Aug 18 2015

17 years…with the backstory

Ok. Here is the story. First of all, I have a couple disclaimers. We were teenagers. We did NOT know Jesus as our Lord and Savior at this time. Ok, here goes…

We started dating in November of 1995…goodness I am old.

August 14th, 1998 – Aaron and I decided that Friday we were going to get married. We did. We went downtown to the courthouse, got our license and were married by a justice of the peace. I even got my concealed carry permit and applied for my new name all in the same building! Ha! It wasn’t fancy. It was me and him and a few strangers. We had no witnesses except who the court provided. It was simple and it was honestly PERFECT. As I look back over our years of marriage…I would totally do that style of wedding again except maybe in a tropical place.

See we didn’t have supportive families. We were TEENAGERS, remember? What did we know? We certainly had NO business being married. Gasp! So we went against it all (which is very typical of us) and got married anyway. We knew we were forever. There was NEVER a question of that.

Fast forward 1 year…August 14th, 1999 (Saturday). It would have been a perfect day for a wedding. We did plan to have a beautiful wedding someday. We just wanted to be able to pay for it all. One year wasn’t enough to cough up the cash. So we waited….

Fast forward another year, August 14th, 2000…oh crap…leap year happened. This would be a MONDAY. No one has a wedding on a MONDAY! So we opted for the next best option. Sunday, August 13th, 2000. It actually worked out rather well. Prices were really discounted for a Sunday wedding. We were “wed” at Oak Hill Mansion in Carmel. We had the reception there as well. I had my day as a princess (albeit a fat princess….no really…I was).

Now we came to know Jesus in 2003. We have since invited Him into our marriage. As I reflect upon the secret we kept for NUMEROUS years…we actually didn’t tell my in-laws until our 10th wedding anniversary which just so happened to be 2 weeks before the birth of their first grandchild..hehehe. I realize it was all kinda dumb. We didn’t need to hide it. We should have been proud. We REALLY should have skipped the whole wedding shibang….it cost a FORTUNE and I never really got a honeymoon! Boo! If I have any advice for my children, it would be when they find the one they love….have the reasonably priced ($200 or less) pretty dress and GO somewhere and be married! Have a party when you return with your family and allow them to congratulate you that way but DON’T spend TONS of money on a day that really belongs to you and your spouse (and this is coming from the potential mother of the bride and/or mother of the groom someday).

Ok. There is the story. Not really cool just our silly way of starting married life together…oh, did I mention we were actually “married” 3 times with no divorces??? Seriously! We were married at postprom in 1996 and then by the justice of the peace in 1998 and then again in 2000 by a wonderful minister who wasn’t the least be bothered that we were already LEGALLY married! How many folks can say that???


Jul 22 2015

She would have been 1

I break my silence today to share my baby’s birthday. Today she would have been 1. I would have celebrated her 1st birthday. I would have had a year’s worth of loving memories bursting in my heart. I would have been wiping cake and frosting from inquisitive fingers and heard the happiest of squeals. I would have…but that was not God’s plan.

Truthfully, I don’t KNOW that she is really a SHE. I believe with every ounce of my being that I was pregnant with a girl. I was only a short time pregnant but we were in love. We were excited! We were ready for another girl. We shared the news with the kids. Abraham understood. The others…not so much but they were young.

When we miscarried…I was devastated. My body betrayed me. I let my husband down. I let my children down. I felt so incredibly guilty. We never experienced a miscarriage before. I didn’t know what to think or feel. I was in the middle of dealing with this loss when my family was hit with the worst stomach bug. Abraham went down first. Then each went one after the other. It was super hard to emotionally deal with what had happened while in the middle of trying to keep my family in one piece. It was so bad that Abraham almost had a trip to the hospital and Abilene DID end up in the hospital. This illness lasted about 6 weeks. Each of us were affected for about a week to 10 days and thankfully we didn’t overlap much but that meant this illness lasted from before Thanksgiving to Christmas. Ugh.

After all of us were better, Aaron and I were praying for God to help us decide whether or not we were to have any more children. We felt strongly that God was leading us to have another. So with God’s wonderful provision and grace, He provided us with sweet Abner.

As I write these words of loss and try and deal with these emotions, I am overwhelmed by a sense of guilt. And not guilt of losing the baby, but guilt that had we continued with that pregnancy we wouldn’t have our sweet Abner. I can’t possibly begin to imagine my life without that sweet boy. I am incredibly grateful that God gave us him. But I still mourn the loss of his sister.

