Tuesday, July 25, 2017

LO's 10th Birthday!

What a day! We've had a wonderful time celebrating LO's 10th birthday! I can barely believe she's been here for a DECADE! Or that I've been a mom for ten whole years! I still feel like such a novice when it comes to parenting, but that's a post for another day!

To kick off LO's birthday celebration, she had a sleepover with a couple of her friends two weeks ago. It was so much fun! The girls had a blast, and I appreciated the fact that LO basically handled all.of.the.details. for the party. What a treat for me! She did everything -- from the invitations to the menu planning to the crafts to the cupcake baking -- EVERYTHING! It was wonderful.

Here's her adorable handmade invite! Her handwriting could definitely be better, but I'm pretty sure she did them quickly in her room during quiet time.


She made these cupcakes! I showed her how to pipe the chocolate buttercream on one cupcake and she did the rest! All the horse decor was perfect!


Themed snacks ftw!





The girls enjoyed snacks, pizza, movies, popcorn, and of course they did nails! Two of LO's younger brothers decided to get in on the action. Here's E sporting his pretty nails! Chase had his done with Poké balls, but I forgot to take a pic! #momfail


The second phase of LO's birthday extravaganza was with our family on her actual birthday. We started the day with our traditional birthday pancakes! I can't believe all the candles!




Brother love!


More brother love!


Lots of brother love!


I think this one shows some sister love! Little squishy loves his big sis!


Mmmmmmm... breakfast!


My sweet girl BAKED HER OWN birthday cake! She's becoming an expert! She made a cookies and cream buttercream filling and chocolate buttercream for the finishing touch!


My beautiful girl!


Couldn't help but grab a pic of this guy's cheesy grin. ;)


Goofy girl!


My little pyro loves to light her own candles! With parent supervision, obvi.




May your wish come true!


Her card from mommy & daddy.


Um, E likes cake. And being silly.


Present time!!


She was THRILLED to get the 4th book in this series! It released TODAY on her actual birthday. She couldn't be more excited!!!


I love love love love love this gift! I created monthly date nights that rotate between mommy & daddy each month for a year. This month is a daddy/daughter date, next month is a mommy/daughter date, etc., through June of next year. Quality time is her main love language, so I think she's excited about this gift!!!




She was so surprised (and shocked, actually!) that she would have special dates with us for an entire year! Love her so!!!



Chase has Pikachu from Build-A-Bear. E has Charmander. LO has been wanting Eevee. We have a trip to BAB in our future! :)


Yet ANOTHER horse craft. This girl LOVES these things! She has quite a collection!


A gorgeous artsy horse shirt!


Seriously -- she was SO goofy today!


Beautiful!


Again with this goofy dude!


LO's yummy cake!


Tonight we enjoyed the next phase of "LO Turns Ten" with dinner at Pizza Inn with our family! It was SO much fun to have ((most of)) our family all together to celebrate LO!! Unfortunately I was so busy chatting and stuffing my face that I didn't take any pics! But we had a great time, and my sweet girl was spoiled with a ton of awesome gifts from her loving family.

It seems my sweet girl had a great day celebrating her 10th birthday, and we will continue to celebrate throughout the rest of the week. She's so excited! I just love that girl so much and I'm so grateful for the blessing of being her mama! I cannot wait to see what God has in store for the next 10 years of her life!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BEST GIRL!!!!!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The One with the Procedure

I just wanted to share a little update and answer to prayer here for my own recollection in the upcoming weeks/months/years. You may recall that Squish wasn't able to be circumcised in the hospital because he had bad reflux and the pediatrician preferred to do it in his office the following week so as to not deal with a compromised airway during such a delicate procedure. We wholeheartedly agreed, and scheduled this office visit for the following Wednesday when Squish would be 8 days old.

Well, you know from this post that we were in the doctor's office (or hospital!) quite a bit during Squish's first week, and that the pediatrician noticed an "issue" during an appointment on Squish's one-week birthday that required us to be referred to Pediatric Urology for a possible surgery in addition to circumcision. GASP! Not what you want to hear as parents of a sweet little squishy newborn!

