Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Family Picture Time

For my birthday, we had family pictures taken. Josh hates taking pictures so this was a special treat for me! I am 36 weeks pregnant in these pictures - there are more fun belly pics, but they are a little too much belly to post on the blog. I was really happy with they way they turned out - thanks to One Creation Studios in Texarkana, TX!

Friday, October 24, 2008

A day in the life of an 18 month old boy

Joshua is my little explorer. He is curious about everything and wants to know what everything is and how it works from light switches to the TV remote to the dishwasher, he wants to participate. Today he was particularly nosy and got into all kinds of mischief. Here are a couple of examples...

1. He found his way into the bathroom (again) where I found him head first in the toilet bowl with his hands splashing around in the water and Joshua squealing in delight. Thank goodness I found him before he fell all the way in and drowned in the toilet!
2. Josh stayed home with Joshua during nap time while I went to my doctors appointment. Apparently, Joshua was not interested in napping while Daddy was home and when Josh went in to check on him, he found Joshua had wiggled out of his pants, removed his diaper and thrown it across the room! Praise Jesus it wasn't a poopy diaper!!!
3. I am preparing dinner and hear a bunch of grunting and banging behind me. I turn around to find Joshua is sitting in the middle of the kitchen table (he climbed up there on his own) and is having a grand ole time turning my salt and pepper shakers upside down!

4. Joshua is eating dinner. He must have not been particularly hungry because he started playing in his food, which I usually don't tolerate, but he got in to it so fast that I hardly had time to react. I look over, he has ravioli in his hair and black eyed peas all over his face, one dangling from his eyelash - he looked so funny that it was hard for me to discipline him without laughing.

5. Josh gave Joshua a bath after dinner. Josh thinks it is increasingly hilarious to let Joshua run around naked with his towel on his head after he takes a bath. I, of course, am always concerned that Joshua will pee all over the place as he running around in his birthday suit. Well, this time, I was proven right, Joshua runs out of the bathroom with his towel as a cape and proceeds to pee all over the floor - guess who got to clean that up - DADDY!!!
I have decided that little kids must have a million little guardian angels watching over them because it seems that we have a number of close calls around our house on a daily basis. Joshua certainly keeps me on my toes and I am wondering how I am going to keep up with him once little Julie arrives - we shall see!

Friday, October 17, 2008

36 weeks and still going strong

Well, I have made it to the 36 week mark without complication! For those of you that don't know, this is significant because little Joshua was delivered at 36 weeks by emergency c-section. I have re-posted the events of his delivery below as a reminder to myself of how grateful I am that this pregnancy has gone so much smoother than with Joshua and how truly blessed I was to have made it through that experience alive and with a healthy baby boy. So far, with this pregnancy, there have been no signs that the complications I had the first time will re-occur, but I am not out of the woods until the baby is here, so keep praying folks!!

"The following is a blog entry I wrote after Joshua was born - since it was a pretty crazy time, I like to read this from time to time and remind myself how fortunate I am to be alive and to have such a happy healthy baby....

Hello All! Well, the Walker family has finally made it home from the hospital. Joshua is doing well now and feeding like a champ! Mom is doing as well as can be expected given the circumstances. I know many of you are wondering what in the world happened, so I figured I would put the events of the last two weeks in an blog entry so I wouldn't have to tell the long story that it is over and over. I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but it has been quite an eventful time for us. So, here goes,

Tuesday, April 10th - I woke up at 2am with incredibly intense pain in my chest and was having trouble breathing. Considering that heartburn is common in pregnancy, I took a couple tums, a Tylenol and waited to see if the pain would go away. When the pain had only intensified by 5am, I woke Josh up concerned and we decided to call the doctor. The doctor instructed us to get in the car immediately and go to the emergency room. In the emergency room, they ran a series of tests (EKG, Cat scan, blood work, etc) to make sure I didn't have a heart problem. The EKG and Cat Scan all came back normal, but my blood work indicated that I had a condition called preeclampsia that had progressed into HELLP syndrome. Some women (lucky me) develop this condition which stands for Hemolysis,the breakdown of red blood cells, Elevated Liver enzymes, and Low Platelets, the blood cells necessary for clotting. Apparently, HELLP syndrome put both me and baby at even higher risk for the same kinds of problems that can result from severe preeclampsia. With the only cure for this syndrome being deliver of the baby, I was whisked up to the labor and delivery floor, IV's put in both of my arms, catheter inserted, and immediately prepped for an emergency c-section. Joshua Michael was born at 1:17pm in the afternoon and because he was premature, was taken to the NICU and put on oxygen. Other than having trouble breathing on his own and having trouble feeding, he was perfectly healthy! I did not have it so easy unfortunately, because one of the risks with HELLP syndrome is seizures, I was also put on magnesium sulfate through my IV - the most horrible substance in the world - this stuff makes you feel like it is 100 degrees in the room and also makes you incredibly thirsty and nauseous. I remained on this lovely treatment for 48 hours after delivery. I was also given frozen blood platelets and later two blood transfusions.

Wednesday, April 11th - My elevated liver enzymes began to stabilize, but my hemoglobin and blood platelets were still well below the normal range. Thus, I was given four more blood transfusions. Little Joshua came off the oxygen and was breathing well on his own but was still having trouble feeding and thus they put a little feeding tube in his nose to make sure he was getting enough calories each day. Dad became the professional feeder and spent a lot of time with the little guy in the nursery while mom was stuck in the bed getting pumped full of blood.

