Thursday, December 18, 2014

Nearly 37 weeks and an update on the husband

Wow, I haven't posted an update in a whole month! :( bad blogger...

This last month has been quite the busy one for us. Like I said in my last post in mid-November, our goal was to move back home the following day... and we did! We have been home for a whole month now. It was super weird at first. We hadn't been in our home for more than a few hours in 3 whole months. Even at that, Isaiah had only had 2 visits for a few hours and I'd run through a few extra times to pick up whatever we needed from home.

It was very strange moving back into our house and having to unpack everything and reorganize. It definitely felt nice to be home though. I really felt like it was so necessary for us to get settled again, establish some sort of routine and finish prepping for baby Audrey's arrival. Since moving back home, Isaiah goes to work a few days a week (heck, last week he went to work 5 days and worked from home the other 2). We also go to our zillions of doctor appointments between the 2 of us. It really works out so well living so close to my parents. My mom has graciously allowed us to use her car since we got home. My car is a ford focus and well, my husband is 6'5"... not exactly the easiest vehicle to get him in and out of and certainly not an easy car to get a wheelchair in and out of. I do try to give my mom her car back on days when I know that he won't be going anywhere, but with her car being the safer of the two, she tries not to let me trade her back.

On a day when he goes to work, I get up, get ready, pack our food, get him up and hand him a few things while he gets ready, drop him off at work, go to work myself... and then whenever he needs to go home, my mom will stop by my office and pick up her car so that she can pick him up from work and take him back to our house. Her schedule is more flexible than mine and it's been so incredibly helpful to allow Isaiah to go to work but not have to stay until after 5pm when I can go pick him up... his foot gets SUPER swollen throughout the day.

Overall, we've seen such huge improvements in Isaiah's overall health and strength, even in this past month. He gets stronger each and every day and hopefully in the next few weeks, we will get the okay to allow Isaiah to start putting weight on his right leg so that he can continue his recovery and build up the strength in his leg again. He does not have full feeling or movement back in his leg but at his physical therapy appointment two days ago, I could really see some HUGE improvements. For now, we just have to stay positive about everything, keep working, and keep praying. Nerves are so touchy and we have to give them time to heal in the hopes that someday (sooner rather than later) he will get full feeling and function back in his right leg. :)

Alrighty... now on to baby things. I am 36 weeks and 4 days as of today. How weird is that?! I will be 37 weeks this weekend. That just sounds so incredibly weird to me. I am definitely starting to FEEL like I am nearly 37 weeks pregnant, but it is still so surreal. During the past few weeks I've also had 2 baby showers, one at home with close friends and family and then one at work with my work family. They were both amazing. We feel so blessed to have such incredible and caring people in our lives. At the shower with my friends and family, I even made it until the very end before I started crying. I was thanking everyone and I just really realized how this was a point we never thought we'd make it to... and yet here we were... preparing for a baby to be born in a matter of weeks.

I have been feeling pretty darn good for nearing the end of my pregnancy. I definitely thought that I'd be a bit more immobile by now but that hasn't been too big of an issue just just yet. Though my giant cankles and sore hips do make walking around a lot slower than normal and sometimes painful. I still insist that I'd rather keep her baking in the oven as long as possible, but I know that I have NO control over that matter.

On to an update...

•How far along? 36 weeks 4 days today

•Due date: January 11, 2015
•Baby is about the size of a large canteloupe (19-22 in, 6lbs... though I'm 99% sure that she's bigger than that... bigger babies tend to run in my family)
•Symptoms: hahaha... other than the giant belly? Too many to list :)
•Cravings:  Hmm... nothing in particular really. I have been wanting to make some soups and other standard winter meals but I think that has nothing to do with pregnancy.
•Bump? Yep! Giant baby bump going on...
•Maternity clothes: Yep! She dropped about 2 or so weeks back so now all pants are pretty uncomfortable, even maternity pants because all material just bunches up under my belly.
•Stretch marks: Yes, I am not one of those lucky women who goes through the pregnancy with no evidence for later.
•Belly button in or out: Still about half way out lol... it flattens out sometimes depending on how she's positioned or if I'm sitting down, but you can definitely see my belly button through my shirts.
•Kicks? Lots of them! I love it. Though she has this new fun thing of kicking me every morning between 4:15 and 4:45am until I get up and go pee. Something tells me that even after she's born, she'll be waking me up around 4:30 every morning.
•Gender: Girl :) Audrey Elizabeth
•Looking forward to: My appointment tomorrow. While technically it is my 36 week appt, I'll only be 2 days away from 37 weeks. BUT they'll do another quick ultrasound to make sure that she is still head down and they'll check to see if I am dilated or effaced at all yet. And now I will start having my weekly appointments. That means she will be here soon!!! I should probably get my hospital bag all ready :/  It IS on my list... my long list of things I really want to do. But there just don't always seem to be enough hours in the day. Ugh.
•Sleep: It really varies. One day I will feel like I slept all night really well. Others I feel like I got no sleep at all. 
•Miss anything: Being able to get things done around the house more quickly, putting on my own socks without grunting or holding my breath, being comfortable in pants, sleeping flat on my back. Really though, I'd give all of that up forever for this little one. While there are things that I do miss, it is so beyond worth it. The reality that she will be here, really any time in the next few weeks, is finally starting to sink in. I have so much to do before she gets here!!! I better get to it!

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 17

Today was a big day for my little family. Isaiah was able to go to our home for only the second time since September 2nd and for the first time since then he was able to go upstairs in our house. While he still cannot put any weight on his right leg, we had railings installed yesterday that allow him to basically jump his way up the entire flight of stairs. The 13 stairs needed to get to the upstairs from our main floor is the most stairs he's ever done in a row (also has to go up a separate 5 stairs to get to the main floor from the entryway). Thanks to the railings and how well today went, the plan is to move us back to our home tomorrow. :) 

Today is also the anniversary of my second due date. How crazy is that? What a difference a year makes. A year ago our lives were so different than they are today... And then to think about how different they are from even a year before?! Before the Cancer, before the losses... We had no idea what the coming years had in store for us and I can only imagine what this next year will bring. 

Today also happens to be the day that I got my maternity photos done. I had truly wondered if I'd ever get to this point in a pregnancy. I wasn't sure I'd want photos taken at this point in my pregnancy as I now feel huge and awkward but I don't care how big I get, this is something to celebrate. Not to mention my amazing photographer has already been working on my photos! I can't wait to see how they turn out. :)



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 15th - The anniversary of my first due date

It is crazy how much can change in a short period of time. Recently I've been thinking about this a lot. Last year I wrote this post on October 15th. I wasn't even aware yet that October was pregnancy and infant loss awareness month or that October 15th specifically was pregnancy and infant loss awareness DAY. At this time last year I thought back to a year before, before we'd experienced a single miscarriage, before we'd even decided to start a family. We were working on buying a house... completely unaware of the joys and heartaches that the next year would bring. Now I look back at last year, before we had found out about my husband's cancer... I guess last year was really just preparing us for this year. We thought last year was tough, but we came out of it stronger and closer. Now after all that this year has brought, I know that we will come out of this year even stronger and closer than before.

Right now we truly do have so much to be thankful for. We are so lucky that his cancer diagnosis wasn't worse. It could've been so much worse. Though right now things are tough while we deal with his incredible pain and the healing after his 13 hours in surgery 6 weeks ago, we know that it could have been worse. What if it hadn't been caught? It could've been a much scarier diagnosis down the road. We also have this baby girl on the way to be thankful for. This time last year, I still wondered if I'd ever get to meet one of these little babies that I have been blessed with... I guess 5th time was the charm. Our little Audrey will be here in just a matter of a few months. That is just so surreal even now as I feel her kicking around in my belly.

Right now, our little family is dealing with quite a bit but I know this all must be for a reason. This baby appeared in our lives at just the right time to be a bright light in the darkness that cancer brings. So much has changed this past year and I can't wait to see what will be different for us next October.

Today I think about those 4 babies that we lost too soon and the one that we will get to meet in a few short months.  Today I pray for all of those women who are dealing with the pain that comes with the loss of a child or the pain caused by fertility struggles... That emptiness and sadness is unlike any other.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

27 weeks and finally back in Alaska

Alrighty, I will start out with what's been going on with Isaiah the past few weeks. Last I updated was week 3 in the hospital. Since then a lot has happened. On day 24 in the hospital, the doctors came through and decided they might need to keep him there another week. Part of his incision wasn't healing quite how they wanted to so they wanted to take him back to the OR, cut out the part that wasn't healing as well, and sew him back up again. Naturally, I whined a bit on Isaiah's behalf (I seriously don't think he could handle another full week there... he was already starting to go stir crazy) and was able to convince them to do the surgery the following day instead of waiting 4 more days like they'd initially planned.