Fast-forward to the following Friday when Squish was two weeks old, and we found ourselves at the Pediatric Urologist for a follow-up and diagnosis. Imagine our surprise when the doctor noticed NO ISSUES with sweet Squish's boy parts, and said she didn't see any reason why we couldn't proceed with an in-office circ. No surgery! No complications! Praise the Lord!!!

We tried to schedule the procedure at check-out, but they weren't able to get in touch with the scheduler and told us they would give us a call. Let me mention here that we were told it would be possible to do the circ in the office as long as Squish was UNDER 10 POUNDS. If he was over that weight, we would need to do a sedated procedure under general anesthesia, which isn't great for tiny little newborns, so it would require that we wait until he's at least 6 months old. Not at all what we wanted to do!

The following week I waited patiently for a call from their office while keeping a very close eye on Squish's weight (we have an infant scale and I weigh him before every bath). I hadn't heard from their office by Wednesday, so I gave them a call.

I was told that the schedule is full, they weren't able to find any room for Squish's procedure, and that they were going to refer us to the Pediatric Surgery unit affiliated with their hospital system.

I was NOT happy about that!

I was fine with our pediatrician doing the circ as he is the same one who did E's. I of course was okay with a Pediatric Urologist doing the circ, because, well, duh! But I did NOT have a warm n' fuzzy feeling about a general peds surgeon doing his circ. But I went ahead and called over there anyway just to see what our options were.

Imagine my surprise when Peds Surgery said they didn't have any room on their schedule, either!

What??

Gracious. They told me they were planning to do a clinic day to do circumcisions as they had several that needed to be done, but they wouldn't know until the following week when it would be scheduled, and they knew it wouldn't be until the week after that (end of July) before the clinic would actually take place.

My chunky little monkey would have been WELL OVER 10 pounds by that time! So then we'd be back to the plan of having to wait 6+ months (not a big deal) and put him under general anesthesia (a VERY BIG DEAL) in order to have it done.

I was beside myself!

{SIDE NOTE: For those who don't know about our journey with Chase, he was born with a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). Basically the left side of his heart was too small to function. He had his first of three heart surgeries when he was 7 days old. When he was 2 weeks old, he had to go back to the OR for what was supposed to be a standard bronchoscopy procedure, but it ended up resulting in him crashing on the transport bed, the emergency oxygen tank was NOWHERE to be found, and the team ended up doing chest compressions and CPR on our fragile newborn baby boy. You can read about horrible that experience here.}

So if you happen to think we're being a bit ridiculous with our concerns over putting Squish under general anesthesia, please know we have had difficult experiences with one of our other children, which makes it difficult for us to hand over another baby for such a procedure.

So, I ended up calling the Pediatric Urology office back and informed them that Peds Surg was booked, too, and that they wouldn't be able to get him in until he'd be comfortably over the 10 pound limit. They ended up looking at their schedule again, and were able to find a TINY window the following Tuesday to fit him in.

Again, Praise the Lord!

This was such a HUGE answer to prayer to my mama heart. I didn't want to go through general anesthesia with my little Squishy! Thank you, Jesus, for hearing our hearts and making a way where there seemed to be no way!

So fast-forward to last Tuesday, July 11th, and we were at the Peds Urology office for Squish's circ. The entire procedure took less than 20 minutes, and he handled it like a champ! Bless. He's been surprisingly awesome these past 5 days as well, even with the extra care we've had to take to ensure he heals well. Seriously, this kid is just amazing, folks! Well, I guess all of our kiddos have been pretty relaxed and laid back babies... we are so grateful!

Here's my sweet little fella while we were waiting for them to take him back for his procedure last Tuesday. I'm thinking he wasn't overwhelmingly excited about the idea...


And here he is this afternoon, all sweet and content and just lovely...


I'm grateful that God has brought us through the unexpected difficulties of Squish's first month! I just love this little guy and I pray he has a much smoother road ahead!

Thanks for following our journey! Hugs!!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Squish is One Month Old!

My sweet Squish is one month old! I just love this guy. He's the best! He's so laid back and calm... the absolute perfect recipe for a fourth child!

We've had a great first month with him! His first week started out a bit rocky, but things have since calmed down and we're all adjusting nicely to our new routines as a family of six!


Just for fun, check out this little guy's one month pic! Any guesses?


