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Monday, December 13, 2010

Crafting away...

I am in a mad holiday rush to make all the Christmas gifts on my extensive todolist.  Why is Christmas so close already??  This year is a lot different feeling then last year.  Last year I wondered if I would have a baby around this Christmas or just a bunch of sad memories.  Last year I wondered if they hats I made my family would be nothing more of little reminders to them of my last Christmas.  Last Christmas was a very blue Christmas for me.  Every morning I woke up cuddled next to Ansen and my heart is bursting.  I have this majorly deformed looking stomach that still hurts in a certain area (probably a forever thing) and as much as I hate this ugly stomach, it reminds me of beauty.  The beauty of life.  The beauty of being a mother.  The beauty of family.  The beauty of God and His world.  The beauty of following God's path, even when the path may not appear so beautiful or wonderful or even worthy to travel.  As I make Christmas gifts this year, my heart celebrates.  It's a different feeling from last year.  And truthfully winter is my least favorite season.  I hate the cold, I hate snow and I hate the dark late afternoons.  But I am embracing it all, every second of it, because most importantly, Ansen and I get to enjoy it together with our family.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Still peeking in...

Still don't have internet or any kind of cable at all at my house, and its actually kind of nice in a way (although I feel SOOOOOO behind on all my facebook friends and whats up on them, since I only check every 4 days or so).  I have had more time for crafting, reading and watching Netflix episodes of Nip/Tuck (my new favorite series). And it gives me lots of time to take in all the joys around me, and to reflect on what a treasure this last year has been to my heart.  It has been most difficult, but most certainly the year where I learned more then I had the last 29 years before.  I feel so lucky to see everything in my life with fresh eyes.  No matter how little money we may have at times, what little material things we possess, our house is bursting with love and loud and craziness and joy and quite a bit of mischief.  And I like it that way.  I couldn't think of any way to make it any better.  Actually thats a bit of a fib.  We are actually working on restructuring our budget so that we can give more money to worthy ministries around us.  We have what we truly need, and what is most important to me now is to share some of the excess we have with others, so that they can find a similar simple joy in life.  It's a hard journey though, going from living a life of consumerism (I am a seasoned shopper!)   Baby steps.....yep baby steps.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Funny enough....

I have been thinking about how I need to take a break from the internet, just live life and enjoy my kids and STEP AWAY from the internet.  Because truthfully, its the first thing I think of checking in the morning and one of the last things I need to check before bed...and then there are the tiny little checkins throughout the day.  So anyways, the last few weeks, I have been back and forth about cancelling our internet and taking a little break (checking in a couple times a week from my Dad's house to get my "fix").  It's hard though to take that final step and get rid of something you greatly enjoy though.  Well God has decided to help me along the decision making path. 

Today our internet provider (Comcast) took out 120 dollars from our bank account.  We only have internet and the most basic of cable (4 dollars a month), so our whole bill is about 30 dollars a month.  We did NOT authorize this payment and we do not have automatic payments or anything like that.  On calling them, we were told that they were authorized the payment of 120 dollars AND that they couldn't tell us who authorized it bc of confidentiality.  Doug talked to THREE people and heard the same thing.  So, I take it as God's hint that we are meant to cancel internet (and ALL services from Comcast) and take a bit of a break.  I will check in a couple times a week from my Dad's, bc I can't give it up cold turkey, but I am guessing that I might be a lot more productive now (when I am not busy with all these kids!)  I am hoping that this break will be good for me and help break me of my internet addiction!  It's a positive thing (although I hope we can get some of our money back-I hae vowed to give more to others in need this year, but Comcast is NOT on that list!!)

Funny how God works.  When you think you can't possibly make this or that decision, He gives you a little shove in that direction.  I think it will certainly be good for us all, to not have the internet SOOOO easily accessible.  Maybe it will help me with some of my "so much to do, so little time to do it in" problem I have lately! 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Feeling better (both physically and spiritually)

Physically, I am not still healed and not sure when I will heal, since nurse found that there is actually still this mystery tunneling that hasn't changed (she thought it had filled in, but found it again last time she was here).  But I feel great.  I don't have pain anymore, I have been able to be without the binder all the time now (which used to be incredibly painful).  If I walk around a lot, the top part of it will get a little sore...but its nothing crazy.  I can again take a shower without taping up my stomach with saran wrap and painters tape...thats a huge blessing.  Besides having the nurse come every 4 days or so and needing to wear a bandage over the open part, its not hindering me at all.  I feel so lucky.

On a more important level, spiritually I have been feeling down about how one side of our family has basically dumped us for having Ansen.  It's hard to understand, how and why this could happen.   How my sweet baby boy that we all fought so hard for, that fought so hard himself, could be a catalyst for such bitterness and negativity to others.  And as positively as I try to live, this has really taken a toll on me at times.  But after talking to some other likeminded Christian moms, they have encouraged me and brought me back to the right path.  First, I will appreciate that we don't have to be surrounded by that negativitiy, that we don't have to allow our kids around that negativity.  I need to stop feeling bad that we are excluded from all familiy events, bc even if we did go, it would be a negative environment for us all.  God isn't surprised by any of this...he is very well orchestrating the gift of distance to protect our hearts.  We have so many blessings in our life, and I need to concentrate on those blessings and continue to let our family shine and be a light of love and purpose .  I am not going to let poison that has unfortunately entered our family enter into our own lives anymore.  And most importantly, as hard as it is, I will pray for them.  Pray that one day they will find their way back on the right path, that they will see Ansen as the blessing that we see every single day.  Thank you God.  Thank you for the amazing people we ARE surrounded by, both family and friends.  Thank you for my sweet, caring husband.  And thank you for this.
There is my heart, laid out in 6 different forms in this picture.  Thank you for each and every one of them.  Thank you for the joy and laughter they bring to our lives, and the life lessons they inspire each and every day.  Thank you

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Soul-full eyes

When I look at these soul-full eyes of Ansen, I feel many things, including:
A. the feeling that I have known him forever (and not just this last 4 months)
B.  the feeling that he still has much to teach me
C.  the feeling that I am so incredibly joyful that I was able to see beyond the most fearful of times, and can now gaze at these amazing, soul-full eyes of his day after day after day

Thursday, October 21, 2010

getting an award for....

being the world's slowest healer.  Thats what my nurse says anyways.  So maybe being completely healed in one week isn't in my cards.  I am healing at a snail's pace here.  Haven't made much improvement in like 5 days.  I don't know why this is for sure, but I have my guesses its bc of two things A.  I am not eating enough protein (I try to eat protein at every meal, but there is only so much protein you can eat before you start feeling like you are eating an Atkins diet) B. I am breastfeeding and Ansen is stealing a lot of the good stuff from me.  Yesterday I tried to fix A.  I ate 4 eggs for breakfast.  Lots of lean hamburger (mixed with onion, corn and brown rice) for dinner.  I just don't know how to get any more protein then this though.  I am sick of protein.  Been trying to base my diet on protein for 4 months now.  Blah.  As for B, well its not going to be fixed, for now anyways.  Me healing up quicker isn't worth more to me then Ansen having the extra immunities he needs with his weakened lungs.  So if it takes me a month to heal from something that I should heal from in a be it.  I had to evict him out before his lungs were ready, and now I need to at least help him stay as healthy as I can, even if it means I will have to deal with this that much longer.  You gotta do what you gotta do.  *sigh*

Monday, October 18, 2010

smiling bc

I am peeking in on my blog, typing with my left hand while holding a baby in my right hand.  And I am not wishing my hands were more free at this time...greatly appreciate them being busy with baby.  My life is insane, so crazy busy and makes you want to pull your hair out at times, but boy do I LOVE being a mom to 6.  Thank you God for my 6 children and for my sweet, loving, hard-working husband.  And for all those gorgeous leaves we saw today on our family ride.  Feeling so grateful and thankful.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

up, up, up

Things looking way up!!  FINALLY!!   Fluid has decreased and has stopped pooling up in my abdomen since my nurse starting lightly packing it.  Got to take my 2nd shower today in about 4 months where I didn't have to cover my stomach with plastic wrap and tape.  I just have a small opening, right where my belly button was, and eerily enough, it looks like a  belly button for the time being.  Anyways, small update.  Time for church! 

