Friday, September 1, 2017

First Family Camping Trip!

I had a checkup with my neurologist for my stupid postpartum stuff last week. I sat in his office and proudly told him all that I was doing to try and get myself feeling better. I told him I was reading books, joined a postpartum support group, I signed up and attended my first MBSR course, started exercising, you name it and I've been doing it! When I told him about all the stuff I had going on he looked at me like I was kind of crazy (weird...) and told me the best thing I can do to feel better is start doing things that make me happy. Embarrassingly enough, I hadn't even though of doing this.

So I decided to take a chill pill and just spend some time with my two favorite people in the world. And want to know what? It's working! Weird. Doctor's actually know what they are talking about! Who knew?

I suggested to Andrew we head up to the mountain because next to my home, they are one of my very favorite places. So we packed and headed up the Alpine Loop. 

Andrew is in the Young Men's presidency and has to take the deacons camping once a month. It has been pretty rad because we have learned where all the sweet secret camping spots are. 

Andrew has turned into a fancy pants chef these days. I love it so much, he's on a roll with making some good food. He decided to try dutch oven for the first time and made us chicken and veggies and oh.my.gosh they were so good. 

It was kind of a dream to be up in nature with Andrew and Chancey pants. To get to our spot we had to take the Suby (my trusty Subaru) off roading on a pretty rough dirt road. We accidentally busted our bumper (whoops) but it was still worth it. 
We found this little spot you had to hike to and the weather was crisp and perfect. We bundled up Chance and let him crawl around and get super dirty like a little boy should be. Andrew took him around on his shoulders (he loves to be up there and clings to Andrew's hair for dear life) and they explored a little. My dad would say we "recannoitered", he loved that word.
We stayed up super late talking and Chance fell asleep in my arms, which NEVER happens and it was a dream.

Chance and I slept perfectly but Andrew was up all night, bless his little heart. He was so worried about Chance being cold that he didn't sleep at all. Chance and I were out though. 2/3 is pretty good in our house.
It was a fun little getaway and I couldn't help but feel so grateful to God for places like this and moments with those I love. If I've learned anything over the last few months, it's that life is precious and every moment matters. I found this uplifting article that's relevant that I wanted to share.

I love the mountains and my people. I don't want summer to end! 


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Feeling all the feels...

I had an overwhelming feeling today that I need to start writing again. That writing could be healing for me. I've been a regular journal writer since I was 8 years old, but the last little while my I've slacked off as life has gotten busier and crazier. 

There’s something about putting my thoughts down into words that seems to be therapeutic and healing. Almost as if I’m talking to a best friend who’s listening, and saying exactly what I want to say in an easy and understandable way, something I never can quite manage to do in real life, especially as of late! I also feel no pressure writing on my blog because I think I have like four readers.

This summer has been one for the books. Unfortunately, the bad books. The ugly books that you don’t ever want to open, let alone read again. What should have been the happiest time of my life has been stupid hard. I have a beautiful husband, an incredible job, amazing friends and family, and now the most beautiful little baby I had ever seen in real life. I still look at him in awe and can’t believe he’s mine. This summer, after countless tests and doctor visits, I was diagnosed with severe postpartum depression and anxiety. It has been a trip, and I only hope that one day I can look back on this time and remember it was sucky and that I came out of it and am a better person for it.  I’m guilty to admit that before this experience I didn’t understand depression and anxiety, though its roots run deep in my family. My dad had severe bipolar, and other members of my family have suffered with anxiety and depression. Writing this down feels horrible but the truth is, I thought people who suffered from depression should just snap out of it and just think positive. I thought they were using the word “depression” as a way to shy away from having to face the pressure and demands of this life. My feelings around depression and anxiety are the same as my feelings around having a baby: there is no way you can understand it until you have lived through it.

