Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Latest on Brigham

First, here's me at 25 weeks. I'm feeling very pregnant now. Any time I say something like that Justin looks at me funny and says with a smile, "Ummm, sweetie, you are pregnant..." (pics of Brigham at the bottom)

I had another ultrasound yesterday at the Maternal-Fetal Center at Good Sam (the hospital). They checked all the regular growth related things and said he looks fabulous. He's measuring in the 23rd percentile overall, which sounds just about right for our kids. He'll probably weigh very close to what Carrie was (6lbs, 4oz).

The real reason for this special appointment though was to re-measure the lung-to-head ratio. We last had this done at 20 weeks. It's a calculation that determines lung tissue development in relation to overall size of the baby. They said that the number 1.00 is kind of the tipping point. Below that, they are more concerned, above that, they are less concerned.

5 weeks ago, Brigham's calculation was 0.9. Yesterday it was 1.02! Apparently it's not a very large window because they doctor seemed happy about this slight difference.

Now, don't go jumping up and down celebrating just yet... The diaphragmatic hernia is still there, he'll still be sick at birth, still require surgery, still be in the NICU for a while.... But, his chances don't look totally and completely awful.

As I've been talking with some friends and family recently, I realized I haven't been as clear as I thought I was. Although we seem pretty chill about this whole thing, it's still a pretty big deal.

On average (with a huge, wide range of variances), the mortality rate of babies with this condition is 50%. Not so hot... There are so many little things that can change that number though. Most of these things we won't know until after Brigham is born. They are mostly related to how well the baby responds after birth. Some babies' systems just handle it better than others.

Our calm is really coming from the feeling that either he'll be OK eventually, but if not, we'll be OK... eventually.

Now :) Shaking off the doom and gloom feeling... Here's a couple of new pictures from the ultrasound yesterday! I know 3D pictures are a little weird and most often more creepy looking than cute, but we'll give it a shot.

*Note: anything weird and splotchy looking in the pictures is either shadow, uterus, cord, his hand etc, getting in the way.*

Monday, September 27, 2010

Party Filled Weekend

This last weekend was really busy, but a lot of fun!

Friday after spending the afternoon trying on and tweaking bridesmaid dresses at my aunt's house, I picked Justin up from work. We roamed around Goodwill looking for a few things for his work's "spirit week". They're having a dress up day every day this week, for no reason at all, other than to have fun. They have tacky tourist, military, generation day (which for Justin means 80's day), sports, and childhood dream profession day. I'll be sure to post pictures at the end of the week with all his various outfits ;)

Friday night we got to have a date night for Justin's birthday. We went to the temple first and then out to Red Lobster. We'd never been there before so we were really excited. We got sooooo much food! It fed us dinner Friday, Sunday and Justin's lunch today!

Carrie was being babysat by my brother Jake, and my sister Marissa and her fiance Brandon. Since she was already in bed at my parents' house and we were going to be coming back Saturday morning, we just left her there to play at grandma's house. :) We got to have a fun Netflix movie night at home alone watching Michael Jackson's "This is it". Michael Jackson, the man, is strange and a little creepy. Michael Jackson, the musician, is awesome!!

Saturday, we headed back up to Mesa for a day mostly revolving around my sister Marissa. First, was her Bridal shower. We had a chocolate fountain (yummy)! We also played a couple of games. One of Marissa's favorite shows is "The Price is Right", so we made our own little version of that game. We had 11 cleaning supplies that we brought out one by one (accompanied by me giving a little description, just like the announcer on the game show does). The guest who got the price closest without going over, won a little prize, and Marissa got to take them all home!

We also did a game where I had asked Brandon (her fiance) questions and written down the answers. I asked the same questions to Marissa. For every one she got wrong (didn't match Brandon), she had to put a piece of Dubble Bubble in her mouth. After 20 questions, she had 8 pieces of gum in her mouth! It was so gross, but so funny!

