Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day


We spent this afternoon swimming at Mamie & BD's this afternoon with Aunt Alex and my uncle Chris and aunt Kathryn, who were visiting from California.  I think it's safe to say that Keegan is 100% back in love with the water!  We hope you each had a relaxing Memorial Day and are thankful, as we are, for the sacrifices of the men and women who gave their lives so that we might have the freedom to enjoy a great afternoon by the pool with our family.

The Gomer Pyle look


Taking a break 

 Practicing our floating and kicking

 Taking a ride with BD

 Great Uncle Chris helping Keegan with the shades

Keegan, the propeller



 The Bogart look


"Nana" Bread & Fun at the park


I've been a little delinquent in blogging this week, so I thought I'd post a few bits this morning.  Hopefully, we'll get some fun swimming pictures this afternoon to post later tonight!

Keegan has a keen interest in bananas ("nanas", as he calls them).  He likes to point them out in books or pictures, pretend to eat the bananas in his play kitchen, play a game at therapy where he feeds a paper monkey bananas, and point out the bananas on the counter.  He loves pureed bananas, especially mixed with applesauce, but eating real, whole bananas doesn't seem to carry the same amount of enthusiasm.  Go figure.  Anyway, I had decided to make some chocolate chip banana bread yesterday morning.  I had read a tip in a parenting magazine to freeze ripe bananas for later use in breads or muffins, and given Keegan's lack of interest in eating the actual bananas he so excitedly wanted to purchase, I soon had a nice collection of frozen bananas for the bread.  As great as the idea was in theory, it did not work as well in practice.  The frozen bananas turned into frozen mush, which any baker will understand, doesn't aid the baking process at all.  We ended up with bread that was too crisp around the edges and not cooked in the very center. 

All this is to say, that Keegan had a lot of fun "helping" to make his banana bread.  He donned his apron from friend Kaiden's birthday party, grabbed a spatula and bowl, and helped me count out the ingredients!  Daddy snapped a few pics with his phone while we were cookin'!

Ready to go!  What can I mix up first?


Practicing his stirring technique


Earlier in the week, Mamie took Keegan to the park by our house to work some energy out.  He sure had fun!

Caught going UP the slide


A rare picture of Keegan swinging! Somehow, Mamie convinced him to get in the swing.  He never wants to stop to swing!


Peek-a-boo!




Run, Bug, run!!


Monday, May 24, 2010

The drama continues...

Seriously?  Am I completely incapable of having a "normal" pregnancy?  I guess so! 

Today I had an appointment with our dear perinatologist to get a good sonogram in before my scheduled OB appointment this afternoon.  Good news is my fluid levels are up a little!  Bad news is the baby has not grown as expected in the last two weeks.  I could tell something wasn't quite right, as the doctor continued to take measurements of the same thigh bone and head circumfrence over and over again.  He said he usually wouldn't measure more than three times at the most because you start seeing what you want to see after awhile.  The entire pregnancy, Audrey has measured in the 50% percentile, including at our appointment two weeks ago.  The first few measurements he took put her somewhere in the 10-15%, quite a significant drop.  If she was really measuring at 10%, he said they would go ahead and deliver.  The last set of measurements bumped her up a bit to 20%, and we decided to go with those numbers.  He said we really want her to get to 39 weeks to reduce the risk of needing ventilator support, but we're going to be as cautious as possible in the next few weeks.  Oh, and she's still breach!

SO, we've adjusted our weekly monitoring to include some more thorough testing next week at the OB and then to follow up again the week after with the perinatologist again.  I'm not dialated yet, which is certainly a good sign.  Next Tuesday morning, I'll go in for more monitoring to see where we stand.  We will also stop the medications that have been helping stem the contractions.  That may not make any difference at all, but it's the plan for now. 

I am sure everything is going to be alright and that this is all not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.  Many families have it much, much worse.  Still, I was hoping for a bit of normalcy after all we went through with Keegan.  I probably am letting this all stress me out just a little too much, but I think anyone can understand how that might happen after our first experience.  Everyone keeps reassuring us that she's "going to be just fine" once she finally arrives.  I know it's too early, but honestly, if she's going to be fine, I'm kinda ready just to be done with it!  There's really only so much I can take! 

