Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Budding Chocoholic

I mentioned yesterday that I'd gotten Todd some Dove's chocolates for Valentine's Day. They're still sitting in the basket I gave him, which we put on the floor next to my side of the bed. This morning, just like always, I got Evie out of bed, changed her diaper, and then went upstairs to make her some breakfast. I was only gone about 5 minutes. I came back downstairs to find her completely absorbed in some little task. I called her name, and she looked up at me with a strange mix of guilt and glee on her face. She had a chocolate in each hand, and proudly waved them at me, grinning the whole time. I smiled back, and then noticed that her smile looked a little strange. I probed her mouth, and found that she'd stuck a chocolate in her mouth and was sucking on it. When I tried to pry it out, she bit me! I finally wrestled it out of her mouth and found that she'd somehow punctured the foil on top and was sucking chocolate out through the hole. No wonder she fought me so hard! As soon as I got that chocolate out of her mouth, she promptly popped another one in. So of course I wrestled that one out of her mouth, chuckling at her guts for openly doing something she knew she wasn't supposed to, right in my face, just so she could get another taste of her Daddy's chocolate. At first I was a little concerned that she might have already swallowed one, foil and all, and thought about the damage that could do to her and panicked a little at the thought of another week-long hospital stay, but then I realized that based on how long it was taking her to suck out the one I'd caught her with and how chipmunky her cheeks looked with just one in her mouth, there was no way she'd had time to swallow an entire chocolate without me coming back downstairs to find a choking baby. I did end up moving the basket to the top of Todd's desk so Evie wouldn't be tempted anymore by shiny foil and sweet chocolate, but now she knows what she's missing and keeps trying to grab the basket. I thought Todd would enjoy the story, so I called him at work this afternoon and told him what had happened. He just laughed. My mom laughed too and said, "Dove's, huh? That's my girl; she's got good taste! Usually Dove's is too good for children, but we'll make an exception in this case." I have to confess, I'm secretly proud of my little girl for discovering the good things of life at such a young age. It's further proof that she belongs to me because she gets her love of chocolate from her Mommy! It'll help strengthen our bond as she gets older. Chocoholics: like mother, like daughter!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

First Valentine

First of all, I just want to say "Happy Valentine's Day!" to all 3 of my loyal readers; I love you all!
A couple of days before Valentine's Day, Todd and I discussed whether or not to make it a family holiday or one just for Mommy and Daddy. We decided that it was a holiday just for us, which means we'll give presents to each other, but not to the kids. I've had Todd's present ready for over a week now, except for one little piece, which I ended up getting on Monday after work. He's very hard to shop for for Valentine's Day because flowers give him the "willies" and he's not much of a sweet-tooth, so I can't do candy and roses for him. I had no idea what he was planning for me, but I figured that chocolate and flowers probably weren't it, so I joked that if he didn't want to get me flowers, he could get me jewelry. For over two weeks, every time I asked him what he wanted to do for dinner, he didn't have any ideas, but he finally told me on Monday that he thought we should go to Red Robin. Red Robin is kind of special for us because that's where we ate the night he asked me to be his girlfriend and the night he asked me to marry him. It's not the super-fancy restaurant that other people might prefer for an important night like that, but it serves good food, and it holds special memories for us, especially the mozzarella sticks.
Yesterday, I got all dolled up before work, and put the finishing touches on Todd's present: I wanted to give him the perfect date night, so I lined a basket with one of my negligees (a pretty black one with pink and white hearts all over it) and placed in the K-Y Date Night box I'd purchased from Wal-Mart and a handmade Valentine. I surrounded the box with two packets of hot cocoa, two packets of popcorn, and an entire bag of Dove's white/milk swirled chocolates. Then I hid the whole thing in the closet where Todd wouldn't find it before I got home. When I got home, he'd put something special for me on our bed:
Isn't that sweet? The man probably doesn't have any red ink left in his printer, but I was very touched. I gave him his present (which I didn't get a picture of) and he loved it! Then we went to dinner. Evie had a blast! She flirted with our waiter, chewed on her giraffe, and enjoyed reading and ripping up the rewards brochure. 
It is a tradition for Todd to ask me something when the mozzarella sticks arrive, so this time he asked if I was ready for the rest of my present: a necklace/earrings set of sterling silver with simulated emeralds. They're gorgeous! I immediately swapped out my jewelry, and forgot to get a picture--sorry! I asked him what the significance of May was (emerald is May's birthstone) besides his birthday, and he said there wasn't one; he just liked the color and thought it would look pretty on me. He's such a sweetheart!
I think we all had a good night. Todd and I got to show our love for each other, and Evie had a good time going on a date night with Mommy and Daddy. She's such a little flirt (which she gets from me) and a little sweetie (which she gets from him). I hope she enjoyed her first Valentine's Day, and that she'll someday find her own eternal sweetheart!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Homeward Bound