After the bridal shower, we went straight to dinner at the Stake Center and then sat to watch the General Relief Society Broadcast. It was great! There was a LOT of emphasis on Visiting Teaching. I guess that's a message I really needed to hear.... I'm trying to get better. For anyone who happened to watch, don't you just LOVE President Monson?! He was in a little bit of a goofy mood, but he still had a strong, awesome message. I love hearing from him. He's just always so happy. It's another confirmation to me that the church is true. If he can be so happy all the time, it must be!

Like I said, the weekend was busy busy busy. I went straight from the broadcast to Marissa's bachelorette party. The bridal shower was really for the moms, in-laws, and ladies from the ward. The bachelorette party was more for her friends from high school.

We played a couple of games first and then a party bus took us to Scottsdale for dinner. We went to Saddle Ranch. The food was delicious and the gigantic mound of cotton candy they brought out at the end was great too! They had a mechanical bull there and Marissa and one of her friends each took a turn. I don't have any pictures of them on the bull because I was taking video. The videos are way too big to post though. They'd take forever to upload!

Instead, how about a picture of me and my cute little bride-to-be sister.

Her shirt from Saddle Ranch, "Save a horse, ride a cowboy!"

By the time the party bus got back and we drove from Mesa back home to Maricopa, it was 1:30am! We were really really tired!

Luckily, we don't have church early in the morning. Justin only had to be ready in time for a 10:00 meeting for cub scouts. That's right... cub scouts. Last week he got called as the cubmaster, which means he's in charge of pack meeting every month. It'll be a big job, but I think he's excited!

After quite a long day (filled with me playing the organ, and then the piano for primary) we finally got Carrie down for a nap at 3:45 after church. She definitely needed it! We had some friends from the ward over for yummy peanut butter cookies and hung out for a little while. It was really fun. We love making new friends, even if we've known the people for a while, but just never really hung out with before. :)

And what's a post without pictures of Carrie?! Our adorable little girl is growing and learning so fast! In these next two pictures she's using her imagination quite well! She found two little cups in the tupperware cupboard and then found two plastic forks in the pantry. She set them on the table and then beckoned me over to "eat". She. Is. So. Cute.

All day long she walks through the house with her sunglasses, purse, and water sippy, while wearing my shoes, and chatting on one of her many toy cell phones. It's not rare to randomly hear a teeny little voice say multiple times,"Ooohh myyy goosshhhh!" while she's talking on her phone. Apparently, I say that a lot.... It makes me laugh every time.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Justin!

Today is Justin's birthday! Happy Birthday to my handsome hunk of a hubby!! 27 years ago, the world became a better place!

Justin at age one:

I tease him and say that 27 rounds up to 30, but last night he had a wonderful insight: I'll never have to worry about him leaving me for a younger woman, because I AM the younger woman ;)

Yesterday Justin got a very awesome birthday present in the form of an email notification. He has been moved to a Level 1 official in the Arizona High School Basketball world! This means he will be reffing ONLY varsity games (it also means a pay increase per game) Yahoo!!

Then this morning before he left for work (at 5am) I gave him the present from me so he could take it to work to show his friends. About a month ago Justin emailed me with links to some team flags on sports-fans websites. There were three that he wanted: BYU, Oakland A's, and Oakland Raiders. The point of the email was for me to tell family members and friends that this is what he wanted. When I saw how much they cost, however, I decided to just do something about it on my own.

All three would have cost about $70, plus shipping. That's just plain ridiculous. Instead, I went to Hobby Lobby and got some fabric, all of which totaled $7.50. After a few naptimes worth of work, the result was...

Tah dah! I know they're not perfect, but they're close enough, and I'm pretty proud of them! They're each about 2 feet by 3 feet and Justin will be proudly displaying them on the wall in the garage (his man room).

Carrie got him a change jar that has a digital counter on the top. When you drop the coins in, it adds up the total. He's had a change jar in the closet for a while, but now he'll always know exactly how much is in there. When we put it all in this afternoon, it totaled $15! It's amazing how much loose change adds up to!

