Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Let's Talk About Some Things...

When I was single Rob used to show up at my apartment, walk in without knocking, sit down on my couch and say, "Let's talk about some things..." After he listed off his various topics and got a sufficient response he usually left. He really took the idea of being "aloof" to a whole other level, and I was apparently super into it.

But really, let's talk about some things:
-Sometimes when I give Robbie a bath I worry that he ingests as much glitter as I find on his person.
-I bought some fancy crackers today and they tasted just like Chicken in a Biskit. I was not disappointed.
-When I work my one shift out of the month I'm in an obnoxiously good mood the whole time. People are like, "Hey Kasey, you're patient doesn't look too good." I'm like, "Sweet, lemme just dannnnce my way back in there then. You're right, there is probably a situation here, cha, cha, cha!"
-If your dog poops in my yard, and then I almost hit it, I feel like an eye for and eye, yeah? That's still a thing, right? Does that apply here? I think it does.
-When my baby pukes in public (he usually reserves it for the grocery store) I pretend that I have no idea why he would be doing that and act completely mortified because he definitely doesn't do that at least 20 times every day. If I stay calm I feel like I'm saying, "Yeah, he puked. So? This is socially acceptable. I knew there was a 90% chance this would happen and I came into the produce section anyway!"
-Fake poinsettias>real poinsettias. Poinsettias are just a high-maintenance and underachieving flower/plant/leaf/whatever. They are seriously impossible to keep alive. Especially if you don't water them, or put them in sunlight. Worst. Plant. Ever. Why can't they ever just be like the cactus and learn to be a little bit more self sufficient?
-Holiday drivers suck. It's Christmas, you buttholes. Give a courtesy wave at the very least after you cut me off.

Call me old fashioned...

I like being a stay-at-home-mom.
I like doing girl things.
I don't ever think, "Man, I wish I was a guy."
I'm okay with being the one who cleans and does the laundry.
I believe in equality within a marriage but that is not to say we have to split all responsibilities down the middle; we have separate responsibilities and that's fine.
If someone makes a remark about my looks I feel like, "Sweet, thanks for noticing."
I believe that "feminism" began as a noble cause to establish equal rights and has now turned into, "we should all be interchangeable beings regardless of gender."
God created us.
There has to be a happy medium between embracing our genders and being treated with equal respect.
Double standards exist. They always will. I'm not offended when a guy wants to open the door for me. Does he expect the same from me? No. Is he going to start a protest about it? Probably not.
Whatevs. Sometimes I just feel like I'm being represented by women who hate being women, and I'm out on that.

Serious blog concluded.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The entrepreneurial spirit

In my younger years I dabbled in the cards game a bit. Greeting cards, that is. It all began with Paint (the windows application). I was nine and I had already procured a desk in the basement where my dad's office was. I had an extensive working knowledge of how to use the phone to call every other desk in the basement and leave detailed messages describing business venture after business venture. I knew one thing, I loved making forms. I used to create tests (history, math, etc) for my family on Paint. I loved the idea of having that kind of control...grading and all of that. It did rub me the wrong way that upon grading everyone was always getting a perfect score. It could have been that I didn't figure out you make all of the blanks in the fill-in-the-blank section equal length. Those jerks didn't even pretend to get one wrong! Or it could have been that I assumed pulling some of the questions from my hardest 4th grade exams would do the trick. But alas, every time I was dolling out 100%s and A+s. I was using up my best stickers and glitter every time I had to grade a perfect paper! I knew something had to give; I was squandering precious Lisa Frank resources! I started to doubt myself as an educator and I think this is about the time I began looking at other options.

As I mentioned, forms were the driving incentive for me. I needed something that would allow me to create form after form and force other people to fill them out. Thus spawned, my most successful business venture of '97, Kasey's Card Shop.

It was genius. The forms included a place for your name, contact info, type of card wished to purchase, personalized message, and even a check box for "glitter," "no glitter." I began my hustle by changing all of the phones in the basement to include my logo next to one of the many lines my dad had. He told me I could use it for my shop, though today, I am a little suspicious that it was being used for non-card related business. Dad? Then of course I made a name plate for my desk out of metallic markers and construction paper. Now I could really get to work. My aunt was working for a paper company at the time so she brought me tons of card stock that would have been wasted otherwise. I gathered my tools, Crayola, Lisa, and Elmer's and began to make prototypes for each season. I figured KCS was like those restaurants that bring out the tray of assorted desserts so you can get a better sensory experience of what you're getting into. Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Get Well, Congratulations, and my personal fav, "Just Because." I also think I had a "blank inside" option just in case you wanted to make sure the recipient felt how personal it was, while also enjoying the famed artwork of a 9 year old.

The final step in really launching the business was to order about a thousand free sample "Kasey's Card Shop" return labels. If my own phone line, desk, and swivel chair didn't make me official, I knew the labels were going to put me over the top.

I began soliciting in a safe space, the kitchen, living room, bedrooms etc. I also attending open-forum activities that would give me the best chance of discovery, Family Home Evening, Family Prayer, Dinner and so on. I then moved to bigger clients, the missionaries, neighbors, my big brother's friends. They all seemed so relieved that they finally found a card shop that could meet all of their needs. Even though I think some of my brothers friends were more interested in sniffing the glue. But either way, I was expanding. I had orders coming in from all over and between juggling the finances, store front (I did have my own Christmas tree for my office complete with a paper chain and homemade ornaments), using the industrial-sized paper cutter to create the perfect forms, AND cutting, coloring, and gluing, I felt like it was the right time to bring on an employee.* My big sister. She would be in charge of all glitter orders. And man, could she glitter. Such precise measuring of how much glitter was necessary, where and when to shake. She was a great asset. However, late in the year, before the surge of Christmas orders, there was an incident and I had to let her go. The details are foggy but I think it involved a bossy, crazed younger sister trying to manager her older sister who was helping as a favor anyway. After I found myself overwhelmed with orders, I went to our HR rep, mom, to mediate a discussion that would hopefully result in the reemployment of said big sister. Feelings were mended and she took her seat next to me as Glitter Extraordinaire once again.

My big break came when my oldest brother ordered 50 Christmas cards for friends. Kjersti and I went to work. We were pulling out all of the stops, the designs included all original artwork, Christmas trees, gifts, bells, holly, nativities etc. We made our deadline and filled the order right in time for Christmas break. It's unclear whether or not the cards made it out that year, but I had done my best work and felt pride in what I had accomplished.

KCS would continue to boom for about a year. I made between$10-20 a month. I'm sure the number of cards I sold had nothing to do with the fact that I'm pretty sure my mom was reimbursing my customers, or that I was, at the time, handicapped with some severe shoulder problems and people felt bad. No, I don't think they were pity purchases that put me on top. I think I just exemplified the American dream of a small business owner. I was local, personable, easy to reach (line 3), proactive customer service (don't like your card, pay me and I'll make you a brand new one!), and if you worked for my dad you received, free of charge, a handcrafted envelope with your paycheck every two weeks (I believed in giving back to the community).