Well, we finally brought Evie home late last night. In the space of 24 hours, her condition turned around completely, and when the nurse came in to check on her yesterday morning she said, "Wow! She sounds like an entirely different baby!" Evie was down to only 0.2 liters of oxygen per minute during the night and on just room oxygen during the day, and her difficult retractions were nonexistent! Later that morning, when the doctor came in to check her, he told me that her breathing was still a little wheezy but since she was breathing easily he wasn't concerned. He said that if she could have a nap on only room oxygen without her pulse oxygen levels dropping below 90%, she would be able to go home that day. Of course, he also said that it was normal for sleeping babies to drop to 88-87% and come immediately back up because they just needed to roll over or cough or something, so that was okay as long as she stayed at about 90%. In days before, her levels had dropped to 85% and stayed there on room oxygen, but he felt that since she was so improved she would probably be able to finish healing at home. He told me that hospitals never send sick babies home cured, but they send them home once they're improved enough to continue getting better on their own, and Evie was at that point. In fact, he even had all of the paperwork ready to go, so as soon as she passed that final requirement, the doctor on call would be able to immediately sign off and get us out of the hospital as soon as possible.
During her midday nap, her levels dropped during the first half, but stayed up during the second half. I was hopeful that it might be enough, so I called the doctor back in to see if he would let us leave. He said that since her levels had dropped at first, he wasn't comfortable enough to send her home right then, but if she was fine during her entire next nap, he would make sure all of the paperwork was ready. I was a little disappointed, but also hopeful that Evie would be able to keep her levels up on just room oxygen. When Todd came in after work, we talked and played with Evie, just killing time until it was time for her to sleep again. Just before bedtime, we realized that we didn't have any more of the diapers we'd brought, and I wasn't about to open the ones the hospital provided because I didn't want to spend any more money there than I absolutely had to, so I sent Todd to Wal-Mart. Meanwhile, Evie and I played some more, trying to tire her out. Forty-five minutes later, Todd finally came back with some diapers and we changed her, gave her a bottle, put her in her jams, turned down all of the lights, and left to get some hot cocoa. A few minutes later, we tiptoed back in to see if she'd taken our hint and she was asleep, so we tiptoed back out and walked down the hall to the nurses' station to tell the nurse that Evie was finally asleep and ready to start her oxygen-free "nap." She told us that the doctor had left notes saying that Evie had to sleep for over 30 continuous minutes without her levels dropping dramatically like they had in the past.
I was on pins and needles the entire time. Evie had finally fallen asleep after 9:00 pm, and we wanted to be out of the hospital by midnight so we wouldn't get charged for another day. I was afraid to start packing anything for fear I would jinx it, but I was also pretty hopeful that we would be able to go home. Todd was working on his "Footprints" stitchery, which reads "He spoke, 'My precious child, I love you and would never leave you. When you saw only one set of footprints, that was when I carried you.'" While I reread that inscription, I was reminded of Evie's priesthood blessing earlier that week, and that Heavenly Father knows who I am and who Evie is and he loves us. I had a warm feeling, and knew that everything was going to be okay. Finally, Evie had been asleep for 45 minutes, and Todd went out to get the nurse. She said that Evie's levels had dropped just a little bit but gone right back up. She listened to her breathing and told us she was going to go call the doctor and see if we were able to be discharged. I had a great feeling, because Evie had passed all of the tests that had been put to her, and we still had an hour left before midnight. After 4 days of being stuck in the hospital with my baby, I was a little stir-crazy, so when the nurse came back in, I was almost vibrating with anticipation. Then she said that the on-call doctor didn't want to send Evie home, and that anticipation exploded into pure rage. Apparently, the new doctor would "feel more comfortable," if Evie could sleep for 4 hours without oxygen and wanted us to stay until the next morning just to make sure that she was all better. I was really proud of myself for not shouting or anything like that, but I did say, "I'm so furious right now. We were told by the previous doctor that Evie only had to sleep for longer than 30 minutes without the oxygen and we could go, and she's been asleep for more than an hour now, and is fine. Evie has passed every test she's been given with flying colors, but now it feels