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Today my nurse was here, taking care of my wound (visiting nurse time has become a normal part of our schedule after almost 4 months) and she mentioned that the drainage was a little more greenish brown toda, so of course, I asked if that was bad.  And she said "this is nothing like the green you had before, this is an ok green, not like the massive infection, you could have easily gone septic and died green of before".  Of course, now I am just deep in thought.  Like having my life threatened once with placenta percreta wasn't enough, I then had to go get this massive infection that could have easily/silently killed me.  I am so thankful that everything turned out in my favor, but it still deeply affects me as I process all this.  Its kind of like how you feel if you were standing on a train track and the train stopped RIGHT before it would have centimeters away.  And then you get over the shock of that, only to find yourself on a road, where a truck JUST misses you as well.  I used to hyperventilate thinking about my own death one day.  And then I had to face the possibilit of it this pregnancy.  Not that I look forward to death, I certainly want NOTHING to do with it for a long while yet....but it changes you when you go from thinking you are young and invincible to suddenly realizing that no matter who you are, how you feel, what good you can just sneak up on you with lightening speed.  And there is nothing you can do to stop it.  You can beg and please and try to bargain and cry and pray....but if its your time to go, then thats that.   It wasn't yet my time to go, I have work to still do in this world.  It has changed me though. *sigh*  . 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

thoughts, lots of thoughts

I am lately thinking back a lot, thinking about this journey.  Reflecting.  It feels like its been a whirlwind.  But the emotions are still right there, just slightly below the surface.  I only need to slightly stir up the light dusty top layer, and the memories of it all come flooding back to me.  Today I had an ice cream sandwich.  Yep, such a significant event.  Aren't we all glad I shared.  But the last time I had an ice cream sandwich was when my mother in law brought 2 huge boxes of them.  Back when I was pregnant..  Back when I didn't know what the outcome would be.  As I ate that ice cream sandwich, I remember how I felt the last time I ate an ice cream sandwich. Or three.   And I got a big lump in my throat. Yep the last time I had an ice cream sandwich, I actually ate three of them in one day.   I figured "maybe these will be my last three ice cream sandwiches I will ever have...and I will enjoy them til I am sick of them".  Yeah, I know that is gluttony in its finest.  And no, they didn't even taste that good...not as good as three ice cream sandwiches SHOULD taste.  But thats besides the point.  As I sat there today eating my ice cream sandwich, I remembered the fear and the sadness and the trust I had in God that I was doing what was right still.  How is it that that moment was like 5 months ago, but suddenly feels like only yesterday when I actually remembered it.  I think I will feel those flashbacks forever.  Living a life, fearing the unknown, but trusting its path nevertheless.  Its a strange feeling. It's the kind of feeling that catches your throat, makes your shoulders feel like they weigh a million pounds...yet your heart remains light and airy and hopeful.  Yep, a strange feeling indeed.

When I have the time to sit here and quietly reflect on things (usually car rides at night, when 6 children are soundly snoozing in their carseats in the back), my mind ALWAYS brings me back to this one moment of time.  Right before surgery.  When I was about an hour before finding out what unknown future lay ahead for me.  I had kissed my children goodbye that morning, and didn't know if that was the last time I would see them on Earth.  I was sitting in a hospital gown (would this be the last thing I ever wore?), with two IVS and talks about my central line and arterial line that were going in next, with MANY doctors hustling and bustling all around me.  And at this moment, they all walked away in discussion.  And I sat there deep in thought and worry.  And then there was JOY.  Great joy.  I felt content and at peace suddenly.  And all I could think over and over again was "We WON God.  We WON!!   You WON!!"  The fact that I had managed to somehow stay strong and make the right decisions at a time when all the wrong decisions would have made my life SOOOOOOOO much easier.  That God had wanted Ansen to live and we had fought for his life and now he would live.  That we had changed history now....Ansen's lifepath would be broad and affect many.  And it shouldn't have been, with all the challenges we had faced.  Especially those at the beginning of the pregnancy.  The inexplicable joy I felt at a time when I should have been screaming out in fear.  God was with me at that moment, letting me know He was pleased and proud.  I am sure of it.  He filled me with that peace and joy...the peace and joy that made it possible for me to take the last step and say goodbye to my husband and be put to sleep.  And it wasn't that I was suddenly convinced that I would surely live.  Because I wasn't.  But I knew that we had won still, even if I didn't make it through the surgery, it was STILL a victory.  Because I had been able to look Up and seek God, even when I was at the lowest of lows.  And I was able to make decisions from the heart and not out of the numbing, paralyzing fear that followed me the entire pregnancy.

You know why this is one of those most joyous moments  that I like to fondly think back of??  Its not soley bc I am proud of myself (although I am proud of the clear decisions I was able to make at the foggiest times of my life).  But really, what made it truly special is that I felt a little bit of God's heart that day.  The joy that poured out of my heart and soul and body as I lay there, waiting for a life threatening surgery was most certainly God inspired and God gifted.  4 months later, I can still feel it on my heart, although its not as strong of a feeling as it was that day, its still just as impressive to me.  It gives me a high to think about.  Even if I am never allowed that tiny little glimpse into God's heart again....that scream it from the rooftops, floating in the sky joyous feeling again....well that moment I did have will still be able to sustain me for a lifetime.  And when things feel down wound wise, or eating an ice cream sandwich sends one of those feelings right to your gut, well its time for some quiet time.  Holding a sleepy baby, closing my eyes, and just reminscing.  About the hour before my surgery.  That feeling.   That joy.  We won!  I am still trying to win for you God.  Although some days, I most certainly focus too much on my self and my struggles.  And I need to let got of the "me" and have more of a team mentality.  Our team is winning.  I may have contributed one grand winning plan, but the game is STILL on, yesterday, today and tomorrow.  And I am still needed to play.  The game is far from over!

Off to go snuggle in bed with a sweet, little blondie of mine.  Ready to listen to those small whispery breaths of sleep around me, while contemplating my "next move" for the team's sake, and I might just close my eyes and savor that moment in time, that moment in joy...just one more time today.  Good night!

Appt tomorrow

FINALLY get to get these darn sutures out.  After almost 3 weeks, my skin is rejecting them majorly, and my skin is starting to rip.  Wicked cool.  My "wonderful" wound care dr didn't seem too bothered by that fact last week though,  *sigh*  We will see what he says about the wound fluid and all,  Its lessened thankfully, and the bottom of my stomach is much less swollen, but I still have a hole in my stomach, where my belly button used to be.  Its opened back up in that area and it goes straight down a good 3-4 cm.  Kinda discouraging, as I have mentioned before, since this surgery was supposed to end all, not give me another big hole to heal up. 1 step forward, 55 steps back.   But whatever...what can I do now but just hope and pray that it heals up, and that I can avoid a dreaded abscess again.  Still have yellow/tan wound fluid, which  makes me nervous, but the fact that it has lessened has given me a *tiny* bit more hope.  Emphasis on tiny.  We'll see what happens with this all tomorrow.

Ansen has yet another cold.  And mysteriously, he is the one to show symptoms first.  Where are we getting these things, since we rarely go out in public places these days.  Thankfully he seems pretty comfortably and its not including a croupy cough like last time.  Today is day 2 (or is that 3) and he sleeps awful at night, wakes up a million times, but I will take take it.  Its nice to see him having a normal time with a cold.  I cancelled his 4 month appt yesterday bc he was sick and I KNEW they would harrass me that he was perfectly fine to get shots, even with a cold.  I hate that they do that....that they make you feel like you are abusing your child if you dare want to wait til your child is healthy before bombarding their bodies with vaccines (and as it is, I only let them do 2 at a time anyways).  So much easier to cancel the appt then fight the harassment!  So as soon as I feel he is good and healthy, I will call back and reschedule another 4 month appt.  I know they think I am one giant inconvenience, but so be it!  I could care less if he catches up to where he is supposed to be in their one size fits all vaccination schedule. 

So thats where we are at.  Just can't wait to get these sutures out!  Every time I get up or move, it feels like I am ripping things apart in there.  Augh.  Will update tomorrow when I hear more from this doctor of mine. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Deja Vu

So now I am having large quanities of yellow wound fluid coming out of this small hole in my stomach.  And with my lower stomach swollen still.  Well, I am getting some major deja vu.  This is exactly like what happened with me the first time around.  I felt good (besides incision healing), but had this massive amount of wound fluid coming out.  And its happening all over again.  Do I have a new abscess in there??   I am mad and I am sad thinking about the possibility.  Mad bc I was supposed to be almost through with this journey and sad bc I am a crappy mom when I am in pain.  I have already thought about how the heck I will be able to continue bf'ing through many more surgeries and pain.   And pain=percocet=half with it mom, who plays movies for her kids all day bc I am trying to deal with the effects of the percocet, which I have no option but to take bc the pain is that much WORSE then that.  I am homeschooling.  This would affect that as well.  IT'S NOT FAIR.  But life isn't fair.  I am praying that this doesn't happen again, it brings me to tears thinking that its a distinct possibility again.  But I am helpless, in that I have no control with what my body does with this now.  I had a choice to turn down the last surgery....but the dr sold it as the end all surgery, and bc I wasn't patient enough to wait it out just a little bit longer, I made the wrong choice.  My heart screamed not to do it, but my head told me that if I shaved weeks off my recovery, wouldn't that be swell.  And so I went through with it. 