A side story, that has nothing to do with Justin's birthday except for the fact that it happened today... This morning, Carrie and I were out grocery shopping. When I first started the van, it sounded a teeny bit funny, but started right away. We went to two different stores (because I actually looked at the ads this week and decided to be money conscious). While starting the van to head from the first store to the second store, it sounded a little bit more funny and took a few seconds to actually start up.

By the time we went to go home from the second store, all it did was click, click, click, click..... :( So now I was stuck in a parking lot, pregnant, with a 20 month old strapped into her carseat, milk and yogurt in the back and a non-functioning van. I think I was kind of expecting it, but it was still annoying. Luckily, we had a rain storm last night so the temperature was only 85 (although the humidity was high), and also, we were at the only grocery store I've ever seen that has covered parking.

I rolled down the windows, opened the doors and tried to text a friend to see if she could come help. After only a couple of minutes, the guy who had parked next to me happened to come out of the store and was nice enough to gave the van a jump start. We made it home and all of my refrigerated things were still nice and chilly, yeah!

Justin took a half day from work and we've enjoyed being home together as a family this afternoon. We're going out on our birthday celebration date on Friday, so I'll write about that later. So far, today's been a pretty great birthday and it's not even mine!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Ancestor Wall

Tah Dah!! I'm so excited this wall is finally done! We've been talking about it since we moved in and now it's finished and looks awesome! We call it our "Ancestor Wall". The picture in the middle is us on our wedding day and spreading out from there we have pictures of our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents!

All the frames are an antiquey style, but they come from the dollar store, so it's actually pretty cheap to do. It does, however, require a lot of work to arrange how to hang them! We laid out a piece of fabric the size of the wall area and arranged and re-arranged for at least an hour. Then we took a picture of them on the floor so we would remember how they went to hang them on the wall. It was crazy, but we're so happy with how it turned out!

Our adorable little Carrie is quite technology savvy. She's been "taking pictures" of us with her toy phones for months. This toy phone was Justin's first ever cell phone and doesn't have a camera in it. Carrie doesn't care :) She just likes to take people's pictures.

First, find the button to turn on the camera....

Next, say, "Cheese!"

I'm actually really glad I even got these pictures at all because any time Carrie notices that I have the camera (the real one) in my hands, she doesn't want to pose or say cheese, she wants to TAKE the pictures. Most of my pictures of her lately are way to close to her face because as I'm clicking it, she runs toward me reaching for the camera. So sorry in advance if pictures of Carrie seem scarce. I try to be sneaky!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Nothing New

I haven't blogged this week because I feel like there's nothing to say. Maybe once I get going, I'll prove myself wrong.

First, I know I've been slacking on belly pics. So here you go; 23 weeks

I've been an emotional roller coaster this week (for no apparent reason). Just ask Justin. About the most random things, I'll just break out into tears... It's annoying. Even to me. That's when you know it's really bad ;)

I'm starting to wonder if Carrie hasn't felt well the last couple of days. She's been extra whiny and clingy in general. For example, by the time we got back from Wal-Mart this morning at 10:00, Carrie was sooooo cranky. About 10:15 as I was trying to figure out what she wanted (snack, water, diaper, book.....) I asked if she wanted to take a nap. She whined out, "Yeeeah. Taaaake naaaap". OK, who am I to argue? We went upstairs, laid her down and I haven't heard a peep since. She hasn't taken a morning nap in months! Usually she goes down for a nap around 12:30 or 1:00, but not today! Hopefully it helps.

As for Brigham, all is well. I had a plain old regular doctor's appt on Wednesday and everything looks good. I asked the Nurse Midwife who saw me, "Why am I being seen so often (every 2 weeks) when all you're doing is taking a urine sample and checking his heartbeat? I can tell you his heart is beating, he's kicking me like a karate master!" Basically, I got the impression we'd be doing an ultrasound every single time and there would be more to my appointments than just the regular stuff.