My symptoms started in May. I started having muscle twitches on the arch of my left foot. They would come and go every few minutes, sometimes for a brief second and sometimes for minutes at a time. To say it freaked me out was an understatement. I started reading online trying to figure out what was going on, which was a big mistake. I started reading about MS and ALS, and the fear became all encompassing. The more I stressed, the more I read, and the worse my symptoms became. What started out with a twitch in my foot soon spread to my calves, hamstrings, shoulders, back, even my face. I started experiencing tingling in my toes and hands, and even had numbness in my face one evening that drove me to the emergency room, where I was dismissed for anxiety. Then the fatigue settled in, and with it brought what I can only describe as the biggest, darkest, cloud that came to rain over me and follow me around, tormenting me wherever I went. What started out as anxiety quickly spiraled into depression, and I became absolutely, positively convinced that I was dying. My body was shutting down. I started throwing up, having diarrhea, and was unable to eat or sleep. I lost 10 pounds far too quickly. I was jittery, helpless and hopeless, and would stare at Chance and just think, “I’m never going to be able to see my baby grow up.” I wondered how he would look when he was older, and thought that maybe I should start writing him letters for him to read when he was older, in case I wasn’t around.
I remember taking this picture and thinking it hurt to smile. Then I saw it and thought, I look as bad as I feel! Haha!
We took a few vacations this summer, one to Seattle. My symptoms had just started and I noticed anxiety and some weakness when we were walking around, but I was still functional and we had a good time. Then we went to Lake Powell with some friends the week after Seattle. I was also functional but had a lot of anxiety leading up to the trip. Once we were there we had such a good time that I barely noticed my weakness, though I still had constant twitches throughout the trip. After Lake Powell things got real bad real fast and I didn't know what was happening to me. We headed to San Diego the following week (yes, we had lots of fun things planned this summer, we were ready to party!) but it was there that things started to spiral out of control. I spent most of my time in San Diego in bed, crying and miserable. I was too tired to take care of my baby, my muscles and whole body ached, and the depression became crippling. I remember taking a bath while we were in California and looking out the window. Down below was my family. Outside, enjoying their evening. They were happy, healthy, and normal. I was above looking down on them and felt so far away and so alone. No one could understand what I was going through. The crippling fear, the aches and pains, and the devastation of hopelessness.  Right then and there I prayed to Heavenly Father to give me strength to get up and go outside. To spend the evening with my family and baby. To pull it together enough to get out of that bathtub. Those types of prayers became normal after that. Not just praying to make it through the day, but to make it through the moment. To be able to get up and get Chance. To be able to eat. To be able to go to the grocery store and have the energy to get Chance out of the car. Time stood still. 

Things got so bad in San Diego that we didn’t waste any time setting up doctor appointments for when we got home. I went to a few doctors (one that told me he thought I was drinking too much water...uh....) and ended up with a stud doctor in our area. He was so helpful and knowledgeable that I felt a sense of calm knowing I was in his care. He ordered lots of blood work, an MRI, an EMG, and even tests for Celiac Disease and Lyme Disease.  I was also referred to a neurologist who happened to be the head of neurology at St. Mark’s hospital (and a member of the Mo Tab so he's basically a celebriy - woot!)

When it was finally time for me to see him I was at rock bottom. I was only able to sleep two to three hours at night, I was forcing food down, had lost too much weight, and the twitching, fatigue, and muscle pain was so excruciating I found it challenging to walk and do basic things around the house. My anxiety was through the roof.
Andrew and Chance with me at the neurologist's office. Andrew is a stud and has been with me to all of my doctor appointments.
I sat in his office, reading to him what I had brought with me, which was a list of all my symptoms, and when they started. As I made my way down the (longggg) list of things that seemed to be shutting down with my body, I couldn’t help but start sobbing. I was a freakin' train wreck. He was going to tell me it was bad, I just knew it. After taking his time looking over my MRI, EMG, and other test results, he did some poking and prodding and testing of my legs and arms. He then politely looked at me with the kindest expression and said “all of your symptoms are very common for severe postpartum anxiety and depression.”

I just stared at him, tears flowing down my face.

How could this be? I loved my baby! In fact, I was obsessed with him. I thought people with postpartum depression wanted to hurt their babies or had crazy hallucinations! And I don’t have depression! I’m usually the happiest person ever! I love life!

As much as I was telling myself this was the craziest thing ever, I felt a sense of calm just a few minutes after I let this sink in.