Happy Birthday sweet Ariel. I love you and know we will be reunited on the other side of this life.

Love, Mommy


Nov 13 2014

Birth Story to top them all…

I find it ironic that I am typing this on the day that we had originally scheduled to be Abner’s birthday. He would have been born at 39 weeks 5 days…but you all know that isn’t what God had planned.

I had gone to a routine OB appointment at 34 weeks complaining of contractions and menstrual-like cramps. My doc took extreme interest and overall decided that going to 39 weeks and 5 days was NOT an option. He wanted to bump up surgery and get Abner out soon. His main concern was rupture of my uterus. After 3 previous C-sections, the lower segment had a thinning wall (only 1-2 mm thick) and any consistent contractions could easily be catastrophic for us both. So, I had an amniocentesis scheduled for 10/23 and Abner’s birth was scheduled for 10/27.

Fast forward…

Here comes delivery day. I was excited and scared. I really don’t like surgery. I was terrified of feeling ill like I did with Abilene’s birth. I just wanted to get Abner here safe and sound and pray that I started to feel better too (I do not do pregnancy well anymore). We get to the hospital around noon and get checked in. I start getting all my pre-surgery stuff done (IV, antibiotics, fetal monitor, etc…). Once all that was done, I walk on down to the OR (so weird to WALK into my surgery room). I get my spinal block and begin to feel super numb really fast. My blood pressure unfortunately dropped rather quickly too. I got chilled and SUPER sleepy. Next thing I know, I warn Kevin (anesthesiologist) that I was about to vomit. Thankfully, he was prepared. I had warned him that this sort of thing happened with my last delivery. He saw my BP top number hit 80 and was already giving me countermeasures to raise it while grabbing a pan for me to vomit in. Now let me just tell you something, it is NOT remotely easy to vomit while you can feel NOTHING from your chest down. I mean I have ZERO control. I can barely feel my finger tips. All I can do is turn my head and out comes the nasty antacid they force me to take before surgery. Ironic really. Anyway, as soon as my blood pressure started to rise, I felt SOOOO much better!!! Surgery goes beautifully without a hitch and at 2:29pm I hear the sweetest sound in the entire world!! My baby boy is crying!!! He sounded wonderful! I was so fearful since he was technically preterm at 37 weeks 3 days. I was very worried about his lungs. But he sounded amazing! I get a quick glimpse and off he is whisked with Daddy to get cleaned up. I am thanking God for the wonderful child He blessed us with and I hear chatter of Aaron talking to Abner and I am just so excited to hold him!

Then…

After 4.5 minutes of life, Abner aspirated amniotic fluid. Due to his lungs being borderline ready for life outside of the womb anyway, this sent his body into shock and he all but died on that table. He went silent. He stopped breathing. He stopped moving. His color left him. This is called secondary apnea. Our son’s heart beat was the ONLY thing that was still classifying him as alive.

I remember thinking that the room was quiet. I remember thinking…is Abner ok? Why isn’t he crying? I turn my head to look in his direction and I see all the staff huddled around Abner (intentionally blocking my view). I can feel the tension in the room. I sense that something is deeply wrong. Then I see Aaron’s eyes. He is wearing a mask, cap and gown…so all I can see are his eyes but in that flash, I knew something was horribly wrong. There was a break in the staff surrounding Abner and I see his completely lifeless body being jostled by one of the nurses. Instantly tears well into my eyes and the most fervent prayer I have ever prayed went up at that moment. I prayed for God to spare Abner’s life. Please give him back to me. Tears are rolling down my face and Kevin (the anesthesiologist) was so sweet and was dabbing them away for me. My OB leaned over the “curtain” and whispered softly to me “it will be ok. He is in good hands.” I really knew very little of severity of the situation until we were home and I was watching the birth video. Abner was dying on that table. He did not receive oxygen for nearly 3.5 minutes. They ended up having to “bag” our son to breathe again. Basically that is CPR for newborns with a “bag” to breathe for them. Thankfully he responded well to that and as the NICU trauma team arrived he was breathing and screaming again. BEST SOUND EVER!!! I prayed so many thank you’s to God for sparing our son’s life.

