December 31, 2011

2011 - An Emotional Year

I can't believe 2011 has come and gone.  Part of me is sad that my first full year as a mom is coming to a close however, there is a bigger part of me that is ready to tell this year "so long".

When I reflect back on 2011, my mind is filled with tests, medical procedures, worry, chemotherapy, a life saving bone marrow transplant, more worry, and even more medical procedures.  To say this has been the hardest year of my life would be an understatement. 

Thankfully, we also made some incredible memories as we watched our 4 month old change and grow into a precious, curious 16 month old!  I find myself reflecting, and searching for blog posts to relive the year. 

So, here is a recap of our 2011!

We kicked the year off with a Bulldog bowl game win!  Kate was the cutest little bulldog and loved cheering for her team!  Kate learned how to sit up, attempted cereal for the first time, and made the transition to her nursery and crib after 5 months in our room!

January also brought about Kate's first surgery to investigate her blood issues.  She had her first of several bone marrow biopsies.  Unfortunately, the biopsy in January did not really tell us anything and simply kicked off more testing.  I didn't blog about our journey to Kate's diagnosis but, the fact that we started our year in the OR was very telling to how hard, physically and emotionally, 2011 would be for our family.  I wrote a post about my feelings regarding my 4 month old being "put under" but never posted it.  I finally clicked post today as I really want my emotions and feelings regarding Kate's situation to be documented.  Reading that post shows just how naive Alex and I were.  I literally wrote "what if she has to go through horrible treatment to get better?" Clearly I had no clue what year would actually bring...

February was my last month as a stay at home mom (or so I thought - again, man was I clueless as to what this year would bring).  We enjoyed Gymboree class with friends, started the nanny search, celebrated Valentines day, realized our sweet girl wanted to be on the go early, visited the butterfly garden, enjoyed the beautiful Houston weather, and welcomed the Trail Riders to town to kick off the Houston Rodeo!  We also started our regular ER visits due to fever (thanks to a neutropenic baby) and spent at least 2-3 days a week at the Texas Children's Cancer Center working with our wonderful hematologist as we continued to search for the cause of Kate's extremely low ANC and platelets. 

I suited up (literally) and headed back to my 40th floor Downtown office in March.  I survived - and actually enjoyed being part time!  Kate visited the animals at the Rodeo, learned all about Mardi Gras from her native NOLA momma, remained a horrible sleeper, and made several trips to the Houston Zoo! March still did not bring us any answers on the medical front - we continued to make many visits to TCH, search for answers, and pray that it wasn't anything major.

April taught me the challenges of being a working mom - I was in the midst of quarterly stewardship reporting when Kate came down with strep throat.  It was a miserable week in our house - I worked 60+ hours (so much for part time) and cuddled a super sick baby.  We had amazing professional pictures made of Kate, she celebrated her first Easter and also decided that yoga would be a fun pastime!  In a last ditch effort to diagnose Kate, her doctors sent off genetic testing for several very rare disorders.  We were told "the chance of any of these being positive is extremely rare.  We just want to cover all of our bases."  Again, if we only knew what was to come...

May was a busy month!  I started the month off with a new toy and celebrated my first Mother's Day!  I also had a working mom with a sick baby break down.  Despite said break down, we managed to squeeze in lots of fun!  Trips to the beach, the zoo, and Florida to visit family!  Kate also took her first steps at the ripe age of 9 months!  Alex and I waited, rather impatiently, for all of the genetic tests to come back.  And enjoyed what we now realize were our last blissful days before a diagnosis took over our life.

On June 6 our lives were forever changed.  June is kind of a blur to me.  We tried to keep life as normal as possible but, Alex and I were both dealing with the emotions of being told your child has a life threatening genetic condition.  I vented my frustrations, answered questions, and made the decision that I would be stepping away from my professional responsibilities as soon as a donor was found.  We also celebrated the best Daddy ever!

My sister hosted a bone marrow donor drive in Florida in July while I spread the word of getting swabbed to help save so many lives! We celebrated Forth of July, made yet another trip to the zoo, transitioned to a big girl car seat, and got the best call ever!  On July 21 we found out that an amazing 24 year old man was a perfect 10 out of 10 match for Kate and officially agreed to save her life!  What an amazing day that was!

August would qualify as the hardest month of my life.  Kate's transplant was scheduled extremely fast which lead to stress.  We dealt with surgery for her central line, an admission, fever, postponed transplant, discharge, re-admission, chemo, and finally on August 31, Kate received her life saving cells.  During all of this craziness, we celebrated Kate's first birthday, got the surprise of our lives when we learned about baby #2 (and kept him a secret for almost 16 weeks), and lived in a hospital. 

September is yet another blur!  We spent the entire month in the hospital dealing with horrible things like mucositis, morning sickness (for me), the stress of watching Kate's counts like a hawk, and finally celebrating engraftment!  We also got to bring our sweet girl home after nearly 40 days in the hospital!

We transitioned to life back at home in October.  Sleep was a nightmare but we worked through it all!  We spent many days in clinic monitoring Kate's progress and even spent a few nights back in the hospital due to a fever.  Kate also started having issues with her liver which we initially thought was GVHD.  On the baby #2 front, I had my CVS testing done in October and we waited, and waited, and waited some more for results.

We made the big announcement about Will in November - and opened up about his health issues as well.  Kate had a liver biopsy that gave us absolutely zero answers and miraculously, her liver started healing on its own.  We had a low key, yet wonderful, Thanksgiving and really reflected on all of the blessings 2011 brought to us. 

I've become the worst blogger in December.  We've done a good bit this month but I am so far behind on recaps!  Hopefully I will finish up my December posts next week!  We had a wonderful Christmas and Kate got to leave Texas for the first time since May!  She had a blast in Mississippi! 

Looking back at 2011, I've realized that Alex and I are so blessed to have such an amazing support system.  Our faith, family, and friends have carried us through this year and we can officially say that we have survived the hardest year of our lives so far.  We are blessed that so many "strangers" have prayed for our family during this time.  We appreciate each and every one of y'all so much!

I am eager to see what 2012 brings.  I'm praying for continued healing for Kate, a smooth transition to two children, and health for Will so we can have a "normal" year and avoid major medical issues until his transplant in (hopefully) 2013.  However, I've learned that no matter what is thrown our way, we will somehow make it through!

December 26, 2011

Little Amish Kate


Kate is obsessed with hats lately - Alex's ball caps, winter hats, etc.

Last week, she found an old bonnet in her closet and deemed it the daily hat of choice.  We took it off for nap time but, she insisted Alex tie it back on while I was out running errands.  Here's the kicker, it had to be on backwards.

While I was unloading the dishwasher she picked up a wooden spoon and a bottle and started playing.  Alex and I could not stop laughing - she looked like such a little Amish baby churning butter! 

I guess the days of imaginative play and dress up have officially started! 

Love that girl and her silly personality!

December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours, we wish you the merriest of Christmases!  Remember to always count your blessings and keep the true meaning of the season at the center of your heart!!

"For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isiah 9:6

Christmas kisses from Kate!

December 15, 2011

Two Miracles


Two miracles, saved by modern science and the good Lord!