The years I spent at KCS were some of my best. One day, I think I'd like to get back to the basics once again. Glue, glitter, repeat, break for trampoline time where you pretend you're in the Olympics and your performing to the Spice Girls, and then back to the grind. Those really were the good ole days.

*I'm not sure she ever received any of the profits, remind me I owe you, Kj.

For the record, that is not an original from KCS (you should have suspected due to the lack of glitter

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


To keep myself busy during the election, I crafted. And I crafted hard.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Just a brief update on my sweet Robbie baby. He has been gaining weight steadily and is now finally in the 5% percentile, woo! His renal failure is considered stage 3 (out of 5) but the nephrologist said that if his Creatinine comes down even 1-2 hundredths of a point it would downgrade him to stage 2 (I'm hoping we can just pray it down 😊)

He is happy all of the time and never cries (I'm not exaggerating). He will occasionally let out some exacerbated grunts but he reserves the crying strictly for blood draws. He's developmentally super strong and seems to be getting the hang of this whole "life" thing.

Rob and I couldn't be happier to have this little guy hanging around.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I'll have a Grape Juice and Shasta mixer

In the past I've written a post about when and when not to come to the ER. You can find it here. Tonight I'll just share some unrelated thoughts concerning the ER.

-There is a term in the ER to describe someone who apparently has no idea what the crap has ever happened to them, ever. The term is "poor historian." I don't love the term because it doesn't really capture the egregious lack of attention to detail some people have.
Ex: You're not sure if it was a stroke that you had? Is that the stroke talking? 
       They didn't tell you what medication made your throat close up and nearly die?
       You have a history of cancer, but not sure what kind?
That has to take an honest effort, right? Like, an active attempt to ignore everything medical professionals try to tell you. When they start talking do they turn into Beaker and you just desperately resist the information trying to beat down the armored door you have protecting your tiny brain from knowledge? Do you cover your ears and sing? Are you actually claiming your body as a permanent residence without seriously knowing anything about it? The answer is simple. Yes. Yes, to all of the above. And let me guess? You'd also take some graham crackers?

-When I give you a cup to pee in, please impart some common courtesy and twist the lid on, and preferably not in the way that a four year old twists a cap. You are an adult. Securing a lid should be fairly straightforward. If you try to hand me a cup full of your urine sloshing about, with the lid precariously balanced on top, I will hand it back to you and ask you to "try again."  I'm not sure why you think its acceptable for me to handle your urine, but it just isn't. I don't handle my own urine, and yours looks like you eat sand for breakfast and tree sap for dinner.

-Don't tell me you need us to figure out if your pregnant because your body "doesn't make HCG and it doesn't show up on urine tests." That's unfortunately not the dumbest thing I've ever heard, but its definitely top 25.

-If your complaint starts with "Jack-in-the-Box" and ends with "Abdominal pain" I've probably stopped doing an actual assessment on you and started to think of something witty to say about you to the nurse outside.

-If you ask me to mix Grape juice and Shasta for you because its the only thing you can keep down, when I say "that's not going to happen," I wasn't trying to be cute. And if I don't do it you will probably lose your mind and tell me you now have chest pain radiating down your arm? I guess that's why I'll probably do it, but I won't do it with a smile.

-Don't tell me I "should really smile more." You cough without covering your mouth. There's nothing to smile about when I think about your bacteria parachuting all over my face.

-If you came in walking, you're leaving walking. Why are you asking me for a wheelchair? Did your legs stop working? Did all of the BS you just told me about your non-problem paralyze you? I'll let you crab-walk out of here before I get you a wheelchair. Hell, I'll wheelbarrow you out myself if I have to.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Things I learned this week...

-Acronyms are the future. DTTFI (Don't try to fight it).
-Brussel sprouts can be delicious if served up in some sweet chili sauce (via Uchi).
-Fall is my jam. Everything about it. Pumpkins, cardigans, blazers, socks, the amount of glitter used to craft triples this time of year, parties, sequins, comforters, dark lipstick (p.s. when I wear lipstick, I feel a little bit like a better person and a little bit that I'll probably excel at everything as long as I have it on), my paleness is in, just like that, and lastly, honeycrisp apples.
-If I watch too much Fox News I have dreams about engaging in physical altercations with political figures.
-Sushi is my favorite (I always kind of knew this but forgot after it was strictly prohibited while I was pregnant).
-Who Matt Millen is and why this was funny, "Barack Obama is the Matt Millen of presidents" (via Dennis Miller).
-Everything Dennis Miller says is my favorite.
-If you try to vote twice, the FBI get involved (not from personal experience).
-Homemade Chinese food is never going to be as good as cheap take-out.
-Taylor Swift's bangs make me sad. Clinically depressed, sad.

Friday, November 2, 2012


Flavored tootsie rolls are delicious as well as underrated. The vanilla ones are ridic.
Babies in costume are am-ah-zing.
Teenagers who think they're too cool to dress up are the worst.
Adults in costume=hit or miss, but mostly the wheel just lands on skanky.
Sexy mail woman? Shameful for many reasons and lets be honest, there's nothing sexy about the price of stamps these days. You'd be sexier if you dispensed free stamps.
People who buy the full-sized candy bars to hand out are more heroic to kiddies than anything Marvel could come up with (unless they came up with a Halloween superhero who made giant candy bars as weapons and after destroying their nemesis with said candy bar, shared it with all their faithful admirers. Lets call him, The Candy man, but don't worry he's not a serial killer or a pedophile).
Carving pumpkins with the use of a stencil is a cop-out.
Did people ever answer "trick?" Where is the history behind that? Someone please research this and follow up with me.
If you're going to buy Brachs Assorted Candy, know that you are the worst.
Halloween specials on sitcoms are the best.
My baby actually is Clark Kent. Also, he loves his briefcase. He keeps important documents close by at all times: immunization records, birth certificate, copy of footprints, tax returns, etc).
Living in a neighborhood without trick-or-treaters is sad. One day.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I like long walks on the beach...

I've recently had some facetime with a dating website. I can't discuss the specifics, but no, I'm not shopping around, Rob has already informed me that he was happy with his 3-year lease and is looking to buy this go-round (lucky girl!). Anyway, for the record I am not an anti-online dater. I think it is a great way to meet people with similar and very specific interests. For example, if I was an animal lover (which I'm not, pets are the worst), I could instantly eliminate any animal haters from my dating list. One step closer to love.

