Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bittersweet..

I'm on a roll with posting once a month, hopefully when things get settled I'll be able to more frequently update, but moving on..

Today was kind of a crazy day! Just a little back-story in a nutshell.. We decided to take a family vacation up to Utah at the end of June/beginning of July.  While we were planning that, Sky found out that he had two week-long business trips a week after we'd be getting back to Phoenix.  Since it's about 115 degrees in Phoenix right now among other things (more on that later), we figured the kids and I might as well stay up with family since he would be gone anyway.

The biggest part of the nutshell back-story: I'm pregnant! Yay! Just another reason why we decided to stay up here since I've been the most sick during this pregnancy than I have ever been (although I can't complain too much, I know many have it a lot worse than me). At least this way I could have a little help and not be lonely ;)


I knew that being up here would overlap with my regular pregnancy check-ups, so based on that and the fact that I really do not care for my doctor down there at all, I scheduled an appointment with my doctor that delivered both Selma and Callen. Oh and it wasn't at all because they would do an ultrasound so that we could possibly find out the gender of the baby up here, not at all ;)

This is where it gets a little crazy.

So yesterday, I go to my doctor's appointment with my mom and the kiddos in tow.  It made me miss being up here even more!  I just love the familiarity and trust that I have with my doctor and his office!  After all the routine stuff, I got settled in for the little ultrasound and he said that with how far along I am (almost 16 weeks, due December 28th) we could probably figure out the gender, yippee!

He starts scanning and everything is looking good, except when he goes to find the gender.  Since I've had two kids and had an ultrasound at just about every visit with them, I've looked at a few and I could see that something looked different, although I didn't know what it was.  All I know is that we couldn't really see the groin area and it looked as if there was some sort of mass there.

My doctor kept scanning but you could tell that he was concerned.  He said "It looks like there might be some sort of abnormality here, I'm going to see if we can get you into a perinatologist either today or tomorrow."  Yikes.  Not what any expectant mom wants to hear.  Oddly enough though, I really felt pretty calm.  We asked what he thought it could be and he guessed a couple possibilities including a hemangioma growth on the umbilical cord or gastroschisis.  He didn't want to go any further into detail and was so great about it but walked us right back to the nurses and talked to them about scheduling me with a perinatologist.

My brain at this point was swirling with different possibilities.  Let me preface this with the night before:  I have been so nervous with this pregnancy, I think maybe because I only had one quick ultrasound and then haven't felt the baby much, if at all.  Even though my head was spinning a little bit, I still felt so calm because I was just so happy that my baby was alive and that other than that, things looked okay.  I also have felt prepared for something like this for a long time and have had a feeling that something like this might happen at some point in my life.  I'm so grateful to my Heavenly Father for preparing me and giving me the peace and strength to hold it together.


They were able to get me in the next day (today) so I had all yesterday and last night to think of different possibilities and Google them (not the smartest idea). I know Sky was doing the same thing down in Phoenix, just stressing and worrying and wishing we could be together figuring this stuff out.  As I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep, I just couldn't escape the thoughts and fear that if something is wrong, it's my fault.  I must have done something, like not taking my prenatal vitamins very well due to feeling so sick, drinking
Diet Coke, staying up too late.  Anything and everything pushed further into my guilt.  That was a bummer night.

Today I was anxious all morning waiting for the appointment. Luckily Sky's mom took us to Despicable Me 2 and then took the kids after so that my mom and I could go to the perinatologist with no added distractions, so nice.  We got to the hospital and the staff there was so nice and friendly.  I still felt so calm and knew that no matter what happened it would all be okay.

Once I had filled out all of the paper work, they took me back to one of their nice ultrasound rooms and we waited for the ultrasound technician.  Our tech was Lindsay and she was 29 weeks pregnant with her second so she had the cute little belly.  She was so nice and professional, scanning everything and going over every little part.  We had a lot of questions, including what the gender was.  I hadn't really had an inkling as to what it would be the whole pregnancy until the past few days when I kept calling it a "he" randomly, so I was pretty sure that's what it would be.