Yesterday, Kate and I headed over to Trisha and Caleb's apartment for one last visit before they head home!  That's right, sweet Caleb has finally been cleared to head back to Wisconsin! 

I am selfishly sad they are heading home but, I am so excited for them!  Trisha and Caleb have been in Houston since this summer and I know they are both ready to be home with Joel, Isaac, and the rest of their family/ friends.  No matter where they physically are, I am blessed to know that Trisha will always be a text or phone call away!

Trisha,

You have blessed my life in so many ways.  I hate that we had to cross paths because of what our kids are dealing with but, I am forever grateful that the Lord brought you into my life!  He knew I needed your support and nursing knowledge during Kate's transplant and recovery.  But also knew I needed a friend and confidant when baby #2 was a secret to the world (and still need you now that Will is public knowledge).  It is so unlikely that I would cross paths with a fellow BMT mom, dealing with a genetic issue, that also knew the emotions associated with a surprise pregnancy #2. You are such a God send! 

As you said today, this is not goodbye, simply a see ya later!  We will miss y'all but are excited to hear about all of Caleb's adventures as he starts living life again, healthy, and free of all of the restrictions his condition placed on him.

See y'all in 6 weeks!
Alex, Lindsey, Kate, and Will

December 14, 2011

Wednesday Randoms

I am so far behind so I figured I'd just post some randomness and share some cute pictures!

*Most importantly - Kate's health.  Kate had a less than stellar clinic visit yesterday.  For some reason, her hemoglobin is low and she is yet again dependent on red blood transfusions.  This is not good, especially considering how far out she is from her transplant.  Several tests were ordered and we should hopefully have answers by the end of this week or the beginning of next week.  We will not know the severity of the issues until we know the cause of the low counts.  We are praying it is not the worst case scenario and is easily fixable!  In the meantime, Kate will be receiving red blood.

*Alex and I are horrible at waiting when it comes to giving gifts.  This meant that the day Kate's PBK anywhere chair was delivered, it was set up and put out!  Santa fail on our part but Kate loves it so I'm glad she is getting a few extra weeks enjoying it!  However, I think it is going to give me a heart attack!  Kate loves to do anything but sit in the chair!  This is what happens when I ask her to sit on her bottom.  Yeah, not exactly what I meant!

*Kate's hair is starting to grow back and her curls are making a return!  I love that her sweet curls are back!

*The paci addiction is back.  If you remember, Kate stopped taking her paci when she was going through chemo and developed really bad mucositis.  We've been battling major sleep issues so I caved one day and reintroduced the paci.  Much to my surprise, Kate took it and has basically had a paci in her mouth 90% of the day and night ever since.  I'm totally fine with it as her sleep has vastly improved (for us - it's still far from great).  We'll deal with breaking this habit at some point but, with a new baby arriving in less than 4 months, I need all the sleep help I can get!

*Kate has been busy.  Sending texts to her BFFs.  Making important calls.  You know, being 15 months going on 14.  NBD.

*Despite everything she's been through, Kate still loves life and loves to cheese for the camera!



*Arts and crafts are a current favorite over here!  Thankfully, some awesome person invented color wonders because there is no way my OCD self would let a toddler color with real markers!  I mean, I'm sure I would get over it if I absolutely had to but thankfully I don't!  We are big fans of the markers, paint pen things, and finger paints!  They are life savers since we are stuck in the house all the time.

*I'm pregnant with a gigantic baby - but an entire post about Will is coming soon (hopefully tomorrow)!

*This picture melts my heart - love that man and love that sweet girl so much!

December 9, 2011

Happy Day +100!!

In the perfect world, this would have been posted this morning. However, today has been a challenging day filled with toddler tantrums, pharmacy screw ups, and a stressed out momma eating McDonalds fries in total silence while a cranky baby finally napped in the car!

Regardless of the insanity that occurred today, I'm thrilled that Kate has met this "major" BMT milestone! She still has a ways to go in her recovery but, she will get there!!

I'm so proud of our little fighter and praying the next 100 days are uneventful and filled with even more healing!

On a somber note, this has been a very hard week in the BMT community. On Tuesday, a precious 18 year old girl, Darling, lost her fight and grew her wings. She had such a sweet spirit and always had a beautiful smile that brought so much joy to the patients of the 8th floor. Darling adored Kate and could always get her to smile! It breaks my heart that she will not be able to go to her senior prom - we had many conversations about it and she was so hopeful that she would be able to attend.

Rest in peace Darling. You will be missed but never forgotten.

If you could, please pray for her family as they mourn the loss of such a young woman. She fought long and hard and I hope everyone can take comfort in the fact that she is no longer in pain, reunited with her beat friend (who also lost her life entirely too young to cancer), and is completely healed.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

December 8, 2011

Blog Sponsors

Starting in January, I will be accepting sponsors here at We're Finally Three.  As a sponsor, your business, Etsy shop, etc will be featured on my sidebar.  I will also have a post every month dedicated to my sponsors to help promote your business!

If you are interested or have any questions regarding blog stats, fees, what information I need, or anything else you may be curious about, send me an email at werefinallythree@gmail.com.  Please put "January Sponsor" in the subject line!

The deadline for January Sponsors is December 27, 2011 so that I have enough time to pull everything together by January 1!

I'm looking forward to helping your small business grow - and also excited about exposing my readers to your awesome companies!  I think y'all will enjoy the sponsors that are already lined up!

December 6, 2011

A Gift to be Cherished


On August 31, Alex and I paced Kate's room, walked the halls, celebrated the joy of new beginnings, worried about when Kate's life saving cells would arrive, and cherished every moment with our miracle.

I can't explain the emotions of that day. 

We were so happy for Kate's second chance. 

So happy that Kate was hours away from being filled with healthy, strong cells. 

Cells that would save her.  That would save our family. 

Because let's be honest - our daughter was dying.  And I am not sure my family, my marriage, or myself would have survived losing her. 

While all of this was going on - while Alex and I were preparing for the biggest moment of our daughter's life - and our life - something else was going on somewhere in this country.

Another mother was nervous, excited, proud. 

Nervous to watch her son be taken back and put under general anesthesia. 

Excited to know that her son, the son she gave life to 24 years ago, would be saving the life of a precious baby. 

Proud that she raised such a wonderful young man.

I was pacing, she was knitting, and we were both praying - praying not only for our own child, but a stranger's child as well.

I now know what she was doing because today, I received a letter from this amazing woman and Kate received the blanket her donor's mother started crafting while her son was in surgery giving life. 

We knew we had a package waiting from Kate's donor but never in a million years did I expect something so personal, so heartfelt, or so perfect. 

To read the words "we count it a privilege to continue to pray.  Her artwork is precious to our son and family." took my breath away. 

When Kate opened her box, she gasped (her knew thing - she does it when she is excited) and gave the blanket a huge hug.  It's as if she knew it had special meaning.  She held it with pride and cuddled it as if it was a lovely she'd been attached to since birth.

It is evident that Kate's selfless donor learned his ways from his mother (and I'd imagine his father too).  There is no doubt.

This is a gift to be cherished.  Evidence that miracles happen.  That good people are still out there.  That we are on this journey with Kate's donor and his family.

I can't wait to see the journey this blanket takes.  Will it be taken to college?  Will it keep Kate's first child warm as she bring him/her home from the hospital? Will it be passed down to my grandchildren and great grandchildren?

