Monday, June 23, 2014

The "Miscarriage"

Most people know about this, but I want to journalize the experience so here it is:

Ammon and I wanted get pregnant in the Summer of 2013. Unfortunately, the IV antibiotics they gave me during my MRSA hospital stay could do a number on my insides, so they recommended delaying a pregnancy until August.  Well when August came, things weren't exactly 'normal' with me.  I had alternating periods every 6  weeks then 2 weeks, so I visited with my doc.  I had been off birth control since January technically, but my body could take up to a year to regulate the hormones, so she recommended an ultrasound.  I still had a bunch of bills from my hospital stay, so I decided to put off my ultrasound until December 1st, when our insurance and flex spending account would renew.  Well, at the end of October, I had a positive pregnancy test, so Ammon and I were excited that we would be having another baby without much fuss.  However, it felt very different from my other pregnancies.  I couldn't really explain it, but I knew something was weird.  That and the occasional spotting kept me pretty worried, but everybody with whom I discussed it always assured me everything would be fine.

 My OB doesn't like to see pregnancy patients before they are 8 weeks along (since the heartbeat doesn't start beating till around 7), so I scheduled the ultrasound accordingly on November 20ish.  Due to all my weird feelings, I convinced Ammon to take time off work to meet me at the doc's office for the appointment.  He told her how I had crazy paranoia and they had a good laugh until, sure enough, the ultrasound showed that it was nothing but dud:  the technical term is a blighted ovum, but basically I was having a false pregnancy.  It happened to most women at some point in their life, but often they don't even realize it because the body gets rid of it before a test is even taken.  The doc suggested I do a D&C, but because of the financial situation, I couldn't agree to it until December.  In the mean time, I was asked to go in for weekly blood tests and biweekly ultrasounds to ensure that the fetus was in fact not viable and that nothing abnormal was happening.  The doc said that as long as my hormones go down and it didn't get any bigger, we could just allow my body to miscarry the sac the old-fashioned way. 

Of course I believe it was the spirit preparing me for the shock of the situation.  I had a good cry that day, but when I started bleeding the next evening, I felt comforted with the sequence of events.  If I had started bleeding before my appointment, I could have worked myself into a real panic and always questioned if I had done something to hurt a possible baby.  However, since this wasn't ever a baby, and I knew that, the loss was small....

Fast-forward two-weeks later.  My hormones had gone up and in spite of bleeding, the sac was still there.  I was even getting frequently nauseated like a normal pregnancy. The doc was now strongly suggesting a D&C, but I was still nervous and didn't want to go through another surgery.  She said we could wait another two weeks, but with how much my hormones were climbing, she was worried waiting too long might do further harm than good. The Sunday after that appointment, a woman in relief society shared an experience she had the year before involving her two-year old daughter.  Basically, the daughter's skull had been crushed and in spite of otherwise recovering miraculously quick, her skull did not fuse together like it was supposed to.  Months went by with frequent visits to her doctor, but the skull still didn't fuse.  The mom kept putting off the surgery until, at one appointment, the doctor told her they could only wait one more month. Any longer and they would be running the risk of permanent damage to the daughter's brain.  As she struggled through that month, she said she was finally put it in God's hands and agree to the surgery.  At the next doctor's appointment, she told the doctor to move forward with the procedure.  The miracle, of course, was that the skull had finally fused. 

I couldn't help feeling that her story was very much for me.  I just needed to let go and let God, as they say.  My sis-in-law had gone through the D&C procedure a few years ago (with the same doc), so that Sunday evening I went to her house to discuss her experience.  She made me feel confident that I could go through it, so at the next doc's appointment, I asked for them to do the insurance precert and inform me of the price.  The next week, they informed me that it would cost less than $100, so I decided to schedule the procedure.  Unfortunately, with the holidays and the doctor's busy schedule, they couldn't fit me in until the 2nd Tuesday in January.  As Murphy's law would have it, the week before my surgery, the pregnancy hormones began to drop significantly.  This meant that because my body was getting rid of it naturally, it was no longer medically reasonable to perform the surgery. 

