Wednesday, June 30, 2010

8 months pregnant

I cannot believe I still have 2 months to go until estimated delivery day. I can officially say that I am no longer feeling fantastic and full of energy. I feel that my feet, legs, and knees can barely support my current weight, with a total gain of 24 pounds thus far.

I am walking, or should I say waddling, slower and tiring more easily now. Attempting to stand from a squatting position exhausts any energy I still have. And stairs, forget about it.

Although I did brave the streets of NYC for a bachelorette party and danced the night away during my friends wedding while 31 weeks pregnant, I am still paying the price in Braxton Hicks contractions.

My mood is quite unpredictable these days but I am still capable of flashing a smile for a 32 week belly photo.

32 week belly

Next Tuesday I have another, possibly the last, ultrasound to check on Baby Girl's bowel for signs of CF/obstruction.

Click here to see more baby belly photos.

Being 32 weeks pregnant can be difficult at times, to learn more about it, please visit PregnancyCorner.com.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We are rooting for...

spain soccer

SPAIN!!!!!

spain soccer-1

No offense to Portugal fans, it's a blood thing. Nathan is a multiracial individual, 6 races to be exact, and although there is no single dominant race we can love them all. Today just happens to be a day that we can love and celebrate the Spanish in us.

spain soccer-1-2

I think Nathan has a pretty decent kick too. Perhaps he will be a futbol pro someday.

Nathan, keep practicing and having fun every chance you get, you know when you are not dumping water on the sidewalk and dipping your hair in it.

spain soccer-1-4
spain soccer-1-5

Monday, June 28, 2010

No discrimination

In our house, all of Nathan's toys get along.

toybox

The Little People farmer hangs out with a bus driver, Foofa plays with Littlest Pet Shop animals, and Plex (times two) gets along quite nicely with a goat/man tractor driver.

It may not make sense to me but Nathan knows EXACTLY what his toys are up to. If I moved any one of these toys a tantrum would surely ensue.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bliss

Yesterday, I witness two of my close friends joined hands at the altar.

wedding invite

The bride was calm, cool, and collected as she prepared to meet her groom.

weddingaccesories

With a house full of family and friends and not a hint of anxiety, she went with the flow of the day, and I admired the colorful contents of her cabinets.

fiestaware

After a very warm ceremony, Kelly and Tim, hand in hand, as husband and wife, for the very first time.

kellyandtim

They happened to choose a beautiful location for their post ceremony photoshoot, lakeside at a state park. Any park with a colorful graffiti covered picnic table is sure to win a thumbs up from me.

picnictablegrafiti


Congratulations Kelly and Tim. I wish you both the best of luck and a lifetime of happiness.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Another CF Angel




I can't get this little boy off my mind today. Conner, a 7 year old boy who has been fighting Cystic Fibrosis and Prune Belly Syndrome, gained his Angel wings last night.

Conner is undoubtedly at peace and breathing easier now. No more pain for him. But all I can think about is the pain that his parents and two brothers are now experiencing. CF sucks. The image of the frail little fighter with a broken body that appears on his mom's blog is embedded in my mind forever.

It is heartbreaking.

Please visit Conner's blog and share your love and support with his family.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

31 weeks pregnant

I am officially exhausted almost all the time now.

My first pregnancy was totally different than this pregnancy. Nathan had some appendage lodged under my ribs the entire pregnancy and loved to kick and cause discomfort. He also gave me the worst sciatica pain I've ever experienced.

I am extremely thankful that Baby Girl has yet to discover the joy in kicking my ribs but I have been experiencing occasional bouts of sciatica. I hope the nerve pain does not increase during these remaining two months. Two months!? I can't believe that's all there is left!!

Obviously I survived our girls day in New York City yesterday and am surprisingly not too sore today, but I am quite the crank, sorry Jay.

31 weeks pregnant - Baby Girls first of many trips to New York City!! Though I will probably skip Madame Tussauds Wax Museum from now on. Who knew that I would be absolutely terrified of wax people. I was seriously looking over my shoulder the entire time.

31 weeks pregnant NYC

Click here to see more baby belly photos.

Being 31 weeks pregnant can be difficult at times, to learn more about it, please visit PregnancyCorner.com.


