Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Whirlwind that is Life



I'm getting to the point where I've stopped trying to plan ahead. I just take life a moment at a time and hope to make it through each day without a major mental breakdown.

That probably sounds more dramatic than it is. I just feel like I'm on a roller coaster that is accelerating out of control. First I was pregnant, trying to settle into our new home and take care of my two kids, while also taking care of myself. Katie came faster than I realized. Then there was the whole gallbladder debacle, and yet I've hardly had time to recover because of breaking refrigerators and potty training two year olds and preschool and a nursing baby. Cody is still working more than 40 hour weeks. I feel like I simply am out of hours in the day, and yet there are more things I need to devote time to.

This is a pretty rotten beginning to a post that was originally intended to be happy! I suppose I'll save my "big news" for when I know more, and when it can stand on its own.

...

...

oh man, I can't wait. It's exciting and terrifying all in one. Cody and I applied for a home loan today. We have to wait several weeks before we find out if we are eligible for this program we want to get in. So this is not an announcement of purchase--just one of application. There is a program where we live in which we will physically build our own house. While it requires 35+ hours a week (time I don't feel like we have, but would have to find somewhere...), it would SUBSTANTIALLY lower the cost of the house (about 20% or more), and put us in a position to buy a home that we could otherwise not afford. We feel really good about this program. Well, "good" in the confirmed-by-the-Holy-Spirit sense. I'm still moderately terrified. I understand that with Cody putting in more than full time into his two jobs, the majority of the work on the house would fall to me. There are going to be a lot of sacrifices required, from every member of our little family. So for now, I'm just praying that the right things happen, according to the Lord's will.

And just to prove to you that I really DID intend this to be a happy, exciting post, here is a sweet picture from Easter that I didn't put up earlier:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Anna just told me...

"I don't want to go pee in my panties!" And this came AFTER she ran in the bathroom, unprompted, and went in the toilet.

This is a HUGE success! Since even before Katie's birth... probably about two months now... Anna has been at the almost-potty-trained-plateau. It's the point where if you take them in and physically sit them down, they'll usually go. But they won't take themselves, and sometimes they go in their pants just for spite.

Now, I'm not saying Anna is 100% potty trained yet, but I am going to celebrate with her now for the big step it is to take herself to the toilet. The past few days, everything has been "NO, I do it!" I admit I've been frustrated by that. She won't take a bath. She won't eat her food. She screams if I try to buckle her carseat. Ugh. But at least she wanted to go in the toilet, and did it herself! What a big big girl!

p.s. Sorry if potty training posts offend you. I've heard they're the least popular topic in blogworld. But I won't retract my above statements, simply because this is MY blog and MY half-journal. I need to write this down so that when it is time for me to potty train Katie, I can remember the dates of successes, and I can have hope for my own future.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!





video

I think that about sums it up. ;)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Could it be?

Do I want to?


Maybe I'm too sleepy.
Oh, okay, fine. I'll give you a smile!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A new friend

Life has just been so unpredictable recently that...well, I don't know. My brain is currently still messed up from pain medication. So, I'll just put up the following picture and hope that it does the talking.

Say hello to our new friend! We brought it home last night. It is a Kenmore, and is EnergyStar rated for efficiency. My feelings about it? I'm excited. But yesterday was NOT a good day to have a refrigerator die. I needed Cody with me, pampering me, but instead he had to be gone rushing around the town trying to hunt down a refrigerator. We decided to just buy a new fridge instead of investing our money in repairing a fridge we really don't like, that doesn't belong to us. So this one is all ours, and we are happy to get it working this morning. Just one more crazy thing to happen in this crazy month!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Surgery Story

This is my journal of my gallbladder removal on April 14, 2011. It is probably not as graphic as any of my labor stories, but it is still about surgery, so if you're really squeamish, you may want to skip this post. It is also very long. But again, this is my journal. I need to write it down now that my brain is in better functioning order.

After nearly two weeks of pain off and on, at times extremely severe, (and this is not the first time in my life I've had pains) I was very happy to get my gallbladder removed. The ultrasound I'd had last Saturday clearly showed my gallbladder full of gallstones. Fortunately, they couldn't see any that had passed into the ducts or my pancreas, which would have led to a very serious situation. So this would be just a good ol' normal cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal).

