Wednesday, April 29, 2009

So much to do and so little time to do it

Well I didn't want my last post before vacation to be about me not sleeping and having nightmares. Thankfully, I am sleeping better, although I never get to bed before midnight. I haven't had any more nightmares (yeah!) and yes, I am still uncomfortable. I can accept the last one since I am pregnant and am confident that I have finally put on some weight. I told Branden that I feel like I have doubled in size in the last week. Our baby girl is growing!

So, we leave tomorrow for Yosemite and return on Monday. We are all so excited, but we have SO MUCH packing to do. It's so hard to be away from the house with little ones and not want to take everything - just in case. Obviously, we have limited space in the truck so I will have to leave some stuff here.

And listen to this - Lakeshore called me today to see if I wanted to do a photo shoot - not the kids ME!! Of course, it's Friday and we will be gone, but how cool would that have been. I was going to sit behind a desk (hide the pregnant belly) and pretend to be a teacher - too cool. Oh well, I guess my modeling career will be on hold for a bit longer.

Wishing you all a wonderful rest of the week and a great weekend. Look forward to sharing all about our vacation when we return!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tossing,Turning and Nightmares!

So, I know that you don't get the best sleep of your life when you are pregnant but my goodness....... The last few nights have been horrible! I have been tossing and turning and severely unable to get comfortable. I'm not that big (yet) and it's not that hot (yet) so I can't even imagine what the last 2 months of my pregnancy are going to be like - YIKES!

Worse than the tossing and turning is the nightmares I've had. I have had two this week - both have woken me up crying. I vaguely remember having bad dreams when pregnant with the boys but I thought it was much closer to the end of the pregnancy. Nothing is worse than having a nightmare which involves your child - both were about my Jack :-(

I am hoping for restful sleep with only happy dreams tonight! I wish the same for anyone who reads this :-)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jack's photoshoot at Lakeshore

Last Monday Jack went in for 2 photo shoots at Lakeshore. He was SO excited when they called the previous week to see if he was available. They took pictures for an adorable dinosaur cover and this one for the web. We don't think he got the cover one, although I think it's absolutely adorable and will post it as soon as I get permission from Branden who gets me a sneak peek at the photo's. We got the e-mail tonight that he will be used for this web ad. He was SO proud of himself! We were very proud of him as well. It's not easy having several people give you directions about your head, hand, product, etc. while continuing to smile when you are only 4.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Jack's dentist appointment

Jack had a another great visit at the dentist today. He was such a good boy! I was watching him and remembering how much I disliked having those fluoride treatment trays in my mouth - yuck! Although, I could tell he didn't care for it either he didn't complain once - I LOVE THAT! Once again, no cavities so he will return again in another 6 months - yeah! Let's see if dad does as well at his appointment tomorrow night (he he).

It's not the greatest picture since it's from my old phone but it's something.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The latest on our baby girl

Well, I have to be honest I don't really feel much like putting this post together, but I also don't feel up to calling anyone with the latest news :-( What to do? We are truly blessed to have so many people that love us and our beautiful baby on the way and I know that they want to hear the results of yesterday's ultrasound. So here it is in a nutshell:

She was very cooperative this time and we got some adorable pictures of her. The 3D and 4D ultrasound images are just amazing. The boys knew right away that it was a picture of their sister I brought home. She's measuring the right size, but has very little "meat" on her bones. It's crazy that the only time I have trouble gaining weight is when I'm pregnant - go figure?

They were able to see the hole (birth defect) in her spine this time. It appears to be located at L5 to S1. This is the last lumbar and the first Sacrum.

Lumbar – The lower part of the spine between the thoracic region and the sacrum. The lumbar spine consists of five vertebrae.

Sacrum – A part of the spine that is also part of the pelvis. It articulates with the ilia at the sacroiliac joints and articulates with the lumbar spine at the lumbosacral joint. The sacrum consists of five fused vertebrae that have no intervertebral discs.

Ideally if you are going to have an opening in your spine this is one of the best places to have it. The Dr.'s and everything I have read have said "the lower, the better".

They did unfortunately detect the beginning stages of Hydrocephalus (water on the brain). This was very disappointing to us. Although, we were fully aware that 75% of children with Spina Bifida develop Hydrocephalus we were really hoping our baby wouldn't. We really don't know exactly what else this means for her except she will most likely have another surgery to insert a shunt into her head to drain the fluid.