She said, "Because we're a specialty office, we're used to high-risk stuff and in general we see our patients more often. You, are a little bit different case, because you, as the mom, aren't high risk. Even the baby, while it's still in utero isn't high risk. All the "risk" will be when the baby is born. We really don't need to be seeing you as often as we are. I'm going to have you schedule your next regular appt for 4 weeks, not 2."

Thank you, Nurse Midwife :) I do, however have a different appointment in 2 weeks anyways. This one will be at the hospital again. A few weeks ago I went there for a specialty ultrasound to measure Brigham's lung development. In two weeks, we'll be doing the same thing, but because he's grown so much in the last few weeks, this measurement will be much more applicable to a prediction of his well-being at birth.

I'm sure I'm confusing the doctors and nurses that I'm so chill right now about his diagnosis. I feel a little like I'm in limbo. The first couple of weeks were really really hard on me (and Justin) and I'm sure it will all flare back up when we consult with the surgeons and neonatologists around 32 weeks. As for now, there's nothing I can really do except make sure I'm eating healthy and feeling Brigham move, so why worry? :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wedding Weekend!

Saturday morning, we drove halfway to Justin's parents' house to meet his mom to pick up Carrie! It was so great to have her back with us! She apparently had a ton of fun in New Mexico and didn't seem to miss us at all! We had to hurry back to Mesa though to get ready for....


Alex is my little sister Marissa's best friend and Mike is Marissa's fiance, Brandon's best friend. I was a bridesmaid and Carrie was a flower girl. I went a little early to help everyone get ready (hair, makeup etc.) and to get myself ready. The bride's room was a huge mess, but it was really fun! Justin came later with Carrie and dropped her off to get her hair done too. I didn't catch a really good picture, but just imagine Carrie with hair-sprayed ringlets all over.

The life of the party is ready to go!

Our happy, adorable little family

Carrie had a blast dancing around while everyone was still finishing dinner. She had the whole dance floor to herself!

The groom and his mom, and the bride and her Uncle.

Bad picture, but it kind of shows the other flower girl, Allie. Also, you can kind of see the back of Carrie's hair.

Getting tossed in the air by daddy while dancing Hopefully I'll get a few more pictures that the professional photographer took and post some later. We had a lot of fun and of course, everyone loved our little cutie Carrie! (Who by the way, was totally crying before walking down the aisle because Justin couldn't let her down to run around. When she came around the corner and saw me standing at the front of the aisle she started to skip/speed walk saying "Mommy, Mommy!" :) Though it was while "running" she did make it to the front of the aisle and thankfully sat quietly through the ceremony)

We also had the chance on Sunday to go back to Mesa after church (*Side note* Our ward had its Primary Program and they did a great job! We were so proud of our class, the 7-8 year olds!) Anyways, back to after church.... We had dinner with my parents and the Beesons in Mesa and then got to attend Mike's baptism!

We were so proud of him for making the decision to be baptized, especially considering his family is pretty anti-Mormon. He asked if Chris Beeson and I would play a musical number, so with me on the piano and Chris on the cello, we played "I Believe in Christ". It was beautiful. :)

We had a very very busy, tiring, but super fun filled weekend! And to think we get to repeat it all over again in a few weeks when Marissa and Brandon get married and Brandon gets baptized!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

When the Baby's Away, the Parents will Play

Well, before the playing, we got a little work done. Or maybe a lot of work! I made a list of things to do around the house while Carrie wasn't here. It ended up being a very long list! Tuesday, the morning after we got back, I made a trip to Lowes for supplies, came home and painted the living room. The ceilings in this room are double tall. The upstairs hallway has a railing looking over into the room. Therefore, I did NOT want to paint the whole walls. Too much time and effort! We opted for: paint the bottom 3 feet and put up chair rail! It turned out beautifully!

My dad was awesome enough to come down from Mesa with his air compressor, saw and nail gun to help put up the chair rail (more like he totally did it himself and I helped hold something occasionally).

This picture also shows off the new window valances I made on Friday. Once the room was painted, we decided the windows needed a little color too. We think they look great!

