Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another Appt

Another day, another appointment, another ultrasound.  N.E.V.E.R. thought I would say this (because I truly love seeing baby girl on the screen) but I am tired of sonograms.  There.  I said it.  Granted, she always puts a smile on my face when I see her... but looking at a heart for about 1 hr or kidneys or arteries and valves or bladder or measuring bones... I actually got bored today.  Then all I heard from the sonographer, resident/fellow, and Dr. B is how she doesn't cooperate and show her face.  Well, I understand.  I am really tired of cooperating myself.  I sat in the waiting room for 2 hours before being seen!! At least I got to catch up on Rachael Ray and The Young and the Restless.

Miss Merritt loves drinking the "fluid" which I think is gross.  But she opened her eyes for us today and is looking pretty good all things considered.  The O sac (measuring at the base) is 3.8 cm so its grown a little in size.  Stomach is still "in" as of today.   She is still measuring 12-14 days behind - but that is strictly because of the O and her abdomen measurement.  Her head, legs, and arms all measure within a few days of where I am (26wks4days).   Dr. B wants me to see the cardiologist again (Dr. S) and perhaps repeat the echo.  He was concerned about something he saw but told me not to lose any sleep over it.  I think I can handle that! ;)

Mati Claire has been having some behavioral issues for the past few weeks (major fits and tantrums every single day).  After the zoo field trip, I thought about leaving her as a free donation to the tiger exhibit.  I'm talking crazy child = not my child. I have had to physically drag or carry her out of places lately kicking and screaming and pulling my clothes.  Spankings, time outs, fun activities taken away, you name it!  Seriously, my 2 year old acts better than this!  First I chalked it up to a growth spurt... then just being exhausted... then I thought perhaps an early jealousy phase over new baby or new onset jealousy over Mattox... then I thought about her diet!  This past Monday, I cut out all her extra sugar, junk food, and juice boxes/Capri Suns.  She doesn't really eat that much stuff anyway, and didn't think that was the culprit.  Figured it was worth a try.  She threw 1 fit that wasn't all bad in comparison to the past few weeks, and hasn't thrown a fit in 2 1/2 days now!  And I also moved her bedtime back up.  We shall see how this continues... looking back, I guess I had become way too lenient with her.  I'm back to being 'bad cop' now! ;)  We registered her for KINDERGARTEN yesterday.  I had my reservations about the school in general (mainly because I did not go there myself) but after recognizing over half of the crowd, I felt much better!  It was like church peeps met preschool friends met ballet met people we knew from college meeting family peeps meeting all new friends!  Plus its a relief to know a few teachers already.  Overall, we are both super excited about this fall!!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The fun stuff

The past 2 weeks:  No doctor appointments, no news to share, no drama (except from Mati Claire)......  just enjoying being somewhat of a "normal" pregnant person.  Its been nice to not think about our struggles ahead (or even the ones we've been through).  I went on a much needed girls night out to see a great movie chick flick:  The Lucky One.  Loooovvvved it!!!!!!!  I was actually glad I didn't read the book because I had no idea what was going to happen.

I have put off buying anything for Merritt, simply because I didn't know if I would even need it - and I'm not talking about Mati Claire's hand-me-downs.  So I took the plunge this week and ordered new bedding and her rocking chair.   MC threw up on her crib bumper so many times it is impossible and disgusting to reuse.

I'm self-conscious that if you see me eating the most fattening, high calorie, non-nutritious food = DO.NOT.JUDGE.PLEASE.  I am hoping Merritt will be the fattest little baby I know = more room for those organs to go back in.  Not sure if I'm on the right track of thinking, but since she will have feeding issues later, I'm trying to get her as big as possible now knowing that she will lose alot of weight later.  I eat and eat and eat some more... and I don't really feel guilty about it! lol!!! Yeah that's what I call fun!

