Friday, November 22, 2013

Myra's Diagnosis: Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES).

Some of you may know, some may not, that Myra has been struggling with some food-related issues. For your reading pleasure, I've divided this into a few parts: the history/symptom part, the diagnosis part, and the "what the heck is FPIES" and "how do you deal with it" parts. Many of you are already familiar with one or more pieces of this puzzle, so I'm trying to avoid boring you with redundancy. (Note: anything that is a link will take you to a site with more explanation/information since not all of these terms are self explanatory. For up to date information on Myra's food trials, safe foods, recipes, etc. click the "Myra's FPIES Foods" tab at the top of the page.)


The history:
Sleep in the early months was non-existent, and not the "I just had a baby and I'm exhausted" kind of non-existent. It was the no sleep, or maybe two 30 minute spurts a night for weeks on end, kind of non-existent.  She was happy during awake times, but when she was supposed to be sleeping she would always (ALWAYS) wake up 30-40 minutes later obviously in pain (a specific whiny cry, curling up as if her tummy hurt). Over and over. I could put her down "drowsy but awake" or, if she fell asleep in my arms, I could put her down and she wouldn't wake up right away.  She sucks her thumb so she wasn't waking for a pacifier. I was miserable and seeing the world, and my new baby, through awful, sleep deprived glasses. I didn't like my new baby (until I'd get a couple hours of sleep, then I was quite smitten).  The baby we waited SO long to have.  Then I felt guilty for having all these awful feelings, and so on and so on.  I took quizzes to make sure it wasn't postpartum depression.  Nope, I was just so. freaking. tired.  Don't get me wrong, it was certainly not easy on Trevor either, but I did my best to let him get sleep (very interrupted sleep, I'm sure) so he could be alert for his commute and school. And, of course, this affected us both in ways beyond the sleep deprivation.  After trying everything else (ok, except co-sleeping, but that's just not for us) and seeing Myra's doctor and a pediatrician who both said she seemed perfectly healthy, I decided to eliminate dairy from my diet (Myra is exclusively breastfed) even though Myra didn't show the "typical" symptoms of a dairy sensitivity. After three weeks (how long it takes for cow's milk proteins to work out of my system then Myra's), she was a different baby. She started sleeping 12 hours straight, no wake-ups, for six weeks!  I was really hoping it was a coincidence, so we tested dairy twice by giving her milk I had pumped before changing my diet. Bad idea, that confirmed it. No dairy!


(Believe it or not, this is the somewhat shortened version...) 

After those six weeks and a dairy exposure, she started waking at night again. The couple rough nights following the dairy exposure passed, but her sleep didn't return to how it had been. We thought maybe a growth spurt... teeth... milestone... then we started solids so maybe that. Finally we came back to "something is wrong...again." We had taken a casual approach with introducing solids (other than avoiding dairy), using baby led weaning and not following any specific timeline for each new food. Everything seemed fine, she was eating a variety of healthy foods, enjoying it, and we didn't really connect the dots with the night wakings and other more subtle symptoms creeping back in...yet. Early September we gave her a couple graham cracker sticks. After a few hours (3-4) she started vomiting. She threw up six times in two hours until she had thrown up bile and was ultimately dry heaving. She was, of course, exhausted afterwards and it was also bedtime. I got her to nurse a bit and put her to bed. She seemed fine the rest of that night and the next day. We figured it was either a coincidence or the graham cracker and we were hoping for coincidence.  Skip ahead through some rashes, sleepless nights, and swelling episodes and we figured she had some "traditional" (or IgE mediated) food allergies, so we took a step back and started over with 4 day food trials. I took her back to her doctor who did a blood panel which indicated she may have some allergies, and referred us to an allergist. We couldn't get in for that for 5 weeks, so we just kept plugging away. Things went okay, meanwhile her chronic symptoms started coming back (more on that below), but she did have three other vomiting episodes. None of those were quite as "bad" as the graham cracker, but once was from green beans. Seriously?! Green beans! 


These are the chronic symptoms we noticed starting in August and really intensifying in September:
Sleep disturbance (understatement of the year).
Big, loud farts that smelled horrible, like sulfur.
Constant diaper rash.  Constant.  Mostly only where her poop had contact.
Back arching at night time feedings.
Head banging (in her crib, sometimes elsewhere).
Body tensing/stiffening and clenching fists until trembling.
Coughing in her crib.
Lymph nodes behind ears always swollen.
A few levels from complete blood count increased in April and September (when I brought her in for these issues and she wasn't sick with anything else), specifically platelet count.
Rash on the rest of her body, little dots, mostly on her torso and neck.
Who the heck knows what normal poops look like after all this, but hers were definitely not normal at times.
Crying and tensing with diaper changes.
Little, juicy burps when I would pick her up out of her crib.
Despite all that, a very happy baby! (Except at night/sleep times sometimes)
Each of those things in themselves could be considered a normal baby thing, but combined, they paint a picture of something else happening.


The diagnosis:
When our allergist appointment finally arrived, we went through the symptoms, timelines, etc. with him and discussed allergy testing options and he brought up FPIES (Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome). Since her reactions were not immediately following ingestion and didn't involve respiratory problems, he seemed to be leaning more towards FPIES than traditional allergies. FPIES is a non-IgE mediated food allergy, so if that were the case, she would not test positive on allergy testing (although it is possible to have both). We decided to do skin prick testing for dairy, wheat, and soy and they were all negative. We then did blood testing for the same three things, also negative. He wanted to consult a colleague who had more experience with FPIES and get back to us. Meanwhile, Myra's chronic symptoms had gotten so intense I decided to try eliminating soy from my diet and we took her off all solids until we could figure this out. Both the allergist and Myra's doctor were aware of these dietary changes. .....Three weeks (and two emails from Myra's primary doctor) later, we heard back from the allergist we saw. He spoke with his colleague and she "did think it could definitely be FPIES." We were to avoid feeding Myra dairy, soy, oats, wheat, and rice. That's it. (Remember, she vomited after eating green beans and that wasn't even included in her no-no list...) Thankfully, we had already decided to move forward with other options and made an appointment with an allergist in Minneapolis who has experience with FPIES, Dr. Stillerman. He's actually listed on the FPIES Foundation's website. Also, Myra's doctor gave us a referral to a pediatric GI specialist, Dr. Grothe, to rule out any other GI problems (and/or confirm FPIES). 


