And then there were 4...

And then there were 4...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Parker Turns 3

Parker is finally to the age that he understands the ideas behind Christmas, birthdays, and other holidays.  There's yummy food, lots of presents, and so much fun! However, in his little 3 year old mind, the concept of time has no bearing. That being said...his birthday spanned over the entire week, the actual day, and he still continues to ask whether or not packages are for his "burfday."  He loves being the center of attention, so it's no surprise that he was on cloud 9 pretty much the entire week leading up to his birthday.  He continually invited and uninvited us all to his party depending on how much he liked/disliked the things that we did.  He was so cute about it too.  He would snuggle up to you and say "I like can come to my party."  Or he would get mad at you and say "you aren't invited to my party."  It was hard not to laugh hysterically at the passion he would deliver both sentiments with.

The Party itself spanned over two days.  The first day was his actual birthday and fell on a Sunday.  We celebrated with Grandma Finlayson, and the Smiths, and just enjoyed a nice dinner at home.  Grandma and Daddy made a yummy dinner of chicken and steak, and Justien made cake pops that Parker was obsessed with!  The evening was simple, fun, and just what Parker wanted! The only damper on the party was the sad departure of Grandma Finlayson.  She had to get home to celebrate Grandpas birthday the next day. We are so glad she got to come visit!!

The next day was a Monday and the day of his party.  We picked up Grandma Papenfuss at the airport in the morning and then birthday prep began.  Grandma wrapped all the presents, stuffed all the goodie bags, and put the finishing touches on the cake.  Dad got home from work and then we all headed over to Chuck E Cheeses.  When we asked Parker who he wanted to invite he was really quick to reply with his guest list.  He wanted Rowan, Boden, and the Amakasus.  Perfect!  We ordered pizza, soda, and tokens and the kids all had a blast.  Parker didn't even need to put a token into a game to have a total blast "playing" it.  He ran around from game to game and was completely transfixed by all the lights and sounds.  He was so much fun to watch.  The kids all had a blast, and the best part was, there was little preparation and set up, and virtually no clean up.  Definitely my kind of party!!

Parker was the highlight of the evening and you could see the happiness level about to explode through his eyes.  He is my little sour patch kid and I wouldn't trade him for the world.  He does everything with such fierceness!  He loves fiercely, he plays fiercely, and if you make him mad...he will beat you fiercely.  This kid has so much heart I can't wait to see where it takes him in life and what he is able to accomplish!  Happy 3rd birthday Parker!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Strength of a Name

Growing up when people would ask me where I got my name from I would always have to reply with "my mom liked it."  Granted, my middle name is Lyn and that I got from my awesome Aunt Erica who is quite the person to be named after.  I am a lot like my Aunt Erica too which I take as the utmost compliment.  She is brave, kind, courageous, one of the hardest workers I know, and is not afraid to forge her own path in life!  So while I didn't have any strong connection to my first name, my middle name gave me a sense of family and connection.  I always wanted that for my kids and both of them have strong family names; a sense of family ties and connection to their ancestors.

When TJ and I were first married we knew that we wanted our daughter to be named Maylee.  Then we had two boys and our plans kept getting foiled.  So now that we find ourselves about to have our first girl, we are over the moon that we finally get to use this name; Maylee Rae Finlayson.

My mom has always been a pillar in my life.  A shining example of service and the pure love of Christ.  She will do just about anything for anyone, and serves in any capacity that she is needed.  He middle name is May and she has brought nothing but respect and love to that name.  A namesake for our daughter to carry and be honored to have.

Linda has always been a spiritual rock for the family.  She has more gospel knowledge than just about anyone I know.  She not only understands the gospel, but she puts it into practical application as she tries to govern her life after Christ.  She serves, she loves, she chooses the right.  Linda's middle name is Lee and throughout her life she has made sure that her name means something.  A name that we want our daughter to be proud to carry.

My Grandma Linda was one of the most courageous women I have ever met.  Despite insurmountable odds, she overcame, supported and raised two beautiful daughters, and never complained once.  She had to work for everything she had and was never expected any handouts from anyone.  She helped to raise her two grand kids when her daughter needed help, and never expected anything in return.  Grandmas middle name is Rae, and while it may not be a name a well recognizable name in society, it's a name I couldn't be prouder to have Maylee to bare.  Before my grandma died she crocheted a beautiful blessing dress for Maylee to use on her blessing day.  I know that she is in heaven preparing Maylee for her great entry into this world.  Teaching her the ways to be a bold woman in a scary world.  A woman with the fortitude and tenacity to make her own way in the world.