Sunday morning, they came to get him and took him to pre-op. He was the ONLY case on the books for that day. Lucky us! :) The procedure didn't take too long and he was back in his room before dinner. MUCH better than the 13 hours he'd spent in the OR for his surgery 3 weeks prior. The surgery did make Monday a much more difficult day for him as he had the surgical pain added back to the nerve pain he was already dealing with. Physical therapy was made more difficult and he felt like he'd never be allowed to leave the hospital. It wasn't until Tuesday, September 30th, that we knew for sure he'd be discharged on Wednesday, the following day. Tuesday was a crazy day as I spent hours working on getting our flight booked, figuring out transportation, and making sure we had everything purchased so that we were as ready as we could be to take him back to Alaska.

Wednesday morning we got an early start, met with TONS of doctors and nurses to go through all of the discharge exams and paperwork. Then we were off to the airport. We took a "cabulance". It seemed like the most logical way to get him to the airport with as little pain as possible. With all of the nerve pain and the added surgical pain from only a few days before, it seemed to make sense to be able to leave him in a wheelchair for the ride to the airport. What I hadn't planned on was a driver who was not at all gentle, he slammed a bag into Isaiah's bad foot and didn't seem to care whatsoever. Then you add in the fun of the BUMPIEST ride EVER to the airport. He hit every pothole and continuously slammed the brakes and gunned it as often as possible. I just cringed every time we hit another big bump as I could see the pain all over Isaiah's face every time. Poor guy...

Thankfully, getting through security was probably the easiest and quickest part of the whole journey. I seriously think it took a whole 5 minutes... 5 minutes to get through security as the Seattle airport... that just doesn't happen! It takes HOURS most of the time. Then of course the flight got delayed over an hour while they did maintenance on the plane. Figures. When we went to board the flight we had to wheel him down to the plane on the wheelchair and then he had to stand up using his walker and attempt to "walk" onto the plane. After sitting up for so dang long and the meds messing with his head a bit, he nearly fell while getting onto the plane :( 2 Alaska Airlines workers were behind him and caught him before he fell completely to the ground. We did get him home... over 9 hours of sitting up, the most he's ever had to sit up at one time in one day since his surgery the first week of September.

Right now we are staying at my parents house because our house has stairs to get into the house and then MORE stairs to get up to the bedrooms and bathrooms. We've set up a makeshift bedroom for him in their second living room so that he can have a bed, bathroom, living room, etc. all on one floor.We aren't sure how long we will need to keep him here, but I really hope that we can get him to our home as soon as possible. I think just being out of the hospital, being back in Alaska, and being with family, has made a HUGE difference for his mental state.

He was doing really well for the first week at home, but a few days ago his nerve pain really started to go crazy. On Friday we took him for a follow up appointment with the neurosurgeon here in Alaska. We expected that he'd check out the incision, maybe remove some staples, give us an estimation on when we'd be getting his drains taken out and we were also hoping to get his medications changed up a bit to better control his now out of control nerve pain. Boy were we wrong. The doctor hadn't received Isaiah's chart and had no clue as to why we were there. He checked out the incision and said it does seem to be healing well, but without his chart, told us that it sounded more like he needed to go see a pain management doctor... there goes our ideas on getting his pain meds changed up ASAP. With it being so late in the afternoon on a Friday, he was unable to get a hold of the pain management doctor that he thinks we should see, so that appointment will have to be set up on Monday, hopefully for Monday.

By the time we got him home last night from the doctor, he was in the middle of a MAJOR pain spike. He was shaking like crazy and could barely move. We got him into bed first thing and now 24 hours later, he has been unable to get out of bed at all. At 3am this morning, he was still awake and moaning in pain. This guy has a really high pain tolerance and has become very used to being in constant pain over the past 6 months. For it to be affecting him this bad, I know the pain has to be excruciating.

I tried calling the docs in Washington yesterday afternoon but with the time difference they had already left for the day. A note was taken to call me back this morning. After a long night of no sleep and intense pain, they still hadn't called by 9:30 so I called them. The best they were able to do was prescribe a lidocaine cream... gee when someones nerves are going absolutely CRAZY and it sometimes hurts to just have a sheet touch the skin... I'm sure rubbing on a cream will really do a whole lot to help after increasing the amount of pain that he's already feeling. UGH. I went and picked up the cream anyway thinking that maybe, just maybe, it will be useful someday. Worth a try right? WRONG... we tried to gently put a tiny bit on his foot earlier and I had to stop. It was hurting him too much and so far it seems like the cream did absolutely nothing. I'm so glad I hurt him only to have the cream do nothing for him. :(

So far today, I've left messages with the pain management doc again, a rehab doc, and his primary care physician here in Alaska hoping that maybe one of them was open today. No such luck. I figure at minimum, I will hopefully be able to get a hold of them Monday morning and get SOMETHING done to help Isaiah. His nerve pain has just been much more active lately and he's getting it in areas he hadn't had nerve pain previously. I think that with it covering so much more territory on his leg, it's just too much for someone to take, especially when it is this constant for this long.

Needless to say, we are still asking for prayers for Isaiah. He needs some serious healing, but he REALLY needs this pain to be under better control ASAP. No one should be in this amount of pain, ever. I've never felt so incredibly helpless than I have through all of this... watching him in SO much pain, all I want to do is hug him... but that would hurt him! So instead I just stand over him and pray... and pray... and pray... It is all that I can do for him right now other than calling as many doctors as I can. Thankfully, God doesn't take weekends off. Figures this would happen on a weekend. :(

Now to change gears a little bit... here is my pregnancy update... As of tomorrow, I will be 27 weeks! How crazy is that?!

•How far along? 26 weeks 6 days today
•Due date: January 11, 2015
•Baby is about the size of an eggplant (14 in, 2lbs)
•Symptoms: Have to pee all the time. By the way, no one ever mentioned how it gets difficult to wipe after you pee when your belly starts getting big! I did not expect that for some reason haha. Sore hips especially when I'm trying to sleep.Super sore ribs on my right side under my chest... it HURTS all the time. No position is comfortable and nothing seems to help. I'm seriously starting to think that I might have a bruised rib or 2.
•Cravings: Milk. Milk just sounds good to me all the time right now and I've never been a huge milk person, but right now I have a big glass at least once a day. Also fruit, but I think that has a lot more to do with the fact that I've been eating 3 meals a day for a whole month at a hospital. Fresh food and homemade food is just INCREDIBLE right now. 
•Bump? Yep! Baby bump is obvious now. My mom says she thinks Audrey doubled in size while I was gone haha.
•Maternity clothes: Heck yes! I can still wear some of non-maternity clothes but I can't stand anything even semi fitted on my stomach. And have you ever tried on maternity pants?! Those things are comfortable!!!
•Stretch marks: A few on my back where my muffin top would be lol.
•Belly button in or out: Not even sure anymore. It's not in, but it's not out. it's mostly flat and the top is starting to poke out.
•Kicks? Yep! Felt soft movement around week 15 and then a better "kick" around week 21. Not very consistent due to how far along I am and the anterior placenta, but I was thrilled that Isaiah was actually able to feel her kick twice while we were in Seattle.
•Gender: Girl :) Audrey Elizabeth
•Looking forward to: Stronger kicks (people keep telling me I'll take that back once it happens but it's great reassurance for me), getting Isaiah feeling better, and getting both of us back to our home.
•Sleep: Not super great... My hips are pretty sore when I lay down and my ribs hurt on my right side ALL the time, even when I'm laying on my left side... then of course you add in that I'm not sleeping well due to worrying about how Isaiah is doing and running downstairs to check on him.
•Miss anything: Real coffee, turkey sandwich, this amazing blue cheese salad at a local restaurant, and a local brewery makes a raspberry wheat beer and an apple ale... together they are delicious. All totally worth it though. 
 
And I'll end with a belly shot. I took this pic 2 weeks ago in Isaiah's hospital room since my mom was requesting one. :) 
 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Week 3 in the hospital with the husband and his birthday

We checked Isaiah into the hospital on September 3rd for the embolization and surgery on the 4th. He then spent 2 nights in the ICU followed by 12 days on the ortho floor. He was transferred up to the rehab unit on the 17th. So today closes out his 3rd full week in the hospital. Now that is rough.

