Monday, January 21, 2013

Getting into the Routine

I feel like we needed a vacation from our two week Christmas "Sickcation." Ha! I think it took us a week after we got home to get back in the swing of things and get back into any sort of routine.  I am not the most structured person to begin with, so throw me in vacation mode, and all routines and time structure goes OUT.THE.WINDOW. I mean, what are vacations for??:).
So, we are now back to our weekly "schedule." I will never be the mom who has their kids go to bed at 7 every night and naps at the same time every day.  With Justin's job, we are out many nights, he gets home late, and it just doesn't work for us.  However, we have gotten back in our routine. 
Here are some pictures of what we've been up to the last couple of weeks.  Will's big boy friends, Carson and Gavin, celebrated their 6th bdays at Chuck-E-Cheese, AKA Will's favorite place on earth.  He loves these boys so much, and they are so sweet to always include Will in their running around and being rowdy.  
Aubrey Jane has discovered the cool, flashing lights
Josie is always trying to help out Aubrey or mom her.  What a sweet girl:)
Will is really figuring out the games.  It is amazing the difference in development we see every time we go there.  He LOVED watching the big boys play this game.  I think he stood there a good half hour.  Ha.

Of course after Chuck-E-Cheese in these sickie times, baths were in order.  Will set his drink on the edge of the bath while we were undressing him, and Aubrey Jane quickly took the opportunity to steal it.  When he tried to get it back, she quickly turned her back to him and kept on drinking- she didn't miss a beat.  Justin and I were cracking up! This girl if feisty and finally learning to fend for herself against here big brother:). 

We have plenty of laying around and playing time around the house.  Will has LOVED this "new to him" sleeping bag.  He took his nap in it a few days and even lets AJ "hide" in it with him on occasion.

Will loves his "Sissy" and wants her to play with him as long as it doesn't involve ANY of his 30 "Cars" cars.  Seriously, that boy is CRAZY about those cars and carries them around in his back pack ALL.THE.TIME.
I included this picture because I feel like 90% of the time both kids are awake together, I am playing referee.  Will basically always wants AJ to share with him and really shares with her sometimes rarely.  We are constantly working on it.

Justin is leading a couple men's groups called "Joshua's Men," so he is gone 2 Thursdays a month.  We try and get out and about if he is gone all day and night, so the kids can have a change of scenery this mom doesn't totally lose my mind:).  One night we went to Chick-Fil-A with our friends, and they were having a "Make Your Own Biscuit" night! How fun! Just another reason I LOVE the Chick
Yes, Will is taking a bite of the raw biscuit right as the picture was being taken. Sweet child
I believe he ended up wearing more of the flour than got on his biscuit.  Oh, boys.

Will goes to MMO two days a week from 9-1, or for us more like 9:30-1. My life motto right now is "better late than never." It is so good for him to go.  He is an introvert and would LOVE to stay home with his Momma all the time, but it is so good for him to be around other kids and away from the nest every so often. He no longer cries when I drop him off (usually) and always loves telling me what they did that day.  
Here is Will after his Pajama Day. He looks slightly terrified, but it's the only picture I got

One of the things I like about MMO is I get to spend time with just Aubrey Jane.  It is precious time, and I just love the girls getting to run around together. Here are some sweet pictures I have taken of our girl in the last couple weeks.

We try and do lunch with friends or grab coffee. AJ is entertaining our friend, Chelsea here

Aubrey is just NOW getting her SECOND tooth at 15 months.  One of our days was filled with many "teething tears"

AJ loves her dolls and pushing them around, but when her brother is away, she is all about the cars and playing with them! You will often find her strolling around a couple cars or a toy gun.  Love her.
She's quite the helper these days. She is all about the dishwasher.  PS-the prescription bottle is filled with rice...not pills. Ha. 
Just a girl on the go in her PJs- coffee and keys in hand:)
It is a bit blurry, but AJ has her 2 baby dolls she sleeps with every night in her hands.  When she wakes up, she normally carries them around and situates them.
In all of my spare time, I am attempting to learn how to sew. HA. We shall see how this goes.  I have a sweet friend who is going to help me figure some things out. And, I have a few other friends who are trying to learn as well, so we are going to have a sewing know b/c that is how us young stay at home moms roll these days.....sewing parties...more on the sewing progress in blogs to come.