I'm not sure if there was much else notable from the visit. It was a pretty overwhelming morning for us. I am SO thankful that Branden's job understands and allows him to come to work late so we can be together. That has been unbelievably helpful.

We did meet our new doctor. Her name is Dr. McNaulty and we really liked her. We had heard that she was wonderful and our first interaction and impression of her was very positive. She is very optimistic and although was honest about what she saw on the baby's spine and brain she was quite encouraged by the look of the baby's other organs. She was quick to correct me when I referred to the baby as being "sick". She said "your baby is NOT sick, she has a birth defect and we will be correcting it once she is born". She reminded me that as of today all of her other major organs are functioning very normally. We pretty much ended on that note and felt comfortable that she will be the one that will be seeing us through this pregnancy. She also gave us the "go ahead" to go on our family vacation to Yosemite. We are very excited! Looking forward to sharing stories and photo's about the trip when we return. My next Dr.'s appointment will be on May 8th.

As always, thank you for caring and for your continued love and support.

Nicole & Branden

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Feeling apprehensive about tomorrow

We are seeing the specialists at Magella again tomorrow for another ultrasound of our baby girl. I am asking if anyone who reads this to please say an extra prayer for us. I am nervous about what they will see and really feel like I need some extra strength. On one hand if they see where the hole is then we will be better prepared to discuss the surgery with the Dr. and plan for the disability associated with a hole in that location. If they don't see the hole then we can go on hoping that it is so tiny and may have only the slightest of affects associated with it. The unknown is such a crazy thing - it is what stresses me out most days, but also what gives me a bit of hope for the future that lies ahead.

Thanks for your continued love and support.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Benjamin's photo shoot at Lakeshore

According to Branden, the photographer decided to change the angle and the lighting so Benjamin wasn't chosen but they said he did a GREAT job! I was so proud of how he posed just liked they wanted, answered all their questions and was just super sweet. He received a $50 gift certificate to Lakeshore for his 20 minutes of "work" and of course a visit to daddy's office. Not too bad! I can't forget to mention that big brother Jack was a great helper by standing on the sidelines and not touching anything or making any unnecessary noise during the photo shoot. He said he was being "extra good" just in case they wanted to take his picture - so cute. Maybe next time.

Here's the picture from Ben's first photo shoot last year. What a difference. My baby is growing up! BTW - this one is in the current catalog :-)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Welcome to Holland

A good friend sent us this story. It was very hard for me to read through it without crying but it does help to provide some perspective. I wanted to share it.

Welcome to Holland:

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel.

It's like this . . .

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip-- to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make wonderful plans. The Colosseum, Michelangelo's David. The gondolas in Venice. You may even learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland! Holland? You say. What do you mean, Holland? I signed up for Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change of flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy, place full of pestilence, famine, and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy. Less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips. Holland has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they are bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned." And the pain of that will never, ever, ever go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

The amnio. results came in

As expected the results only confirmed what we learned last week. Yes, our baby girl is ill, most likely with Spina Bifida. The results showed a high level AFP - average is 1.0 and mine was 7.09. I was told that the number is not indicative of how severe the illness is, just confirmation that she has it.

I wish I could say that this latest news didn't bring on another round of tears but it did. I'm sad, actually very sad and I'm sort of confused why. We knew she had this, we have been working through it all week - so why I am I SO upset all over again? I do however have a different perspective on genetic testing now. I am glad that I got tested. I am glad that we are now able to start preparing for our sweet babies birth and the critical care she will need. Had we not known about her illness until her birth I am confident that her long term prognosis would look very different than it will look - I am going to make sure of that!

I am now on a mission now to find the best OB, Specialist and Neuro Surgeon to take care of our daughter. I will most likely be changing OB's soon and interviewing Dr.'s to ensure that I have the most qualified person looking out for the health of our daughter.

We continue to ask for your prayers and support. I am so up and down all the time, it's hard to believe that this is what it's going to be like for the next few months. Also, any doctor recommendations are welcome. My next appointment (current OB) is April 9th and my next ultra sound (specialist at Magella) is April 16. Until then..............