He is right.
I am sick. I have postpartum depression and anxiety.
I’m not dying.
I am sick and it’s not my fault. My hormones are out of control and I’m going to get better.
I am lucky. This could be much worse.
I'm okay.

When we left the doctors office that day I had a huge sense of relief, and for the first time in months I finally felt hope. I was going to get better! It wasn’t going to happen overnight but people get through this all the time.

On the way home Andrew and I celebrated by getting me a giant cheeseburger, which I swear I devoured in record time. I was already on my way to recovery.

When we came home I started reading everything I could on postpartum depression. I still wasn’t sleeping very well but the eating was getting better. The anxiety had calmed down but oh, how my body ached. Every inch of it hurt to my core.

The first things I did when I started researching was join a postpartum moms support group. I found multiple ladies who were going through or had experience the exact same thing I had. A surprising number of people have anxiety and depression present with primarily physical symptoms. Everyone's bodies handle stress and worry differently, and apparently mine just exhibited in the form of physical pain. It helped SO much to talk to these women. And I will forever be grateful for some of these strangers’ support during this difficult time in my life.

I also set up appointments to go to a chiropractor, a psychiatrist, and back to my family doctor. Then I went to work and filled out paperwork to take a short-term medical leave. I instantly went from fearful and fragile, to hopeful and determined. I ordered books about postpartum, and even signed up for an 8 week MBSR workshop (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) that one of the ladies in my support group recommended.
I will never forget this day. It was the first time I started feeling better! I told Andrew we had to go out to eat to celebrate, and I was giddy with excitement that I was getting my life back on track. Woot! 

I have now been home with Chance for about a week and a half, but my diagnosis of PPD/A was 4 weeks ago. I am significantly better, but nowhere near healed. I am learning patience, recovery from this is brutal and slow. I have good days and bad days. On my bad days I have to remind myself that I am starting to have more good days than bad days, and eventually the bad days will subside and disappear. Many people I’ve talked to who have been through this all tell me the same thing, “be patient with yourself in your recovery.” At first I wasn’t sure what this meant. I thought if I found out I “just” had postpartum anxiety and depression I would get better right away. Now I completely understand what they mean.  Many days my recovery has not just been taking it one day at a time, but one MINUTE at a time. I take two steps forward and one step back.  Once I started having good days, the bad days completely discouraged me. I would lay there and think, "Am I ever going to get through this? What if this never goes away and this is my life now?" To be honest these thoughts still challenge me, and I’m trying to learn how to control them. Now I am just getting to the point where I’m just starting to have more good days than bad days. Where I can talk to people and not think about how I’m feeling, where I’m just living my life. I went to church on Sunday and felt good the entire day! It makes bad days a little bit more bearable because I’ve seen good, and that gives me lots of hope that I'm going to get better.

I am so grateful for modern medicine. I am so grateful for therapy and doctors. I’m so grateful for a husband who loves me unconditionally, at my best or my worst, and for my sister and mom and Andrew’s family who have been extremely supportive through this whole thing. I'm so grateful for good friends. All these people have helped with Chance and listened to me cry and have just been there through it all.

Most of all I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father and a Savior who I feel like have been the only ones who truly understands what I am going through at this time.
I want to say I don’t know why this is happening but the truth is I know exactly why this is happening. I feel very strongly that Heavenly Father wants me to learn and grow from this. I am so much closer to Him because I have gone through this. I also feel very strongly that he wants me to share my experience and testimony with others. I truly have felt His comfort, love, and arms around me at my darkest times. I know that I will be a better person when I come out of this. A better wife, mom, and friend.

For now though, my life has slowed down considerably. I’m taking it one day at a time, and trying desperately to enjoy the little moments in my life as I get feeling better. Because I'm not working right now, I cling to the tiny moments at home with Chance. The little laughs. The slobbery kisses. The sweet sound of Andrew singing to Chance in his nursery at bedtime. The chubby fingers wrapped around mine. The messy face at lunchtime. My boys are my world. I can’t wait to be all better!


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Chance Goes Swimming!