Boy was I wrong, IT’S A GIRL!!  We are so excited to break out the girl stuff again! Selma is especially excited, she had been wanting a girl so bad she has even talked about it in her prayers :) I was really happy that I could tell her that she's getting her baby sister.

All throughout this, you could still see the elephant in the room, the mass around her abdomen area.  Lindsay finished up her scan and said that she doesn't really feel comfortable diagnosing and will leave that to the perinatologist but the mass did look like bowel to her.  Even though I felt like I was prepared to hear that, it was still a little tough to hear.  My mom and I took some deep breaths and waited for the perinatologist to come in and meet with us.


I had so many questions and concerns, it was hard not to spew them all over the doctor the moment she came in.  I held my tongue though and let her introduce herself.  My mind was so all over the place that I honestly couldn't remember her name and still can't (I looked it up, Dr. Gesteland).  She was amazing! So professional but very, very caring.  She scanned me while she spoke and explained that from reviewing all of the scans from both herself and the ultrasound tech that the baby does indeed have gastroschisis.  This means that when the baby was developing, the abdominal wall by where the umbilical cord is attached didn't fully close so some of the baby's small intestine is basically floating outside the baby in the amniotic fluid.

As you can probably imagine, we had A LOT of questions and concerns with that diagnosis.  As an expectant mom, I don't think you could ever fully be prepared for something like that. You just have this picture in your mind of what life with a new baby is like and getting a diagnosis like that kinda throws you for a loop. Will she be okay? Will it change her life? Did I do something? After spending almost 2 hours in the office with both Lindsay, the ultrasound tech, and Dr. Gesteland, we left feeling like we had almost all of our questions that we had at the time answered, which was very comforting.

Sky called right after and we were able to talk about it and what was going to happen.  It's been so hard to go through this without Sky here, I'm sure even harder for him since he hasn't been able to be to any of the appointments and has heard everything all second hand.  The rest of the night was spent poring over articles, groups, researching doctors, hospitals, NICUs, anything else you could think of that would relate to gastroschisis.. I went to sleep feeling very overwhelmed and missing my hubby even more.

Today is a new day.  While we're still nervous and all of the unknown is kinda scary, if there was a birth defect that I could choose, it would probably be this one. Why?  Because it's treatable, fixable, and shouldn't really affect baby girl's life once she's older.  So what does this mean?  Well, the word has gotten out a little bit and there are lots of questions, a lot of the same ones we had.  I thought I'd share some of those and the answers that we got from our perinatologist to explain.

How will this affect the pregnancy?
Luckily, unless something else comes up, I shouldn't have to go on bed-rest.  The only thing that changes with the pregnancy is that I will be monitored a lot more closely.  I'll be seeing a perinatologist and getting frequent ultrasounds as well as non-stress tests as the pregnancy progresses.  Can't complain too much about any of those things!

Does this mean you'll have a c-section?
Most likely no, which was very surprising to all of us.  Unless the baby starts having issues and we need an emergency c-section or the doctors decide later on, it shouldn't have to be a c-section.  I'm just happy to do whatever is best for the baby, so if c-section is required, I'm all the way on board!

What happens after the baby is born?
With gastroschisis, they tend to induce right around 37-38 weeks, or earlier if they see the bowel starting to dilate or if something isn't going right.  I guess with this condition, the risk for still-birth is increased so that is one of the reasons for early induction, as well as keeping an eye on the bowel and making sure the amniotic fluid isn't hurting it, etc.  Gastroschisis babies are almost always induced because they need a team ready for the baby: my doctor plus a pediatric surgeon and their nurses.

