Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My Little Sack of Sugar

I know, I know...Pumpkin Pi was the clear winner, but due to circumstances beyond my control, and plus cuz I just wanted to, Asher was a little sack of sugar tonight. Honestly, he is the sweetest baby and I want to eat him right up, so it really was an obvious choice.

This comes from a cute little song that I sing to him all the time that you can listen to here (click on flower and then listen and then "Little Sack of Sugar." Kudos to Mamaw for the great idea!

And many thanks to everyone who voted. I must tell you that I did intend to go Pumpkin Pi, but the only pumpkin costume I found would not have allowed his legs to be free and when you are already a frustrated non-crawler who really wants to be a crawler and likes to practice all the time, that's the last thing you want.

Better go brush your teeth after looking at these pictures!

Happy Reformation Day!

On this day in 1517, Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the church door in Wittenburg. This has came to be known as the spark that lit the fire for the reformation of the Church back to the basics: that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone.

In the spirit of the day, Asher and Josiah sported their "Luther is my homeboy" onesies.

They also have "Natural Organic Beauty" stickers on that the lady at the co-op gave them. I guess they ran out of "Natural Organic Ruggedly Handsome" ones. Sorry Dirk and Kris!

This day also happens to be a day when people dress up in costumes. Check back tonight (or at the latest tomorrow morning) for the costume we chose. Who's excited???

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Photo Shoot

Robin took some awesome pictures of my little man. I picked just a few of my favorites to share for now, but I will have them all on Shutterfly soon. They turned out SO good! Thanks, Robin! I am thrilled with the way they came out!

And the winner is....

Pumpkin Pi!

I'm sure you all read the incredibly fine print at the bottom which stated that, while the results of the poll would be considered, the final costume choice will be left to the discretion of me. So please check back to view pictures of the final costume selection.

And you, the one person who called me a heathen, I know who you are now. Very funny.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pray for Kyle

Kris' friend, John Sherrill, has a little boy who was just born at 23 weeks. You can read more about this amazing little boy here as well as make a donation if you are so led. The NICU is not cheap and Baby Kyle will need to stay there for a while, I'm sure.

What we faced in the NICU is nothing compared to the fight that this tiny guy is waging so join the many believers that are praying for him and his mom and dad.

It is tempting to say that Kyle or Asher or any other baby that comes prior to a 37 weeks gestation time was born "early" but that isn't the case. God has numbered our days. He ordained Day #1 and has His own good purposes for what He does.

Please pray for Kyle. God's will be done. Soli Deo gloria.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Asher's Story: Part II

I just laid Asher down so I will try to finish this up :)

Around midnight I got to go up to the NICU. It was determined that he was stable enough to go to Level II. The nurse rolled me up there, along with Kris, to look at him. He was laying on his tummy, all curled up, under an Oxyhood, which just looks like a big space helmet. His hair was still all matted to his head, but it was long and blonde! He got lots of special attention because of his pretty hair :) I was pretty out of it still but I remember just looking at him thinking he must be so confused--like what's the deal with all this bright stuff and all the people poking me. We were told that he was doing good, but that things will probably get worse before they get better.

The next day, or maybe the next(I think), Kris ran home to get some stuff for me. No one was there in the room with me and the neonatalogist, Dr. Haney, came in and his words were "well, you know if you see me it's bad news." Of course I started to freak out. Not a great way to start a conversation with a new mom. He told me that Asher was struggling to breathe regular room air and that they would have to upgrade him to Level III NICU in order to hook him up to a machine that would help his lungs inflate and deflate until his body started making enough surfactant to do it on his own. They had also taken a blood culture to watch for bacterial growth to determine if there was an infection. Nothing had grown in the culture at that point so Dr. Haney reassured me that since we probably weren't dealing with an infection, just premature lungs, that he would be OK. He also reminded me what he said about things getting worse first. Asher was in serious condition, but the main thing he needed was time to mature and help in doing that.