His estimated discharge date is October 1st... that will be a full 4 weeks in the hospital. YIKES! The poor guy has been handling it very well considering we were originally told it would be 7-10 days in the hospital after surgery and he'd be leaving on crutches. After surgery he was unable to feel or move ANY of his right leg. Talk about scary.  Over the past 3 weeks he has been working on healing, growing stronger, and re-learning how to do basically anything involving your leg. He wasn't even allowed to try to stand for a week post-op and he still isn't allowed to put any weight through his right side, and probably won't be allowed to put any weight through it for a few months.

It has taken some serious work to get his pain under control especially once the nerve pain started up in his right leg. I feel bad that I got so excited to hear him say his leg was in pain. Nerve pain means those nerves are waking up and maybe, just maybe, he'd begin to regain feeling and function. He has made some incredible progress since surgery and today (on his birthday) he was able to walk over 165 feet (with a walker due to the no weight on the right side thing). That's the furthest he's been able to walk and with only 2 breaks. For comparison, he was able to walk about 50-65 feet yesterday with 3 breaks and on Friday he walked about 35 feet with one break... so quite a big change. I think a big reason for the major progress today was due to finally getting his nerve pain better under control so that it wasn't prohibiting him from doing his physical therapy.

It's so crazy what things are like right now but we are still so thankful because we know that this could be worse. We just never knew he'd have to learn how to sit up, stand, walk, etc. Now, this is hopefully only temporary until more of his feeling and function of the leg comes back. We still don't know at this point how much will come back or when it will come back. I'm hoping that by the time he is allowed to put weight through that leg that he will have most of the feeling, function, and strength back in that leg as well.

I feel bad that he's had to spend his birthday here in the hospital but today has been an incredible day of progress. I can only hope and pray that this continues. :)

It's been a crazy few weeks and we SO miss home but we are lucky to be here and so blessed to have the continued support from those around us.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Thankful

With how scary and ugly and rough this past week has been and how much further we still have to go (see previous posts regarding Isaiah's surgery), I have been doing a lot of whining, warranted whining  but whining nonetheless. I thought it might be nice, mostly for me, to take a minute to think about all of the things I am thankful for. So here we go.

-Prayers. My prayers, your prayers, random strangers prayers. We truly can use all of the prayers that we can get right now with what we have going on. And boy have we felt the effects of the prayers being said for us. I don't know how I haven't completely lost my mind yet or freaked out.

-Family and friends. We have some seriously awesome friends and family. Like mine are totally better than yours. No contest. We have received so much love and support that it is overwhelming. Family and friends are keeping me sane and reminding me of the good things when I start to get negative.

-Amazing surgeons and doctors. Can I just say WOW. I mean talk about lucky. We have been directed to all of the right people. We are so thankful for the amazing people that God has put in our path to even make this surgery and his ultimate health and recovery possible.

-Audrey. Our little miracle baby. We first discovered that I was pregnant with her while we were here in Seattle for Isaiah's biopsy back in May that confirmed the cancer. While some might think that's a lot to deal with at once, it is but it's soooo worth it. She has given us another light at the end of this ugly cancer tunnel. Something to keep us distracted and excited along the way. I seriously had begun to wonder if I was ever meant to have a baby, but just when I did God stepped in and proved that He knows exactly what we need and when.

-Generosity of others. While maybe it seems tacky to mention money here, how can I not? People have reached out to us, some who don't even know us, to bless us with a gift. Talk about making a girl cry, pregnant or not. While I'm not saying paying bills or looking at our bank account is going to be easy or fun over the next year or years, it has been an incredible relief to have that bit of help. It still surprises us when we see another donation on our gofundme page or a check in the mail. It just blows my mind still.

-Seattle. How incredibly lucky are we that we were sent to Seattle. Other than being able to stay home, Seattle is the closest place that they could have sent us. It also has been a huge help that I have a TON of family in the Seattle area. I'm currently staying with some family, borrowing a vehicle from more family, and I have all of them more than willing to be there for me whenever I need them. Some even stooped by for a bit on the day of surgery and have been checking on us since.

-Home. Never in my life have I so missed Alaska. I miss the people, my car, my job, my family, my dog, my bed, my life, and mostly my healthy husband. While I am here with him, he isn't able to be himself. He has gone through SO much this past week and I so look forward to the day that he can say he isn't in pain all the time.

I have so much else but who wants to read another 10 mile long post by me? I'll stop myself now :)


The past week... it's been rough

We flew out of Anchorage to Seattle on Tuesday, the 2nd. Flight was nice and roomy with just us in our row. When we arrived, my grandpa picked us up and took us to the car that we'd be using while we are here, my aunt and uncle are letting us use it. Then off to the hotel to get some sleep. 

Wednesday morning was an early morning, with him needing to be at the hospital by 7am (6am Alaska time). We got him admitted, he had his blood drawn, and then we checked him in for the embolization. The embolization was, in theory, supposed to take about 2-3 hours... Well it took over an hour and a half just to get him taken back to the OR and then 4 hours from then until he was done. 

During the embolization they were puncturing his skin to get to his femoral artery. They would then inject dye to determine which vessels and arteries were supplying the blood to the cancerous tumor. Once that was figured out, they had to insert catheters into each artery and vessel to inject particles that would block the blood supply, essentially beginning to kill off the tumor. Oh, and did I mention, it was conscious sedation? :( Poor guy was awake for the whole thing and had to lie completely still and flat on his back the entire time. Yes, the same guy with a herniated disk needed to be flat on his back... joy. Then in order to close off the puncture that they created, he would need to lie flat on his back for an additional 2 hours to get the seal to take. 

When they came to get me in the waiting room they let me know that it went very well and that I could go with him up to his room. When I got to the elevator, he was in SO much pain. His entire body was shaking. He is NOT one to admit when he is in pain... but it was so bad he was shaking like crazy. Once we got him into his room, we had about 4 nurses, including the charge nurse working on getting his pain under control. They were shocked and quite pissed that the nurses downstairs had allowed him to get to that level of pain. Apparently, someone got yelled at. GOOD. I was pissed. 

His nurses were amazing and took good care of him. I felt terrible leaving him in the hospital that night but I knew that I needed to get back to the hotel and get some sleep so that I could be back early the following morning before he went into pre-op. 

While he didn't sleep well, he wasn't in bad shape the next morning. He was mostly anxious and to get things rolling. We got him taken to pre-op around 7:30am but it was quite the surgery and took some serious time to get his OR prepped and ready to go. He had TONS of nurses and doctors filling the room to ask questions, run tests, etc. They were all so incredibly nice and kept reassuring me that he was in good hands. At about 8:30am they took him back to the OR. I was very happy that even with my serious sleep deprivation (I got to the hospital at 4:30am due to a nurses misunderstanding that his surgery was to start at 6am), pregnancy hormones, and just the weight of everything that was happening... that I was able to keep my emotions in check and try my best to just be there for him and answer whatever questions I could for the medical teams. Naturally, I started tearing up when they took him back to the OR to start the whole thing. It was a big and quite scary surgery... 

Around 10am I got my first call from the nurse letting me know that they had just started the surgery itself. There was a lot of prep work that had to go into this thing. Every 2 hours, that same nurse called me back with updates as to how surgery was going. Thankfully, every time she called, she gave me a great report and let me know that he was doing very well. With every phone call, I could feel myself relax just a  little bit more. I was nodding off while watching netflix between phone calls and meals. The doctors kept telling me that I should go back to my hotel and get some sleep... but could anyone REALLY do that?! I couldn't leave. I hated having to leave him in that OR, I certainly wasn't about to go sleep 20 minutes away. 

Nearly 8 hours into the surgery, the lead doctor gave me a call. He said that they were keeping blood loss to a minimum, they hadn't needed to cut any of the nerve roots that they had thought they would definitely need to cut. He was able to save all of his nerve roots! Seriously huge deal right there. He let me know that the surgery was going better than they had anticipated, it was just going a bit slower... FINE by me. Take the time that you need to do it right. As long as I'm only getting good news, take the time that you need. Over 11 hours in surgery, and more than 13 hours total in the OR... he was done. 

