Monday, December 12, 2011

A Few Days Behind Us....

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak" Isaiah 40:29

Each day that passes feels like such an accomplishment right now. Life has been very stripped down for us. A little sad at Christmas time, but we keep remembering it is just for a season. We have seen the Lord's blessings begin to rain down which makes us feel like we can make it. Our wonderful church family has covered us with meals in the evenings. For Matt, that is huge! He loves to cook, but when he is working, being Mr Mom, and seeing to all the medical daily care for me, time for cooking seems to elude him-imagine that:)

Saturday was a good day for me, at least until the evening. I was able to go 48 hours with no vomiting, so Sat afternoon, I was actually able to eat a meal-oh wow, does food taste good when there is a lack of nausea. Matt grabbed me a sandwich from Panera-when I have the ability to eat, there is usually a very strong craving that goes along with it. But by the evening, those 48 hours of freedom was over. I had a very rough night and Sunday was horrible. It was another day of tears and unrelenting vomiting. I had been so hoping to be up and around when the kids got home from my parents. It was so good to see them and have them home again.

But today seems to be another mild day. I am far from 100%, but I am more than happy to be at 80%. Sat at the breakfast table with the family, took a shower(heaven), and have held down one of Matt's wonderful pancakes. Monday mornings are our big family breakfasts, since Matt is off. The kids are enjoying the day and happy to be home. Matt was able to go visit one of our kids from church who is having some pretty serious surgery this morning. And my nurse has already been here to redress my PICC line sight. The redressing is both painful and soothing all in one. Unfortunately the cleaning tends to burn, but it also soothes the skin irritation as well. We will hopefully only need one nurse visit a week now. Matt is able to handle all of the care except the redressing. I work with a pharmacy who delivers all of the meds and supplies. Noah was quite sure that when all the boxes arrived the first time, that there were puppies in them(wouldn't that be nice!) Not exactly the presents you expect under the tree;).

On Friday I was blessed to have two letters arrive snail mail style. They arrived just before I had to go into the hospital to see if the baby was still alive. Talk about God's timing!! Letters of such encouragement and hope, so thankyou my sweet friends for being sensitive to the Holy Spirit-they were a "God Thing"!!

Lora, my sweet friend from Eager Hands made the most beautiful necklace of Hope for me. The two leaves represent healing (Rev 22:2) as well as being a symbol of baby and me.The emerald represents healing and new life. She believes the pearl represents how the Lord sees me and the purity of my heart that He now sees in me. She hammered the pendant to represent 2 Cor 4:8-9 "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but do not despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." I was so blessed to wear this as I sat and waited at the hospital to see if our little babe was still with us. Thank you Lora, for a tangible and beautiful reminder of how precious it is to trust in the Lord during these trials! The Lord has given you such an amazing gift!!

My sweet sister Nicole, who lives too far away(Seattle) has blessed me with an early Christmas gift. She ordered the entire series of Dr Quinn, Medicine women on DVD. The minutes and hours can pass ever so slowly on my really hard days, and the TV can be a blessing and distraction, but I need to be so very careful of my choices of what to watch. For a spirit that is already discouraged, watching despair, violence, etc is not a good medicine! So these shows will offer hope. Nik has also taken on the job of buying Matt's stocking stuffers for me. I just need to get a list to her. She had helped me with this in my pregnancy with Noah as well. Such a huge gift since I cannot go out shopping. Thank you sis!! You are a lifesaver!!

My prayer today is that we can take the kiddos for a drive tonight to look at Christmas lights. A tradition I hope not to have to skip this year!! Praying that I will have strength for it. We have simple goals these days!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Little Update...

Let's see, I believe I left off on Monday of this past week. As many of you know, I am expecting my 6th wee one. I am one of the 2% of women who struggle with hyperemesis or HG during pregnancy. I wanted to share this journey with others since we have experienced it multiple times and help to bring a little understanding to it.