Here is a pic of her nursery bedding/colors but with a brown crib.  I realized the other day that I only have around 11 weeks left!  Food + shopping + movies = too much fun for this preggo! ;)

I will brag on Mattox this week.  He has been such an angel lately.  I KNOW that will change, but its nice to have 1 that behaves when the other is not.  God truly gives you what you can handle.  He is the sweetest, funniest, most loving little boy!  Thanks for the pic, Miss Rachel!  We also have to register Mati Claire for Kindergarten next week **sniff sniff** but after our field trip tour she is SOOOO excited to be going.  I can't be sad when she's that excited!  If she's happy, I'm happy!

Daddy's Caddy!
I went to the last session of Beth Moore's study "He Is" the other day.  Awesome! We talked about why we are surprised when a season of despair hits us.  She talked about Elijah in 1Kings.  It was amazing.  I highly recommend it (4 session study with no homework) if you are experiencing trials or trouble (or even if you're not).  I would write my notes out for you, but I'm afraid I would be infringing on some copyright or something.  Elijah felt like he was the only one and people were trying to kill him (1Kings 19).  He was addicted to the spectacular and he was full of pride.  God basically told him 'you're not the only person in this world' = get over yourself!  We get over confident in ourselves and then we're shocked when something bad happens.  Elijah had defeated so many huge obstacles in his life, and was then complaining to God about a woman... thinking he might die.  We forget what God has brought us through in the past, and wonder how will we ever get through this next phase?  God asked Elijah, "What are you doing here???"  How are you here if you know He is with you?  Have some faith!  (1 Cor 10:13, 1 Peter 5:9)  I felt like God was screaming at me (in a good way)!  I think about the times He has shown Himself to me:  He saved me from a few car wrecks, he covered us when I blew up a kitchen while babysitting (don't ask), He pulled us through a scary delivery with Mati Claire, He whispered in my ear when I was doing something I shouldn't have been doing, how he orchestrated mine and Matt's relationship... He has repeatedly shown Himself to me... and He is still with me through Merritt.  None of those experiences could be explained any other way except through God's presence. Our God is an awesome God!  

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus... "  Hebrews 12:1 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

That's something.

I'm a little hesitant to share these, mainly because they are SO weird looking.  And I don't want to scare anyone.  Remind yourself that this baby is only 22 weeks gestation in these pics = not full term yet!  Just to help you out:  she is upright in these photos and you can see 1 foot on the right propped up (yes, she has legs).   I agree that she looks like a little alien here.  Interesting and a little scary.  But I think its neat that I can show her these one day.

The written MRI report said that 80% of the O sac was liver.  The rest is gallbladder and intestines. Her stomach is being pulled/stretched into the sac (but still considered inside right now).  You can see the O sac protruding from her belly in most of the pics.  It was measuring 3.3 x 3.2 cm.  If you have any questions, leave a comment or email me.  The nurse emailed me only 8 out of the (I think I understood there to have been) hundreds taken.  I would like to crop "myself" out of these, but I wouldn't dare try to crop these.  :)  Enjoy and hope these don't gross anyone out!!! lol!  If these bother you, I suggest you not look at the pictures after she is born.  I decided I will post her O "unwrapped/undressed" if they let me take those pictures, but they are not for the faint.  

doesn't this last one look like she's praying? Maybe its just me.  

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter 2012

What better way to celebrate the real reason of Easter than with real grass!  I know Easter is not about the clothes (which I get way too deep in)  and the candy (that my kids do not eat nor need) and the Easter Bunny.  I did not want to be stuck with a bunch of junk toys and candy that sit around the house - so I went practical this year: real grass, dvd's, books, and 1 toy.

I came across these kits in one of my favorite catalogs/online stores:  Chasing Fireflies!  They carry some interesting things - some worth the money and some definitely not.  But I figured $10 was not bad considering I am not a Home Depot kind of girl + I have no clue how to pick out grass seed (I imagine there are MANY different types of grass) + I can't get my lawn to grow grass without help so what makes me think I can grow it in a basket + the time and energy spent with 2 non-shopping children = worth it to me.   And this came with great directions and the exact amount I needed.
Chasing Fireflies
"Can I play in the dirt now? Can I? Can I?"

Mixing and pouring the dirt into the basket (in a white shirt INSIDE the house - what was I thinking?)
I do not recommend their suggestion of covering the basket with plastic wrap.  I was trying to keep a 2 year old out of playing with it every second - but a tiny bit of mold began to grow :(  but after the grass grew it was so tall and so thick that nothing ever touched it and you could not see it.)