The doctor called me yet again to let me know how to get to the ICU and how delighted, yes, he used the word delighted, at how the surgery had gone. This doctor is quite stoic most of the time, so to hear how happy he was with how it went, made me want to cry tears of joy. Oh, and in case you are wondering what keeping blood loss to a minimum is in a surgery like this. He lost half of his blood volume. HALF! That is freaking amazing considering they excepted that he'd lose his entire blood volume. Time to find the ICU. 

His mom, 2 of his brothers, and I made our way to the ICU and waited while they got him all situated. I have never been so happy to see someone in the ICU. He was unconscious and SOOOO swollen. I think his lips alone were about 4 or 5 times their normal size. But he actually didn't look as bad as I'd anticipated. I could rest easy that night. Since he wouldn't be awake until morning, we all left to get some sleep. I'd been at the hospital for 18 hours and I was well overdue for sleep. 

Friday morning I got up early and went back to the hospital by 8am to see how he was doing. He had actually woken up about 3 hours before then (earlier than the staff had expected) and coughed out his breathing tube. Guess his airway was strong enough to handle breathing on his own! He was in a lot of pain but the ICU nurses were amazing and got his pain under control. Unfortunately, his blood pressure was incredibly high (like in the 190-200s) and his heart rate was sky high as well. Throughout the day, the amazing ICU staff took great care of both of us and they were able to get his blood pressure down significantly, thought still high, but his heart rate was still freakishly high. Apparently, they see this quite often in young, healthy men. Since they weren't worried about his heart rate, neither was I. Saturday afternoon, the docs had put in the orders to get Isaiah moved out of the ICU. That night I left him watching ESPN in his own room. 

Saturday morning I came in to find him not feeling super great. I think his body just needs far more sleep right now than he is able to get. Not to mention, the incredibly high amount of morphine that he was on was making him super loopy and out of it. Saturday was full of doctors and nurses making their rounds. He even had his first physical therapy session. The physical therapist was very happy to see how he was doing so far and that he was able to sit up for a full 15 minutes. His blood pressure and heart rate have continued to improve and his heart rate is now in the "normal" range. 

Sunday was a good day because we were able to get him off of the loopy morphine. During physical  therapy he was able to sit up for a full 30 minutes and the therapist was excited with how much strength they were finding in his right foot. Since surgery his right leg and foot has been incredibly numb. He can't feel most of his right foot and calf. His foot is still incredibly swollen and those nerves were basically tortured for the past 6 months and during surgery, so it could take awhile to wake them back up. But with no nerve ends being cut, he has the potential to regain all feeling and strength in the whole leg and foot. The therapist also told me that she's amazed that he isn't still in the ICU after such a long and involved surgery. So he's doing better than even we thought! She just kept getting so excited with everything that he was able to do with his right leg and foot. 

At bare minimum, if he doesn't regain more feeling and movement in his leg and foot, he does have the necessary use to be able to walk.... granted it will take some physical therapy to get him there if he doesn't regain additional feeling and mobility. However, it seems like he's feeling a little bit more of his leg each day, and he's able to move it a little bit more as well. 

The doctors have been very happy with how he's doing so far. They said he's the "poster child for how you should do after this type of surgery". After talking to the surgeons for a bit, they told us that they only get cases like his maybe a few times a year. Super rare... yay for being special :/ I also saw some of his incision yesterday and boy does that look painful!!!! He has over 100 staples along his back and right side. They said that they basically had to cut him open in half. Here is a picture of his new hardware. They did a spinal fusion to fix the herniated disk and then they had to remove part of his sacrum bone which he will forever be without. They then cut a HUGE chunk of his pelvis (you know the big wing thing?... ya they cut off almost the entire right side of his) and replaced it with bone from the bone bank, and that is held in with some screws and plates. Those long screws that you see, they are about as big around as your pinky finger... so you can imagine how HUGE they really are. 


You can even see the staples in there... OUCH! No wonder he hurts! And no wonder the docs won't let him stand just yet. They want to allow some time for the bones to heal a bit and the hardware to stay in place. We were told yesterday that he will be here for about 7 to 10 days (hopefully that includes the days he's already been in the hospital) and then another 7 to 10 in rehab... Whether that is inpatient or outpatient, I'm not sure. 

He's seriously had a rough week this past week. He has been poked and prodded and cut open wayyyy too much. It is so hard to watch someone, especially your husband go through something like this. I really hope and pray that this is the one and only time that I will ever have to see him in the hospital. It just seems so wrong. He has a lot of physical therapy in his future for his back and leg so I really hope that they got all of that tumor out. It takes awhile to get the pathology back on what they removed but they said it was about the size of a small melon, or I guess you could call it cantaloupe size... OUCH! I just hate seeing him in so much pain and knowing that there really isn't anything that I can do to fix it. I cannot wait for the day that I get to take him home and even more for the day that he can say "I'm no longer in pain everyday". He's already been in pain daily since mid March... it just seems cruel to put him through all of this now. 

Don't get me wrong, I know that we are lucky. Things could have been a lot worse. Each step of the way we know that things could have been worse. We are truly blessed. And the people who have reached out with love, support, prayers, donations.... it still makes me cry (and no it's not just the pregnancy hormones). I just really pray that the blessings and miracles continue for us. I can't wait for us to feel normal again. 

All of this really puts things into perspective for me. I mean, yes, this SUCKS... like BADLY SUCKS but I look around at some of the other people here in the hospital, and I know that it could be worse for us. But then I look at people's lives and yes, some of them have had rough times, but do they know how amazingly blessed that they are? Do they understand how much they need to cherish every moment of what they have? I really hope that they do because I feel like we took too much for granted before all of this. I miss when our biggest concerns were how we were going to come up with the down payment for a house or spending so much money on new tires for our cars. There are so many things that consume us daily that truly don't matter. 

Once this is all over, I hope that we can use this as a reminder of how lucky we are. I don't want to go through anything like this again, EVER. But I hope that we can remember what big worries really look like, what they used to be like for us. 

Thank you all again for your love, support, prayers, and words of encouragement... It means so much more to me than I could ever express. 

Again, if you'd like to avoid my massive posts about how he's doing, you can follow along using this link. I'm posting a bit more frequently on there. Or at least trying to... :) http://www.gofundme.com/isaiahandshelby



Monday, September 1, 2014

21 weeks for me & surgery for him

First, the update on Isaiah... We fly out to Seattle again tomorrow. Wednesday he will be admitted for the embolization with surgery early Thursday morning. That is going to be a long few days for both of us, thankfully it will got a little quicker for him since he'll be under anesthesia for some of Wednesday and most of Thursday. He will be in ICU for one or two nights, but a total of 7 to 10 days. HOPEFULLY, we will be home shortly after that. PLEASE keep us in your prayers for safe travels, a quick and successful surgery, and a fast recovery.

I will try to keep the blog updated while we are there, but if you'd like more updates, you can check out our gofundme page. http://www.gofundme.com/IsaiahandShelby 

Alrighty, now on to my updates.

•How far along? 21 weeks 1 day as of today


•Due date: January 11, 2015
•Baby is about the size of a banana (7 in, 11oz)
•Symptoms: I get tired pretty early, I like to be in bed around 9:30 or 10. Hungry quite often, but I get full pretty easily. I have to pee allll the time, granted drinking so much water is probably a huge reason. Sore chest still.  Sore back, especially when sitting down. OH! and awesome cankles. If I'm on my feet too much, in higher temps, or flying, they swell up SO bad and sooo quickly. See... This is courtesy of all aforementioned contributors... the bottom pic is after a day of keeping my feet up lol. Quite the difference. 

•Cravings: Salty and savory foods and then anything fresh like fruits and veggies (I assume to counteract all of the salt). Number one craving over the past 2 months or so has been PIZZA. I will eat pizza every day, more than once a day if allowed. I will eat pizza in a variety of forms. I have, on more than one occasion, come home from the store with pizza rolls, frozen french bread pizza, a variety of frozen pizzas, fresh pizzas, and stuff to make any sort of pizza related recipe that I can find. While Isaiah typically likes pizza, he has requested that we eat something other than pizza on more than one occasion. Heck, I even eat pizza for breakfast some days.
•Bump? Yep! Baby bump is finally here, which makes me quite happy.
•Maternity clothes: Heck yes! I can still wear some of non-maternity clothes but I can't stand anything even semi fitted on my stomach. And have you ever tried on maternity pants?! Those things are comfortable!!!
•Stretch marks: Not yet
•Belly button in or out: In but starting to work toward flattening out. It's super weird!
•Kicks? YES! I started feeling her move around 15 weeks and it is still pretty sporadic at this point. I have an anterior placenta, which I've been told basically is the same as having a pillow between the baby and my belly. So her movements aren't super strong, they are more like a soft rolling motion. Sort of like someone just has a hand resting against me but not applying any pressure.
•Gender: Girl :) Audrey Elizabeth
•Looking forward to: Stronger kicks (people keep telling me I'll take that back once it happens), getting back home after Isaiah's surgery and feeling more "normal" in our everyday lives.
•Sleep: Eh, not great, but not the worst that it's been either.
•Miss anything: Real coffee, turkey sandwich, this amazing blue cheese salad at a local restaurant, and a local brewery makes a raspberry wheat beer and an apple ale... together they are delicious. All totally worth it though.

