Friday, March 27, 2009

Life is child or twenty.

I've been meaning to write, but I haven't had many positive things to say. Ruby is a peach, but life in general had been so hard lately. I don't even really want to type.

Ruby is so tiny! She is so small that I swear she's getting skinnier every day. At first she was so sleepy and full of mucous that she didn't want to eat. By Saturday night I was in pain from severe engorgement. She finally decided that nursing would be good about Monday. By Wednesday I was in a different kind of pain.

Wednesday morning she started spitting up what looked like blood...old, brown blood. I freaked out and called the doctor. The nurses asked me if my nipples were cracked. Duh! Of course they were. You would think after nine children I would know a thing or two.

I was alone with the kids at the time and you know that Ralph doesn't walk yet. (I'm not supposed to pick him up at all.) It was Rose's birthday and she wanted cookies for school. And I just can't stop crying. One well placed phone call and I had a friend at the door with cookies for Rose, a gallon of milk for Ralph and time to play with them. She even took Rose to meet the school bus. Another friend arrived then and played with Ralph and put him in his crib when he was ready for his nap. I do have great friends. One friend even set up some playdates for Ralph for this week, but he started running a high fever yesterday...we'll try to keep this bug to ourselves if you KWIM.

Back to Ruby...she's been ravenous. Wanting to nurse all the time and trying to stuff all her long, spidery fingers in her mouth in between. I just needed time to heal so I started pumping and giving her a bottle yesterday. It was amazing!

After gulping down nearly 2 ounces she would relax and look around or go to sleep. No more desperate finger munching. No more crying. I really think she was starving. I think that I was in such pain that she wasn't getting much from me. I'm not even getting much by pumping...really getting worried about this, too. Baby formula smells so bad and really disgusts me. I'm going to give it another day and try to take really good care of myself before I totally freak out. Any suggestions?

Also, my neck and head hurts. More than anything, my neck has hurt me for a week. I thought it was from the night that I fell asleep sitting up on the couch, but I'm starting to wonder. I recall that it hurt badly one night while I was in the hospital. Could a spinal headache manifest as a pain in the neck?

My poor hubby has been working so hard lately. He's not been around much this week and I know that it hurts him. It hurts me, too. He was out of town for a week before Ruby was born. He came home the evening before. Even when he is home, he has presentations to prepare and so spends all his time working and on the phone. I guess I could be married to the kind of guy who can't or doesn't care to hold a job. So, I'm thankful.
Daddy took this picture last night after Ruby took her bottle. The silly phone camera makes her nose look big! Not the best quality. But you can see the look on her face. She was making little kissy-lips and just staring at her daddy.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

1st bubble bath

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ralph, meet Ruby!

More pics

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Low Class

I'll bet he wouldn't come close to qualifying with a score like that. What an embarrassment.

Ruby's Story

Many thanks to my guest blogger, Rexpennae-AKA Robert W. Nance, for updating the blog yesterday! Have I mentioned lately how much I love my teenagers?

Ruby Jean Elisabeth and I are still up in the hospital. Yes, you read that right. Hospital.

I'm not going to share the gory details, but when my water broke yesterday morning it was immediately apparent that Ruby was in trouble. Home birth plans were scrapped and we headed straight for the hospital. Heart rate problems led to an immediate c-section.

I was very emotional in the OR, having flashbacks to the night Ralph was born. That curtain in front of my face bugged me a lot! I wanted to see everything. James was crammed in at my side and was feeling claustrophobic. He help up well, nonetheless.

Ruby was born kicking and screaming! Praise the Lord! She needed a little oxygen at first but pinked up nicely after a few minutes. She is so tiny! Only 6 pounds 12 ounces.


I'm feeling pretty good, considering. My arms are quite bruised...failed IV sites + blood pressure cuff = blown veins. I wanted to go home today, but Ruby is not nursing well. Please pray that she will get with the program so that I can feel comfortable taking care of her at home.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ruby Jean Elisabeth

6 lbs 12oz
19.5 inches long
Born at @ 11:53 am
March 18, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My green-eyed boy.