Another project completed was the downstairs bathroom. I'm so glad it turned out even better than it looked in my head!

And a final hoorah, a new kitchen curtain (that matches the new dining room curtain).
On top of all these projects, I did laundry, cleaned all the bathrooms, swept, mopped, trimmed trees and bushes in the front yard, and Justin vacuumed....


When we got home from New Mexico we discovered that it was pretty warm in our house. Our downstairs unit wasn't working. Luckily we have two units so at least the whole house wasn't burning up. Also, luckily the weather was "mild" last week and only got to the high 90s. This meant it only ever got as high as 86 in the house... Yuck....

Anyways, we got a home warranty when we moved in and A/C is covered so by Thursday someone came out and repaired it for really cheap. Hallelujah!

Now, obviously the painting stuff was on my to-do list while Carrie was gone just because it would be easier. All the cleaning, however, was done because we hosted this:


Every month some girls in the ward/neighborhood get together and have a fun girls night. Lately we've been talking about how our husbands don't really know each other and came up with the plan to have a girls night where we bring our husbands.

It was sooooo much fun!!! We had everyone bring their own meat and sign up for something else to bring (fruit, drinks, dessert etc). All the guys ended up out on the patio hovering around the grill talking about work, layoffs, the economy, and sports. All the girls (almost half of which are pregnant) ended up in the house on the couch talking about pregnancy, babies and kids! One of the guys came inside for something and made a comment like "Wow, what a change of conversation!"

After eating, we played "The Feet Game". I don't think it really has a name, but it was fun anyways. We sent all the boys upstairs while all the girls picked a seat on the couch and held blankets covering us from the ankles up (holding them over our heads too). So when we called the boys back down, all they could see was our feet.

The point was for the husbands to secretly pick which pair of feet were their wife's (we had numbers). They were trying to remember what color nail polish their own wife had on etc... They also tried (without success) to find the pregnant bellies to narrow down options. We were smarter than that though and a few of us had put pillows on our laps to mess up that giveaway. We were trying so hard not to laugh out loud (we didn't want our voices to give us away either). There were quite of few of us who were silently laughing so hard we had tears running down our faces! Only one husband picked wrong. We were so proud of them!

Then we switched and had the boys "hide". They took forever to get ready! We were sitting in the other room wondering what was going on! Well, here's what they were doing.

They were trying to figure out a way to make the game more interesting. What they finally came up with... Showing us the BOTTOMS of their feet! It was soooo much harder! Come on! Who knows what the bottom of their husband's feet look like?!? (There is one pair of hands in there too, but he switched wedding rings with another guy to confuse us). Even though it was much harder, we still ended up with only one girl guessing wrong, so all in all the game was a success!

Next, we played the "Newlywed Game", or at least something close to it. We all had pieces of paper where we wrote answers to questions and got a point when husband and wife matched. I think Justin and I ended up matching on about 1/2 of our questions.

A few examples of questions: What's "your song"? When she was 13 what did your wife want to be when she grew up? What one material thing of your husbands you would want to get rid of? What's the one thing that went wrong on your wedding day? Finish the sentence- my husband is a natural born ______"

They were all really funny but this last one was hilarious. One of the guys said, "I couldn't think of anything my wife would say so I just wrote 'my husband is a natural born hunk!' " It was awesome!! By the end of the night we all had cramps in our sides from laughing so much!

All the guys

All the girls

The whole party! Left to right: back row: Hale, Crockett, Moss, Graves, Tenney, Chipman, Payne. front row: Rodgers, Greer, Andes

Friday, September 10, 2010

New Mexico Trip

Last weekend we went to Justin's parents' house in New Mexico to spend the long Labor Day weekend with them. We left Friday after Justin got home from work and pulled into his parents' house around 11:30pm. Carrie did pretty good for such a long drive, but it's a little sad... She's figured out to ask "Up?" and tug at her carseat straps when she wants to get out. I feel bad because she's asking so politely, but I still have to say no.