Today I was sitting in Church, thinking of all this of course.  And wondering what God wants of me through all this.  Obviously I am supposed to share Ansen's story.  But what role does the potential of extra, extra suffering play in my testimony.  Perhaps I haven't appreciated enough?  Perhaps I haven't shared enough?  Is this the work of Satan?  No matter how hard Satan *may* play a part in compromising my journey, I will never, EVER utter the words that I wish I hadn't gone through this.  I don't welcome pain, I don't welcome suffering, but bringing this new life into the world WAS a worthy endeavor, worthy of all the hell I have had to go through, worthy of any future hell I may still have left to experience.  I have changed the big picture.  Ansen has this lifepath now, of people he will touch, and Ansen's story will touch many others.  So much good has come out of A LOT of very bad circumstances.  I may feel like I can't do this all over again, but if I have to, I will.  Begrudgingly, with sadness and madness, but it will still have its worth...worthy of much more then money or gold.  He is still worth it.  He will always be worth it.  All of my kids are similiarily worthy.  They WILL change the world; in that they will touch people in positive ways, as I hope to have done and continue to do.  I am fighting a winning battle (as hard as it is some days to accept with this wound), as is my family, as is much of the world.  Ansen's birth was a victory.  His story is a victory.  Our story will be a victory.  Just not sure of when/if there will be a definite ending to some parts of it... 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Just not liking the direction this is going at all....

My body is pouring out this yellow wound fluid out of that small hole in incision.  In wound fluid world, yellow is NOT good.  Its supposed to be pinkish, and was up to yesterday. This is JUST LIKE the start of this whole nightmare.  Exactly the same. And only a couple weeks after this started last time, I had the CT scan that showed the huge abscess that had formed under my skin.  I think this whole disaster is starting all over again, but just a different part of my stomach.  My nurse comes in 45 minutes to reassess (ON HER DAY OFF might I add).  She is very concerned.  And she called my dr and he is like "oh thats allright, its to be expected".  NO, it was not to be expected.  When he told me I needed this surgery, he told me I had a 1-3% infection risk, and that he would put the skin together, I would get sutures out in 10-14 days...and that would be that.  He sold me this surgery as the final end.  And inside me screamed not to go forward with it...I thought it was so weird that I was SOOO uneasy about this surgery...but I ignored it bc it was "supposed" to be the end all surgery.  I can't imagine if they end up doing another CT scan, find another abscess, have to debride a new part of my stomach and I start this recovery nightmare ALL OVER AGAIN.  It took me 2.5 months to get to the point where I was just about healed.  I can't do another 2.5 months of new open wounds and pain and all that garbage that comes with it.  I dread having my nurse come today.  She said if things seemed any worse, she would have to send me to the hospital.  She is not happy with my dr at all right now.  She was apologizing to me on the phone, telling me she hoped I knew she was trying as hard as she could.  She is my only real advocate it seems, and her pleas are falling to deaf ears.  It just sucks all around. :( 

Life is moving all around me.  Kids are running around house and playing like usual.  Dressed in their soccer gear.  Ansen still eats every 2 hours.  Doug needed just a little more sleep.  And here I am, deep in my thoughts and worry.  If this goes in the direction it seems to be heading, I will be the one that has to suffer yet  more, all the while needing to juggle another wound/discomfort/pain with carrying on with life.  I have a husband that can't take any more time off of work this year.  I have 6 kids that count on me, as their stay at home parent.  Its this whirlwind around me.  Please God, don't let this happen again.  PLEASE!!!  

Friday, October 1, 2010

Things not looking swell again...

Drainage went from pinkish to yellow/tan (NOT good) and the bottom of my stomach below this wound nightmare is now red, swollen and warm to the touch.  Nurse thinks that wound fluid has been collecting down there and my body can't absorb it nor does it have anywhere to get out.  Honestly, if I have to get cut open again, in a new spot and heal for many months again, I don't know if I have the strength to make it through again.  I know the pain and the hell I would have to endure, its way too fresh in my memory.  Please pray that this can be taken care of more simply...somehow. Waiting for nurse to call back once she talks to wound care (who have been very laid back about this from the start-do they not remember what I have gone through this last 4 months.)  WHY can't I get a break with this wound? In 2 days, it will be 4 months since my surgery.  I am feeling very lost today.  :( :(

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall has NEVER been so beautiful...

I don't know if its bc of what I went through this last year or what, but I can't keep my eyes off all the amazing trees, thanking God for the vibrant colors all around me.  My new favorite colors are orange and red!!!   It takes my breath away; the bold yet comforting palate all around me.  We went for a ride the other day so I could get some of my (knifty) knitting done, but I couldn't keep my eyes off those trees and those amazing autumn leaves.  I guess I never really took the time to just take in the beauty of them before...always so busy, and so preoccupied by that upcoming winter quickly following fall.  This journey of mine has slowed me down, in not so great ways, but also in good ways like this.  The fact that I can suck in the splendor of those warm colored leaves, sharing the joy of it all with my SIX kids and my husband-well its an amazing gift.  Each day is a gift to me.  Those leaves are a gift to me.  The cool weather (that BETTER come back soon) is a huge gift to me as well!  So incredibly thankful for it all! 

Last year at this time, the VERY beginning of Ansen was on its way to being created.  He began his journey and fight for life, as I began mine.  All around me were these same gorgeous leaves I was too preoccupied to notice.  Ansen's life has been a gift to me, as this journey has been a gift to me.  I am a changed person bc of it, and I appreciate that I was given the gift to "see" the world with different eyes.   No time to be too busy making plans for tomorrow-each today is a day that needs to be celebrated and savored.  And we have our days where I wish for that tomorrow, no worries....but in the grand scheme of life, too many of us spend too much time worrying about the tomorrows, when the todays are the most precious and fleeting.  Just like those autumn leaves.  I need to take in the beauty of those leaves today, bc tomorrow they might be nothing but a pile of dull, brown leaves on the ground..nothing but a memory.  Thank you God for the beauty of my life, the life of my children and my husband, the beauty of my family and friendships, and the beauty of New England and its foliage.  I am thoroughly enjoying those leaves, as I also try to commit to memory those vibrant reds and oranges in the fall themed scarf I am slowly but surely creating! 

P.S. God, if there is any way that Ansen could take a teeny, tiny nap once a day so that I could finish that scarf before NEXT fall, I would really appreciate that as well. ;) 

Monday, September 27, 2010

In mostly better spirits...

Headed off to Church yesterday for my first real Church service since March, when the bleeding and bedrest occured.  The pastor mentioned Doug, Ansen and I in the joys and pointed over to us, which was a *tad* bit embarassing of course.  I totally appreciated the sermon (which was actually very fitting bc it was something I had been talking to Doug about this last week -why many not so good people in the world are rewarded with good, rich in every way, easy, lives while there are those of us that are bombarded with all these trying/daunting issues over and over again).  Weird how that happens how the sermon can just speak to you and answer you in that way!  The music was great like always, and then I had my chance to pray silently and I simply asked God to please help me view/experience whatever journeys I have left in a positive way.  I don't want to feel so bitter and pissy about the way things have gone on.  And I think it worked.  I came in to church in a foul mood and left with much more hope and positiveness.  I can't dwell on the decisions I wish I had made last, last Friday, but just have to take on any new challenges that we may or may not now face.  I have to remember the big picture of it all.  The one God can see and I can't, although I am ALWAYS hoping for just the tiniest peek.  Ansen and I are both alive, here together, surrounded by our family and friends.  I can't have things always go my way..and I need to understand that and just appreciate that more has gone positively then negatively.