But the thing about online dating that is so fascinating is that you're expected to write a greeting that summarizes everything about you without sounding desperate/weird/lonely all while appearing to be witty/intelligent/kind. Through extensive research ninety percent* of men think that the best opening line is, "I'm really laid back." This single statement, I swear, was in almost every profile that I read (again, I know you're curious but just don't ask). "I'm super laid back." "I'm totally laid back." "I consider myself really laid back." Really?! Are there that many "laid back" people out there? And what does that mean? You're okay if dinner starts 5-10 minutes late? (unacceptable)...10-15 minutes? (seriously?)...15-20?! (worthless). Or you're kinda "meh" when it comes to politics (excellent, that's just what the country needs, you knucklehead)? Sometimes you don't tie your shoes? You like your tie a little loose? Toilet seat is up? Drinking out of milk cartons? Eating with sporks?! What does it mean?! And is that what girls are looking for? Because I think I'd be more likely to get behind something like this:
"Moderately handsome, smart, reads real newspapers, knows what "Aes Sedai" refers to, and a little bit high strung." Boom.**
But more interesting, I thought I'd give it a go and write my very own personal ad. Here goes.

Reading, mostly non-thought-provoking with the occasional non-fiction.
Caligraphy, mostly doodling small woodland creatures on stroke powerpoint handouts
Medical seminars, mostly the free cookies and retractable name badge holders
Saving lives (one-upping [tragic flaw]).
Dancing, mostly to boy bands, Eddie Money, and 90's "butt rock"***
Dirty microwaves, specifically tomato sauce splattering
Warm water...give it up, this is America
Math, because I'm bad at it
Things that I'm bad at

What I learned? Putting yourself on paper is HARD. It's way, way easier to get by on superficial things. Props to online daters. Maybe the best play is to start off like this, "I don't look great on paper, but I'm super rich."

*Not an actual statistic
**Basically I just described Rob...except he just happened to be super handsome, unbelievably smart, gets the San Juan Record every month (except when they forget and send him several issues at once), spelled "Aes Sedai" for me for the purposes of this blog, and is secretly high strung (but in a way that motivates him to work hard, and all that ambitious kinda crap).
***Rob's words, not mine

Saturday, October 20, 2012

And none for Gretchen Weiners

So, I've had some time to think about this particular topic, and I've spent enough time (24 years) doing some serious research to share the results of my findings. I'll call the study, "Disarming a Hottie: A Guide to Making Attractive Women Less Scary." And this isn't actually intended to help men pick up women (if you need help with that just see the footnote marked with a "*" and a "Don't be a jerk-hole") no, this is actually for women and all of their/our (because I'm female) crazy.

Let me 'splain. In order to give any credit to this "study" there are a few universal truths** you must first accept. If you are unwilling to accept these, stop reading and go back to browsing the interwebs, this is no place for you.
Truth #1: The majority*** of girls are intimidated by other girls
Truth #2: Truth #1 becomes exponentially worse when one of the girls is attractive (and they don't have to be a hard ten, I'm saying even 5's and 6's are included in this category).
Truth #3: Truth #2 becomes a fiery hell of animosity if BOTH women are attractive.
Women reading this should be shaking their heads in agreement, and men should be muttering, "chicks are crazy." If you don't fit into one of these categories, this is another invitation to quit reading. And while you're at it, you should probably just quit reading this blog because you're too mature/self-evolved to think it's funny anyway. Okay, so are we all on board? Let's move on.

I'm an immature girl, so I'll use myself as the subject of the study. When I meet/am in the same room with/see in passing an attractive girl, I immediately think, "Wow, she's so pretty, she's probably good at lots of things" (because somehow attractive equals talented...which is actually pretty ridiculous..."hey, you are so good at being pretty, and other things.") and then I just think, "I probably won't introduce myself, she's probably mean...and like...wears matching underwear and I just would never get along with someone like that."

So I've had all of these encounters with girls at the new studio I work out at and its the kind of place where girls who are already fit go to work out. So, that's annoying. And on top of that, a lot of them have been going for a while so they have trios of other attractive workout buddies, which then morphs into this force field of attractive scary girl-ness. But I'm going to this studio obviously to work out, but also because I need more friends that aren't 4 months old and pee on my dry-clean only blouses (what's up with dry clean? I want to figuratively burn the idea of dry-cleaning to the ground****). So I noticed during this class that I have a system, a system that apparently, I have been carrying out for years without knowing my brilliance (jk, I'm super aware of my wits). A system of disarming hotties, which gives them permission to like me, which gives me the opportunity for the occasional cordial adult conversation.

It's literally the easiest two-step process ever.
#1 Say something complimentary
#2 Be friends forever

I'm working out next to this girl, she's pretty. After class I say, "Your top is super cute." She says, "Oh my gosh, thank you, I got it from blah blah blah..." Boom. Friends. Now she wants to meet my baby.

Shopping with my sister-in-laws. I get up to the register and tell the employee her dress is darling (which it was, because it was crochet, hello). She is all, "Oh my gosh, thank you, blah blah blah." We walked out of the store and my sister-in-law said, "I feel like that girl was like eating out of your hands, she probably would have given you even more of a discount after you told her her dress was cute!" And then I realized. I have a gift.

I reject scary women. I also just accept that girls act a little/a lot/unreasonably crazy about some things, and meeting other girls is one of them. You know the cliche conversation between the man and woman?
Woman: Can you tell I've lost weight?
Man: Yeah! You're looking really great these days!
Women: So you didn't think I looked good before?
Well, this is kind of the same principle, in that it shows that girls are crazy sometimes.

I feel like at this point you may have had some/all of these thoughts:
#1 I think Kasey is interested in dating women
#2 I think Kasey is the antifeminist
#3 Kasey is so sad and insecure
Well, first let me just say that I recognize this post is a little bit weird and makes me sound a little bit insecure, but at times, I'm both, so I'm okay with that. And second, I'm happily married. And third, I am a little bit of an antifeminist, but that's a blog for another time (air-high-five to all my stay at home moms). But it is what it is, and I've said what Ive' said. So there's that.

*Don't be a jerk hole.
**This is in my universe, and they are true here. If you don't agree, my universe is full anyway.
***I'm qualifying this as the majority because yes, I accept that there are beautiful women out there who are kind and loving and feel so comfortable with themselves they just live their lives without any threat of other women. And when I say I accept it, what I really mean is that I reject it. Boom. Blowing your mind.
****Do you like how I used "figuratively" instead of "literally?" I recently read that is a top ten pet peeve, that is, the wrong use of word "literally." Which seems kind of stupid, because why aren't we more concerned with the growing number of names that include multiple apostrophes?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Sick? Who's sick?"

So here's the thing. "What's the thing, Kasey?" Well, I'll tell you.

The thing is, since I've been busy making life and all that, I've had to make a few*** adjustments to my life, one of the biggest being work. When the time came to go back to work, it just seemed impossible. I couldn't leave the world's most high maintenance baby with anyone. I'd have to pay them like triple. And by triple, I mean like the standard going rate, and then a promised 1,000 smiles a day from the baby who doesn't actually know he's sick.

