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!

Monday, December 30, 2019

The (LONG) One with the Gender Reveal

Let's talk GENDER, folks!

I know what you may likely be thinking... it's too early for gender! And typically that might be true. We didn't find out until our 20 week ultrasounds with the first four kiddos, so this is definitely new for me!

So here's the deal: I'm older than dirt. And as a pregnant geriatric, I have slightly more concern this time around when it comes to the baby's health. Hubs and I discussed and decided to have a non-invasive pregnancy test (NIPT), the Natera Panorama. This simple blood test is a screening test for the most common genetic conditions. This test also happens to include the baby's gender. While we weren't choosing to do the test for the gender reveal, we did feel it would be in our best interest to know if the baby had any issues so we could best prepare for his/her arrival.

I had the test drawn on 12/12/2019. I was hopeful to have the results back by the time I went to my first appointment with the perinatologist on 12/23/2019 for a nuchal translucency ultrasound, which would also screen the baby for potential chromosomal defects. My grand plan was to collect all of the information I could possibly get my hands on to ensure (as best as I could) that the baby was healthy before making an official announcement to family and friends. And believe it or not, everything came together (almost) perfectly!

The morning of my ultrasound, I called my OB's office and left a message to inquire if my Panorama NIPT results were in yet. I was super stoked to get a call back a few hours later to tell me my results were in, and the BEST NEWS EVER was that the screening returned LOW RISK for potential defects! This meant < 1/10,000 y'all! It was such a relief! Not a full guarantee, of course, but a relief nonetheless.

Later that afternoon was my first full workup with the perinatologist, including the nuchal translucency ultrasound. Everything went well during the ultrasound and we were able to see our sweet little guy or gal! The doctor informed us that everything looked great! The measurements looked great and further indicated our baby's health. Hubs and I will remain "cautiously optimistic" until we have the full anatomy scan at 20 weeks to check baby's heart, etc., but for now, we felt confident that we were ready to share our exciting news!


The next step of my plan involved picking up an envelope at my OB's office with the baby's gender written inside. I had planned to order 6 gender reveal cupcakes from Lowes Foods that afternoon to pick up on Christmas Eve. I wanted to line the kids up at the table on Christmas Day after they opened all their gifts and have them all take a huge bite to see which color was inside to indicate boy or girl. I picked up the envelope, and decided I'd call Lowes to place the order over the phone, so I'd just need to run in real quick to drop off the envelope.

This is when my perfect plan was foiled!

The lovely ladies at the Lowes bakery informed me they already had too many cupcake orders and couldn't fill mine. I asked a few follow-up questions, and the phone was handed off to the bakery manager. I told her I only needed 6 gender reveal cupcakes, and she proceeded to inform me that THEY CANNOT PUT ANYTHING INSIDE THE CUPCAKES.

Y'all.

Have you heard of Pinterest? There's like a gazillion ways you can stuff stuff inside of cupcakes! And all I wanted was just a little shmooze of pink or blue frosting!

Anywho, they straight up refused and I was left scrambling. Hubs tried to fix the situation by offering Publix or Bi-Lo cupcakes as a second option, which I vehemently refused. My plan revolved around Lowes Foods cupcakes.

Fast-forward a bit to later that evening. We took the kids to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants for dinner. I began sharing The Great Cupcake Ordeal of 2019 with them, and they were terribly disappointed. If you think I like cupcakes (and basically every dessert imaginable), you should meet my kids. They LIVE for sweets. #momwin 😳

When I mentioned I had the envelope in my purse, the kids all said they wanted to go ahead and open it. Right there. While waiting on our dinner. At Anita's. And I couldn't help but oblige!

It wasn't "my" plan. And I hadn't had time yet to come up with a Plan B. But seeing the excitement on my kids' faces was all I needed. The most important thing about my original plan was that it would be the 6 of us together. Just us. No fancy gender reveal party, folks. Just my sweet fam finding out together. And wouldn't you know it -- my sweet fam was gathered around that table stuffing our faces with chips and salsa. It really couldn't have been more perfect!

Before opening the envelope, I polled the family to ask what they thought it would be (not necessarily what they wanted it to be). Here are the results:

Mommy: Boy
Daddy: Girl
LO: Boy
Chase: Girl
E: Boy
O: ???

Without further ado, check out this little video for our big reveal for baby #5!



Hahahahaha!! Poor Chase!!! 🤣
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Here’s the official proof!



After we found out the gender on 12/23, we told our families we were expecting on 12/24, and then shared the gender with them two days later on 12/26. What a whirlwind of Christmas and new baby excitement!!!

We can’t wait to welcome little boy Cinco in 2020!