What do they do to fix the gastroschisis?
Right after the baby is delivered, they'll whisk her away to assess how large the opening is, if any bowel is damaged and needs to be repaired, and whether or not they'll be able to perform surgery immediately or not.  If they can, they'll repair the opening then and there.  If not, they use what's called a silo in the the NICU.  The silo uses gravity to allow the bowel to slowly return into the baby's body after which they will close the opening.  Baby Girl then has to stay in the NICU on average about 4 weeks until the bowels begin working properly and she starts eating on her own.

How does something like this happen?
I was so grateful that Dr. Gesteland went over with me that it's nothing that I could have changed.  Basically, it's just a random thing that happens and can be a gene that's carried that manifests itself at some point early in the pregnancy.  Apparently it's most common in late teen/early 20's caucasian moms, but obviously can happen later too (I'll be 27 in a few months).

How does this affect the baby?
Luckily, in most cases once the stint in the NICU is over, baby should be free and clear to lead a normal life. There might be some minor set backs here and there but overall, gastroschisis has a pretty good outcome which has brought us a lot of comfort as well. With any birth defect, the chances of another is always higher, but as of right now everything else is looking great.  They'll continue to monitor that throughout the pregnancy.

In a nutshell...
Everything with gastroschisis is kind of up in the air until the pregnancy is closer to full term and the tests show the doctors more about the bowel and Baby Girl.  When she's born around 37-38 weeks, they will assess things then and decide further, but nothing can really be totally planned out with this defect.  I think that "going with the flow" is something that I'm going to have to learn from this :)  After everything is assessed and they decide the path they are going to take to correct the gastroschisis, Baby Girl will be in the NICU for about 4 weeks and hopefully home and well after that!

It's still a lot to take in and I know things won't be easy, especially that first little bit after she's born.  Reading on the internet that sometimes it's a week before you get to hold you baby was a little heartbreaking.  All things aside though, I am so incredibly grateful for Baby Girl (and our two other sweet kids)!  We are so happy that everything else is looking okay and that we'll have her with us in just a few short months.  And I can't begin to say how blessed we feel to live in this time with the advances in modern medicine, so so grateful!

Please feel free to talk about it with us or ask questions if you want, we don't want anybody to feel awkward talking with us about her or the gastroschisis.  It's part of our lives and we're okay to share it! :)

Here's just a little clip that they took of Baby Girl moving around a little bit, love her so much already!

video

Friday, May 31, 2013

My Sunshine

One of the things that has been a little surprising in moving to Phoenix has been the weather.  I mean, I knew it would be hot, which it is, but I didn't realize how sunny it is literally everyday! We've been here almost a month now (crazy!) and I have seen only ONE overcast day.  It is beautiful here!! (However, after all the rainy Instagram posts from my Utah friends lately, I must admit I would love a rainy day or two! Grass is always greener, right? :)

With all the gorgeous sunshine that we're experiencing, I thought I'd start to share a few of my everyday "sunny moments" that I've had.


I don't know how we've accumulated so much stuff over our 7 years of marriage, but moving it all across state is no piece of cake. I must have had a lot of prayers coming our way because having having the kids be such excellent travelers was definitely one of my sunny moments! I was so nervous to drive a total of 13 hours by myself (Sky was in the U-haul) with both kids in the back and not being able to reach back there to help or grab something without stopping the little caravan. 


I've been trying to get out and find some fun, affordable things to do here and it turns out they have an AMAZING library system! Finding our local library: definitely a moment of sunshine! In addition to the great selection of books and fun kids' decor, they have this incredible selection of DVDs (bye-bye Redbox!) and so many fun, free programs as well. Loving it!


Being in this limbo land while house hunting has been different to say the least.  I would be lying if I said we weren't eating out a lot more than we'd like. I have to count eating out as a sunny moment though, it's allowed for some cute moments like this one, and kept my sanity intact! Win-win? :)


There are quite a few local farms in the area and we were able to visit the annual Peach Festival! A petting zoo that Selma loved, check. Callen's first roller coaster, check. Spending some awesome, quality time with family, check.  Another moment of sunshine in the past month, check.