The job description would be something like:
*Sick baby needs competent caregiver for 13 hours, 3 days a week.
And if that didn't get the prospective employee to flee there's this....
*Must be able to administer 3 medications 8 times a day.
*One of the medications, if given incorrectly, can have permanent neurological side effects, K?
*Also, he'll gag and vomit all over you when you try to put the bottle in his mouth, but don't worry, its even worse when you try to give him his meds. He literally will turn blue and gag for like 5 minutes. So...I guess you'll just have to work that out.
*When making his formula you have to add .5tsp, 1 tbs, 2/3c, and then add 24 ounces of water, shake, add more water, shake, let settle, add a little more water, and then it has to be chilled because bro don't do warm milk.
*He must be held upright for 30 minutes after eating.
*When you change him you must be extraordinarily meticulous as any sort of wrong swipe and boom, UTI. You're fault.
Am I missing anything?
*Oh, oh and don't tell him he's small, he hates that.

But anyway, the point was actually that my boss is letting me work one shift a month which is amazing and is probably the best arrangement that could possibly ever be.
Manager: "Think you can just stay on for one shift a month?"
Me: "Yeeeeeeeeahhhh...I think I can swing that."

Hurrah for awesome things like that happening to me. And hurrah that I get to be the neurotic full-time caregiver of the BEST baby ever.

***Few? I literally want to punch you in the face if you didn't say, "a few, that's cray!"

Friday, October 12, 2012

So You Have...

I have a theory that I could improve the quality of the ER's discharge instructions. Typically the format includes a bold diagnosis at the very top so you can't leave and say we never told you what was wrong (people claim this happens all the time-and weirdly-they don't think to ask before leaving). So here's my idea-before each diagnosis is the precursor, "So you have..."

It'd look something like this:
So you have Pelvic Pain
So you have Gall Stones
But then it gets better
So you have Anxiety
So you have Mental Health Disorder
But then it gets better
So you have Chlamydia
So you have Herpes (or "The Herp" to make it sound less scary)
But then, then it gets even better
So you have Foreign Body Removal

See-sounds way better, huh?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

And then I was like...


     So we've been in our house for about 4 months now and our front yard is a disaster. One side of it was all gravel and the other a wilderness of little trees, shrubs, weeds, etc. The gravel portion was taken care of a few weeks ago when Rob posted "Free Gravel" on craigslist and I woke up one morning to a random hispanic man in my front yard shoveling away. I tried to tell him that seemed like a less-than-ideal situation but he just went on and on about what a "pleasant fellow" he was. So there was that. Anyway, so we were going to hire someone to take care of the little wilderness but I was feeling ambitious and thought I could tackle it myself. For the record, it was way harder than it looked. There were a few mini palm tree things and then these other horrible "Elephant Ear Trees" (no idea what the actual name is but for the purpose of the story the leaves are HUGE...hence the name) which required much more than just the wee bit of strength I have in my biceps, so I got a shovel and went to work.

    So there I am, digging up these trees.  And seriously out of nowhere, I found myself committing murder. I had dug up most of the little shrubs and weeds so when it came time to dig up those freakin elephants, I thought, "Oh I'll just snip off the leaves first so I have better access to the roots." And that was the first of it. I snipped off a leave and instantly felt this horrible guilt wash over me. What?! I've never been one to care about plants, things. But the second I cut the stem it was like, "What the tree killer!?" The stem snapped to the ground and the sap came oozing out like I might as well have stabbed it in a dark alley. And then of course I leaned in and it got all over me, looking guilty as ever...covered in the blood of an elephant leaf. I tried to ignore how awful I felt and kept on at the task at hand. I started twisting the leaves back to get a better view of the roots and the squeaking of the rubbery leaves I swear sounded like wild elephants being brought into captivity and tortured. As I pulled at the root the slugs creeping up the sides were just there, judging me so hard. They were like little tiny captains of the plant Titanic, determined to go down with it, staring the iceberg (me) right in the face. And then, to top it off, there was a crazy cacophony of these damn birds right above me sounding some sort of nature alarm to the death of a beautiful, living, tree. I'm sure birds everywhere were weeping. Somewhere, small children got wind of what was happening and wept next to their beloved elephant ear trees, wrapping the giant leaves around themselves for comfort and warmth.

    So anyway, now the remains are just laying there, waiting me to dispose of them. I feel like I need to go buy a bunch of Rubbermaid bins and sink them in a bayou to destroy the evidence. What's wrong with me? Is it the baby? This crap is ridiculous.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Jazz hands

I'm awake at a stupid hour and Rob² are sleeping so the only thing that makes sense is to write some form of a sad, self-deprecating blog. It's what I'm best at...I try not to fight it. So here goes.

I think I'll head in the direction of my pathetic attempt of a workout this past week. Fortunately, I made the stellar decision to not work out for my entire pregnancy, bringing the total number of months of moving as little as possible to 12...or as I like to call it, an entire freaking year. So now, to remedy the recent trauma I've sustained (I'm referring to the attack on my uterus that was, in my opinion, fought bravely with the occasional remark similar if not verbatum to, "this can't be right, this is like death," and "Are you sure it isn't a sucking chest wound-because I'm pretty sure I've been shot") Rob convinced me to try this fitness studio that combines ballet, yoga, and Pilates. And no it's not called Bayogalaties...but it should be. It does roll off the tongue. Anyway, so Rob found this place and convinced me to try it. "You'll be great," he said, "soon you'll be better than everyone,"
he said-but turns out...those were just the lofty words of a husband afraid that his wife is standing in the diabetes line just begging for a heaping order of sadness with a side of early mortality. So after a few weeks I warily obliged and went to my first class. I found a spot next to the oldest lady in the room with hopes of being less-humiliated than what I was sure was the inevitable. I ended up being both very right and also terribly wrong. The older lady next to me was a beast. A bionic grandma just killin it for an hour straight, all while keeping her toes unreasonably well pointed. So I was wrong in my choice of whom to park next to...BUT I was so right that the humiliation was imminent. I could hardly keep up and when I could, there I was just glugging around like a cylinder of cream of chicken soup after an edge gets free from the can. It was so awesome.

It's even worse because the ballet elements (that was originally auto corrected to say "baller elements," which I hope I don't regret correcting) are not even really ballet..or baller. You hold on to the barre for dear life until your knuckles turn white, you're only somewhat concerned with turn-out and if you have to bend your knees during a sequence-no big deal. My ballet instructor would have spilt blood over these blood. Seriously. So that makes me nervous.

And just to round it out-the studio sells special socks that grip the floor and have their logo printed on it. So on top of my weak, asthmatic performance, I'm also wearing stupid pink socks just to be sure and brand myself an outsider.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Weekend Recap

    Our flight to Utah was perfect. Rob's brother, Mike, met us at our house early in the morning and we were off to the airport. Since we were running a bit late (give or take an hour) I decided to see if our flight was on-time because if it was delayed, then we may have still been in business. I scrolled down and boom, canceled. So sweet. Our flight...canceled. After a phone call and a few suggestions on our part we actually ended up getting a direct flight into Grand Junction which turned out to be much more convenient for us. Robbie literally did not cry, whimper, or frown the entire time. He mostly slept and smiled at anyone willing to smile at him. Afterwards I was congratulated with knowing smiles and pats on the back accompanied by, "He did good!" Translation: "That plane only holds about 40 people and yours was the only baby on it, so we were this close to being really pissed at you guys." Rob says if it would have gone south he would have just bought drinks for everyone.