So, Monday, I had the PICC line placed to allow for 24 hour IV infusion along with meds. When Tuesday rolled around, I met one of my nurses and she walked us through a refresher on the infusion pump, all the meds, etc. But I had been having such pain in my chest that was finally determined to be coming from all the acid I had been vomiting. So as soon as my nurse had me hooked up, Matt and I headed to the cancer care clinic in town for some new meds. The cancer clinic is one of the rare group of DRs and nurses that work with these pumps, nausea, etc. I have been there in other pregnancies as well. My doctor wanted to try something new, they were adding Pepcid to my infusion. It is supposed to help with reducing the production of acid and help to digest food quickly. I was also receiving a pain shot since I could not hold down anything for pain orally. The nurse there was so sweet and helpful. I have been since then, adding the Pepcid everyday to the IV solution and this is the first time I have actually seen a real difference. I have gone 36 hours without vomiting-a true miracle. The zofran I have always taken for nausea never seemed to help a whole lot. And Reglan, another anti nausea med, I have a bed reaction to. But right now, I have 3 IV doses of zofran and 2 doses of Pepcid. I am also receiving vitamins through the IV solution-this is a first for me on that as well. All of them working together, seem to be helping. I have eaten some very small meals and held it down. Huge victory.

On Wednesday, when my nurse came, she noticed that there was some swelling in my right calf, and upon looking more closely, she thought it may be a blood clot, so we were out the door again to the hospital. Thankfully my team of nurses and DRs were able to have me seen as an outpatient instead of having to wait hours in the ER. I had a dopler test done on my leg and it showed no blood clot, Praise the Lord!! But by this time, with all of the chaos, my mom was on her way to stay with the kids and help me. Wednesday nights are pretty full evening for us, so this came as an upset that left us scrambling a bit to figure out how to make everything work. Some friends from church graciously took over Matt's responsibilities in youth group, another couple of friends came to pick up our older kids for church, and another friend was going to take our little ones for the night if need be. The hospital had us in and out though in time for Matt to get to youth group and mom arrived 20 minutes after he left for church to help me with the little ones.

Thursday, was the first day I was home all day. Mom got all of the kids except Cole packed up and was taking them home with her. Giving them a break from the chaos, giving me a chance to rest, and giving Cole a bit of a break as well from managing things around here when Matt was at work. I was really sick on Thursday though. And before Matt left for youth group that night, I just wept while we sat at the edge of our bed. I felt like I could not do it any longer. I had no relief the idea of months more of this was more than I could handle at that moment. So, as I wept, Matt prayed for relief, for healing, and for comfort. I had such pain from not eating that I couldn't take it anymore and had some mashed potatoes made. I slowly ate them while I was in bed and then fell asleep. I woke hours later feeling a bit better, and as time went on, I was surprised to see that my meal was staying with me. That night, I slept really good, and woke up feeling much much better. A step in a good direction.

So Friday, I managed to hold down some more potatoes and did not have any vomiting. We had to cal my nurse though because my PICC line was leaking. She came over and was able to get it working right again. There are so many little things that can go wrong with the PICC. My arm gets achy from it and itches horribly from the dressing. I have the dressing changed once a week and I remember how good it felt to have the old dressing pulled. It makes life a bit more difficult, hard to take showers because it cannot get wet. So preparing for a shower is a lot of work. It makes sleeping a bit difficult too. Last night, somehow I would my line around my neck while sleeping. Many nights we are awoken to the pump alarm going off because somehow I have kinked the line. I have a little pack that I carry around the IV solution in, which is much more convenient than having a big ol' IV pole to trip over. The kids are good about being careful not to tug on the line. It is almost discreet enough to go out in public with and not draw too much attention, which I am thankful for, although I do not have much energy to go out anymore.

By yesterday afternoon, I had started to bleed. It was crushing to have to call Matt at work to tell him. Because I had been feeling better and then this, I was sure that I had lost the baby. My team of Drs and nurses sure jumped to get me in and find out what was going on. My exam showed positive results but we still needed to have an ultrasound to make sure. The hospital was so busy, so the Dr seeing me, took Matt and I up to another dept that was closed for the weekend and did my ultrasound there. Sure enough, there was that tiny little heart just beating as strong as it could-amazing!! She let us just watch the baby for awhile. What relief!! Matt and I had braced for the worst. And my biggest fear was that I was afraid I could not try again after how hard this pregnancy had already been. It is one thing to be surprised and know you need to see something through because the Lord has handed you this amazing gift. But it is another to willingly walk into it knowing, fresh in your mind, the hardships that await you! Thank you Jesus for choosing what we did not have the strength to!! We are so excited!!

Some wonderful friends had dropped dinner off for Matt and Cole-what a blessing!! And I was so excited to see a big pan of assorted homemade Christmas cookies!!! I have been so bummed that I could not bake this Christmas for the kids. This is the first of Christmas goodies around here! It was so good to see Matt finally sit down and eat when we got home from the hospital. Cole helped out by signing for my medical supply delivery while we were gone. He let our friends in too.