The tooth fairy visited our house last night! Actually, she was supposed to come the night before, but got lost or something. You know how forgetful the fairy can be!

Jordan was up bright and early this morning to show me his dollar bill!! He is quite possibly the sweetest kid EVER. He is a snugly, green-eyed momma's boy, if there ever was one!

I was very surprised to find his dollar bill laying on the kitchen counter while I was finishing up making the pancakes. How careless! I asked everyone, "Whose dollar is this?!?!"

Jordan just looked at me and batted his long luscious eyelashes. "It's mine," he said.

"Well, you'd better be more careful with it," I said. "You know if I find money laying around that I stick it in my jar." (The adoption jar!)

"I WAS going to put it in the jar," he said.

Yep, the sweetest kid ever.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Counting blessings and a stakeout.

Our vehicle died this morning on the way to church. It's kind of a long story. See if you can recognize all the blessings we experienced today.

In January I noticed that the tires on our van were shot. The steel belts were showing! We didn't have an extra $300 laying around to buy new tires. We weren't willing to go into debt to purchase them either, so I started driving my teenagers' old Suburban. No big deal. I'm not too good to drive an old beater.

Now it's March. No new tires yet. (next week for sure!) The Suburban has not been running right for about a week. Sometimes the engine just quits while driving down the street. No problem...I throw it in neutral and it starts back up again. Not this morning.

It died on a busy street on our way to church today. Right in front of a friend's house! Still, we had to try to push it off the road into their driveway. Did I mention that dad is out of town? As cars went whizzing past, I couldn't help but think that 90% of them were headed to church.

I put two teenagers pushing in the back, one teen on the passenger side and me on the driver's side. With no power steering I was able to push and muscle the wheel enough to turn into the drive...and hop in and step on the brake in time to keep from rolling back over my sweet babies pushing from behind.

Did I mention that the new baby is due tomorrow? I was wondering at the time if pushing a truck would be enough to send me into labor!! I guess not.

A nice man stopped to see if we needed any help. He was wearing shorts and a ball cap...certainly not dressed for even the most casual church. Using a chain he was able to pull us completely off of the road and offered to let me use his phone. I declined and thanked him sincerely. He was heaven sent, I'm sure.

We walked less than a mile to get home. The weather was beautiful. Wesley took Ralphie and walked ahead of the rest of us as there was a grass fire nearby and we didn't want him breathing any smoky air. The rest of us had a leisurely walk past the field with all the horses and the home with the dog agility course, AKA the "doggy playground" to our house.

While the kids changed into their playclothes I noticed that I had a phone message from an angel (who shall remain anonymous) only a few minutes earlier. I called back and reluctantly related our morning adventure. Turns out...get this...that someone was on their way to our house to drop off a car for us.

This angel was gifting an unused vehicle to a loved one. In turn, the loved one was asked to gift their vehicle to us. A God-thing? I think so. I knew about this a couple of days ago, but was unsure when or if it would really happen.

(We experienced static electricity with Ralph soon after this phone call.)

Have you heard that God is never late? Never early? Thomas was pretty upset that we didn't make it to church today. I think there was something special going on in Sunday school. But, we had an opportunity to experience God's blessings in a totally different way today. We had an opportunity to think about what we would do if we came upon a stranded family on our way to church. What's more important...walking the walk? Or talking the talk?

I'll end this on a funny note. Two of my teens had a weekend job passing out flyers for the upcoming city council elections. The job HAD to be done today. The flyers HAD to go to all the neighborhoods in the city limits. They saved the outlying areas for today, which would have been impossible without transportation.

On our way home this evening, I noticed a cloud of smoke or dust rising from behind our neighbor's house. As we drove by, Thomas said he thought they were having a stakeout. Huh?

I said to him, "Do you mean they are cooking steaks out on the grill?"

"Yeah, a stakeout", he said.

What a fun day!