   The whole week was awesome. Wheelers were mingled with Andersons (all of my people together: awesome),  the food was delicious, complete with giant marshmallow-smores, pumpkin bread, fresh baked wheat bread, even homemade ice cream! Robbie looked fresh-to-death in his seersucker blazer, (compliments of my sister-in-law, Emilee) and the weather could not have been better. Robbie did, unfortunately, get sick the second day we were there and wasn't able to keep much down the rest of the trip and had one trip to the ER, but we made it home and are working hard to get back the 8 ounces he lost. I told our pediatrician that we had a difficult time finding the right kind of pedialyte in Monticello and that my husband went and knocked on the door to the ER in a panic (the night before we took him in) to ask if they had any, to which they happily obliged us with a small stash. My pediatrician replied, "Well that sounds like a very interesting town," except he did that thing where people pronounce it "inner-esting." What's with that? Anyway, barring Robbie's sad little immune system, I couldn't have asked for a better trip.

I learned a few things:
  *Though Robbie has proved himself to be a master-traveler, we probably won't be traveling with him any time soon.
  *Clear pedialyte is a hot commodity in small towns.
  *If the ER tech can't get your baby's blood after one stick, it's just as reasonable to take all of the     supplies and do it yourself
  *I have always known I have two awesome families, but they are even more awesome as one
  *My sister-in-law Emilee could sell hipster baby clothes for thousands of dollars and become    magnificently wealthy
  *It's super useful to have a doctor in the family (my brother-in-law, John) and I am determined to never let him feel like his skills are forgotten. I will do this by calling an average of 3X/wk to ask as many questions as possible about Robbie
  *I'm pretty sure Rob was right when he said God is in the mountains
  *People only conditionally think your baby is cute when trapped in small spaces
  *Gingerale is the only beverage to order on a plane

Monday, September 17, 2012

Robert Isaiah

So, I want to start blogging again, but feel like I can't just start from the middle, and I need to share the happenings of the past months. Many of you know a bit about Robbie and his journey, but I wanted to give you an opportunity, to read about his short, miraculous life thus far. During his struggles I tried to write a journal, I tried to record how I felt and what was happening, but in the middle of my first entry, I struggled to determine which tense to use when talking about him. I realized I couldn't write it down, not then. So now that the proverbial storm seems to be passing, I tried to recount, and record everything I could think of so the story was complete. I am missing bits here and there, but did my best. Its very personal, but I felt like I needed to share it because of the love and support from so, so, many people. It feels like everyone I know, people I don't know, people who are friends of friends, came together and kept Rob and I above water through this whole thing. So it is because of that, I am sharing this.

To start, this is a text I sent to my family on July 11, 2012 at 1215am:
"Before I left tonight-in a matter of an hour I felt as though the prayers, blessings and love directed towards sweet Robert Isaiah were transformed into a tangible strength that seemed to fill up his whole body. His eyes opened, his cheeks were full, his face was pink and he looks like he has been brought back to us. He is so strong. I know he has angles at his bedside."

-I found out I was pregnant while Rob was out of town. He was out in Utah  jeeping with family. By the time I found out I thought he would be a long way up the mountain with no service by the time I called. I called everyone in the family and finally got a hold of him. I said “Don’t react...I’m totally pregnant.” *Silence* I said, “are you okay” and he responded with, “yeah, just nervous.”

-I found out it was a boy when I was at work. I couldnt wait any longer and I didn’t think Rob would care. I brought him a balloon home that said “ITS A BOY!” He bent his knees and looked to the sky and with a few powerful fistpumps exclaimed, “ITS AN HEIR!!!!”

-At my 20 week ultrasound they were 4 hours late with my appointment so Rob had to leave to go back to work. I went back and the tech was very careful to try and show no reaction to what she was seeing but I knew something was wrong. She told me to wait and the doctor would come in to talk to me. After studying the screen he began to explain to me that the boy had an enlarged right kidney as well as an enlarged bladder. He explained it could be due to an obstruction but it was unknown as to where the obstruction was. He said this condition could result in permanent kidney damage.

-The OB that I was seeing reassured me that he had seen many cases similar to mine and that he did not foresee this being an issue. He told me that it may in fact, “resolve on its own.” All the same he referred me to a neonatologist, Dr Reiter, to do a follow-up ultrasound. Dr Reiter performed a level three ultrasound and explained to me that we would have to watch this very closely. The amniotic fluid, which is comprised of the baby’s urinary output, was in danger of decreasing depending on the severity of the obstruction. Thus began an extraordinarily long process of “watching and waiting.” I had multiple appointments a week and there was discussion of surgery in utero, early delivery, etc. Eventually my OB that I had been seeing told me that he didn’t think this was a big deal and that it was no longer necessary to see Dr. Reiter. On my next appointment I saw the OB’s partner because he was out of town and after looking at the ultrasound thought it best to send me back to Dr Reiter.

-Dr Reiter assured me that this would not be resolved on its own, surgical intervention would be necessary and that there was no way to know how severe it could be.

-Throughout all of this Rob and I prayed and prayed. Rob gave our little boy a blessing saying that, “He would come out to his momma safely,” and that “your mom will know how to take care of you.”

-People used to tell me to talk to the baby when he was still in utero. I always thought this was a silly idea but would do my best late at night when Rob was still at work. The words and thoughts that always came to my mind were that he would be such a good boy; that he would always love God. It wasn’t a revelation, just part of my stream of consciousness as I talked to him and told him about life. I didn’t know how much those thoughts would yet mean to me.

-My amniotic fluid levels remained stable the entire pregnancy. The assumption being that the obstruction could not have been so complete as to not let any urine pass. Part of me hoped that would mean that he would come out healthy with no problems at all. That maybe my OB was right and the issues would be resolved.

-Dr Reiter told me I needed to have a consultation with the Urologist, Dr Jones. Rob and I went to see him and he told us that he thought both of the kidneys seemed to still have their kidney-shape (which was a promising sign) but that surgery was probable. He made the arrangements for me to deliver at the Pavillion which is connected to Texas Children’s Hospital, where he would do the surgery (also one of the top children’s hosptials in the nation). Rob and I then decided that we wanted Dr Reiter to be the one to deliver me since he seemed so much more proactive the entire time.

-At 35 weeks Dr Reiter gave me Celestone, a steroid shot given to help boost lung maturation, as he expected my amniotic fluid levels to decrease leaving delivery as the only option.

-At 37 weeks Dr Reiter determined it was time to induce and the delivery was scheduled for June 13.

-The delivery was perfect. They broke my water fairly early and started me on pitocin. The neonatologist came to the room and introduced himself and explained that the baby would be taken over to Children’s fairly soon after delivery. Robbie was born at 1647 after only a few pushes.