And as for the rest of my day, I am going to design an invitation for Jay's twin cousins summer birthday party, sort through the remaining 2010 CF t shirt sizes so I can try to sell them (I need to pay the bill before I can recover and donate the profits to CFF), and visit our local carnival (weather permitting).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

31 weeks pregnant in New York City.

31 weeks pregnant NYC

More tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

lung gunk (an update)

Almost two weeks ago, during our trip to Sesame Place, Nathan developed a gunky cough. A week ago, after calling his clinic, I increased his lung treatments from twice a day to three times a day.

Not only was his cough gunky, but he was coughing more frequently, and he was more irritable than usual. I took the photo below after his additional afternoon treatment session last Wednesday. He began screaming inconsolably for over a half hour. I couldn't identify a problem and tried everything from a new diaper to a bottle of milk with no success. Constant coughing was mixed in with the screaming and crying so I decided it would be the perfect time to begin his afternoon treatments.

asleep post treatments

Getting his Vest fastened on his squirming little body was quite the challenge but once I got the hoses connected and the nebulizer mask on his face he calmed down quickly. And after his treatment ended, I didn't dare attempt to transfer Nathan upstairs to his bed. So this is how he napped. At least I was able to unfasten his Vest.

As of today I can see no lingering signs of that gunky cough. Surprise visit to clinic averted...something that I am extremely thankful for.

Tomorrow I will be 31 weeks pregnant but will be writing my weekly pregnancy update on Thursday. My friend is getting married this Saturday and the girls will be celebrating by spending the entire day in New York City tomorrow. Please pray that my 8 month pregnant body can keep up with the other girls, the city, the heat, the walking, etc. I would like to be alive on Thursday if at all possible. My husband has mentioned on several occasions that I should bring along a wheelchair. I may or may not have sincerely considered the idea.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Exhausted Pregnant Mama

The Good

1. Received letter regarding additional coverage added to Nathan's insurance policy as of July 1st. As of that date he will be able to obtain certain durable medical equipment and supplies not previously covered. As of now he has no durable medical coverage. When do insurance companies actually add coverage to a health insurance plan? Fingers crossed for nebulizer cups!!

2. Received letter regarding the appeal for coverage of Nathan's Vest. After the First Level Appeal was reviewed the initial denial has been overturned because the information provided at the time of the appeal does support the medical necessity of the Chest Wall Oscillator (Vest). Authorization is now given!!!!! I am not sure if it is too early to celebrate, I am going to have to see something in writing from Hill-Rom indicating that the insurance company has indeed paid off the Vest.

The Bad, which turns out to be Good, I hope

1. At the latest ultrasound I was informed that my medicaid coverage for the pregnancy was showing up as ineligible in the system. I called Social Services at least ten times and still have not received any responses to my messages. So today I drove down to the office with what I consider to be the typical required paperwork (birth certificates, social security cards, driver's license, proof of income, proof of pregnancy, etc). After attempting to explain the dilemma to the receptionist, who was incredibly confused, I sat face to face with the woman who has yet to return a single phone call.

The problem is such, when I applied for coverage at the hospital I was actually applying for presumptive eligibility. Apparently applying for presumptive eligibility gave me 30 days from the date of application to apply directly with Social Services. Nobody informed me of this so when I received my health benefits identification card I thought I was all set for the duration of the pregnancy, but I wasn't.

I took care of the misunderstanding today and after I provide some additional documents I should finally be all set for the duration of the pregnancy and two months post partum.

The Exhausted Pregnant Mama

1. Nathan loves the playground and the pool. When we moved into this community I vowed never to drive the car to the playground or the pool, which are both located 3/4 of a mile from our house. I refuse to make any exceptions, including using the pregnancy as an excuse. I walked Nathan to and from the pool this evening and I...AM...EXHAUSTED!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The BIG Three Oh

A double whammy celebration for my husband, Jay. Today is not only Father's Day but it is also Jay's 30th birthday and I wanted to make sure he had a birthday party to remember.

