Monday, November 7, 2011

On my heart, on my mind

Wow! What a weekend it's been...Benton was SUPER cranky yesterday - he's teething again. He either wanted to be picked up, then would cry to be put down. Once he was put down, he would cry to be picked up. We finally checked his temperature after Steven got home, and poor buddy was running a fever :-( I felt like a bad mom not knowing he was sick. He's feeling a little better today, but slept a lot according to daycare.

I've just got a few things on my heart and on my mind that I need to get out there and ask for thoughts/prayers.
  • My friend Reanna's little boy, Benson, had a big setback this weekend. He was born October 11th, along with his twin sister, Ainsley. Ainsley is now home and doing well, but Benson has been found to have had a stroke. He is doing okay, but the long-term implications are unknown. They are on my mind and on my heart...
  • My friend Justin and Bonnie are attempting to adopt two beautiful children. They've been through a lot of setbacks and are experiencing trials and tribulations everyday in the adoption of their children. They are on my mind and on my heart...
  • One of my friends is getting ready to undergo some treatment for fertility. She is an awesome woman, and he is a wonderful man. They will make amazing parents. I hope that this treatment works, and they are blessed with a child soon. They are so deserving...
I am thankful for having great friends, who are with me through thick and thin. I hope that this little note lets them know that they are constantly on my mind, on my heart, and being thought of. I am there with you, through it all.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Birthday, Pumpkin Patch, and 1 year stats - aka Blog Catch up!

Wow! It's been a while since I've updated the is busy when you have a 1 year old running around the house (well, not running, but crusing). Benton turned 1 on October 9th! We had a party in Bentonville (along with Ethan's 4th), and had a really good time! What else has been going on? Let's let the pictures tell you....

I love the coloring in this picture! The picture people did so well!

He really enjoyed this cake!

He was hesitant at first to dig into it though....

But was very proud of himself in the end for making such a mess!

We also made a trip to the local apple orchard/pumpkin patch in Cummings. It was really nice, and I'd love to take a kid there when they're a little bit older than Benton - they had a hay maze for the kids, petting barn, corn pool, slide, and a lot of other stuff! Benton and Steven did the hay maze, then we walked around a bit. We took a hay ride out to the corn maze, and walked around a while (but it gets really tiring when you have to carry a 1 year old everywhere!). We didn't find everything in the maze that we were looking for (8 different objects), but had a good time. Next, we rode the hay ride out to the pumpkin patch and had fun picking out pumpkins. We brought them back, paid for them, then put Benton's costume on for some cute pictures! We ate a really yummy apple cider donut, and looked around their shop. Around then, we were pooped and ready to go home! The weather was beautiful that weekend!

Benton thinks he's pretty big stuff standing up in the middle of the hay bales!

This one dad!! I want this one! - No we didn't get that one :-)

We did however, end up with a total of 2 big pumpkins (one missing in the picture), a small, Benton sized-pumpkin, and 2 really neat gourds. He had a lot of fun with the little one he's holding!

Benton walked the last few feet of the hay maze for kids with daddy's help! He is such a happy boy!!

I can't believe it's November already! We've had an amazing few months recently!! Benton is growing and changing every day. He's really made this first year awesome. My life has changed forever, and I couldn't imagine it any other way.

Here's his one year stats
  • 22lbs 5ozs (50th %)
  • 28.5 inches (50th %)
  • 48cm head circumference (92nd %)
  • You eat EVERYTHING! No aversions to food.
  • You are crusing around furniture - SO close to walking!
  • You say "Hi", "mom", "dad", "no", and "yeah"
  • You sleep from about 7:30pm or 8pm until 6:30am
  • You have teeth!! 2 on the bottom, 1 on the top (sort of)
  • You moved up to toddler time at the Library on Thursday nights. It's got bigger kids in it, but you seem to like it.
  • You are still going to day care with Dianne Hyden. You really love her a lot! You have 2 friends there, Lyla (2 yrs old) and Bior (1 yr 2 months)
  • You give kisses (most of the time) on command. I love the slobbery kisses!
  • You love snuggling and reading books, but are also on the go a lot!
  • You still have your wubbanub, Mr Monkey. You use it to go to bed and nap time. You also use it sometimes when you're upset in the car to calm down. We now have 3 monkeys - 2 colorful ones - Mr. Monkey, and 1 plain one - Deuce
  • You love feeding your dogs (or Sooie) some of your food - breakfast, lunch, and dinner! I'm sure she and Rae don't mind it either!
You are definitely mommy and daddy's little stinker - your halloween costume was fitting (mommy and grandma waggy made it!) - and we love you very much! We look forward to the changes that are coming soon, and watching you GROW.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