When Myra and I met with Dr. Stillerman (allergist with FPIES experience), we almost exclusively discussed her acute symptoms (vomiting mostly), and only touched on her chronic symptoms. He agreed with the two allergists that it, indeed, did sound like FPIES. He sent a letter (below) to her primary care doctor and also gave us a copy to keep with her at all times (more on that later). We discussed a plan for reintroducing solids and discussed different formula options since Myra seems to react to things through my breast milk. To be clear, Dr. Stillerman did not suggest I stop nursing. (Also, to be clear, I have breast fed Myra exclusively for 10 months now, but I have absolutely no issue with people using formula no matter what the reason.  Science is a wonderful thing, too.) "Normal" formula most often has either a dairy or soy base, and contains the full protein chains as-is. Some more sensitive formulas (Nutramigen or Alimentum, for example) have partially broken down those protein chains to make them easier to digest. Elemental formulas (like Neocate or Elecare) have completely broken down the protein chains into individual amino acids.  Since FPIES has to do with food proteins, the elemental formulas are the safest bet when choosing a formula. There are certainly babies who do well on others depending on how sensitive they are and what triggers they have. Cost is most certainly a factor in determining which to try.  Together, we developed a plan for starting solids again as well as an emergency plan if Myra reacts to a food.


A few days later was our appointment with Dr. Grothe, a pediatric GI specialist. We thoroughly reviewed Myra's symptoms, both acute and chronic, beginning with the sleep disturbance and dairy elimination from early on. She explained that if there were some sort of anatomical GI issue (reflux, a twist in her intestines, etc.), Myra's symptoms wouldn't change so drastically based on diet, touché. Based on Myra's history, Dr. Grothe agreed with the diagnosis of FPIES and stated she would document it as such in Myra's chart. It may sound strange, but I can't describe the relief I felt hearing she would have an "official" documented diagnosis!  Dr. Grothe was supportive of the plan we had in place as well as the switch to an elemental formula. (By now we had decided we would gradually do the switch after our first food trial which we had already started. Formula will need to be a trial in itself.) She made sure we had access to Mayo's patient portal so we could easily contact her if anything changed.

Note on the formula: while I don't care how others feed their babies, I do understand that it is a very personal decision for many families.  There are moms who have found a way to work around FPIES, even with triggers through breast milk, and continue to nurse.  This is possible for us, but after weighing all the pros and cons, we have decided to trial a switch to formula and really hope it goes well.  Breastfeeding was hard at first, but it has become so easy.  I have found many ways to still eat the foods I like with substitutions when necessary, but the change does come with stress.  Considering the emotional toll as well as the effort it takes to get enough calories for a nursing mom each day, formula is the right decision for us right now.  That doesn't mean it will work and that doesn't mean it's the right decision for everyone, FPIES or not.  This can be a very hot topic in the parenting world (which blows my mind), so I thought I would just share our logic on the issue.  Do your homework then make your own decisions for your own family, adjust as needed-best parenting advice I've ever read!

Update: We did switch to Neocate Infant formula and Myra has done absolutely wonderful on it.  I continued to pump for a couple weeks in case it didn't work out, but that in itself was so exhausting (mentally and physically) it didn't last long.  Since there are no proteins in the amino acid based formulas and FPIES is a protein disorder, the chances of a reaction would be rare.  If she did react, we were prepared to find alternatives, but at that point continuing to breastfeed was not one of our options.  We noticed improvement within those first couple weeks and she continued to sleep better and show less and less of her chronic symptoms as time went on.  As of early February 2014, Myra has 4 safe foods.  I will keep a current list of her foods on the FPIES tab at the top of the blog page.  I do sometimes question if maybe we're just over reacting or reading into stuff so much, but looking back at how awful our nights were, the vomiting, screaming, zero sleep compared to now, it's night and day difference.  I have a hard time saying she's such a different baby because she was, somehow, still so happy all the time, but the sleep and other symptoms were absolutely present.  There is none of that now unless she is in a food trial that is not going well.  The big difference there is we know the cause and can stop it much sooner, even if it means stopping the problem food and waiting a day or two, that's a huge difference from months ago when we didn't attribute it to food at all.


What is FPIES:
FPIES, said F-Pies, stands for Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome. It is a type of food allergy, but different from traditional food allergies. I'm not going to reinvent the wheel here. This letter is taken from the IAFFPE website and it is the same letter Dr. Stillerman personalized and sent to Myra's doctor. We also have to keep a copy with Myra in case of an emergency.
Myra has a food allergy called Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES). This is a type of allergy that usually does not result in typical “allergic” symptoms such as hives or wheezing, but rather isolated gastrointestinal symptoms. The symptoms of this type of allergic reaction include repetitive vomiting that may not start for a few hours (e.g., two hours) following ingestion of the food to which the child is allergic. Even trace amounts can trigger a reaction. There is often diarrhea that starts later (after 6 hours). In some cases (~20%), the reaction includes hypotension and lethargy. The treatment is symptomatic and can include intravenous fluids (e.g., normal saline bolus, hydration) and steroids (e.g., Solumedrol 1-2 mg/kg) for significant symptoms. The latter is given because the pathophysiology is that of a T-cell response. This information is being given so that this could be considered in the differential diagnosis for this patient in event of symptoms. Of course, this illness does not preclude the possibility of other illness (e.g., infection) or even other types of allergic reactions leading to symptoms, so it is up to the evaluating physician to consider all possibilities. Similarly, the treating physician is encouraged to pursue any other treatments deemed necessary (e.g., symptomatic such as epinephrine for shock, antibiotics for presumed infections, etc.)