Sunday, December 29, 2019

12 Weeks

Yes, it's me again... trying to get caught up on all.things.baby. here on the blog. I'm going back in time almost 2 weeks to share my 12 week bump photo! This is from 12/18/2019. I will be honest here, folks, as always: I'm pretty sure my belly "popped" the second I saw the positive pregnancy test! Seems I show earlier and earlier with each pregnancy, and this time has definitely been no different! It's been a struggle to find a variety of baggy tops to constantly pair with concealing cardigans while waiting to publicly share our big news.

I'm happy to report the ABSOLUTELY INSANE FIRST TRIMESTER FATIGUE is finally starting to abate and I'm returning to a somewhat functional human being. It's helped a lot that we've been on a homeschool break for a few weeks (with another one to go!) and hubs has been home much more due to the holidays. I'm looking forward to accomplishing much in my second trimester... including starting a new part-time job next month that I'm über excited about!

Cravings haven't been a big deal this time around (so far😁). It's been a mix of both sugary deliciousness and savory goodness, so no clear craving signal pointing to either gender. LOL.


The One Where We Tell the Kids

If you happened to miss my little announcement on Christmas, we are excited about welcoming our fifth (and FINAL😜) little one, who we've dubbed "Cinco," due July 1, 2020! There's so much to share, and since I'm terrible at both remembering details AND filling out baby books, my blog will serve yet again as the central hub for all.things.baby.

We told the kids the day after Thanksgiving. As usual, I had a grand plan that did NOT go as expected. I wanted to take a Christmas photo of the kids in their pajamas, and add in an extra pair for baby to see their reaction. I planned to use the beautiful photo that resulted as our Christmas card AND baby announcement for family and friends.

For starters, my setup was terrible. A way-too-small blanket on the grass, some ghetto garland sprinkled with a few red and gold ornaments, and a ladder to get some height over the kids for the photo. It just wasn't a great setup.

Here's my proof:


Can you say double-chin? Can you say completely uncooperative 2-year-old? Things just didn't go according to my vision.


While taking the (awful) pictures, I mentioned how something was missing. I asked hubs for some help, and he walked over and put the additional baby pajamas next to Squish. You can already see LO and Chase are looking perplexed...


They sat up for a closer look...


At first they thought it was something for the new puppy (blog post coming soon on that one!), but then they realized what it meant. Well, the older two did. E and Squish were both quite oblivious!


LO's face was priceless once she realized what was going on and looked up at me on the ladder. LOL!


Overall I think it was safe to say they were surprised!

My sweet smiley Squish!


Chase's face says it all... LOL!


As does LO's... 


I love my sweet crew and I'm so excited to welcome one more sweet little to our family!

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas 2019

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone reading this is enjoying the best Christmas ever! We've had a wonderful holiday week so far. Last night, for Christmas Eve, we attended a wonderful service at our church and enjoyed a big family gathering at my sister's house. The kids all opened their matching buffalo plaid pajamas! It was so much fun!

This morning, the kids were so kind to wait until after 8AM to wake up (some of them much later), so I was able to sneak downstairs to get a few pics before they came downstairs to kick off the magic!

Every year, the kids get new ornaments. Squish got a new car!


E got a Star Wars ornament!


Chase got a new game controller ornament!


And LO got a new reindeer!


Here are a few pics of the loot!





The kids made cookies for Santa last night and they came out so cute! Here's a BEFORE pic...


And an AFTER pic once Santa was done with them! LOL! He enjoyed his cookies and chocolate milk. He even wrote back to Chase's request for a note from Santa in his journal!


The kids were SUPER excited to see all the Christmas fun awaiting them downstairs!


My favorite thing about Christmas this year was watching the kids start out by opening the gifts they had each made for each other. Chase made E a Splatoon gun of some sort. It was so neat to see Chase was probably just excited to GIVE the gift as E was to receive it!


LO crocheted an AMAZING Pikachu for Chase. I still can't believe she MADE this! Isn't he adorable?!


Check out this adorable reindeer LO made for me! I love it so much!


Chase was thrilled to receive one of his Christmas wishes: a skateboard!


Lots of new games for E this year (since he happens to be an expert at losing game pieces). Ha!


Chase and E with their new onesie jams: Pikachu for Chase and a Minecraft creeper for E!


O finally woke up about 2 hours later and was excited to try out his new balance bike!



His stocking contained one of his most favorite things ever: M&Ms!


Bed hair don't care. LOL!


Here O paused mid-gift opening to randomly say, "Cheese!" since I had my camera in his face. Haha!


I didn't get too many pics of LO, but she was super thrilled with her new Warrior book sets, a new dress, new boots, and lots of other great stuff!

We loved our family time this morning, and are super excited to continue our Christmas festivities with Christmas dinner at our BFFs tonight, and then hosting my entire family for Christmas dinner tomorrow night!

Merry Christmas, all!

A Little Announcement. . .

Merry Christmas!

I shared a little announcement* today on fb and IG and of course wanted to share it here, too!


*Hint: Count the pairs of shoes!