As I was sitting there in Church, I realized that God most certainly sent my visiting nurse Heather to take care of me through all this.  She is mostly a pediatric visiting nurse, but does *some* postpartum stuff.  And thankfully she took on my case, and has been through thick and thin with me. She is the one that has done all the hard work-the one that fights every day to continue to keep me infection free and get me healed up.  She has 4 closely spaced kids herself, 8 and under...and she completely understands what this wound has put me through.  I am just so thankful to have her right now.  This last week, she has working hard on this new wound inside, trying her best to keep it clean and healthy, hoping really hard that I can heal before any infection can set in.  And sometimes I feel bad that she doesn't get to spend tons of time with her kids because of her work schedule-that people like me keep her from extra time with her family; but she is most certainly been doing God's work, helping me and others in the way she does.  She has certainly been an angel to me, especially at the lowest of times, always working towards the positive.  Thank you God for always caring for me; even at times when I have felt so alone, I realize that You have others around me to carry on Your work and Your love. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Another update

Although I don't know how many people really read here on a normal basis, I guess this has become my place to rant and rave about how unfair this is.  I was hoping that maybe some miracle things would heal up instead of spiral downward.  Nurse came today, squeezed a heck of a lot of junk (aka wound fluid) out of my abdomen, then took her sterile q tip to measure how far this thing extends to see if there was any improvement.  Well of course not, it actually extended FURTHER.  This just majorly sucks.  I know where this is headed.  I have been here before.  I think its worse knowing just exactly I would be getting into now, having to have my stomach cut open and debrided, and then dealing with wound packing and changes and I am sure the mention of wound vacs.  To have to go through ALL THAT again, for many months.  I just want to cry thinking about it. 

I am praying that it won't keep heading south.  Praying and begging God.  The night before, I told Satan to leave me and my family the hell alone (just in case this is his doing).  Every day, I am dreading the nurse visits....just waiting for the visit where things change for the worst.  Nurse said today that dr said that if I get a temperature or wound fluid changes, I am to head to the hospital.  IT'S NOT FAIR!!!!  I know, I know life isn't fair.  Suck it up Melissa.  Get over it.  You are alive.  And I appreciate that.  And I thank God for that just about every moment I remember to.  I thank God for Ansen and my other children and Doug and the world around us.  I think its cruel though-for me to get to the point where I was feeling the point where everything had healed up but this little, tiny the point where I could see the end in sight.  The joy I felt.  And now its been replaced my dread.  And fear that I might not make it through this a second time, if that's the journey I am meant to take. :(  At the beginning of the year, I wrote a post about how 2010 was going to be OUR year to shine.  And its been everything but that.  It's been the worst year I have actually ever experienced.  Many times, I didn't even think I would make it out of 2010 to 2011.  WHY??  All I want to know is why...what we did to need to go through all this. 

Still hoping really hard that we can avoid going down this same, horrible road again.  But I gotta tell you-hearing that that sterile qtip extended even further into my middle this morning stole that much more of my hope.  And the sutures that are starting to rip through my skin, as my body rejects them-well that was a bonus to my mood.  Not that sutured skin matters much when there is a potential infection brewing underneath.  Just gives them a line to guide them where to cut it all open again. 

Please God, be with me.   Send some hope and peace my way.  Please!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Disturbing book I am reading, to go along with everything else....

In blogs I read, so many people recommended to read the book Radical: Taking Back your Faith from the American Dream.  That it would be eye opening/life changing/truly inspirational.  Although I agreed with the preface of book, upon reading it (I have gotten about 1/4 way through) I have found it to very discouraging.  So much so, that I don't want to read anymore at this moment.  That God may love you, but he loves Himself more...and that in the grand scheme of things, things may and will happen for His ultimate good rather then your own personal good.  And I know this sounds like I am being selfish here, wanting my own good here as well, but I have spent 30 years thinking that our good IS also God's good.  Just like if my kids act in a good and riteous way, then I am rewarded with my pride for them.  But instead, this book states that in the grand scheme of things, God cares about Himself and His glory first and foremost, and we play second fiddle to that.  Of course, wrong book to read when you keep having one thing after another going wrong for you, after acting out in a way that you hope has glorified God and his creation (Ansen). 

I don't want a medal here, but I have tried really hard to live the life that I feel God has lead us towards.  And I have always had the mindset that God cares deeply for us, and that negative in one aspect will ultimately lead to some other positive  aspect later in life.  That God can see the big picture when we can't, and that I solely need to trust Him and do my best to live out a good and faithful life, exemplifying His love for us.  But I am beaten down right now...and suddenly I start thinking maybe the book is right.  What good is all this suffering doing for me?  Have I been forgotten for God's other newer projects?  Cast aside once God received His glory for Ansen's story?  I have been through hell and back.  I had to go into a surgery, knowing full well that I might be giving up my life for my son's....that I might not see my other 5 children or my husband or even meet my own baby for a lifetime.  Then to have 4 months of painful healing, painful surgeries to deal with.  And then to be *this* close and poof, back to square one.  How is it in my best interest to continue this on and on...and on??   Where is the good that is supposed to come out of this?

I am sitting here, with my abdomen burning like crazy from both sides (which is probably bc the inside is filling up with wound fluid, swelling a bit and pulling on sutures-but no worries, it will pour out of the hole I now have as soon as I lay down to go to sleep).  I love Ansen so much and would never change what I had to do to bring him life bc I truly believe he is meant to be here, but why is it that it seems that in this life, the good are rewarded with bad and the bad are rewarded with good.  If I had terminated his pregnancy, my health would be great, our finances would be dramatically better (weeks/months off and FMLA have pretty much left us behind on everything, with little hopes of catching up til tax time).  And perhaps I could have gone on to have a less troubling pregnancy after the fact.  But that is not what I chose, bc I don't believe God creates any life as a mistake.  I don't ask to be rewarded with money and gifts for all I have been through, all I want and have begged for is my health back.  I want a closed abdomen (that is truly closed and not just closed at the surface).  That is all I ask.  I feel like any other issues we deal with in life (money issues and such) are petty in comparison to this.  I don't have the kind of life that affords me 4+ months to recover from surgery.   The  meals stopped coming to our house the day I delivered Ansen, there are no helpers assisting us with the daily tasks of keeping this house running anymore (and that does not even include cleaning, which I gave up on a long time ago).   I can't keep going through infections and surgeries and pain when I have 6 children that count on me as the stay at home parent.  Doug is a few call outs from being fired from his job at this point-he has used any and all time off he could, as well as all his allotted FMLA.  I am having a hell of a time keeping up with our homeschooling bc of this nightmare...and I love teaching my children.  When I am not dealing with nurse visits and doctor appts and surgeries and wound fluid pouring out of my abdomen, we have such a great time.  I have had to give up on so many things I love to bring Ansen into this world.  And yet, it just continues to get harder and harder.

I was *this* close to the end with this wound, really excited and feeling like FINALLY some things might start looking up for us (or at least evening out).  And then my wound dr tells me I need surgery to close up remaining, I trust him as the professional here, and now I will pay for it with another month or two of healing/pain/uncomfortableness.  Where is the good in this situation?  What could it possibly be leading me towards that would make this a worthy experience.  It feels more like a torture-brought to my breaking point over and over again-only to be strung along slightly to make me think we might be turning a corner, only to crash hard again.  And again.  And again. 

So should I continue reading up more about this Radical God, in this supposedly life changing book.  Am I supposed to accept that I am nothing more then a chess piece in this game of life, and the loss of my piece is of little detriment to God?  I don't know.   Like I said, I started reading this book bc I do believe so many people have made the American dream the focus of their life, putting God on the back burner til a "later" time.   I don't question that this world has too many people focusing their lives wrongly on materialistic whims.  I love a good shopping trip as well as anyone (good sale=the ultimate shopping high), but I have really tried to be more cautious on putting material things ahead of our spiritual path.  I do try to act in a way that pleases God as well.  And I have always been a believer that God will test your faith at one point or another, to see if you can stand strong when the going gets tough (to weed out those that talk the talk, but won't walk the walk when the going gets tough).  Did I not pass the first 10 tests though??  Is that why we are at where we are at.  Have I been forgotten?  Or is this all the work of Satan??  Or what?  I just don't know, but it just plain sucks.  And not finding my supposedly inspirational read all that inspiring at the moment.....

Beyond discouraged right now.....