How my Chance man is 10 months old is blowing my mind. He is getting so big, so fast, I just want to freeze the time for a little while. He is so much fun right now. He has this speedy little crawl, and these bottom two teeth that pop out when he smiles, and his favorite words are "mama" and "dada". He eats everything he can get his hands on, but his favorites are crackers (and ice cream...). He's so happy all the time. He's really just the happiest little thing, I love it so much. He's also so curious about the world. He wants to touch (and eat) everything he can, and hates more than anything to be left out. He takes after me in this department. :) He's just a joy and I'm so happy he's ours. Everyone that sees him says "oh look at those eyes!" They are the brightest, big, blue, round, eyes ever. He's just the best. Today was fun. It was sunny and hot outside so I decided to blow up his kiddie pool I just got for him and let him have some fun with the hose. He really loved it and it was awesome to watch him. He's so much fun.

Thanks for joining our family Chancer man! 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Chance is 6 Months!

I can't believe this kiddo is already 6 months old! Chance has become the happiest, funniest kid lately and being his mom is one of the greatest joys of my life.

We were going to get 6 month photos done but I decided to try to take them myself and ended up really happy with them! I love that we did them in his room because these pictures are really just HIM. 

There are so many things I love about Chance right now. A few I never want to forget are:

  • His joy. He is always so happy and makes everyone smile! (This was not the case the first 3 months and I was sad he wasn't super smiley!)
  • How hyper he is. He is always flailing about. He is such a spaz and I love it.
  • His giggles. Especially when Andrew plays with him. He loves Andrew so much and no one can make him laugh like he can.
  • How he eats everything in sight.
  • The way he gags when we try solids. He takes after me in this department.
  • His little hair tuft. Everyone says he looks like a kewpie doll, I think it's because they have the same hair!
  • The way he rolls onto his stomach and then gets frustrated he is stuck.
  • His attempts to put his binky in himself. He works so hard!
  • They way he is happy around other people (but still recognizes us and loves us the most)
  • How much he loves to take baths with me. He is so hyper in the tub and splashes like crazy. These are some of my favorite times!
  • His bigness. He's in 9-12 month clothes and is perfectly plump & big.
  • His health! Having him get sick in January has made us appreciate him being happy and healthy.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Chance Goes to the Hospital

January was one for the books. It pushed us and challenged both Andrew and I individually and as a couple emotionally, spiritually, and physically. 

I've put off writing this post about Chance's time in the hospital because honestly reliving this ordeal is pretty rough for me. I've started and stopped this post more times than I can count, but I'm finally ready to document this life-changing time for our family. (I've also debated whether or not sharing this experience in such detail, but since I think a whopping total of like 4 people read my blog I've decided to lay it all out there!)
Here we go...

The beginning of January started off pretty good for us. We had enjoyed our holidays and were ready to get back into a groove. After 13 (wonderfully exhausting) weeks my maternity leave was up and we were (slowly) getting back into a rhythm and learning how to adjust as full-time working, new parents. We blessed Chance the first week of January (full post on that here), then about a week later Andrew and I both caught colds. Before we knew it, Chance had come down with a cold as well and was coughing, pretty phlegmy, had a fever, and was acting pretty lethargic.

Anyone who is close to me knows I have self-diagnosed myself with what I call "health anxiety." I'm entirely convinced this is a real thing. It's not quite hypochondria (I never actually go to the doctor to get tested for all the crazy things I convince myself that are wrong) but I WORRY a lot about me or loved ones getting sick. Ever since losing my dad unexpectedly and my mom getting cancer, I tend to freak myself out about stuff like this. So let's just say bringing a baby into this world and having his health and well-being entirely dependent on me threw me through a loop as it was. Then combine that with him getting sick and it was literally like Heavenly Father took my biggest fear and handed it to me as a chance to learn and grow.