-The doctors immediately took him from me without getting to see him. Rob was still standing by my side still looking shocked by both the delivery and by cutting the cord (which I think he might have closed his eyes while he did it). I told him to go see him and tell me if he was beautiful.

-I’ve never seen the look Rob had on his face before. He stared downward and had one hand on his mouth. It was love at first sight.

-One of the nurses yelled out, “he peed!.” I immediately thought that maybe all of the precautions we had taken were for naught. I thought that maybe he would be fine after all, that rushing him to the NICU would probably just be a precaution and probably overkill since he would be fine.

-When they handed me Robbie I let out a few sobs/laughs. He had existed inside of me and I had loved him since I knew he was there, but after I saw his face and held his tiny body I didn’t realize I could love him as much as I already did. The same second I saw him, I loved him.

-He was all wrapped up still and I had only had about 15 minutes to see him when they told me they needed to take him over to Children’s and begin the tests. They told me I could come see him when the epidural wore off. I remember thinking that I didn’t even know what his body looked like, just his tiny face. Rob went over with the neo team and Robbie and I willed myself to recover as soon as possible.
-2 hours later Rob came to the postpartum unit and wheeled me over to see the boy. When we got there they told us that we couldnt come in because they were working on a procedure. I was immediately worried and we ended up waiting 45 minutes before they let us back. When we got back they told us they had placed a catheter, and had a very difficult time doing so, because he wasn’t voiding at all on his own. I was comforted a bit by this because a catheter isnt such a big deal, it seemed manageable.

-We were in our own private room all the way in the back and there was one chair to the left of his crib that we could sit in without disrupting all of the monitor cords and catheter.

-I held him most of the night and had a hard time going back to the room. He had so much hair, he looked like a little gentlemen.

-I had no pain from the delivery. I was strong and feeling so good

-The next morning we went back over and waited for the doctors to come talk to us.

-His creatinine was 1.7. Normal is .2-.4 for newborns. They explained to us that this meant impaired renal function. They did not know to what extent and they said it was too early to predict anything. I think this was when I started to feel like falling apart. I didn’t know that i would have to keep it together for a lot longer than I had expected.

-Dr Jones, the urologist came by to discuss with us what he had seen on the ultrasound. He told us that the right kidney was barely shaped and did not resemble a kidney at all, he would be surprised if there were any function at all there. The left kidney was shaped better but not great. He added that the creatinine, being what it was, was also not promising. His words were “I’m not going to sugarcoat it, its not great.” He told us surgery would need to happen soon to begin decompressing the kidneys as it was the posturethral valve that was completely blocked. He told us that the following Monday is when we would shoot for.

-I think I held it together the whole time he was in the room and when he left I cried. I began to realize that this was so much worse than we imagined. Our sweet boy was sick, and not a little sick, but a permanent life-threatening sick.

-That night we went back to my postpartum room. I knelt in bed and I prayed. I felt a warm sensation over my entire body and a small prompting that “it would all be okay.” I woke Rob up to tell him.

-The next day was the worst day of my life. His creatinine shot up to 2.3, his potassium levels were very high (so high that at any moment he could have had a lethal cardiac arrhythmia, and he was having high blood pressures-all indicators that his kidney’s were failing). The doctors came in and spoke with us about the continued monitoring and how we wouldnt know anything for a few days, once everything settled. They discussed with us peritoneal dialysis as well as transplants. They said that the child had to be at least 10kg and “long enough to fit an adult kidney.” I cried. I cried because I let the idea that he might die creep into my mind. Then his blood pressure went sky high. The nurse told us that maybe we should leave to see if it would come down.
-Rob and I walked outside of Texas Childrens and I felt like I hadn’t seen the sunlight in forever, and I didn’t want to. I sobbed, I felt completely dead inside. I kept thinking that I was trapped in a nightmare and I couldn’t wake up. Rob insisted I try to eat and we walked to Chipotle. I sat at the table outside and watched people walk by. I couldn’t make an expression, I could barely speak. I didn’t eat and I barely ate for the next 2 weeks. I thought that I would never want to live in a world where my baby didnt live. I even asked myself in desperation if I would kill myself if God took him away from me. How could I stay on the earth without him? I had never known what it meant to really plead with God until then.

-We went back to the room and they had told us the potassium had come back down and his blood pressures had stabilized.

-I called my parents and Rob called his, they all flew out the next day. Rob kept saying that he needed his parents to see him just in case Robbie left this world. To him, he felt like if nobody ever met Robbie it wouldn’t have felt real. Somehow, he felt that Robbie had a chance if only his grandparents could know him.

-Throughout my entire experience at the hospital I knew that it was God who always made it possible, to have something positive happen before I left at night. Otherwise I would have never been able to leave. Whether it was an improved lab, weight gain, eating a whole bottle etc. Even days from hell would bring something promising by the end.

-My dad flew out with my mom and they showed up the next day. Robbie wasn’t in great shape and the prognosis was still grimm. I was so happy to have my parents there and I was grateful to Rob that he had pushed for them to come. (In my mind it seemed better to not have anyone around because I wasn’t coping, and somehow adding more people to the scenario made me feel even more stressed and overwhelmed.) Of course they loved him as soon as they saw him, discussing what a handsome baby he was. We hung out in the room for the day while my dad listened in on rounds with me and we discussed his situation and all of the different outcomes.

-That night I asked my dad to give Robbie a blessing. Mike, Rob’s brother had come and given him a blessing with Rob the day before. But since he was going in for surgery and I was nervous, my dad agreed to give him another blessing. We were in a private room fortunately and we were able to be discrete while performing the blessing. I held Robbie and Rob and my dad knelt down around us and put their fingers on his head. The blessing went as follows (as best as I can recall)-

-Robert Isaiah Anderson, I lay my hands on your tiny head to give you a blessing. You have already received an anointing through the same priesthood power-and have already benefited from these priesthood blessings in the short time that you have been here and you will receive many priesthood blessing throughout your life. Through that you will know the love of your heavenly father for you-and your parents will know it.
The doctors have been tutored and He has tutored them. Whatever is important for you-they will know what to do. Since you have been born you have been blessed by the knowledge of the nurses and doctors.
You will look back in your life and re-read the journal entries of your parents and know the love of christ.
You will be healed.
It was no accident that your mother has received the training to be able to take care of you. Both your mother and father will have an affinity to know what you need to care for you.

-Rob and I slept that night

-Our bishop came the next night to visit with us. It was just my mom, Kjer and I in the room, Rob was at work. We told him what was going on with Robbie and he listened patiently offering comfort where appropriate. Before he left he asked if he could say a prayer. We agreed and he began. As soon as he started I knew the spirit of God was in the room. He said a beautiful prayer, mimicking the words that my dad had said the night before. Sometimes, even using exact phrases. In his prayer, he did add that Robbie’s “kidney’s would be fully functioning,” and that he would be “an asset to the kingdom.” He also added a blessing on the room, that it would “have the spirit of comfort and all those who passed through would feel that spirit.” A few weeks later at church I told him about the similarities between his prayer and my dad’s blessing and he began to cry. He was crying so hard he had to catch his breath. He told me that the “words just began to flow...I was using phrases I’ve never used before.”