So... I kept getting blood tests and ultrasounds.  I received a blessing that told me I should listen to the counsel of the docs, so I decided to stop worrying and do what they said.  On February 11th, I finally started having the miscarriage.  It was a bloody mess of course, but I am so fortunate that it wasn't very painful.  I almost passed out the first morning, but luckily Ammon just happened to have called in sick that day.  Ironically, I was very excited to finally have this problem resolving... After two weeks of alternating normal-flow and chunk-filled-gushing, I figured I was out of the woods... but nope.  I still had that stupid HCG hormone in my body.  At the highest it was in the 6000's and at this point it went from 15 one week to 14 the next week.  My doc once again suggested a D&C since my body was not ridding itself of it fast enough.  Sure enough, in the middle of March I had another week of gushing which finally did the trick.  My hormones finally got below 5, and I was now longer considered pregnant.  When all was said and done, it had been around 22 weeks that I had been running around with useless pregnancy hormones coursing through my veins. 

Of course, Ammon and I are hoping we will be able to get pregnant sooner rather than later, but over the last year, I have been able to accept that everything needs to be in the Lord's timing. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Front Yard

October 2013 saw the beginning of the great change of our yard.  Ammon and I decided on a plan, and we made it happen!!  We really wanted a big patch of grass, and in theory it shouldn't have been all that hard. 
HERE is before:

Unfortunately the gravel in the front yard was much deeper than we had originally thought... this made the preparations take much longer. 
Additionally, there was the random array of inefficient sprinkler piping.  At one point, Ammon even broke a pipe that led to our main water line... that was annoying.  On the upside, we have a new faucet in the front yard.  Our next-door neighbor (the retired cop with the picture-perfect manicured lawn) told us the previous owner of our house he had once called "Make-it-work Charlie" because he liked to get things done but he never did things the right way.  Kind of ironic since that's exactly the opposite of Ammon's motto. 

And then there was the horribly constructed brick path that had to be removed because well,
we hated it. 

Oh, and we can't forget the Oleanders!!

With the combined efforts of two of our neighbors (using their chain and dually truck), we were able to remove the shrubs with little effort.

A ward member who heard that we were re-landscaping insisted we use his John Deere to do a rough leveling job.  It's a good thing he did, too, because we discovered large cement blocks that were randomly placed at the front of the yard.  Something that would take several strong men to lift.

Then with a little help from my dad (and Ammon's years of concrete employment), we were able to put in a lovely sidewalk to replace the brick path.   

So lovely!!

Then Ammon leveled the rest of the yard to make sure water would flow away from the house. 

We used some of the old brick to create a nice liner for our patch of grass.
Then a couple of bags of winter rye and conveniently placed cow manure....


Of course, now we are just waiting for our Bermuda summer grass to come in, but even the patch of dirt looks better than what we had before. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Halloween 2013

Ever since I was pregnant with Sasha and we were watching Monsters, Inc. (and hoping our little girl would look like "BOO"), I knew we needed to dress up one Halloween as a family with the theme of that fun little movie.  This year we thought would be perfect since Sasha was just the right size, and the newly released Monsters University didn't hurt!!  It turns out we were all the right sizes to play our characters, too. 

Sasha was Boo, Kaleb was Mike Wazowski (Mouse-kee-owski, according to him), Ammon was Sully and I was Roz.  We bought the Mike costume, and my mo-in-law started helping me with the Boo costume... then when I mentioned ideas for how to do Sully and Roz, she got super excited and just ran with it, fortunately for me since I don't sew.  We ended up being a big hit at all the places we visited, including three Trunk-or-Treats and the local mall (had to make the costumes pay for themselves).  It's not often we really get into Halloween, but this was super-fun!!  My favorite part was how my massive tail dragged behind me like a real tail... it was AWESOME!!  Koodos to Gramma Teller!!



Roz... Yes, it's in the bathroom cuz I wanted to make sure I got a picture
before the costume was ruined.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sasha at 2 years

Well, If she looks a bit confused, it's because she turned 2 a few months ago...
So, at her birthday, she was 28 lbs, 8 oz (75th) and 35.5 inches LONG (90th), which meant she was actually about 34 inches tall, but who's counting. 
This girl continued to grow cuter and sillier and smarter.  When people asked her how old she was, she would say "Two," even though we never taught her to say that.  She also realized what the word "Cute" meant.  One day we watched the movie Despareaux (about a little mouse), and as we were all watching it, out of the blue she quietly giggled and said, "chute"  
She has gotten more obsessed with babies, climbing into our laps with a cup of milk and ask us to hold her like a baby.  Even resorting to treating Kaleb's Iron Man action figure like one. 
Here she is putting him down for a nap:
And here she is helping him walk:

If babies are around she constantly fights an inner battle of whether she wants to be with the baby or be like a baby.  Anytime her cousin Tehya is around, she gets crazy jealous and wants to be wherever she is, even when it's not with Mommy or Daddy.  Thankfully, she is usually very gentle with the babies she does encounter.
In spite of this, she continues to progress, and she finally found the patience to finish a puzzle... and of course, did it within a few seconds like she had always known how (but didn't want to be bothered).