NICU Mamma

I'm a mother of a baby that was in the NICU. Wow...that only took me 8 months to say. Seeing my precious baby boy today, one would never know that he was a NICU baby. Seeing him just after he was born, one wouldn't think he would even remotely be anywhere near the NICU. But, my precious, 8lb 9oz baby boy spent the first 4 days of his life in the NICU.
It all started with contractions on October 8th. This was 11 days prior to my "scheduled" c-section. I was set to have a c-section because of my history with Crohn's disease. I've had 5 abdominal surgeries - 4 full open ones - in 6 years. Having a history of perianal fistulas, my OBGYN and CR surgeon and myself, decided that it would be in all of our best interest to have a c-section. It was set - for October 19th, 2 days prior to my due date. I was always nervous that I would go before my scheduled date - I can't ever seem to do things on schedule. We had a plan - first thing in the morning, Dr Morgan (OBGYN) and Dr Page (my CR surgeon) would do the c-section in the main OR, and everything would be great! October 8th rolls around, and I'm not feeling Benton move very much that morning - in fact, not at all. I get scared, and call the Dr. I'm also having contractions. The Dr says to come in, which is easier said than done - it's a 45 minute drive to the Dr's office from Ames. So - I head down there, and they hook me up and do a non-stress test. Of course, as soon as I'm hooked up, they see the contractions, and then Benton starts to move like crazy. Kids and dog make liars out of you every time. We determine he's okay, and we determine that I'm in pre-term labor - nothing serious yet, and barely dilated....go home :-(
I'm done at the Dr's office and in a lot of pain, so I call Steven to come pick me up. He's on his way, and the contractions get stronger, and closer. I got back up to the Dr's office and talk to Dr Tran (whom I really like!) and she tells me to go the L&D and they can monitor me for a while longer, but won't stop the contractions if they don't stop on themselves. Steven gets here, and off we go to L&D (not our first trip there!)
Benton and I get comfortable in the monitoring room, and get hooked up. We are watched for a while, then the Dr comes in and orders a biophysical profile ultrasound. When he's done doing that, they come in and talk to me and Steven, telling me that Benton is showing some signs of distress, and want to watch me overnight (sigh). The contractions have slowed down, but are still strong, and I can't sleep or rest. So - we're moved into the post-partum area to be monitored overnight. I don't sleep a WINK - this is even after 2 Tylenol pm. I watch TV, toss and turn, and even make Steven go on walks with me around the floor. I gaze lovingly in the nursery, imagining Benton laying in the bassinet and people walking by talking about how sweet he is. Wow - nice plans.
The following morning, Dr Tran comes in and tells me that she's going to check me, and if I've progressed at all, she'll do the section. If not, she's sending me home (still contracting). I've progressed slightly, so the c-section is on! Now, let's get the room scheduled, and where is Dr Page? We spend the next few hours waiting on the room (there was an emergency with a guy cutting off his arm in some accident, blah blah). We find out the Page is in Chicago - mind you he PROMISED that he wasn't going anywhere during the month of October - he was in trouble! - but his partner was "on-call" in case something happened during the section. About 2pm, we were wheeled down to the OR. Steven was looking lovely in his garb, and I was nervous! I remember getting myself on the OR bed, the spinal, and remembering that I felt very sick, then got something in my IV and felt instantly better! Steven set beside me and held my hand as we anxiously awaited to hear our baby boy's cry.