In Level III, only parents and grandparents are allowed in. You walk into a little washroom first. You have to wash your hands and use a nailpick to clean underneath your fingernails. Then you dry off and use some anti-bacterail gel and then you can enter. I was still recovering from the c-section, but I would go up there as much as I could to see him. Kris stayed up there most of the time, which made me feel better. I'm sure I recovered from the surgery so fast because I had good motivation to get out of bed and walk.

Asher was hooked up to a CPAP, which helped pressurize his lungs, an IV, and a feeding tube. He was actually the big guy back there. Most of the babies were around 2 or 3 pounds, so Asher looked really big at his whopping 4 lb. 13 oz. We weren't allowed to hold him or feed him yet, so we would just sit next to him and cup our hands around his head and pat his bottom. We still laugh about one of the nurses commenting to Kris that Asher likes to have his bottom patted. Kris' response was "Well who doesn't like a good bottom pat?" The nurse wasn't quite sure how to take that.

In Level III, the nurses are very intense becuase most of the babies back there are really sick. They were more than competant, but they kind of made me feel like I was in the way. One exception was this one little Scottish nurse. She was so sweet and gentle with Asher. I was feeling completely useless and she came over to us and told us that we were doing the best thing that we could do for him by sitting with him and touching him and talking to him. She told us that he needed to feel us and hear us and that is what will help him just as much, if not more, than all the medical interventions. I needed to hear that! I will never forget her and her kindness to us that night.

Each day he continued to improve. They were able to turn down the oxygen more and more until eventually he was breathing regular room air. By Saturday, he had improved enough to come off of the CPAP. He still had to have a nasal canula, but he was breathing on his own! His poor little veins started to present a problem, though. He had been stuck everywhere he could be. His veins are like mine--they shut down under pressure. The last option was his head. I was going in to see him that afternoon and Paula, the charge nurse, met me as I was going in. She told me that they had to put it in his head, but that she did it herself because she wanted to make sure that 1) they didn't shave his pretty blonde hair and 2) that it didn't hurt him. She knew she could do it almost painlessly. She told me she gave him some "sweeties" which is basically sugar water that acts as an painkiller because it causes the babies to release endorphins. She assured me he barely flinched. Paula is another one of the nurses that we will never forget fo rher kindness to us.

One of the reasons being off CPAP was so great was because it meant we finally got to hold him. Five days later, we had him in our arms, albeit with tubes and cords everywhere. We didn't care though because we were just so thrilled to hold him. It was wonderful! He was so tiny! This was another time that Nurse Paula came through for us. They are very strict about getting everybody out during shift change and for good reason. The nurses coming on have to be updated on the babies and they don't need a bunch of extra bodies in there. The doctor had given the OK for me to hold him and Kris called the room to let me know. I was in the middle of pumping so I told him I would hobble down there as fast as I could, which was not very fast. By the time I got there, they were just a few minutes away from a shift change. But Paula told me that me getting to hold my baby was more important than rules right then. So she set up a screen and let us hide for a while and hold our baby. Then she snuck us out :)

I was discharged from the hospital that night. They said the room was ours until midnight, so guess what time we left. By that time, we had pretty much abandoned the idea we had in our minds as to what "having a baby" would be like, so leaving him, while really hard to do, was just part of what God ordained for us. We were learning to trust Him and to be patient. We knew God kept watch and never left Asher, even though we had to.

The next day, I think, he was downgraded to the Level II NICU. This meant that he was breathing on his own and all of his vitals remained consistent. He was still being fed through a tube in his nose up until then and via the IV. Now his job was to eat, maintain his own body temp, and keep his heart rate consistent. Over the next week, he continued to make progress. We laugh now, as he guzzles down his bottles, how we used to watch on pins and needles as he ate, just hoping to get 30 mililiters down him. We would spend our days at the hospital, leaving during the mid-day shift change to eat and at the evening shift change to go home to sleep. Each day we saw him getting stronger and doing better, so we knew it wouldn't be long.