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Squish's Birth Story

I've been working on this post for almost two weeks, y'all! Sheesh! I like to have my little ones' birth stories here on my blog with lots of details so I can relive the experience over and over when I read my blog, so please understand there will be a LOT of info here. :)

Monday, June 12th.

It was our last morning together as a family of five, so we did it up right by enjoying Krispy Kreme donuts in bed while watching cartoons!


Hubs' parents had planned to come over that evening to stay with our older 3 kiddos while hubs and I headed to the hospital to begin my scheduled induction at 6:00 PM. We had planned to eat a big dinner (my last meal!) before going to the hospital, but we ended up taking the kids to a late lunch at Culver's, so I wasn't super hungry. Instead, we popped into Jimmy John's for some sandwiches, chips, and a cookie (for me!), and took them with us to the hospital.

We went up to the registration desk, where Donna got everything situated for us and led us into our room. I, of course, had the joy of changing into the standard issue hospital gown (so chic!) and crawling into bed.


The nurse came in and started my IV and set up the fetal monitor. Just before 7 PM, I was able to enjoy my Jimmy John's -- with little to no concern about my blood sugar numbers! Yay!! My final meal! But even with that, I could only bring myself to eat half of the sandwich... so much yummy bread!


Around 8:15 PM, the nurse placed the Cervidil, a medication used to help dilate the cervix, which would remain in place for around 9 hours. I wasn't allowed to eat or drink or get out of bed for 2 hours after the Cervidil, so I settled in and hung out with hubs and my awesome mama. I had the diffuser going with some lovely lavender throughout our hospital stay, and the room was so quiet and relaxing! Perfect for preparing for a baby's delivery.


My awesome mama! She's been by my side for all FOUR of my deliveries! And was my baby nurse for all but Chase's delivery! LOVE HER.


In addition, I had an adorable pic of my three kiddos to focus on throughout the delivery.


By 10:30 PM, I was able to eat and drink again, so at the nurse's recommendation, I went ahead and ate the rest of my sandwich, most of my oatmeal raisin cookie, and a Sierra Mist! Not even a diet one, either! Whaaaat!?? LOL! I did end up checking my blood sugar an hour later, and it was 145. That actually wasn't the worst ever! Haha!

Tuesday, June 13th.

The nurse removed the Cervidil at 5:20 AM and checked me only to find... NO CHANGE. I was so disappointed! I told hubs I just wanted to go home. It was so frustrating for me to spend that night in the hospital, away from the kids, for the purpose of getting labor started, only to have NO CHANGE. Honestly, I had really wanted to let my labor start naturally this time around, but it was clear that we needed to do the induction at 39 weeks for the safety of the baby. But to have zero change? Ugh.

Around 5:45 AM, I went off the monitors to take a shower, and tried desperately to convince myself everything was going to be okay. Honestly, I knew I would do whatever was required of me to ensure Squish's safe arrival. Even if it couldn't be "my" way.

Just before 7 AM, the nurse started the Pitocin to help get the contractions going. It was such a slow process. My inductions with LO, Chase, and E all started pretty much the same: 39 week inductions requiring Cervidil overnight with no big change, then hours and hours of Pitocin to slooooowwwwwlllyyyy kick labor into gear. So I shouldn't have been surprised at how things were progressing. LO was SO stubborn and didn't make her debut until 11:48 PM. Chase was a sweetheart with his arrival at 3:37 PM. I was hopeful E would outdo his siblings and arrive even earlier than Chase, but he held out until 6:30 PM. So I was figuring that we'd be in for a L-O-N-G day with our little Squish.


Around 11:20 AM, the doctor came in to break my water. I was about 2 cm dilated. The hope was that this would help labor to really pick up.

By 3:30 PM, I was ready for an epidural. Honestly it seemed like FOREVER before the anesthesiologist finally came in to get things going. I was in so.much.pain! While they were prepping the epidural, there was a huge thunderstorm that moved through the area, causing a quick power outage! Not exactly what you want to have happen during this procedure! Additionally, they had me sit with my legs over the side of the bed, which was the worst.position.ever. to combat the painful contractions I was experiencing. Add the obnoxious blood pressure cuff that kept slipping down my arm to my elbow (SO PAINFUL when it constantly kept turning on to check my BP and pinching my skin!) and all of this added up to the Perfect Storm of PAIN!!!