One thing is for sure, any journey Kate and this blanket take is only possible because of the miracle our Lord worked 24 years ago when he created Kate's perfect match.

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December 2, 2011

iPhone Picture Dump

One day I'll get back into regular posts. I'm so far behind that I am overwhelmed!

But for now, some pictures from the good ole iPhone!

Kate wearing her beautiful SheShe Made Thanksgiving dress at clinic!



The sweetest baby boy profile I have ever seen! This was 1.5 weeks ago so I'm sure he has grown some more!




Checking out the Christmas tree!




So happy that LSU beat the hogs!!




Officially in the "rip off my bow every chance I get" stage. And yet another SheShe original!




Proof that Will is growing! He is so much lower than Kate was! This pregnancy is completely different than w/ Kate.




Playing with momma!




Ornaments from Bebe that Kate can actually touch! My tree is only decorated above Kate's reach so she can't break anything!





I hope everyone had a great week and has a wonderful weekend! Hopefully recaps and updates will happen this weekend!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

November 28, 2011

We've been busy!

I feel like I've totally neglected this blog lately.  We've just been busy - and Kate is currently dealing with major sleep regression which has this pregnant lady completely exhausted.  I'm not doing so well functioning on 3-4 hours of sleep.  Neither is Kate.  Toddler breakdowns are such a joy.

We had a great Thanksgiving with Alex's parents here in Houston.  Nothing big - just visiting.  Kate enjoyed the time with her grandparents but I think she was a little over stimulated by all of the action.  Her life has solely consisted of me, Alex, and Texas Children's since August so adding more into the mix is overwhelming at first.

We took Kate on her first post transplant outing - in her mask of course!  Pictures to come of our visit down to the Festival of Lights in Galveston.

We enjoyed some down time with Alex since he took a full week off of work! 

We've spent time worrying about Kate's platelets and subsequent increase in bruising from simply brushing up against something. They have made a dramatic drop over the past 1-2 weeks and have everyone a little concerned. We sent an engraftment study off to make sure Kate isn't losing her graft (worst case scenario). Her doctors have also sent off several viral studies to see if she has a virus that is impacting her platelets (best case). We should hopefully know more at her appointment tomorrow.


We've decorated for Christmas and learned the joys of a toddler and a Christmas tree.  Let's just say my tree is only decorated on the top half!

We made the decision to stay in our current home in the city.  This was a big decision as I was feeling extremely stressed out about adding another baby to our "DINK" non baby friendly home.  However, after lots of planning, many discussions, and several posts on Craigslist to get rid of everything in our current office/ guest room, we are confident in our decision to stay put.  You just can't beat being 10 minutes from Alex's job and 15 minutes away from Texas Children's.  The thought of being 45+ minutes away from home during Will's transplant was just not appealing at all!  And, I love that I will be 15 minutes away from both of my kids which will allow for more time with them and less time driving to them!

We attempted to take a picture of two dogs and a 15 month old for the Christmas card.  I'll go on the record and say this was not my idea.  And it was a HUGE fail.  But, the pictures are so incredibly funny - Kate's faces, Ollie's faces, and Sadie's old lady attitude about life gave us several laughs as we flipped through them!  I just may have to post them so y'all can laugh too!

But, most importantly, we've been busy enjoying our family and friends during this holiday season!  I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving and is getting into the Christmas spirit!  Pictures of everything that's been going on to come!

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November 24, 2011

Thankful

Thankful just doesn't seem like a strong enough word to adequately depict how I feel this Thanksgiving. I honestly don't think any word could describe how I feel.

Last night, while rocking Kate to sleep, I think everything hit me.

I found hot tears stream down my face as I rocked a sleeping Kate.

Rocked a miracle.

Living proof that prayer works.

That miracles happen.

Proof that good people still walk this fallen Earth.

I was completely overcome with emotion and thanks for Kate's donor. A random stranger gave Kate a chance at life. Gave me and Alex the opportunity to celebrate her sweet life today.

I am thankful for his selflessness. For his eagerness to donate. For his willingness to sign up as a donor when in college. Thankful for his college for raising awareness regarding bone marrow donation. For hosting a donor drive. For his Professor that encouraged students to join the registry.

I wish more than anything that I could tell him thank you. Of course Kate and I sent him an anonymous Thanksgiving letter and cute arts and crafts. But I wish I could thank him by name. I wish I could look him in the eyes and fully express what he means to our family.

I hope that next Thanksgiving I know his name; know him. Can send him a Thanksgiving card in the mail. Can send him pictures of Kate, the miracle he played such an important part in.

I hope this Thanksgiving he is enjoying his friends and family. I hope and pray that they are all reminding him of the amazing thing he did this fall. I hope they are celebrating what a great person he is and the great things he has done! I hope they are thankful and realize how blessed they are to call someone so selfless son, brother, grandson, cousin, friend.

I am also incredibly thankful for each and every person that has prayed for, thought of, supported, fed, encouraged and been there for my family during this incredibly difficult time. I am certain that we would not be where we are today if it weren't for the huge amount of support we have received. I am blown away on a daily basis by the sheer number of people pulling for Kate, and now Will. It is overwhelming.

So, to Kate's donor and to each of you, thank you so very much for blessing my family this year. It means more than words will ever be able to express.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

November 20, 2011

Scentsy Turkey Trot Party & Giveaway!

My sweet blog/ twitter friend Ashley is an independent consultant for Scentsy!  This year she is having several "Turkey Trot" parties and I am hosting one of the ten parties!

Here's a blip from Ashley's blog regarding these parties:
This month our Scentsy team is trying a new, fun party.
It's perfect for those of you who would like free product, but don't want to host a party in your home.

Here's how it works.
You sell $100 in product {online, or I can mail you brochures}
Once you sell $100, turn it in to me. I will then draw your prize.
The prizes are 3 $25 Scentsy credits, 3 half-priced items, and 2 $50 Scentsy credits.

That means everyone who sells $100 will win!!!


As Christmas approaches, I know we are all searching for gifts for many of our friends and family on our list!  This year, how about supporting a work at home mom?  I love giving business to moms that are balancing staying at home with their sweet babies while looking for ways to still support their family!

Ashley's scentsy shop offers so many wonderful products that are not only beautiful in your home but leave your house smelling amazing!  I personally have my eye on this warmer as it matches my Christmas decor!


And how perfect are the fragrance foams?  Such an awesome stocking stuffer!  I'm all about hand sanitizer due to Kate's condition and this is the perfect way to kindly tell our friends to "clean up" before being around Kate!  And they smell divine!


Not only will you have the opportunity to cross a few people off of your Christmas list, you will also have a chance to win some free scentsy product!

For every $100 I sell via this turkey trot, I will be entered to win various prizes.  I am going to give my prize away to one lucky participant!  So, if you purchase from this party, you will also be entered for a chance to win something yourself!  How awesome?

Details:
1) Head to Ashley's Scentsy Store
2) Select the Lindsey B Turkey Trot Party or follow this link to my party!
3) Shop!  Either for yourself or pick up a few a Christmas gifts!
4) Place an order under the Lindsey B Turkey Trot Party on Ashley's website no later than November 29, 2011. Make sure you are shopping under my party - you should see the party name at the top of the website like this:

5) Have the chance to win either 50% off an item, $25 of product, or $50 of product (the prize will depend on what I win)! 
6) At the end of the sale, Ashley will confirm who has purchased and we will select a winner! I will announce the winner the first week of December.