Thursday, April 12th - They took me off of the magnesium sulfate at this point - YEAH!!! As luck would have it though, after receiving all of this blood and fluid they put in me, my c-section incision began oozing blood and other grossness and my temperature spiked to 101 degrees. Also,because of all the fluid flowing through me and not being able to walk around, all of the fluid pooled in my butt making me look like I had the booty of an 80 year old lady:) They also put these leg contraptions on my legs that basically massaged my calves to avoid me getting blood clots in my legs. So, picture this, me hooked up to two IV's (one in each arm), my legs hooked to the bottom of the bed, and also hooked to a blood pressure monitor that checked my blood pressure every 15 minutes. Little Joshua was doing better, starting to eat more feedings on his own and was having fun playing with dad and coming to visit mom when he could.

Friday, April 13th - My incision did not improve, my temperature did not come down, so the doctor started me on oral antibiotics and decided it would be a good idea to open up the incision to see what was going on. So,they removed 3 of the staples in my incision and did a lot of pushing of the fluid out of my belly - the most intense pain I ever felt - was there numbing involved - NO!!! Turns out, I had what they called "third spaced" all this fluid they pumped in me between my incision and the next layer of skin. This makes normal healing of the incision space impossible and thus they packed my incision full of gauze and put a dressing on me.

Saturday, April 14th - My temperature broke and IV's came out. I was also able to take a shower for the first time since arriving at the hospital (I was really starting to stink). They came by to remove the packing from my incision and re-packed it again. At this point, my incision will not heal in a normal amount of time and I have to have it packed every day until all of the fluid is removed and the under layer of skin can close normally (the wound care people that I go see every day now say I will be all healed by July 4th - ugh!)

Sunday, April 15th - Is the fun over yet? Nope, temperature spiked again Saturday night leading them to think that my incision was now becoming infected. An IV was reinserted to my left arm and I was started on IV antibiotics for the next 24 hours. Also, my blood pressure elevated again and I was started on blood pressure medication. Meanwhile, the wound care folks came over to assess my incision and put me on this contraption called a wound vac that basically sucks the fluid out of your wound and supposedly helps you heal faster.

Monday, April 16th - Temperature broke and blood pressure stabilized, IV's came out and now just taking oral antibiotics. While Joshua's feeding was improving, his goal was to feed on his own consecutively for 48 hours,which he had not yet successfully done, but was feeding more and more on his own.

Tuesday, April 17th - Mom is ok to go home but little Joshua had to stay in the hospital until he could reach his feeding goal. Luckily, the hospital let us stay in our room so that we could stay close to baby Joshua.

Wednesday, April 18th - Joshua takes all his feedings and pulls the feeding tube out on his own - we thought it was a sign he was ready to go home :)

Thursday, April 19th - Joshua takes all his feedings again and is discharged from the hospital!

We finally go home!!"

The rest of the story goes ... I was on a wound vac until May 25th and had to go into the wound care center every other day to get the dressing changed. The wound vac was basically a tube that ran from the incision in my belly to a pump contraption thing that I had to carry around with me in a backpack. Not only was this extremely attractive, but the pump thing made a noise like a farting pig, so if I was out in public it sounded as if I was passing gas with every step. It took Joshua a month to get the breastfeeding going, but after a lot of perseverance on both parts, he finally took to the challenge and I was able to breastfeed him for a year.

Joshua is now an extremely healthy and active 18 month old. He is constantly in motion and keeps me busy! After all I went through to have him, he is the greatest joy and I would do it all over again!

Stay at home mom struggle

So, I have been dealing with this inner struggle these past few weeks. A little background information is probably in order. Before Joshua was born, I was pretty much the primary breadwinner in our household as Josh was in school. I was working in corporate America and was pretty good at my job. We weren't raking in the dough or anything like that, but were doing ok financially. We had always planned on having kiddos of course, but not until Josh was finished with school and the next step in our lives was more certain. Well, God had other plans and surprise, I was pregnant. It took us both a little time to get over the shock, but of course we were completely excited. The next year was pretty much a blur, I continued to work through my pregnancy and Josh kicked it into overdrive to try and finish up his PhD research before my maternity leave ran out. I went back to work for like a month after Joshua was born and then we packed up to move back to Arkansas to be closer to family and for Josh to try to make a go of it at running the farm. In making this decision, I was to stay home with Joshua and as a result we took about a 50% pay cut. Our cost of living is considerably less in Arkansas, but the cut in pay is pretty significant.

Back to my inner struggle. I love being able to stay home with Joshua, knowing that he is safe and getting to see all his firsts for myself. However, at times, I can't help but feel bad/guilty that I don't contribute more to our family financially. I try to do my best to contribute by not spending money like a wild woman, sticking to a budget, and things like that - but I can't help thinking sometimes that I could be contributing so much more and relieving stress from Josh if I had a full-time job as well. But the thought of leaving Joshua and soon to arrive little Julie with someone other than me for the better part of the day is just unbearable to me. I know what is best for my kids far outweighs the financial contributions I could be making, but I still struggle with it. I wish I was one of those creative chicks who could make a little money on the side by selling crafty things or selling cosmetics, but I'm just not - I have a degree in accounting (you can't get more boring than that). Anyhow, I'm just wondering if any other stay at home mom's out there struggle with this as well or if I am the only one??

Monday, October 13, 2008

Week at Nana's

Last week, Joshua spent a whole week with my parents in Fort Smith. We have visited a number of times of course, but this was the first time I have left him with them alone for an extended period of time. I think they all had a great time, but I have a feeling mom and dad had forgotten how active little toddlers are - Joshua especially! The boy does not stop running and wants to be outside all the time (he gets this from his father of course). Here are a couple of pictures from the week. Thanks Nana and Granddad for giving mommy a break!

So tired, had to take a break in the driveway :)

Playing outside

Running down the driveway

Joshua reading his truck book - yes, it is upside down :)


Preggo mom (8 months) about to leave

Joshua thought he was so big because he learned how to open the doors at my parents house.

Playing outside