like the rules are being changed on us, and I don't appreciate it. We don't have insurance for 3 more weeks, and we really can't afford the days we've already spent here, but I don't want to pay for another full day just so that the doctor can come to the same conclusion that we already have: that my daughter is better. I might feel differently if this doctor had actually come in to check on Evie for herself, but I'm having a hard time accepting the fact that a doctor who has never even met my child is suddenly making these decisions for her over the phone. Is there any way for us to legally take our daughter home?" She said that yes, we could take Evie home against medical advice. I turned to Todd and said, "Fine. I think that's what we need to do. Evie is infinitely better than she was even yesterday. You know my feelings on this matter and the decision is up to you, but I have work tomorrow morning, so I'm going home either way." We asked the nurse to leave so we could discuss our situation in private, and it turns out that Todd felt exactly the same way I did. We'd even both individually had the same thought (though we didn't vocalize it to the nurse) that we'd be more than happy to stay for an extra day if this self-important doctor wanted to pay our bills for that extra day. Everyone kept telling us that they understood our predicament, and I just wanted to scream that no they didn't! They had no idea what it was like to have a baby get very sick just a couple of weeks before insurance benefits kick in. And, of course, even though Todd only started his new job in December, he's on salary now and so we don't qualify for any Medicaid etc. benefits, even though this year he'll make more than the previous 4 years combined. So we're stuck squarely in the middle between a rock and a hard place, probably going to have to pay all of those medical bills ourselves, and staying another day really would make a difference. Those nurses and doctors with their pay grades and hospital benefits have no idea what we're going through, and it really grated on me to have them tell me "we understand that you're poor and can't afford this, but stay another day anyway, just for our peace of mind." Todd felt exactly the same way, so he had the nurse bring a discharge form. Meanwhile, since I'd kept the room organized and clean, I was packed and ready to go in 15 minutes flat. I didn't really feel bad taking Evie home "against medical advice" because I felt that we weren't; the day doctor had already given us the go-ahead, and I felt that his "medical advice" was more valid than the night doctor's because he'd actually met my daughter, checked on her, and familiarized himself with her case. On the way out of the hospital, I took some final photos to commemorate this experience:
 This is the name of the actual hospital we stayed at.
 This was Evie's room number.
This cute picture of a giraffe was hanging on the wall across the hallway from Evie's room. 
On the drive home, I was still shaking from anger and anxiety. Suddenly I was worried about whether or not we'd really made the right decision to bring Evie home. What if she suddenly took a turn for the worst? What if we got home, fell asleep for just an hour or two, and then had to turn around and come back to the hospital? At exactly midnight, a pure white dog ran onto the road directly in front of us. Todd swerved to miss it, but we hit it dead on. I felt the jolt and heard it yelp, and I screamed and started sobbing; I'd never hit an animal with a car before, and I was trying very hard not to take it as a bad omen. I was trying not to draw parallels between that pure, white, innocent animal and my pure, sweet, innocent baby sitting in the back seat. After all, if we'd stayed at the hospital, that dog would still be alive; what if our pride as parents ended up killing them both? I tried to regain that sense of calm assurance I'd felt while looking at Todd's stitchery, but I was simply too worked up. Four days of feeling trapped in the hospital, helpless to do anything for my baby girl, and very little sleep, followed by intense rage and then severe shock all combined against me, and I just cried. We decided to let Evie sleep in our bed last night so we could keep tabs on her all night and know if something went wrong. It wasn't the best night's sleep I've ever had--she cried a couple of times in her sleep and I was fearing the worst the whole time--so I felt like I was running on fumes all day at work today, but my precious little girl seems happy and healthy. She got to see her Uncle Steve (Todd's oldest brother who lives in Texas and came up just for the day to move his in-laws down to live with him) and flirted with him a little bit this morning while I had breakfast. She still coughs a little bit sometimes, but those rare coughs seem to be productively getting the rest of crap out of her lungs, and she seems even brighter and more cheerful than she was before she got sick, so I feel that we made the right choice to bring her home!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