Ok, sorry for the rant there.  I can't thank everyone enough for your prayers for the appointments today.  We'll continue to put our trust in the Lord and wait in hope for a smooth arrival for our little girl.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Moving On


This weekend was good and bad.  Saturday, we had the difficult task of putting away all of Rusty's things.  It was so much harder than I expected.  We have a beautiful painting my parents bought in France of a Brittany that looks like it was made of Rusty as a younger dog; all it was missing was a freckle he had near his nose.  I always wondered how I would feel when this day came looking at that painting.  It reminds me of his better days though, and we're so glad to have it.  Keegan hasn't seemed to be really that affected by not having the dog around, but then again, it's hard to tell with his limited vocabulary.  I guess only time will tell with that one.  It's definitely been an adjustment to our routine, and my mental checklist of daily things to do has been thrown off the last few days by not having to include Rusty anymore.  I almost asked Gray if he had given him a treat this morning, and I've heard Gray start saying his name a few times by accident.  I know it will get better with time, but right now, it's still heavy on our hearts.

By Saturday afternoon, we were ready to get out of the house.  We loaded up the car and went to a new park in Frisco to explore with Keegan.  It had a great playground with lots of slides and ramps for Keegan, a walking trail, and a creek.  And best of all, we had it all to ourselves! 

Look at all this, Daddy!


Which slide do I go down first?




Clapping for himself after Daddy helped him scale the "rock wall"


Hello, down there!



Watching the minnows swim in the creek

We saw this beautiful bird as we walked along the creek.

We topped off our afternoon with a little frozen custard before heading home.  All in all, it was a nice afternoon and great to get away from the house for awhile.  Sunday, we planned to take more pictures at Mamie & BD's house for the first swim of the year in the pool.  Keegan has been wanting to get in the pool all winter long, but today, he decided to freak out when we went outside.  It took him forever to get near the water.  Then he finally climbed on a raft, which he then refused to get off of for a good 30 minutes.  We finally moved him and the raft into the spa, where we finally coaxed him into the water.  After another 30 minutes or so, he was having a fit when we told him it was time to get out and go home!  Needless to say, we kinda forgot about the camera!  So more pictures to come of swimming soon!

We want to thank you all yet again for your prayers and support for our family.  We are truly blessed by each of you.  Tomorrow, I have appointments with the OB and perinatologist with another sonogram to check fluid levels.  We'll be sure to update, but we are hopeful that Audrey will be happy for at least another week before making her appearance!  Thanks again.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rusty

Some of you may have seen our request for prayers on Twitter or Facebook for a difficult decision that we had to make today.  Our nine year old Brittany Spaniel dog, Rusty, had not been well for awhile and was progressively getting worse.  This morning, we finally had to say good-bye to him.  It was a very hard decision to make and one we did not take lightly.  He was our "first child" and a very big part of our little family.  We are very thankful to have a vet who knows us well and helped us through this day.

We adopted Rusty from a rescue organization right after we moved to Nashville, shortly after we were married.  As a puppy, he was all paws and ears, and we knew he was going to be a big guy.  We discovered shortly after adopting him that he had evidently been shot (grazed probably, but part of the copper bullet lodged in his skin) in the head and survived.  More than likely, he was dumped on the side of the road by his original owners when he wouldn't hunt.  But boy, could he run!  Rusty and I must have logged a thousand miles or more in a little over three years in the woods behind our apartment in Tennessee.  He drove me crazy a lot, but he was probably the reason I survived law school while Gray was at sea.  At nine years old, he still looked like a puppy for awhile after a good hair cut, and you could still see those leg muscles twitch when he started to run. 

Thank you for keeping us in your prayers as we deal with this loss.  We know it was in his best interest, but it's still very, very hard.  This picture was taken when Keegan was 3 months old - the way we want to remember him.  Thanks for the good times, Rusty...