The kicker is I have to sell at least $100 worth of items to pass my prize along so y'all need to shop in order to have the chance to win anything!

If you do not want to place your order on-line, you can email your order to me (werefinallythree@gmail.com) and I will work with Ashley to place the order. 

Happy shopping, y'all!

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November 19, 2011

Baby Bump! And Big Sister Cuteness!

I don't think I've posted a belly picture yet!  There's not much to see these days but, Tuesday I was a bit more bloated than normal and actually looked slightly pregnant!

I'm 18 weeks now and still struggling with weight gain.  I am still under my pre-pregnancy weight (which was already under my pre-Kate weight) despite the fact that I've started to feel a bit better.  I eating (whatever I want and tons of high calorie items) yet still losing weight.  Stress is probably the culprit but, I'm curious to see what my doctor has to say on Monday - and excited to see Will's sweet face - I have a big level 2 ultrasound and should get a few 3D images too!

I'm dying to really start showing! 

And here is big sister last week!  I can't leave her out!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

November 18, 2011

Canvas4Life Winner!

Sorry it's taken me so long to post the winner!  It's been a busy week over here! 

I used random.org to select the winner:

Comment #6 was Kim!



Kim, I will be in touch with details regarding how you can claim your prize!!

November 14, 2011

She's Making a List...

And checking it twice!

Ok if we are going to get technical, Kate is not really making a list.  But, Alex and I are making a list of things we think she will love for Christmas and I thought I would share!

Kate will be 16 months come Christmas and we've decided to "buy up" in most things this year.  We want items that will carry her through her entire second year!  If you have already been through this phase with your kids, feel free to offer suggestions of toys your children really loved from 18-24+ months!

On to the list!

Play Kitchen
I had a precious super girly pink kitchen picked out.  However, when we discovered Will was a boy, we decided to go more gender neutral as the play room in our next house will be for both kids!  I love this kitchen - the chalk board on the fridge is just so darn cute to me!  It is on sale right now but if you are interested in purchasing, I would keep watching it - I ordered Kate's last week for under $100.  I'm willing to bet Amazon will drop the price again between now and Christmas!




Kitchen Accessories
What good is a kitchen without food, pots, pans, cookies, etc?  I've picked out several fun things to add to the kitchen.  I also love that the Melissa and Doug pots and pan set is red and white and will match the kitchen perfectly!





Doll Stroller
Kate is obsessed with her dolls.  She has several and carries them around all day giving them hugs and kisses!  I hope she will love putting them in a stroller and pushing them around!




Parum Pum Pum Drum
Kate loves music and will stop to dance the second she hears any type of music (including commercial jingles).  She's recently started using plastic forks, wooden spoons, toys, and such as drum sticks to bang on things and tap a beat.  While I am not all that excited by the added noise this toy will bring, I know that Kate will love it!  Parenting is all about sacrifice, right?




Books
I think books rank as Kate's all time favorite "toy"!  I'm not complaining as I have a huge love of reading and am glad she is showing an interest so young!  I'm hoping she can increase her library this Christmas!  Her favorite type of books right now are the "lift the flap" books.  One book I am eager to get her this year is a big sister book.  I realize she is probably to young to understand what is going on but, I figured it can't hurt to start reading and talking about the baby!




Elmo
We aren't sure exactly which Elmo we will get her but, the child love, love, loves the Elmo she has right now!  I'm thinking a singing Elmo (maybe the rockin Elmo) will be a must purchase!




I'm sure we will pick up a few more random things but, as of now, these are for sure presents under our tree!  I'm hoping Kate shows a bit more interest in the whole Christmas thing this year - I'm dying for a fun Christmas morning where she realizes she has tons of new presents!




And, of course, we will be telling her about the true meaning of Christmas throughout the season.  I'm sad we won't (and haven't been able to for a while) be able to head to church for Christmas but, one day, when all of my kids are off of isolation, we will be back in the sanctuary - not just for Christmas but every week!  These kids will know who has been and will always be the ultimate healer!  I've ordered her the Little People Nativity set so we can play and talk about the true reason for the season!

November 11, 2011

Answering Questions & a Liver Update!

Thank y'all so much for your encouragement, support, and congratulations on our news. 

I'm so thankful that we have so many people praying for our sweet boy (and the rest of the family).  The comments, emails, tweets, facebook messages, calls, and texts have been so overwhelming.  I'm still trying to wade through them all - if Kate would start sleeping/ napping I would have more time to respond!

I've received some questions and thought I would dedicate a post to answering them!  If you have a question that isn't answered here, leave it in a comment and I will do a part 2 and cover those questions!

Since you know about Will's condition now, when will his transplant be?
That's a great question and I wish I had an answer for you!  Ideally, we would like to get Will to 12-14 months before his transplant.  We also have to take Kate's health into consideration as the BMT doctors would prefer we didn't have two immune compromised children living in the same house.  If we can get Will to 12-14 months old, then that would put Kate at about 1.5 years post transplant. 

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before but, Kate is currently 100% unvaccinated due to the intense chemotherapy she went through.  She is also on immune suppressant medication to ensure her grafts holds and that her body doesn't attack the donor cells.  Typically, BMT patients immune systems begin to rebuilt around the one year post transplant mark and vaccinations are re-started between 12-18 months post transplant.  It would be wonderful if we could get Kate to the point of starting a vaccination schedule before Will starts chemo and jumps on the no immune system bandwagon.

However, CAMT is an extremely variable disease.  There is no concrete answer as to how aggressive the disease will be.  Some kids make to to 4 or 5 years of age before ever being diagnosed where as others are born with essentially no platelets and low blood counts.  Kate starting showing signs of the disease around 6 weeks but was not in immediate need of a transplant until about 10 months when she was finally diagnosed.

There is a chance Will will be impacted my sooner than Kate.  If this is the case, he will go to transplant as soon as necessary.  On the flip side, he may not be showing signs of CAMT at 12 months.  However, the only cure is a BMT and studies show that children that have a transplant in the 12-14 month window often have a much better long term prognosis. 

The short answer is Will's transplant could be any time during the first year of his life but will be no later than 14 months of age.

Will your pregnancy be treated differently due to the diagnosis?
I will be under the care of a perinatologist (the same one I saw while pregnant with Kate) for my entire pregnancy.  I have a handful of health issues (heart condition, had heart surgery as a child, blood issues that worsen during pregnancy, etc) that require a bit more care.  Add in the CAMT diagnosis and there was no avoiding the high risk label.

I will deliver no later than 38 weeks but there is talk about the possibility of delivering as early as 36 or 37 weeks.  My doctor and Will's BMT doctor are trying to figure out the most ideal time to deliver.  We know that I will not go farther than 38 weeks as we need to evaluate his blood levels and how his body is reacting to the CAMT and this cannot be done until birth.  The thought is that if he is deteriorating quickly, the extra fews weeks on the outside to prepare for a BMT will be extremely beneficial.