-Another night of rest for Rob and I.

-Robbie went in for Surgery on June 18th. He was scheduled for an afternoon surgery but we were called in the morning and told that if we could be there in 30 minutes they could fit us in. We were grateful for this because Robbie was NPO after midnight and would surely be sad and hungry all day. When we got there he was crying and we gathered around him to say a prayer.
We had the time-out with the doctor and anesthesiologist and he was prepped to move to the OR. We walked with him all the way to the doors of the OR. Rob was very stoic, while tears rolled down my face. Rob kept saying, “He’s going to be okay, remember? You’re dad said he would be okay.” I found comfort in this, but couldnt help but look down at his tiny body and wonder how it would survive all of this. Right before they wheeled him into the room he looked right up at my face. His eyes were wide and he was totally calm, not crying, just watching. When I looked back at him it was as though he was saying to us, “What? I’ll be back...I just have to go do this one thing, then I’ll be back...”
We sat in the waiting room for a few moments and then I decided I should read my scriptures instead of letting my mind wander with the possibilities of what could happen. I opened my LDS app on my phone and clicked through to a random scripture. The scripture was D&C, chapter 2. The verses discussed the priesthood being brought to the earth through Elijah. I began to cry, because I knew, yet again, this was the Lord reminding me that the priesthood is real, the priesthood blessed my son and brought so much comfort thus far...”so don’t forget it!” My mom and Kjer showed up shortly thereafter. I went out into the hallway to talk to them and tell them about the scripture. Soon after Susanne and Lyle walked around the corner. As soon as they did there was something very real about the situation. They were here, they had flown all this way because there was a chance that our baby was not going to make it. We were the people from the stories you hear about-we were the ones with the sick child. I brought them to Rob and as soon as I saw him hug his dad I knew that Rob was 100% more confident in everything that was happening. I told Susanne and Lyle about my dad’s blessing, I told them all about my feelings about Robbie and why the priesthood would always be important to him, and then I told them that I had opened to a scripture that I thought was amazing. I let Susanne read it and then I handed the phone to Lyle, and I knew that he knew exactly what scripture it was by looking at the chapter and he said, “oh wow.” I felt more and more confident that the scripture was given to me to read to provide me with a little reminder of comfort, which I needed on a daily basis.
The surgery took about 3 hours and finally they called us into a private room. The time elapsed in the room waiting for the doctor was probably no more than 10 minutes but felt like a lifetime. I felt all of my confidence slipping away and I began to let fear of the worst case scenario creep into my mind. I just kept thinking of Robbie’s big eyes watching me, assuring me that he would come back.

It had gone great, as well as he could have planned and Robbie had already been extubated and was in recovery. He discussed with us a few other matters that would have to be corrected eventually, but everything that could be done had been taken care of. Robbie’s creatinine could go up after the surgery because of the temporary swelling but hopefully would come down afterwards. He told us he would follow up in a few days after they removed the catheter.
We walked out of the room smiling and gave our family the news. A cloud was lifted and we were feeling light and free. I was anxious to see him and we had to wait another 30 minutes before going back to recovery. I went back and there he was, like nothing had happened. The recovery bay was white and open with cribs lined along the walls. It was very much like a warehouse and looking up and down the room you could see parents who were either grieving, or rejoicing. Many of the babies were still intubated and connected to ventilators which makes everything seem scarier. We knew that we had so many more challenges to come but at least this first hurdle was over.

-The next day his creatinine came down. Not dramatically, but enough to make us feel like we were headed in the right direction. Over the next 6 days his creatinine continued to come down, and he made small advances gaining a little weight here and there. Finally we were moved to the level 2 stepdown unit where we were to wait and see where his creatinine would plateau and determine whether or not he would become symptomatic at all.

-He made great strides in that last week, gaining weight and eating better. After “negotiating” with the neonatologist I convinced them that I was responsible and intelligent enough to take him home and continue to monitor him etc, etc. The day I took him home I called Rob, who was at the office and told him to meet me at home in 30. They walked Robbie and I down to the car (which was my friend Michelle’s Range Rover that she let us borrow) and putting him in that carseat was the best feeling ever. I said a prayer before leaving the hospital that we would get home safely. Rob met me at home after running into him at the stoplight near our house. We celebrated, and hugged and cried. Rob finally took his “I’m the dad” hospital bracelet off, sticking to his word that he wouldn’t take it off until “his boy came home.” It was a sweet, amazing day. There was a time I thought he would never see his home. I had told Rob if Robbie didn’t come home, we had to move, I couldn’t stay there without him.

-My mom arrived a few days later and of course she was thrilled to see him. I was breastfeeding and trying to figure out how to be a full-time mom and it was such a relief to have her there with me. We watched hours and hours of BBC films and oogled over Robbie. About a week after he was home I told my mom and Rob that I thought he looked pale. They both expressed that they didn’t notice it and that maybe I was being a little paranoid. I kept telling my mom that the one thing that was always a consolation was that he looked so healthy, but at that moment, he finally looked like a sick kid. I could tell she was worried, but didn’t know what to say. I took him to the pediatrician and he had only gained 2 oz in a week (where 1 oz/day was normal). The pediatrician didn’t seem overly concerned and so we went and got labwork and went on our way. Later we had an appointment with the nephrologist and Rob had come with me. His labs indicated that he was in fact dehydrated and she expressed that from the physical examination she could also tell he was dehydrated. I asked if she thought he needed to stay to get IV fluids but she told me she thought I just needed to stop breastfeeding, that I needed to give him a bottle so we knew exactly how much he was getting.

