Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Spring Preview

We had a preview of Spring this weekend so I took Noah outside to his "park" (swing set) and to play in daddy's dirt piles while Ryan was napping. It was so nice out and we never got hot or cold once. I should have known better though because my body then thought it was time to do the weather change sickness I do twice a year when the weather goes from hot to cold or cold to hot. So, I had the sore throat on one side Saturday, the other side Sunday, and now I am almost done with the runny nose and cough. But, I am afraid since it is cold weather again I may have to do this all over again - hopefully not though. I guess it is a good thing to just go ahead and get it out of the way. I really wanted to take Noah out anyway because I figured all the stuff wasn't blooming outside yet so his allergies wouldn't bother him.

After Ryan woke up I took her out to swing on the porch and then we went for a little walk. I hate that we can't go for walks by our house - there are a lot of stray dogs and no sidewalks on the main road so it is just too dangerous. I want to take them to walk the Spadra Trail but I cannot go alone - I have heard too many stories. So, we just took a walk around our property instead. Since Ryan can't walk and the ground was too rough for her stroller, we couldn't get too far from the house because she gets heavy after carrying her for a while.

We still had some good outside time and the sunshine made us all feel better.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Unexplained Infertility to Indescribably Blessed

Today I am linking up with Kelly's Korner to share infertility stories. Ours is not as long as most and has the best ending :)

Nathan and I tried to have a baby for 3 ½ years before we ever were able to get pregnant. We tried on our own for 7 months and at a regular yearly exam my doctor recommended we start on Clomid to help with the process. Clomid is only recommended for a few months before your body tends to get used to the drugs and they are not as effective. Every month I would take the drugs, then I would have to get blood work done to see how many eggs I had produced, and then wait to see if I get pregnant. This never happened over the next year, every month was a disappointment. My doctor stated that it was unusual for me to produce so many eggs (10 times the normal amount) and still not have any luck. Over that year we also had Nathan tested and I had a dye test done to make sure there were no blockages in my tubes - and they were clear. We had several people saying to just take time off from the drugs and it would just happen on it's own. So, we had to make the hard decision to just give up on the Clomid and decided to just take a year off of the drugs and tried on our own. Well, with ovulation kits as our only help, we tried for another year and still had no luck. We then decided to take the doctor's referral to the fertility clinic.

It was June 19, 2009, my 27th birthday! I was even more excited that year than normal because what I did was going to change my life forever. Nathan and I went to Little Rock to Arkansas Fertility & Gynecology to our 1st infertility appointment with Dr. Batres. He went over our options with us and said he thought he could get us pregnant within 3 months. He said the first 2 months we would try progesterone to help fertilized eggs implant and another drug to help me produce a few more eggs. They did blood work and had reason to believe I had a brain tumor causing my infertility. They did a retest and figured out that I didn’t have a tumor, thank goodness. Dr. Batres said if the drugs (experimental cancer drugs that is - a little scary) didn’t work then we would do a round of IUI (intrauterine insemination) after that. The drugs didn’t work the first month. The second month however was a different story!

On September 19, 2009 I took my first ever positive pregnancy test! (We had also been on Kelly's Korner prayer list for a month) Our doctor said that our official diagnosis would be unexplained infertility. He said the drugs that he gave me would have helped the fertilized eggs to implant and that my cervix may have just not been letting them attach properly. I had to use progesterone injections for the first 3 months of my pregnancy to help prevent miscarriage. 

On May 21, 2010 we were blessed with our son Noah Atlee Stillwell - he came so fast that I did not get a chance to get any drugs and the doctor barely made it there! Once Noah was one we decided to start trying for a second baby since it took so long for us to conceive the first time. After 7 months of trying we successfully conceived our second baby. On September 14, 2012 we were blessed with our beautiful daughter Ryan Maelynn Stillwell. Ryan's birth was very dramatic! She had a prolapsed cord (meaning it was hanging below her head and if she were to put pressure on it she would cut off her blood supply and be stillborn) so the nurse had to reach in and hold her head off the cord until the doctor cut her out via c-section. The doctor then said she had velamentous insertion of the umbilical cord, meaning it was attached to the placenta in the wrong place and unprotected the entire pregnancy. This condition usually results in miscarriage, stillborn, or bed rest at 24 weeks. So, the fact that Ryan came out perfectly was amazing! (All her birth details are here if you want to read about it). I know this link-up was about infertility - but I strongly recommend you have your ultrasound tech scan for both a prolapsed cord and velamentous insertion during your ultrasounds - these things can be detected and could save your babies life!

I remember watching this video several times during my struggle with infertility and it really gave me hope:

I pray nightly for those struggling and will pray for anyone by name that asks. Just know you are not alone and your feelings are totally justified. It is not fair, it is not easy, and you can be mad. There is a child for everyone out there - some get to conceive and carry them, others have them brought into their lives in other ways. Just don't give up. I was always questioning why God made me want kids so bad, but we were not able to have them - infertility is hard and brings up so many emotions. Just remember, God knows what he is doing and he will help you find the right doctors and methods for you.