On the Road to Improvement

Evie is doing much better today, and I've taken the opportunity to commemorate her first (and hopefully last) hospital visit. She sleeps in what is officially called a "jumper crib," but I call it "baby prison."
In order to monitor her pulse oxygen levels, she has a tube attached to her big toe that glows. She's always trying to pull it off for a closer look, not that I blame her--it is funny looking:
Evie is still on oxygen, but only half a liter a minute now instead of the whole liter she was on when she first got admitted! She's also used to the tubes in her nose now; in fact, she screams when someone takes them out because she knows that she's about to get her nose sucked out.
She also screams when she has to have another nebulizer treatment. I have to hold the mask over her face so the mist can get into her lungs and help clear her out.
Even from the first night, the Albuterol never worked, and they've finally stopped giving it to her. I think they're going to stop giving Evie the racemic epinipherine soon, too. Last night, it seemed to be helping her a little, but today it hasn't had an effect on her at all. When the doctor came in, he decided to take her off of the treatments for a while and see how she does without them. I'm sure Evie will welcome the reprieve! In the meantime, she's still wheezy and coughing quite a bit, but at least her coughs are somewhat productive now. Other than that, though, she's getting back to her usual silly and sunny self.
For example, I put her down for her early afternoon nap with a bottle. Then I turned down the lights and went to the other end of the room to talk on the phone without disturbing her. When I walked back a couple of minutes later, she was covered in milk, holding her bottle upside down, and very studiously squirting a puddle on her belly. It was so cute that I just had to get a picture of it!
It helps that she has the giraffe her Nonna, my mom, gave her. He's been her constant companion through this ordeal, and has helped comfort and cheer her.
Todd has also brought some of her toys to the hospital to keep her occupied and happy. They seem to be doing the trick, especially her cell phone!
When all else fails, Evie plays with the crib itself. Even though she looks like she's in jail, she seems to be enjoying being able to reach through the bars and she loves pulling herself up and banging on the plastic roof.
She's such a little ham, which I'm taking as a very good sign. At this rate, I'm really hoping she'll be able to come home in the next couple of days! Wish us luck!

No Rest for the Weary

Evie is in the hospital. It's still so surreal for me that my normally happy and healthy baby is sick enough to be admitted to the hospital, but it's true. For the past 3 weeks in a row, she's gotten sick and then shaken it off just in time to pick up something new. Two weeks ago, she got a cold and gave it to everyone else. Last Sunday, she got a mild form of the tummy flu, and we all spent the rest of the week passing around the more severe version. This past Sunday, while sitting in Relief Society, she kept coughing and was breathing very quickly and shallowly even when she fell asleep. Thinking it was just a cold, we tried all of our usual tricks to help make her comfortable. I didn't work on Monday, so I spent all day with Evie: I sucked out her nose, gave her infant Tylenol when her coughing hurt her throat, tried saline nasal drops, turned on the humidifier at night, took her into the steamy bathroom to try and clear out her lungs, let her take lots of naps so her body could put all of its energy into healing, held her and rocked her for hours at a time when she was especially miserable and just wanted her Mommy, and even tried using some essential oils that our home teacher brought for her that had helped when his kids had croup. Nothing worked.