In case you've never had a gallbladder attack, here's what it felt like (at least for me): like a massive rubber band just inside my rib cage, wrapping around all my major organs, slowly crushing them. These attacks would start about an hour or two after eating, and last for about four hours. Absolutely nothing would help--no stretching, no medicine, no squirming, no crying... nothing but waiting. Once I started eating fat free, the attacks were less frequent, but not gone. Tuesday night I had the last attack, and boy was it bad! At that point I didn't care what had to happen--this pain just had to end.

Wednesday we got word that I needed to be at the hospital at 7:30 and my surgery would start about 9. Thrill! My biggest fear regarding this surgery was Katie, and if she would eat from a bottle while I was out of it. I asked every doctor and nurse that I could about breastfeeding afterword, and they were very thoughtful. They thought the earlier time slot would allow me to get back to my baby, and since you do all surgeries fasting, this would also leave me less starving and able to produce milk better. I am very grateful for their thoughtfulness. My Anesthesiologist (more on him later) was particularly thoughtful about the breastfeeding aspect, and of great comfort in knowing that the medications would in no way hurt Katie, nor my milk production.

So, Wednesday night I had Cody give me another blessing, and I felt very calm. We got up early on Thursday, and I nursed and nursed and nursed as much as I could. We packed up the kids and the diaper bag and took them to my mom's house at about 7 in the morning. We gave them hugs and loves and then Cody took me to the hospital, arriving exactly on time.

We checked in at the front desk and they got us back to my room right away. They showed Cody all the goodies he could partake of and took my vitals. My temperature was very low, about 96.6 degrees, which was a slight concern. So once I was in bed, they brought me lots of warm blankets and a cool heating thing like a giant plastic bag that filled up with hot air over me. I felt toasty warm in no time, but my heartrate was still all over the place, usually very low in the 40's and 50's, but then spiking randomly to about 140. My blood pressure was also just on the low side, about 90 over 50. So they ran an EKG to make sure my heart function was good and found it was just perfect, just lower than normal. I got asked a couple of times if I ran marathons. I laughed. Me? Marathons? nope. But later the Anesthesiologist also mentioned that in the six weeks postpartum, the extra blood from pregnancy can still be floating around, slowing down heartrate and that it is totally normal.

Anyway. They placed my IV once they determined my heartrate would be okay, and we waited a bit. At about 8:30 my surgeon, Dr. Anderson, came in and talked to me. He said they'd already done one gallbladder surgery that morning and were "on a roll!" They were a little ahead of schedule and would be getting to me in about fifteen minutes. I told him let's pull this thing! Next, the Anesthesiologist, Dr. Mortensen, came and talked to us. Aside from the other things I've already mentioned above, he also talked about the general procedure and had me sign a consent form for the anesthesia. This is my third time under general anesthesia, and since I've never had a bad reaction, I wasn't concerned at all.

So after that, the nurse and Dr. Mortensen wheeled me in my bed down to the OR. I did kiss Cody goodbye, of course. As we got closer and closer to the OR, it got colder and colder. I asked them why they kept it so cold, and they said it is to lower blood flow and to keep things sanitary. Sounded good to me. We left my bed in the hallway and I walked into the very cold OR and laid down on the bed in there. More vitals were taken and I tried to make a few little jokes about life and whatnot. Then Dr. Mortensen gave me some Oxygen and told me to breathe deeply. He hooked up my IV anesthesia, and after a minute or so, I felt some burning in my left hand (very normal) and my eyes got very heavy.

I was having a dream and being woken up. I thought I was at home and still in bed, so I felt a little grumpy about being woken up without purpose. I realized my belly hurt and I was very cold, and my eyes were very blurry. I was having a very hard time waking up this morning! But then a nurse said, "Lisa, your surgery is over. You are waking up now." Oh yes! I just had gall bladder surgery! I told them I was very cold. The nurse asked if I was in pain, and how much. She gave me a couple doses of Fetanyl in my IV, which helped but not all the way. I shivered and shook. They had me back in my bed with warm blankets and that heating bag, but I was still very cold. The nurse explained it could also be my muscles just coming back awake. I didn't feel very awake or out of pain when they wheeled me back to my room, but when I could make out a very blurry Cody's shirt, I tried to give him a big smile. He said I looked fragile. I just felt cold.