What do we do about it:
There is no cure or treatment for FPIES. It's unknown what even causes it. Management involves very cautious, precise food trials (two weeks per new food, every single thing-even things as simple as sugar or cinnamon), identifying safe foods and avoiding trigger foods.  Even the smallest amount can cause a reaction and reactions can be very severe (some vomit to shock). Many children outgrow it. There seems to be a fair number who outgrow at least some triggers by age three, more by age eight, and some who don't outgrow it at all. There is no way to know except food trials and, when deemed appropriate, challenging trigger foods, sometimes in a clinic or hospital. Dr. Stillerman really stressed the importance of calling for an ambulance if Myra starts vomiting since we don't really know how bad her reactions might be and we can't give her the care she needs while driving.  For food trials, we will likely only give her the new food for breakfast and/or lunch so we can monitor her since the reactions are delayed. Once she "passes" a food, we will include it in her diet for any meal. With this first trial, I only gave her a few bites in the morning for the first two days then increased the amount on the third day. If she vomits or has diarrhea, we will call it a fail and consider it a trigger food. If she shows some chronic type symptoms, we will give it a few days to make sure it isn't a coincidence before considering it a failure. We're keeping a detailed journal with times foods are given, sleep patterns, poopy diapers, and other relevant symptoms during trials. Hopefully, after a few trials, we can make sense of patterns so we can pick up on failures early. Or, better yet, hopefully she doesn't have many triggers and this all goes smoothly! For solids, we are starting with foods she has already had and to which she didn't seem to have major reactions. Often trigger foods are found after the child has had a break from it, so many people actually build a 2-3 day break into their trials. So, hopefully, we'll notice sooner than later if something isn't going well with these first few foods. If you've made it this far, you'll be glad to know you're part of the plan, too! Educating others, especially people who will be around Myra, is a HUGE part of our plan. People need to know how serious this can be, even from a very small amount of a trigger food. Myra can't have anything other than her safe foods (of which she has none right now) because we need to be in complete control of her food trials. If she gets her hands on a trigger food (or even an unknown food/substance) during a trial of something else, it will completely negate any progress in that trial, not to mention make her (and us) miserable. This isn't some paranoid, silly, new parent thing-it's very real and it's become a big part of our lives. We have to be careful even in our own home. Trevor washes his hands after eating and before touching Myra (I don't eat Myra's known triggers since I am still breast feeding, but I'm still careful, too!). We have to vacuum often so Myra doesn't eat leaves, clumps of dog hair, etc. (believe me, she tries!). We can't risk anything getting into her system because we have no idea if it would affect her. Of course, I'm human and wonder about things like "what kind of ingredients can we include in some sort of a birthday cake two months from now" and "will she feel left out at meal times," but those things will sort themselves out in time, so I just try not to get ahead of myself.  I've already heard a lot of "I could never do all of that," and similar statements. Just like military life (although that's more so a choice than this), you just do it. We play the cards we're dealt. It's not always easy, but it's not like Myra is naughty or a burden. She's a beautiful, happy, smart little girl with a big personality. And I never thought I would feel such joy being able to feed my baby FOOD, but since getting an actual diagnosis and starting solids again, feeding her feels so GOOD! Bonus--similar to military life, I've already met some totally awesome FPIES parents. They're full of information and experience, they ask what's going on and truly listen, remember when our appointments are and ask how they went, and offer excellent advice and support. Some have given us tips for working with our insurance company, navigating various clinics, etc. In some ways, yes this kind of takes over life some days, in other ways, it is what it is but it's just how we have to do food. With the right understanding from friends and family, it doesn't have to be a big deal.  The food trials and journaling probably sound intense, but that part really isn't so bad so far.  The biggest hurdle will be failures.  We haven't had a vomit to shock episode, and I pray that never happens, but let me tell you these chronic symptoms are HORRID.  Things could always be worse, it's all about perspective, but when you're on your eighth night in a row of a baby who screams no matter what you do and has a diaper rash so bad she scratches herself until she bleeds, you're not really thinking about "perspective."  

Truthfully, I could go on and on about the emotional toll this has taken, at times, on all of us.  Again, if you've made it this far, I imagine you can guess.  I'm not a label person, but this official diagnosis (and game plan) has already lifted weight off our shoulders.  Hopefully it will help others (medical professionals included) understand how serious this can be.  It will help us get the very expensive formula (that hopefully she tolerates) costs covered.  And, yes, it's validating that we're not crazy or dramatic or anything like that.  FPIES is a real thing and Myra has it, a real explanation for all these symptoms.  And if she ends up in daycare or still has it when she goes to school, an official diagnosis will likely be very helpful in those settings to ensure proper precautions are taken.

Please remember there is not a whole lot of "science" behind this, it's mostly observation.  The diagnosis is clinical based on medical history.  The symptoms and severity can vary greatly by food and baby.  While this may be helpful if you're running into some of the same issues, please don't use it as a replacement for working with your health care team.  It took bringing Myra in many times until the pieces of the puzzle started to make sense.  Blood work twice for no real reason, just to see if anything stood out.  And a lot of documentation on my part.  

Now, I'm off to relax and hopefully get a good night's sleep!  As always, any questions about this or anything else on the blog, PLEASE just ask.  I'm an open book.

 This was taken before we suspected any food issues beyond a dairy "sensitivity," but still an adorable food-related photo :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pregnancy Loss.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance month.  Since we're included in those statistics, I thought I would share (ramble?) a bit (a LOT?) today.  Our experience with pregnancy loss (miscarriage) happened in June 2011, so anyone who reads this and knows us personally: no, we are not currently going through this.  I've been meaning to sit down and write this for a long time.  When I was trying to sort through my emotions, I found this blog (and still follow it, same one that got me into cloth diapers) and it was so helpful. 

I would like to start with a few disclaimers.  Trevor and I both experienced miscarriage, they were not just my babies; however, what I'm about to share are my personal thoughts and feelings.  Trevor has his own, but these are mine.  So, if you're wondering why I keep saying "I" when they weren't just my babies, that's why.  There is absolutely positively no right or wrong way to feel or think after a loss.  So, again, these are my thoughts and feelings, but that in no way means my feelings should reflect those of other people who have also experienced a loss.  What I think and feel may or may not be the same as what others think and feel, and that's perfectly acceptable.  There are pieces of our story that stick out to me, but I will never ever say that anything makes it harder than someone else's experience with miscarriage.  Nor will I ever minimize our experience by saying someone else had it harder than I/we did.  Also, many people have struggles related to becoming parents that are similar, but different (infertility, infant loss, etc.); I don't claim to know how that feels and that's okay.  Some of our feelings probably mirror each other, but our journeys are different and I do understand that.  Each individual experience is just that, individual.  There is no right or wrong, better or worse.  For those of you who think I'm talking about you at times in here, you're probably right.  And don't worry, I'm genuinely and wholeheartedly happy for all of you...now.  I had good and bad days then, I think you can probably understand that, but this isn't about now, this is about how I felt then.  No hard feelings, pinky swear.  [Addition after completing this post: I feel the need to write, "But really, I'm okay, I'm not a mess over this and life does continue and life is still good" but I feel like that would be minimizing my feelings throughout this whole process.  I mean, I really am okay and happy and all that, but that doesn't take away from how horribly, awfully, gut wrenchingly sad this was for us.  And the memory of this experience will always be that way.  Just because I was a mess for a while, understandably so, doesn't mean I'm not strong or okay or mentally healthy.  So, there's that, too, for whatever it's worth.]  And finally, I don't really know where I'm going with this; I'm just going to write, and I'm not going to proof read.  So, read on if you'd like.