Like our ongoing back luck would have it, things have turned south again.  Figures.  You know, I just don't know how much more I can take of all this.  Why is everything so hard?  When can I stop going through the hard?????  It's sad but today, I am starting to wonder if I did something along the way to  that really displeased God, bc it just doesn't seem fair we can't get a break.  I am feeling broken. :(

Last night I went to bed like usual.  I have been a bit more sore then at surgery, but everything looked great on incision still.  At 1 am, Ansen woke me up to eat and upon sitting up, I noticed my shorts and bed were SOAKED.  I was frantically scrambling to find my phone so I could what was all over me, I was terrified that it was blood.  Finally I found and turned on my phone, and then found that it was a bloody fluid that was streaming out of the bottom of my sutured abdomen.  I threw a pad on it and fed the baby bc he was really starting to scream by then, then went to further investigate it.  I had soaked that pad in like 15 minutes and I was kind of freaking out, since Doug was at work and it was just me and the kids.  I taped two more abdominal pads over it and tried to go back to sleep, feeling very sick and worried about it. 

My nurse came this morning, pressed on my abdomen and fluid started and kept pouring out again.  She took this special long, sterile qtip, and stuck it in to where the fluid was coming out.  Yeah, I have a hole IN my abodomen.  My last surgery before this one, I came out of my debridment with a hole that was 6 cm deep and 9 cm long.  Well she measured and I now have a hole INSIDE me, covered by my sutured skin, that is  7.5 cm deep and 10 cm long.  Since most of my skin is now closed, its pooling up inside me and then pouring out when it gets full.  How awesome is that??  So basically I have this HUGE risk of infection again, due to this fluid sitting around too long and getting infected.  Nurse is waiting for a call back from dr, but its looking like they will have to pack this giant hole inside me to keep it from not draining and getting infected, but all through this tiny hole left in my abdomen?  Anyone remember how my whole infection started??  A tiny hole in my abdomen from surgery, where stuff collected up within me, became infected and just ATE right through all my healthy tissue.   I can't believe I have gone through all this, just to be right back here.  WHY did I go through with that last surgery to close things up and be done with it all.  Seriously, I know you are supposed to trust your drs, but inside my head, I wanted to run from this surgery.  I just felt like it was bad news and I told Doug that, but we talked it over and he said it all sounded like it made sense and we could finally put this past us and how nice would it be to have a closed abdomen.  And of course, it did sound nice.  I let that little voice screaming within me be quieted with thoughts of an autumn with a closed stomach.

This sucks.  Plain old fricken sucks.  No filters today on my language....It's just not fair!!!  I went through hell and back to bring Ansen to this world.  CAN I GET A BREAK NOW....PLEASE!!!  Just waiting to hear back from my nurse as to whether we will start packing again, whether I will get to start having twice a day nurse visits (which would mean I would have to see that horrible night nurse again who gave me grief about going out in the van for rides-supposed to be 100% homebound, no ands, ifs or buts.  Whatever.  It all makes know, sense in the world that has been my life for too long-since spring was ruined, summer was ruined, why not fall be ruined as well.   No rest for the weary.  *cry*

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

To my maternal fetal specialist

Dear Dr. Healey; 

Well here is a letter a long time coming.  I have thought about exactly what I would want to say to you after all was said and done many, many times before.  How grateful I would be.   But I don't even think a simple thank you can express what I feel.  Last November, my new ob/gyn looked at my 6 week ultrasound and said "you have no other choice but to terminate this pregnancy".  She assured me I could have another one, that this one was simply "a bad one".   I was horrified.  And I didn't agree right away to her insistance that I terminate, nor did I go about picking a method of termination that she then began to describe.  And maybe bc of my look of horror, she did finally give your office a call to be sent in for a stat ultrasound at your office.  As I left her office, numb and in shock-all I could do was to call out to God to please give me some glimmer of hope at this appointment.  For God to give me ANYTHING but this.  It didn't have to be much, but I couldn't face being told again that I had to end my baby's life. 

I went in, had my ultrasound, and then a maternal/fetal doctor came in to talk to me.  He told me that he didn't suspect that baby had implanted INTO c-section scar like other ob/gyn had diagnosed.  But that he was very sorry, it looked like I was almost guaranteed a miscarriage, that sac was detaching and dropping-immenent miscarriage signs.  It still didn't look good, but it wasn't the worst that it had been only hours before.  This doctor spoke with a kindness and offered a sincere condolence.  And he told me to make an appointment a week after to see what had resulted.   This doctor was you.  I don't know if you remember this, but it stands out to me, bc it was the moment that my baby was given the tiniest glimmer of hope.  I would leave the hospital with a baby that was still alive.  Although it surely appeared fleeting, it meant that he could live, even if was only just a little while longer.  I didn't have to make a choice to end one of God's creations, something I didn't think I would ever truly forgive myself for, medical or not.  You gave my baby time.  And that time resulted in one heck of a journey and one heck of a fighter of a baby.  He IS here today bc of you and that day. 

The journey getting him here sucked majorly, I won't lie.  Having to put your life on the line to bring one of your children into the world is not something I would wish on anyone.  But when I found out you would be taking on the surgery, I felt great peace.  You saved my child once and I knew you were meant to be the one that would bring him into this world-to officially introduce him to his well earned life.  I couldn't think of anyone better to do that job.  I am sure my case brought you many headaches, but I can't thank you enough for taking me on and setting up an amazing team of doctors for my very risky surgery-and of course for the life that my son now has bc of it. 

My son now has an entire lifetime in front of him, bc of you.  He will touch many people, friend many people, inspire many people, he will very likely marry and have his own children that will do the same.  A whole life path that was at many times threatened for various reasons.   A different day, a different doctor, and he might not be here today.  He will know his story.  I will forever appreciate his story.  Thank you for making a difference in our family's lives.  I don't think even a million thank yous would ever be sufficient to express our gratitude.  Thank you, Dr. Healey.  Ansen Gabriel thanks you as well.      

Sincerely, Melissa N and family

Monday, September 20, 2010

the beauty of going....

from this...
to this......
to last but but not least....

Yep, it's a beautiful thing!!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just when I thought I was done with the surgeries....

AUGH.  I went to my wound care appt yesterday and bc the two sides ending up healing on two very different planes, its going to take A WHILE for it to be able to meet up.  The dr recommended surgery to fix that and finally close it all for good.  Of course, the first thing I asked was about how much infection risk this surgery would be.  Very minimal, like 1-3 % chance.  He wants to open up the whole thing (but just skin-not my insides this time) and fix the entire thing.  Augh.  So I figured I had time to think about this.  I asked my nurse this morning, and she is just nervous about infection like I am.  Figured I had some time, with so much to think about.  JUST got a call that surgery has been scheduled for........TOMORROW.  Blah.    I feel sick.  I am not looking forward to cutting the skin open again.  Not looking forward to pain.  Or a whole stomach of sutures.  Not looking forward to losing all the mobility I finally have again.  I am so scared of any risks.  I am nervous about potential for infection.  Should I just wait it out another month plus, for this to heal on its own.  Or have this surgery, and *hopefully* from  what I have been told, have the whole area sutured up finally, no holes in my abdomen, no more packing needed, no more daily nurse visits necessary, and 2 weeks from now, I would get sutures out and all would be healed and that would that.  Sounds tempting of course.  Just worried.  You would think I would be an old pro by now....five surgeries later.  Whats another, right??  But it still worries me.  I hate being put to sleep.  And I don't have time to be out of commission anymore.  Here's hoping everything goes off tomorrow without a hitch (if I don't change my mind and run away from the whole thing by tomorrow....)  Blah.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Need to remember....

Its been easy for me to feel so proud of what I fought for and how it all turned out.  But in reality, I need to give the glory of it all to God...and sometimes I think I am giving myself too much credit and not giving God enough.  My faith was what taught me how important Ansen's little life could be back at 6 weeks when I was told to terminate and my faith gave me the strength to continue on day after day....during the toughest of times.  Everyone says "you were so strong, how did you do it?"  Well without God, I would have surely failed.  I would have thought of only me, me, me....and perhaps I would have found that none of this would be in my best interest.  But instead, I appreciated and valued that God had created Ansen's little life for a reason....and He didn't create it, only to hand over the right  for me to end that life.  I knew I had to fight for him, bc who am I to say I personally know more then God's will.  God's will lead us down many roads we didn't want to travel, but I wouldn't be the person I am today if I hadn't trudged along the most difficult of travels.  And all the time, I was never truly alone.  It's a good feeling to know you have God on your side.

I am so grateful that God granted us this last little blessed to have these 6 lives now to mold and shape into the people He wants them to be.  I need to remember to give God thanks every hour of every day for the world around us/the people around me/for what we are lucky enough to have.  I need to thank God for this changing weather, for the cool weather we are welcoming with open arms, for the pumpkins and the changing leaves and the tights and the sweatshirts and the scarecrows and soccer and a new baby that gets to see fall for the first time, myself getting to experience another fall (at times this last year I wasn't sure if that would be my future), as well as a husband and 5 other excited children, that are giddy with excitment for fall.  I am thankful for another year to homeschool my children...another year to teach them and learn so much myself from their young, innocent minds.  All of this brought to our family by God. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Totally NOT a patient person....