Easter 2012
Had not tucked his shirt in yet.  :)

 Christ is risen indeed!!!  Happy Easter to everyone!  My friend, Joy, reminded me of what Mati Claire said the other day while at my grandfather's funeral.  My dad asked her what she found at the burial site.  She said, "just some rocks and flowers."   How true on Easter!  There was nothing in the tomb!  Just a rock!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The MMMMiley's

Naming children is TOUGH!  Everyone has their own opinion whether it be good or bad.  You spend weeks or months arguing with your spouse over it.  My friend, Tyanne, said it best:  God should tattoo your name across your rear end so when you are born there is no question.  I spent many prayers asking God to tell me what to name my kids, after all - He already knew their names.  That's fascinating to me.

Matilyn Claire AKA Mati Claire.  Being our firstborn, I decided to do a mix of Matt's name and my middle name Lyn.  Madelyn.  Matt gets credit for changing the spelling and the middle name.  We originally were going to call her Matilyn.  I was picking up some monogrammed stuff and when I handed my credit card over to the cashier, she said "ooohhh you're going to have a Mati Miley!"  A.WHAT???  It was too late.  She ruined it.  I was determined to keep it Matilyn.  Then about a month after she was born, my brilliant sister and niece, Kerigan, kept calling her Mati Claire... and it stuck.

Mattox William Wesley.  When I decided on his first name, I had never heard of another Maddox/Mattox.  The only one I "knew" of was Angelina Jolie-Pitt's son, Maddox.  And then I came across it in the baby name book.  The week I had him, I met 3 other Maddox's in ONE week!  Again, give credit to Matt for changing the spelling AGAIN against my preference.  It was either that or Andrew.  Being the first boy, we wanted him to have a family name and his own name.  It wasn't fair to give a family name from just one side (being the first boy) so we gave him one from each side.  William is my dad and grandfather's name, and Wesley is Matt's dad and grandfather's name.  Long name that people say doesn't flow.  oh well- its not your kid! lol!  He has been called everything from Matrix to Mat-TOX.  And plenty of people thought I was turning into George Foreman (who named like 7 of his kids George Foreman also).  They thought we were going to name all of our kids after Matt or some variation of it.  We did NOT plan that.  lol!

Merritt Chandley.  She was originally suppose to be Morgan ... then it was Micah ... and final answer was Merritt.  Chandley is my first initial + maiden name.  Also a long-term email address I have used that a friend gave me the idea of using.   I have never heard of another Merritt.  Again, came across it in a baby name book.  Today I'm searching for ideas for Mati Claire's mermaid birthday party and came across this:

Weird.  and no, not using this for her party, but thought it was funny.  My sister called me from Florida a few days ago, and said they had just passed a sign for Merritt Island.  HA! who knew???   I see a family vacation in our future!  So anyway, it's official now - I picked up her first monogrammed item:

We went with the eco-friendly way this year, and planted real grass in the Easter baskets.  It was fun, I will post pics of the experience in another post.  But I thought it turned out cute!!! As you can see, I am ready for Merritt to get here! :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Merritt Award

This could be the longest day ever in the longest pregnancy ever! lol!!! So many things to announce here! I'm excited to share! Here it goes and bear with me:

We have (in a nonchalant way) decided to stay in Jackson at UMC for the rest of this journey.  Not sure if we ever really decided or if we just casually (won't say got pushed) became okay with it.  We were against it at first, but as certain circumstances became clear and more information was produced, we are okay with it.  Granted, we can still change our minds, but I don't really see that happening as of today.  MANY factors went into this that I won't share.  

I had NO idea what to expect today.  Receptionist told me to clear my schedule for the whole day.  
We showed up (of course in Miley-fashion lateness) at 8:06 am.  We met with the genetic counselor for close to an hour.  She had the roots of a therapist - which I discovered I am not cut out for.  I wasn't sure how to answer any of her very open-ended questions because there wasn't enough time in the day to do so!  She took me back to genetics class in the process and they can not take a joke!  Guess I am reaching that "I can joke about this now" phase - because when she asked if we had any family members with mental retardation, I asked if Miranda counted.  I'M KIDDING PEOPLE!! I have a new level of respect of parents and children in those situations beyond anything I ever imagined when you're faced with the possibilities.  But I was trying to lighten the mood.  Anyway... I thought the questions she asked were hilarious.  I'm kidding, Miranda!!! 