Abner did start breathing again but he was like a victim of a near drowning. His lungs were still very wet and needed oxygen support but he needed it at a very high flow rate to force the air sacs to be constantly open for the exchange of O2 and CO2. The NICU team came to me and said they were taking Abner from the OR to the NICU for a 4-hour observation. Unfortunately, by the time I made it out of surgery and back to my room for recovery, I was notified that Abner had been officially admitted due to his condition. His lungs needed assistance and they were doing everything they could to help him out. I was crushed. I was thankful my son was alive but crushed he was in the NICU and I couldn’t see him or hold him. Aaron had been with Abner this whole time as they were getting him stabilized in the NICU. Aaron knew what I needed most. He had my mom come up to the hospital with our other kiddos even though they wouldn’t get to see Abner. I was SOOO happy to see my other babies and hold them and squeeze their hands and see their sweet smiling faces. I needed it so much. I was so sad when they left.

I did have a WONDERFUL nurse that evening (Kedra) who was my advocate and convinced the night NICU nurse to let me hold Abner for a short time (skin to skin). It was so difficult to see my newborn son with all the tubes, wires and IV stuck to him. I just wanted to scoop him up and hold him and let him know his mommy was right there with him. I did get to hold him for about 20 minutes and then they put him back in his little warmer. I went back to my room…alone. It was probably the loneliest night I can remember. But I was strong with the strength from Christ. I leaned on Him and focused on recovering from surgery and got myself on track to get up to the NICU as often as possible.

We spent 6 long days in the hospital. I know that doesn’t sound like a really long time but when you are kept from your newborn son AND the other family members…it makes for VERY LONG DAYS AND NIGHTS. I was discharged on Thursday and moved to a room in the NICU. That was hard as the kids couldn’t come back to my room to visit. We had to have our visits out in the waiting area. But we did it and I treasured seeing them every single day. I cried every time they left too. But we made it. Abner kept getting stronger and stronger. His heart seemed to be fine. He was NOT Coombs positive (less fight with bilirubin issues). But his lungs just needed time to “dry out” and he needed to get stronger. By 48 hours of age, they finally let me nurse him. He had been given NOTHING but IV fluids up to this point but he really wasn’t complaining either. He was very tired. I don’t know how else to put it. He wouldn’t get fussy. He just slept. Probably acted much like he would in utero. He was still recovering from his ordeal. But day by day, he showed massive improvements. We were a very short stay for the NICU. The average stay for an infant in the NICU is 1 month. My jaw hit the floor. I have NO idea how we would have handled that! Usually they keep most pre-term babies until their original due date…which means Abner wouldn’t have been released until 11/14/14. YIKES!

Our homecoming was the BEST!!! I had gotten word on Saturday that we would most likely be sent home on Sunday as long as Abner did well during Saturday night. He did pretty good. He had a big day on Saturday. He got his Hep B vaccine and was circumcised. He ran a small fever but thankfully they didn’t revoke our release! My family came running as soon as we were given the green light to go home! We got some adorable videos of our kids all meeting Abner for the first time and it was so precious. Our nurse, who walked us out, thought the homecoming was pretty precious. She even commented on how all of the kids looked alike!

Anyway…

Abner was born on 10/27 at 2:29 pm weighing 8 pounds 3 ounces and he was 20 inches long. His head measured 14.5 inches in circumference. He was a big baby for his age!! Everyone says had he gone full term he would have been well over 10 pounds. Abner is the sweetest thing. He loves his family. He is starting to act like a normal newborn. He nurses about every 3 hours and does great. He hangs out with us throughout the day (sleeps through anything) but does like to be held a bunch during the night after feeds (stinker).

Today we had an echo done on his heart (which showed a tiny ASD and mild peripheral branch pulmonary stenosis) and it was clear with normal variants. His new chest x-ray from today was also clear and completely normal. On Tuesday, he weighed 8# 5 oz which exceeds his birth weight!! YAY!!! Other than the nurse noting his tachypnic episode on Tuesday, he is doing awesome! We shall see what Pulmonary wants to do…but I think Abner is still just learning to breathe normally. He is intermittently tachypnic. Nothing major in my book especially since he is becoming more and more like a regular newborn!

Aaron and I have declared to Abner that his “drama” cup has been filled for the REST OF HIS LIFE. He is not allowed to have any more drama in his life PERIOD. He just wanted to out do all of his siblings and make this final birth one for the record books. I most certainly could have done without all the drama! From start to finish this was tough. God has shown me so much grace through all of this and I am just so glad that we are fine. I am sad that we won’t be having any more children but the risks do NOT outweigh the benefits at this point. There are other options if we REALLY feel we need more kids.