The only setback we had during that time was when the monitors that detected his heartrate and oxygen saturation level indicated an episode of bradycardia, essentially his heart slowing down too much. We had just been told that he would be out in a few days because everything was looking so good and then he has an episode, which is an automatic 6 more days in the NICU for observation. The doctor on call when it occurred looked over his charts and told us that she felt it was not true bradycardia because he had no other symptoms present that usually accompany it, but she warned us that if any of the other docs disagreed with her, she would be overruled and he would have to stay longer. Of course, one of the doctors disagreed. So he got 6 more days of time to serve.

Wow--this is really long. Looks like there will be a Part III--more later.

Holding Out Hope

These are the first mums that I bought this season. I thought I had officially killed them a few weeks ago, but it seems that one refuses to give up. I think I'm inspired.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Asher's Story: Part I

Man I was fat.

So here it is...not that anyone cares, but my memory, only 8 months later, is already getting fuzzy.

Let's start a few days prior to the actual birth day. Sunday night, February 4, was the night that the Superbowl was on. Playing the pregnancy card, (I miss that card!) I was allowed to stay at home and rest while Kris joined the Leathermans at Bethany's parent's house to watch the game. I was somewhat comfortably sprawled out on the couch that evening when the phone rang. Kris was calling to tell me that everyone at the Shaws was SHOCKED that I did not have my bag packed yet, 6 weeks away from my due date. Being the procrastinator that I am, I assumed I would get around to it at some point. He gently reminded me that I really needed to get around to that NOW. I said I would do it soon. Then we hung up and I went back to watching HGTV.

The next night we had our birthing class. We were going to the classes given by First Birth Ministries. I was having a lot of Braxton-Hicks contractions but otherwise felt fine. We decided that night that we really needed to type out a birth plan--basically a list for the doctor's reference of what we wanted and didn't want when I was laboring and delivering.

Then the next day, Tuesday, I had my 34 week check-up. Dr. Schroeder, who I LOVE, told me everything looked great and that she would start seeing me every week after my next appointment, which would be in 2 more weeks. We gave her our birth plan and made it clear that we understood that things can happen unexpectedly and this is just a guideline of what we would like, assuming there were no emergencies. She said everything that we requested sounded good and she would work with us to make sure we had the experience that we wanted. We were opting for as natural and unmedicated delivery as possible. We were not opposed to medical interventions, but we wanted to make sure we used them wisely, not because I was scared or impatient. Our desire was to allow my body to do what God designed it to do with any unnecessary interferences, but still remain open to the blessing that modern-day medicine can be if the unexpected happens, which of course it did.

After my appointment, we went to Target. Kris suggested that I get some things that I might need to have in my bag to take to the hospital, but I was exhausted and thinking about a mundane detail like that just did not appeal to me. So once again, I put it off. I wasn't even sure what to get. I told him I would think about what I needed and go to the store later that week.

The next day was Wednesday, February 7, now known as Asher's birthday. It started as usual--with me whining that I didn't want to go to school. I think kids would be amazed that the teachers probably complain about having to go to school more than students do. Kris reminded me that Spring Break was only a few weeks away and then I could sleep in and rest up before Asher arrived. I threw on some clothes because I had long passed the point of trying to look cute and left for school. I got there at 7:30 and went back to room to figure out what the heck to teach that day. I didn't feel any different but when I stood up to go out to the hall to tell my kids to come in the room, I felt a little..ummm...trickle shall we say? I was horrified because I thought incontinence had set in. I thought that didn't happen until after you had a baby! As I took steps, more started coming. Great! I'm wetting my pants right in front of a bunch of second graders. I wasn't gushing, but I felt a constant flow of something! I walked over to another teacher's room and asked her what it felt like when your water broke, but not believing mine really had. I was holding a folder in front of me and when I took it away, my pants were totally soaked. One teacher graciously offered her long sweater so I could cover up and another teacher walked me down to the nurse's office.