Now that the wound bed is close to having filled itself in (a two plus month process), I am increasingly impatient for it to just finish its healing.  Seems to have MAJORLY slowed down now.  I am starting to contemplate getting a protein supplement, bc I don't know if I am taking in enough for me with this growing, eating all the time baby of mine (who weighs in at over 13 lbs now-go Ansen).  Once the wound bed is completely filled in, then it will be a normal injury like if you cut open your won't need to be packed, and the skin will be able to find its way back together.  My visiting nurse said its going to be a THICK scar the way its healing.  I felt it for the first time  (the top healed part) and I gotta admit its kinda creepy.  First of all, its completely numb....absolutely no feeling whatsoever.  Have had numb areas before, can't feel the whole bottom of my stomach bc of number of c-section.  But then its all hard doesn't feel human at all, much more like something synthetic.  The scar tissue is very dense and fibrous from all the cutting and healing, cutting and healing it had to do, over and over again.  This thing is at least 14 cm long, its just going to be freaky having this hard, numb feeling for the majority of my belly for the rest of my life (especially when one is used to a nice soft, squishy belly haha).  But what can I complain about, right?  I am here, alive, for my babies and Doug, and Ansen is here with us as well. 

Thankfully this body isn't forever....although I would like to keep it for another 50 years if possible.  My belly might be creepy and not something I ever want to touch or look at again, but I have 6 good reasons that will help keep my mind off my bellybutton-less stomach.  6 good reasons why it was all worth it.  I would do it all again, for any of my children.  We live in a world where its ingrained that you should put yourself and your appearance first and foremost.  And although, I want to be healthy obviously, I have given up on having a pretty fact, I have given up on having a stomach that looks even half normal.  My stomach will look downright WEIRD for the rest of my life.   If I cared so much, I could have tons of surgeries, and get back a dream stomach.  But none of that matters.  I am alive and here for my children still, and God didn't give me this opportunity to rebeautify this body of mine!  All in all, I am hoping that my ugly stomach can help others see beauty and hope of God's work in our lives.  It's been an amazing journey for my heart and soul, that's for sure!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Sweet relief.  I got some pictures taken of all kids together, and its such a nice AHHHHHHHHHHHHH feeling to see all 6 of the children we were meant to have, together in our pics.  Nobody is missing.  Everyone is there.   Last year, we got pics taken of the girls together and the boys together, and when I looked at the pics, someone was still missing and it made me sad every time I looked at them.  I never did put them up, bc it just didn't feel right yet.  And now that everyone is here...together....I just can't wait to get these pics UP on the wall, to stay for a LONG time!!!  This is MY family, all the children that we were meant to raise.  Our family of 8.  It makes me giddy that we are FINALLY all together, safey.  Here are the proofs of my AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH pics. :)

Thank you God for completing our family, and getting Ansen and I both through this pregnancy safely.  I could thank you every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year, and it still wouldn't be enough thank yous.  SO grateful for my beautiful family...and the chance I have to raise them, teach them, hug them, and love them!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010


the nonstop eating of my boy, and what many times feels like nonstop cranking out until he is eating, he has had some moments to show off his newest accomplishment-the SMILE!!!   His smile makes my heart sing-nothing like seeing this gift from God smiling at me, reminding me of how worthy this battle has been.  Not a day goes by that I don't appreciate what a miracle he is to me and our family!

I brought him in to pedi early this week, thinking he might be starting to have thrush, but was told that it was instead cysts on his gums.  They haven't spread, so maybe the dr "was" right (I didn't believe him at first and was waiting for thrush to start spreading like crazy.)  When Ansen got weighed, he weighed close to 12 lbs.  Considering he weighed 10 bs, 6 oz 11 days earlier, I now have a pretty good idea of why he has been eating like a fiend, day after day, hour after hour.  He eats VERY often all day now, and once 8 pm hits, he falls into a deep coma and sleeps for 6-7 hours.  As exhausting as the nonstop eating is, I realize its for a worthy cause, and I appreciate that my nursing days are numbered.  This IS my last baby and I am going to miss all this one day (right?? haha) 

Wound wise, my primary visiting nurse came back from her 11 day vacation, and she said my wound looks fabulous, its much shorter and much of it is just superficial now.  She thinks it won't be "packable" for much longer (there is only one deep spot left, where my belly button used to be...and thats only 2.5 cm deep).  When my wound is too shallow to pack, then we will have to change my treatment plan to just having it covered and washing it off daily with showers.  I could go for that (since right now to take showers, I have to use saran wrap and tape to tape up bandages and its actually not all that fun/I am certainly not willing to take daily showers but of course way more fun then the NO showers I was allowed with wound vac).  My nurse also changed me to once a day (vs the twice a day I have had for like a month).  It is so nice not to have to worry about night visiting nurses coming.  Makes me feel a little bit more normal!  I thought about posting a pic here on my blog of it now (vs. before) but truthfully, I haven't looked at it once myself (except for when it had the wound vac sponge in it way back when).  I just prefer not to see it, but I have Doug tell me all about it after.  I might have Doug take a pic now and save it, and then when its all close, I will post both pics (bc I KNOW everyone is dying to see what a stomach without a bellybutton looks like, I know I am curious myself).  We'll see.  Regardless, I am glad things are still heading in the right (positive) direction.  July was such a horrible wound month, and August has been so much more positive.  I am hoping September will be the month I am finally healed from all this!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The wound vac debate....

I have had quite a few visiting nurses that are all gung ho about how wonderful the wound vac is, lamenting over the fact that I don't have one on.  There is one especially that would be put in on right this second if I asked her.  Every time I see her, she is all about the wound vac, telling me how I need it back on right away and why don't I have it on and why isn't my primary nurse advocating for it. I tried to explain the issues I had in the past with it, but she said everything looks so pink and healthy in there now and that means it should be put back on, preferably NOW. 

Mmmmhmmmmm.  It looked pink and healthy after each of the first 5 surgeries I had as well.  And then they would put that wound vac on, and within a week (usually less), my wound was filled with deep layers dead, yellow tissue that necesitated another debridement.   And those debridements would remove many cms deep of tissue, each and every time.  So I would start to heal/have it all taken out/start to heal/have it all taken out.  After the last debridement, my wound was 6 cm deep again (ike it had been from the start a month ago).  In the last 3ish weeks since I have had the wound vac off, my wound has healed to less then half the size, all the tissue has remained pink and healthy, any little areas that starting looking "off" were taken care of immediately with use of the Dakins solution, and best of all, I haven't needed another debridement.  No surgeries in almost a month.....its been glorioius!  And I would want to put the wound vac on......why???? 

I am so glad my primary nurse is on the same page as I am in regards to wound vac.  I only have these wound vac crazy nurses once or twice a week and its exhausting to try to explain why the wound vac may not be in my best interest (and then I am alway assured that that was then, and this is now...and it will heal up quicker with it-so better get it on asap of course).  Yeah, I heard that before.  My primary nurse advocates on my side about it, bc she saw the very bad I had to deal with it.  She doesn't understand what the problem was, but she understands there IS a problem with me and wound vac, and her motto is 'if its not broken, don't fix it'.  Dressings seem to be working/wound is healing fabulous now and I am just so grateful to have a primary nurse that is such a positive advocate for me-I am having MANY more days now that I can start to actually imagine I might one day be healed.

p.s. last night, I was watching one of my fav. shows, Boston Med, and when I went into my 2nd opinion and met with a dr. who told me that I should try going without the wound vac and see if I have any improvements (take a wound vac break)...well he was on Boston Med, assisting with the first ever face transplant in New England).  CRAZY!!! 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

the most held baby in the world!!!

Do I need any more proof??  When I put Ansen down (in the moments that I might need to use the bathroom, make something {easy}for dinner, etc), its a mad dash in regards to who gets to pick up Ansen.  The kids are absolutely smitten with him, and usually a fight will break out over how Kylie held him 9 times, but Caden only held up 7, whereas Elise held him 8 times....yes, they keep track all day!!!   Every one in this family appreciates that Ansen is a gift to us, and it makes my heart burst with joy when I see my bigger kids chilling out, with Ansen cozily snuggled in their arms.  He feels their love.  He feels all our love.  He is surrounded by love.