Labs & Pentam

Just a quick medical update on Keegan - he had labs and his monthly breathing treatment (pentamadine or "pentam", as it's lovingly called in the Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders at Children's) on Wednesday.  His pentam dose is based on weight, so we were able to see how the last two+ weeks of being on nighttime tube feeds only had affected him.  He's lost about a pound, but he grew 4 centimeters!!  We haven't heard from GI if they want to change anything, but I would hope they'd give him another month to even out.  It's not like he didn't have any growth at all!  And frankly, height is where he needed the growth anyway!

His labs were as stable as I think they ever have been for him.  His white and red blood cell counts were pretty darn good!  We're waiting to see what his hematologist wants to change, if anything, about his shots.  His liver numbers are still up but stable.  Everything else looked great!  Because of that, we'll check them again in two weeks.  What a nice break!

People often ask or assume that Keegan is afraid of the hospital or doctors.  That's SO not the case!  He loves "his hospital"!  He loves "his girlfriends" (nurses and staff) and all his doctors.  If we pass the Legacy campus by our house without stopping, he gets upset!!  It makes his day to say hi to everyone, and he absolutely loves to play behind the registration desk while waiting for appointments.  The front desk staff at Legacy call him their "official greeter".  He knows just what to do in each location - gets on the scale and raises his arms in a "I'm so big" gesture during vitals, stretches his little legs for height, takes the blood pressure cuff on and off, doesn't mind getting labs drawn as long as he gets to pick the room (always room #1 at Legacy but usually #4 downtown) and get the vials out, etc.  This week he didn't shed a single tear until the respiratory tech turned his DVD off at the end of his breathing treatment, which involves holding a nebulizer mask to his face while sitting in an isolation chamber.  I have to make a point of taking pictures to document some of his appointments!

Keegan is a rare breed, I suppose, but it sure makes this crazy life we live with him a heck of a whole lot easier to manage!  We love you, Bug!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Home for now

Thank you all so much for your prayers and concern for my appointment today.  All in all, it went very well.  Most importantly, my amniotic fluid level was exactly the same as last week, just a fraction above my doctor's cut-off for admission.  Yeah for stability!  =)  Until this weekend, the medications I was taking to stop the contractions were to be taken on an "as needed" basis.  I was actually avoiding taking the meds as much as possible because they almost make you feel worse!  Since they are still coming regularly and strong with 2 weeks before she's "full term", the doctor put me on a daily preventative medication regimen with the other medication to be taken for "breakthrough contractions".  A friend of mine was on this medication regimen with her twins, and she said it worked much better and with little to no side effects.  I'm definitely looking forward to that!  The plan is to continue this weekly monitoring of fluid and meds for the next two weeks; then, we'll stop the meds and just let her come as soon as she is ready.  If she makes it to 39 weeks, we'll go forward with the scheduled c-section, as she's still breach.

I do hope this new medication schedule will help get me back on track.  Dealing with the physical stress of the contractions and the emotional stress of worrying about the baby's health and if she might make an early appearance has been beyond exhausting.  I was really praying for a calm, uneventful pregnancy this time, but I guess my kids just don't understand that concept!  Again, I just hope that her medical issues end at birth!  I don't know if I can handle two high-maintenance kiddos.

I'm so thankful to be home another week.  I'm really glad we used this as motivation to get everything prepared and ready for Audrey's arrival, whenever that may be.  I'm beyond thankful for my supportive family, stepping up once again to help with the medical drama that follows us, especially my mom.  And we're humbled and blessed by your wonderful support for our little growing family.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  It truly means more than I can ever express.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Drama Queen

It appears that Audrey is already quite the little drama queen.  Maybe she just didn't want her brother to get all the attention!  I continued to have contractions all week long and took medication to help curb them pretty much every day.  Friday, they started in pretty good around 12:45pm.  I waited until about 2:45pm to take the meds, took Keegan to his haircut appointment around 4pm, and had to finally sit down just after 5pm as the contractions got more intense.  I took more medication, but when they got progressively worse, we called the OB and were told to head back to the hospital around 7:30pm.  This time, they ran a few tests, monitored the baby, and gave me some stronger meds.  After a few hours, the doctor decided I wasn't in danger of going into active labor in the next two days and sent me home...again. 