I will also be delivering at the new Texas Children's Pavilion for Women - I'll actually be one of the first people to deliver there as deliveries won't start until April!  There is a chance Will will go to a Special Care nursery after birth and all of our doctors believe it is best for him to be at Texas Children's from the get go.  All of this will depend on his health when he arrives.

Is there a chance the diagnosis is wrong?
I wish I could say yes but, the CVS and genetic testing are 99.8% accurate making a misdiagnosis extremely rare.

After the BMT is done, are people cured from CAMT?
Theoretically, if a CAMT patient is at 100% donor cells, they are cured.  CAMT holds other risks/ health issues that can arise if any original cells are present.  Our prayer is that Kate and Will can both hold onto a 100% donor graft and will go on to lead normal, healthy lives!

What were the chances of this genetic disorder being passed on again?
CAMT is a recessive genetic disorder.  This means both the mother and the father have to be carriers of the same genetic mutations to pass it along to their children.  Obviously, Alex and I found out the hard way that we are in fact carriers.

With all recessive genetic disorders, the following things can happen: a 25% chance your child is not affected at all, a 50% chance your child is a carrier, and a 25% chance that your child is positive for the condition.  Obviously Kate and Will have both fallen in the "unlucky" 25% of being positive for CAMT.

Will you do prenatal HLA typing?
No, we will not.  As I mentioned in my post about our CVS testing, we were unable to get a good size tissue sample.  We barely had enough for the genetic testing we needed to do, much less extra for HLA typing.  We have decided that at this time the risk of an amnio (it's too late for another CVS) is not worth the benefit of typing Will while in utero.  We will do HLA typing as soon as he is born.

Can Kate's donor be Will's donor as well?
Yes, he can.  There is a 25% chance that Kate's HLA typing and Will's HLA typing are identical.  If this is the case, Kate's donor would be a perfect 10 out of 10 match for Will as well, making him a perfect match.  Obviously, he would have to agree to donate again but, I am confident that he would. 

Feel free to leave any other questions you may have and I will do my best to answer them!

And, a quick Kate update.  We finally received her liver biopsy results but they were "inconclusive".  We were able to rule out GVHD, a medication reaction, and VOD of the liver but, the pathology report claims there is chronic irritation and inflammation of an unknown origin".  Um, what?  Her doctors don't seem concerned since her liver enzymes are coming down (but still elevated) but I'm kind of worried over here.  I'm hoping her liver specialist can shed some light on what could be causing this.

P.S. - don't forget to scroll down and enter the Canvas4Life giveaway I posted about this morning!

Canvas4Life Review and Giveaway!


A few weeks ago I was approached by Canvas4Life to see if I would be interested in reviewing their product, and if satisfied, hosting a giveaway for my lovely readers!  Y'all will be excited to know that I was more than satisfied which works in your favor!

I try my hardest to capture memories of Kate as she grows and changes.  I'm actually really impressed with the amount of pictures I've taken over the past 15 months - pictures that capture Kate's sweet smile, pictures of every day life, pictures of our adventures and travels!  I've also done a great job of having our amazing photographer capture Kate and our family!

The problem?  All of these pictures, all of these memories, tend to remain on my computer.  Or my external hard drive.  Or facebook.  Or on the blog.  Basically anywhere but displayed in my house.

Needless to say, I jumped at the offer to have one of these photos printed on to a canvas

It took me days to narrow down my image.  Do I want a picture of just Kate?  A family picture?  Would it be odd to have a picture of our family of three in the house since we knew we were expecting?  Do I want a black and white image?  Color?

See? It was HARD.

I finally narrowed down my options, polled my friends, and went to designing our custom canvas!  Canvas4Life believes in upholding the highest standards, without exception and my experience proved that they are not just all talk; they live their believes!  I had a few questions regarding our image and how it would look wrapped on the canvas and customer service was able to help me figure out that it would indeed work!

After going through the design process, which was extremely user friendly, I not so patiently waited for a package to arrive!

Kate and I were extremely excited when it finally arrived!  I was shocked by how fast shipping was!

While I drooled over just how beautiful the photo canvas was, Kate enjoyed her first experience with bubble wrap! Win win situation in our house!

I really can't believe how beautiful the canvas is!  The quality is amazing and the colors are so bright!  I just adore this picture and printing it on a canvas really made it even more beautiful!  This picture does not even begin to do the canvas justice!  I still don't have it hung in the house because I am too indecisive to commit to a wall!  But I hope to have it up by this weekend!

Canvas4Life has offered all of my readers a lovely 10% discount on any purchase!  I know just about any grandparent would love to find a canvas of their grandbaby under the Christmas tree!  Head on over to their website and enter code FinallyThree10 at checkout for 10% off of your order!

But, that's not all!  One lucky reader will have the chance to win a $25 Canvas4Life gift card!

How to Win:
*Mandatory entry - Leave a comment on this post telling me what picture you would use for your canvas!

Additional Entries - leave a separate comment for each entry:
*Become a follower of We're Finally Three (I really need a new name)
*Like Canvas4Life on Facebook and let them know who sent you their way
*Follow Canvas4Life on twitter: Link
*Tweet the following: @LindseyB34 is hosting a @Canvas_4_Life #giveaway and I want to win!
*Blog about this giveaway

This giveaway will be open until Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 5om CST.  I will randomly select a winner Wednesday night!

Happy shopping and best of luck - I can't wait to see who wins!  And I cannot wait to order more beautiful canvases from Canvas4Life!

This is not mandatory but, if you like giveaways, and want to continue to see them on We're Finally Three, click the button below - a simple click is all it takes to vote.  The higher my ranking, the better the giveaways you will see!  Thanks!
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Disclosure: Canvas 4 Life provided me with this beautiful canvas, but my honest opinions were used when reviewing their company and product. This was not a paid post.

November 8, 2011

"For I know the plans I have for you," declared the Lord

I know I said I would share details regarding the news of baby B #2.  So, here's a very raw, emotionally charged post about our sweet boy.  I wanted to preface this by saying I know the decisions Alex and I have made will not be respected by everyone.  That is fine.  We have prayerfully made the best decisions for OUR family.  And, quite honestly, any one's opinion on the matter holds zero weight with me. 

I also know that I do not need to share these details; I owe no one explanations regarding our decisions.  The only reason I am sharing this journey with you is because I firmly believe the events that happened in order to bring Will into our life were bigger than anyone here on Earth.  They were, and still are, God's plans.  Everything was perfectly orchestrated by the Lord so that His will could be done.

I will not publish negative/ degrading comments so don't waste your time submitting them.

Those of you that have followed our journey, know that Alex and I struggled with infertility and pregnancy loss for a solid two years before conceiving Kate via our second attempt at IVF.  Many specialists told us that it was impossible for us to conceive without the help of modern science.

When we received the news of Kate diagnosis, and learned that it is a genetic condition, Alex and I started taking steps to ensure a "surprise" pregnancy would not happen.  I was initially angry - mad that Kate had to fight this fight, mad that Alex and I were carriers of this rare condition without even knowing, mad that yet again, my body was dictating our future.  Ultimately, my heart quickly softened to the idea of being "one and done".  I focused on the positives - Alex is an only child and is perfectly fine, we would never have to split our time/love/resources between multiple children, etc.