Anyway, on to pictures!!!20141027_202015

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Oct 27 2014

Tomorrow is the day!

Hello family and friends! I am sure most of you have figured that I abandoned this blog. Well, I didn’t…I just have been busy. What else is new right? Anyway, tomorrow is the day! Abner will be born! I am so stinking excited! Prayers for a safe delivery for him and me are greatly appreciated. This is a huge deal for me as this is the LAST time I will be having a baby. I am officially closing a chapter in my life. It is bittersweet. I have mixed emotions but I know God has led us to this point and gave us 4 beautiful babies. Anyway, I hope to update you all soon with pictures of our newest tomorrow evening or so!

Much love,

Anna


May 15 2014

Shockingly Saddening News

For those of you that may remember, we had 2 sweet, adorable basset hounds named Arky and Boog (nicknames). We had to make the toughest decision of our lives to give them up to Guardian Angel Basset Rescue to help find them a new home. It hurt. It stung. It was a decision that will forever haunt me. I have come to some sort of peace with that decision because I know that I was thinking of my dogs and not being selfish. I knew they were not getting the care and attention they needed and deserved. I was so disappointed in myself not being able to “do it all.” I simply couldn’t. I was at my end and the dogs need not suffer for it. So in all love, I gave them up.

Fast forward 2 years….I still grieve over their loss. I miss them terribly. We still have their pictures on the walls and we talk about them now again. Ham still remembers them but his memory is fading. Taters says he remembers them but I don’t think he really does. And sweet Beans…well, she was still in utero at the time.  Well, I remember them and I think of them often. We were invited to a GABR (basset rescue) appreciation party for financial supporters in Indiana. It sure did take a bunch of courage but we went. We were able to share our story of the love and sacrifice to care for and raise them for 6 years and then have to give them up. We were able to show that not every person who “gives up” their pet is a bad person. We are real people with real issues and truly wanted what was best for our beloved pets. It was refreshing to not be treated as the “bad guy.” They saw our family and they saw our hurt. But they saw our love above it all. During that party we had the opportunity and privilege to meet the “foster mom” who took our bassets in until they were adopted. We were eager to hear updates on our bassets. We gave her our information and she gave us hers and said she would contact the new owners and pass our info along. Well that was in March. Silence followed.

Last night….I finally worked up the courage to contact the “foster mom” and re-send my information and see if she would respond. I am only at my computer really late at night so I didn’t expect a response soon. I went to bed; hopeful.

Then I had a dream of sweet Ark. Boog was there but not the focus of the dream. It was all about Ark. She was sick. Really sick. I couldn’t help her. I just laid with her on the floor and pet her. This dream didn’t last long but I did remember it. I wasn’t really affected by it either. I knew it was because of the email I had sent.

Come wakey time this morning, I do my morning routine on my phone. Check the weather, read my Daily Bread and check email. I had a response!!!!! I was over the moon thrilled! “Foster Mom” had sent me a link to a whole bunch of pictures of my dogs!!!! They were from the time she had them so they were 2 years old but I had them. I even got to see a picture of the new owners with my babies. It was great.

The morning went on. I was getting kinda grumpy at the family for stupid things really. But I felt the need to be grumpy I guess. I have LOTS on my plate and when things aren’t done in a timely fashion I get grumpy. I finally calmed myself down and took a breather. I checked my email again. There was another message from Foster Mom. I quickly opened it hoping she had more recent news of the girls. I read the first sentence and just wailed “NOOOO” and burst into tears. (Mind you I am nearly 14 weeks pregnant and hormonal). Archimedes developed a brain tumor last summer and went blind. There was nothing anyone could do for her. She was eventually put to sleep due to the tumor and the onset of aggression. My sweet Arky Doodles is gone. Gone forever kind of gone. She died nearly a year ago and I had no idea. She was just 8 years old. Maybe God was sparing me and our family the fate that lay ahead for Ark. It would have killed me to go through that with her. But at the same time I feel as if I let her down by not being by her side. I loved my dog so much. I sit here typing this crying. I miss her so much. I had hope that one day we might be able to see her again at a meet-up with GABR bassets or something like that. But I will have to wait until Heaven. I firmly believe that God has animals in Heaven. He didn’t just create them and give them souls to just die and be gone. He wouldn’t do that to our companions in life. I don’t believe that EVERY SINGLE ANIMAL (spiders, ants, cats…hahahaha) is going to be necessarily in Heaven. But hey, I am not God and I have NO idea what He has planned up there. But I am clinging to the Hope that I will see my beloved Archimedes. I also have another thought that keeps the pain eased….Arky is up there right now with our baby. They are having such a good time together. Maybe God took Arky home first to be part of the welcoming committee for the sweet life we lost in November.