This weekend some of our friends came into town.  We actually knew them when we were all in the singles group together at our church in AR.  Yes, we go WAY back.  When Justin and I were moving to Charlotte, we found out the Vasquezs went to the church Justin was going to be serving at.  I cannot even tell you how good it is to have familiar faces around when EVERYTHING else is new and foreign.  Will and McKenzie were about the same age and became such sweet friends.  We so enjoyed spending some time with them as they were traveling through. 
Will and MK giggling and playing after lunch
Before swimming. AJ modeling her new swimsuit from Target.  LOVE LOVE a baby in a swimsuit
Fearless McKenzie and Will
AJ LOVED the water. Summer, please get here quickly

And lastly just because it is the sweetest picture three LOVES.  Sometimes I cannot even believe the blessings the Lord has given to me in my family. This picture absolutely melts my heart; I love all three so much. I am so grateful for such a sweet Daddy to my precious little ones.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Part Two of Aubrey's Birth Story

Here is the second part of our story with my pregnancy with Aubrey Jane.  I am writing it for a couple of reasons.  First, it was a big part of our story with AJ, and I want to remember the details.  Second, I want to communicate that you CAN have preeclampsia AFTER giving birth even if you have had NO symptoms the entire pregnancy---actually up to 6 weeks after giving birth.  We did not know this and things got a bit scary because of it.  Forgive me for being lengthy, but I am a details kind of girl:).
After 5 days in the NICU, our girl was ready to come home! We were able to spend most of our time at the hospital with Aubrey Jane those 5 days while Will spent some time getting spoiled by his Mimi (Justin's Mom).  It was wonderful to have her there and to get visits from Will during those 5 days.  Here are some pictures of Will and Aubrey after we brought her home.  He was 22 months and really  not sure about what to do with her. As you can see in one of the pics, he thought her head was an appropriate place to drive his cars.  What a silly guy! 

To back track just a bit, while in the hospital recovering from my C-section, my back really started hurting.  My C-section really wasn't too bad; I was up walking to the NICU the day after and really wasn't in a lot of pain.  Because I wanted to be as aware as possible with AJ in the NICU, I decided to quit taking the pain pills pretty early on and stick to the high dose of NSAIDS (Advil type medicine) they had me on to relieve the pain a bit.  I didn't want to be loopy at all. We have a super funny story about how I nearly fell asleep and out of the wheel chair the first time I really got to meet Will in the NICU--seriously like a drunk person.  I didn't want a repeat performance:).  Anyway, as I would complain to the nurses, I showed them exactly where I was hurting-- both sides of my back about half way up.  One joked with me and asked if I was nervous that it was my kidneys.  I laughed and told her it had crossed my mind; she quickly told me that wasn't possible, and it was just muscular.  Before the doctor medically discharged me, he told me it was probably just muscular from the C-section and to just stay on my steady dose of NSAIDS. 

As the days progressed the csection was getting better and better, but my back was getting SO. MUCH. WORSE.  I think I have a pretty high pain tolerance and tried to just carry on, but it was terrible.  Nothing seemed to make the pain go away, and I really started to worry the anesthesiologist had somehow messed up my spinal block, and I would forever be in chronic pain due to nerve damage:).  The excitement of taking Aubrey home was somewhat clouded by how much pain I was in. 