I scheduled an appointment with my OBGyn pretty soon after the diagnosis to talk about have a tubal ligation.  My consult went well and my OB was totally on board.  We set a date and I was confident in our decision.  As the date approached, Alex opened up to me and revealed that he was scared for me to undergo surgery while we were in the midst of fighting for Kate's life.  He knew the chance of complications was extremely small but just was not comfortable with any risk that could possibly leave him as a single parent to a terminally ill child.  We discussed his fears and together made the decision to postpone the surgery.

This was divine intervention #1.  Alex is not a man of many words and he for sure is not one to vocalize his fears so openly (but what man is?).  I am so thankful that he opened up and let me know watching me go under for surgery, while dealing with Kate's issues, was just too much.

I met with my OB again and we decided that an IUD would probably be our best option until we were ready to proceed forward with surgery.  Again, we talked about when this could be done, and I waited for certain things to happen so I could have my IUD placed.  While waiting, we took the necessary protocol to prevent pregnancy.  One of my close friends joked with us that we were not letting anything happen at all - not only were we infertile, we were taking precautions fertile couples would take.

During the months leading up to, and right after, Kate's diagnosis, my body was in a continual state of stress.  Let's just say things were off.  Like most women would, I assumed it was stress.  So, we waited, and waited some more for my cycle to resume in order to proceed forward with the IUD.

Around this time, Kate was admitted for the second time and started chemo.  I was struggling during that first week in the hospital - I was emotional, sick to my stomach, extremely stressed out, not sleeping, not eating, and just terrified for all Kate would face. 

Towards the end of the week, I realized I was going on several weeks "late" and having some typical pregnancy symptoms.  I had an excuse for every symptom. I was tired because we were in the hospital.  I was extremely thirsty because I was living on coffee and soda.  I was sick to my stomach because I was not eating normally and so stressed out.  After a few days of noticing all of this, I finally called Alex and told him I couldn't handle stressing out about something else and even though it was not possible for me to be pregnant, could he please pick up a pregnancy test and bring it to the hospital when he came up so I could 100% confirm that I was not pregnant.

Y'all, I have never seen a positive test show so quickly and I have taken more pregnancy tests than I care to admit.

Enter divine intervention #2.  After all of the precautions we were taking and my fertility issues, I was somehow pregnant.  To this day, I still have no clue how it happened.  Plain and simple, it was a God thing. 

I cried for days and I hate to admit they were not happy tears.  How could I dedicate my all to Kate's recovery while pregnant, much less with a newborn in the house?  What if this baby had CAMT too?  How could I ever love another child as much as I love Kate?  How can I equally parent Kate, a child with many needs, and another child?  How the hell did this even happen?

I hate to say it but those first few weeks were probably the darkest weeks of my life.  I was watching my precious baby girl fight for her life, struggling to deal with nasty drugs being pumped through her body, all while I was questioning what in the world the Lord was trying to do - why a surprise pregnancy, why now, why give me even more fears to carry?  Simply put, I was terrified and angry all while trying to put on a positive face for Kate as I knew she would pick up on negative energy which could slow her recovery.

Ultimately, Alex and I decided to move forward with genetic testing (we did CVS testing).  I had my CVS when I was right around 11 weeks and we were told it would take 1-2 weeks for results.  We also decided not to utter a word about this pregnancy until we knew what we were dealing with so we were walking this journey alone.

The doctor had some trouble getting a good tissue sample which resulted in the sample we did get sitting in a lab to grow for weeks.

Enter divine intervention #3.

I can honestly say, I have no clue what decisions we would have made in regards to this pregnancy if we got results in one week.  I firmly believe that the Lord knew we needed time to cope with possibilities, talk through all of our options, and prayerfully seeking spiritual guidance.

On Thursday, November 3, after nearly 5 weeks of waiting, we received the news that our baby boy tested positive for CAMT, just like his big sister. 

We spent Thursday greiving.  We tried so hard to avoid being in this situation yet here we were, learning that our second child would need to fight the same fight Kate was currently dealing with.  How would we do this again?  Did we even have it in us to do this again?  Could I really live in the hospital for weeks watching another baby walk this same journey?

When Alex and I woke up Friday morning, we both had come to the realization that our harships, our exhaustion, our desire (or lack there of) to walk this journey again didn't matter.  All that mattered was our children.  As parents, we sacrifice ourselves for our children.  We needed to set our struggles aside and only focus on Kate and our baby boy.

We met with Kate's team of transplant doctors and armed ourselved with information regarding what a second transplant would be like.  We needed information.  We needed facts.

By Saturday morning, after hours of discussing, praying, and listening for guidance, Alex and I came to the decision that we would proceed forward with this pregnancy.  We fought for Kate and we would fight for our son as well.  Fight to give him the same opportunities Kate will have in the future.  Fight to get him healthy so he can lead a long, fufilling life.

I realize this is not the decision everyone would make.  And, that is ok.  I firmly believe either decision, proceeding with the pregnancy or terminating, is an extremely hard decision to make.  Both come with challenges, emotional hardship, and struggles.  I don't wish the weight of this decision on my worst enemy.  No parent should be faced with making this kind of choice.

We chose what was right for our family.  As soon as we confirmed our decision, we both felt a huge weight lifted off of our shoulders.  We felt a sense of peace.  We knew we made the right decision.

Alex and I are choosing to view every child as a blessing and a gift from God.  It is clear that God's hand played a HUGE part in bringing Will into our life.  There is zero scientific explanation as to how I got pregnant.  The only answer is that the Lord knew Alex and I could handle this, that Will needed parents that knew how to fight this fight, that knew the BMT process.  Our children will have each other - someone else who knows the struggles they face, who has the same scars, and the same pictures of time in the hospital.  Of course we wish neither of our children were sick but, that is simply not the case and we are focusing on the positive.

We will continue to seek God's guidance as we prepare for Will's arrival, the donor search, and ultimately his transplant.  If you feel led, we welcome any and all thoughts and prayers for our sweet boy and his journey.

Will is a gift to our families. He is a blessing. He is more than his diagnosis. He is our son.  He is loved. And most importantly, he deserves a chance.

ETA: Many people have left questions in the comment section.  Feel free to leave your questions and I will address them later this week!

November 7, 2011

Coming April 2012...

Kate will be welcoming her baby brother, William Emmett, in early April!

I'm a little over 16 weeks pregnant and our little guy is measuring a full week ahead!

More details to come - including how we found out and the complete shock that we are still in since multiple doctors have told me I would never be able to conceive without the help of technology!

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- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

November 4, 2011

Flashback Friday!

While we were waiting on Kate to get out of surgery today, I was flipping through old pictures on my phone.  I have all of her newborn pictures saved on my phone and I just couldn't get over this sweet picture!

Oh how I miss my squishy, cuddly baby!!  She was SO tiny in these pictures - under 6 pounds!

Kate did great with the biopsy today!  We do not have results (and won't until Monday) but we are very thankful she was able to come home as there was talk of a weekend hospital stay.  We greatly appreciate the prayers!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  We will be celebrating my wonderful husband's birthday!!

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November 2, 2011

Hard day

Kate had a routine clinic appointment this morning. We were eager to see how she was responding to the steroids and praying that her liver levels were continuing to trend downward.