Since he was born in 1980 I figured what better than an 80's party to remember his childhood. It was totally 80's -- Pacman invitation and cake, Reese's Pieces (in honor of ET), Rubik's cubes, rad 80's music, Fun Dip, Ring Pops, etc (in addition to some standard party games such as corn hole and beer pong). As you can see from the invitation the party was supposed to be a surprise but the day before the party I started to get overwhelmed and I gave Jay an early birthday present, an invitation to his own surprise party. He was excited and I instantly felt relieved. I had all the plans set but I needed his help with a few things not to mention I had no idea how to get him out of the house for the actual surprise.

My friend Breanne and her family were the only ones to show up all decked out in 80's garb. Aren't they the best? Once they arrived I had to work on my own 80's outfit. I think Nathan dressed the part and Jay thought he was covered since his t shirt had "1984" written on it.

And a memorable part of the day (caught on video unbeknownst to the party boy) -- Jay giving lessons on "How to Solve a Rubik's Cube".

Now it is time to make sure Jay's Father's Day is as special as his birthday party was. Here is a photo recap of his 30th birthday party.

jay 30th bday-collage

Friday, June 18, 2010

As promised

My blonde highlights have been restored! After two years of my hair growing out and remaining untouched by chemicals, my virgin hair has been officially destroyed.

my new hair1

Don't let the photograph fool you, there is not a single hint of green in real life.

Also as promised, Nathan's new buzz cut. {Sob} I know, his hippy hair will grow back and probably only in a couple of weeks.

nathan new hair1

What our house looks like while I am trying to clean the floors.
The microfiber mop is a hot commodity in this house, wish I could get my hands on it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hair cuts all around

Jay and Nathan both got hair cuts this afternoon. Jay got the usual buzzed sides and trimmed top. I planned on taking Nathan's hair a lot shorter for the summer months but due to his lack of cooperation he ended up with a buzz cut. Seriously it was as if we were torturing him. We gave him a short break in the middle of the cut and, screaming constantly, he kept feeling the back of his head where his long hair used to be.

I miss his long locks already but his hair was in his eyes and ears and kept sticking to his forehead, not to mention the fact that he has become accustomed to using his hair as a built in napkin. Not so much fun when syrup is on the breakfast menu.

No new cut for me though since I had it cut a few weeks ago, or maybe it was a month ago already. Instead I had some highlights. I hadn't had my hair highlighted since before Nathan was born and decided it would be a nice early birthday present for my husband who happens to love my blonde highlighted hair. It was something I did initially for him but now that it is done I realize that I did it for me too. There is something about being pampered that makes me feel rejuvenated. Getting to sit and chat with my hair stylist and friend, Kelly, was a nice perk as well.

Pictures to follow.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

30 weeks pregnant

30 week belly

30 week

baby bump


total weight gain

21 pounds

slowed down!!


feeling

great

but easily exhausted


excited

to meet our baby girl

Nathan's little sister

(who does have a 1st name)


another day at home

without a vehicle


Click here to see more baby belly photos.

Being 30 weeks pregnant can be difficult at times, to learn more about it, please visit PregnancyCorner.com.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summertime

UPDATE:

A nurse from Nathan's clinic called back and told me that his doctor would like him to do an additional 1-2 treatments (albuterol, manual CPT) in addition to his 2 existing treatments (albuterol, hypertonic saline, vest) per day until at least the weekend.

It could be a transient cough caused by the change of seasons or it could be more serious. As far as I can tell when he sneezes his sinus mucous is clear. He has not brought up any mucous from his lungs so I can't quite tell if there is an infection there or not.

If nothing changes with the cough by Thursday morning, they will squeeze Nathan in for a sputum culture / lung evaluation. He has been a bit lethargic but his appetite is normal, toddler normal, and he is pleasant, as pleasant as you can expect with two teeth coming in.

ORIGINAL:

A few weeks ago we discovered a new playground that Nathan loves. Every time we are out we always try to stop at a playground so Nathan can run around and have some fun. This playground has a not too steep slide that Nathan can safely go down without having someone catch him at the end, although he loves when daddy is at the top and mommy is at the bottom waiting.