She has also said a few family prayers (with help).  Since her vocabulary is still limited, she usually only says about half the words we give her, but it's good practice. 

With Sasha's birthday, came the end of monsoon season, which, if she had understood, would have brought an onslaught of tears.  Nothing brought this little girl more joy than to play in the rain.  One afternoon, we were surprised to hear rain pouring outside, so Daddy opened the front door to get a closer look.  Sasha didn't even pause; she just bolted out the door, bare feet and all. 

Some of the weird things that came up this month is how much she loved having her hands in her mouth.  She would walk around with four fingers dangling from her jaws and then reach out to hug us with a stream of slobber to match.  Ick.  She also got a bit shy of strangers this month.  One of my favorite quirks of the month was when we would listen to a recording of the Primary song Nephi's courage and she would sing it in a low, manly voice.  It would crack all of us up!!

Daddy brought home giant boxes he got from Grandpa Reed!  Best toys EVER!!
Kaleb and Sasha's relationship continues to blossom.  I am so grateful that Kaleb has never been jealous of Sasha... envious of her toys yes, but never jealous.  He appreciates her silliness as much as we do, and is always the first to help when she seems to need it... and even when she really doesn't.

 Sasha's 2nd birthday party was also a lot of fun!  We had SOOOOO many kids over to play (mostly cousins), it was a bit of a rodeo!

She got so many AWESOME presents like a 'laptop' and smartphone...
and a Belle doll that looks just like her. 

Our big gift to her this year was a kitchen (thank you, craigslist) and some play food. 

which was an instant hit at the party... I love that Kaleb is in the background on the phone (the one that came with the kitchen).
My favorite part about the party was her birthday cake... mostly cuz I didn't have to make it and it was SOOOOOOOOOOOO STINKIN CUTE!!!  Sasha's Gramma Teller, Aunt Tashina and Uncle Landon all chipped in to make it awesome.  The antennae were the two candles!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sasha - 23 months

 My cute little Sha-Sha turned 23 months in August.  Of course, the best part of having a toddler is listening to her attempts to speak (at speaking?)  She finally learned how to pronounce the "P' sound and say "Open" correctly, instead of "Omee."  For some reason Kaleb's name is a complete mystery to her.  She can say well over one hundred words, small phrases and even put a few words together to make a kinda-sorta sentence, but she still calls her brother "Ble-Blem."  Thankfully Kaleb finds it funny.  Sasha is also starting to distinguish letters (which are almost always "E" or "I") from numbers (which are almost always "4").  She surprised us by counting to 3 the other day, and sometimes she remembers the numbers that follow (like six is after five).

Some random things that she says includes whenever she sees something with blood (like a DVD cover) or sleeping she says "Dead."  And random sounds prompt her to pause and whisper, "SH!... noise!"  She also loves to say "kay."  A barrage of nonsense words will always be followed with "kay?" to make sure I was listening.  And of course she always agrees with "kay" even if she really doesn't agree.

Being a toddler, discovering other things your mouth can do is also a lot of fun:

One night she thought my mouth was super-entertaining.  Future in dentistry maybe?

She is a little too young to be sticking her foot in her mouth...

So she sticks it in daddy's!

This month Sasha showed us she could sing "Twinkle Twinkle" all by herself, hand gestures and everything.  I got a video, but for some reason it won't load, so here's a photo.  Her singing sounds something like this:

 "Tinkle tinkle ... star, how undie it are,
Up up up up up up pie, Ikey dimey indy sty,
tinkle tinkle ... star, up up up... you are"

 Since the melody is really repetitive she always repeats the second line over and over and over.  it makes me laugh every time.