The past few weeks we've been making some awesome progress on Audrey's room. We got the room all painted about a month ago, then the trim and crown molding up shortly afterward. Furniture has all arrived now. Here is the current progress! :)





Thank you all for your continued prayers and support... it really means so much to us. :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

August 17, 2015... due date #4

Well here we are again, another due date. Today is, what should have been, due date #4. It seems a bit weird to think about. This due date is different though.

Each due date has been different than the others. This time, I am 19 weeks pregnant with a little girl. I never knew the gender of the first 4 babies. I never got to see their heartbeats or see them wiggle on the ultrasound. It was heartbreaking to know everything that would never be with each of them.

My 4th pregnancy was actually my shortest. I found out before I was even 4 weeks, that I would be miscarrying. I remember that phone call from my doctor vividly. The call that my numbers were dropping and she expected that I'd begin to miscarry in 2 or 3 days. Right on time, the bleeding began.

It was after that 4th loss that I seriously began to wonder if I would ever be able to carry a pregnancy to term. Would we ever see a heartbeat, get good news from the doctor, see our baby move on the ultrasound screen, feel the baby kick inside my belly... would we ever bring a baby home? I wasn't sure, but I did know that it all had to be for a reason and that one day, everything would be okay. One day I would heal.

Now, I'm not saying that since I am pregnant again, that I have forgotten the pain and loss of our first 4 babies.... I remember every second. But I sometimes feel that knowing that sort of pain, has made me appreciate this life so much more. At the same time, since I am now experiencing those moments that I missed out on with the first 4 babies, I now KNOW what I missed out on.

I don't for a second doubt that they are all in a better place. A place where they will never know pain or heartbreak. None of them will ever know the grief that comes with living on earth. All that they will ever know is joy and happiness, and for that... I am thankful.

I would have loved to have each and every one of them here with me for more longer, but I can't change the past. There is nothing that I could've done to change what has happened. It also doesn't hurt to know that this little lady that I am carrying now, has 4 guardian angels looking out for her.

The Bible verse that gave me the title for my blog, rings more and more true each and every day.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Not the week that we had expected

We arrived in Seattle early Saturday morning. Spent the day hanging out with family and taking naps on and off due to no sleep Friday night. Sunday we checked into our hotel and went on over to the hospital for an MRI appointment. They told us at check in that it would take an hour and a half... It took 4 hours. 4 very long hours. Thankfully, my mom was with us and we spent the time wandering around the hospital and even spent about an hour outside by the lake (University of Washington Medical Center is right on the lake).



We then went to PF Changs to make up for poor Isaiah being stuck in there for so darn long. Monday was an early day. We got to the appointment and were told by the doctor that there was good news and bad news. *horrible thing to say to already worried pregnant lady whose husband has cancer* He said that the good news was that he had looked at the scans from Sunday and it looks like there wasn't any significant growth, thank goodness. Bad news... Surgery was being postponed. Seriously?! I didn't been know that was a possibility. 

Apparently there will be quite the large group of doctors working on this surgery and the spine surgeon that was supposed to be apart of it, was called out to Chicago last minute for some emergency. The doctor had been making calls all morning to find a replacement but there was one doctor in the process of moving, another on medical leave, and others were scheduled for surgeries in another state. As of right now, we've been told that surgery will be postponed 2 weeks to August 28th. Nothing is confirmed yet though :(. 

I am choosing to look at this as a good thing. If this is the worst news we get, I'll take it. I hate that he's been in pain since mid March and will now have to wait another 2 weeks. This was still not a wasted trip though. He had quite a few appointments this week that will not need to be repeated whine we come back. We were also given a lot more detail about the surgery and after. 

This surgery is going to be a big one. We did know that but we didn't really know how big. It will be at least 8 hours. He will have the main surgeon, a neurosurgeon, a spine surgeon, an anesthesiologist and each of their teams. He will probably lose his entire blood volume during the surgery and will receive multiple transfusions. They will need to go in, remove the tumor from the pelvis and try to save as many nerve endings on his right side as possible. He will have a spinal fusion, practically rebuild his entire right side of his pelvis. They will do a bone graft to fill the large hole that will be left in his pelvis from where the tumor will be removed. 

Due to the large amount of blood loss and the sheer length of the surgery, it is almost guaranteed that he will have to stay in the ICU for one or two nights. So glad that they told me in advance so I don't panic when they tell me he's in the ICU after surgery. He will stay in the hospital for 7-10 days and will be on crutches for quite awhile. Then of course there is the 6 month recovery.  We also expect that he will need physical therapy for awhile. 

This was quite the frustrating trip to get here only to be told it is postponed but at least it wasn't a total waste. We got a lot of appointments out of the way, saw a bunch of family, did some shopping for me, baby, and Isaiah. A friend of Isaiah's actually gave us Seahawks tickets while we were here so that did cheer him up a bit as well. 

For now, we are sitting at the airport waiting for our flight to go home for about a week and a half. Guess this was our trial run. I know that my mom is really disappointed that she will not be able to come back with us next time to be here with me during and after the surgery but we made the most of this trip and I will still have Isaiah's mom and all of my extended family to keep me company next time. Mostly, I just want to get this surgery over with. Get Isaiah on the road to healing and put this all behind us. I want to get back home before my parents go on their trip to Italy, or I know my mom will be worried the whole time that she is gone. 

Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers while we go through this time in our lives. 

Oh and as far as baby news, she has clearly been growing because according to my mom and Isaiah, my belly seems to be continuously growing haha. I am still feeling her wiggles here and there but nothing very consistent at this point. I can't believe that I will be 19 weeks tomorrow! So surreal. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

It's a.....

We went in for our anatomy scan tonight. I think that I was driving everyone around me crazy counting down the hours and minutes until the scan. I'd been a little nervous for the appointment because I've been feeling movement on and off for the past two weeks, but hadn't felt anything for the last two days after feeling tons of activity on Saturday.

Today really felt like it went on forever, but finally it was time for the appointment. We all arrived at the office (my mom, Isaiah, and his mom) a few minutes early, but after filling out just one form, we were ready to go! Instantly we could see movement. That really made me feel so much better.

The first thing we could see was legs spread wide open haha. Baby was prepared for this scan and knew what we needed to see. After looking around a little bit, the tech confirmed... It's a girl!

Baby Audrey Elizabeth was very active and is actually measuring 4 days ahead. I'm so thrilled to have completed another step that I seriously began to think I'd never get to experience.

After a year and a half, 5 pregnancies, 4 miscarriage, dozens of scans and tests, and what feels like hundreds of vials of blood, we are FINALLY expecting a little baby girl! It is so surreal. We are so excited! And sure enough, since the scan, I've felt her moving around a bit. All that worrying for nothing. :)

Please continue to keep all 3 of us in your prayers. We will certainly need them in the weeks and months to come! :)



Friday, August 1, 2014

More updates on travel plans and an ultrasound appointment

Isaiah talked with the people in Seattle again and got more details as to the schedule when we get down there.

He will have his pre-op appointment on Monday, the 11th. Additional appointments Tuesday and Wednesday. After his appointment Wednesday he will be admitted to the hospital with surgery to start on Thursday morning. He is SOOOO not looking forward to another hospital stay. So far, the 2 times he's had to stay in the hospital, he threatens to just walk out. He doesn't exactly enjoy (or even tolerate very well) his time spent in the hospital... understandably so. He's already been saying how he will give them 3 days and 2 nights but then he is out of there. Well.... that might not work out the way he'd hoped. He asked how long they thought he'd be in the hospital after surgery. He was told 7-10 days. Uh-oh.

