Thursday, April 30, 2009

Never thought I'd see the day...and other stuff

Going, going...

I never allowed myself to think about this day. Somethings are better off not considered. But, it's here and it's done! I called the evil home health company today and arranged for them to pick up all the oxygen tanks AND the oximeter. I'll miss the sound of clanging tanks, NOT!

Of course, they require doctor's orders to discontinue service. That only took a simple phone call to Ralph's fantastic, friendly cardiac NP. I wanted to keep the oximeter and a back-up tank of oxygen, just in case. But, she talked me out of it. I haven't been checking his levels much lately anyway. I'll go buy a cheap, portable oximeter if I find that I can't handle this loss of (imaginary) control. At least I get some additional square footage!

Wesley took another CLEP test today. And he passed! I knew he would, I'm so proud. What a frugal and effective way to earn college credit! All the preparation is his responsibility...true learning. I'm impressed with College Plus so far. Graduation is a week from Saturday. Senior Roast is that night at church. Graduation party is Sunday afternoon.

Ralph goes to the DS clinic at Children's Mercy next week. The appointment is at 8 am so I'll need to drive up the day before. I'll need to bring help in order to care for Ruby and Ralph at the same time. This is presenting a childcare challenge considering that daddy will be in Arkansas next week. I'll figure it out...after I freak out for a couple of days.

There are birds building a a wreath...on my front door!? These must be the stupidest, most ill-informed birds I've ever seen. Don't they experience my many children going in and out of the house and slamming the door each time? I'm baffled.

Miss Ruby is up 9 ounces from last Friday! She is a much happier baby now that I'm actually feeding her enough. This photo was from last Tuesday when she was looking a little thinner.

Today she looks a bit fuller in the face and is sleeping better, too!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Two years ago...

Two years ago today was a wonderful terrible day. It was a beautiful, warm Sunday when Ralph was born. I recall laboring through worship that one knew!

After church I retreated to my room. I felt the need to rest as much as possible so I put on some good music and napped off and on. James kept the children busy playing outside so that I would not be disturbed. I could hear them through the open windows. Later I took a relaxing bath and had a little glass of wine. A perfect day. A perfect labor.

A perfect baby...with a few challenges.

Ralph was born at about 9:30 p.m. I was immediately in love. But, we learned only minutes before he was born that he was in trouble. 911. Ambulance. Hospital
I've spent a lot of time in hospitals over the past two years. I've seen things a mother shouldn't see. Now I see beauty in things that others cannot. My heart's been broken a few times but now there's a bit more room in it. Thanks be to God. And Ralph.

Happy birthday Ralph! I love you!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Princess Dogbone

She looks a little beat-up, doesn't she? Maybe that is because she is! :(
Rose was bitten by the neighbor's dog yesterday. She was playing in their yard with their kids when the dog jumped up and bit her in the face. James took her to the minor emergency office but they sent her to the hospital emergency room because of the location of the wound in the corner of her eye. She also has a puncture on her forehead which was glued shut.

She was a very brave girl...after a while anyway. Daddy was the one who took her to the ER, 'cause he might have gone looking for a certain dog.
The neighbors felt terrible. And while not having the good sense to keep their dog from wandering around the block, they did pay the hospital and pharmacy...and the dog no longer lives there.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New pictures

Oldest holding newest.Incredible fingers! Long and spidery.

A handful. A tiny little one-hand-full.

Guess who also loves Chipotle?
Naptime for boys, big and small.

One month in. is quiet here for a moment. Feels odd.

Wesley is at work. Chipper is at a track meet. Richard, Jordan, Leroy and daddy went to watch the track meet. Thomas is at grandma's house. Rose is at the neighbor's house. Ralph and Ruby are sleeping! Quiet. Peaceful. Ahhhh.

I feel like the past month has been my "lost month." I have not been able to focus on anything but keeping Ruby fed. We had a rough start and it snowballed. I'm sure that the frantic crying from her colic contributed to her trouble gaining weight, also. There were times that I cried while changing her diaper because her little legs were so skinny. There were words offered in kindness that I took all wrong.

I guess it goes to show that even experienced mothers sometimes struggle at first. Maybe more so. It is much more difficult to ask for help when you have eight other babies under your belt. Maybe it is just harder to realize that you need help with eight other babies under your belt!

We are getting better. Ruby is growing, filling out a bit. No more baggy skin on her arms and legs. She still has crying spells, but they are happening less often. I'm getting a little more sleep. Hurting a little less.

I'm glad that our clouds are lifting because I'm ready to get to know Ruby. I'm ready to fall in love with her. In my experience, bonding with a baby after a c-section is different and more difficult. I was numb when she was born and in a way I still am. Dealing with a screaming, colicky baby doesn't help.

I didn't feel her leaving my body. I know she did. But, it feels unreal. I must reconcile my heart with my mind. Feelings follow action, heart follows mind. I'm good.

OK, now the dog wants to go out. Peace and quiet are over. I'll put up some pictures tonight.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My sunshine

No more oxygen! YAY!!It's great to see his whole face ALL the time. Even if it's covered in sauce!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ramblin' catching-up

Life is so stinkin' busy around here right now! I feel like I'm just hanging on tight so I don't fall off the ride. Ruby is snoozing for the moment so I'll have to make this fast!

Thomas did well on his state assessments last week. It was three days, two tests per day. Thankfully dad was in town last week and was able to help me get him there and picked up several times. He was signed up for morning testing, but he had to leave early and come back in the afternoon one day so that we could attend a memorial service. Phew.