Even though our apartment pool has a crowd of "regulars" that party a little more than we would like, having Sky home late afternoon to accompany us to the pool has been so great! We are loving the pool weather!


We made friends!  I know, surprising right?! :) It has seriously been such a blessing having friends just a couple doors down.  We've had game nights, dinner together, play dates and even swapped babysitting last weekend.  So grateful to have friends that we met the first night we moved in and just clicked with, it eases the pain of missing our family and friends back home just a tad!


Finding cute pictures on my phone, definite moments of sunshine this month.  These are just 3 of the probably 40 I found that night.  Love her!


This past month, I've been especially grateful that Sky's laid-back side has come out a little more in the kids. Lunches have gotten a bit creative sometimes, this day it was chips and salsa.  Yep, total mother of the year. (Salsa is a veggie right?)  


Oh my missionary siblings, how I love thee! (And miss you like CRAZY!) One of my favorite sunshine-y moments was Facetime-ing my fam at home while they were Skype-ing Jake in Russia on Mothers' Day. Isn't technology awesome?!


The night this was taken was such a funny night! Mr. Callen learned how to climb out of his pack and play and, oh boy, did he think it was hilarious! It was seriously too cute hearing him laughing hysterically with his little throaty chortle to get frustrated.  That is, until the fifteenth time of him running out of his room ;)  Selma got moved to our bed to help him go to sleep without an added "distraction" and when we went to move her back to her bed after she'd fallen asleep, we found her with one of my scarves draped across her little head topped with a Burger King crown. Oh they are too cute! Love my little sun-spots!


 A definite ray of sunshine that I cannot go without mentioning is Sky's new job.  They have been a phenomenal company to work for and I love that he loves what he's doing (obviously, judging by the picture below of him and one of his coworkers).  It has made this big move a lot easier knowing that, and we are all loving seeing more of each other!


And I know some already saw this on Instragram, but do I need to say anything more? So smart!


So what are some of your sunshine-y moments as of late?  Do share! :)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Our Easter Weekend

So onto the actually staying on top of what's going on here in the Chugg house, which is currently non-existent.  More on that later.

Easter hasn't always been my favorite holiday for some reason.  I'm not quite sure why, I mean it's always fun, you get to dress up in cute clothes, the weather is usually spot-on (well, hit or miss in Utah, really), and of course why we celebrate it is the most important.  I guess I've just always been too crazed on Easter Sunday to really sit back and contemplate the true meaning of this special holiday. This year, however, I was able to do just that.  

We got home from church at noon and the kids went straight down for a nap/quiet time, lovely after a crazy morning.  To unwind, I hopped on the internet.  I think this is the first time that I can say that I was truly uplifted and blessed from getting on Facebook.  I loved reading everyone's thoughts, watching video clips & listening to songs that paid tribute to our Savior's life and incredible gift to us.  I am so grateful for the knowledge and blessings that the gospel brings to my life and that I know that I can be with my family forever!  What a great reminder this holiday is, Easter is quickly climbing the ladder of my holiday favs :)

In terms of celebrating, we had an Easter weekend of sorts!  Saturday we spent with Sky's family.  It was filled with cute Easter buckets: 


Both kids were so excited to open their buckets up.  Callen took it a step further and decided to prove that he really is the little ham that we say he is. 


This is just the beginning of difficult picture taking as we start adding more cousins to the family I'm sure.  Love them.


And boys will be boys...  Their facial expressions in these just crack me right up! "Callen! I am not a horsey!"