In an attempt to get her over singing "Twinkle Twinkle" every night, we tried to introduce a few more songs to sing at bedtime.  This month her obsession became "The Ants go Marching" (or "Boom Boom" as she called it).  She just loved to march around with her brother.  This didn't help calm her down for prayer time and this month in particular she had a really hard time sitting still for it.  Thankfully things are better now!

Another obsession is the TV show word world.  Most days we eat lunch at home, we watch PBS, so after Martha speaks gets over, Sasha immediately yells "WER WERD!" 

It never ceases to amaze me how easy-going Sasha is.  She gets that from Daddy for sure.  She never has a problem making friends, although most days we're at the mall she would rather just climb and dance on my lap.  

 This girl is so silly.  She never gets enough fun and laughing.  This month, sneezing was the funny thing.  She would put stuff on her head and act like she was sneezing "achoo" and motion would make whatever it is fall off.  Classic toddler humor.  Funny faces are also always a big hit!

Another random funny for her is when I dress her in long-sleeved shirts (at bed-time). Her hands would get stuck at the very tips and i would go searching for them and act surprised when I found them.  She also liked it when i got her hands out by just shaking the sleeves really fast.

 Sasha also learned to do a bunch of new things this month.  She can now blow her nose on command and put her sandals on.  She can reach doorknobs now, but still can't open the door (phew!)  She even went potty a few times in the toilet.  One night she had a really bad diaper rash, so I figured we would test out her potty-training readiness... she peed about 5 times on the floor and once in the toilet in the course of an hour.  Needless to say, I got the feeling she just wasn't quite ready.

 No matter what my Sasha is capable of, she is always gonna be pretty super to me!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

the MRSA Misfortune

Okay, as I have posted before, I have had a few experiences with the nasty little bacteria known as MRSA.  
Well, everything came to a head in early June when i got a super-nasty abscess...

And this is my story...

Firstly, I will desensitize you a bit by showing a photo from the abscess I had in January.  It was on my neck so I documented with a few good photos.  This one gives you a small idea of what I will be posting so if you don't like this just exit out of this window now.  This photo was taken near the end of the infection.  The big hole was what was leftover after all the puss got cleaned out. (if you ever want to know what it's like pulling solid green puss out of a hole in your neck, imagine pulling a tooth prematurely... it's a lot like that.  
It hurts.

That pretty little thing left a scar the size and color of a pencil eraser.  I had another infection in March, then Ammon got a decent-sized one on his face at the end of April (as we were leaving Las Vegas in fact)

Here's where it gets nasty and graphic!!!

Well, at the end of May, I remember scratching at an itch on my butt cheek, which sounds weird, but it's really something we all do without even thinking.  Whilst scratching I realized i had popped a little pimple.  you know how it is when you scratch a pimple.  It pinches then nothing.  Well, the next day the pimple got bigger.. and bigger... until about 4 days later it starts oozing and looks like this:


By the way, the opening was about the size of the tip of my pinky... the reddish part surrounding it  (the infection) was the size of my hand with fingers splayed out... it was big.  

Well, the doc prescribed me the usual antibiotics like she always did; I used a heat pack to "Draw the infection out" as recommended, like I always did.  But it didn't get better.  In fact, this is how it looked three days later:


That nasty boil in the center is actually dead skin, not puss, and it was about the size of a silver dollar.  The infection (the red surrounding part) had taken over the entire cheek.  In order to contain the drainage, I had to put a 4" x 4" gauze over it with a folded up paper towel on top of that, strapped on with packing tape on all four sides.  I would change the dressing every hour or so (cuz it would soak through to my clothes) and when I did change it, I would have to let it drain for a full minute or two.  

Ironically, it wasn't sitting that was the most painful during this situation.  It was taking pressure off that hurt the most.  I'm not sure why, but if I changed position it was enough to take my breath away.  Anyway, needless to say, I checked myself into the hospital Tuesday evening (wanted Tuesday to make arrangements for babysitters, go bags and all that). 

Ammon has always been really good when i need to lean on him in these stressful situations.  That night, as I lay on the hospital bed, constantly having people poke and stare at my butt, it was nice to have him to turn to.  Ironically, the two other people I usually rely on the most (my mom and younger sister) were both leaving town the next day, which just added to my feeling of anxiety.

