“You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down.” ~ Charlie Chaplin

Protected: Round 3, FIGHT!

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In honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, we decided to do something big this year. Please visit RoarkChallenge.wordpress.com for more info.

Perfectly imperfect

My family is so incredibly perfectly imperfect. I didn’t envision saying this 4 years ago, but I’m happy where I am with my little family. There I said it. My heart is heavy for saying it, but it’s true. It’s hard to swallow that I could actually mean it, but I do. 
Part of me struggles, clawing its way into my mind screaming, “How the hell could you say that? How can you be ‘happy’ with where your family is? Damnit. Don’t year realize two of your children should be in that little family?!?”

That part of me has me feeling incredibly guilty. Has me feeling guilty that I love having my rainbow here. Not having living sibling for him, allowing me to spend every second focused on just him, not dividing my attention. That’s why we are perfectly imperfect. 
We are perfect for the circustances we were dealt. An imperfect situation in which we’ve built a family. 
I would give anything to have my daughters here too, but since I know that isn’t a possibility, I am absolutely content in our life. 
My son is not second choice. He isn’t a runner up to my daughters. He isn’t a replacement child. He is perfect. 
And…. For once I can honestly say, while pushing that little voice down, I’m happy with where we are and mean it. 
Hang in there. Your day will come too. 

It’s been awhile since I posted an update. Sorry, things have been really hectic. 
Dex is 2.5 years old now (where did time go???). He is around 38.5 inches tall and 38 lbs. He is a super picky eater and lives off Mac and cheese, PB&J, chicken nuggets, pizza, and fish sticks. That’s pretty much ALL he will eat. We make him try things but he yells yuck, and ‘I don’t like it.’ So, we pretty much rely on a Pediasure or a Sidekick once a week to help fill in nutritional gaps. 


Things have been a bit scary lately. Late last month Dex had to be hospitalized at Payton Manning Children’s Hospital after waking up and urinating blood. Not just a little, but enough that it was staining his pull up brown over night and had red urine of a morning. 

Thursday Night

Sitting in my lap Dex felt a bit warm, but not enough to give him medication. His urine in the potty was a bit darker than normal, so we though dehydration. 

Overnight Thursday

Dex woke me up with his fever babble. This is something Dex has done all his life. If he runs a fever he tosses in his sleep and babbles. So James gave him some Motrin. He was running a 99.5, so we weren’t really worried. 

Friday
He woke up and used the potty and was darker than the night before, with sweating we though he was more dehydrated so we pushed liquids. 

We sent him to daycare with a note to keep him hydrated and give him Tylenol at 11:30 and 3:30. 1:45 rolls around and he has a fever of 101.7 and we had to come get him. They never administered Tylenol. So we took him to his pedi. Once there he tested positive for strep, poor guy. 


He wanted to keep his shoes on…

Saturday
We woke up and Dex had to potty. We took him into the bathroom and took his diaper off. It looked like someone poured Coca Cola into the toilet and his diaper was stained brown all over the inside front. We called the emergency pedi line and she said he was just dehydrated. James and I didn’t like it and went ahead and took him to the ER at 7 AM. While there they saw his diaper and decide he needed an IV for fluids and a urine sample. 


After losing count at 6+ attempts at an IV, collapsed veins, and bruising on his arms, hands, legs, ankles, feet, and a little boy scared and refusing to drink anything and refusing to potty, they put an adhesive bad over his groin to get a urine sample. They then told us they would be transferring him to PMCH ER (an hour away in the bigger city) by ambulance so they could place a central line and test his kidney function. Only one parent could ride with him. I let James because at that point he wasn’t mentally ok to drive. I had already had my breakdown earlier and was good to go. He arrived at PMCH ER around 9:30 AM. 


Within the hour we had all of my family there. My sister, my mom, my brother, and my sister-in-law bi have never been more thankful for them. They helped calm Dex and allowed us to take breaks out of the hot ER room. 


Once there, poor Dex was scared and exhausted. The nurse brought Dex a back age of new monster trucks to play with and have. He loved them. After several more IV attempts (somewhere over 12) they finally were able to at least get a blood sample around 1 PM. It was thick and dark. By 2 Dex peed just a little in his bag and it was dark pink. Tests showed a large amount of blood in his urine. After taking the bag off, it left our poor guy raw around his groin and upset. He asked his PopPop/Pawpaw (Uncle Jim) to go for a walk, so they walked through the hall with Aunt Jennifer. 

When Dex came back into the room he was carrying a new Duplo fire engine Lego set from the nurses station and a small can of Twist Up. He was a happy little boy. PopPop and Aunt Jen played on the bed with him and gave him all the soda he could drink. 

Around 4:30 PM the Dr came in again (she had been coming in throughout the day, but I just haven’t mentioned ALL the details). They had no real answers but they were worried about 5 things. Forgive me as all I can remember is post streptococcal glomerulonephritis being one. The others were more serious and if it turned out to be them, Dex may eventually need a kidney biopsy or transplant, one was daily medication for life, one was a complete change in diet with medication and kidney function testing for life, and the last being a rare viral/bacterial infection that could have attacked his kidneys while strep weakened his immune system. 