The background info (skip this if you're not interested, there's your warning): I love kids.  Trevor loves kids.  Kids almost always love both of us.  We wanted to wait until just the right time to have our own.  Knowing there would never be a perfect time, but there would certainly be a right time, Trevor approached me about trying to get pregnant before he deployed to Kuwait.  We started talking seriously about it late February 2011 (knowing he was leaving that May) and decided to go for it in March.  I got my IUD out (which was a fiasco in itself, but whatever) and the doctor who removed it semi-politely told me the odds of us getting pregnant between the end of March and the beginning of May were not good.  We're not idiots, we knew it might not happen, but way to give us a challenge.  I started tracking my cycle right away, ovulation predictor strips, temperature taking, period tracking and all the other exciting signs of fertility.  Trevor left for the first time of this tour (those of you who have been through deployments know there's a lot of back and forth during pre-deployment training) on Mother's Day, 2011.  I ovulated the day after he left and got a positive pregnancy test 9 days later (pretty early!), on May 19.  Trevor was at Camp Ripley and I got a hold of him, called to make my first doctor's appointment (don't even get me started on the insurance nonsense that required me to doctor an hour away) and started feeling like garbage and exhausted almost immediately.  Trevor came home for Memorial Day weekend and we told our immediate families the news so Trevor could be a part of that.  I was 5 weeks pregnant at the time.  I had two friends pregnant within a few weeks of me, too.  One was even another Army Wife going through the same deployment.  I knew the statistics for miscarriage.  If you know me, you know my way to cope with good or bad is to fill myself with more knowledge than I could possibly need, so I had done my homework on risks and all that.  Being completely honest and not even a little bit "hindsight is 20/20" I had a funny feeling.  I wouldn't call it "knowing something was wrong," but I remember distinctly thinking "if any of us three has a miscarriage (statistics are right around 30% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, depending on who you ask), I bet it's me."  I was so anxious, nervous, excited I wanted to get into the doctor ASAP.  The earliest they could/would see me was June 20.  Trevor was able to be on the phone for that first appointment and his mom and one of his sister's came with me.  This was my first pregnancy ultrasound, so I had no idea what to expect or what I was seeing on the screen.  My doctor said, "now, each pregnancy is associated with a sac..." and I was thinking, "OK, cool, as in...each pregnancy in the world" not each pregnancy INSIDE MY BELLY.  So she continued on, "so here's one here...and here's another there!" And I just blinked and she said, "so it looks like twins!" Trevor was silent.  His mom and sister were ecstatic, and I had some silent panic going on, truth be told.  Someone asked Trevor if he heard all that and he said, "if you could see my face, you'd know I did!" Anyway... there were two babies, two heartbeats, both within "healthy" range, but one noticeably slower than the other.  So, my doctor scheduled me for a follow up ultrasound the next week just to check in on things.  I went straight to the library to check out books on twins and terrified myself about vanishing twins, where one just kind of absorbs into the other.  I was worried about that weaker heartbeat.  I spent all week hoping my funny feeling was just be being dramatic and that heartbeat would pick up and that little baby would catch up.  I kept reminding myself it was still within healthy range, no need to panic.  I pictured going into labor with much less predictability, how much help I would need with two babies (Trevor wouldn't be home until four months after the due date plus they'd likely be born early).  We talked about baby names and picked out two of each sex just in case (we wanted to talk about it while we were in the same time zone, before Trevor actually left the country-he was still training in Wisconsin at this point).  It didn't take long at all before we both really embraced the idea of having twins.