Since they've told us the typical recovery time for this surgery is 6-12 months, but that due to his health and age, he will likely be more like 6 months. Maybe that means he'll only be in the hospital for 5 days? Either way, I know he will be more than ready to get out of there and get home.

As of right now, we fully expect to be in Seattle for about 2 weeks this trip. It will be interesting. I just hope and pray that they are able to easily remove ALL of the tumor with no issues and he is able to come home and begin to heal.

And in other news... since we OBVIOUSLY will not be back in Alaska by the 18th, I had to find somewhere either here before we leave, or in Seattle that would be able to do my anatomy scan. After a TON of difficulty, I finally found somewhere!!! I am getting my anatomy scan this coming Monday at 7:30pm. :) I'm so excited.

There are so many things that over the course of the past year and the 4 losses that I stopped imagining. I stopped thinking about our child growing up. I stopped thinking about bringing hone our newborn, giving birth, going into labor, what it would be like to feel the baby move, having a baby shower, finding out the gender, and even finally being able to give our baby a name. A real name. I want to call the baby something other than "the baby". That is something that we will finally get to do. We will know whether the baby is a him or a her.

I've been feeling the baby move. What an incredible feeling. A few months from now we will be having a baby shower. Heck, we even bought paint this week so that we can get the nursery started (neutral paint color). It is so surreal.

We have been so incredibly blessed in so many ways by SO many people. The outpouring of love, support, and prayers... it's amazing.

Again, don't feel like you need to give money by any means because prayers are ALWAYS accepted, but if you feel so inclined, or if you just want to look at some of the updates for my husband, you can visit the gofundme page that a friend set up for us. I will try to keep the blog and the gofundme page all updated while we are in Seattle. :)

http://www.gofundme.com/IsaiahandShelby

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Medical update for the husband

Alrighty! The time has come. He has FINALLY finished his 6 weeks of radiation. We are pretty darn excited about that to say the least. He's definitely still feeling the effects of it but still sooo much less harsh on him than chemo or chemo AND radiation.

The next step is surgery. We have his pre-op appointment scheduled for August 11th in Seattle. Hopefully, this means surgery will be the following day. One thing we've learned through all of this is to take what we get and not expect anything more. We have the pre-op date. On that date, we will get his surgery date. We don't know how long we will be gone. Heck, we don't even know how long he'll have to be in the hospital post-op. But... we have a date.

We are realizing more and more how incredibly blessed we are. The prayers are most definitely being answered. We have some seriously amazing family members who are letting us stay with them for a bit when we get down to Seattle AND borrow a car. We had hoped to be able to stay in that family friend's condo that we stayed in last time, but it isn't going to be available. After the initial panic, we regrouped and found an incredible deal on a hotel thanks to the hospital's promo code. We have booked the hotel for one week. We are SOOO hoping that somehow we will be asking them to cut our stay short because we are given the okay to go home sooner than that. However, there is still a good chance, we will be stuck there for quite awhile longer.

We are so thankful for everyone out there who has loved us, supported us, helped us, and prayed for us throughout all of this. We aren't done yet so please don't stop sending prayers our way.

Oh and another bonus, my mom is going to be with us in Seattle for that week of surgery. :)

It is going to be a good week. I've already decided :). We are going to see some family, eat good food, and I've also decided we will get only FANTASTIC news from the doctors. And it would really help if Isaiah doesn't have to stay in the hospital very long. He gets a little antsy and cranky. He likes to threaten to walk out.

If we somehow are able to come home the following weekend, we will be home in time for my anatomy ultrasound. I will definitely re-schedule if necessary though because this surgery and time in Seattle is obviously more important right now. We need to get him healthy so that he can start healing before baby makes an appearance in January. :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

13 week ultrasound

I went in today and got to have a pretty cool ultrasound. The doctor was looking for any causes for concern. Thankfully they said that everything looks great. They still do see the small spot that was likely causing the previous spotting, but even with no spotting over the past week, the bleed has gotten much smaller. My next appointment isn't for another 6 weeks! :( It was supposed to be scheduled during my 18th week but the ultrasound dr is out of town that week so I have to wait an extra week.

During the appointment we also asked for his best guesstimate on the gender. It's still fairly early but I've heard with this new fancy machine, he's been REALLY good at giving early guesses. AND his guess is at least based on some science not just a random feeling. He guessed that the baby is a girl.

Since I still won't know for sure for 6 more weeks, I thought it might be fun to check out some of the  old wives tales to see what they say. I picked 10 to try. Here we go....
  • Carrying high or low: low so far - boy
  • Baby's heart rate over or under 14: Over - girl
  • Skin breaking out - yes - girl
  • Nausea: yes - girl
  • Craving salty or sweet: salty - boy
  • Legs more or less hairy: less - girl
  • Husband have more brothers or sisters: brothers - boy
  • Feet colder or warmer: colder - boy
  • Chest bigger: YES - boy

More clumsy than before: no - girl

That brings us to 5 votes for girl and 5 votes for boy... So for the tie breaker.
  •  Chinese gender chart: girl
So far the doctor and random old wives tales point toward girl, but really it's all pretty darn close. Here are the pics that I got today :)




Sunday, July 6, 2014

13 week update

•How far along? 13 weeks today
•Due date: January 11, 2015
•Baby is about the size of a peach 
•Symptoms: Fatigue and nausea are getting MUCH better but both definitely still hit me from time to time. Still nauseous in the mornings but sooo much better. Ever growing sore boobs. I had to buy new bras at like 9 weeks. Peeing alllll the time. Hungry about every 2 hours. 
•Cravings: Salty and savory foods and then anything fresh like fruits and veggies (I assume to counteract all of the salt). I'm normally big into sweets too. I'm not known to pass up a cupcake but lately, I'd rather have some buffalo chicken pasta!
•Bump? Not really. Which makes me sad. Some days I look like I have a full on bump but it's just bloat. Other days I just look like I've eaten too much for dinner. For now it is my baby bloat belly. Can't wait for it to turn into my full on baby bump. 
•Maternity clothes: Heck yes! I can still wear my non-maternity clothes but I can't stand anything even semi fitted on my stomach. And have you ever tried on maternity pants?! Those things are comfortable!!!
•Stretch marks: Not yet
•Belly button in or out: In
•Kicks? Not yet... I know that can take a little while especially since this is my first (well 5th pregnancy but this is the furthest I've ever been). 
•Gender: Don't know yet. My mom thinks boy due to how active the baby seems in ultrasounds and my cravings. Both are very similar to her pregnancy with my brother. Most others say girl. Right now hubby and I just want a healthy baby. We would be thrilled with either. 
•Looking forward to: Another ultrasound on Tuesday and eventually finding out the gender. I hate waiting! I'm going to ask my dr about the cost of the blood test to determine gender. At least that means less waiting and 100% accuracy. Oh and looking forward to an actually baby bump haha. 
•Sleep: Better than it was the first few months. Still can't sleep in very late but as long as I sleep well at night, I'm okay with that. 
•Miss anything: Laying on my right side, real coffee, turkey sandwich, this amazing blue cheese salad at a local restaurant, and a local brewery makes a raspberry wheat beer and an apple ale... together they are delicious. All totally worth it though. 

So far this is where I'm at. I can't wait to go in on Tuesday and get another look at the baby. Hopefully all is looking good still. I am just so amazed that I've hit 13 weeks. I seriously wondered if that would ever be possible. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

All is good :)

Such a HUGE relief. I went in today just to see what was going on since I've had the lovely spotting going on. It was so nice to hear the words "we've got a baby with a heartbeat". I refused to look at the screen until the doctor said that. I didn't want to watch and assume that something didn't look right. 

Everything looks good and heartrate is strong. The baby even rolled over and wiggled the little butt at us, rolled back toward us and waved and then back to profile angle for some kicking and punching. Something tells me this baby is going to beat up my insides as he/she gets bigger. 

Apparently on one side of the placenta, a small part of the edge hadn't attached all the way, causing the bleed. They weren't worried at all by this. They said everything looks perfect. Just to be 100% sure that is what is going on, I'm going back next week to meet with the ultrasound tech and his fancy super detailed machine to verify. 

I guess this is what I get for being disappointed when they told me at my 9 week appt how my next appointment (supposed to be next week) would be Doppler only and no ultrasound. So instead I got the one today AND I'll get one next week. 