So naturally I take Chance into the doctor once he starts coughing, sneezing, and has a mild fever. The week he got sick I took him in three days in a row, then we took him to the hospital 2 nights in a row after that. They have this place called the "suction" clinic where they clean out your babies nose (think Nose Frida on steroids) and evaluate whether or not your baby should be admitted to stay in the hospital to be monitored.
The first night we took Chance in they actually joked that Andrew and I were paranoid first-time parents. They checked him out, determined he was fine, sucked some boogies, then sent us on our way. When Chance still seemed worse the second night (he had been sick about a week at this point) I knew something wasn't right. Because we had taken him in literally 4 days in a row, I was hesitant to go back in again. I was actually embarrassed for taking him in so much but I knew something was off. Chance just seemed sad and really mopey, so I finally decided to call my next door neighbor , Kelli, around midnight to borrow her Owlet and check his vitals. I am entirely convinced that my prompting to call her, and the events that unfolded after were inspired and truly miraculous.

Kelli came over right away with her Owlet, and spent at least 30 minutes trying to hook it up. We were having trouble connecting to the wifi and getting it to work and I kept telling her not to worry about it and to go home, it wasn't a big deal and I'd take him in tomorrow. (After Chance as better and we were home, I found out that Kelli had prayed just when were about to give up and it finally connected). The second it connected the oxygen alerts started going off and showing that his percentage was below 80 (it should be 98-100% always, so this was really bad.) We thought something was broken and it wasn't reading back, then we noticed it was reading all the other vitals properly. That's when I realized something was really wrong and we needed to get Chance to the hospital. 

Around 1am we decided to take him to the hospital. They checked him out at the suction clinic at American Fork hospital and decided to monitor him overnight as a precaution. It was mostly pretty much downhill from there.
We were admitted and received our own room, and they started the oxygen. I will forevermore have nightmares about the beeping sound the vitals machine makes when oxygen drops below where it should be. We began the 3 day process of giving Chance more oxygen, only to see the numbers continue to drop and drop. The first night we were there, Chance was so restless with the oxygen in his nose. It was clearly bugging him and after a few hours I decided to take him out of the bed and hold him. I got him comfortable and held him for 6 hours straight all through the night and into the morning. I don't think I even blinked the whole night. 
The next day he continued to decline. We kept getting higher levels, then different types of oxygen, and later that night our families came. Andrew had to leave the hospital just for a couple of hours (of course his biggest meeting fell on this day) and I can honestly say this was the most scared I have ever been in my life. The monitor kept dinging, nurses would rush in, give him more oxygen, and the cycle continued. Chance also hadn't opened his eyes since the night before and panic continued to grow. 

Because the situation was getting really scary, my mom and sister came stayed with us. Andrew's parents also were there so much and we were so grateful. Andrew and I both hadn't slept for even one minute in two nights, and my panic and fatigue was really starting to set in. Around 2am on the third night, a social worker came to step in and help bring some calm to the situation. The only time I have ever worked with a social worker was when one came in to tell me my dad had passed away, so you can imagine my hysteria when he came to Chance's room. After settling me down he explained he was just here to help and offered me a room to try to get a couple of hours to sleep next door. After a lot of coaxing from my mom and sister, Andrew assured me he wouldn't leave Chance's side and I finally decided to try to get a couple of hours of sleep. 

I'll never forget waking up a few hours later, as it was truly scariest moment of my life. My sister came in to wake me (which took about 15 minutes due to how tired I was) but she calmly tried to tell me that Chance had continued to get worse and that he was going to be transferred by the life flight team up to Primary Children's hospital because they could no longer give him the levels of oxygen and support he needed at American Fork hospital. When I finally remembered where I was and what was going on it hit me hard. I was barely in control as I rushed into his room to find him being prepped on a gurney to go into an ambulance (they were going to life flight him but the extreme fog that night prevented this). I was so hysteric Andrew gave me a blessing in the other room, and it was like someone lifted me up and literally carried me into the room where Chance was. I was given a power I didn't know I had to pull myself together and take care of my baby. It was like a light switch flipped and I was able to handle it and do what he needed, which was be there to hold his hand and talk to him, sing to him, and tell him everything was going to be alright. I will never forget this moment for the rest of my life. I was 100% focused on being there for Chance.
After they got Chance changed over to the bi-pap mask, Andrew followed behind as I rode in the ambulance with him up to Primary Children's hospital. 
It was the foggiest night ever and the driver was still going almost 90 the whole way. He was really nice to me when I told him I had always wanted to ride in an ambulance but this sucked way worse than I imagined. I remember laughing when he said "I can turn on the siren and go even faster if you want!" 