Once in my room they gave me some pain pills and another warm blanket just for my toes, which felt good. I got to pick some drink and I picked apple juice--my normal drink of choice for any time my tummy might hurt. Then came the struggle to keep breathing. I just couldn't remember to; especially once the pain pills set in. I would try to relax and my breathing would slow, so the monitor would beep saying my oxygen was low and I would breathe faster again. This went on for about an hour. They turned off the lights so I could rest. I sipped on juice occassionally, but my voice hurt and my eyes were still very blurry, so I mostly just rested. I did ask about the surgery, and about Katie. Cody reassured me that Katie had taken a bottle just fine and the surgery went very well. Yay! Then I wanted to go back to sleep, but my breathing required too much concentration.

After about an hour and a half, the nurse came back in and asked how I was feeling. I felt surprisingly good by then, and my eyes were coming back into focus. Another fifteen minutes went by and they asked me to try walking. So two nurses helped me walk down the halls. I was a little dizzy, but I didn't pass out or have any problems. I warned them that I was squirting milk and I might be slippery. They laughed. I love making my doctors and nurses laugh. Makes me feel like a cut above the normal patient. ;) After getting back to my room, they told me I could go home. They brought me a wheelchair while I got dressed. Cody gathered up our stuff, they wheeled me downstairs, and Cody got the car. I thanked them all for their help, and climbed in the car and we went home--only stopping by the drive-thru pharmacy to pick up my pain pills.

Mom was bringing Lee back from preschool right then, and just brought Katie to our house. She was having a big nap right then, so I rested some more. My breathing was becoming more natural and my eyes were clearer. The pain pills and the ice packs helped control the pain. Cody made me some chicken noodle soup and some jell-o for lunch, which I sipped on a little bit. Then I took a nap, and Katie woke up. She had a hard time latching at first, since I was very full, but then she nursed well. With my boppy pillow and ice packs under that, we were able to have some good nursing without a lot of pain. Joy of joys!

Since yesterday afternoon, I've been feeling better and better. Walking around helps. Since the surgery was laparscopy, there are some air bubbles in my body from the scope. Moving around works them out. Right now there's one aching in my right shoulder. It feels like a sore muscle. No biggie. The incision(s) hurt too, but not too bad. I had to sleep on my back last night, so that was kind of hard... especially after sleeping about four hours total yesterday in naps alone. Raychel brought the kids and Cody some dinner--so very kind! Cody put the kids to bed, as I'm not allowed to do any heavy lifting for about three weeks.

This morning we discovered our fridge isn't working very well. Urgh. Just what we need, right? So we'll call a refrigerator repairman. The kids are going back with my mom today so that Cody can go to work and I can continue to recover. And that, my friends, is how it went! I feel I am recovering well, the surgery went great, and we will hopefully be back to 100% very soon.

Love,
Lisa

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Surgery time

Going to the hospital in about two hours. My surgery is scheduled for 7:30. Soooo... catch y'all on the flip side!
Love,
Lisa

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Duckies!

Our old house had deer in the back yard and killer robins. Our new house has ducks and geese (and mice in the garden). We live close to a golf course with a water feature and a river, and the ducks like the water. We've had a cute little duck couple waddling all over our neighborhood. We just discovered their nest--RIGHT in front of our front door. I'm super excited! Cody said he saw a bunch of eggs in the nest, but when we went to snap photos, mama duck was happy to stay on the nest. Which is good. I can see why she picked that spot, though. There's a brown bush up against the concrete stairs and several of the branches arc over the top. It's still under the eaves, so it is less wet and more secluded, even if it is next to the front door of a house. Can you find mama duck?