Maylee Rae Finlayson will be a girl blessed with a strong name.  She will have the opportunity to make the name her own, but the name will have strength and power behind it.  We are so honored to give her a name she can fall back on in times of need; women she can look to as examples of how she should govern her life to find joy, happiness, and success.  These are women who love the Lord, work hard, and are always ready and willing to serve.  Exactly how we want our daughter to be!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Trip for Mama pt 2...worst night ever!

Prior to my trip I had two mini episodes of side pains where I was laid up in bed for about 24 hours on lots of Tylenol, heating packs, and extra sleep.  The pain was bad, but manageable. Due to the aforementioned circumstances and pain isolated to one side I was pretty sure I wasn't in preterm labor.  Thanks to a dottying husband and lots of friends the pain came and went and baby was still healthy and inside of me.  

Well now fast forward a week since my last side pain episode and I find myself in Portland, a day before I'm supposed to fly home, and quite the unsuspecting victim.
The pain usually started out like period cramps.  In my back, only in one side, and that nagging pain that just won't let up. I took a few Tylenol and decided to sleep it off.  About 1 hour into "fighting through the pain" I decided it was time to go see if my mom had a heating pad I could use to try and reduce the pain.  Tender mercies are everywhere in this story and the fact that my mom was able to find a rice bag that she hasn't seen or used in years is definitely one of them.  The rice bag helped for a few minutes of relief; although I'm not sure if the pain was masked by my side literally burning from the temperature of the rice bag.  Rerouting the pain is real folks!  Another hour went by and I knew something was wrong.  I started throwing up, getting dizzy, and the pain was getting so bad I couldn't keep from shrieking in pain.  I called TJ who called our insurance and found an advice nurse I could talk to in order to get "approved" for a covered trip to the ER.  I wasn't able to talk because of the pain so my mom spoke for me and told the nurse all that had and all that was transpiring.  She deduced that I should get to an ER within 15 minutes for the safety of the baby and I.  So off we went!  

Milwaukee Providence Hospital (where Dominik was born) was the closest hospital to us that had an ER and due to my massive amount of pain and my mom's jerky driving (love you mom) I opted for the closest choice.  We walked into a waiting room with several people...but again, tender mercy...I was taken right back to a triage room to be examined.  I don't remember much of what happened in that room other than being in a lot of pain, getting stuck with needles (the nurse couldn't get an IV in), throwing up, doctors asking a slew of questions - most of which my mom answered - and then being told that I was being lights and sirens ambulanced to Portland Providence Hospital for emergency surgery.  WHAT?!  How had this all escalated so quickly. Or what I thought was quick.  It was actually about 4 hours from the time I had gotten to the ER to the time the ambulance kicked me up for transport.  I definitely wasn't lucid for most of it, and without the consult of an OB the ER was leery of how much and what kinds of pain meds to give me.  I was still throwing up because of pain and I was starting to wish that Heavenly Father was calling me home and that the pain would end soon.  

The ambulance ride was nothing short of miserable.  The sweet EMT was trying to take my mind off the pain by being extra chatty but all I wanted to do was grin and bare it.  I tried giving the nonverbal clues of not wanting to chat, and then when that didn't work I tried doing the short one word answers.  He proceeded to chat through the entire ride and I couldn't have been more grateful to get out of that rig!!  From here I was taken to labor and delivery; to hopefully neither labor nor deliver.  Baby was only 35 weeks baked and needed a little more time in mama.  The nurses were amazing upon check in and wasted no time in getting a narcotics drip going with a bolster I could push every 10 minutes to manage my own pain.  

Within the first hour of arriving at Portland Providence I had already seen an OB, a urologist, and a slew of nurses.  All were amazing, attentive, and so sincerely genuine in trying to help me.  Something that is a little more scarce in a military hospital.  I also had my mom close by my side which was reassuring since I still was in a lot of pain and was having a hard time following all that was going on.  The narcotics didn't help in that either.  So now we are on hour 7 of pain and things were finally bearable and manageable.  I was able to get little naps in between my vitals and baby's vitals being checked, and I had settled into a nice routine with potty breaks and eating my delicious ice chips.  Finally the urologist came to see my with the medical diagnosis of kidney stones.  He couldn't be 100% sure of kidney stones due to the fact they couldn't do a CAT scan to locate them (radiation warnings for baby), but all my symptoms seemed to point that direction.  He gave me three options for treatment: 1. Do nothing a pray I didn't have any more episodes, 2. Place a stent - a tube that goes from my kidney to my bladder with coils at both ends to help with drainage, and 3. Another stent like tube but this one would come out of my back for drainage.  None of the options seemed to be great, but since I didn't want to just do nothing and I definitely didn't want a tube out my back...anstent was the only viable option.