Unfortunately, that was not the case and we received bad news.

Kate's liver is really struggling. Several of her liver levels have increased and are extremely high. Even higher than they were last Friday.

Kate's nurse practitioner wanted to rerun the liver function tests just to make sure that it wasn't a lab error because the levels jumped so much, so fast. It was not an error and in the two hours between blood draws, her levels actually got worse.

We were sent to radiology for a liver ultrasound and Kate will have a biopsy Friday at 8am.

We don't have any answers right now but will hopefully have a diagnosis and a plan to get my sweet girl better by early next week. There is still a chance that this is only GVHD and that Kate simply needs stronger medication to treat it. But, there is also a chance that this is something else, something major. That thought terrifies me.

Needless to say, I've been a mess all day. I know I will keep fighting for Kate but my gosh I'm exhausted and I feel defeated.

I am so incredibly sad that Kate is dealing with this now. She has been through so much. Her little body needs a break. It can't take much more.

As always, we would appreciate any and all thoughts and prayers.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

November 1, 2011

Holiday Card Giveaway Winner!!

I was so impressed with the turnout for the Pear Tree giveaway!  Thank you to each and every one of y'all that entered for a chance to win!

I used random.org to select the winner!  Out of the 92 entries, Random selected comment number 19!



Wendy was lucky number 19!



Congratulations, Wendy!  I have contacted Pear Tree and passed along your email address.  You should hear from them soon with instructions on how to redeem your $30 gift certificate!!

Again, thank you to all who entered!  I've got another awesome giveaway coming up later this week so be sure to check back!

Liver Biopsy Postponed!!

All of your thoughts and prayers are working!

Kate had an appointment yesterday to check her liver levels and thankfully they were down a very small amount!  Since we did see downward movement, her doctor wants to postpone (and possibly cancel) the liver biopsy!  We will be checking Kate's levels tomorrow and Friday and as long as they get back down to acceptable range, she will not need to go under to check out her liver!

There is still a chance that something else is going on in her liver on top of the GVHD since her levels are so high but, it could just be GVHD - only time will tell.

Alex and I were very relieved to finally get some decent news yesterday!  Thank you for keeping our sweet girl in your thoughts and prayers - the Lord is listening and answering!

October 30, 2011

Graft verses Host Disease

We've had a hard week over here. Kate was "off" most of the week. She never had a fever, which was great, but my mom intuition just knew something wasn't right.

At clinic on Wednesday, her liver levels (specifically her AST and ALT) were slightly elevated which can be an early indication of a viral infection. We sent off several viral studies but everything checked out ok. Thursday was a very off day - tons of crying, lots of sleeping, and a baby that was just so far from Kate's post transplant normal.

We had clinic again Friday and all of Kate's liver values are extremely elevated. Her AST is 784 and her ALT is 598. If you know anything about liver values you know that is so incredibly high. Her bilirubin is also elevated as are several other counts.

As of right now all labs point to graft verses host disease (GVHD). While GVHD is common, I was pretty shocked that we skipped all of the "typical" signs they tell you about (skin rash, GI issues) and went straight to pretty major liver issues. Kate was started on steroids as that is the first treatment of GVHD and the plan as of right now is for her to have a liver biopsy (yet another procedure under general anesthesia) Tuesday morning to either confirm the GVHD or confirm other liver issues.

The steroids have been hard as Kate can't seem to really get comfortable and sleep peacefully while on them. We've had several long nights (hence the blogging at 1:30 am) this weekend.

The GVHD diagnosis has me in a funk. I know I need to snap out of it but, right now I am just over seeing all of the other BMT kids we know from our stay excel, move to less clinic visits, and just over all do amazing with their transplants. I am so happy for them - really, I am. I don't want to see any of these kids struggle. But, it's just hard to watch your child be the one who has been back in the hospital, who still has low blood counts, who is battling GVHD, and who seems to be having such a hard time with the entire transplant process.

I was totally aware of all of these complications when we entered into the BMT world. But, if I'm being honest, I never thought we would deal with them. I just always thought Kate would sail right though. Obviously that has not been the case and it's hard to realize, and accept, that we are just not on the fast, complication free track to recovery.

I'm also finding myself very bitter towards moms of healthy kids who freak out over every little thing. This is ridiculous as it is always hard to see your child sick - no matter how major or minor. Fever is no fun, colds are hell, stomach bugs are miserable, and sleepless nights are exhausting for every parent. I am constantly reminding myself that our situation is abnormal and that it is normal for parents to freak out about normal things. It's a constant struggle for me though - I know it is driven by jealousy and I need to work on not letting my situation and struggles discredit the day to day struggles my mom friends are facing.

I also need to keep reminding myself it could be worse. Yes Kate is struggling. Yes it feels like we are dealing with one thing after another (because we are). Yes it is no fun and stressful. But, Alex and I are blessed. We have a roof over our heads, food on the table, amazing jobs that allow us to not have financial worries and allow me to take so much time off to focus on Kate, and we have an amazing support system.

Now that I've gotten all of that out, if you have it in you, we could really use prayers for Kate, her liver, and the GVHD. I'm ready for my happy girl to be back!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

October 25, 2011

Pear Tree Greetings: Holiday Card Giveaway!

It's that time of the year again! Time to start thumbing through your favorite pictures, browsing through countless designs, and hope you find the perfect Christmas card to send out! If you are anything like me (hello type-A planner), you are in full force Christmas card search mode!





I started stalking the Pear Tree Greetings website almost two months ago waiting for the new 2011 Holiday card designs to magically appear!  I was blown away as new designs were added.  I really believe this set of designs is hands down the best offerings from PTG yet!

Every year I search for a card that perfectly captures the past year of our lives.  Last year, I went pretty casual with our card and showcased many pictures about our new life with Kate!  It was so fun to show off so many different pictures of Kate and how much she had changed in her first four months!

This year I am so torn on the best way to capture our year; how to share a piece of what 2011 has meant to our family.  We have had such an emotional year filled with the joys of parenthood, the heartache of a life threatening disease, the agony of watching our baby girl fight for her life, and the miracle of a second chance - given to Kate by an anonymous donor

Do I simply share an amazing picture of our miracle baby showing off her wonderful personality?  Do I look for a card where I can "journal" a bit of what this year has meant?  Do I try to find something that can showcase multiple pictures?  Decisions, decisions...

Thankfully Pear Tree has a beautiful card to fit each of my possibilities.  I've spent hours some time using the new personalization tool so I could visualize exactly how each design would look with specific pictures and such. 

I loved designing the Christmas Charms card!  One of our family photos from June fit beautifully in the center and I love that it is an "all in one" card making it very easy to address and mail!



Personalizing the card was super easy too!

Ultimately, I decided to go with more of a "story board" card that allowed me to share the journey our family has been on this year.  Y'all will have to wait until December to see the card we selected - I don't want to spoil the fun for our friends and family who will receive the card in the mail!!

Pear Tree Greetings is offering one of my readers a $30 gift certificate towards their Holiday card purchase!

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me which holiday card you would love to send out this year and why!  You must include a valid email address so I can contact the winner!

Addition Entries - one additional entry each:
*Become a follower of We're Finally Three.  Leave a comment on this post letting me know you follow us!