The whole way up I just prayed and prayed. I remember just praying that he would open his eyes, I hadn't seen his eyes in almost 3 days now and I just wanted his eyes to open. 

When we got up to Primary Children's it was like walking on to hallowed ground. This place really was sacred and the sense of calm we felt when arriving was so refreshing and much-needed. The team of doctors met together when we arrived and did a full debrief on the situation. They jumped into action and I was able to breathe easy knowing we were in the right place and that he was in the best hands he could possibly be in. Chance was on the bi-pap mask for a long time, and I absolutely loved that he kept his binky in the whole time. It was amazing and kind of funny in the midst of this nightmare.
Notice his binky in his mouth! :) ^^^
It was determined his RSV had also turned into bits of pneumonia in his left lung so after another full day and night of decline it was determined that he needed to be intubated. 

There is no cure for RSV, babies just need to ride it out, so intubation is basically the final step for little ones battling this. The idea is to put the breathing machine down his throat and it breaths for him so he can rest and get through the virus. This is extremely rare (about 2% of babies with RSV are intubated) so when we asked why this had happened to Chance we were told "he has thick mucus and bad luck!" Such a bummer. One of the worst things you can see as a mom is your baby being paralyzed (literally they have to give him a medication to paralyze him for 30 minutes so they can get the tube in place.)

Chance was intubated for almost 3 days. Once he had the tube in, we weirdly relaxed and let medication and doctors run the show. My work was amazing and got us a hotel room and so after about 5 days we hit a wall and were able to take turns getting some rest. During this time we were able to meet some amazing people. I became friends with some of the other moms, and was amazed at people's optimism and faith. So many people were not only going through RSV but many of the babies had other underlying issues. We saw people who had lost babies to whooping cough, some that were being told there wasn't much more that could be done, and some that were completely in the dark as to what was wrong with their child. We met another family who's 12 year old daughter was in open heart surgery, we saw countless children with cancer and other illnesses. 
^^^ This photo literally breaks my heart. I had to take it off my phone because it makes me so sad! ^^^

After about 3 days it they did what they called an SBT (Spontaneous Breathing Test) because they thought Chance was looking better and maybe he was ready for the tube to come out. They basically turn off the machine and test his ability to breathe on his own without assistance. We were excited to hear he was getting better! After a few hours they came to tell us he had failed the SBT so we were back to worry and feeling helpless. Things like that happened all the time. We would get our hopes up then get disappointed. It was a non-stop roller coaster. Later that day they did a second SBT and it was determined they could take his tube out! I have never been so happy in my life. 
^^This is my favorite! Once he got better and the swelling went down in his face he opened his eyes and started looking and acting like himself. We were so happy! ^^

Once Chance turned a corner, he got better fast. It was so amazing when we found out we were being transferred from ICU to the infant unit, I really don't think I've ever been so grateful. When he opened his eyes I think I cried a billion tears.

Unfortunately after about 2 days there we hit another road bump. On the second night there being monitored the machine started dinging again. I assumed it was going to be his oxygen again but this time it was weirdly his heart rate. It dropped super low while he was sleeping and kept dropping to pretty low levels. We were told this had nothing to do with RSV and that it might be something completely separate related to his heart. 

In the middle of the night the doctor decided to order a test they call an EKG (or electrocardiogram) to run a comprehensive test of his heart. I was back to square one of panic and helplessness and decided to walk around the hospital. It was about 3am when I found the little chapel and basically handed it all over to God. I think I prayed harder in those 2 weeks then I've ever prayed in my whole life.

The next day things really started looking up and we finally started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The new doctor told us Chance was continuing to improve and look really good. They got the results back from the EKG and determined nothing was wrong with his heart, he just has a low heart rate (mine is weirdly low also so they said it could be hereditary). 