The nurse told me I needed to call my doctor. I didn't think it was necessary. I thought the nurse, who wasn't big on patience anyway, would just tell me I was just wetting my pants and to not call for stupid things like that anymore (ok--maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. I just thought there was no way, at 34 weeks, my water could break.) I called the office and sat on a towel on the nurse's floor, waiting to get through to the nurse. Meanwhile, my pants are drenched. I get through and she tells me I need to come in right away. What!! I couldn't believe it. So I called Kris who, providentially, was at home still because Wednesday was his day to work from home when he was still working for his dad. I told him what was going on and that we needed to go to the doctors and that he needed to bring me pants.

We headed up to the doctors and I called my mom just to give her a heads up. I told her they would probably send me home, but I would keep her updated. We got to the office and we were sitting in the waiting room. I felt that wet pants were a good reason to cut in line, so I made Kris go knock on the door and let them know that I needed to come in NOW. We went back and Dr. Schroeder said, "Didn't think I'd being seeing you so soon!" That made 2 of us. She examined me and confirmed that my water had broken and that she check me in to the hospital and see if labor would start naturally. "Unless," she paused, "he is breech. I'm not sure that that is a head that I felt." So off to have an ultrasound.

Sure enough--butt down, head up. The child has one job. Turn. Too much to ask, I guess. So then she asks, "What are you guys doing at lunch? How 'bout a c-section?" WHAT??? I told her that she could take that birth plan I gave her and toss it. All bets were off at this point. I just wanted him here safely. I couldn't believe that Asher was going to be here in just a few hours. She sent us over to the hospital which was right across the street. We called our families and told them. I called the school and said thanks for the memories but I am done there. (I didn't really say that, but I thought it.)

With no bag, because I never packed one, we entered the hospital. Also keep in mind, that at this point, I did not have ANYTHING ready at home and had not had any showers yet except the one at school where I, thankfully received a car seat, but not much else. We got put in a room and an old friend from a church I used to attend was my nurse. It was so nice to have someone I already knew be there for us. I got all hooked up to an IV and a monitor. Then the neonatalogist came in to consult with us. He told us that there was a very good chance that his lungs were under-developed and that he would definitely need to be in the NICU for a while. He wouldn't know until Asher was out if it would be Level II, which was for moderate problems, of Level III, which was for more severe problems. We were told to expect a minimum of 2 weeks in the NICU, which would put him at 36 weeks gestation. Everything was so surreal at this point, I just basically stopped thinking and just went into "just get through this" mode.

I checked into the hospital around 10 I think and at around 1:30 I was rolled into the OR. Of course I hadn't eaten breakfast yet so I was starving! I remember thinking that it looked like a set for a TV show. My sweet friend, Osia the Nurse, was with me. I got an epidural (which took a while because he had trouble finding which spot in my spine the needle should stay--that was fun!)
I was laid out on the table, petrified that the epidural wouldn't work and I would feel them cut me. Dr. Schroeder was there by then and I asked her if she was sure I was numb. She told me she had been stabbing me with needles that whole time. Guess it was working just fine. Kris wasn't with me yet, but they got started. Asher's feet were out by the time they brought him in. He stood by me and watched the whole thing. Dr. Schroeder remarked that he would be able to dictate her notes for her.

They had a little trouble getting him out. The cord was wrapped around his neck and Kris said they had to tug pretty hard to get him. He was finally all the way out at 2:05 pm and they rushed him off. I knew I wouldn't get to hear him cry because, thankfully, the neonatalogist had prepared me. They rolled him back in and let me touch his arm through the isolette and then wheeled him away. They sewed me up and sent me to recovery. I remember laying there trying to process what just happened. That's hard to do on demerol. Everything seemed so unreal--like it wasn't really happening. Eventually, I was sent to a room. After a c-section, you have to remain horizontal for 8 hours. I couldn't go to Asher and he couldn't come to me so i had to wait until after the 8 hours to go see him. I was allowed to get up around 10 but the NICU was closed for shift change then so I had to wait until almost midnight to go up there. In the meantime, friends and family came up to the hospital. It was good having a lot of people there because it kept my mind from worrying too much. I was really grateful to see everyone.