Here are some pictures of my miracles over the last few years:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

T-Ball Time!

Yes, that's right, this year Noah will be old enough to play girls club co-ed t-ball. I am all for it, I want him to get exposed to just the basics of the game and have him experience being part of a team so that next year when he can play boys club he will have some experience.  Nathan, however, is a different story. He does not want him to play this year because he thinks his attention span is too short and that he is not ready. I keep telling him that it will just be a fun experience for him - they do not keep score and Noah will think he won every game any way. Nathan said we could teach him the basics at home, and we could, but we won't. Life will get in the way and we will get busy. This way Noah will have set practices and get to have fun learning a little about baseball.

We decided since the weather was so nice we needed to have our first at home practice! Noah was awesome at batting! He really does have good hand-eye coordination. He loved hitting and wanted to go get the ball every time he hit it (something he will see he cannot do once he is playing with other kids). Catching was more difficult. He can get it front of it and get to the ball, he just cannot properly catch it yet. But, he is stopping the ball, and in t-ball their hands are so small and the glove and ball are so big it is awkward to do it properly.

The ball did not hit him in the head - but he didn't catch it either :)

I cannot wait to get him his first little bat and helmet - he is going to be adorable if nothing else :) He got a glove for Christmas from Nathans parents so he is good there. Nathan was a good ball player growing up and I played softball for 9 years and wasn't terrible (no matter what Nathan says). Contrary to popular belief, I am not totally unathletic so Noah does have a chance at being descent :)

I am signing him up this week and cannot wait to watch a very entertaining year of t-ball! I have put the warning out to friends and family, this is for fun and will most likely not be pretty, but very fun to watch! If you don't like that sort of thing, don't come, but you will miss out for sure :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Funny Valentine...

I LOVE Valentine's Day - and I really think everyone should celebrate in some way or another, big or small. I just think it is a day to celebrate love (which is worth celebrating) and it doesn't have to be just love with a significant other, but love of family or friends too. There is a lot of love in all our lives and I see nothing wrong with taking a special day to celebrate that.

Since I had special plans with Nathan on Valentines day I decided to give the kids their Valentines presents the day before. So, when we all got home I gave the kids their gifts. They each got a new sippy cup (Ryan got owls and and Noah got dinosaurs - of course), a book, a movie, and a card. Noah got a Discovery Channel dinosaur movie and you should have seen his reaction - he literally knocked me over with a hug and said "thank you so much for bringing me this dino movie" and told me at least 8 more times before bed that night. Noah is one of the most thankful kids I have ever seen. Ryan's favorite part was her new sippy cup - the girl likes to eat and drink :) I think she will love her new Minnie movie though.

Since I do not work on Fridays, Nathan sent me beautiful flowers to work on Thursday. I was really surprised! (I LOVE surprises) He then came by for lunch and said he was bad at keeping surprises so he went ahead and gave me another gift - a Ronaldo bracelet I have been wanting for months! He did good :) The next morning Nathan asked me why I didn't buy anything at a local store we were shopping at the day before and I told him I saw lots of things I liked, but was trying to save my money. He then pulled out a gift card to that store and told me not to worry about it. He is seriously the greatest! He went above and beyond and I am definitely feeling the love! I got Nathan a new watch he had been wanting but also planned a little getaway with him.

My beautiful new bracelet :)
On Valentines morning before the daycare party

The best I could get on Valentines morning :)

She HAD to have her ear plugs to play with or she cried - the stinker :)
Nathan loves shopping, eating, and piano bars. So, what better gift than to take him to Branson to stay at the Hilton in the middle of a shopping center that just so happens to have his favorite restaurant in it and a piano bar?! We went up early Friday and did some shopping and had lunch at Shorty Smalls (my favorite Branson restaurant), enjoyed the hot tub, then went to dinner at his favorite restaurant Joe's Crab Shack! From there we went to Ernie Biggs Piano Bar and had a great time! We love listening to the live music and the musicians are so funny it is like you are at a comedy show too. We got back to the room at 1:00 a.m. We have neither one stayed up past 10:30 in a long time so that was crazy for us :)

We decided we are getting old though, we both still woke up around 6:30 a.m. and had trouble getting back to sleep. We finally just got up at 8:30 (after both falling back asleep off and on) - which, for us, is sleeping in a lot these days! We did a little more shopping and had lunch at Black Oak Grill before heading home to our babies. We pretty much talked about the kids the entire time we were gone. We have such awesome kids that even though we more than enjoyed our time away, we could not wait to get home and see them. They are just good kids that we just thoroughly enjoy spending time with.

Nathans mom kept the kids at our house for us and the kids loved it. Noah kept telling me how much fun he had and Ryan was even saying "Meme" (what we call Nathans mom) when we got back. Plus, we got a bonus of Nathan's mom doing our laundry and dishes while we were gone! All we asked was to keep the kids alive - so she went above and beyond!