I've continued to have contractions of intermittent intensity over the weekend, and we will check in with our OB tomorrow afternoon.  She will check my amniotic fluid levels, monitor the baby again, and reevaluate my anti-contraction medications.  If the amniotic fluid is any lower, I'll have to be admitted for monitoring; if it has gotten too low, there's a possiblity the doctors may want to go ahead and deliver her.  I know she "looks good", but it is a little early for that!  (I'm just now 35 weeks.)  Although, I have to say that having to deal with contractions that don't produce labor is pretty darn aggravating!  We got a LOT of things checked off "the list" this weekend, just in case.  We will be sure to update tomorrow, whatever the outcome.

So, that's the update on our little drama queen.  I just pray that her medical drama ends at birth!  There's only so much one Mama can take! 

p.s.  Congratulations to our lil' friend, Carter, on getting extebated, off dialysis, and out of the ICU so quickly!  We pray you are home soon, C Bear!  Please also keep miss Avery in your prayers again.  She has been battling a continual fever for too long now, and we ask the Lord continue to heal her and keep her at home also. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A few more photos


Before the accident on Mother's Day, Keegan and Daddy were having lots of fun playing with photoshop on the iPhone.

All boy!

These pictures are from a few weeks ago when Keegan met his friends at the park to play the week Daddy stayed with him and Mama was at the patient-family centered care conference.  It just took awhile for Daddy to send them! ;)

He's completely fearless on the slides and insists on going down the biggest, scariest slides he can find!
Handsome Gage taking a break from playing...

Ainsley concentrating hard on coming up rope ladder with her mama's help...

See?  Fearless!  He'll go head-first down any slide.

And I couldn't help but include this shot also captured by Daddy...Keegan and his "girlfriend", Lainey, on a walk around the neighborhood.  Awww....

Mamie's Day & Mother's Day

My mom's birthday was on Saturday, so we met my parents, sister, and grandparents for a celebratory dinner at Rathbun's Blue Plate.  We had a fun time and a yummy meal.  Happy Birthday, Mamie!


Opening presents...


Being silly with stickers and Big Daddy...


It's the simple pleasures in life, you know!

Sunday morning (before the craziness posted about below ensured), we enjoyed a lovely brunch at Highland Springs, the retirement community where Gray's grandmother lives.  Gray's parents, my parents, and Alex joined us, and we all had nice morning with good food and company.  Thanks for hosting us, Granny.

Gift of the day: Chik-fil-A gift cards! 


Passing out the Mom's Day cards


I love Great Granny!


"Hiding" in the TV cabinet

Monday, May 10, 2010

Update

Well, I intended to write a nice Mother's Day update.  We did have a nice weekend celebrating my mom's birthday and Mother's Day with family, and I will be sure to update soon with pictures from those get-togethers.

I quickly wanted to put an update about the end of our Mother's Day weekend.  I had been feeling "off" all weekend and started having contractions with increasing frequency Sunday night.  Right around the time we decided to call my OB, Keegan ran into the corner of the office desk while playing.  He didn't even blink an eye at the time, but a few minutes later, Gray looked up to see Keegan bleeding profusely from a tiny little break on his scalp.  We were able to stop the bleeding after a few minutes.  It just must have hit at the right angle, and he's absolutely fine.  We didn't get a picture of the full horror movie look, but here's some photographic proof of his first "gusher".