Yes, a memorial service. James aunt passed away on April 1. She was young, too young. Cancer sucks and then it sucks some more.

Wesley passed his first CLEP test last week. Thomas, Leroy, Ralph, Ruby and I dropped him off on Thursday afternoon and then went to Eastborough Park to kill a couple of hours. Leroy likes to harass the ducks there!

Chipper had his first track meet last week and it got rained out. :( He had another one today and then an orchestra concert tonight! Richy is also running track this Spring.

Oh joy! Summer rec baseball practice starts this week. I've gotten a few emails from coaches about practice times. It's always funny because the emails usually say "I'm your child's coach this year" and so I have to do a little research to figure out which of the children they are coaching! Five children, five different teams. Next year I'm going to offer them $20 ($50 even!) NOT to play baseball. I think my sanity is worth a couple hundred dollars, don't you?

Wesley's graduation is coming up! WOW! He is so incredible...really a treasure to me. We ordered some announcements today because tomorrow it the deadline to turn in announcements for the graduation ceremony scrapbook. That's me...last minute scrambling. Oh, also turned in a graduate info sheet to church today...2 days late. I know people understand my being lame, because I've been preoccupied with Ruby, but it still feels bad to be so lame!

Ralph had his appointment with the cardiologist today. I brought along a Signing Time video for him to watch during the echo. I thought he would be so mesmerized by it (like he is at home) that he would be still and good. Of course today he wanted to show off all his signs! I had another bright idea to slip his socks on his hands during the EKG! He still managed to pull some wires off with his toes!

Ralph's test results were pretty good. He has been off of oxygen for a little more than a month. And, he is staying off of oxygen!!! His pulmonary pressures were only slightly higher than last time when he was still on oxygen. He is running at 35-40 mmHg. Not terrible. Now we are working on taking him off of some of his medications. After some blood tests this week, I'll know more.

One thing the doc said that bothered me...he mentioned Bosentan in passing. I'm pretty comfortable with the medications that Ralph is taking right now. I've been under the impression that his PH would be improving over time, but maybe I'm wrong. Bosentan scares me. It would be something to consider is Ralph gets worse...a lot worse. He is such a yummy little piece of sunshine! So, I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy.

I'll leave you with a little sample of my sunshine:

Monday, April 13, 2009

If only...

If only Ruby would stop crying I would begin writing again! Typing with one hand makes me nuts.

Please remember Ralphie in your prayers! He goes to the cardiologist tomorrow morning. He will have an EKG and an echo. The doc will read the tests right away and we will be making decisions about whether to keep Ralphie off of oxygen permanently or... (gulp) not.

Gotta go...the princess needs me!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

More from the tub...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Do ya know the colors of the...rainbow? *WARNING* Graphic Image

Just thought you might like to see what happens when amateurs attempt (and fail) to place IV's in the wrong place and then place an automatic blood pressure cuff on the same arm. It's hard to see but there's a huge bruise on my wrist also. Yep, I could feel these veins bursting every time the cuff inflated, which was pretty much continually the whole day. I kept humming the rainbow song from Signing Time every time I looked at this over the past few weeks! LOL

OK, something nice now...

It's so much more fun when daddy gives baths! Why do I have so many bathtub pictures? Why am I compelled to share them? Hmmm.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Ruby is up by 3 ounces today. Phew! She is still crabby and gassy though. I guess I'm due for a difficult child. I've had such easy babies for awhile.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Typing with one hand

If I don't get my act together, I'm going to lose all my readers! Sorry I haven't updated in a few days. I rarely have more than one hand free!

Ruby had her weight check on Friday afternoon and she gained almost 6 ounces from Wednesday! Good progress, huh? But, I'm having major mommy guilt. I can't believe that I'm giving her formula. :( She is very gassy and burpy and just all around unhappy. 90% of the time she starts screaming whenever I put her down. I can normally get her to settle down by about 3 am and then we are back up to feed at 6:30 or 7! Lack of sleep is starting to wear on me.

I'm taking Fenugreek, Blessed Thistle, and *gasp* drinking beer in the hopes that I can be nursing Ruby exclusively soon. She has another weight check on Monday. I'm praying that she well be up another 3 or 4 ounces so I can stop worrying and start enjoying her. But, we have a crazy week ahead of us. I'll do what I have to do, but it may not be fun.

Thomas has state assessments this week. I have to have him across town by 8:30 in the morning on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I'll be able to drop him off if I leave a cell phone number in case of emergency. But, I don't have a cell phone and I don't think they want to listen to Ruby scream all morning. How did our parents ever survive without cell phones??

Jordan gets on the bus at 8:20. Oh yeah, Ruby has her weight check at 9:45 Monday. And we have a memorial service Tuesday morning. *sigh* I'm sure there's something that I'm forgetting.

More pictures soon. Promise.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Who's the doll?

Ruby is two weeks old! She weighs only 6lbs. :( I'll be taking her back to the doctor Friday to make sure that she is back to gaining weight. She's got no fat on her legs...pitiful! She looks like a preemie.
My grandma visited for a short time last Sunday. She was passing through town and brought me a big bag of baby girl clothes. Now Ruby has some tiny clothes that actually fit! I just love these pink overalls. She has on a pair of socks, footie PJ's, overalls and a hat. I can't have her getting chilled, can I?