There's this episode of Curious George (our kids' favorite show, and the only one we let them watch with any regularity) where George sits on some duck eggs and one of them hatches and bonds with him. Hopefully we won't have to resort to making Lee sit on duck eggs... ;) But they are going to love this nest and watching the little baby ducks. Let's pray they hatch and are healthy little ducklings!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Katie the Lady

Katie is one month old! (Yesterday, but I ran out of time to post.)
Katie has gained over two pounds since birth, and a couple of inches. I can't remember her exact stats. She is a good baby! She's sleeping amazing well--typically a solid six hours at night. When she wakes up, though, she usually likes to eat more often.

Katie is alert and interested in the world around her. She loves being able to see things. She can also burp like a teenage boy. :)

(having a snooze with Grandpa F. )

The long and short of it

The short version: I have surgery scheduled on Thursday to have my gallbladder removed.

The long version:

Yesterday (Monday) first thing in the morning Cody called the surgeon's office for me. I would have called myself but I was feeding Katie. They scheduled a meeting with me on Wednesday to look over my history and whatnot. It was a little slower than I was hoping for, but tried to take it as a good sign that they weren't very concerned about my condition. And truly, since going fat-free, the pain has been very manageable. So I finished feeding Katie, packed up Anna and Katie and my coupons I've been working on, and decided to go grocery shopping with the girls while Cody stayed home and cleaned/worked.

I was almost to the grocery store when my phone rang and it was the Dr.'s office again, saying, "Wait, you were at the ER, right? Your liver function was very abnormal. We need to see you much sooner, and you need another set of labs drawn." Now THIS sounded right, though inconvenient. But really, how could these gallstones ever be convenient? So I made an immediate change of plans and went to the lab to get my blood drawn. I took the girls in with me. They were very good. Then we went shopping, and we'd run out of time to go home, so we grabbed a bite to eat and went to pick up Lee from preschool. I came home and Katie was still asleep so I pumped a bottle for storage, to use during the surgery, and then made 50 hamburger patties from meat I'd just purchased and froze them for Katie's blessing (no, I won't need that many, but leftovers will be nice all summer), then fed Katie, taught a piano lesson, and then went back to the hospital to meet with the surgeon. It was a very hectic day.

Fortunately, my liver function has improved over the weekend. I think the fat-free diet helped a lot. But that hasn't saved me from needing surgery. I'm actually really looking forward to the surgery in a way, because gallstones don't go away. I could eat fat free my whole life and still have a problem with it. I'm very pleased with the surgeon too--great suggestion, cousin Emily! We scheduled the surgery for Thursday--in just a few days. Then I went to the Surgery Center and pre-registered and had a pre-op appointment with one of the nurses. I had Katie with me and she was hungry and grumpy the whole time, but I couldn't feed her because we kept moving all over the place and I had tons of paperwork to fill out. When I was finally done, I fed her in the van before driving home.

But my day wasn't over quite yet. Thank heavens for Raychel being so sweet and coming over with dinner to take care of Lee and Anna! She even taught us a FHE lesson. I tried to comfort Katie, who was getting ready for bed with lots of crying and eating... scarfed down my own dinner, and tried to talk to people on the phone about my upcoming surgery and keep some kind of reign on my kids. After Raychel left, Katie settled down. Even though it was barely 7:00, I put Lee and Anna to bed. I feel proud of myself that I didn't yell at them, even though I was exhausted and overwhelmed from the day's stresses.

So that was my day yesterday. Cody got a bunch of cleaning done, and the only thing I had to do was vacuum and sweep the floors. The house looks much better now. He even washed, sorted and folded laundry. Wonderful man!

About the surgery itself: it is out-patient with just a few small incisions. After I am done with the surgery I should be able to eat normally again, though I'll want to keep the meals light for a while. I can even nurse Katie once I wake up. The doctor said I'll probably have a few crummy days and a few slightly-less-crummy days and then I'll be healed. And since I'm breastfeeding, they're going to try to get me an early timeslot on Thursday (they schedule the times of the surgerys the afternoon before). Until then, I am hoping to clean and stock up what we need, and to arrange for help to come. This continues to be a wild ride!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Eating fat-free...