We brought AJ home Tuesday, and by Wednesday my mother in law and I decided it was time to go and figure out what in the world was going on with my back.  I was the last appointment of the day at 4:30 with the doctor who had preformed my C-section--yes, the one who was fresh out of residency.  My blood pressure was elevated- like 150/95.  When they rechecked it my bottom number went down a bit, and the top number being high was attributed to me being in pain.  After examining me, my doctor decided it was just muscular again and prescribed me some muscle relaxers.  I mentioned I was the last appt of the day because I feel like it was one of the ways I somewhat fell through the cracks of the medical system.  My doctor was rushed trying to get out, as I heard her talking to the nurses in the hallway about her evening plans:). They did do a pee test, and I did have protein in my urine, which is a symptom of preeclampsia and a side effect of having a baby:).  I feel like had I been with the same doctor the whole pregnancy, they would have been a bit more cautious with my history.  But, without that relationship and her really looking at my history, all my symptoms could be explained away as something minor.

At this point, I was in so much pain I started to ask my nurse friends and doctor friends some questions, texting all my best friends for prayers, and basically lived in the fetal position--you know when not taking care of a new born:). One of my nurse friends told me high doses of NSAIDS can cause ulcers which can cause pain in the back.  I IMMEDIATELY quit taking them and switched to Tylenol Wednesday night.  Thursday I actually felt some relief.  My muscle relaxers didn't seem to make much of a difference, but I could definitely tell the pain wasn't as sharp.  I really thought I had been developing an ulcer and stopping the NSAIDS was the answer.

Justin's youngest brother and dad got in Thursday evening.  By Friday I was back in so much pain- so much for the ulcer theory. I have a blood pressure cuff at home because of my preeclampsia with Will and decided I should take it Friday about 6ish.  When I did, it was around 165/110.  I immediately knew that was bad.  I called the doctor's office and got an after hour's nurse.  She talked to me and told me I should be fine to wait until Monday, and that I should go to the ER only if my bp got up to 180/120.  I felt somewhat relieved and got off the phone.  As the night progressed, I started to wonder if something more was going on.  I called again and asked if there was anyway she could talk to the doctor on call to see if I could get the blood pressure medicine I used when I had Will prescribed to get me through the weekend.  I also told her again I had a history of preeclampsia.  I had to specifically ask the nurse to do this, and she sounded a bit hesitant to call the doctor.  I definitely learned you have to be your own advocate.

After about 10 minutes, she called me back and told me the doctor on call from my office wanted me to go to the ER immediately and that I would be seen as soon as I got there. So, with tears I packed a bag, changed quickly, said good bye to my kiddos, and headed off to the ER. Again, God was SO good that this happened after Justin's mom, dad, and brother were all in Charlotte. We got to the ER and were immediately taken into a triage room where my bp was taken and quite a bit of blood work was drawn. At this opint my bp was 180/120.  The ER doctor was so nice and thought we were dealing with a slight case of preeclampsia, if that, and we would hopefully be able to go home that night.  Within the hour, he came back with some results that surprised him immensely.   All my labs had come back as he thought besides my kidney function test.  My creatnin level during pregnancy was around .5, which is where is should be, but the labwork indicated my new levels were 4.3.  He was extremely surprised because I looked and acted pretty normal.  He said I was very sick and would be admitted immediately with Acute Kidney Failure. 

So, with that announcement, an IV was put in as well as a catheter.....umm..not much warning on that one, and I was wheeled to the high risk OB part of the hospital.  Justin and I joke that we got to see all OB areas in the hospital.  From there, I was placed on Magnesium Sulfate to make sure I didn't have seizures from the preeclampsia and a kidney doctor was called down since my kidney function was so poor and that is not the general way preeclampsia works. 

After a few tests, it was determined I did have preeclampsia that was made worse due to the amount of NSAIDS I had been taking.  NSAIDS are filtered through the kidneys, and it can clog up the kidneys if they aren't working well.  As my doctor brother said, "It was the perfect storm for my kidneys to tank."  Because my kidneys weren't filtering well, my magnesium sulfate levels got too high, and they had to quit giving it to me to allow my body to process it out.  My doctor joked that it was like I had mag patch on since it was just staying in my system on its own. Magnesium makes you feel like you have the flu and just very icky.  Because of that and my kidney function, we had to leave Aubrey at home with Justin's family. Basically, the remedy for me to get better was to keep me on the mag to make sure I didn't have seizures while my body worked through the preeclampsia and to flush fluids in me to try and help my kidneys get all the bad stuff least I think that is why they had me pumped full of a saline drip for 3 days and measured every drop of pee that came out of me:).