Then we got one more road bump. Andrew was so worried about everyone during this time that he literally gave everything he had to us. He didn't sleep or eat or take care of himself. He gave up any comfy spot we found to sleep for me and constantly held me all night through the countless panic attacks I experienced. He had a cough when we first took Chance in and by this point it had almost been 2 weeks since the whole ordeal started. He continued getting worse and worse, so the night before our final night in the hospital we were trying to rest and he just kept coughing and coughing and had this bright green goop in his eyes that was really starting to freak me out. He couldn't sleep and continued getting worse, so we decided to take him to the ER. Mostly I just needed him to be able to sleep, but I was also nervous that he had a pneumonia like Chance. So we got up around 4am and I drove him to the ER. At this point we knew Chance was going to be okay and so it was almost laughable at how crazy this year had been so far. After some chest X-Rays they determined he didn't have a pneumonia but had bronchitis. He got lots of medicine and inhalers and we were finally on our way back to get Chance and get ready to leave.
After one final day they determined Chance was well enough to leave. We were going home! The relief and gratitude was unlike anything I'd ever felt before. I will forever be grateful for so many things and am sure I'll never look at life the same. Going through this was a good reminder for me as to how fragile life really is. Andrew and I will forever be changed from this experience. We are SO grateful to the many people who rallied to help us through this experience. From the nurses and doctors who took care of Chance with utmost tenderness, to our families who were up at the hospital every step of the way dropping everything they had going on to bring us food, clothes, love, and support. Our neighbors rallied together and cleaned our houses, we had countless people send us flowers and gifts, and so many people who sent us messages of encouragement and love. We were humbled by the outreach and support we received and truly are so grateful.
^^Ready to go home!^^
We finally got Chance bundled up and ready to leave, but before doing so I had to say my goodbyes to some of my friends I met during my time there. It broke my heart that they were still in ICU, and I almost felt guilty leaving them. I hope to stay in touch with some of these people! 

The best part of this whole whole thing was the drive home. We left that place changed forever and developed a new love for each other and Chance that we never knew we could have. I'll never forget driving home and Andrew turns on Beyonce's "Survivor!" We both just jammed and sang at the top of our lungs, it was so funny and a moment I'll always laugh about. 

^^The day we came home. He was so better and happy we couldn't believe it!^^

When we came home I was a different mom. Never again will I be mad to get up in the night when he cries, or change a poopy diaper. There were times in the hospital where I just wanted to hear him cry. Noisy babies is a good sign in the ICU, the quiet is what is scary. 

We are so glad to have this ordeal behind us, here's to hoping the rest of 2017 goes a little smoother!  


PS - Also in other good news, with our insurance we hit our max out of pocket in January, so bring on a whole year of free treatments! 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Chance's Baby Blessing

This past Sunday we blessed Chance in our church and it was such a special day I had to record it! It was a snowy, wintery day so we kept it intimate and just invite our immediate families and my best friend Courtney and her family. We were so happy to share this special day with everyone and love seeing how much everyone has come to love Chance. 

When we got to church a member of our  bishopric announced that we were going to be doing a blessing for baby "Chase". Of course my whole family started laughing because I'm feeling so stressed he is going to be called Chase his whole life, everyone calls him that! Ugh I hope he doesn't grow up to hate me for this name. I've thought seriously about changing it but I really do love his name and he is just Chance to me now. Chance is such a happy name to me, and this is our happy sweet boy so I guess we'll stick with it. 

Andrew blessed Chance with his dad and my brother in law in the circle. It was a small circle and I couldn't help but be sad that my dad wasn't there to join, but I know he was there in spirit and was watching us and is so happy to be "Grandpa Mike who lives in heaven."

After Andrew's beautiful words (he's the well-spoken one in the family) we had everyone come over for breakfast (since it was at 8:30am. It was very fun and chill and I was so proud of myself for not stressing about everything being perfect and really enjoying this day. I kept it low key and seriously did ZERO cooking. The grandmas did most of the work, Karen brought a yummy breakfast quiche and my mom did a pretty fruit plate. We just picked up donuts and muffins and called it good. My kind of party. 

Here are a few pictures for us to remember: 
^^of course andrew got sick the morning we had to bless him! what a good sport. ^^

 It was such a great day and Chance killed it in his outfit. I love my boys so much!