Moving on.  Had another/new detailed ultrasound with the sonographer.  Then the resident.  Then the attending/ my new maternal fetal specialist, Dr. B.  Interesting person.  There was one possible chromosomal abnormality that we were aware of, that an amniocentesis can not detect.   We looked for signs of that and saw none = no protruding tongue and normal sized kidneys.  But we will not know for sure of that possible abnormality (Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome) until she's born.  Her chances are slim.  We also saw that her stomach is right on the cusp of being pulled out into the O sac.  Part of it was already being stretched.  Not good, but what are you going to do about it?  Liver... intestines... lets throw a stomach in there while were at it.  ;)  again, kidding.  doesn't make a difference in the big scheme of things.  The base of the O is measuring 3.25cm which is large.  And will probably be over 5cm when she's born so it is classified as a giant omphalocele (but we already knew that).   If nothing happens before, Dr. B said he would most likely do the C-section between 37-38 weeks.  I'm due at the end of July, but this puts her birthday at the beginning of July (and just a few days after Mati Claire's - yay us ).  

Walked across the UMC campus in heels to have an MRI.  I've never had one before, so I was nervous.  Let me just say this:  I felt like I was trapped in a techno rave club's bathroom.  And the headphones didn't do much, because it triggered a migraine.  And Merritt did NOT enjoy it either.  The technicians were laughing as they removed my constraints and said she hands-down got the award for the most active baby E.V.E.R.  I don't blame her.  If I could have escaped as well...  I would have.  

Granted I never have to repeat that but I do have to repeat the amnio at 37 weeks to check on her lungs' maturity.  Not looking forward to that.  I would rather sit in the rave again.  :)

Walked back across UMC in heels WITH a migraine now.  

Met with the pediatric surgeon, Dr. B2.  Not the same as Dr. B.  He is not cocky, or arrogant, or have a God-complex.  Super nice and easy to talk to.  Yay!  Looooonnnnngggg story short:  there are basically 3 ways to fix an omphalocele.  1 of which is not really possible for Merritt because of its size.  So we have Plan A and Plan B.  All of which Merritt gets to decide.  Her heart and lung function will determine how they proceed so at the moment there is not a clear decision on how to fix it.  But EVENTUALLY it will be fixed, it make take weeks or many months.  Dr. B2 did not want to get our hopes up; so he told us a story of one child recently that had an O.  It was fixed and everything appeared to be fine, but something he could not have predicted changed the course and ultimately the child died due to other complications unrelated to the surgery.  Bottom line: surgery is another step in the process, but its not the total package if that makes any sense.  

I'll post more about that when the time comes.  Its really hard to explain all the possibilities and complications, etc. 

So it's 2:00 and this preggo still had not had lunch.  We were suppose to get our tour of the NICU, but we will get that later.  We did get to see some of the images from the MRI.  They are going to email some of the better ones to Matt tomorrow, so I can't wait to see them.  Will try to post them if I can = really neat.  According to the MRI, her O sac appears to be holding more of the liver than we thought and less of the intestines.  But that was just a draft picture, not official result.  

Overall good report today.  Nothing alarming but gained alot of new information.  

I had to meet the Kroger boss at 4:00 to discuss my evaluation and future.  HAHAHA!  I haven't worked in the pharmacy since the end of November, and I couldn't give him a day of when I might return.  I am blessed to have a husband with a good job that allows me to stay home when I need to.  And I am blessed to have such an understanding boss!  Dr. T will not allow me to work anyway until after baby gets here.