-When we got home Rob left for work and my mom and I settled in to watch a movie. We made Robbie his bottle, fed him and put him to sleep. The past couple of days he would sleep and sleep until I woke him up and so when I went upstairs to get him to eat I wasn’t surprised that he was still sleeping. I brought him downstairs and put him on my lap. He was obviously lethargic and listless. I looked up at my mom and said, “he’s not doing anything.” Mom looked at me, remarked that he “certainly was not,” and came to get him off my lap. She picked him up and began rocking him to try and arouse him. His eyes rolled in the back of his head. She said maybe I should call the doctor. I looked at Robbie and told her we needed to call 911. I made the call, and then frantically tried to get a hold of Rob. I finally text him saying, “Need you now.” He called shortly thereafter and I explained what was happening. My mom told me she needed to go upstairs to change before the ambulance came. I remember saying, “this baby can’t die, dear God, this baby can’t die.” She said, “no he can’t, he’s warm, he’s warm.” I took Robbie from her and pleaded, “don’t leave me.” She told me I would be okay and ran upstairs. I looked down at Robbie, at his listless body, limp in my arms. I tried to stimulate him with sternal rubs, and loud noises but nothing would work. I held him longways in my left arm preparing for CPR. I wondered several times if I needed to give him breaths. I frantically rocked him saying, “Shh, shh, shh, its okay, its okay Robbie, please its okay.” He made no noise but I continued to “shh, shh.”
I heard the ambulance from a distance and began screaming for my mom to come. She ran downstairs and out the door to wave them down, worried they would not know which house to come to. I walked outside and the firefighters told me to go back in. I sat down at the kitchen table with Robbie in my lap and began to explain what was happening. Since he had labs that day I was able to break down each lab that was pertinent to the current situation and as I talked they gave him blowby oxygen. I will never forget the sound of Rob’s feet running across the gravel and bracing the doorway as I sat there with his whole world in my arms. I didn’t look up.
Another firefighter came in and said the ambulance had arrived. We walked outside and were greeted by a man standing next to a “ER MD” vehicle. He told me he was an ER doctor. Immediately I felt a sense of relief. I explained to him what was going on, Robbie’s history, labs, vitals, etc. He examined Robbie and said to the crew, “lets bring him inside to the living room, we may need to initiate some more serious interventions.” I’m a nurse, and ER nurse and I know ER language. I knew what he saw was a baby who was on his way out. “Serious interventions” is the least offensive way to tell the crew that this scenario would probably end poorly. We moved quickly into the living room and they continued to administer oxygen. After about 10 minutes of the O2, Robbie perked up. Not by much, but enough that the doctor held off on putting in an IO (Intraosseous catheter, or an IV that is drilled into the shin bone). They hooked him up to an EKG and though he was tachycardic, he was still in sinus rhythm.
The ambulance arrived and Robbie and I got on the stretcher. In the ambulance they told me that the doctor was the on-call ER doc and just happened to be driving by, saw the lights, and stopped to see what was going on. Robbie’s oxygen started to decrease during the ride and he began to drift back into his former state. I could tell that the EMS were nervous. As we pulled into the hospital bay I saw my mom and Rob turning in behind us. Inside the ER I was greeted by the charge nurse. Before any explanation from me he looked at Robbie. A 5 second once over and he said, “Okay, this baby is mottled, lethargic and looks like shit, let’s get it started.” In that moment I felt the calmest I had felt all night. I was in my element. There were a hundred things happening at once and I knew the what and why of each and every one. I spoke to several doctors explaining every detail of Robbie’s history and condition. They told me they wanted to do a spinal tap, I requested that we wait for the results of the CBC to determine if his white blood cell count was elevated first. They agreed and continued to try to get a line in him. He was so dehydrated they stuck him 14 times before calling the Vascular Access Team to come in and find a vein via ultrasound. The moments up until we got a line were so tense, because as all of those nurses were aware, if things go south, having direct access is vital.
Robbies WBC’s were in fact elevated and the doctor insisted on the spinal tap. I agreed and signed consent. During this time my mom and Rob were sitting at the opposite end of the room. Occasionally I would go and talk to them and explain what was happening and make sure they were okay. It was like, for those moments, Robbie was a patient, not my baby. He couldn’t be, or I wouldn’t have been able to keep it together. Everything that was happening was like a poison filling up my body and it sat in the top of my throat and the only thing keeping it down was my ability, at that time, to compartmentalize what was happening. I would think, there will be a time to fall apart, but this is not it. I walked over to Rob at his white face, horrified by the events unraveling in front of us. He asked me if I “was in nurse-mode?” I replied that I had to be.
I stayed in the room and helped hold for the spinal tap, I couldn’t bare the thought of leaving him. Rob and my mom left the room. My mom told me she didn’t want to remember him like that. The labs showed that he had a urinary tract infection and they were very concerned that he was septic. Finally, he was stabilized and we were getting ready to transfer to the NICU. They began IV fluids and antibiotics and we left the ER. Once we got to the NICU we fed him, as he hadn’t eaten in hours and hours and then after he was settled, we all decided we needed to go home. Not that we would sleep, and as much as I hated to leave him, I was weak and knew there was a long road ahead. We got home, I laid down, and cried. The poison that had bubbled up inside of me felt like it was released like a gunshot. I just gave in, and completely lost it.

-Robbie remained in the NICU for 2 weeks, as 14 days of antibiotic treatment was required. It was a long two weeks. My mom was there for the first week and a half which saved me from an almost certain mental breakdown. We would go in around 9am, feed Robbie, eat lunch at Chick-fil-a (which got really gross, really quick...blasphem, I know), head back and sit and talk until around 7 and we would go home. Some days we would get good news, some days we would get bad news, and many days we would get both. But similar to my experience during his first NICU stay, something positive would always happen right before we left. The Lord knew I couldn’t leave my sweet son without something positive to hold on to.

-His creatinine slowly came down and it seemed as though the prognosis was looking up. I let myself believe that maybe he had endured the worst and we would finally be able to sigh that deep sigh of relief.

-We continued to pray and pray constantly, having sweet moments of reassurance very often. And finally, he was able to come home.

-Since his discharge we have had one episode of gastroenteritis, discovered he is lactose intolerant, has some pretty intense reflux, and we had one more ER visit after an elevated temp, but all in all things have been dramatically better than we anticipated. And as a side note, Robbie has the SWEETEST disposition of any baby I’ve ever seen. He sits with me and smiles, and rarely cries, and he without a doubt, knows his mom and dad. Robbie has doctor visits each week, frequent lab work and will be on antibiotics for the next few years but he is stable. It is still difficult for the doctors to determine what his prognosis will be. The real test is to look at his lab work at age 1 and that will give us a much more accurate suggestion of how things will go. If Robbie does eventually need a transplant, we have had an outpouring of volunteers, and really, a transplant at age 10 is so much more palatable than the idea of a transplant at 10 days. Again, this is one of those “wait and watch” situations that I am trying to learn how to manage.

-On Sept 22 we are taking Robbie to Rob’s home town of Monticello, Utah to bless him. I am so comfortable using the phrase, “miracle,” when I think about him being able to travel to those sweet mountains that mean so much to his dad. There, he will be the littlest of four Robert Andersons still on the earth with us, and will also be watched from on high by the late Robert Andersons. Both of our families get to come together and be so, so grateful for his life, and his influence on all of us.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My career has peaked...I may as well retire

I feel like this post would be better if I just videotaped a monologue but Rob's not home to film me. I'm worried you won't get the whole feeling behind it...but here goes... I delivered a BABY. What?!?! Scene: I was wheeling a pregnant lady in from her car, she told me her baby was coming, I put my hand down and sure enough felt a little tiny head. I knelt down in front of the wheelchair, pulled off her sweats...and delivered her baby (it basically happened all under 60 seconds). The membrane was intact so I tore it off his little face, suctioned his little nose and mouth, wrapped him in wash clothes (the closest thing someone could get their hands on), and handed him to his momma. Afterwards, I cried. Wept. Way too pregnant to be delivering babies...the amount of emotion I felt made me feel like I was going to implode...or go into labor. Anyway, I went to check on her after my shift and here we are with that sweet little bebe.
Literally, the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me.