If you skipped all that background stuff, let me catch you up.  Trevor was still at his pre-deployment training in Wisconsin.  I was pregnant with twins and had seen/heard their heartbeats a week prior, Trevor was on the phone for that appointment, everything was pretty normal.  That's the short version.  Anyway, Trevor's other sister was able to go to the follow up ultrasound with me and, once again, Trevor was able to be on the phone for it.  I explained the situation (Trevor/phone call) to the ultrasound tech and she said I could call him once she got all set up and ready to go.  She was prodding around, looking at the screen (it wasn't facing me yet) and I just kept getting more and more anxious.  Trevor's sister was just watching her and the screen, we were both excited.  The tech asked me if I had had any cramping or bleeding and I got more nervous.  I said no and she said okay.  I looked at Jamie and she tried to reassure me.  I figured they ask everyone that just kind of checking in or something.  It felt like an eternity, but probably wasn't long at all, but the tech told me she was not able to find any heartbeats.  Neither baby.  I was shocked.  I had semi-prepared myself to only find one, even to have a vanishing twin, but no heartbeats at all??? I had no cramping, no bleeding, no loss of pregnancy symptoms (had actually started taking Zofran for nausea it was so bad), no physical symptoms whatsoever.  (This is referred to as a missed miscarriage.)  Just shocked.  I don't really remember how the rest of the appointment went, there wasn't much to it.  The tech told me my doctor would be in touch with me soon.  I still hadn't called Trevor.  He was waiting for me to call so he could hear the heartbeats.  I had to tell him.  We walked out to my car and I mostly just stood there with my phone in my hand wondering how the hell I was going to call Trevor, who was literally pausing his own training (firing range, I think?) for a year long deployment for this.  I was shaking.  I couldn't even open my mouth for a bit, knowing I'd burst into tears if I did.  His sister said what she could, but there's nothing you can really say to change it, make it better, it just is.  (Here's where the real emotions will come in-no right or wrong, people.)  So, I just had to do it.  I had to call.  At that moment, I would have rather gotten that news 100 times myself than had to be the one to tell Trevor.  I knew he'd want to be there.  I didn't know if it would seem real to him.  He's always been so "medical" about stuff  (it happens, you know the statistics, etc.) I was terrified of how he would react.  But I just did it.  I dialed (or whatever we do on cell phones now) and he answered.  He was expecting to hear heartbeats and excitement.  I didn't know what to say.  So, I just said, "there were no heartbeats" and cried.  I don't remember the rest of the conversation.  It was brief.  There wasn't much to say.  I made it clear and he said he was sorry and I said I was sorry, too and we hung up.  Remember how I said don't get me started about the insurance nonsense? Well this ultrasound was in Mankato so I had to drive myself home which was an hour drive.  I texted a few people right away because I didn't want to get the excited texts "how was your appointment?!?" (I had told my boss, some close friends and family members.)  I pulled up to our house and, like usual, got the mail.  You'll never guess what was in my mailbox... A baby shower invite.  For someone who wasn't married and the baby wasn't planned.  (All babies are awesome, but just take a second to think about that in my current state of mind.)  I'm pretty sure I littered that invitation. And I do not litter.  The rest of the day is a blur.  My doctor was out of the office that day (fabulous) but called me anyway to explain my options.  I could let my body (hopefully) recognize the miscarriage and let things happen naturally.  My doctor was very clear I didn't need to do anything, at least not yet.  She then explained that if I wanted to, or if my body didn't recognize what had happened, I could get a D&C where the "tissue" (babies and all that) would be removed in a surgical procedure.  (I promise I will stop reminding you all of my disclaimers after this one, but remember, this is how I felt about my situation and my body, not implying anything more about others and their feelings/choices/situation.) I was so sad and hurt and angry and, honestly, grossed out that I had two dead babies in my body I wanted them to do whatever it took to make it stop as soon as possible.  I didn't hesitate one bit telling my doctor as much and she scheduled a pre-op appointment for the next day.  I, of course, talked to Trevor to make sure he didn't have any reservations and he fully supported my decision.  Aside from that logistical issue of talking to my doctor then talking to Trevor about the D&C, I screamed bloody murder and sobbed like never before into my pillow the entire night.  The entire.night.  It was awful.  I wanted to talk to Trevor but I didn't even know what to say.  I didn't know what I wanted to hear.  There were still people who didn't know.  I had just said goodbye to my husband for a year and now I was saying goodbye to my two babies I never got to meet.  What was I supposed to do, just stop thinking about the baby names and how we were going to arrange two cribs in one room?  I still had all my pregnancy symptoms, so on top of the emotional nightmare that was happening, I felt nauseous and constipated (thanks, Zofran) and exhausted.  I was sad. Hurt. Angry. Confused.  We would be AMAZING parents.  We planned this.  We were ready.  WHY??????  At some point I fell asleep and had to gather myself up to go back to Mankato for my pre-op appointment the next day.  Trevor was very busy with all his training, but doing the very best he could to be there for me.  I was hoping he was processing all this okay, but I was really in no position to be caring for someone else at that time.  I was texting him while in the waiting room for my pre-op and somehow it came up to see if Trevor could come home for a few days.  For me.  For him.  A distracted soldier is..well...not a good thing, let's just say that.  The details of all that are a blur, but a very good friend (fast forward...Myra's godfather) took off on the 5+ hour drive to pick him up before we even had official approval that he would be allowed to leave.  Trevor's mom helped with the red cross message (sad, but we live in a world where they have to verify this type of situation is legitimate, so it all has to be official).  I was hopeful, but not getting too excited.  Unfortunately, the military has disappointed at times in the past, and I couldn't handle any more of that right then.  I went in for my appointment and asked for another ultrasound.  I was so shocked the day prior, I didn't even ask to look at the screen myself.  My doctor kindly obliged and said many women ask the same thing.  She pointed out where I saw the flutters of the heartbeats for me the first time, and said, "see how they're not moving now?"  Then she turned on the sound to show there was nothing to hear.  It was hard to see and hear, but comforting at the same time.  I truly knew this was real now.  And no, not closure.  We're way far away from that at this point.  Again, more blur of memory, but I went home and had gotten word that Trevor would be allowed to come home for a few days, so we were both glad we had someone already on the way to go get him.  They arrived late that night and it was a quick drop off.  We hugged, I (we?) cried and at some point I turned into an exhausted, defeated zombie.  The next day was my best friend's (fast forward...Myra's godmother) birthday.  I know she understood then and still does, but I had this nagging feeling she would know I wasn't genuinely perky in my "Happy Birthday!!" text message.  (Stop worrying about other people and worry about yourself for once!)  I was sedated for the D&C, everything was explained to Trevor, recovery at the hospital was minimal and we were on our way home.  Now, keep in mind, I was still taking Zofran for nausea because my body still didn't get the message that I didn't need pregnancy symptoms anymore.  So, I think by the day of my D&C I was on like day 9 of not pooping.  Pretty uncomfortable considering what else had just gone on in that part of my body.  My doctor encouraged me to wait a day or two if possible before trying an enema.  Ultimately, I did and it worked, but it just wasn't a fun couple of days.  It wasn't awful physically, but all things considered, I would have much rather been pregnant and sick with my husband at Fort McCoy.  Trevor was wonderful and I am so glad he was able to come home for those few days.  He did, however, have his mind on the mission (training and deployment) and wanted to get back sooner than later.  I had a bit of a meltdown about him leaving on July 3, leaving me to "enjoy" 4th of July with......????? I would have had lots of offers, but would have been miserable with anyone else.  So, I talked him into staying and brought him back to Fort McCoy on July 5.  (He had approval for 10 days just to be safe, but we both knew he definitely wouldn't use them all.)  We certainly didn't use it as a holiday to party back home while all of his fellow soldiers were working hard away from their loved ones.  It was far from a party zone at the Gibbs house, I promise.  My doctor wrote me a note to be off work for a week following the surgery (so almost two weeks off work in total) which was a much needed mental health (and physical health) break.

I had planned to go visit family near Maidson, WI the next weekend (a week and a half later) because there was a Serving Our Troops event at Fort McCoy that Sunday, so it made sense to make a weekend out of the trip.  I needed to have some normal in my life, so I kept those plans.  I was doing okay, not crying myself to sleep or anything (although if I had been, I'd say that's perfectly acceptable at that stage, too), but I'd have waves of sadness, anger, whatever.  Mid-July, the soldiers got one last "pass" to come home and spend time with families before actually leaving the country.  My post-op appointment was during that time, so Trevor was there with me for that.  My doctor knew our situation (deployment), but gave us the medical go-ahead to try again any time we were ready.  It was good to hear...the idea of trying again and this wasn't the end of the road, but it was also like a big fat slap in the face (not my doctor's fault, of course).  After such excitement early on in the deployment, and with Trevor leaving the country in two days, NOW we can start over?

I had a few friends I knew who had been through miscarriage(s).  They were all so helpful in their own ways.  One told me, "It's sad, very sad, and it will always be sad, but it will get better," which was enough hope for me at the time to get through the bad moments.  The "it will get better" was true, but I still had a few meltdowns here and there.  One friend mostly just listened and validated my feelings, which was amazing.  Another shared her story of what really helped her get over that hump...many might call it closure (maybe she even did?) but for some reason I just don't like that word.  Regardless, I have a small handful of amazing women in my life who have been through this and just get it.  No "it happened for a reason" or "you'll try again when Trevor is home" - yeah, those things might be true but not even a little bit helpful in my situation, thanks but no thanks.  Just compassion.  I'm very grateful for those women and their open ears, kind words, and big hearts.