This whole time up until now my rockstar husband was hundreds of miles away and only getting bits and pieces of information on how I was doing and what my treatment plan was.  Luckily he had already taken the day off of work to be with the boys while I was still in Portland.  

So stent surgery was on the schedule and now I just had to wait for an opening on the surgical board that I could fill.  Fast forward 10 hours!!  Mind you I was on an ice chip diet and only receiving other fluids and "calories" through an IV. I got no satisfaction of food and drink but still had to pee every hour!!  So not fair!! Lucky for me though, my pain was managed, and the narcotics were also curbing my appetite and helping me sleep.  My mom and dad were with me in the hospital room (my dad cancelled a work trip and my mom called in a sub to teach her about making a girl feel loved).  The day was wearing and my bag of liquid food was getting old.  Time for surgery!  "Yay!"  

The urologist on night schedule and the one who would do my surgery was actually better (in my opinion) than the guy who did my original diagnosis of kidney stones.  He explained the procedure, asked lots of questions, and then even cracked a joke.  Next up was the anesthesiologist.  He decided on a spinal block as least risky for baby and best recovery time.  He also gave me some anti nausea meds and some stronger narcotics than I was already on to help me "zone out" during the procedure.  Next thing I remember I was being told the surgery was over and being taken back to recovery.  Spinal blocks are no joke people!!  I couldn't feel my body from the neck down and can't even tell you how strange and scary it was.  The nurse kept asking me if I could "feel this" or "feel that," and each time I would reply with "feel what?"  There was nothing!  No sensation, no prick, no hot or cold.  Compiled with the fact that I'm emotional, pregnant, and already prone to high anxiety...things weren't looking good.  Tender mercy again, my recovery time was swift and before too long I was in full feeling from my head to my toes. But the pain was back in full force and my bolster had been taken away.  After mild pleading the nurses set the bolster back up and I was feeling much better.  The urologist came back and told me the surgery went great well.  He said when they were placing the stent there was a definite blockage of my ureter but again without the CAT scan they couldn't know if it was a stone or something else.  He said there were no stones removed and that until baby was born nothing else could be done.  Once baby was born they would do a full CAT scan to locate the stones, blast them, and then remove the stent...insert crying face.  This all translated to "you're not out of the woods and will have a bit to a lot of pain until baby is born and we can finish the procedure."  NOT what I wanted to hear!!


The next 8 hours were full of recovery, pain management, and getting checked out.  TJ booked me another flight to come home (at this point it's all I wanted to home), and I was given a nice prescription of pain killers to help me manage and cope over the course of the rest of my pregnancy.  The pain was proving to be more intense than any doctor had foreseen, but nothing compared to what I felt a mere 36 hours before.  The flight was long and included an old chatty lady who had to pee twice (on a two hour flight!!!)...not my ideal flight home.  But to be back in my baby's arms with my two babies in the back seat was so worth it!!!  I'm so grateful for my mom and dad and their love and support through what I will always remember as the worst night of my life.  Tender mercies were all around me and despite the trial this was and continues to be, I have no doubt that my Father in Heaven was watching over me and sending his angels to be round about me to bear me up.  I'm so blessed by my family and their willingness to drop everything on a whim to help me. 

So where am I now?  Two weeks later and I'm still on narcotics, I'm still in a great deal of pain, and I still have a tube in my system extending from my kidney to my bladder. The tube is digging into my bladder and making me pee blood, my baby could potentially be addicted to narcotics at birth, and I can't spend more than 8 hours with my kids before I break down in tears because I'm too tired or hurting too bad to be a mom.  So am I out of the woods? No!  Is the end in sight? Yes!  Only three more weeks of growing baby and then 24 hours after I deliver I can have the next surgery to remove the stent, blast the stones, and hopefully be pain free.  Through more tender mercies, help from my great friends, a superstar husband, and two moms who are willing to drop everything and come to here to help...I can do this.  It might be painful and it might seem unbearable at times...but I can do this!  I'm just hoping and praying that these next three weeks go super fast 😉