...is harder than it sounds. With this gallstones diagnosis, the doctor recommended a low-to-no-fat diet to help moderate the pain of a gallbladder attack. And in case you're wondering, I've now done gallbladder attacks, a ruptured appendix, and natural childbirth. I'd rather go through childbirth again than the other two.

Anyway. The diet... oh the diet... You have no idea how much I wanted those Doritos and Brownie Bites and onion dip sitting on the counter today. But I knew the pain would be awful if I indulged. So instead of (excessively) dwelling on what I can't eat, I'm trying to think about what I can eat, and how excited I am to get rid of this rotten pain.

Since yesterday's diagnosis, this has been my diet:
Lunch--Lentil soup and sourdough bread without butter
Dinner--chicken and veggie stir fry on white rice
Snack--plain popcorn.
Breakfast--oatmeal, scrambled egg whites on dry toast
late Lunch/dinner--pulled pork (the highest fat thing I've had all day), vegetables, and watermelon
Snack--seasoned oven fries with ketchup and low fat mayonnaise.

So you see, I'm doing pretty well. Missing the fat, yes, but it hasn't hurt quite as bad. I still get pain when I eat, but it isn't crippling now. Avoiding the pain is worth it. And that's life for now!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

"I feeeel happy... I think I'll go for a walk..."

I spent the morning in the ER.

Shocked? :) The pain was unbearable when I last posted. On Wednesday I called my doctor's office. Doctor Clark was out of town, so another doctor overlooked my symptoms and prescribed Zantac, thinking it might be an ulcer or just bad reflux. I was grumpy about it, but started taking the zantac. I knew it wasn't reflux. I was skeptical about an ulcer. Thursday night the pain got way worse, and so Friday morning I went to the Instacare so that a doctor would be forced to listen to me. Once again, he seemed immediately convinced it was an ulcer or reflux. I kept saying, "No, this is not acid related!" So, as a last resort, the doctor decided to appease me by doing some blood work. I ran out of time last night to call in about the results (because they told me that the labs might be done by six or seven, but they close at eight...).

This morning Cody was making ebleskivers and I was happily clipping coupons. I had taken one bite when my phone rang and it was the tech from the Instacare. My liver function was poor and they wanted me to go into the ER to get an ultrasound of my liver and gall bladder done. I was supposed to go fasting, so I didn't finish my breakfast and prayed that would be good enough.

Cody and I rapidly got the kids ready and mom and dad graciously allowed us to drop off Lee and Anna. Cody abandoned me at the hospital (not really... he had an appointment, and since I wasn't bleeding from an artery or passed out, we decided together he should just go to his appointment), Matthew and my dad gave me a blessing, and I took Katie with me to the ER so that I could still nurse her. We don't even own a bottle, so me leaving her behind was out of the question.

They admitted me right away and I went to an exam room, where they took my vitals and did another blood draw. I waited and waited and waited. A doctor ordered the necessary ultrasound. More waiting. Katie slept. I decided that Emergency Rooms--at least where I live--aren't nearly as dramatic as television makes them out to be. They finally came and wheeled me back for the ultrasound. I felt very silly in that wheelchair, when I'm perfectly fine with walking.

The ultrasound wasn't very comfortable. He kept making me take deep breaths and hold them for like twenty seconds. But it only was about fifteen minutes. Then I went back to the room and waited some more. I am grateful for the blessing Matthew gave me, and that I was given the calm and comfort I needed. I always get more stressed out about the "what ifs," and it could have been way worse, considering I was alone and all.... anyway. Finally, after about two hours in the ER, the doctor came back and said the ultrasound clearly showed my gall bladder is full of gall stones. He explained the typical symptoms and functions of this issue, and it fits my problem perfectly.

Now, I'm not excited to have gall stones. But I am so thrilled I have a diagnosis that fits the bill and makes sense! The prognosis from now is to go on a very low fat diet, which will hopefully reduce the pain. On Monday I will call a surgeon and then discuss the options. If the stones only pain me every few months, we can leave it be or just manage it with diet. But my gut feeling is that we'll remove my gall bladder. I've had pain every day for a week, and this isn't the first time in my life. I don't want it to continue.