The other great thing about this park is the pond. Initially Nathan was a little hesitant of slides and swimming (outside the bathtub). Thanks to this park and pond he overcame both of those fears. Yesterday I dropped Nathan and daddy off at the park while I went to my dress fitting (my friend is getting married next Saturday and I am a bridesmaid). When I returned 15 minutes later Nathan was in the pond with his shirt soaking wet, at least Jay removed his sandals and his shorts.

I love watching him swim. He was imitating another bigger boy who was splashing around.



From now on I am going to keep a reusable swim diaper in the car along with a beach towel. The cloth diapers aren't so bad during these impromptu swim sessions but yesterday Nathan was wearing a disposable, which really do absorb A LOT of water (or urine).

Aside from all the pleasantries of summertime, I am waiting for Nathan's CF doctor to return my phone call regarding the cough that began last Thursday. He has a lot of gunk in his chest and I just called to see if Dr. A wanted to collect a sputum culture just in case there is some new bacteria growing in there (hopefully not pseudomonas).

Monday, June 14, 2010

up and down

I was feeling very optimistic for a while about our finances but after scheduling some bill payments this morning and reviewing our account balance I am not feeling very optimistic at all.

Last week when I went for my ultrasound the receptionist had trouble verifying my medicaid eligibility in the system. I had to sign a waiver saying I would be financially responsible for the appointment. I haven't had any problems with my prenatal visits but am now having doubts about what surprise bills may surface. I've been frantically trying to contact our county's Division of Social Services to see where I am at. I was in contact with the wrong someone (not my case worker) who mentioned "Presumptive Eligibility", whatever that means.

I just had to refill all of Nathan's medications and still need to refill his vitamins which are not covered by his insurance. Not exciting stuff.

Basically I haven't been in the blogging mood because I am trying to figure out how to come up with additional income. I am busy sorting through which of our belongings could make us the most money on Craigslist. First to go - our single jogging stroller. Not only did this stroller hold its value but we will no longer be needing a single stroller as of August. My husband is working hard as well but June just seems to be a huge month of expenses.

So while I am feeling rather pessimistic about our financial situation I will just continue to look at this face, the face that makes life worth living.

nathan playing

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day In Review

Hubby gone with our only car and car seat by 6 am.

Nathan gets me out of bed by 7 am.

No afternoon nap because no car.

No ride to pickup car because no car seat.

Irritable whining.

Change of scenery, bath then bedroom. I lay on floor with eyes closed as Nathan makes a mess of toys and clothes.

1 failed attempt to walk Nathan to the park due to heat and pregnancy exhaustion.

More irritable whining followed by 3 homeopathic teething tablets.

Change of scenery to basement.

Nathan flips off emergency switch to central air in basement. Who installs these switches at toddler level? I notice and flip it back on.

Treatments at last - Prevacid, Tylenol (12 teeth in, 2 in process of coming in, 6 teeth remain), Vest, Albuterol, Hypertonic Saline, Cough, Cough, Cough.

Carry Nathan to bed at 7:30 pm, "Dada, whe ah you?"

...

I am typing in my own bed by 7:45 pm. Good night!

Friday, June 11, 2010

29 weeks pregnant {ultrasound update}

I meant to post this update on Wednesday, my actual 29 week mark, but since that's the day we left for Sesame Place I was a little busy. The belly photo below was taken exactly at 29 weeks.

Tuesday I had an ultrasound to recheck Baby Girl's bowel for signs of obstruction (muconium ileus). The ultrasound tech said she was measuring perfectly for her gestational age and approximated that she weighed 2 pounds 12 ounces. As of that ultrasound there were no signs of echogenic bowel (where the bowel would glow on the scan as bright/dense as bone).

I am scheduled for another ultrasound in 4 weeks to monitor the bowel for any changes. Here is our baby girl at 29 weeks:

baby girl 29 weeks

The ultrasound tech had an extremely difficult time getting us a 3D photo of her face because her had was so low in my pelvis and her hands were covering her face. The photo is a little bit distorted for that reason. She's got a head full of hair already!

My favorite part of the ultrasound, beside not seeing any bowel obstructions, was watching our baby girl swallow. We also decided on a first name for our Baby Girl but are still trying to choose a middle name.

