The Baby is Week 30 (Day 39 in the hospital)

Wow. All these numbers to keep track of. But this is another biggie. Now, hopefully, we'll start seeing little Spartacus put on some weight. I, on the other hand, at weigh-in this morning, lost 4 ounces from last week. What's up with that? I'm shoving food in the ol' mouth like I'm eating for two or something.

Dr. Lovelace came in early this morning- he actually woke me up. So, as you can imagine, our conversation was pretty short. All is the same-- another day of incubating this little baby.

Do you remember Meagan (Byron's mother's cousin's daughter who spent a week watching the girls)... well she and her parents (Jan and Ken) whom I love very, very much-- showed up in my hospital room yesterday. They were driving from a family reunion in Washington back to Arizona and decided to "swing" by to see all of us. What a treat.

Here are some pictures from Saturday (4th of July) when the girls "opted" (surprise, surprise) to go with Grammy out to Middleton to my brother's house and then to a parade instead of coming up here.

Here they are all waiting for the parade to come by. My Sister-in-law, Dana is on the left, then Katie, Holland, Greer, Reese and Morgan. Notice the bags they have to help them "score" candy.

My mom said Reese (above) killed everyone in the candy department. She just stood there with her bag in her hands and the parade participants would put handfuls of candy inside it. Maybe it has something to do with the fact she had on a shirt that says "I Love Lollipops".

In the evening, they headed over to Jonathan and Sally Giles' house for a little water action (Greer above), a BBQ and fireworks.

Holland, ever the dare-devil, catching some air.

Fireworks with Jonathan (in the back), his daughter Sophia, then Holland, Greer and Elysia (Holland's best friend and Jonathan's oldest girl).

And finally, here's Greer and Holland looking like they had a great time. And Greer below with the ultimate 4th of July tradition for kids-- a sparkler. I guess, Reese wouldn't touch the sparklers, but had a blast throwing down those little pop rocks. As always, my kids are being well taken care of and won't need too much counseling when this whole adventure is said and done!!