Friday, January 18, 2013

June - Part Deux

Late June was just as exciting as the first part which brought butt surgery, baby delivery, and the death of our dog...6 days after having Macey (the day after we got home from the hospital) we had a freak storm here in Northern Virginia which brought random high wind gusts in excess of 80mph's for nearly an hour. That may not sound that bad, but with the old trees and power lines in our was a disaster.

I was nursing Macey when the wind picked up and started getting wild. A few minutes into it I heard what sounded like a train coming right for our house. Then I heard a loud splitting noise that sounded like large trees breaking. I ran into the girls room and grabbed Jayda. With her wrist in my right hand and Macey still attached to my boob I ran down the stairs dragging Jayda next to me at full speed ahead. I don't think her feet ever hit the ground. My mom was racing right next to me with Lilly in her arms...we were sure it was a tornado. My dad was asleep on the bed down in the basement and looked slightly confused when he sees a whole gaggle of girls running down the stairs looking like the world was gonna end. Russ was there too. He's just a little slower on the uptake. He was coming down the stairs behind us not knowing what the big deal was about. The next morning, when we saw the damage done to our neighborhood he realized we had every reason to be as quick moving as we were. The cracking we heard was indeed a large tree coming down. Luckily it feel the other way and fell into the street and didn't hit our house or our neighbors. Other homes in our tract were not as lucky. There were several with damaged roofs, one with a tree right through their garage, and the playground was damaged at the local park. The lost power and thousands in Northern Virginia were without power for nearly a week.

During the crazy storm we read books by the light of the lantern and tried to keep the girls calm. 

This photo does not do justice to the damage throughout Northern Virginia, but here's a photo of a house down the street from us that had a tree fall through their garage. 

We couldn't stay in the house during the day because it was just too hot. We didn't know where else to go because most places were closed having no power themselves. We decided to take the girls to The American Girl Store in Tysons Corner. It was unlike anything I'd seen!! The crowds were beyond huge. People were camping out in the mall. Literally! There were people laying on the ground and sitting everywhere. People were lining up at power outlets to charge their phones and their laptops. It was total chaos. Thank heavens we had my dad's handicapped parking or we would never have found a spot. People were stuck in the parking garages for over an hour as they tried to get down from the top level but there was so much traffic and no one was moving. People were just trapped in their cars waiting to get out of the lot. Fights broke out over parking spots. We actually had a nice time enjoying the air conditioning and the girls loved the treats at the American Girl Cafe, but mere minutes after we left the mall's air conditioning went out, the toilets backed up, and some stores lost power. I guess it got really crazy at that point, but we were lucky and had already left. Thank heavens!

Having a newborn baby, a wife who had a c-section a week earlier, and no power was not ideal. It was super hot and with no air conditioning in the house it was like a boiler room. We hadn't had power for nearly 24 hours and it sucked. Russ, by sheer luck (or divine intervention - however you see it) was lucky enough to find a Home Depot 45 minutes away that told him they may be getting a shipment of generators in the evening and he could come down and wait in line to see if he was lucky enough to get one. He and my dad rushed down and after a long frustrating wait actually got one! We were sooooooo happy. It took them nearly $900 and 6 hours of work--- going to home depot, waiting in lines with crazy/angry crowds, purchasing the items, driving home, trying to find a gas station with gas, working through midnight in the dark with just flashlights as they assembled the generator, moving the fridge to hook it up to get everything running.--and then, no joke - 5 minutes after they got it all hooked up - the power came back on! When the lights came on my dad and Russ just looked at each other and started busting up laughing! What else could you do at that point? Nearly a thousand bucks and 6 hours of work for 5 minutes! GGGRRRRR. The news kept reporting that it would probably be a minimum of 6 days and up to two weeks before we had power so we felt blessed to find a generator to keep our newborn cool...and them wham - the power turns back on and all the efforts were for not.


Luckily our Macey Jayne was home from the hospital healthy and happy and there were lots of skin-to-skin cuddles to melt our hearts.

Look at those legs! Look how teeny tiny she was - and she was our biggest baby at 6lbs! 
No baby fat on that little body at all.