I have suffered many losses in my life. Many deaths. In school we lost at least 1 student every year and we weren’t that big of a school. My family and our family friends suffered losses during my life. I learned from a very early age to not get too attached to anyone. Don’t love too much because death will separate you from them. Not the right way to look at things I know. But that is how I responded. I didn’t have the Hope I have now. I can only think of a few deaths that have hurt me so much. When my Grandpa died several years ago, that hurt. I was minutes from getting to him and got the call that I was too late. Thankfully I had visited him many times before he passed. But in all honesty, I wanted him to go. I prayed for Jesus to come and take my Grandpa home. No matter how much I knew it would hurt my Grandma, me and the rest of the family. I knew that healing wasn’t going to be the answer. Passing in peace would be. That has been nearly 7 years ago. Then we suffered a miscarriage in November of 2013. That was a whole different level of hurt and grief. Even my oldest son experienced loss with that one. And then today. The news of Ark’s passing just hit straight through the heart. Especially after that dream. Maybe the Lord was preparing me for some news to come my way. Who knows. All I know is that I miss her so much and pray for Arugula to continue to live a healthy and happy life with her new owners and without her beloved sister. I hope that one day I will get to see her before she goes to Heaven. But should it not happen, I KNOW that I will see them both again playing in Heaven.

 

Goodbye sweet Arky

Goodbye sweet Arky


May 8 2014

Aldi + Gluten Free (also dairy and egg free) Products = YAY!!!!

So I did my quick Aldi shopping today because there are some things we just love to get there. I was so excited to see their entire NEW line of Gluten Free products!!!! The cereal bars are excellent and so are the crackers! We can’t wait to try some of the mixes but I placed a HUGE order a little while ago for lots of GF mixes and flour from Jules Gluten Free (Love them). Oh and as a complete bonus, they started carrying CHOCOLATE almond milk (which my kiddos LOVE!!!!!). Super duper score!!!!


May 8 2014

Little Miss A – update

She did awesome for her exam. Turns out we were given a CHOICE for anesthesia for which I was extremely grateful and denied the usage. She didn’t need it. Daddy went back with her and the exam didn’t take too long. We got the results shortly thereafter and the urologist was quite funny. He commented on how he has NEVER seen such an abundance of stool in one little person!!! She is HORRIFICALLY constipated even though she is pooping every single day and some of it is even loose! SOOOO, we have upped the Miralax and live is messy but grand. She is doing great and doesn’t struggle with any movements whatsoever. So, thank you for the prayers and we are on the road to recovery!


Apr 18 2014

Prayers for Little Miss A

Our sweet baby girl keeps suffering from UTIs. We haven’t been able to solve this. We are heading to Riley next week for a procedure/study that will require her to be sedated. I am unable to go back in the room with her as I am pregnant and they will be using radiation. Please, please, please pray for Little Miss A and for peace for this mama. It is unbearable to see my little girl in pain and it is just as unbearable to subject her to medical studies. She is a brave girl but only when mama is there to reassure her. I am hoping her daddy will be able to go with us but we have 2 other children to worry about taking or finding a sitter for….not an easy task. Anyway, your prayers are appreciated!!


Apr 10 2014

Prayers please!

We were notified that my progesterone is “critically low” to sustain this pregnancy. I have been put on medication until my 12th week. Please pray that the meds work and that this baby will grow big and strong! For those of you with a good memory, I did have a slight progesterone problem with Abilene but this time it is substantially worse. I am getting double the dosage I got when pregnant with Abilene. The good news is that we got this figured out quickly and so far so good. Plus the meds will help alleviate some of my symptoms…YAY!!!!  So, if you wouldn’t mind, prayers would be greatly appreciated!


Apr 10 2014

I am cool with going all gray….

JUST NOT RIGHT NOW!!!!!