Tuesday, February 11, 2020

20 Weeks!

This afternoon, we had our 20-week full anatomy ultrasound for baby #5 to make sure everything looked good. Our ultrasound tech was awesome and talked us through everything. Praise the Lord!!! Everything. looked. perfect. And it was SUCH a relief to see that healthy, four-chamber heart with my own eyes!

We're having a HEALTHY baby boy, y'all!!!

For fun comparisons, check out my 20-week post when I was pregnant with Chase and my 20-week post with E!

It was so good to see baby Cinco and get a healthy report. It gives me such peace of mind! I know God is creating the perfect little finale for our family, and I can't wait to meet him!

TBH, there was one little thing the tech noticed during the ultrasound. She was worried the placenta was covering the cervix. This would be problematic and, if it were the case, would force me to have a c-section. She took a closer look and, thankfully, it appears the placenta is right at the very edge of the cervix. This was a HUGE relief! The expectation is that it will continue to move further away as the pregnancy progresses. We'll definitely have to keep an eye on it, but I will be praying fervently that it continues to move away and doesn't impact the delivery.

My gestational diabetes is nicely under control with a basal dose of insulin each morning. While it is likely we will need to add a second dose at night, I'm totally fine with this treatment. Insulin helps me balance things nicely so I'm not limited to only meat and cheese and eggs for 3 meals per day! LOL!

Thanks again to everyone for praying for our sweet Cinco today. We are so grateful and thankful for the love and support of our family and friends!

Saturday, February 8, 2020

19 Weeks

Here we are, approaching the half-way point of my pregnancy with Cinco, and I haven't really discussed much about it here on the blog since my 12 Week post. So, I figured it was about time for me to post a little pregnancy update.

I'm 19w4d today and am feeling pretty good overall! Check out that mango-sized baby bump!

This pregnancy has been rather uneventful, with the exception of what I'm about to share below.

For starters, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes... again. This is my 3rd time with GD. My doctor prescribed insulin already... when I was 18 weeks. So a minimum of 4 finger pokes per day to check my blood sugar, and one shot of insulin each morning (likely increasing to a second shot in the evenings as well starting next week). For another 21 weeks. Good times, friends!

Let's go back to October 2019, a few weeks before I found out we were expecting... I started experiencing arrhythmias. Like, a lot of them. I had never had them before, so it was slightly unnerving to suddenly experience an onset of funky heart rhythms. I had actually even googled to see if arrhythmias were a sign of early pregnancy, since we were hoping for #5 at the time.

Fast-forward a bit, and we're happily expecting our last baby in July 2020. However, the arrhythmias continued to get stronger and more frequent. I'd speculate maybe 40-60 per day. Definitely more than enough to get your attention. I was concerned, but not terribly worried, until I started feeling lightheaded at times. In fact, I vividly recall the first Sunday in January when I was playing the piano for my church, and I literally felt like I was going to fall backwards off the bench at any time during both of our morning services! It was SO scary and unnerving! I was having a hard time catching my breath as well, and it was after that morning that I decided to talk to my doctor.

At my 16 week OB appointment in January, I discussed my concerns with my doctor. He suggested I completely eliminate caffeine and try to reduce stress. One of those things I could easily do. The stress part though? There was a lot going on. Homeschooling. Starting a part-time job. The unexpected death of a dear friend from high school. A house to run. Kids to feed. So.Many.Obligations. Reducing stress just wasn't something I could easily do.

While I did notice an improvement in the frequency of the arrhythmias after eliminating caffeine, they were still a significant issue. My OB decided to refer me to a Cardiologist, who I saw at the end of January.

The Cardiologist ordered a full workup, including an EKG and an Echocardiogram. He also had me wear a holter monitor for a week so we could track when the issues occurred and how often they were happening. I saw him yesterday for the Echo and to remove to holter monitor. I don't see the Cardiologist again for the results of my tests until the first week of March. I'm trying to be patient and not allow the stress and anxiety to worsen my symptoms. I trust God that everything will be fine, and that perhaps the arrhythmias are just a side-effect of being 100 years old and pregnant. 😂 Well, that combined with already having 4 crazy kids at home, plus homeschooling, plus working, plus... well, you get it. We all have to deal with all.the.things. in our lives, so this isn't anything new!