She decided that we would need to be checked into PMCH for observation. With all luck, we could go home the next day. As they prepped us for transport to the hospital room, they brought Dex a teddy bear and roadway blanket which he gladly accepted and wouldn’t let go of for the remainder of our stay. They didn’t want us to push liquids any more because that could make the problem worse if it was one of the above, and we needed to watch his salt intake. 


5:30 PM we were checked into our room. Poor Dex was tired and weak. He hadn’t eaten all day. We ordered him food (low sodium diet) and tried to relax. I go a shower as I was in the same clothes I wore to bed on Friday night and we didn’t have a change of clothes. At least a shower helped. The hospital provided us with all toiletries we needed. As my sister helped feed Dex dinner, James took a shower. Then while we waited for now news, we received good news that Dex was not in quarantine!! He had had 24 hrs or antibiotics in and was not contagious with step! He could leave the room and go to the play room and outside play set on the roof. PMCH is also a children’s oncology hospital, so we took the possible quarantine very seriously. We didn’t want any of the other children to suffer. 

My sister and mom took Dex to play in the amazing play room. He had a blast. There was a juke box, puzzles, full play sets, a basketball arcade game, and more. They then took him to the playground. It was fenced in on the roof of the second floor with access from the 3rd flood. It was amazing and fun for Dex. 


Throughout both ERs, Dex blood pressure was elevated, which concerned the doctors. But in all fairness, he was being poked and prodded and more. 

He had checks for BP, Temp, and vitals all night. We placed him his his ‘cage’ crib for the night and he scream cried for over an hour and I to midnight. Finally the nurse came in and said we could let him sleep with us IF we placed him at the back of the pull out couch against the back and a parent on the other side so he can’t possibly fall out. We were originally told there was no sleeping with parents, but I guess this is a last resort. Once I placed Dex beside me on the pull out, he was asleep and snoring in less than 2 minutes. Literally. 

They came in and did checks throughout the night which ended in Dex waking and crying most of the time with elevated BP. We finally got a sleeping BP and it was high normal.  

Sunday

5 AM and the nurses come in with the blood cart. Thankfully, they only needs blood. It took 3 more sticks, and they got what they needed. They kept complementing us on how well Dex behaved during all this and how we would just lay still and take the needles. We heard this from all places the last couple days. Poor guy. 


James had to leave for work around 7 AM to get to work in time. He couldn’t take another day off work, and that left Dex and me without a ride home if we were to be released. I was there alone, but all Dex wanted to do was sleep anyway. So he slept beside me or in my arms. We saw a nutritionist and the neurologist and were packed with info. They needed one last urine sample and Dex was refusing, and fought so hard they couldn’t bag him again. We had to pray he didn’t wet in his diaper and would use the hat. 

Dex and I were taken down for an ultrasound of his kidneys and bladder. He was fine until his bladder when he started crying telling the nurse it hurt and pushing her away. She said he had a VERY full bladder. 

By Lunch, my SIL, brother, niece, and my SIL’s mom (Dex calls them grandma and grandpa) had come up to help me and take us home if we were released. 

They took Dex to play and let me talk to all the people I needed to. In the end they needed one last urine sample so we could leave. Dex refused. After a few hours, he finally peed in a hat and the nurse rewarded him with a huge dinosaur and exploding volcano play set new in the box. 


After that was analyzed the doctor and nephrologist came back in to tell us all tests were negative. ALL of them. This was good news as that means his kidneys are probably ok, but it also means we have no idea why he was urinating such a large amount of blood. As of 4 pm Sunday all traces of blood in his urine was gone. 

They decided to release us with instructions to see out Pedi every day the next week for BP tests, and another urine sample mid-week to test for blood. We would then need to follow up with our nephrologist early Aug and then again later on to monitor everything. So, we left with no answers and as the bills come in we are standing at $5k after insurance out of pocket. Neither ER bill has been received yet, nor the ambulance, or nephrology Bill. 


Wednesday

All earlier pedi BPs were fine, and the urine sample was negative for blood. 


It’s been over 2 weeks since this all happened and Dex is a completely different little boy. He is very scared all the time now, and not as out going. Our once potty trained little boy refuses to get near a potty now and cried when placed on it. I think that’s trauma due to trying to be forced so he wouldn’t have to be cathed. He also is very clingy and oddly chatty! He went from talking a little to full blown sentences and talking all the time now. 

I know it was all very traumatic for him and it changed him, but I hope he goes back to himself soon. I hate seeing him so scared of things now. I love the new found language to express himself, but hate seeing him scared of new things. 

Selfishly, I hope he starts using the potty again too. That was nice and with all the bills piling up, it is a cost saver too. 

Let’s just hope this was a fluke accident and never happens again. After all, our family seems to always hit the fluke, rare, and 1%. 