Speaking of my meltdowns...I just want to throw it out there that I had some awful feelings at times.  Not all the time, not every time, but sometimes.  I would hear about friends getting pregnant, having babies (especially when it was a girl...I am all about a healthy baby is absolutely enough, but I desperately wanted a girl), even telling me they were considering trying to get pregnant (just having the option to try could make me jealous, resentful, sad, hurt, angry, pick an emotion and I felt it)-any of those scenarios could throw me into a tizzy of anger, sadness, or, most often, resentment.  (Reminding myself about my promise not to refer back to my disclaimer....but I really want to....I love all your babies, really, seriously, honestly do!)  Not only did we have this setback when we were SO ready for a baby (babIES!!), and we HAD babies...right there...like, on the tip of our parenthood tongues (that doesn't even make sense, but go with it...), now we have to wait a year to even attempt it again?  How is this fair? Mind you, I worked as the Abused Children's Program Coordinator for a non-profit organization helping individuals victimized by violence, so I was seeing situations every single day where people were treating children like absolute garbage.  And, often, they had multiple children.  How can these people have one, two, five kids and treat them so badly?! And I can't??? It was hard. There were also the pregnancy messages sprinkled through the coming months...all the way until the month we would have been due.  It seems some of the people with whom we shared our good news couldn't contain their excitement and spread the word.  Apparently, they didn't get the memo when we miscarried.  Trevor even got a birthday card (in January, a few weeks before the would-have-been due date) telling him what a good daddy he will be soon!  All that aside, randomly, I would just get sad.  It didn't have to be someone else's baby shower or the stupid reminder that I wasn't pregnant by getting my period every month, but I'd just think about it.  Thank goodness for Rowdy, he was so good for me that year.  Honestly, those feelings got better, but still continued until Myra was born and it started to sink in she was healthy.  Friends would want to start trying to get pregnant, or some would get pregnant on accident, and I would get this twinge of...I don't even know what, something unpleasant.  Again, I was happy for them, too, but it was just hard wishing I could be there, too.  Even when I was, I still didn't have the baby in my arms I had wanted for so long.

The friend who shared with me some of the things that helped her heal?  She gave me a brilliant idea.  I had been wanting a tattoo for the longest time but couldn't come up with anything.  Then it just hit me.  A tattoo for these babies I never got to meet.  I carried them every second of their lives and loved them with every mother bone in my body, but never got to meet them.  I wanted them to be a part of me forever, just like any child.  So, I got to work on brainstorming what my tattoo would be and eventually came up with something perfect.  Two red snowflakes, similar but different.  Snowflakes because they would have been winter babies (quite possibly born early since they were twins), red because they were actually due in January (garnet birthstone) and similar but different because there were two sacs indicating they were likely fraternal, not identical.  I also have a big scar on my shoulder, so I chose to get the tattoo right there for symbolic reasons.  I don't run around looking for opportunities to bombard people with the fact that I've had a miscarriage, but it is nice to have something tangible that incites conversation about it with people.  When people ask about my tattoo, I tell them.  (Um, not in this much detail haha, but I tell them the basics).  I don't sit and pout about it every day.  I don't cry about it often (I get teary eyed every so often, when I really think about it). But it's nice to remember.  I've given birth to one baby (a super awesome, amazing baby), but I've heard three heartbeats in my body.  I've seen a positive pregnancy test twice.  Myra was not my first experience with pregnancy, OB appointments, baby books, picking out names, etc.  She's not the first child about whom I've pictured the future.


Myra is amazing.  She is perfect for our family and was SO ready to be here.  I spent the year Trevor was away tracking my fertility.  I figured I should probably make good use of all that time.  My cycle was 100% regular and predictable.  I could predict my period 5 months in advance if I wanted to do so.  I was positive we had missed ovulation when Trevor got home, but, homecomings are exciting and stuff happens whether you think you're fertile or not and, whaddya know...positive pregnancy test two weeks later.  I'll spare you the details, but we know for a fact she was conceived the day Trevor came home.  My labor and delivery with her was insanely easy and fast (especially for a first timer).  We know in our hearts she was meant to be with us, and we were meant to be with her.  As soon as she possibly could, she made her way into my womb (kind of an odd word?) and into our lives.

I'm a firm believer in "everything happens for a reason," but I've never been able to grasp that idea in this specific situation.  It is what it is.  Life can be confusing and hard.  Unanswered prayers and all that jazz.  But in the end, we're very blessed.  No if's, and's, or but's about it.

PS-someone in an online group shared this with me and I love, love, love it. It's from a book.

(Swedish title is "Den lilla sorgen", i.e. "The Little Sorrow"). I'll translate a section: "No one can take away from us the happiness we have owned. The sadness that comes afterwards can not overshadow that joy. The happiness for a pregnancy is and remains ours, whatever happens. For a few weeks we live together with the little living things, and during that time our expectations are pure and fresh - nothing differs between the children that make it and those that we lose. Allow yourself to be proud of the child you never got to meet. Never feel ashamed of missing a child that others call a fetus. Honor its memory in your mind."

Edited to add: We went through a second, and very different, loss three years later.  Read about it here.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Babywearing Love.

I passed my VBE (Volunteer Babywearing Educator) skills assessment (demonstrating varies carries in all of the main types of baby carriers) this morning, so it seemed like an appropriate time to write this post.  I'm certainly not a subject matter expert, but I have learned a lot in the past 6 months or so!

First of all, what is babywearing? Babywearing International's (BWI) definition is pretty straightforward: "Babywearing" simply means holding or carrying a baby or young child using a cloth baby carrier.  You don't need super expensive wraps or carriers to babywear (although you can use those if you want!), you just need to wear your baby.  Wraps/carriers hold their value very well, I mean very well, so one can make back most of the investment if something isn't working.  I've been able to try quite a few different wraps by buying/selling/trading them without losing any money in the process, besides the initial purchase.  I know some of you might be thinking "I'm not into all that," or "I don't have time to learn," "my baby is too big," and that's totally fine, but it has been very helpful around here.  Luckily, Myra is a very happy baby, but I can just imagine how much more helpful babywearing would be if she were fussy, colicky, reflux-y, clingy, etc.  What's more, there will be a baby #2 someday, and babywearing will certainly come in handy as a parent of two!

My preference is using wraps (woven wraps these days, but I did use a Moby wrap and a K'Tan when Myra was a squishy little newborn) and soft structured carriers (or SSC, my polka dot Beco Gemini, Ergo, etc.).  I was tested on a those two as well as a mei tai, pouch sling and ring sling today.  I had to demonstrate front, hip, back and cradle carries in each of the carriers (as appropriate, one doesn't do all of those in each carrier).