In the meantime, we have our 20 week full anatomy scan this Tuesday, February 11th. Please be praying along with us that everything with baby Cinco will be healthy! It was at this same anatomy scan appointment with Chase that we first discovered his congenital heart defect, so I won't even pretend that I'm not nervous and sightly apprehensive about this appointment. In the end, I fully trust in God's plan for my sweet family and know He will take care of us. I have been meditating over Matthew 6:25-34 concerning this anatomy scan next week and will continue to do so as God reveals His will in our lives.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

The One with the Potty (Again)

Earlier this week, on Thursday, January 31, 2020, we officially began ATTEMPT #2 to potty train Squish. I spent some time here on my blog, reading through past posts about potty training the first 3 kids, and had a tiny bit of hope that maybe--just maybe!--we would find success this time with Squish. We tried for the first time about 6 weeks ago and he just wasn't having it. Surely he's ready now that he's 2 1/2, right??

I'm not so sure.

It's been a rough few days, y'all. It just hasn't seemed to "click" as well as it did with LO, Chase, and E. And we've been doing all of the same things: 24/7 access to the potty, an endless sippy cup of chocolate milk, unfettered access to electronics... all the things that worked in the past haven't quite seemed to work with sweet Squish.

Don't get me wrong--he's had a few successes on the potty. But those have been somewhat outnumbered by the accidents that have occurred elsewhere in the house. I typically like to potty train for the first few days with NOTHING on the bottom half, but that's proving to be difficult. We've got a pre-teen daughter and a dog: both reasons why it's not so great for a little guy to be strutting around half nakey.

I can't decide if I want to call it quits (again) or see it through for a few more days. I feel like the signs are there... I'm just waiting to see if/when it all "clicks" for him. Please pray for patience! I don't want to scar the boy with my irritability caused by having 3 other kids to care for, homeschooling, working part-time, and being 18 weeks pregnant with baby #5! There are a lot of stresses happening these days, and I really want this process to be as comfortable for Squish as possible. Lord help us!

Friday, January 3, 2020

Cardiology Update

This morning Chase had a routine checkup with his cardiologist. We'd been keeping an eye on his tricuspid valve regurgitation at prior appointments, but overall anticipated a straightforward appointment today.

We began with the typical height and weight measurements, followed by blood pressure readings on all four limbs, an EKG, and an O2 check. Everything was looking fine until we checked his oxygen saturation reading. For some reason, it never climbed any higher than 92-93. In the past, Chase has usually had sats around 97-99, so this was quite a bit lower than we anticipated.

We went back for the scheduled echo to check heart function and get pics for the cardiologist. Chase was a happy camper watching Cartoon Network during the echo (we NEVER watch this channel/programming at home so of course he was glued in LOL!).

I was surprised/concerned when the cardiologist, Dr. H, came into the echo room as this has never happened before. He requested the tech obtain specific views of Chase's LPA (left pulmonary artery), aortic arch, and of course tricuspid valve.

When the tech finished with what he thought the doctor needed, he left to go ask Dr. H to come back in to take a look to ensure he had everything he needed. Only Dr. H was with another patient, so our tech brought a second tech in (presumably more experienced) to double-check his work. She worked for a bit, then sent the first tech to find Dr. H. The cardiologist came in a second time and sat down at the echo machine (also never happened before). Dr. H looked around and was able to see most of what he wanted to see. Chase was such a trooper considering the echo took so much longer than usual!