I had doctors and nurses confirm "Yep, you failed the antibiotics!"  After having Jeff the Vampire take some blood (that's our little nickname for him since no one else could get any), they set me up with a room and specialist consults the next day.  My main concern through allo fhtis was that I didn't want to end up like my dad did when the same thing happened to him... After his surgery, he couldn't go back to work for three months, and in fact, was practically chair-ridden the whole time.  I couldn't handle the idea of that, so when I got set up in my permanent room, the nurse asked what the staff could do to make my stay excellent, I answered, "Get me out of here without doing surgery."

Well, let's just say that didn't happen.  They put me on a really strong IV Antibiotic called Vancomycin and consulted with a surgeon, Dr. Horne (the same doctor my dad had).  She was very good about listening to my concerns about surgery, and told me that I had two options.  Either we could do surgery and I would have a huge hole in my butt that would get treated but wouldn't be infected... OR they could keep me in the hospital longer, try to flush out the infection the 'old-fashioned' way with saline and cleanser (Imagine the world's biggest cavity being rinsed with cold water, it would be excruciating) and THEN i would end up with a hole the same size as after the surgery and still do the same things to help the would heal.   The faster, more anesthitized (?) treatment sounded better after all.  

Thursday morning I had the surgery and everything went well.  We were able to have the kids visit me at the hospital that night.  Ironically, my room was being quarantined until I left, but Ammon was allowed to drag me in a wheelchair downstairs to see the kids in the lobby.  When my mom-in-law (the primary caregiver of the kids during my hospital stay) asked how I was able to sit after surgery, I just explained how little it hurt compared to the infection.  

The next day, the surgeon took a look at my wound.  This is by far the most painful experience of my life thus far.  In order to keep the infection from regrowing, the body has to heal from the inside out, so no stitches allowed here, matey!!  Oh NO!!  They have to pack the hole with gauze then cover it with bandages, essentially.  SOOO, when the doc removed the gauze and repacked it, all of those freshly-cut nerve endings were getting rubbed and pushed on.  


But, I was allowed to go home that night, the only hang up was that they had to find me a nurse to get home care (because the UNstuffing and REstuffing of the hole had to be done EVERY.SINGLE.DAY)  They found a nurse, and I went home with a  giant hole in my butt... and bruises all over both arms.  The antibiotics I was on can destroy the veins and really mess up the kidneys (great stuff, huh), so they changed the IV placement every day AND took blood samples every morning.  Since my veins are not the most welcoming, it would often be three or four sticks before they found a good spot... 

It took a few days for me to willingly look at the cave that had now been formed in my posterior.  Imagine a chunk the size of a Nerf Football.  4 inches deep.  5 inches wide.  3 inches tall.


After the first week, the stuffing got a lot better.  Apparently it takes that long for the nerve endings to heal over.  I went from singing/screaming nonsense under the influence of two percocet to flinching and clenching my teeth with one percocet in about two weeks.  Ammon had the glorious opportunity to change out my dressing several days a week (mostly at the request of our insurance), and thankfully he was man enough to handle it.  


The craziest thing about having a giant hole in the rear is getting goosebumps.  The tingling sensation would stop on the inside of the wound... so funky.  Anyway, at that point I was put on the wound vac.  A little machine that sucks the wound toward the surface.  It expedites healing and minimizes infection since drainage gets instantly removed.  It's a few pounds and after carrying it around for a month, it got to be a real pain, especially during the peak of summer!!

This was the wound after about three weeks on the vac.  About 2 inches wide, 1 deep, 1 tall.  Big improvement.  

This is what it looks like while attached.  They apply a sponge to form a channel for the suction then attach sheets of super-tape all over my butt to seal it up.

The tape did a real number to my skin, and often the worst part about the dressing changes that were three times a week was the tape removal.  Gave me some nasty rashes.  

JULY 19th

After the wound vac got taken off, they used a silver-infused gauze that helps prevent infection.  That went on for another 3 weeks.  Then after that it's just been Neosporin and Bandaids.  Currently I have a good-sized scar, but only a tiny little spot I still treat.  

The bad news is I got another MRSA spot last week.  It was small, but still had all the same symptoms as before.  The theory was the nasty IV antibiotics I was on in June should've gotten rid of it.  After i got out of the hospital, we started using antibacterial EVERYTHING, using color-safe bleach in every laundry load, washing weekly with an antimicrobial soap and so on... For whatever reason, this is something H.F. wants me to have.