And here is my 29 week baby belly:

29 week baby belly

Previous baby belly photos:
12 week baby belly 28 week baby belly16 week baby belly
21 week baby belly
22 week baby belly
23 week baby belly
24 week baby belly
25 week baby belly
27 week baby belly

Being 29 weeks pregnant can be difficult at times, to learn more about it, please visit PregnancyCorner.com.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sesame Place

Just popping in to post a few photos from our trip to Sesame Place. We are having so much fun on our short vacation not too far from home. Now, I am off again to enjoy some more time with my family and our friends.

bert ernie sesame pl

Nathan Ayden Sesame Pl

NA NA Sesame Pl

Nathan Slurpy Sesame Pl

elmo pretzel Sesame Pl

slide sesame pl-2

Slide Sesame Pl

watch sesame pl

water slide sesame pl-2

water slide sesame pl

exhaustion sesame pl

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Baby Sprinkle

Over the weekend, Nathan and I went to Ayden's soon to be little brother's Baby Sprinkle. Actually Jay went to the party as well but he spent time with the guys outside. The guys were rowdy as all guys are and that's all I am going to say about that.

But inside the girls enjoyed good food, good conversation, air conditioning, and watching the second time mama to be open her gifts. Can you tell how excited Ayden is that he is going to have a little brother to play ball with.



Part of our gift was for Ayden. I found the perfect police themed fabric, Ayden's daddy is a State Trooper, while visiting family in Virginia but Ayden is one of the only kids you will meet that doesn't obsess over blankets. Dilemma, what is a quilter to do? I knew Ayden loved balls so I searched for pictures of quilted balls and found something called an Amish Puzzle Ball.

I am not quite sure why it is called a puzzle because it does not have any other features than a normal ball would have, but it was a little puzzle like for me to assemble. I am the type of person that does not care for randomness so the location of certain colors/patterns had to be carefully planned out in advance.

Basically all I did was cut out a whole bunch of marquis shapes from the fabrics and sew 3 wrong sides together at a time until all the pieces were gone. I then turned them the right way (I left an opening), stuffed them to desired fluffiness, and sewed shut using a blind stitch. After I had a bunch of little footballs, I sewed 3 of them together point to point using a blind stitch until I had a triangle shape. In the end I had 4 triangles of football links and blind stitched each point of each triangle to a point of another triangle until I had a ball. Get it? Sorry, I am not so great with instructions.

Anyway, I had to see if my test subject approved of the ball and he deemed it a big hit, examining it, sitting on it, throwing it, etc. I guess I will be making another one real soon.

amish puzzle ball

Ayden, we hope you enjoy your ball. Make sure you share with your little brother! Although I am sure I can be convinced to make him his very own baby sized puzzle ball.Align Center

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Living with...Cystic Fibrosis

I was asked to preview a documentary about Cystic Fibrosis on Twitter. I thought it was pretty informative so I am going to share the link.

It is a relatively short documentary (10 minutes) that is about Ross Llewelyn's typical day living with Cystic Fibrosis. Much of his day is very similar to Nathan's day, breathing treatments, fat soluble vitamins, digestive enzymes, etc...but he also uses a G-tube for nighttime feeds, has to monitor his blood sugar frequently because he has CFRD (Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes) and respond with insulin, and also must also take medications for Osteoporosis. G tubes, CFRD, and Osteoporosis are all common in individuals with Cystic Fibrosis.

You can watch the documentary here or you may watch below. I believe it is well worth 10 minutes of your time.

Living with...Cystic Fibrosis from Ryan Parkins on Vimeo.

Sneaky Chocolate Chip Cookies (Update)

A few days ago I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies using a recipe from The Sneaky Chef Cookbook. They weren't your typical chocolate chip cookies loaded with sugar but contained some sneaky ingredients including whole wheat flour, wheat germ, almonds, oatmeal, and white beans!!

So we already know that these cookies received both my approval and that of my husband but did that make it into Nathan's mouth? You betcha!! Not only did he taste the cookies on his own terms but he said "yummy" after every single bite.

But a word to the wise, do NOT add any additional Reese's Pieces or M&M's to the top of the cookie.

sneaky choco chip cookies

When I gave him the plain chocolate chip cookie he ate the entire thing. But when I gave him one with an extra candy on top he focused on picking the candy out and discarding the cooking crumbs onto his place mat.