 We were there from Friday to Monday evening.  I came home still technically in kidney failure, but as the kidney doctor said, it would just take time for mine to heal.  He was fully confident that everything would bounce back in several months, and they did just as he said. Praise the Lord! Dr. Booth, my OB doctor (not the one who delivered AJ), said she had never seen preeclampsia work this way in her 14 years of practice, and I had about a 1 in 450,000 chances of this happening.  Lovely.

There are some neat details that God worked out in all of this.  I want to list them out, so we can remember His faithfulness in the small things.

1.  Justin's whole family was here to watch sweet Will and newborn Aubrey Jane.  They were able to run back and forth and get pumped milk.  Mimi and Drew tag teamed Will, and Pop was playing mom to a newborn.  I know Pop and AJ will always have a special bond because of those several days.  Justin was able to be with me at the hospital, and we both knew our children were very well taken care of.

2. The OB doctor on call Friday night was a seasoned doctor who was my doctor the appt I had a preeclamsia scare.  She was very thorough then and was on the cautious side of things.  Dr. Booth was very on top of things and was extremely comforting and knowledgeable. She took over as my Dr. from that point forward and took care of things.  She said that anyone would have missed my diagnosis as my previous Dr. had that Wednesday because it is just so unusual. That did make us feel a bit better about it:).

3. My nurse friend told me to STOP taking the NSAIDS, which I did Wednesday night.  I went into the ER Friday night and my kidneys were in failure.  This was without me taking those pills for a day and a half.  I truly believe it could have been SO much worse had I not stopped taking that medicine the minute I did.

4. The kidney doctor that we saw was ABSOLUTELY wonderful. He answered my millions of questions and was so kind.  Dr. Booth said he was the one nephrologist she would have wanted to be on call that weekend as well.  I saw Dr. Woolwine for a few months after we went home as my kidneys were still healing, and he referred me to his wife to be my general Dr.  I have had some thyroid issues, and his wife, Dr. Amy Woolwine, has been SO wonderful.  Cannot emphasize how much caring doctors can impact a patient.

5.  Our sweet friend Suzy from church was a nurse in the NICU when AJ was in there, and then she was my nurse one of the nights I was in the high risk section.  We had only been in Charlotte about 2 months, so we didn't know a lot of people.  Suzy was a familiar face and was so encouraging.  I was so grateful God placed her smiling face in both of those places.

6. Our new church family and Sunday school class totally took care of our needs as far as meals and prayer goes.  We were checked on often and felt very loved. 

We were beyond grateful that God took care of our children and our needs in so many ways. It is always good to look back and remember God's faithfulness in life's situations.  Here are a few pictures of Aubrey Jane as she hung out with her Pop for a few days:).


I got to come home on Halloween night. No trick or treating went on in our home. Ha. Here is a picture of the kids in their Halloween gear.  Will never really wore his costume Halloween night, but this is what he was supposed to be. Unfortunately, this is the only picture of Will the dinosaur, which Aubrey is in since she was still in my belly when I took it.