Saturday morning we got right back in the car and drove another two hours to Albuquerque for a little field trip day with two of Carrie's cousins. We met up with his sister Alysha, her daughter Savannah, his sister Danielle and her son Logan. After yummy pizza lunch we headed for the aquarium!

Savannah, Logan, and Carrie patiently waiting for food

Savannah checking out Carrie's shades

Oooooo, fishies! (Ok, I know you can't see any fish in this picture, but they're in there, I promise)

Papa Earl, Savannah, Carrie and Justin trying to touch the fish

Of course, our aquarium trek was right during naptime.

Three cute kids sharing the wagon!

On Sunday, after church, we went to Hatch, New Mexico; home of the world famous Hatch Chiles to go to the annual Chile Festival! It was hot and dusty but we had a lot of fun listening to the music, watching some lasso twirlers, wandering clothing and jewelry booths and most of all, eating yummy authentic gorditas, lemonade and funnel cakes!

One of the many many many roadside stands/shops selling fresh chiles. One place had chiles all over the rooftop so they could be "sun-dried". It looked so cool! By the time I got the camera out, we had passed it though.... So you get this boring picture. (See all the chiles hanging from the roof edge?)

Back at Justin's parents' house, Carrie discovered the joys of a landscaped backyard. She liked running around on the grass with Logan, but she usually ended up right here. On the side yard, playing in the rocks.

Of course after a long day of playing in the dust, the grass and the rocks, the kids were pretty dirty! Bath time!
On Monday morning, Justin and his Dad went to play golf while the girls went outlet store shopping! By the time the boys got back it was time for quick lunch and naptime for Carrie. We put her down to sleep and then.... LEFT!

Justin and I went home, back to AZ while Carrie spent a fun-filled week with her Nana, Papa and Gigi (Justin's grandma). It was SOOOO weird to leave her there, but even weirder not to have her at home for 5 days!

A random fun note to finish this post: Not long after we left Justin's parents, I really needed to go to the bathroom. So we stopped. In Nutt, NM. At a roadside BAR.... Strange experience. At least it was daytime so the bar wasn't in full-swing, but still... :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Doctors Galore!

Before I start in on the doctor stuff, a cute picture of Carrie enjoying a super yummy double chocolate chip cookie I made a couple of days ago. Good stuff :)
I only had one appointment this week, but I spent 3 hours in the office! The end "regular appointment" part went really quickly, but first, I spent over an hour just talking with the Neonatologist. He drew pictures of lungs etc., explained things and answered a lot of my questions.
Unfortunately, most of the answers are "We don't know right now", or "Here's a best-case and a worst-case scenario". Diaphragmatic Hernias have a huge range of severity so there are a lot of things we won't know until Brigham is actually born. A few of the questions we did get a semi-answer to:
-He'll likely be in the NICU for 4-6 weeks
-He'll be fed sugars and proteins and fats through an IV for at least the first several days
-Depending on how his lungs react at birth, he'll be on either an:
**Oscillating Ventilator (fills up his lungs and then basically vibrates them while it's exchanging O2 and CO2), or an
**ECMO machine (heart-lung bypass where his blood is continually being taken out through a catheter, sent it through a machine to get rid of CO2 and add O2 and sent back into his body through another catheter)
-Surgery will likely not be for at least a few days after birth once he's stabilized
Luckily, as we've been researching it, we've discovered we actually have very very good health insurance and all of Brigham's "stuff" (which the doctor said will probably cost hundreds of thousands of dollars) will only cost us somewhere between 500-1000 dollars. Awesome. :)
Well, tomorrow we're off to New Mexico for the long labor-day weekend. When we get back I should have some pictures of Carrie playing with her Nana and Papa and cousins!

Carrie has been sleeping in her big girl bed for the last three nights! Naps are a little trickier (takes longer to fall asleep and sometimes I end up moving her to the crib so she'll actually nap, not just play) but we're working on it. We're so proud of her! It's so cute to see such a little tiny person sleeping in such a big bed!