The girls finished off June keeping themselves busy painting pictures and having tea parties. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013


When Russ and the girls and my mom came to meet Macey it was one of my top 10 experiences. It was so sweet to see them meet their new sister and see the instant love and affection in their eyes. It was a great few moments of absolute love. But when they got ready to leave Russ had to break some very sad news to me that probably contributed to my downward spiral (meaning I ended up staying in the hospital for 3 extra days and needed MRI, xrays, oxygen, and lots of meds because my blood pressure kept spiking, I had a spinal headache, and I wasn't getting enough oxygen.) The morning after Macey joined our family, our sweet Riley passed away. Riley was 15 years old and had been my "first born" since I got her when she was 2. We had 13 wonderful years together. That sweet dog got me through 3 pregnancies, wedding planning, moving cross country to VA, being away from family, and other life adventures. She cuddled with me, loved me unconditionally  and was truly my friend. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that she waited for me to have the baby before taking her last breath. She held on for me, to make sure I was okay, before resting her weary body.

Riley had been on heart medication for an enlarged heart for nearly 6 months. It was getting increasingly harder for her to breath without coughing because her large heart was pushing on her lungs. The doctors assured me she was not in any pain, but that it was just a matter of time before her heart gave out. Since we were told she was pain free and she was still finding the energy to run around after the girls we knew we couldn't put her down so we paid for the expensive medication to make her as comfy and healthy as possible.However, a few weeks before Macey was born she started breathing heavier and acting a bit more tired. She was still attached to me at all times. As with all the pregnancies, she would cuddle up to my belly and sleep against the growing baby. She would follow me everywhere, even to the bathroom throughout the middle of the night for the frequent peeing or to the toilet to puke throughout the day. She stayed with me ALL THE TIME. She was my constant companion  My mom called her my "little shadow" just 2 days before she passed.

Mere minutes after having Macey, my mom noticed Riley acting weird. She noticed Riley panting very heavy and not wanting to be touched. She also saw Riley nip at Lilly's face. Riley would have never done that if she wasn't suffering. My mom stayed up all night holding Riley in her arms and singing to her. I will always be grateful for my mom holding my furry friend during her final hours and singing her sweet songs to keep her calm. My mom called Russ (who was still at the hospital with me) in the morning and told him he should get home to see what to do about Riley. He went home as quickly as he could and saw that she was in an awful state. He scooped her up in his arm and took her in the back yard. He held her, thanked her over and over again for bringing us all so much joy, and told her she could go. She closed her eyes and died in his arms.

As crazy as it sounds, I think I knew subconsciously what was happening. Right after I had Macey and was wheeled into the recovery room one of the first things I said to Russ was, "I forgot to tell Riley goodbye." Why on earth I would be thinking about telling my dog goodbye when I was leaving for the day mere minutes after having major surgery and welcoming a new baby into the world?

As I write this it's been 6 months since she passed and I still can't talk about it without crying. I miss her more than I can adequately describe. I know it sounds silly, especially to those people who have never had a pet be considered a family member, but I grieve for her daily and know that I'll never have the same relationship with another pet. She was so, so special. I am beyond grateful for the 13 years we had together and will always consider her a great blessings in my life.

Friday, January 4, 2013

And then there were 3...introducing MACEY JAYNE

In October of 2011 we found out that we were expecting. We were over-the-moon excited to bring another little baby into our family! And were thrilled to learn it would be another little girl.

 I started throwing up at about 5 weeks along. Russ did some estimating and figures that since I puke every day (multiple times a day) throughout the duration of each pregnancy...and this is my third go-round...I've probably puked well over 500 times while making these little humans.

This pregnancy was my hardest. I don't know if it was harder because I had 2 other munchkins I was already responsible for or if my body just hates each pregnancy more than the last. But whatever the case may be---this pregnancy sucked. I threw up continuously every day for 33 weeks. I had pre-term labor contractions starting at 15 weeks which meant I was on modified bed rest (meaning limited walking) starting at  22 weeks. I was put on strict bed rest at 29 weeks (meaning I could only get out of bed to pee! Yikes!). I ended up in the hospital 3 times. First, for severe sciatica. Second, for pre-term labor and high-blood pressure. Third, for hemorrhoids. Yea, I went there. I just told ya'all and I had some butt issues. But its true. My little bun-in-the-oven was sitting in an awful spot that caused some serious pain. Truth be told I had to have ass surgery 3 weeks before I delivered. Can you imagine sitting your bloated body on a table where two random women hold your butt cheeks open while using dull scissors to cut some of your innards that became your outards off?? Let me just tell you that it was a low point. Very, very low. But alas, I survived and was able to keep my sweet baby in for 37 weeks!