So glad that everything is okay. It is so hard not to stress sometimes. Thank you for the prayers and words of encouragement. It truly does help. :)

And here's the little one!! 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

12 weeks and more spotting

As of today I am 12 weeks. At 2:30 this morning I got up for my usual middle of the night bathroom break, when I noticed red spotting. Definitely a lot more than I had just over a week ago. Last time it was only pink but this time it was full on red. 

Why does this sort of thing always happen on weekends when you can't just go in to your doctor's office?! I plan on calling my dr first thing Monday morning, but for now I am putting myself on bed rest and waiting to see what happens. In the past 6+ hours there hasn't been any additional red blood, but some pink and brown. 

I really really hope that this isn't a sign of anything bad. I think I overdid it yesterday by running errands and then coming home to clean. 

I immediately panicked and it was hard to get back to sleep but I just focused on trying to wait to see if things progressed or not. Hopefully a day of resting is all that I need. 

Prayers please that everything is still okay. I am SO close to starting the 2nd trimester, please let everything be okay. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

11 weeks and spotting

As of today I am 11 weeks. This is definitely the furthest I've ever been in a pregnancy and I was feeling pretty comfortable with everything, until last night. Last night I had some spotting. I know, I know, "spotting can be normal". When you've had 4 miscarriages already, anything new or similar at all to miscarriage, scares the living day lights out of you. 

I was over at my parents house hanging out with some friends, my mom, and my sister in law. Thankfully, they are all amazing and were very reassuring. I did call the on call provider with my dr office. Basically they said that it's very encouraging that I've only had a little bit of spotting, that I've seen the heartbeat, and that I hadn't had any "period like" cramping. 

For now I'm supposed to try to rest a lot and try to not stress out. Easier said than done obviously but I know that nothing I do will change what is or isn't happening. Unfortunately in the first trimester, if you begin to miscarry, there is nothing that can be done to stop it. 

The spotting was 12 hours ago now and I haven't had any spotting since :) which makes me feel better but I am still worried, naturally. I plan to call my doctor office as soon as they open tomorrow morning and see if they'll let me come in to check on the baby. 

Spotting is sadly pretty common during pregnancy. As if we all don't already have enough to watch out for and worry about. For now, I will take each day as it comes and pray that everything is okay. 

I do not want to see this little baby until he or she is due... Please let this baby stay safe, healthy and growing until it is time... And I'm talking like December at the EARLIEST. :)

Monday, June 9, 2014

9 weeks 1 day

Had my first "official" OB appointment. It has only been one week since my last appointment where we got to see our little baby and the strong heartbeat. I was a little nervous but all went well. 

As soon as the doctor started the ultrasound the baby did this full body wiggle thing. It was so cool to see. Heart beat still going strong. It was so surreal to be there and see that. This is our baby. Our baby is still there, still growing, still living. What an incredible blessing. 

I don't go back in for another month. And that appointment will be a Doppler appointment only to listen to the heartbeat, no ultrasound. Which I am sad about BUT I have to look at it as, if they felt I was high risk this time, I'd be in a lot more often. The fact that this pregnancy is considered "normal" is a very very good thing. 

Here are baby's pictures from today. Stubborn little thing refused to turn to the side so that we could get a good profile picture but I'll take it! :)



Monday, June 2, 2014

It's officially official!!!!

The anxiety hit me this morning around 3am. I couldn't sleep. I was so terrified but also so excited. I just kept reminding myself that this is a different pregnancy, different circumstances, different outcome. 

They got me in right away and I just couldn't look until I heard "we have a heartbeat!"  That's the first time I've ever heard that. There is one baby in there with a strong heartbeat. Also measuring exactly to the day with where I should be at, 8 weeks 1 day. So excited and relieved. Obviously not out of the woods yet but this is such a huge relief. 


First pic is front view, head down. Second pic is side view, head down. 

So excited to have this amazing news. Thank you to all of you praying and supporting me through this. I so appreciate it all! :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Blessed

Lately, I've spent a lot of time thinking about how good the Lord is.

I still remember the night when my husband came home from work and told me how sore his back was because he'd had to shovel out 3ft+ of snow and push out 15 or so cars and giant vans that were stuck in the snow. It was a rough day. In the following time, the pain grew worse and began to go down his right leg and into his foot. Not until he had this weird feeling in his foot like it was always asleep (a month after the day he hurt his back) did he finally make an appointment with a chiropractor. A chiropractor who referred him to the right neurosurgeon, who in turn referred him to the right radiologist and oncologist. They all got together and decided the best place to go was Seattle Cancer Care Alliance through the University of Washington.

We have been totally blessed by the right people, the right doctors, all at the right time. We have been blown away but the prayers and love and support that people have surrounded us with. Sometimes, even people that we don't know and have never met.

We talk all of the time about how this is clearly God laying out this path for us. He has guided us and supplied us with everything that we need, and I believe that He will continue to do so. Those bills haven't started to hit our mailbox just yet, but they are coming. Whatever they add up to, we will figure it out. God will provide.

I did start to panic the other night when I started to realize that come January 2015, if all goes well with this pregnancy, we will be paying his medical bills, my medical bills, all while I take 12 weeks of unpaid leave from my job. Thankfully, after a quick freak out, I prayed. I prayed for peace. I know that the Lord has provided for us this far, and that will not stop now. We will figure it all out as it comes. Stress is not good for anyone, but it certainly isn't good for me while pregnant... 8 weeks as of today! :)

Tomorrow is a big day here in our household. Tomorrow morning at 9am, I have my first ultrasound with this pregnancy. We will find out how many babies there are and how they are developing so far. I know that this pregnancy was gifted to us by God at this time for a reason. I can only hope and pray that tomorrow morning, the doctor gives us some incredibly amazing news. The only other pregnancy that made it to ultrasound day, all came crashing down when there was no heartbeat. Here is to hoping that tomorrow's ultrasound appointment is a VERY different type of appointment.

Also tomorrow, the husband has his first round of radiation. His first of 25 sessions... The next step toward a healthy husband.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow... it is definitely a big day for us. :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Another doctor appointment for him... with good news!

We met with the radiation oncologist team today and we got some fantastic news. They said that we have no medical reason that the husband should have to stay down here for radiation. He will be able to start the radiation treatment in Alaska shortly. It will be 5 weeks of radiation, followed by a few weeks of healing before his surgery back here in Seattle. They also said that they will be treating this aggressively in case it is cancerous, but there is a chance that it isn't. The scans showed only a few "active" areas of the tumor that appear to be encapsulated by the cartilage of the tumor itself. Because they can't know for sure, they want to make sure that they get this fully taken care of the first time so that we have no reoccurrences.

We actually left this appointment so incredibly happy and excited.

We have been truly blessed by all of you who have supported us and prayed for us. We really believe that the prayer is what has made such an impact on his diagnosis and treatment. It seems like every time we go back, they give us better and better news. So thank you all! We REALLY appreciate everything.

With all of this going on we will have at least 2 more trips down here, one part way through the radiation treatment and then the one for the surgery itself. Depending on how the surgery goes, he may or may not have to come back for follow up radiation treatment, but all of that will be decided when we find out how the surgery goes.

Thank you all so much for your love and support. You all have helped us so much more than we could ever have asked for! :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Results from the doctors in Seattle

It is beautiful here. Sunny and warm! :)  Anyway, here we go.

Well it took FOREVER to get in to see the doctors because they are super busy. It is definitely cancer. It is actually called chondrosarcoma. It is a cartilage tumor growing out of his pelvis. NO CHEMO will be done! :) We are pretty happy about that. Possible radiation we will find out tomorrow or Wednesday for sure on that.

Surgery to remove the tumor will be in about 3 weeks if no radiation is needed and in 5-6 weeks if radiation is needed. It will be quite a long recovery, 6-12 months (likely 6). This is due to the fact that they will be removing a large portion of his pelvis and replace it with a bone graft, held in place with screws and plates.

We are so happy for this news.  Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. We truly appreciate it SO much.

Thankfully they did give him more pain meds and some meds to calm down the nerves that are being pressed on by the tumor. They will be consulting a spine doctor as well since it is close to the spine. They also mentioned a spine fusion in the L5 area where he has that herniated disk.

By now means is this nearly over, but we did get some amazing news today. We will continue to take this one step at a time and one day at a time. We feel so incredibly blessed by everyone around us and the amazing news that we got today. I never would've guess that getting the "your husband has cancer" news could possible have me walking out with a smile on my face, but we just know that this could've been SO much worse. We are so incredibly lucky.