Ralphie's physics experiment

I laughed so hard when I saw this today that I almost...well, you know. Today Ralph discovered static electricity in a very real way! He is sliding down the plastic slide in his play room and then sticking out his TONGUE to shock his brother. If you turn the volume all the way up you can hear the POP.

God is blessing us in a big way today. We are still watching it unfold, so I'll share with you a bit later! Have a blessed day!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

What's new with Ralphie?

What is new with Ralphie? He just keeps getting more and more fun for one thing! He had a great time with this box at Leroy's birthday party. (Yes, those are Christmas cards still hanging up on the window frame. Sue me.)

Ralph has his first real word! (Sorry, James, but I don't count da-da-da-da because he's been saying THAT for just about everything.) He has started saying hi! It is so clear and cute and appropriate when he says HI! at the perfect moment.

He has a ton of new signs all of a sudden. Water, colors, please, lion and more that I can't think of right now. His walking skills continue to improve as well. His PT says that walking skills unlock speech skills and I'm starting to see what she's talking about.

On another note, yesterday I signed up five children for baseball! Thank goodness that they have a family maximum of $115, otherwise I would have paid nearly $300. I just flushed my summer down the...well, you know.

Chipper is applying for a scholarship to attend a summer school program called Duke Talent Identification. He had the opportunity to take the ACT as a 7th grader this year and scored an 18 composite. Not too bad, huh? I'm pretty proud.

Wesley continues to study for CLEP tests. He'll be taking his first exams this month. I think that when he gets a few successful tests under his belt he will be even more motivated to study.

We are all taking Spring Break this week. I hope the weather is nice so that we can get out to the park. I'm going to try to rest as much as possible. The baby's due date is Monday, but I think I'll go over a bit. Not unusual.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Where's Ralphie?

Where's Ralphie?


Ralph has been off of oxygen for a week now. I monitored his O2 levels for the first two nights and he did really well. I had the opportunity to go to bed early the next two nights, so he didn't get hooked up. On the fifth night I monitored him again and I was really worried and disappointed with his numbers. But, I let it go and he's been great for the past two nights. I'm such a control freak! This is really hard on me. Doesn't he look great, though?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Wow...very wise words from a very young man!

This is long(ish) but oh, so worth a few minutes of your day. And you thought racism was ugly?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spread the Word

Spread the Word to End the Word that Starts with R
March 31, 2009 is the official Spread the Word to End the Word day to rethink the gratuitous use of the r-word - "retard" - in everyday slang. Is it a great cause or a case of hyper sensitivity in a world that thrives on political correctness?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Well, this is 200th post! I should be giving something away, don't you think? LOL

Good news from the cardiologist. Ralphie's pulmonary pressures are down, but only a bit. The good thing is that his systemic pressures are up. This means that his body is able to push blood through his lungs without taxing his heart. So things are looking up on the pressures scene!

More good news is that the doctor thinks that it is time for Ralph to try going without oxygen. I agree. The doctor said either we discontinue the O2 and check him in a month OR you can come back in six months! No way are we waiting six months!

Ralphie was on a very low flow anyway and he takes it off many, MANY times each day. Sometimes I would let him go without it for a half hour here and there anyway. I was a little nervous about no oxygen at night, but I monitored him last night and he did great...really great!

So, do I continue to monitor Ralphie at night? What if he gets sick? I still feel like I need to watch his O2 levels closely. He goes back to the cardiologist in mid-April to check his pressures again. Could we really be nearing the end of tanks and regulators and cannulas and tubing, oh my?!?!

OK, here is my (sort of) surprise...

Surprise! Ralph wants to walk!

Finally! He can actually make it across the room if he is not thinking too much! He is getting up and taking the steps on his's his idea now, not just mom making him take steps. He seems to enjoy taking about four steps and then belly-flopping.

I can't wait to buy Ralphie some nice new shoes and take walks outside or at the zoo this summer. He adores animals so a zoo pass is going to make the perfect 2nd birthday present!