Finished off the morning with a little Easter egg hunt that Nana and Papa put together.  Sky has always been a tease, I guess it comes with being the oldest?  Or a guy?  Maybe you can shed some light on that for me. But he enjoyed hiding some of the eggs in unusual places, hopefully his dad ended up finding the random ones ;)


Easter Sunday was spent with my side of the family.  Similar traditions, yummy food, way too many delicious treats. Same awesomeness, different people ;)


With church at 9AM, we didn't exactly accomplish the typical Easter pictures before or after church, so we rolled with it and took some at my parents.  Minus Sky, whoops.  Although I'm sure he was more than happy to pass that off to me, we make a pretty good team :)

These two just melt my heart!  I just asked them to sit on the stair outside and Selma went into full blown model mode.  "Callen you sit right here, lean against me, good.  Now I'm going to wrap my arms around you and hold you so tight, like so."  Okay maybe not exactly like that, but it was pretty cute the way she posed them.  I don't think Callen's Easter car left his side the whole evening.


Overall great weekend!  And just the beginning of the craziness that is our life right now.

As I mentioned before, we don't really have a house right now.  The week following Easter Sunday, we packed up our little 2-bedroom apartment into our storage unit(s) and sent Sky on his merry way down to Phoenix.  He is currently living in our new 2-bedroom apartment down there while he gets situated with his job while I am up here with the kiddos in my parents house awaiting my sister's mission farewell this Sunday. It's so nice to be with family, but being a "single mom" has made me even more excited to be reunited in 2 short weeks!

I can't fathom saying goodbye yet, so I'm just not going to think about that right now.  We'll just push on to all the fun stuff we get to do in the next couple of weeks. On the list: Callen's (early) 2nd birthday party, dinner with girlfriends, using up all my Utah groupons that I have (haha!), and other fun things with family & friends.  Can't wait! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

New life, new blog

New chapters are such a bittersweet time of life.  Sweet in what an exciting, different time it is.  Bitter in what an exciting, different time it is.  We couldn't be more thrilled about this new chapter.  More thrilled, more anxious, more nervous, more sad, more scared; take your pick, we're probably feeling it.

You see, my hubby, Sky, just accepted a new position working for Western Union.  In Phoenix, AZ.  Exactly 786 miles away (trust me, I've already looked).  The high in the summer stays at about 100 degrees or higher for approximately, oh 3 months.  I do have to say, though, that the steady winter temps of a balmy 70 degrees are looking pretty appealing after this freakishly cold winter we had this past year.  The $40 one-way flights to Phoenix don't hurt anything either, can we say visitors?! (Hint, hint!!)

I'm excited for a new place to live.  I'm excited to have more than 2 bedrooms.  I'm excited to finally buy a house.  I'm excited to no longer be chained to the storage units that we currently manage.  Wait, let me change that to a SUPER EXCITED!!  I'm excited to be tan all year long ;)  I'm excited to play on the playground in the middle of January.  I'm excited for all the new things my little family will get to experience together.  I'm excited for the new people we'll get to meet (and I'm sure grow to love). 

But...

I'm also sad.  Sad that we will miss out on things being so far away.  Birthdays, holidays, babies being born, fun being had.  


Sad that we are leaving our amazing family and friends, so so sad.  Sad that relationships will change, especially with our littles and their grandparents.  


Sad for my little Selma who came up to me in primary on Sunday on her way to class and, with the saddest face a 4-year-old can muster, said, "Mom, I don't want to get a house. I'm going to have to leave all my friends!" Heart. broken. 


If it helps, sweet Selma, I know just how you feel.  Heck, I'm even already thinking about how sad I'll be about leaving behind my Bunko group (and who wouldn't right?!) 


My main constant in this upheaval of our family is my complete faith and acceptance that this is the right thing for us right now.  I feel a calming sense of peace, even in the midst of this utter chaos of packing, organizing, storage-unit-selling, cleaning, summer-clothes-buying, sometimes-dinner-making thing of which I currently call life.  I know that being tested and leaving behind things will force me to step outside my happy, little bubble of safety and security.  I know that we will be able to grow as a family in a different way living away from all that we know and love. And I'm happy about that.

My hope in starting this blog is to share the little rays of sunshine that I find in our new life-for-now in almost always sunny Phoenix.  Of course while keeping all of you updated as to what's going on with all of us.  Here's to sunny, new chapters (and many more new posts)!
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