He came out, and was beautiful. Steven went to him and watched them dry him off. They were checking his apgar scores, and he was breathing really fast. They decided to bring in the NICU team to help him breath a little. I was devastated. He was stabilized and put into an isolet, and wheeled by me while I was still being closed up. Steven asked if I wanted him to stay with me, or go with Benton, and I of course said to stay with the baby.
The next parts I'm not sure on - because I wasn't there. I was closed, and taken back to my post partum room, and fell asleep, wondering how my baby was. My mother-in-law came in shortly after I got back. Steven came back to check on me, and brought pictures of my baby boy. He was perfect...but covered with wires, and tubes. It scared me. It wasn't supposed to be like this. I was supposed to be holding him, cuddling him, and showing him off....not waiting to go see him.
My mom and dad came, I slept, Steven stayed with Benton....
Benton had an umbilical line put in after he was sent to the NICU, to draw blood and give fluids. One of the fluids they gave him was heparinized saline. It was a 250ml bag. He was supposed to have 62 units of heparin in this bag....
After his fluids were started, his umbilical line didn't clot properly, it was oozing around the line itself. The Drs and nurses watched it for a few hours. About 2 in the morning, while Steven was asleep on the "uncomfortable" couch - the nurse noticed it was oozing more, and called in the neonatologist. He immediately pulled the line, and a swarm of people were around Benton. Orders were flying right and left, and a nurse pulled Steven aside, and questioned if we had any history of bleeding disorders in the family. In his sleep-deprived haze, Steven couldn't think of any. Benton's bleeding stopped, with 10 stitches, surgi-gel, and fresh frozen plasma. The next 3 days were spent wondering if he was okay - if he had a bleeding disorder, if his brain bled too, if he was going to be "normal".
The day we were discharged, the Dr told me as a precaution, he was going to have the saline bag tested to see the concentration of heparin in the saline. He said he highly doubted there was a pharmacy error, and that Benton had some type of Factor V Clotting disorder, but we couldn't be sure until he was about 14 days old, and the plasma was out of his system. I got a call 2 days later that somewhat put my mind at ease. There was a pharmacy error. Benton's 250ml bag of saline had 5,000 units of heparin - not 62. For those non-pharmacy, non-medical people out there - 5,000u of heparin is an adult dose of heparin. They apologized profusely, swore up and down that their procedures have changed, etc etc...
I'm a NICU mom. My baby was in the NICU. I missed the bonding time with my son, the first food he received was a bottle from the nurse. I cried and cried and cried those first 4 days of his life. I felt that I didn't do a good enough job as a mom to keep him safe, to keep him in long enough that he was healthy. I've since learned that it wasn't my fault in any way, and I couldn't have done anything to keep him out of there, or any safer.
Why am I telling you all this, now? 8 months later? 1. I need to let you know. 2. I have friends that are currently pregnant with twins and triplets. The mom of the triplets is preparing herself mentally for having babies in the NICU. I'm devastated at the thought of these parents having to experience the things that I did, and have the feelings that I had. While I knew that Benton was in the best place of him, I would not wish anyone to have to experience the NICU.
Me...I'm a NICU mom. But we're past it, and Benton is healthy, happy, and growing!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What's up?