Ok--more later.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Those boys!

Well, the guys hung out yesterday. There is no shortage of fun when the gang is together. Here is proof:

Tye graciously offered his finger for Asher to chew on. When your friend is teething, what could be more helpful?

This one pretty much sums up the picture-taking expereince.

Current age stats are: Tye--11 months on Nov. 4 (right, Bethany?) Asher--9 months on Nov. 7, Josiah--7 months on Oct. 31. Those boys are getting old!

In case you can't read the message tees that they are all sporting, Tye's dad is the greatest, Josiah is with the band, and Asher still lives with his parents. Slacker.

All Creatures Great and Small

More fun in the life of Asher to report. He got to have 2 encounters with members of creation that you don't normally run into on a daily basis.

Last Sunday, we met up with Grandmommy and Grandpa at The Aquarium. It is a really fun restaurant that has huge 50,000 gallon tank with all sorts of fish and then several smaller tanks all over the place. Asher loved watching the fish swim around!

On Tuesday, we went to the zoo with some friends from bible study. Here's the gang all geared up for the big adventure.

It was actually a little on the chilly side (for us Texans anyway) so I had to introduce Asher to the world of coats. He even had to wear socks. He hasn't worn socks since he was a newborn.

Asher and Madison and a tired goat.

Steven looking for a goat to brush.

Ashley and Jackson making the goat look pretty.

We loved the zoo and we can't wait to go back!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Childbirth Article

**I wanted to add one more thing: By posting this article, I am in no way saying that if you have a medicated delivery, you are doing something wrong. I just wanted to post an article that encourages one to think through everything and, regardless of your choice, be intentional and
purposeful in whatever choice you make. I had a c-section so obviously I have no problem with medicine when it is best for mom and baby!***

I do, at some point in the not-so-distant-but-not-so-immediate-either-future, write down the story of Asher's birth like my good friend, Kathy, did for Josiah's birth. Mainly for my own benefit, I want to remember the details of that really weird day. If you know what happened, you know why I say "really weird."

But our plan was to go natural, believing that childbirth isn't a sickness that requires medication, but a natural process that God has well-equipped a woman's body to handle.

Now, I know better than many, that a natural birth isn't always possible. Our situation dictated a whole different course than what we wanted and anticipated. We had our birth plan, but we are grateful to a competent medical staff that a surgical option was available given our set of special circumstances.

However, assuming my water doesn't break again at 34 weeks, I want to have a natural delivery with as few medical interventions as necessary assuming the Lord has willed that there be a "next time." And this article is a great summary of why I want this. I recommend it to you because childbirth, as the article point out, is something many of us remain fairly uneducated about in an age of at-our-fingertips information.

Read THIS and let me know what you think.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pottery Barn Catalog

If you are like me, you recently received the first of what will probably be many Pottery Barn catalogs this season.

And if you are even more like me, you thumb through it and comment to your husband how cute the stuff is but how ridiculously expensive it is, too.

And then if you are basically my long lost twin sister that my parents never told me about, you rip out a few of the pages that inspire you because you feel that you can duplicate the look in one of your fits of craftiness, but then you never really do because you feel that projects must be accomplished in order of importance and clean laundry for your 8 month old seems to rank slightly higher that making a wreath because he will have to wear that onesie for the third day if you don't wash a load.

