Wednesday, December 17, 2014

And Then We Were 4

Well, our cute little family is growing.  Or...has grown?

In a muddle of thoughts I cannot think of where to begin.

First of all, I'm not one to divulge all the graphic details of Baby Girl's birth (or any birth for that matter) in a blog post.  I can appreciate those that do but I'll keep this G rated, partly because it otherwise gives me the heeby jeebies.  Childbirth, though beautiful, wonderful and miraculous, is also icky!

SOOOOO, Holland has graced our home with a lot of force, and very little sleep.

She was born one week early via NON-elective cesarean section.  Stubborn girl was breech, just hanging out for a few weeks and did NOT want to flip over into a more comfortable position. So when I went into labor, there wasn't much of a choice.  Some of you may say that breech births happen safely all the time, but they are illegal in Ohio so it's not even really a discussion.  We like to abide by the law 'round these parts.

Can I just tell you how miserable a C-section is?  Once again, some people prefer it, oh geez, not me. As soon as they told me I had to have a c-section I immediately started to internally panic. I kept my composure pretty well until the sweet sweet nurse couldn't find the vein for my IV and had to stick me four times.  Then I lashed out, swore at her and told her she better find the vein quickly.  Andrew was quickly issued a hazmat suit (or the likes of), cute little booties and a cafeteria cap.  We walked down the hallway where Andrew was deposited in a waiting room and I was whisked away to the OR (And by "whisked away" I mean they made me walk, while holding my standard issue hospital gown closed, and forgot to give me hospital booties so I had bare feet, gross?!).
From this point until recovery a few events occured:
--I was certain the epidural would not work and that I would feel them cut me open.
--The epidural worked.
--I screamed that the anesthesiologist was a liar over and over again because he told me we'd be done in 20 minutes, and we were not.
--Holland was born safely, but we were told she had a "pinpoint size hole" in her soft palate that wouldn't cause any problems, she would be able to nurse just fine, yada yada yada.

And then we were in recovery 40 minutes later.  (Andrew told me the next day that during surgery before they closed me up they were counting all of their supplies and two of the nurses looked confused as they were counting the bloody gauze.  Nurse one whispers to nurse two, nurse two looks at doc, doc puts his hand in my stomach and pulls out an extra gauze.  WHEW...close one!)

Turns out little Holland has a cleft palate that does INDEED cause problems.  The hole in her palate is bigger than a pin point, and it causes an open airway from her nose to her mouth so she cannot get suction on anything which means she has to have a special bottle to eat, and she cannot hold a pacifier in her mouth.  It also means that when she spits up it goes up the hole and out her nose, like a cool magic trick!

SO....along with all of the other newborn things (lots of eating, waking up a lot in the middle of the night, lots of poop, diapers) we get to go see an array of medical specialists.

Let's backup, cleft palate.  Cleft=hole.  Palate=palate (of the mouth).  So, Holland does NOT have a cleft lip, and the hole she DOES have is in the back of her mouth on the soft palate.  Hers is relatively mild.  It's a perfect little hole about the size of the tip of a new crayon.  Other babies are born with their entire palate gaping.  This hole leads to her nasal sinus which leads to her nasal passage and out her nose, so basically she has an airway from her mouth out her nose.

The diagram below helps explain cleft palates a bit more.  The bright pink is a babies gum line, and so typically the opening goes from the back where the uvula (hangy down thingy) usually is up through part of the palate.  The muscles on a normal palate run horizontally and help with sucking, and also with fluid drainage from the ears, however on cleft palates the muscles aren't attached to each other and they run vertically so the can't contract properly for sucking and for ear drainage.  When the repair surgery is done the muscles are pulled horizontally and the opening is sewed together, creating a uvula.

SO...cleft babies often have problems with their ears, both hearing problems and fluid drainage problems.  They often times have eye problems.  It is also a genetic disorder in some.  That means we have been to see the Ear Nose Throat doc, the ophthalmologist, the geneticist, the cranio-facial doctor who will do her surgery, as well as the regular pediatrician.

Lets talk about the surgery which is not performed until babies are 10-12 months.  We have been told over and over again that the surgery is only done in order to help with speech.  It is a quick surgery but Holland will spend one night in the hospital.  After she is released she will have her arms splinted for 2 weeks so she cannot get her hands in her mouth, preventing stitches being ripped.

Cleft palate babies often gain weight very slowly because eating is difficult.  Well, not this baby. She was back to her birth weight in less than a week after birth.  She is in the 40th percentile for weight, and eats like a champion.  Because she cannot nurse, I spend half of my life attached to a machine, and the other half of my life giving her a bottle.  She hasn't missed any meals, that's for sure. Please see exhibit A below for proof.

Keane loves Holland.  He quickly tells me anytime she is crying, when she is awake, when she is asleep etc.  He wishes she could play more than she can so I have to keep a close eye on them to make sure he is "very soft", but we feel lucky that he loves her so much.

So after nearly a year of no blogging, this is what we are up to these days.

I am now an expert on cleft palates, so that's a bonus...right?

 As you can see, she is happy and though she will face certain difficulties with this "medical handicap" as it is called in the medical world, she is also very lucky.  We love her and it feels like she was always part of our family!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

We are sad, we are pathetic...

Why hello!!  It has been about 6 months which seems about right for us as far as blogging goes!  So to our two faithful readers, we apologize for the lack of updates!  We intend to do better (but we always intend to do better and don't so...don't expect much...).