So it is Saturday morning, I am doing alright, Matt is working on all the shipping for my shop and then we will try to get a handle on the house. I am hoping he and Cole can get out and do something together later too. Cole and Matt need a break big time. The rest of the kiddos will be coming home tomorrow. We miss them.We will work for one more week on school and then break until after the New Year.

To My Sweet Little One...

My Strong Little One Growing Safe Inside Me,

This has been a very long and difficult week. I have been seen either by the Doctor or the hospital at least once each day. Yesterday was the hardest day of them all. I thought I had lost you. I had been feeling much better for almost a day and then I started to bleed. I thought for sure with those two things, that you were gone. The hardest part was to tell your Daddy, he was crushed, he has been so excited about you, and doesn't mind a bit taking care of me until you arrive. Mama has such a wonderful team of doctors that worked quickly to see what was going on. One of the Doctors even brought us in to a part of the hospital that was closed for the weekend in order to find out if you were still growing safely. Jesus has just prepared everything we have needed before we even need it. The Dr made sure to let us know quickly how you were, and to our amazement, there was your tiny heart just beating away. She let us just watch you for awhile. What a miracle you are! What fun it will be to bring you to meet all of the doctors and nurses that have rallied around Dad and I during this time and have shown such compassion. We are blessed.

Your Grandma Lois rushed out Wednesday evening to help me and your brothers and sisters. She took all of them home with her for awhile except for Your oldest brother Cole, who wanted to stay and help me here. I am so thankful for her and all the help. Couldn't make it through without her. I miss them all though, but know they are doing well without having to worry through all of these adjustments being made here at home.

I can't wait until next Christmas, when you are here with us. What a celebration that will be!! With all my love sweet little one, Mama

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A little Update...

It has been a very rough week. I went from being an active mama and wife to being completely unable to care for myself in a matter of a week. My hyperemesis has hit with a vengeance. I spent Sunday night in the ER being rehydrated after days of unrelenting vomiting and an inability to hold anything down. After making it home after 1 am, we were back at the doctor at 9am to begin the process of home health care. I had to have an emergency ultrasound to make sure the baby was safe. We were blessed to hear that strong little heartbeat and I was overwhelmed by that sound. Next was the surgery to place my PICC line. We finally arrived back home for good after 5. It was amazing how the Lord granted strength to get through such a long day, but I had a great deal of pain throughout the evening from the surgery with no ability to manage pain since nothing stays down. So there were some pretty dark hours I felt like giving up in. The vomiting does not cease in the nighttime hours, so I struggle to get any sleep. But morning has come and with it, a small amount of relief, a little less pain and a few hours void of the constant wretching. Matt is home today to meet my new nurse and learn how to care for the PICC line and infusion I will be getting round the clock. It helps a great deal to have him hear. The kids of course have pitched in a great deal, but are struggling for sure. They struggle in different ways especially depending on their ages. This is the part I hate the most. Sometimes I wish I could hide all of it from them. I know it scares them, I see it, and even though they have been through it before, it is still hard. Life just gets a major upset. It was hard to even figure out when to get groceries in the middle of all of it. So 10pm last night, Matt finally got out for some. Madi has taken on a partnership with Matt in making the list as well as seeing to all of the laundry and much of the care of the little ones. They are a good team. Cole is my comic and tries to make me laugh, which I hate to admit, but it doesn't come easy. And he is also the one that holds down the fort every time Matt and I need to be gone. Joslyn is the easy going,"it's going to be ok" one, but also super sensitive to always making sure to come and give me a kiss,rub my back and just make sure I am not alone. Bell is in a unique age, able to not understand completely and be able to play with Noah like nothing has changed, but does have those moments when it hits pretty hard and she just really needs to crawl in bed with me and cuddle. She fell asleep in my arms last night after a good amount of tears. And Noah, he is just curious about it all and not too fazed by it. He is another good cuddler which I am grateful for. And Matt, well, he is just amazing. The amount he takes on is overwhelming but he does it with such grace and care.

There you have it, a little view into the life of an HG pregnancy. It may be a little too real and raw, so I apologize. The weeks ahead seem so very long, but I know there is an end with a super sweet blessing;) May the Lord bless all of you this Christmas season and be your strength for the difficult passages you may be going through!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

To My Sweet Little One...