So, we took the week of the 4th off and have been spoiling him rotten and loving every minute of it!! PopPop, Aunt Jen, Memaw, and Susu have been too 😉 

Great Wolf lodge with Aunt Jen and Memaw a water park and toys,  spending the night with PopPop and Susu where they bough him more toys, the zoo with mom and dad! 

The Process

Gentle reminder: Fostering isn’t for everyone. Adoption isn’t for everyone. Infertility treatments aren’t for everyone. Children aren’t for everyone. 
Each process is very personal and not entered lightly. Some do a combination of the choices, or choose to not have children. Some have no choice. 
The matter is, that this is their choice. Please don’t judge anyone or give advice on how they should proceed unless you are asked for it. 
For us, IVF was cheaper than adoption. We weren’t mentally prepared for Fostering. We wanted to keep the baby no matter what. We’ve been told by many the main goal of fostering is reunification with the biological family. If that isn’t possible, then adoption becomes an option. Reunification with the biological family wasn’t our goal at the time, so fostering wasn’t for us at that point. 
Adoption is out of our means entirely. Foster to Adopt is still in our sights and we have discussed it greatly for the future. But that is OUR decision. 
I am making this public so there is no confusion. Not everyone is comfortable with making their personal life public. I’ve witnessed some very nasty things said about infertility treatments when ‘there are so many that need homes.’ Unless you have been there, you don’t understand the process. It’s not like going to the grocery store and picking out a ripe melon. Google research doesn’t count either. 
However you decide to live your life, is the right way for you. Period. Not everyone else. 
Family is family no matter how it happens. Whether it is through fostering, adoption, foster to adopt, infertility treatments, a one night stand, an ‘accident’, giving the gift of a child to another, just you and your partner, only children in heaven, or just you and your pets. Family is defined by your heart. 

startasking-homepage-image

April 24th through the 30th is National Infertility Awareness Week. Anyone who has read this blog, or knows me, knows that this is an issue that is close to my heart. After years of infertility, procedures, money, the loss of two very dearly wanted children, pain, suffering, and so much more, we were finally blessed with our rainbow son through FET.

But, that’s just it. We were the lucky ones.

So many more are still struggling with infertility. Even if you get your ‘happy ending’ infertility doesn’t go away. It still sits there lingering. It likes to creep there and jump out and trigger our emotions when we least expect it to.

Having a child doesn’t cure infertility, and that’s what so many people fail to understand.

Infertility can strike anytime. It can start at the beginning, middle, or end of your journey. Secondary infertility has hit home in my family as well. It just was never really talked about.

I’m changing that.

I have been a complete and open book about everything I have gone through, and I encourage other to be as well. We need to #StartAsking our families to support us, even if they don’t understand what we are going though. Sometimes we just need that acknowledgement that they are there for us. It doesn’t have to be spoken, it can even just be a ‘like’ or a share of a ‘status’. Just let us know you read it.

I started out by asking my family and friends if they had any questions. Nothing was too personal. I wanted to be open about it. I would rather get all the questions out all at once, when I knew and was prepared for the really hard ones. The ones we all know we are going to get. The “Why don’t you just adopt,” or “Why don’t you take a vacation and relax? That’s how my sister’s hairdresser’s, cousin’s, co-worker and his wife got pregnant,” or my personal favorite , “Have you ever thought that this is just God’s way of telling you that you were not meant to have children?”

We’ve all had them in some form or another. I was just at the point that I would have rather had them ask me, to my face, then ask around our circles. That’s not support. That’s judgement. We don’t want advice. We have seen countless doctors who have extensive medical backgrounds directly related to our infertility. They have done more invasive, embarrassing procedures on us than you could imagine. They know our body inside and out.

We just want your support. Maybe the occasional, “I’ve got my fingers crossed for you this time,” or “Prayers it works.” That’s enough. Really, it is. It means you acknowledge that this is a struggle. That you are rooting for us and stand behind us in case we fall.

Infertility have been perceived for years as a taboo subject. One you just don’t talk about, but why?

I was made to feel like less of a woman at first. Like the one natural, biological thing I could do to start a family, something so easy it happens by accident when protection is used, I ….couldn’t…..do. I LET people make me feel that way, and it just wasn’t true. The process is complicated, and for my husband and I, it was just a little more complicated.

Instead of under the covers at home, it took more. You, Me, & My RE, and that’s ok.

If you are struggling with infertility, speak out. Ask your family and friends for support. You don’t have to do this alone. You have a vast community rooting for you. All you have to do is ask.

Easter 2016

Well, Easter photos at the mall were a total fail. This little boy wanted nothing to do with it. He screamed bloody murder when he saw the bunny. Haha.

Even our mini-session at home in my studio didn’t go so well. He started really getting angry with me. Bubbles helped, but not for long. I have a fantastic photo of him that I used to promo on my Facebook Page for Roark Media. It is of him screaming. Why? Because not all photo sessions go as planned! Kids will take pictures on their own time and when they are ready. There is nothing you can do to change that 🙂

So, without further stalling…. Here are the pictures we took of ‘little’ guy. I just can’t believe how big he is! That he starts Soccer Shots next Monday….

Can you see the emotions progression below?….

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