Whew!!! So, that is the story of my preeclampsia AFTER having Aubrey Jane.  It is not that common, but it DOES happen, and it can be very dangerous when it does since no one is really looking for it anymore.  I am beyond grateful we caught it when we did.  I learned some valuable lessons through it. I really learned you have to be your own advocate with medical issues.  Doctors are just like everyone else and mistakes and oversights occur.  My brother is in his residency, and I in no way want to be disrespectful towards doctors.  I truly have the upmost respect for them, and I have seen all the sacrifices my brother and sister-in-law have made in their journey. I just think it is wise to be on top of your health and be aware of what is going on:). The Lord gives us wisdom and discernment, and I believe we are to pray that He would help us use those things in all of life's situations. 
With all that said, Aubrey Jane is our last biological child:).  I have about a 60-75% chance of this happening again with another baby.  We are BEYOND blessed that my preeclampsia occurred at 35 weeks with Will and after I had Aubrey.  In many cases, it happens earlier in the pregnancy and the only solution is deliver the baby.  We feel like through doctor's advice and prayer, the Lord made it pretty clear we were done.  Justin and I are currently in the process of praying about when and how God wants to use us in adopting a child.  We are not set on a timeframe or ANY details, but we both do feel a strong call to adopt sometime in our future; we just have NO IDEA what that will look like.       

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Aubrey Jane's Birth Story

As I want to make this into a book for our family, I figure the birth of our beautiful daughter should be included.  Will was a difficult baby, and by difficult I mean he cried ALL the TIME, so Justin and I's theory was to get the baby having over with as fast as possible. I mean why put off more misery of the first year??? Oh, how naive we were. Ha. It sounded like a good idea at the time:). 

So, when Will was 13 months old, we found out we were pregnant!!! We were beyond excited when we found out we were having a baby girl--over the moon! Boys are very dominant in Justin's family, so we just assumed we were going to have all boys.  I can still remember the surprise and excitement we both felt when the ultrasound technician told us we were having a girl; it is truly a moment I will never forget.  I have always wanted to have a boy first and then a girl. My mom's name was Jane, so I had wanted that to be Aubrey's middle name. Aubrey doesn't have any significance besides I just loved the name, so that is how we came up with our sweet Aubrey Jane's name. 

As if chasing an 18 month old around wasn't enough for this pregnant momma, we moved from Memphis to Charlotte, NC when I was 29 weeks pregnant.  Wow.  What a whirlwind that was.  I would not recommend it, but God was faithful and totally took care of all the details.  I had preeclampsia with Will at 35 weeks, so I was very quick to find a new doctor.  My pregnancy overall was great! I had a little preeclampsia scare at 34 weeks, but after some testing, everything checked out perfectly. I had a C-section with Will man, so we decided it would be best to schedule another c section at 39 weeks.  It was so wonderful to have that time to get Aubrey Jane's room ready, pack the night before we left, clean the house and just to feel prepared for our sweet girl.

The night before we went in to have AJ
That morning went perfectly! I had actually started having contractions the night before we went in to have the C-section, so I was glad to at least know what they felt like, as I didn't have any with Will. I think I had just enough to know I didn't like them:).  The nurse told me that morning I would probably have been in that afternoon ready to have our baby girl.  My C-section went right on schedule and our beautiful baby girl arrived crying her little head off. Side note, I was the doctor's FIRST solo csection, as she had just gotten out of residency not too long before I came along.  I guess that is what you get when you move to a new place in your 3rd trimester.  After they finished sewing me up and checking Aubrey out, we got to introduce Aubrey Jane to her big brother and her Mimi (Justin's mom).  She nursed great immediately, and I was so relieved because that was quite the challenge we had with Will.

Right after meeting Aubrey.  Will wasn't quite sure what to think:)

UNFORTUNATELY, as the day progressed Justin and I could both tell something was wrong.  Aubrey was breathing fast and almost grunted at times.  We knew some warning signs because of Will, and we actually voiced our concerns to the nurses several times.  The pediatrician checked her out that evening and gave us the green light that she was A-Okay.  That night was terrible.  She wouldn't nurse, she cried a lot, and I was just knew things weren't right.  Around 4am they came in for their check, and Aubrey had a little fever.  About 45 minutes after taking her to check her out, the pediatrician came in to tell us her blood oxygen was too low, and she was being admitted to the NICU.  Break my heart.  I had a good cry- I mean ugly, bawl your eyes out, need a moment cry:).  Justin and I prayed, I put on my big girl pants, and decided it was time to put that trust in God into action:). But, oh boy, that nurse that came in to check on me after that doctor left probably thought she was dealing with a crazy person.  I mean, really, what are the chances of having 2 babies go to the NICU for completely different reasons??!