Tiptoe, through the Tulips....the Neal's made a trip to Pella a few weeks ago with Tom and Andrea, and Jack and Sarah. It was a BEAUTIFUL day, and the tulips were wonderful! It was very busy!! Benton enjoyed getting his picture taken, and slept most of the rest of the time.

Last weekend, we made a quick trip to Colubmia, MO. Steven's cousin, Jenn (aka Aunt Jenn) graduated from MIZZOU Vet School. We are SO PROUD of you, Dr Ballard!! Jennifer and Steven are very close in age, and both grew up, more or less, like brother and sister. While it was rainy and dreary, it was a very nice ceremony and cool, but fun, bbq!

Monday, April 25, 2011

My little model

So, here he is! Our little model! Yes, Benton went to get his 6 month (well, acutally 6.5 month) pictures taken Saturday. Our favorite picture place, the Picture People closed in Des Moines in Feb. We were quite upset - they do awesome photos, and have good deals. We got lucky though, because they are still open near Kansas City, and mom and dad wanted to meet there last weekend. So, off we went - Benton, Daddy, myself, and the dogs - yikes - we were packed to the brim for just a weekend!

We were running a bit late on Saturday - sorry PP folks - but got there, and felt like they spent a great amount of time with us. The pictures turned out GREAT, so great they asked us to sign a model release so they could put his pictures up in the store and possibly on the website!! It's so nice to have someone else tell you that you're baby's cute...all your friends have to agree, and having a stranger say so is so nice!

So, what else have we been up to lately?

>Ally turned 29 last Friday!

>Steven turns 29 on May 3rd!

>Benton had his 6 month check up on 4/7/11 - here are a few of his stats...

>18lbs 13oz (92%)

>26 inches long (74%)

>45 cm head circumference (99%)

>He sits unassisted very well

>He eats "real" food twice a day - his favorite - Bananas! He's also likes sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, applesauce, pears. He's tried green beans, peas, avacodoes, rice cereal, oatmeal cereal, spaghetti squash. In the near future we'll try blueberries, peaches, and fun summer fruits and veggies! Steven and I are making all his food, minus the cereals.

>He drinks 7 ozs at a time - three times a day at daycare. He nurses twice a day still.

>The Easter Bunny came and brought him a "My Pal Scout" he likes him a lot, and laughs at him.

>He's attempting to teeth - we're expecting a tooth within the next few weeks on the bottom!

That's about it for now! I'm really trying to get better at blogging, but he keeps me pretty busy! Lots of love guys!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cousins....they're two of a kind!

Can you tell we're related?
It's sometimes scary how much they look alike. This is Ethan, (at the time, 6 months) my (now) 3 1/2 year old nephew on the left. That's Benton (3 months) on the right. I doubt there's any denying that they're related...
Poor children, the Sikes/Case genes are too strong!

Monday, January 17, 2011

You cloth diaper?

So, yes...we cloth diaper. No - we don't use the old fashion "flats" and "pins". Cloth diapers have actually come a really long way in the recent years. We currently (and probably only will) use Bum Genius - we have the 4.0's - the newest BumGenius available. We have 24 diapers that are in our "stash" - various colors and both snaps and velcro diapers. They have an insert that goes in a pocket in the diaper that is the absorbent part, and they fit like a disposable, just a little thicker!
I first learned of cloth diapering from my good friend (one of the bff), Rebekah. She cloth diapered with her first, Clark. The first time I saw them, I thought she was CRAZY! I mean - can you imagine washing your POOPY diapers in the washing machine where I wash MY CLOTHES?! ew...the thought made me want to puke! But, alas, soon after I got pregnant, I really started looking into them. The more I read, the more I heard, the more I wanted to do it. I talked to Steven about it a bit, and he was not at all convinced. I took him to our local favorite cloth diaper store, Little Padded Seat, and showed him all the CRAZY amounts of options. The owner there was very patient with us, explained everything from prefolds, to flats, to pockets, all-in-ones, and many more. After a whirlwind visit to the diaper store, and our head spinning with all these terms we've never heard before, more research ensued. Steven and I settled on the BumGenius, as we thought this was the best bang-for-our-buck option, and would be the least time consuming way to go if we were really going to do it.
Of course, those of you that REALLY know us, know we often do laundry - we just don't always finish it...may times you'll visit our home and find the laundry in various stages - in the dryer, some folded, some hanging, but never fully finished and put away. My mom laughed when I told her we wanted to cloth diaper and it would require us to wash the diapers about every other day and re stuff them. She didn't think we'd keep up with the laundry! While we don't always finish the diapers - ie stuff them and put them back in his drawer, we've kept up with the laundry! Now, don't ask to see our laundry completely put away and 100% finished...that's another story!
So, yes, we cloth diaper. Is it because we love the environment and want to save the landfills of nasty, gross disposables? Maybe a little. Is it because I'm super cheap and think in the long run it will save me money? You betcha! Wanna know a little more about my cloth diapering? Feel free to ask! I love it, Steven loves it, and it makes Benton's little bottom look cute and oh so happy!
By the way - we just found Rockin'Green Hard Rock soap and LOVE it!! We especially love it when people do giveaways of with Leaves of My Tree.