When I started this whole journey, I didn't fully comprehend how it would affect us, adding this last baby to our family.  Despite our challenges throughout the whole experience (and boy have there been challenges, to this day), Ansen is the dessert to our family, a sweet, delicate, savory dessert.  I can't get enough of him.  Doug can't get enough of him.  The kids can't get enough of him.  We are in love.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

still nursing.....

Its been hard, we have had many obstacles (23 days of NICU and 3 subsequent hospitalizations for me after the fact being the main ones) and I have stayed strong with it, despite many times I felt that quitting would be the much easier option for me.  I have been told that healing might be slowed down by nursing and that I should really consider quitting just for that fact as well.   I have wanted to quit more times then I can count.  It's not easy pumping for a NICU baby for weeks.  It's not easy feeding a baby while suffering an immensely painful wound and every position feels like torture...when pain at wound is so intense, you can do little but grip the handle of the bed/arm of couch and hope some pain will subside SOON (all while nursing a hungry little person that doesn't understand the pain his mama is in.  It's not easy nursing a baby when you can't move easily and are on what feels like too much for too long percocet and ibuprofen daily.  Its not easy nursing a baby when you start wondering IF your wound is hindering healing/IF it could be a possibility that not enough milk is being produced bc of wound.  Its not easy nursing a baby on demand 24/7, with 5 other children 7 and under at home.  None of it has been easy, I have had so many doubts. 
And then I see this pic I took today.  And my doubts are erased.  My worries are eased.  My wound IS healing.  AND my baby is chunking up-LOOK at those kissable, chunky thighs of his!!!  My sweet baby boy is sleeping about 6 hours in a row at night.  Its been so hard, and now I am getting to the rewarding part.  I wanted to quit so many times, but then I reminded myself that this is it since you can't have surprise babies after hysterectomies.  There would be no more babies to nurse.  No more opportunities to get this chance back.  I felt like everything was going wrong, against being able to nurse, but still I kept on going, pumping when I couldn't feed my baby in the NICU, pumping when I couldn't be with my baby, having someone bring my baby to the hospital so I could nurse,  pumping and dumping after 5 extra surgeries and antibiotics they weren't initially sure were safe, etc.  Its been a long, hard road....gosh, this WHOLE pregnancy/deliver has been.  But put another tally mark on our side.  And another battle won!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

mourning at times....

Not all the time, but many times, I mourn a lot of things.  I mourn the loss of a last normal pregnancy.  I mourn being pregnant and actually being excited about it without that feeing of dread I had this whole pregnancy. I mourn the hopefu positive birth experience I had hoped would erase my memories of the twins not so swell birth.  I mourn that I didn't take any pregnant pics of myself this pregnancy, just bc of the negativity surrounding me.  I mourn not buying anything with excitement before baby came (all bc I didn't believe he would actually make it here safely most of the time).  I mourn not holding my baby for over a week after he was born.  I mourn not being normal yet...still....9 weeks after his birth.  I mourn the normal things of going out and living life like a normal person.  I mourn the loss of my uterus at times (although I do not want anymore children), but MUCH more often mourn the loss of my belly button (even though I didn't particularily care for it when I had it). 

But when I feel down and mourning this or that, I remind myself that all of these combined are much easier to cope with then the thought of Doug and the kids mourning my loss.  Every day I am grateful for the gift of life I still am able to enjoy.  And it means more to me then shopping trips and belly buttons.  These days are especially hard at times (to be still recovering at 9 weeks), but each and every one is still a blessing.  You don't realize how good the worst of days are until you have to face the possibility of the end of your days. 

I was sitting there thinking the other day about the hardest moment of my life.  The day of my surgery, when I was wheeled into the operating room, and I was breathing in that oxygen, waiting/dreading being put to sleep and I had no idea if those moments were to be my last conscious moments on Earth.  And I think of that time as a time of beauty, although I mourn not having a *normal* birth, the love I felt for Ansen and my faith in God, giving me the strength to move on through my fear was bigger and more beautiful then anything normal could have been.  Honestly, I tear up thinking of that one solitary moment of my life.   It was terrifying, yet beautiful.  I may mourn all these things above, but I also appreciate how they have made my life more meaningful and more faith based and more faith lead.  And just plain beautiful.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Haven't had much to say....

I kinda go back and forth on my mood and it seems like I have a lot of "feel sorry"moments that I try to avoid posting on here.  I hate to complain bc I have so much to be thankful for.  When I faced this surgery all I asked G od was to keep me alive for Doug and my children and God answered my prayers.  Although I feel like a prisoner to this neverending wound, I am still so lucky bc things could have been much worse for me.  And I can't complain about Ansen and the monitor and 02 for the cars and the meds, bc he shouldn't even be here in the first place after all he has gone through. 

But I would be lying if I didn't say that I missed my old life.  I miss being able to go out with my kids, I miss grocery shopping and parks and Costco, and just about everything else in the world I can't experience while sitting in the house, on this darn couch.  The night visiting nurse is on my case (honestly, I think he is a touch psychotic) that I am to remain 24/7 homebound or he is going to report me to my insurance company and I will lose my visiting nurse care.  Makes me feel like a prisoner.  Like a felon when I leave the house to *gasp* go on a ride.  And its not fair that I have to live like this, after all I have already had to go through this last 2 months.  Can I please START to resume a normal life here now???  I put in my 2 months of hell, I just want to be able to enjoy the "normals" again, only this time with my SIX kids.  When I sneak out of the house to do something normal (like go to my brothers for a cookout (where I am a good girl and do little but sit in a chair and feed the baby), I feel so happy and free and normal.  But those days are far and few between for now, since I have to make sure I am somewhat homebound....I don't want to risk losing my visiting nurses, bc this is still a little bit more then we can care for.  *sigh*  Its all so difficult, this whole thing has been difficult, and maybe I am just a difficult *invalid*.

On the Ansen news, he is now 10.5 lbs, still eating all the time during the day and sleeping a good 6+hour stretch at night.  Seems really early for him to be doing that, but I will take it.  He also gave me his first real smile today.  Made me forget how abnormal I still am right now....well at least for a few moments anyways.  Gosh I love my baby boy, and I love my other five children so much.  I just want to give them back our old life.  And I want it back myself.  Hopefully wound keeps healing as well as it is, its just a big wound and going to take quite some time yet.  God, please grant me the patience to get through the rest of this sanely. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Update on things

So dressings have gone REALLY well for me (vs the wound vac).  A couple times so far, a smell has started and we were able to get rid of it right away with a dressing soaked in Dakins (bleach and baking powder solution).   The smell is usually indicative of some kind of bacteria, and the Dakins kills it quickly and efficiently, whereas with the wound vac, it would all marinate in there for days, seeminly killing my good tissue in that timeframe (since wound vac sponges are only changed every 2/3 days, whereas dressings are changed twice a day).  My wound looks FABULOUS after 11 days after surgery, which is record for me.  I am very happy with all that, although the wound vac people keep calling my nurse, telling her that I "need" that wound vac back on right now.  Blah, whatever. 

Above my wound, they stitched some skin together that is unfortunately not holding up as well.  The stitches are ripping through my skin bc the skin is held together so tightly (a result from having so much skin and tissue taken out the last 5 debridments).  The bottom stitch (on top half) is just barely there now.  Holding on to the tiniest bit of skin left.  My nurse told me to make it hold on, bc she has ordered me an abdominal binder to wear around my middle.  The binder will take the pressure off those stretched areas and help them heal better.  So I have been trying to get up/move around without using my stomach at all....let me tell you that getting up out of a chair not using your middle is almost impossible.  It takes a lot of effort. 

Ansen is still my snuggle bug.  He has started having a cranky hour or two starting at about 630, and even nursing does little at those moments.  The boy can SCREAM!!  The only things that seem to help him
 is someone walking him around for 2 hours (which my mother in law actually enjoys doing) or going for a car ride.  I prefer doing the car ride, but Doug works most nights at that time.  *sigh*  And my mother in law is only over about once a week at that time, so most nights, I just kinda have to deal with the screaming.   If my mom is over, she freaks out and keeps telling me he needs a bottle.  I know this shall pass, I remember fondly going through it with my other kids.  Ansen had a wonderful day yesterday (besides that cranky 2 hours), we hung out outside and he watched his sisters and brothers play and contently snoozed quite a bit in the bouncer.  He still eats all the time, and prefers to be held 24/7.  I hold him on the couch at night after he eats and we sleep together this way (since he is on a monitor that registers any drop of o2, I am not too worried about this setup).  Part of me can't wait til he will sleep next to me and not on me, but then I really enjoy the snuggles, and looking down at his face, with the peaceful content look he has sleeping. 