Came home at 6:00 pm to a story about Mati Claire kissing Collin!!!!!  I think he is one of the most adorable little boys in this town, but we had to have a long stern talk with her about kissing boys in general.   Through the whole discussion, I just kept asking myself "She's FOUR years old! When did this start?"  I could NOT believe I was having a talk with my 4 year old about kissing boys already!  Amy, I really hope Collin is not traumatized by this event! lol!!! He's a cutie though!  She gets a Merritt award for the bravest 4 year old I know (Collin is an older man by the way).  ;)  She said she loves him - but I told her she would have to find new ways of showing her love like in a card, or a hug, or flowers or something.  Lawdy, somebody help me!!!!! 

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."   Psalm 139:14 

"Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy.  The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me..."  Psalm 28:6-7

Monday, April 2, 2012

Give It Up

Ok people.  I think I am turning a corner.  I fear that it is because we have kept receiving good news about Merritt lately.  I can't help but ask myself, 'what if I had different results - what if she had chromosomal problems - or a heart defect to add to this?'  Well, I can't beat myself up for the fact that she doesn't have those.  I think I would feel guilty no matter what happened.  I can't even be happy with the results we've gotten without wondering "Why am I so lucky?"  I would like to think that I would still be praising Jesus' name no matter the outcome.  But I doubt myself because He has answered prayers in my favor.  Would I still be praising God if the situation was different?  If I had lost her already?  Would I be even angrier than I am now?  That's not my circumstance, so I can't really answer that.  But it bothers me.  Just like there are still unknowns in her case.  Again, I can't beat myself up over these "what if's".   I am still learning to trust God and completely give it to Him.  My point???  It has really opened my eyes to the multitude of babies out there who need help.  Call me crazy, but I want to be the next Angelina Jolie visiting orphans in Africa and holding sick babies and just love on them.  I only wish I had Angelina's money to do it.  Obviously, I can't go on a mission trip at the moment ... but I will get there one day.

We attended my grandfather's funeral over the weekend, and it gave Matt and I a chance to talk (which we rarely have).  Matt just handles situations different (which I love about him) but just like a man.  To me, he doesn't seem to worry as much.  And he told me, "We just don't know so why worry about it until that time comes."  Doesn't mean he doesn't care.  I didn't cry at my grandfather's funeral.   Because it is what it is.   He died.  For whatever reason, he died.  I'm not being insensitive.  I am just at peace with that situation.  It was time, he wanted to go, and he died in his sleep - I don't think it gets much better than that when it comes to death.  And maybe it took that happening to realize I can not change what is.  I have to accept it.   So why am I okay with that situation and not Merritt's?  Probably the same reason Mattox doesn't understand spankings the same way Mati Claire does - everyone is different - and God knew what would work on me.  

I went to a Beth Moore Bible Study the other day.  We talked about trials and God chastising you.  And she asked if we were "just getting by" or "doing what we can" or "managing our trials".  If we are still trying to manage our problem or our sin, then we haven't given up control or given it to God.  And therefore you are not truly free.  What struck me was not one of her main points.  She said, "If God is chastising you, He is with you!"  Psalm 118:6-9 says "The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?  The Lord is with me; he is my helper.  I look in triumph on my enemies."  I thought God had forgotten me at times.  Why would God do this?  But He is still with me, trying to refine something.  In the process, you learn more about God.  And there is a new intimate relationship.  Psalm 118:17-18 says "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.  The Lord has chastened me severely, but He has not given me over to death."  Basically, what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, right?  

Beth goes on to say to cooperate with the chastisement.  I have never heard that before so it was difficult to admit.  He's trying to refine something in you... which means something is not quite right.  And who wants to admit that?   For me, it starts with just accepting it.  If I'm fighting it, then I'm not really giving it up and trusting God.  I am not going to let it control me.  So here's to me accepting it, trying to move forward, and trusting God completely.

As much chaos as my family has had this past week - Dad had to go to the ER but he's fine - funeral - doctor appointments - grandmother's heart surgery - family members traveling - you name it ------ there comes a time to give it ALL to Him!  And pray.  God gives you what He gives you -- it is what it is for a reason.

Not sure if this post is worth sharing, or me just rambling... its just been on my mind lately.

Poppy asked Mati Claire what she found while playing in the cemetery.  She said, "Just some rocks and flowers."  Ahhh.... gotta love what kids say.