The Lord is always so good with timing, and allowed me to have some pretty sobering perspective as we went to visit Aubrey and saw many other babies in the NICU fighting to make it.  Our girl was full term and healthy. The Lord was beyond good to us, and I got a little slap in the face with that reality.

 Here are some pictures of our sweet one while in the NICU.

 After many tests, it turned out Aubrey was born with fluid on her lungs, which can be a side effect of having a C-section.  She just needed time and extra oxygen to help her lungs dry out so she could breath easily.  She was in the NICU 5 days total, but it was so much more laid back than Will.  She ate great, was super sweet, and maybe it was also because we just knew what to expect and were prepared.  But, I do know it was night and day from our NICU experience with Will.  The worry and fear that overwhelmed me at times when Will was in the NICU was not there with Aubrey. Thank you, Jesus, for that. Justin will still say I asked 10,000 questions whenever a nurse came near me. I know the doctors ran the other direction when they saw me standing there:).  Ultimately, we knew she was healthy; her lungs just needed time to "air out." Justin and I now joke that we produce children that can't breath well and don't like to eat, as both struggled a lot with reflux.

We were able to stay in our room at the hospital until Aubrey was discharged.  It was so nice to be able to leave the hospital with our daughter!  Unfortunately, our story of my pregnancy didn't end there, but that will be for another blog post. We are so beyond blessed by our sweet little one. We could not be more in love with our Aubrey Jane Paslay.

Here we are finally getting to take Aubrey Jane home.  Cannot believe how tiny she was!!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

 Well, after a LONG, LONG time of not blogging, I have decided to give it another go.  I was visiting with some friends while home for Christmas and looked at their AMAZING blog book with all their pictures and memories of their sweet kiddos.  I want to have that for my family; what a treasure that will be in the years to come. So, here is my New Year's Resolution.....I am going to blog again! Hopefully, next year at this time I will be making my 2013 blog book to put on my coffee table.  

Christmas this year was so much fun! Will man is all about presents and was so excited about everything he got.  With his birthday and Christmas so close together, he had a hard time understanding the present receiving was over after Christmas day.  Aubrey Jane didn't really understand why she was opening presents, but this girl adds some serious sweetness and fun to everything.  She is such a blessing to our family!!
Pop and Will enjoying some piano playing
Aubrey Jane modeling her new backpack. Seriously, too cute

 We loved being home in AR to spend time with family. Justin's brothers always add a lot of fun with everything we do! Here is a brother dog pile on Will.  If you know our little man, you will appreciate what he is doing to Tim's eye lashes.  Boy takes advantage anytime there is to give some eyelash love. Ha!

 Unfortunately,  this Christmas could also go down as one of the SICKEST we have ever seen.  AJ and I woke up Christmas morning with a BBBBAAADDDD upper respiratory infection that would soon spread through both families like the plague.  Poor kids are still reeling from its effects.  Also, my little nephew Davis brought a stomach bug that got everyone the fever/cough virus didn't claim.  My step-mom is the lone survivor on my side that didn't catch either bug.  There was enough throw up at the Sloneker house to last the year, that is for sure!!!  Either way, we were so grateful for time with family! We are spread out in North Carolina, Oklahoma, and CHINA.

AJ and her sweet cousin Davis and Aunt Chelsea

Will loved playing with his cousin Maycee while there.  Here they are hiding for hide and go seek.
Uncle Charles is the coolest and played so much with the kids

We also got to attend Uncle Drew's Fayetteville basketball game!! Will was so excited to go watch him play and to yell, "Go DREW BEAR!!"

Will was trying to help us out and keep Aubrey on the bulldog. Poor girl:)

 We had a blessed Christmas that is for sure!!! We are beyond grateful for the gift of Jesus Christ and the reason we truly celebrate.