*Become a Facebook fan of Pear Tree Greetings and let them know that We're Finally Three sent you their way by writing on their wall.  Leave a comment letting me know you "like" PTG on FB!

*Tweet the following about this giveaway: "I want to win a $30 holiday card gift certificate to Pear Tree Greetings! @PearTreeGrtngs @LindseyB34 #giveaway". You must tweet this exactly (including mentions and hashtags).  Leave a comment on this post letting me know you tweeted about the giveaway!

*Blog about the giveaway!  Your blog post must include links to both Pear Tree Greetings and this giveaway on We're Finally Three.  Leave a comment on this post letting me know you blogged about the giveaway!

This giveaway will be open until Monday, October 31, 2011 at 5pm CST.  I will select a winner Monday night and let y'all know who won by Tuesday!

Good luck!

This post is sponsored by Pear Tree Greetings. Pear Tree Greetings has helped tens of thousands of customers celebrate life’s shareable moments with a collection of uniquely personal, high-quality greetings and stationery.  Pear Tree Greetings offers a full line of photo cards like Christmas cards, invitations, announcements, address labels, save-the-date cards and dozens of other high-quality paper products, so you can seize every opportunity to connect with others. Custom greetings made simple, affordable, and absolutely keep-worthy.

October 21, 2011

Things I Don't Want to Forget!

I read a wonderful post from Katie over at Loves of Life this morning and after swooning over how precious Emeline is and freaking out that Kate is so far from advanced in the speech area I decided that I wanted to borrow her idea and jot down some things Kate is currently doing that I just don't want to forget.  Thank you for the inspiration Katie!

So, here are some things I don't want to forget about my sweet 14 month old who is a walking miracle!

*Kate loves music.  I'm talking completely obsessed.  She claps to the beat of any and every song (this is new - started this week).  She has much more rhythm than her momma. 

*Girlfriend loves to dance.  And she doesn't need to hear music to bust out her moves.  Her favorite time to dance is when we are waiting in clinic and other patients/ parents are paying her attention.  It's as if she knows she's the center of attention and needs to bust a move to show off!  Lately, her dancing starts off by shaking her head (it looks like she's saying no).  Quickly, the dancing takes over her sweet little body and she gets her grove on. 

*Every evening, when she hears the garage door open, she drops whatever she is doing and waits at the landing for Alex to walk in.  She loves her Daddy so much and is filled with complete joy when he gets home. 

*Despite not saying any words yet (insert mom freak out here) Kate loves to talk.  She has her own language and babbles non-stop all. day. long.  I cannot wait until I know what she is trying to say.  I can tell she gets frustrated when she wants something and is babbling to me but I just can't understand.

*Toothbrushes are by far her favorite thing right now.  We have to do a special mouthwash daily and Kate gets so excited when she sees us getting her mouthwash out!  As I type this, Kate is playing in the living room with a toothbrush hanging out of her mouth.  Maybe she's a future dentist?  All I know is that I will not argue with a child that is obsessed with dental hygiene!

*Around 6pm Kate is due for two medications (zofran and blood pressure meds).  Alex is always home, and usually holding Kate, when I attempt to give her the meds.  Without fail, she gives Alex a giant hug and covers her face.  It's as if she is loving on him in hopes of getting out of taking her medicine!

*Any and everything gets a hug.  The dogs, her toys, her nurses.  Anyone!  I'm pretty sure she would hug strangers if she was able to be around them!  She carries her babies around loving on them most of the day and will give them a big kiss if you say "KK, give your baby some sugar."

*She is always so excited to see me in the mornings and after naps!  It warms my heart when she reaches up for me.  Lately, naps have ended in tears (not sure what's up with that) and Kate wants to cuddle/ rock for 10-15 minutes before she's really ready to get up.  I am cherishing these cuddle moments as I know they will be gone before we know it.

*Speaking of sleep, a lovie, mikny blanket, and scary cat must be in her crib when she sleeps.  Scary cat is exactly what it sounds like, a stuffed cat that is so scary looking.  However, Kate thinks it awesome and pets it while she sleeps. 

*Toddler tantrums are here in full force.  If you take something away from Kate, tell her no, or do something that she isn't a fan of, be prepared for a full on fit.  I'm talking screaming, alligator tears, arched back, head hitting floor all out fit.  Thankfully distraction works pretty well to end these fits.  Like Katie mentioned, I think God makes out babies so precious and loveable so that we can see past these fits!

I could go on and on (but who couldn't go on about their kid) but for now, these are the things I want to remember

October 19, 2011

We're Home!

I'm a few days late updating but we are home - and have been since Monday evening.

Our hospital stay was completely miserable.  Kate had a really hard time with this admission.  I'm not sure if it was the fact that she wasn't feeling well, if she remembered the hospital setting, something else, or a combination of the two but, she was miserable.  She refused to sleep more hat 8-10 hours total a day (night time and naps combined), was very fussy, and you could tell she just wasn't comfortable in her surroundings.

We also ran into many frustrations during our stay.  The 9th floor (which is hematology/ oncology) is not my favorite.  I will go as far as to say it was downright horrendous.  There are no visitor guidelines so siblings of other patients were running around the halls with snotty noses, coughs, and every sickness imaginable.  The little boy in the room next to us had, no joke, 15+ people visiting him at all times every day.  The nurses weren't nearly as knowledgeable as the nurses on the BMT floor and had absolutely no clue how to take care of a BMT patient.  They didn't close Kate's hospital room door - which meant the sickies in the hallway probably made their way into Kate's room, improperly handled her line (because they are more accustom to ports verses teeny tiny baby central lines).  Ruptured Kate's "good" line and so many other things.  I was constantly closing her door, asking the nurses to wash their hands, to put on gloves, to clean her lumen every time it was used, etc.

By Monday morning I was demanding discharge papers.  As in, we will walk out AMA if you do not have signed discharge papers in my hands by the afternoon. 

BMT knew how unhappy we were but, unfortunately, there wasn't much they could do about what floor we were on.  The BMT unit at TCH is very small - only 16 beds - so it fills up quickly and hem/onc is where overflow BMT patients are admitted.  Thankfully the on-service BMT doctor agreed to let us come home Monday since all of Kate's viral panels came back negative. 

I'm praying we are not readmitted again - both for Kate's health and my mental sanity.

As if a horrible hospital stay wasn't enough, Kate decided to age me a solid 20 years this morning.  When I got her out of her crib this morning, I quickly noticed that, at some point during the night, she ripped off her central line dressing and managed to pull 3 stitches out as well.

I had a huge freak out moment (and may have sent Alex a text that said EMERGENCY CALL NOW - I realize now that might have been a bit dramatic) while I tried to figure out what to do.  I called out home health company; no answer.   I called the BMT clinic; no answer.  I called my sister (who is a nurse); no answer.  Panic set it.

Thankfully my sister called me right back and helped me figure out what to do immediately.  Then, I realized that I had our home health nurse's cell phone number so I called him.  Thankfully, he answered, talked me through what I needed to do, and came to the house pretty quickly!  Her site looks good, has a fresh dressing, and now all we can do it pray that it doesn't get infected since it was exposed overnight. 

I'm hoping the rest of the week is not nearly as eventful as the past few days have been!
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