And today, since Nathan loves grilled cheese, I will be trying the recipe that adds a small layer of pureed sweet potato and carrot to the inside of each slice of bread. So sneaky, I will let you know how it goes.

I am really beginning to love this book (The Sneaky Chef). The main goal is to sneak healthy ingredients into the meals without changing color, texture, or taste. I am a huge fan of this since some of the healthiest foods can taste like cardboard and nobody wants to eat cardboard.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The CF Diet: What did we do wrong?

Nathan craves sugar. It is not entirely his fault because we allow him to have basically whatever he wants because he does not want to eat.

sugar high-2 copy

Nathan's best friend who is 4 months younger than him is not a picky eater, at all. I mean Ayden will eat anything you give him, including steak, and he will ask for food when he wants to eat. Not Nathan. I am so jealous that my friend's son actually eats real food but I came to a realization after she made a good point yesterday.

Nathan's first solid food was applesauce at 1 month old. He had applesauce 8 times a day with his enzymes. Not only did he start with the wrong food, never give fruits before vegetables because they are sweet and the child will refuse the vegetables once introduced, but he also began eating solids way too early. I know plenty of other CF mom's that have no problem with their children eating vegetables but Nathan won't touch them. Well he did grab a few green beans once and he will occasionally nibble on cucumbers. But other than that he will not even consider them.

When I began to introduce solid foods, I did give him avocados, egg yolks, and vegetables, but he already fell in love with the sweetness of fruit. Slowly he began to phase out everything with the exception of sweet things, like fruit and yogurt.

But now he asks for "pop" when we are in the car. Why do we give him Dum Dum lollipops, or stop and buy him a Ring Pop, or let him hijack our slurpies? I guess because we enjoy seeing him happy. Nathan endures so much crap, including a couple hours of breathing treatments a day without giving us a problem and we love seeing him excited.

It is cute that he knows what he wants and says "peease" is the nicest way. He has begun to associate certain places with stuff he wants there. We see McDonald's and he either says "play" or "i keem" (ice cream). We stop for gas at Quick Check and he says "pop".

I remember reading other CFer's, maybe even Ronnie, write about how their parents treated them no differently when they were younger, that they needed to eat their meals before their dessert. But I already made the mistake thinking that any calories were better than no calories, or that any fat was better than no fat.

sugar high-3

And how did he learn that Ring Pops belong on your finger? I didn't teach him this.

sugar high

So he craves sugar and for that reason why on earth would he want to eat anything besides sugar? If I didn't know any better, I too would prefer to eat fruit all day long.

I wonder if it is too late to remedy this situation. My husband and I eat eggs almost on a daily basis. Nathan used to eat scrambled eggs with cheese but now he will only eat the sliced American cheese by itself. I know he would totally LOVE corned beef and hash or bacon (lots of fat!) with eggs but he won't even consider touching them.

It would probably be a good idea to withhold the M&M's until he finally succumbs and tries some new foods but he NEEDS to eat and he needs all the extra fat and calories he can get.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

28 weeks pregnant (yesterday)

I am now officially in the third and final trimester, the home stretch. I've gained a little under 21 pounds so far.

I've been feeling great all day but exhausted and achy in the evening. It is almost as if my pregnant belly gets larger as the day progresses, especially after dinner. Heartburn has also been given me the after dinner blues.

The air conditioner has been my lifesaver during the hot days and nights of summer. I've never been one to sweat but I have been sweating the bed almost every single night. It is hard to believe that I have been utilizing the air conditioner on and off since March. It is sure to be a long hot summer.

Nathan has been good, allowing me a few moments to rest on the sofa before he climbs up next to me and pushes or pulls me off.

He is also very good about giving his baby sister kisses.

28 week belly -  Nathan kiss

28 week belly -  Nathan kiss-2

Previous baby belly photos:
12 week baby belly
16 week baby belly
21 week baby belly
22 week baby belly
23 week baby belly
24 week baby belly
25 week baby belly
27 week baby belly

Being 28 weeks pregnant can be difficult at times, to learn more about it, please visit PregnancyCorner.com.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010