So, that's the update for now. Obviously there will be more after I talk to the surgeon. I am still in pain, but just knowing what the cause is is very comforting. Thank you for all your prayers and love! You know me--if childbirth can't stop me from posting on the blog, a few gall stones won't keep me away either! :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Easter Bunny Hairbows

I invited over some friends today to let the kids play and the moms play too. Some of us made these fun Easter bunny hairbows.
Katie pretty much slept in the sling while I dabbled with ribbon and chatted away. Good baby! When I pulled her out of the sling, I discovered she'd had a major--MASSIVE--explosion diaper. But it was still fun! I also must point out the pink headband for Katie's bunny. I feel so cool that I found this stretchy, fun ribbon at Hobby Lobby. I can now make all kinds of headbands for Katie!

And just for fun, and because I'm sort of apologizing for being so self-centered the last post, here are some cute family pictures we took on Sunday.

A self-indulging post

I haven't been posting very often, have I? I'm sorry. I have a great setup for posting on our blog, but not a lot of stuff to post about. Katie is growing super fast. On Monday she weighed in at 8 pounds, 10 oz--2 full pounds bigger than birth! Annalisa is a sweet sister, even if I've scrubbed poop out of the carpet every day this week (YUCK). Lee has Spring break this week, so we've been sleeping in and Daddy has been making breakfast.

But this post is now going to be more about me. I am happy, very happy to have healthy children and a wonderful family. It's just my dumb body can't seem to heal up! Fortunately, I'm not sore any more from the birth. But since last Friday, I've had bouts of this really bad back/rib/stomach pain. Reeeeally bad, I tell you. For a pretty well written history of this back pain, check this post from April of 2009.

I thought the Chiropractor working on my back would really help; and it has. But last Friday these back spasms of uncontrollable pain came back with a vengeance. Since then, it's plagued me for at least a few minutes every day, most days an hour or two. The first day I popped some Ibuprofen and tried everything I could think of for back pain: stretching, popping, walking, lying down, even my dad's Back2Life. Nothing helped. That night, when Katie woke up to eat, the pain was...how can we keep this clean...messing with my digestion. So I took some Pepto Bismol and that helped. That's when I started thinking that maybe this isn't originating in my back--maybe it is my stomach. Since then, I've tried to focus harder on each part of my body when the pain comes, and I'm quite convinced that it is a gastrointestinal problem of some sort.

So now that leads me to treatment. I had kind of planned on asking my doctor at my 6 week checkup, but after the pain I was in last night, I don't know if I want to wait that long. I have a chiropractor appointment this morning in about forty minutes, and will mention it to him--but I'm not sure how much that will help. One thing I'm really wondering about is a food allergy or intolerance. I haven't modified my diet at all, but I still want to get tested. Celiac disease is prevalent in my family. It might also be lactose intolerance or something completely different.

Mostly right now I'm just whining. I will call the doctor and see if I can get some blood work or other tests done. I know I will be okay... I just want the pain gone.

By the way, today I'm going to have a play date and make hair bows. So hopefully I'll have some fun things to post about after that. :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Fun for April Fool's

This year I really didn't do a lot for April Fool's day, except for this fun dinner. I took the kids up to my parent's house and we had a blast getting creative. I loved having a few extra hands to
help with Katie so I could just take an afternoon to think about something different.
Notice how the table is set? No, not Lee's doing!




For dinner:
French Dip Sandwiches
Coleslaw
Orange Punch


For dessert:
Hot Fudge Brownie Sundaes
Green licorice whips

Lee helped us learn the difference between solids and liquids as we worked on the "Punch" (really orange jell-o, in a cup with a straw set in). And amazingly, as I made the buns for the french dip sandwiches on Thursday, I caught Anna after only taking one bite of one bun! Now THAT is an accomplishment, considering I was nursing Katie at the time, and wasn't even the kitchen. I expected to lose at least two or three of the buns, but nope, only one bite.

The food was tasty and fun, and a favorite tradition in our family. I hope you all had a good April Fool's day too!

p.s. more information on the food and more pictures on my Mom's blog, here.