Oxygen wise, he NEVER needs it at night anymore.  His o2 sats stay at 95 or above the whole night (and day).  Unfortunately, we still need the o2 for our van rides.   His o2 sats are all over the place when he is riding in the van (always while sleeping)....and they dip in the 80's often and alarm.  I think it must be bc
when he is sleeping, his neck crunches up to the side and it must interfere with his breathing just enough.  So every car ride he has the o2, but other then that he is o2 free.  He has an appt with pulmonologist this Tuesday and we will find out what they are planning to do, they said they would try weaning something (hoping its some of these round the clock meds!!)

The kids still absolutely adore him and its always a fight as to who can hold him next.  Kylie was holding him sleeping on her chest this morning, then Elise changed his diaper and outfit, while he calmly/serenely stared up at her, letting her do whatever she needed to.  Then Gavin helped give him his med bottle and "bur burp" him.  Then Caden was holding him for a few minutes.  This baby boy of mine is well loved!    These sweet moments remind me of how worthy this wound is.  It hasn't been easy, but its 110% been worth it for sure. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

For 2 years....

I hemmed and hawed about going for that 6th baby of mine. I did NOT want to go through another pregnancy and risk anything, when I had so much to lose. I just felt danger when I thought of another pregnancy (for good reason it appears). And some days I convinced myself to be happy with the 5 I had. I was sure of it. But then this little bit of doubt would creep in, as I would imagine this little person added to our family; this little soul kept pestering me, and I couldn't stop thinking about the reward at the end, and then I would become unsure again. Perhaps if I thought more positively, things could go more positively and I could bring this last little person in the world? But it felt like danger. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth I went. I have NEVER felt that way for any of my other children.

When I saw that positive pregnancy test, I was filled with joy AND fear. Wondering what the heck I had gotten mysef into.....and if it would be worth it. And after all this nightmare, after all the tears and heartache and paralyzing fear and sadness and pain and bedrest and NICU and hospital stays and surgeries and just plain craziness related to this pregnancy, I only have one thing to say.


Every tear and every fear. Every surgery so far and in the future. Its strange to look at one of your children and know that you almost convinced yourself not to have him. And then you almost were convinced to terminate him. And then you almost lost him again to miscarriage. And then you almost had to deliver him at 26 weeks (which knowing his crappy lung status at 36 weeks, is terrifying to consider now). He shouldn't be here. Anyone who had half a brain would probably have stopped while they were ahead. But I followed my heart, hoped and prayed really hard, and we have not had an easy go of it for sure. But he is here. I just want to burst into tears when I consider him NOT being here with us right now. Not seeing the sweet little faces he makes, how he stares so intently at us, it feels like he is staring INTO our souls. Not seeing how much my kids are smitten with him. Not being able to see how sweet Gavin is wanting to give him all his med bottles proudly, seeing how Rylan pats his head and calls him his Baby Ahhhnnnn. Not being able to hear Caden say proudly "mommy I LOVE my baby brudder so much". Not seeing Elise with Ansen cuddled on her chest while sucking her thumb, Kylie happily changing Ansen's little diaper while talking about the 4-10 kids she and Elise will have (so far named Vanessa, Lily, Michael and John at the moment). Not seeing Doug holding him, hearing him say that he is so happy that we added him to our family-that he is the perfect final addition. Not being able to hold him myself, smell his sweet baby smell, having him cuddle into my chest, as he happily and peacefully drifts off to sleep, with not a worry in the world.

I consider the other road I could have taken. The easier road. The far less painful road. The far less crazy road. Our life would probably be pretty simply right now, not having had to go through the last year of hardship. But my heart wouldn't be bursting with that happiness and fullness I feel, now knowing for sure I have all the kids I was meant to. I have that last baby, the one that shouldn't be here, but IS.... bc he really WAS supposed to be here, with us, in my arms, in our family, with his brothers and sisters.

2 years ago, I didn't know if it would ultimately happen. I didn't know if we could let that last baby in our hearts into our life. Thank you God for the courage He gave us to give it a try, and to move forward every time it seemed like we had nowhere to go but down. It certainly hasn't been an easy journey. But worthwhile? Oh yes. I would do it all again in a heartbeat, just to bring him into our lives again; to complete our family, to see that joy in my children's faces, to see him cuddled in the arms of alll the family and friends that love and appreciate his little life as much as we do, to hear those little content sighs as Ansen lays snuggled into me. 2 years ago, I didn't know what true hardship was, nor did I know what true joy could feel like. And now......we do.

Friday, July 23, 2010

5th debridment done and over with....

These surgeries are getting OLD!!  This one was actually located in a new wing of the hospital, called "daystay".  It was pretty nice there, compared to the rest, down in bottom floor of hospital.   As I was being put to sleep the anesthesiologist told me to relax, that I was breathing "Hawaiian air".  Its funny that I was terrified of being put under general anesthesia, yet here I am....haing had to have to general 6 times now since June 3rd.  I am practicaly a pro now.  When I woke up, it was definately 2 percocet worthy of pain.  Headed home to be with my family, knowing that I had to spend the next day alone with the 6 kids, recovering from this, since Doug has used up ALL his time now.

The next day (yesterday), the visiting nurse came and she measured.  Wound went from 17cnX7cm to 12cmX4 cm.  It also went from 2 cm deep to 6 cm deep, thanks to all the debridding.  Gosh, I hate the word and I hate what they do.  They use scissors and scalpels and pretty much chop and slice any bad tissue away until its nothing but red beefy looking stuff.  The heathy stuff.  So they closed up a substantial amount of this BUT its covering basically nothing but a hole right now....they say that tissue will fill up and in now, eventually to top of skin that they closed.  I wonder how long this will take.  I keep eating my protein, drinking my water and trying to rest as much as I can.  Was really hard to rest yesterday with Doug being gone and the kids being PSYCHO.  I know they are just sick of this all, as sick as I am of it all.  I had to take quite a few percocet yesterday and I was so drowsy and the kids were acting so badly....the morning was very overwhelming.  I finally got the twints to nap, and Ansen to nap in my lap....had 3 big kids turn on a movie, and I was able to lay back and actually rest for a few minutes.  Thankfully, my friend Jenn came over for the afternoon, to distract my psychotic kids and give me something to make the afternoon go by faster.  It was a LONG day, filled with lots of percocet.  And then Heather (visiting nurse) came back and said that one part of stitches looked like it was being really stretched (like that part could let go) and that I REALLY needed to rest as much as possible (which she admitted was the impossible task with all the kids).  I have been really trying not to stress my stomach much, and I am hoping that part doesn't look any worse this morning.

This morning I woke up with no pain meds in my system and I wasn't in tears/clutching the arms of couch kind of pain, so that was nice.  Definately still painful but some pain has subsided since yesterday.  Might be able to alternate percocet and ibuprofin...the straight up percocet all day makes me so nauseous. I am alone with all the kids again-Doug is taking a fire physical an hour away.  Can't wait til he is home, so I can really rest...but still many hours to go til he gets here.  Ansen will only sleep in my arms now...I might have created a monster....but at the moment, its easier to have him right there anyways, so that I can take care of him without having to move around too much.  Right now, he is napping curled up on my left side.  As long as he is on me, all is right with his world and he will peacefully sleep for hours. 

Throughout all this, no matter how difficult things have been, I have yet to look at Ansen and wish for the easier road.  He was totally worth it.  This journey has indeed majorly sucked at times (most of the time), I am sick of being in pain, tired of operation after operation, just longing for a "normal" life again.  But then I look at Ansen, and he was most certainly meant to be here.  He completes our family and he completes my heart.  I am not in an easy place right now at all, but Ansen has his life bc of it and his life blesses/enriches my life so much.  Just have to keep enjoying my blessings, throughout all the difficult moments (especially through pain-thats one of my biggest hurdles right now).

I just want to heal now and move on. I am hoping that our trial without wound vac will prove to be more helpful to my healing.  Right now, Heather is packing the inside of this with sterile gauze and saline, twice a day.  Here's hoping my tissue is not hindered by any more more dead stuff in there and it can grow, grow, GROW and fill in those areas that need to be filled in.  What a blessing it will be to one day have an intact stomach again.  I get giddy thinking about it. 

*Thank you God, for helping me live through this all, so that I could still enjoy and cherish the world and people around me....all I ask now is to PLEASE help my body heal now.  Thank you.*