Also just excited that he will be healing from surgery in 3-6 weeks instead of 3 months from now! I am just so incredibly thrilled about that.

Once we have our next appointment either tomorrow or Wednesday to get the game plan as far as radiation, we get to go home again!!! Which means I can set up that ultrasound appointment as well! :) We are still praying that all continues to go well with him and that when we do get this ultrasound, it will be a fantastic appointment with a very different outcome than we had almost exactly a year ago that I talked about here and here AND here.

Here is a little snapshot of our view here in Seattle from the condo we are staying in while we are here.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Preparing for our next trip... praying for happy answers

Well right now I am supposed to be packing for Seattle. Per usual, I got distracted reading everyone's latest blog posts. I just really wanted to reach out for some prayers. We leave tomorrow for Seattle again for our follow up appointment with the husbands doctors. We should find out everything tomorrow. Exactly what TYPE of cancer it is. What stage it is at. What the treatment plan will be. Whether or not we will be able to get the majority of his treatment at home, in Alaska. How long his treatment should take. When surgery will be to remove the tumor.

There are still so many unknowns and hopefully after Monday, that list should be A LOT smaller. I feel like we have really done well with not stressing out about all of the craziness going on in our lives right now (with the husband's tumor that is most likely cancer and my being pregnant in the middle of all of this). I feel like God has given us no more than we can handle. We are taking this one day at a time and one step at a time. I feel oddly calm and at peace with our situation, and I know that I have God to thank for that. I am constantly praying and I know we have so many amazing people out there praying for us too. We feel it! We really really do.

We feel incredibly blessed by our fantastic support system and also just where we are at in our lives. Things are by no means easy, but it is nothing that we can't handle with His help. And this is coming from someone incredibly neurotic! I don't understand how in the world it is possible that I'm not totally losing it 24/7. I am a major planner. I must KNOW everything. I don't do well with surprises or unknowns. But here we are... living our lives one day at a time. It is the day before we fly out and I haven't packed a thing. Heck my suitcase is still partially packed from when we just flew home a few days ago.

As far as baby stuff goes, we are waiting to get the first ultrasound scheduled until we figure out when we'll be home from Seattle (because it's another we have NO idea when we'll be back kind of trip). So far I feel really good. I get nauseous whenever I am hungry, but that's not bad at all. Definite sore chest... not gonna lie, they feel HUGE lol. Oh and it doesn't take much food before I'm full but then I get hungry again 2 hours later. There has also been this slight dull ache in my lower stomach on and off... mostly just on the left side. At first I worried a bit that it was period cramps, but they feel NOTHING like period cramps. It's very strange. And naturally retaining every drop of water possible.  And I am loving every single second of it!

Today I pulled out my summer clothes and stored my winter clothes. For someone who lives in Alaska, I seem to own a ton of summer clothes... wishful thinking I guess. Anyway, in the process I also finally pulled out the tubs full of pregnancy and baby things. It made me cry, but what doesn't these days. I worried for a moment that this would somehow jinx the pregnancy but quickly pushed that thought away. What is going to happen, will happen. For now all that I can do is keep myself healthy and pray.

Well this scatterbrained post is nearly over, I just have to ask you all for one thing. Prayers. Please keep us in your prayers these next few days. I am really hoping for some good news on Monday. It would be so incredibly amazing to get news that this will be easily treated and that we can do treatment at home. That would be such a huge relief for us and such a huge financial relief as well to have the husband at home. We have been so lucky to have so many people thinking about us and praying for us and I just ask that you keep that going. We really need them right now.

Thank you!!!! :)

rainbow :)
http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/2a/c4/1b/2ac41b1c3783b46f45ac28d05ed7f74e.jpg

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Busy busy busy...

As you can imagine, things have been a bit busy around here lately. We flew back home late Monday night. We will only be hope for 5 days before we have to fly back to Seattle for his next appointment. Thankfully, this appointment should be all of the results from the biopsy, scans, and tests as well as the plan of attack.

It is so nice to be home, even for just a few days. Already SO worth it. We were only gone for 9 days but it actually felt like 3 weeks. There was obviously a lot going on, but also a lot of waiting around. Yay hanging out at the hospital. :/

So far we are clinging to the possibility that it is good news that it is not as quick growing as they initially thought and that they told us, if it is the specific subtype of sarcoma that they believe it is, no chemo will be done. That only increases the likelihood that he will be able to get all, or at least the majority, of his treatment done at home. What a blessing that would be.

Also, some more good news. While we were gone, I realized that I was nearly a week late already. I'm not typically late.... ever. So on our trip to the drug store to fill his prescription for pain meds after the biopsy, I picked up some tests. I was shocked. I am pregnant. AGAIN.

This was some much needed good news for us right now. We were really hoping that this would be the case, but obviously we were not exactly banking on that. Talk about some happy news to sustain us while we deal with all of these scary appointments.

In no way am I out of the woods, but we are so excited. I went in to the doctor yesterday for my blood draw, and the doctor said the HCG numbers came back great! That's the first time I've ever heard that.... even though this is my 5th pregnancy... that was the FIRST time I've been told that my numbers look great.

As soon as we get an idea of when we should be returning from Seattle this time, I will be calling to set up my ultrasound appointment. :) So exciting! As of right now, I am 5 weeks and 3 days along. I'll take it! Every single day is truly a blessing and an answer to prayers.

I took the test this past Friday night, so it made for such a happy Mother's Day (waited to blog about it until I had the blood test to verify and we were able to notify our families). It made me nervous, because I was pregnant last Mother's Day as well, but this is a new year, a new pregnancy, and a whole new set of circumstances. I trust that God has a plan for this pregnancy and this child. I can't wait to see what it will be.

Please keep our family in your prayers. We have a lot going on right now and I know that prayer is the only way that we are calm and at peace with everything. No matter what comes our way, we will make it through. We are truly blessed.

Trust.
http://spirituallythinking.blogspot.com/2012/02/in-gods-hands.html

Friday, May 9, 2014

Biopsy is DONE

Yesterday was a long day. Finally got the husband to the hospital and all checked in yesterday afternoon. Once they finally called him back, he got all dressed up in his fancy gown and socks, IV in, and then we waited. Then it was time to roll him back to the OR.

My aunt drove us to the hospital that day and also stayed with me throughout. She and I hung out, grabbed some food, and waited... and waited... they called an hour after they rolled him into the OR to let me know that they'd started the surgery. About an hour later, I received the call that surgery was done and he'd be in recovery shortly.

Cue time to freak out a bit when I hear "CODE BLUE. CODE BLUE." over the PA system. A nurse finally came out and brought me back to see him. He was pretty pale and a little tired looking but overall, not bad. As I sat there he seemed a bit more awake and was talking pretty well.

According to the surgery, the tumor was lower than they'd anticipated so the estimated 2 or 3 in incision turned into about an 8 or 9 in incision. When I let the husband know, he said "awesome... a better scar". I also got to relay the info to him that the surgeon said that from what he saw, he believes it is a lower grade or slower growing tumor than they'd originally thought (THANK YOU LORD) AND if it is the type of sarcoma that he thinks it might be, no chemo... How awesome is that?!

We will not get final results for another week and a half but how cool would that be to only have radiation and surgery instead of chemo, radiation, and surgery?! We were pretty excited to hear that one.

So for now we are hanging out in the University District in Seattle (UW campus... it's gorgeous!) thanks to some amazing friends who surprised us by booking us a hotel for 4 nights. These super amazing friends also got us tickets for the Mariners game on Sunday. We are pretty darn excited.

I'd say that we've been doing pretty darn well through all of this but it is not easy by any means. I truly believe all of the wonderful people out there praying for us has made all of the difference in the world.

Oh, and more good news... We have the weekend to relax and then Monday he'll have 2 more scans and meet with the docs. Then we get to GO HOME. Only for a few days... but we still get to go home!!! We are beyond ecstatic to go home for a few days. We are hoping to fly home on Tuesday and then we will be flying back to Seattle on Sunday to meet with the doctors for the official diagnosis and the plan of attack. We are really REALLY hoping that we will be lucky enough to be able to do the majority of his treatment back in Alaska, but we shall see.

We have been so incredibly blessed by family, friends, and total strangers. We have people out there praying for us who have never even met us and I really think our good news so far is thanks to all of you. Prayer is such a powerful thing. Let's keep the good news going!!! :)