Dr. H performing Chase's echo
Once the echo was complete, we went back to the exam room to discuss Dr. H's findings. Ultimately everything looked great -- heart function, tricuspid valve, LPA, liver, etc. However, Dr. H suspects that Chase may have a few collateral vessels that have formed, which would account for the decrease in oxygen saturation. His plan is for us to monitor Chase's O2 at home over the next 2 to 3 weeks to see if he holds around 92 or continues to slowly decrease. If it holds or continues to decrease, we will likely head to MUSC in Charleston for a heart catheterization.

This wasn't exactly the news we were hoping for, but we're grateful to find what we did so we can address it before it becomes a bigger problem. Please keep Chase in your prayers over the next few months as we make decisions about our next steps. If he's going to need a heart cath, we would definitely like to do it before Cinco makes his arrival. I'm trying not to stress out over what will unfold in the next few months. I know God has a perfect plan for this perfect boy of mine, and I fully trust Him!

For the first time in as long as I can recall, Dr. H wanted to draw some labs on Chase to check blood count, heart function, etc. So we left his office and had Chase's blood drawn at LabCorp. Y'all. He was NOT a fan. He got crazy worked up about it when I just explained to him what we needed to do. I felt awful. When it finally came time to have it done, I walked him through everything as best as I could and tried to settle him down. Bless his heart. This kid, who's been through three heart surgeries, countless heart caths, and a slew other procedures, flipped a major nut about one tiny little blood draw. Ultimately, he did great and they were able to get three vials for the tests Dr. H ordered. We finally we ready to head home, but not before a not-so-quick trip to Chick-fil-A during the lunch rush on a crazy rainy day! LOL!

Thanks for following along on Chase's heart journey and keeping our family in your prayers. Hugs to all!

"The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."    -- Philippians 5b-7

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Welcome Home, Lucy!

((Still playing catch up with the blog, y'all))

On November 19th, we surprised the kids with an early Christmas gift surprise by placing a single wrapped gift with a question mark label on it under the empty Christmas tree. They were perplexed to say the least. See?

Can you just take another look at Squish's face? Literally the best. 😂

We gave them the option of opening the gift or not, and not surprisingly, they all agreed to go for it!

Inside they found... a book on beagle puppies! I also included a flyer with our new pup's info on it for them, too!

Here's the big moment on video:

So on Saturday, November 30th (the day after we informed the kids they would be getting a new sibling!), we loaded up the kids in the Suburban, temporarily dubbed the "Christmas Express," and hit the road. The kids each had a Christmas gift bag in their seats stocked full with Christmas coloring books, candy, popcorn, activities, and more. They also each had a cup of hot chocolate in their cupholders, a Christmas movies was queued up in the DVD player, and I even went so far as to (gag) put reindeer antlers and a red nose on the Suburban (TEMPORARILY).

Now we were ready to hit the road! Destination? North Carolina. More specifically: Shiloh Farm! We were surprising the kids with a MAJOR Christmas gift a few weeks early... their very own beagle puppy!

They were all instantly in love the second they met her!

Somehow they were all able to come to agreement rather quickly that her name should be Lucy. Her middle name is Opal. Our last name starts with L, and they purposely chose Opal for her middle name so her initials would be LOL. Aren't they crazy? They thought Opal would be a good fit because she was born in October, and opal is the birthstone for October.

She was so tiny!

The kids settled in with her at home in no time flat! They loved watching her sleep.

Without a doubt, Lucy prefers Chase's "nap lap" over all others. She will curl up with him and take the best naps!

LO has been the best mama to her sweet Lucy. I love watching her take care of her little four-legged baby.

As you might have noticed, one of her favorite activities her first month or so with us was SLEEPING. She slept all.the.time. And she still sleeps a good bit! She stays in her crate at night and when we're gone, she loves running and playing in the backyard, and she's so great in playing with the kids inside. She's really been a wonderful addition to our family! The kids all love her so much, and though I'm not much of a pet person, I've been pleased at how well the kids have taken care of everything (with help from hubs): feeding, bathing, picking up poop, cleaning up inside messes, keeping little toys/choking hazards picked up and out of her reach, etc. Lucy has been a wonderful addition to our family!

Welcome home, Lucy!