For the written test/application, I was asked why babywearing is important to me.  I explained that it allows me to get stuff done around the house (cook, dishes, get ready, vacuum, etc.) while snuggling my baby.  (Who doesn't love snuggling babies?!)  It makes running errands/shopping much easier, too!  I have noticed I interact with Myra more while wearing her than I do when she is in a stroller (I have no issue with strollers though, I use ours a lot when it's too warm for me to be babywearing! I do not like heat one bit.).  Also, I can go places with her that aren't so feasible with a stroller (beaches, hiking, even our county fair was much easier without a stroller).  Walking Rowdy seems easier when I'm not pushing a stroller, although I use it if it's even a tad warm and it is nice to have a place to put things if needed.  I was also asked why I wanted to become a VBE.  I have met such wonderful people through our chapter of BWI (South Metro Minneapolis) and the group leaders and members were so helpful when I was frustrated trying to figure out my first woven wrap (and even helpful when choosing my first woven wrap!), I want to pay it forward and help others in the same way.

So, as for the "I don't have time to learn" - you can put as much or as little time into it as you'd like.  SSC's are very easy and very comfortable.  Once I saw things demonstrated and watched some YouTube videos, it clicked quite quickly.  "My baby is too big"...a friend of mine wears her 40 pound toddler.  With the right carrier and knowledge, it can easily be done (many people may say when their toddler is that big, he/she can walk, but the reality is there are many circumstances where a parent may still want to wear their child at that size, for example, when it's nap time and you're all out and about-kiddo can nap and wearer can be hands free, or when you're doing something where it's not reasonable or even safe to expect them to walk-a long family hike or a full day at the zoo, navigating the airport, or maybe when your child is sick and just wants to snuggle but you have stuff that needs to get done).  "I'm just not into all that"...totally fine, too! Babywearing isn't for everyone, whatever works best for you is exactly what you should be doing. But, how adorable are these photos...




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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Four years.

A wedding. A house. Vacations. A new car. Paying off cars. A dog. Job changes. Pregnancy. Loss. Deployment. Volunteering. Reintegration. Income changes. Goodbyes. Returning to school. Promotion. Baby. And a whole lotta love.

<3

PS-thanks again, Michelle, for sharing your birthday. Happy Birthday!



Thursday, August 29, 2013

7 months old.

Myra hit 7 months last week. She's growing so fast and her own personality is showing more and more. We lucked out with such a happy baby!!  

She's sitting completely unassisted, getting up on all 4's and rocking (crawling soon??), babbling lots (and doing a face her dad used to do, "possessed" - last photo of this post), and smiling all the time. We started her on solid foods a la baby led weaning a couple weeks ago and so far she's had carrots (steamed), bananas, avocado, toast, cucumber, kiwi, mango, mandarin oranges... I think that's it. Cucumbers are her favorite and carrots are a close second. Avocado was a big hit but anything mushy sticks to her and makes her eczema flare up, poor girl. 

Myra had been sleeping through the night (11-12 hours straight, no wake ups) for about 6 weeks, maybe even longer, but has recently been waking up once or twice to nurse (I assume). She goes right back to sleep and naps well (unless interrupted by poop...) so we're just going with it. 

Myra and Rowdy are becoming good buds! She reaches for him to pet/scratch him whenever she can, sneaks him her carrots and tries to steal (and gnaw on) his toys. Rowdy parks it right by Myra quite a bit. I'm sure once she can crawl, and especially walk, they'll be even better friends.

No teeth yet! I keep checking, but still nothing. We're still doing great with breastfeeding and I see no reason we won't make it to at least a year. It wasn't easy at first, but I'm glad I was so stubborn.  We've found a love for babywearing which allows me (or Trevor) to snuggle Myra while walking Rowdy, cleaning, cooking, shopping, etc. 

I'm sure I'm forgetting stuff, but I think I but all the big milestones. Here are some photos:









Thursday, August 15, 2013

Steele County Free Fair.

Myra and I headed to our fair today with Jenna and Letty. Total tease since I can't eat dairy (cheese curds, strawberry smoothie, dole whips, etc.) but oh well...next year!!

We just did the animal stuff, I was going to caption all the photos but they're pretty self explanatory :)





Letty wanted to feed this donkey because he looked sad.

We've forced camels on Myra a bit since Trevor was in land of the camels (Kuwait) for the year we had to wait to try again for a baby.

I think this fave means his tongue feels gross?



I have some more photos on my camera I will add...eventually :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Splish Splash.

Spent the day at the Faribault water park with some friends (well, family I guess, but I'm going with friends) today! Myra has been in a pool before and loves the bath, but I think she's still figuring it all out. 

I'm worthless in heat, but love being outside if I'm in/near water, so this was perfect! 




Monday, August 12, 2013

Fun, fun, fun!

Total blog slacker...again. Here's my weak sauce attempt at getting back in the game. A mobile, mostly photos post.

We've had a fun weekend! Two visits from Grandpa Rich, a visit from Grandma Christy, a girls night with Lynn, LOTS of walks (6?), a trip to the library, and a visit from Amanda, Jack, Jenna and Letty (those two came all the way from Texas!).












Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Break from Cloth Diapers.

(Disclaimer: I/we impose no judgement on others based on how you catch your kiddo's bowel movements. This post is about our kid and our preferences, nothing more!)

There is no such thing as a "break from cloth diapers." Myra had a yeast infection (happens to lots of babies, yeast/bacteria balance on skin gets a tad out of whack and off you go...) so we had to bleach her cloth diapers and treat her with a topical ointment for a week. Rather than bleaching the cloth at every wash dying treatment, we just switched to disposables for a week. Most people think the "break" from that laundry would be nice. Honestly, I didn't even notice the lack of laundry. Cloth diaper laundry is easy. There's no folding, hardly any "putting away;" it's just easy. I cringed paying for disposable diapers. They smell funny. They smell even worse after Myra pees in them. She had three blow outs in one week. She had one tiny blow out once in cloth and I think that was because she just happened to be propped up on someone's knee at the time. Three big ones in one week! She messed with the diapers-I'm sure she didn't like the feel of them as much. I know I hate wearing pads and those don't even cover my whole butt! And so.much.garbage. We started cloth diapering to save money, mostly, but holy cow the waste! I think Trevor is more excited to get back into cloth than I am! Basically, the break from cloth is hardly a break.

Also, in Myra's 5 month update I mentioned the yeast...we took her in to the doctor and he confirmed the yeast and also diagnosed her with chicken pox!  They are clearing up nicely and she's been a real trooper. She had red dots that were spreading but neither of us thought of chicken pox. We thought it was from the yeast, then thought maybe spider bites, heat rash, even checked Rowdy for fleas! 

That is all. Cloth diapers again tomorrow, woo hoo!!






Sunday, June 23, 2013

5 months old.