Sweet Little One growing inside me, I have dreamed of you forever but never knew I would have the chance to meet you someday. You are the seventh child I always wanted. You have 2 charming brothers and 3 beautiful sisters, and one sibling in the arms of Jesus we look forward to meeting some day together, all of us. There is so much I want to tell you and your brothers and sisters. See, I get really sick in order to bring you into this world. I have always dreamed of waiting for my babes with energy and health, but Jesus just made me different, and I trust Him for this even when it makes me really sad. Today has been a hard day, and I know that it is not going to change for quite awhile. I was feeling really scared about the days ahead, I was not wanting your brothers and sisters to struggle and feel alone because I am sick, and Jesus whispered an idea in my heart. You are so small right now, I cannot feel you kicking yet, the 34 weeks until you get here seem so far away, and sometimes it is hard to remember what the suffering is for, so I thought that if I write you and let you know how much you are loved, then maybe that hope will continue to help these days pass.

I heard your heartbeat yesterday for the first time, I was overwhelmed at the sound. No matter how many times I have had a child growing in me, it never becomes ordinary or common, it is truly amazing, and there is an instant and unexplainable love that comes from hearing your tiny little heart beating. God is forming you and knows all of your days already and He is protecting you from the storm waging outside my womb. I know He has a plan for you and I am the tool to bring you life, so I have no question of the worth in the pain. I do wish for deliverance from it often and do get discouraged and even wonder why the suffering is necessary, but I know He is in control and with me through it.

We are anxious to meet you, the days will not go fast enough. We are so grateful to the Lord for the gift of your life. Love Your Mama

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ain't This Just Grand...

So, humor is a gift, and it is one we put to great use around here starting about now in my pregnancy. I am attempting to accept, with grace, that this time is not going to be the exception we were hoping for. We make small adjustments, with laughter, to the fact that I am now, once again, the queen of puke(sorry if that offends you!) around here. The moments of humor are the moments that help us through the tears though-because make no mistake, this ain't grand at all;). I am beginning down the not being able to hold anything down, as a matter of fact it took me 4 tries this morning to keep just a few crackers down. Finally by noon, I could get out of bed today. And this is my wonderful menu plan now.
The altoids are not for nutrition;) they are to help my sinuses, because as you can imagine they take a good beating from losing all of my meals. The peppermint helps just a tad with nausea, but since I cannot keep any pain relievers down for head aches, this has to do.

We made a quick trip to the doctor this afternoon to have some things checked out and sure enough I have lost weight and my lab work is showing that I am already dehydrated. We will be picking up some meds for nausea and be back on Monday to see how I am doing. I cooked up a batch of beans today-plain old beans-and am trying to eat them-thanks to a friend, I read an article by a nutritionist, that claims beans will work against the nausea unlike the silly claims that B6, saltines, or anything else will somehow work miracles for women like me. We have tried it all, but we'll give this a shot too.

So, here we go, another trip down the hyperemesis train, I know it's not very glamorous, but it's real. And yes, it is worth it even when I have to say it in the middle of a puddle of my own tears!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Doing Some More Research...

Yesterday I got hit with nausea and it took me out for the count. I spent most of the remainder of the day on the couch. I was still able to eat some dinner, but it took everything in me to manage to keep it down. Being at this point already frightens me, it most likely means I am heading in the direction I was hoping not to. My daily chores and activities are becoming very difficult, very quickly. So, I got up this morning and did some research again to see if I could find anything new on HG. While I did discover an organization called HER that I may contact considering this will be my 6th experience going through this, I came across a blog post of a woman who has experienced HG through her pregnancies as well and has shared her experience. It was an encouragement to me just to know of others who have gone through it. I am thankful that my Dr is one of the Doctors who understand this condition enough to have me treated for it, I feel deeply for women who do not have a strong support system to get through this. I am praying today that the Lord will help me to let go of plans I had in these next couple of months, and give me a peace about it. I am still able to keep up with orders coming in from the shop, but I have not been able to spend much effort on restocking, so I am trying to trust Him for that right now. My energy is on schooling with the kiddos from here on out, and my guess is that that will be about all I can muster. I am going to try to keep in touch here on the blog and will look forward to the days ahead when I am back on my feet, full of inspiration and energy and a new little one in my arms. We are still praying for healing but are also trusting His plan for the days ahead, knowing He will see to all of our needs, and knowing He is refining us even through difficulty.