It has come to our (yes...our!) attention that we (Andrew and Brittney, Brittney and Andrew) are officially....really lame.

If you wish to know just why I say that, please continue reading.  If not, please exit this browser.

Let's begin with:

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!  Happy Independence Day! Hopefully it was lovely for all of you.

Here is a briefing of our day:

We had a festive breakfast of whole wheat pancakes, blueberries, strawberries, whipped cream and other delicious options with friends.

We even let Keane eat this time.  Must really be a special day.

After we ate we walked around the corner to the annual Upper Arlington 4th of July Parade with above mentioned friends. The lovely folks of Upper Arlington (UA) do not mess around when it comes to their annual traditions.  Today is Friday, correct?  Last SUNDAY people began leaving their chairs, tables and small children on the side of the road to stake their claim for their parade watching pleasure.  And what's more amazing, no one stole any of these items. We, of course, followed suit and put our chairs out early in the week.  "When in Rome.." right?

We took naps (Keane), watched an episode of Sherlock (Andrew and myself), went to the pool, made a delicious dinner and went and got ice cream at our friendly neighborhood Graeter's.

Keane prefers a more "earthy" flavor for his ice cream so he sat in the dirt to eat.

We then wandered over to the park (where we also had to stake our claim on some public real estate in order to have a place to sit to watch the big show!).  We found our blanket and chairs and set up camp, anxious for the fireworks.  This was Keane's first fireworks show, he was ecstatic to see the night sky as I'm fairly certain that he believes the sky does not get dark anymore since he goes to sleep when it is still light and wakes up after the sun comes up.

Alright, this is where it gets good folks:

We are sitting in our chairs, Keane is on my lap, we have the blanket because it randomly got chilly.

The fireworks start!  YAY!  We watch, we oooooo, we ahhhhhh, we ohhhhhh.  Big K thinks that the fireworks are enormous lightning bugs, but that's neither here nor there.

Suddenly I hear Andrew begin to laugh and say something like "Oh my gosh..".  I inquire as to what is "up" and he says, "What was two days ago?"
"What was the DATE, Brittney?"
"Umm...July 2nd..OH MY GOSH!!!!  We forgot our anniversary!!!!"

HOW RIDICULOUS IS THAT!?  It's not like we've been married for 30 years and are just stuck in our ways.  Its been 4 years.  That's less than a handful! And we both skipped it.  We didn't even remember the day of, or even the day after.  Nope, 2 days later.  Now it's not like we celebrate big or anything, we usually just go to dinner or pat each other on the back and say "Good job surviving another year!" (So I guess it's not too difficult to believe that we forgot, seeing how un-festive we are..)

So, Andrew, Happy Anniversary Baby!  Sure was a good one, eh!? This is what I call True Love!

Friday, January 10, 2014

What tugs at my heartstrings

There are certain things, situations, places and sometimes even food that speak to my soul.  These are things that truly resonate with me, my body, my spirit and my soul.  Often when I see, smell, feel, read or do these things I feel my heart physically being pulled in that direction.

I have known since...forever...that I prefer warm weather to cold, I prefer scuba diving to snowboarding, and I prefer a day at the beach to a day in the mountains.  Don't misunderstand, I thoroughly enjoy snowboarding and spending time in the mountains, and even the occasional cold day, but if I had a get the point.

Andrew, on the other hand, is pulled towards the mountains, the snowboarding, the snowshoeing. He'd rather hike up a mountain and I'd rather hike down the mountain to the water.

Two days ago I had the distinct feeling and impression that these likes that we have are not simply "things we like".  I realized that it isn't just that I enjoy being on the beach in the sun, but that it's the sand under my feet.  It's the horizon on which I can see the end of the earth.  It's the sound the water makes washing up on shore.  It's the way I can see the sun set all the way down until it disappears beneath the water. It's the smell of salty air and sun kissed skin  It's the completely different world that exists underwater and the fact that I cannot survive in that world on my own.  It's the water at night that glows with natural light from those creatures beneath. It is the way the moon illuminates the water making it mysterious and sometimes scary.  It's the feeling of peace, relief and calm that I get the instant I arrive.

Along with this scenario I long for simplicity in life.  A simple, humble home, in a simple neighborhood where it's o.k. to walk down the street barefoot.  A place where children play in the streets and adults are friends with their neighbors.  Often people dream of visiting a place like this, vacationing to a Caribbean island or somewhere on the Gulf of Mexico.  I want to exist there. I yearn to live there, raise a family there, get the most out of...there...wherever there is.

That said, although it is not my idea of perfect, I completely understand Andrew's similar feelings about the mountains.  The majestic earth that surrounds and enfolds you, the feeling of being on top of the world when you reach the summit, the hard work it takes to get where you want to be, the quiet whispering of the wind through the trees, the fragrant smell of pine mixed with rich dark soil, discovering it all again when it snows deep and white.

Part of our journey, however, is learning to find the beauty and majesty in wherever we are.  I believe it is a true gift to be able to do this regardless of where one is at.  

While we currently live in a place with no mountains and no ocean nearby Andrew and I are learning this art very well.  We are discovering things we love about a place neither of us thought we would ever live.  I will admit, however, that when I see pictures of the places I dream of living again, I get silent little pangs in my heart, drawing me to that which is out of my reach for the time being.