Tuesday morning, February 7th, I was getting myself ready for work and getting Evie ready to spend the day with my in-laws. I got a call from my boss, asking if I'd gotten her previous message. I hadn't, and she told me that she'd originally called to tell me I didn't need to come into work that day, but that a coworker wasn't feeling well and they needed me to come in after all. Since I was already in my work clothes, I said that was fine, and we hung up. While getting Evie ready, however, I noticed that she was very clingy and miserable. Nothing I had tried to make her comfortable had worked, and she just wanted me to hold her while she clung to me and cried. Finally, after praying and deliberating, I called my boss back to see if there was any chance that someone else could cover my coworker since my baby was so uncomfortable that I didn't think it was a good idea to take her over to my in-laws. She understood my situation, and told me that they'd somehow manage if I couldn't come in, even though they'd be a couple of people short and our regional managers were coming in to inspect the store. I thanked her, apologized, and hung up again. I left a message with my father-in-law, telling him that he didn't need to babysit after all, and called Todd to tell him that he wouldn't need to pick up Evie from his parents' like we'd originally planned. That evening, when Todd got home, he heard Evie breathing and decided that he wanted to take her to Urgent Care because she wasn't getting any better after 3 days of being sick. It was the night of the Republican Party Caucus, so we took our registration forms with us just in case we were able to make it after seeing the doctor, but we weren't too optimistic.

When we got to Urgent Care, the nurse took us to the back and started checking out Evie. She weighed Evie, listened to her lungs, and asked us all the normal questions (how long had Evie been acting like this, were her immunizations up-to-date, was she sleeping/eating normally, etc.). Then she told the doctor what she'd found out, and he sent us immediately to the Emergency Room without charging us because he thought that Evie might need to be put on oxygen. We got to the Emergency Room around 7:00, and told the receptionist that Evie was having labored breathing. What immediately followed involved much panic on my part and what seemed like chaos on their part as they all rushed around hooking Evie up to tubes and machines and paging different doctors. With oxygen tubes up her nose, an oxygen saturation indicator attached to her toe, and sticky circles attached to her chest and belly to measure her heart rate, Evie was NOT a happy camper. She was confused and scared, and I couldn't blame her because I was too! 

The doctor told us that Evie had bronchiolitis and ordered a culture to see if it was caused by RSV or not based on the following symptoms: quick and labored breathing, wheezing in the lungs, ineffective coughing, decreased appetite, fever, rapid heart rate, inadequate oxygen saturation of the blood, and retractions under the ribs where Evie was working too hard to draw in a breath. After sending the culture to the lab, the respiratory doctor tried two nebulizer treatments to see if they would improve Evie's condition. The first was albuterol followed about fifteen minutes later by racemic epinephrine. Evie hated those treatments, and screamed the entire time! When neither of them had much effect, we were told that she would probably have to be admitted to the hospital. It was just a matter of whether the upstairs pediatrician and staff felt comfortable handling Evie's condition (if not, they would send us to another hospital) and if there would be an available room for her. Finally, we got word back that yes, we could stay at Sky Ridge, and yes, they had just opened up a room for her. While we waited for her room to be cleaned, Todd, his dad, and our brother-in-law John gave her a priesthood blessing. She was told that her parents love her, everyone else in the family loves her, and her Heavenly Father loves her and wants her to be able to play with her Mommy and Daddy. She was promised a quick recovery, healthy body, and cheerful spirit. I have to admit, that blessing helped calm me down quite a lot; I knew that she was going to be okay, even if it didn't happen immediately.

Since Todd's job is full-time and pays lots more than mine does, we agreed that I would stay in the hospital with Evie overnight while he went home and got enough sleep to go to work the next morning. Since the hospital is only about ten minutes away from his office, I gave him a short list of things to bring me on the way to work--clothes for both me and Evie, extra diapers, some body wash so I could take a shower, some food for me so I wouldn't have to order room service, etc.--and sent him home with a kiss. Then Evie and I spent a miserable night together. There really was no rest for the weary. We were both exhausted, but every time we started dozing, someone else would come in to check on her breathing, or give her another nebulizer treatment, or reattach her toe monitor, or suck out her nose. It was brutal, but we somehow managed to scrape together a couple of hours of sleep and were ready to meet the doctor the next morning.