On a Monday afternoon (June 18th) I could tell I was having blood pressure issues like I did with Lilly. We went to the hospital that day and did a bunch of tests. The doctors told us that my blood pressure was high, but that since I wasn't quite 37 weeks (3 days short) the baby was still considered premature so they couldn't legally deliver her unless it was a "dire" emergency. I wasn't close enough to stroking out to have the baby delivered. Ugh. So frustrating!  It seems silly to wait for the situation to get scary dangerous when we could have handled it that day in a more controlled and less-stress filled manner. We went home that night knowing I was getting sicker with the high blood pressure. Thursday afternoon (the exact day I was 37 weeks along) as we were driving to my weekly OB apt, my doctor called and told me to go straight to the hospital because my test results showed my blood pressure had gotten to that dangerous point and they were going to deliver that afternoon! Hooray! I was soooooo done being pregnant and was so excited to meet our new baby! I had only 7 hours to go!!

At 4:50 I was wheeled into the operating room. At 5:14 our sweet Macey Jayne was born. The surgery went great. It was the best experience (out of my 3 c-sections) because this one wasn't done in a rushed, emergency. We were able to spend hours in the hospital prior to surgery preparing mentally, emotionally, and physically this time. Plus, having gone through it twice before I was calm, cool, and collected. It was actually a great experience.

And let me tell you about my little Macey. Oh my word it was instant love. The second she came out it felt like I'd known her forever. She had a strong scream and beautiful blue eyes. She was soft and warm and I was just mush over how perfect she was. She weighed in at 6lbs on the dot...our biggest baby (hooray we finally got a 6pounder!) and was 19" long. I feel so, so blessed that this surgery went well and that I was healthy enough to hold her right away. Since I didn't get to meet Lilly for a few days I was really worried and anxious that it would happen that way again. Fortunately, all went well with me and the baby and I was able to hold her and welcome her to the family while she was fresh outta my tummy and mere minutes after being sent from heaven. None of my births were recorded and I'm sad. I wish I had video. Not of me having my c-sections and not of the babies coming out, but of Russ when he saw each of his daughters for the first time. The sweet, tender emotion on his face as he gazed upon his babies for the first time is a memory I hope I never forget. I wish I had it videoed to show the girls, but I guess that sweet memory will be just for me. And I cherish it.

This is my sexy shot. Look at that boob!! 
Holy crud I'm so excited Ill never be pregnant again! I know women says it's a beautiful experience and that they never felt prettier. But I say screw those women. I was fat and my butthole was falling out. It was not a beautiful experience. However, I am so grateful to my body for making me three precious, perfect little babies...even if my body traveled through hell in a hand-basket to do it! 

Coming to meet Macey the next morning...

Don't I look awesome! Yup, this is me the day after having Macey Jayne. Don't I look healthy and vibrant! HA! Jayda had a hard time seeing me like this. I couldn't get her to lay next to me in my hospital bed or give  me hugs because she said I looked scary and "not like her mommy." Although it wasn't much of an improvement, I tied my hair back and put on some makeup when she came the next day...didn't want to scare the poor child! 

She can't believe she's actually touching her baby sister! She's too excited for words!! 

Where oh where do my boobs stop and my tummy start in this picture? 
Your guess is as good as mine.

I love, love, love this picture of my mom. Shes standing in front of a light that looks like she has a halo around her head. Russ and I kept saying for months that she's "our angel" for taking such great care of us and then lo and behold...the minute she meets Macey for the first time I snap a picture that makes her look like a haloed angel! Macey owes her Grammy so much for helping keeping her cooking in my belly long enough to be born healthy and happy! 

Welcome to the world Macey. Our family was waiting for you! WE LOVE YOU!