I think this Valentine's Day was very successful - we all felt the love and got to celebrate in our favorite ways!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Olympics 2014

Besides gymnastics I did not watch the Olympics very much growing up. I really got into them about 14 years ago - but mainly just the summer games. I do like some winter games and am trying to be a good citizen and watch a little of all the games. I do like the ice skating (dancing and racing), downhill skiing, bobsled, and snowboarding - so I am trying to catch as much of those as I can. Noah is watching with me most nights and he has so many funny questions. I tell him when a USA team is competing and I tell him "that is who we are for" or "that is our team". He usually asks "why" to everything and this is no different. So I tell him because they are from here, to which he thinks I mean our house or our family. He goes through lists of people he knows wanting to know if they are there in Russia too. Maybe by the Summer 2016 Olympics he will understand.

Noah has made watching these Olympics so much more fun though. He is obsessed with doing the ice skating dances just like the couples on tv with me. It really is the cutest thing ever. Since he can't lift me, I do have to lift him for the jumps and stuff, but other than that he is really good at copying them. Nathan is less than pleased with Noah's reenacting, but I love it. But, like a good Daddy, Nathan watches us and claps for us when we bow.

Ica skating in the living room :)

Cutest little ice skater I know :)
Taking a bow :)
He loves to watch the skiing too. We decided to get the Wii out and let him learn to ski jump on it too. (It is hard to believe that I have a kid old enough to play video games with).

Noah and his ski poles (golf clubs) :)
I will say I am not impressed with the Russian facilities - it seems like something is wrong with the surface of every event. The Olympics is a big deal and these athletes work hard for this opportunity and it is ridiculous that they are not getting the best environment to compete in. I have also not heard great things about Russia in general - but they can't all be as great at the United States I suppose :)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Ryan's tubes...

We have had a lot of winter weather lately which always seems to happen when Ryan has an appointment of some kind. Last Sunday and Monday we started getting some freezing rain and snow which could have made it difficult to get to Ryan's pre-op appointment for her tubes. Thankfully all my praying paid off and God kept the temperatures up and we were able to make it to her appointment and to register her at the hospital on Tuesday. She still had a bad infection in both ears after 15 straight days of strong antibiotics :(

6:00 a.m. Cheese :)
We had to be at the hospital (which is 30 minutes away) at 6:30 a.m. on Thursday - not ideal! So, Noah got to have a sleepover with his Meme so he didn't have to get up so early and we tried to get to bed early, which is difficult when I had stuff to pack and get ready and Momma nerves :) We made it to the hospital on time and were 2nd in line for tubes that day. Ryan couldn't have anything to eat or drink after midnight and they couldn't get to her for surgery until 8:00, so I was really worried about that. She likes to drink and eat, especially right when she wakes up. She only cried a little bit for her cup and we were able to distract her pretty easily - that part went better than I thought.

All cute in her hospital gown :)

Ryan loved to draw on the marker board to pass the time - and the nurse even brought her more markers :)
We were in a room right beside the kid going first and she came back and cried for a while so that didn't help my nerves. I was more worried about the anesthesia than the actual procedure. Ryan has been known to be a little dramatic, so I was afraid this would be no exception. At 8:00 2 surgical nurses came to get Ryan. I had to hand her over to them with her crying and reaching for me. That was hard. I turned around to Nathan and he said "don't do it". I did tear up. I told him that she trusts me and I just gave her to strangers to go knock her out and cut on her ears, she is never going to trust me again. A little dramatic, yes. But, as a mom, that happens sometimes. About 10 long minutes later we got a call from a nurse that said they were half way done and she was doing good. About 10 more minutes later the doctor came in and said that she did good and they were waking her up now. He said he had to drain quite a bit of fluid off of her ears and hopefully this would help.

Then a male nurse brought Ryan in. She looked very out of it. She was looking around very slowly and looked very confused. They said she didn't like any of the girl nurses and only liked the male nurse :) Smart girl! They said she didn't want her sippy cup when they tried to give it to her, but she finally agreed to hold it. They told us we could get her dressed and they would take her vitals one last time and release her. So, we dressed her and signed her forms and we were out of there at 8:40!

Already acting happy on the way home :)
She got more awake and back to herself on the way home. She ate some cereal and drank 2 sippys on the way home and was dancing to Mickey Mouse, so we knew she was back to herself :) When we got home we played for a little bit and I tried to feed her lunch but she didn't want any, she was just tired. So, she took a 4 hour nap and Nathan and I watched a movie and had lunch.

She has been fine ever since. She is not crazy about her ear plugs for bath time and has pulled on her ears a few times, but not enough to make me think she needs to go to the doctor. We are hoping this helps improve her balance and will help her walking come easier and maybe even help her talking. She is way ahead on her talking milestone, but it is so much easier when your child can communicate what he/she wants. I am really hoping more than anything this helps with her ear infections and keeps her healthy and us out of the doctor's office so much!

The next day she was back to playing like her old self!

We have been having some home family time letting Ryan heal up and because of our bad weather. I love days where we all stay in pajamas and play blocks, puzzles, and watch movies. Both kids cook me fake food and we wrestle all day. I know they are going to be too big and cool to want to hang out with me before I know it and want it so I am trying to soak it all up. Also, maybe if I really connect with them they will think I am cool enough to hang out with longer (a girl can dream) :)