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


As I was sitting here typing my last post, I think I felt the baby move for the very first time!! :D :D :D

(At least, I really hope it was the baby and not just my intestines. Ever since Evie was born, I can actually feel my intestines move around now. It actually startled me for the first couple of months because it felt like her kicking, but she obviously wasn't. Is that normal?)

The movement is on the upper left side of my uterus. When we heard the baby's heartbeat at the doctor's office, it was on the lower right side of my uterus. I wonder how long the umbilical cord stretches at this point...

Anyway, I need to go wake up Todd!! :D :D :D

My Baby Pet Peeve

I know this is a little thing, but it really annoys me, and I just need to vent a little so I can get this off my chest: I am so sick of people telling me how small my belly looks right now! I know that some people prefer to have a little bump so they don't feel "fat" during pregnancy, but that was never my issue; I've always preferred to start showing quickly. Call me a narcissist, but I really enjoy the positive attention that comes with being pregnant. I love that complete strangers will open doors for me or strike up conversations about when I'm due. I love feeling the little one kick and stretch, and I got in the habit of stroking my belly all the time (which looked a little odd once I had Evie, I'll admit). Last time, much to my chagrin, it took almost 6 months before I "looked" pregnant, and it made me sad when people would tell me how lucky I was that I didn't have to wear very many maternity outfits--I looked forward to the maternity clothes! This time, I've already mentioned that I've lost more weight than I expected to, and I'm a little concerned about the health and growth of my baby. It doesn't help that I got the stomach flu on Sunday and spent the rest of that night throwing up. I didn't have the energy or appetite on Monday to eat dinner, so I went almost 3 full days without a decent meal. I've been trying to make up for it since, but I don't know how well it's working out. I haven't weighed myself since my doctor's visit, so I have no idea where I'm at now, but I'm sure this weekend didn't help things.

I can usually shrug off most people's comments about how I'm not showing yet because it's usually a one-time thing. But there is one girl I work with who every time she sees me says, "Jessica, you're so tiny for being pregnant!" Immediately, so many not-quite-polite things swarm in my brain, like "Well, my clothes camouflage my belly; my husband can tell I'm pregnant," "I'm only 4 months along so far; back off!" or "You're right! My belly hasn't suddenly swollen to the size of a watermelon in the 3 days since you last saw me!" But since I can't really say any of those, I usually just give a half-hearted smile, shrug a little, and walk away. The really sad thing is that I actually am showing a little bit. I can already feel my uterus getting hard, and I can see a round little belly when I look in the bathroom mirror. Sure, it's not super obvious to the rest of humanity, but when people react to my happy news with "You're seriously pregnant? But you're so tiny!" it feels like they are doubting me or thinking I'm lying or something. I love the people who say "You're pregnant? That's great; I'm so happy for you! Congratulations!" I think most pregnant women love people who react that way. If everyone would focus on the positive like that, women on both sides of the weight fence--the "you're really pregnant?" girls and the "are you having twins?" girls--would all breathe a little easier during this already stressful time. All we want is for people to be happy for us and love us. And maybe bring us some chocolate covered pretzels!

The Three Musketeers

For almost 4 years now, my 2 college roommates and I have been the closest of friends, pretty much the Three Musketeers. Other girls came and went through apartment 25, but we saw each other at our best and worst for an entire academic year and we learned to love each other through thick and thin. We also learned to love the 3 boys who lived in apartment 37! Within the first year, Jillian got engaged to Scott, Lindsay got engaged to Matt, and I got engaged to Todd; then we all got married in the same order. Shortly after that, and in the same order, we all had baby girls: Anya, Lily, and Evie. At the beginning of September, I wrote this post, which announced that Lindsay and Matt are expecting their second baby! Just a couple of months later, we found out that we're pregnant with another precious baby, too, and I announced it in this post. Finally, this past Sunday, we got the call from Jillian and Scott telling us that they're going to have another baby as well! You can find their announcement by following this link to her blog. Once again, our lives are all in line with one another. The Three Musketeers ride again!

For the interested reader:
Lindsay's blog is adventures of motherhood (
Jillian's blog is Jorlylin's Blog (