Now, if you've been reading my blog for awhile, you would know that I keep it private in that I don't post our actual names (other than Chase's), and I NEVER post pictures of myself. However, I'm making the decision to share one here. Hubs was a GEM with my camera during Squish's delivery. In fact, took the below picture of me while I was prepped for the epidural. The anesthesiologist's assistant (I'm sure she has a cooler job title than that) was shocked to see hubs taking pictures of me at this moment! He assured her he had my permission to do so - LOL! I wanted to share this picture here because I had documented week after week after week of my belly growth during the pregnancy, and you know there are always ZILLIONS of pictures of new babies once they are born, but there is rarely the photos that depict the process of getting the baby here. I'm so grateful to have this photo!


With the epidural finally on board, I was able to relax and rest a bit in preparation for Squish's arrival. This was awesome, because I had no idea how quickly he'd be making his debut! When the nurse checked me around 3:55 PM, I was at 5 cm. This was waaaaay better than 2 cm! YAY! I was happy to hear that labor hadn't stalled due to the epidural.

Imagine my surprise when my nurse checked me at 5:05 PM and I was COMPLETE. As in, totally ready to get my sweet baby out!!! The nurse called my doctor to let her know it was time, and then she had me get ready to start pushing. Usually there's a doctor present when it's time to push, but I guess the nurse was just trying to see where we were at and how much pushing would be involved to get Squish here. She had me push, and they had literally counted to "4" when she told me to STOP! Squish was crowning and ready to come out. It was a pretty chaotic moment as my doctor and the rest of the delivery team came in and set up the room for delivery.

Once the doctor was in place, I had the green light to start pushing! One and a half EASY pushes later, and HE WAS HERE!!! Talk about love at first sight!


My wonderful mama cut Squish's cord! Hubs has never been interested in doing this (I don't blame him), but when the doctor offered the job to my mom, she was happy to do it!


After Squish arrived, they placed him on my belly for some skin time. Within 20 minutes, he was nursing! And he continued nursing for an hour and a half! I was so surprised and so pleased! My little overachiever! Haha!

His first blood sugar was 51, which was absolutely perfect!


*** Baby Squish ***
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
5:25 PM
8 lbs. 1 oz.
21 3/4 inches


LO, Chase, and E came up to visit us once we were moved into our Postpartum room. They were so thrilled to meet their new baby brother!!!





Chase held Squish twice! He was so very sweet with his baby brother. #love


Proud big sis of THREE little brothers!


I can't remember if LO or Chase had the camera for this next pic, but they got a great shot of E in his Captain America shirt. LOL!



My mom gave Squish his very first bath, just as she did for LO and E. Such a precious and wonderful memory! You can see my little fella was a big fan of the fun! Haha!


We had a surprisingly restful night! Squish had to have a heel stick to check his blood sugar before each feeding for his first 12 hours, and all of them came back great, so we were done with that by 5:30 AM. He ate well, and slept well, too! It was a MUCH better night than it had been with E's one and only night in the hospital.

Wednesday, June 14th. 

After a restful night, we had plans to have the kids come back up around lunchtime for more family time together. After lunch, hubs and I started discussing the idea of getting discharged rather than staying a second night. Squish was just so laid-back and easy-peasy that we figured why not head home? We had to be there for at least 24 hours after Squish's delivery because there were some tests he needed to have done after the 24 hour mark, so we knew it'd probably be close to 7:00 PM before we would be able to leave.

Fast-forward a few hours, and Squish successfully passed his newborn hearing screening, his CHD O2 screening (Praise the Lord!), had the blood drawn for his newborn screening and his bilirubin test. The only thing we had to wait on was the results of the bilirubin test, which could take about an hour.

The nurse let us know his bilirubin was 7.7, which, apparently, was a bit high. We had to schedule a follow-up appointment with Squish's pediatrician for Thursday to repeat the test (you can read all about our first week home with Squish here), but then we were free to go!

My sweet, sweet Squish!


I just love these tiny toes! Poor baby had several heel sticks to check his blood sugar during our hospital stay. He still has little scars on his heels two weeks later. :(


I am so smitten with this little guy! He is the perfect addition to our little family and we couldn't be more blessed!


Thank you for following along with our family and for joining me to hear Squish's birth story! Hugs!