So if the Pottery Barn catalog has the same affect on you, Frugal Hacks has a great post on ways to get that PB look at a fraction of the cost. Let me know if you stick it to the Pottery Barn man and make something exquisite without spending what they have the nerve to ask for their stuff!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Religious History of the World in 90 Seconds

I found this on Doug Wilson's blog. Pretty interesting and helpful in seeing the big picture.

Question for blogging buffs: Do I need to HT since I am saying whose blog I found it on upfront? What is proper blog-ttiquette here?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Good Literate Citizen

**Literate, but slightly dyslexic. That title should have been "A Literate Good Citizen." **

This post is mainly to prove that this isn't just a "mommy blog!" I don't even like the word "mommy." I think it sounds whiny. But that's just because my mom thought it sounded whiny. It's really a perfectly sweet name to go by but I just can't. We go with "mama" over here. But I digress...

I found this on Susanna's blog. I would say it's fairly spot on.

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Literate Good Citizen

You read to inform or entertain yourself, but you're not nerdy about it. You've read most major classics (in school) and you have a favorite genre or two.

Book Snob
Dedicated Reader
Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

And you...?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Because this is what you do in October if you have a child...

I don't make the rules, I just follow them.

We went to a pumpkin patch at a local Lutheran Church. So they were Lutheran pumpkins which seems appropriate since we will be celebrating Reformation Day on October 31. These aren't the most stellar pictures I've taken (where's Robin when you need her!) but my little pumpkin is such a cutie that it doesn't matter.

Enjoy the pictures of our child on large orange squash.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Good Thing He's Washable

He loves "biter biscuits!" They are extremely messy, but after a quick bath, he's as good as new! Here are a few pics of him really, really enjoying his treat.


A few more things...

--I just sent out an email asking for addresses. So if you are a family member or a friend of either Kris or me or Asher or any combination thereof, and for some reason you don't get my email, please email your address to me at jamierives at hotmail then a dot and then a com :) Or you can leave it in the comments and I promise not to publish it. Thank you!

--I just received a CD that I ordered and I love it and I must tell you about it! It is children's music, but it is so good that I listen to it even if Asher isn't with me. The artist is Elizabeth Mitchell and her music is so lovely! The one we got is called "You are My Little Bird" but I want them all! This is probably my favorite style of music--just a guitar, a banjo, and a harmonica with very simple but beautiful vocals. You should check her out...especially if you are anti-most of the music that is geared towards kids like I am.

That's all for now. Thanks again for passing on your addresses to me!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

What a Week!

We were busy bees this week. Here are a few of the things that we got to do:

We went to an organic co-op with Kathy and Josiah. All the fruits and veggies there are locally grown and very tasty. You just have to remind yourself that they are supposed to be smaller than what you see at HEB because they are not altered with crazy hormones or chemicals.

Afterwards, we had lunch with Aunt Kristen, Aunt Renae, and Aunt Sue at Chuy's. Muy delicioso!

Asher got a new riding toy. It used to be some friends of ours, but they graciously gave it to us to use. Asher loves it! He takes a ride almost everyday when we walk down the street to get the mail.

We also went to story time at the library with Tye and Josiah (and their moms, of course.) There were toys and bubbles and books and music! Suffice it to say, a good time was had by all.

Then we took a few pictures outside on the bench. It is always fun trying to get shots of them where everybody is smiling, keep their hands to themselves, and looking the same direction.

I made eggplant gratin with an eggplant that I bought at the co-op. It was pretty good, but I think I used too much salt. We use kosher salt now (you know, with Hannukah coming up) and I think I could have used less. But it still tasted ok.

(I was kidding about the Hannukah thing.)

Asher made friends with the mariachi at Los Vega, out favorite local hole-in-the-wall Mexican food joint, last night. He was fascinated. He loves watching Kris play but I don't think he realized that other people have guitars, too. The pictures are a little dark because I think flashes are obnoxious, but you can see enough to get the idea.

Asher clapped for him and I thought Senor Mariachi was going to cry. He was touched by the applause.

Good times, good times.

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