After we cleaned that mess up, the doctor decided I needed to be admitted at the hospital for monitoring.  I came in having contractions and ultimately a slight fever.  We think that I had a minor viral infection that triggered contractions and severe dehydration.  It took two shots to slow the contractions, and I've continued to have some off and on today.  I was discharged late Sunday night, and Gray and I spent most of the afternoon checking up with the OB and perinatologist.  Both think the baby looks fine and is not in danger of any kind.  She's still breach and still very active.  They put me on an oral medication to control the contractions.  My amniotic fluid is noticeably lower than it was two weeks ago but still on the low end of "normal."  The plan for now is to start weekly monitoring and sonograms.  If the fluid gets much lower, I'll be readmitted, and if it gets too low, they would go ahead and deliver the baby.  For now, we're just hoping things calm down for a few more weeks.  She's not due for 5 more weeks, but she's pretty much out of the danger zone no matter what happens at this point.

Thank you so much for prayers for our little family.  I promise to follow up (hopefully tomorrow but no promises) with some happier pictures of our weekend!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A milestone

One year ago today we drove up to our house in a rented minivan after a three-day road trip home from Boston, signifying the end to over 8 months inpatient.  Since then, Keegan has spent only three days in the hospital.  I was reminded tonight that our life is not completely different from a year ago, as I changed the sheets on Keegan's bed in the dark for the millionth time from a busted open feeding tube.  And yet, things have changed so dramatically, I can hardly believe it! 
  • Keegan has gone from 20+ hours of tube feeds a day to 10 hours run only overnight.
  • He has dropped three medications.
  • He has not had a blood transfusion in a year.
  • He eats a much larger variety of normal toddler foods - enough to keep him off the feeding pump during the day.  This time last year, he really only was eating yogurt melts and some Gerber puffs.
  • He has gone from under 10% on weight/height charts at this time last year to almost the 50% in both.  His weight for length is squarely in the 50% range too!  It's even harder to believe that it was only a year ago that he actually made it ON the weight/height charts!!
  • He says a handful of words, including "mama", and is starting to imitate even more, compared to only "hi" and "bye" at this time last year.
I wish I had the words to describe how in awe I am of his progress, especially in just the last few weeks!  We are amazed to constantly see the hand of God working in Keegan's life, and the prayers and support of you, our family and friends, are a huge part of that.  Thank you so much for continuing to love our son and our family.  We are humbled and blessed beyond measure. 

Our hope is renewed daily that Keegan is on the road to a much more normal and healthy life.  Every milestone such as today is one more step in the right direction and a clearer light for our tunnel.  We know that this is just the beginning of the road, and it will have plenty of ups, downs, and crazy twists and turns.  But each day we are blessed to have him in our lives is a gift.  Having a year of progress and improvement reminds us that even when things are rough, when he does struggle, we can get through it.  There is hope, and we will be grateful for each day! 

"Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord!" - Psalm 31:24

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Baby's Room - Phase I

Well, if you saw my "sneak peek" update to Twitter earlier this afternoon, you have an idea of what we spent almost all day doing today.  So here is "Phase I" of the nursery makeover!  We still have quite a bit to do, but we got a lot accomplished in "Aud-ee's Room" today!

The tree is a vinyl wall decal, like the road on Keegan's wall.  The green on the tree turned out a bit darker than I would have liked in hindsight, but I think it looks pretty unique!

I love the pillow with Isaiah 43:4 - "You are precious in my sight." 
Ann's work is amazing, and she is so sweet!  Check out more of her work in her etsy shop!

Doesn't even look like the same crib anymore!  Audrey's gorgeous bedding was also made by the lovely ladies at Bedazzled in Plano.  We can never thank Deb enough for her amazing work.
Audrey's bow collection is growing!  Daddy picked out this little bow holder for her, and my best friend from childhood, Stephanie, made the big white flower and little flower bows at the bottom left and right to wear with a little hat and crocheted headband.  You can check out all her adorable creations at her online store -

We still have one or two things we need before she gets here and LOTS of washing and organizing to do.  We're off to a pretty good start though.  My mom washed and ironed over 20 dresses that she had saved from when Alex and I were little.  They are gorgeous, and I can't wait to see my little girl in the same dresses we grew up in.

And because I can't keep these pictures to myself...here's some fun Keegan had while we were cleaning up breakfast this morning!
The box of blocks makes a much better hat!

I'm not a happy kiddo at all!