Sorry for being terrible with the blog lately!! Truth: Myra is so entertaining and fun I just haven't gotten around to it. The first couple of months it was my "holy-cow-I-need-a-break" thing, but that's really not necessary anymore. 

I still have her 3 month 24 hour post ready but have to import photos. I will eventually put that up, too. Beyond that, I'm going to do those "quarterly" now, so the next one will be at 6 months. It's fun to see but a long day of tracking!

What's going on with Myra at 5 months? (Technically yesterday but, like I said, terrible with the blog!)

Sleep: awesome! Never thought I would say that, woah. My how things can change in a month!! She goes to bed right around 7 every night and sleeps until 6-7am, rarely a wake up (once a week if that, and if she does it's only once)! She usually naps really well, too. Two 1.5-2.5 hour naps and a shorter nap later. There's a little more variability with the naps, but really no big deal especially since she sleeps so great at night. When we put her in her crib, we just give her a kiss and say good night. She sucks her thumb then puts herself to sleep. 

Eating: Myra is still doing great with nursing. She nurses before and after every nap/when she wakes up/bedtime. She will take a bottle if necessary, too. She gets distracted very easily, though. I'm comfortable nursing in public uncovered, but she gets too distracted I usually have to find a private place anyway. Even at home if I'm not looking at her she will often give me the stink eye or turn to look see where I'm looking.  My appetite is unreal and I'm already below my pre-pregnancy weight thanks to breast feeding.  I actually make it a point to eat high calorie foods like avocados. I imagine we'll start some first foods in the next month once she shows signs of being ready. We'll be skipping purées and cereals and just giving her regular foods (www.babyledweaning.com for details if you're interested). Food before one is just for fun! (And learning about tastes, textures, the social aspect of eating, etc.) Her main source of nutrients and calories will be breast milk until she's at least one. It will be fun to watch her eat and make messes haha

Milestones: Myra can roll over both ways. She rolls onto her belly to sleep and is pretty mobile by rolling around. In fact, she is always moving! She's given us some belly laughs, always cooing/singing/whispering and sometimes it sounds like actual words which is adorable (mama, yeah, no, dada-even though she is obviously not saying them on purpose). She has found her toes and is in love! That's what helped her roll over from back to belly I think...she grabs her toes then rolls. She has excellent head control. We put up breathable bumpers in her crib after a couple melt downs from getting her legs stuck all the way up to her thigh! She's got great coordination-everything in her hands is easily brought to her mouth. Tummy time is a breeze now that she can roll both ways it just happens naturally.  She's been mimicking us for a long time now by sticking out her tongue. She still does it daily. It's adorable when she starts to do it because she's kind of timid and seems like she's thinking "I kind of want to play that tongue game...maybe you'll play with me? Please?" It's adorable.

Temperament: Myra is always happy. Always. She doesn't cry. Ever. She will fuss when she's starting to get tired and when she wakes up, but it's definitely not crying. Well...she cried when she got her legs stuck in the crib, but that's seriously it. We can easily get her to smile. She has a lot of similarities to both of us so far. When Trevor is tired or stressed, he rubs his head...Myra too. The always moving thing comes from him, too.

Health: no check up this month but at 4 months she was perfectly healthy! No teeth yet. We just started treating her for a yeast infection (just on her body, no thrush as far as we can tell). She doesn't really seem too bothered by it really, she'll just lightly scratch at it from time to time.

Other: cloth diapering is still going great! I bought disposables for the first time yesterday to use while we treat her for yeast and I can't believe how much people must spend on diapers!! I'm a big believer in "you do it your way, we'll do it ours" so I mean no disrespect, but Trevor and I agreed we feel icky every time we put a diaper in the garbage haha. And that's not even why we started with cloth...we just wanted to save money!  We've had a babysitter twice now. Once for a night out with friends and once for an all day music festival. Both times went great! In May we wrapped up our first ECFE class, Baby & Me, and met some awesome mamas! Also, I've become quite close to the mamas in our due date club (online cloth diapering forum type group of moms who were also due in January). It's fun to see our babies grow together! Myra and I (and sometimes Trevor) are doing lots of babywearing. I have a few woven wraps and a soft structured carrier (a Beco Gemini) and it's so fun to be able to snuggle her while getting stuff done, going for a walk, etc. and be hands free! Myra loves being able to look around and see what we're doing. We haven't touched our stroller yet, thankfully it was a hand me down. It makes walking Rowdy easier, too, since I'm not trying to hold his leash and a stroller. And they wraps/carriers are pretty ;) I've had years of my "fun money" saved up because I rarely buy myself anything - seems like a great thing on which to spend it! Plus they hold their value incredibly well. Ah, I digress.

I really can't think of much else for this update. You get the idea, our kid rocks! Trevor is absolutely in love and hardly remembers the time he was hoping for a boy...he frequently says how glad he is we have a girl; she's perfect for us!












Sunday, April 7, 2013

Easter Weekend.

Quick post tonight from the Blogger app (which I hate) so hopefully it turns out okay. The photos usually post out of order, my apologies. We had a busy, but awesome Easter weekend!

Friday night my dad stopped by to visit and Trevor all but finished up the basement!! There is just some touch up paint to do...and some putzy stuff tht can wait but the project itself is done! Just in time for it to be changed from a man cave to a better office, or study as Trevor has started calling it.

Saturday we packed up the whole family and most of our house, plus some borrowed tools (for the basement) and headed to Trevor's mom and dad's. We unloaded and left right away to go visit his grandma and aunt who hadn't met Myra yet. It was great to see them!

Right after that visit we went straight to New Prague to visit with some good friends and meet their newest addition who was born on my birthday. It was a big giant kid festival! Nick was the one who let us borrow his tools so the dudes unpacked all that stuff, too.

Then it was back to Jeff and Christy's to get settled, play with Rowdy a bit and get ready for our first night out together since Myra arrived! Rhya watched her while Jeff and Christy were at church then they took over. Not much to do that time of night since she just slept, but we surely appreciated it anyway! We went out for a friend's birthday party, to the Le Center American Legion of all places, and had a great time!

We were up bright and early with Myra Easter morning. Once she went back down for a nap we got to helping with Easter baskets, food prep and then getting ourselves ready. Everyone started showing up, we hung out, talked, got Rowdy some good exercise, ate, squeezed in a quick photo of all the grandkids (I think my niece only agreed because we said we wouldn't post the photo on Facebook so I'll be nice and not post it here either, even though everyone looks great!). We loaded all our stuff up and headed home. Holy cow what a weekend! It was exhausting to say the least but we saw lots of awesome people and had tons of fun!













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