Friday, December 31, 2010

A trip down memory lane

Last year New Year's Eve brought an unexpected, frightening experience. Join me as I recall the events of what occurred...

30 wks pregnant, recent graduate of PT school (Dec. 8th), & new homeowners. Logan & I were shopping around Lowe's & Home Depot for a refrigerator to put in the new house we had bought few days earlier. All of a sudden, I felt as though Stryker's head had dropped even lower. Logan noticed that I would stop occasionally to rock or rest. He became concerned & asked why. I told him Stryker felt lower & made walking seem more like waddling but reminded him how low Stryker had been throughout the pregnancy. Logan was not satisfied with the reassurance & suggested we go home to rest. Reluctantly, I listened to him. Logan wanted me to call my mom on the way home to inquire about Braxton-Hicks contractions. My mom did not experience these so she was not able to help me. Both my mom & Logan wanted me to call the doctor's office when we arrived home. I agreed, even though I knew there was nothing wrong. The nurse gave me the following instructions: lay on my left side, drink lots of water, try counting the pressure episodes that I was experiencing, & call her back in 10 minutes. After 1 minute, I was unable to indicate the beginning & end of each episode. A return phone call to the nurse resulted in a trip to Brookwood's Labor & Delivery. My mom met us at the hospital. There, I was immediatley hooked to the monitor. After a few minutes, we noticed several nurses coming in & out of my room. My main nurse came to us stating that I was in active labor & we needed the contractions to stop soon or Stryker would be born today. Complete & utter disbelief. I turned to Logan with fear. The words were still being processed in my mind as the nurse continued telling us that the doctor & the neonatologist were called. When the nurse left the room, my eyes filled with tears. I was no longer a strong healthcare professional but now a helpless, scared mother-to-be. All of the negative outcomes of premature births came racing through my mind. How could a perfect pregnancy be abruptly interrupted with a situation like this. Dr. Adcock came by my room for a meeting followed by prayer. Such comfort knowing our doctor is strong in his faith & always leaning on God during his daily work. Following Dr. Adcock, the neonatologist & nurses came to set equipment up as well as answer questions. Dr. Adcock's plan was quickly initiated beginning with prayer and medicine. Magnesium is a strong drug used in attempt to stop contractions. I was started on mag at the highest dose possible. Just to say my opinion, this drug is absolutely horrible! I felt as though I was burning all over with nausea added on top of that. My room was so cold that Logan even had his hooded sweatshirt on & the nurses came in with jackets. The nurses were gracious enough to find me 2 fans to attach to my bed for extra cool air. I was in & out of being "with it". After 2 days, the contractions were successfully stopped enough to come off the mag. Truly answered prayers.

To make a long story short, we remained in the hospital for 2 full weeks. The contractions continued during that time but were monitored & supressed with shots. Dr. Adcock had me on strict bedrest at first & progressively weaned to walking only to bathroom with quick showers every other day. The scary situations never ceased but we knew a premature birth was a possibility. Logan stayed with me every day & night. My mom would stay for awhile each day to give Logan a break. Logan's family would bring supper most nights. Dr. Adcock would visit almost daily & call us occasionally. We were definitely spoiled by the OB-GYN staff as well as the nursing staff at Brookwood. We could not have asked for a better experience in such a scary situation. Thank you to all for the wonderful care.

We were able to leave the hospital with continued mild contractions & prescription medicine to calm the contractions. I was to remain on bedrest (walking to bathroom & showers every other day) & schedule weekly appointments with Dr. Adcock. At 36 weeks, we were taken off bedrest & all medication. Yeah! Almost forgot to mention that I attended my baby shower on bedrest & sat in hallway while Logan & mom decorated the nursery.

Six days later, labor hit. It was a Sunday. Valentine's Day. Logan, Fletch, & I attended church (mom had to work). During the service, I poked Logan to tell him that I was counting numerous contractions but not painful ones. The contractions continued, but we decided to go out for Valentine's Day lunch at Bright Star. Yummy! We thought it might be a good idea to lay down when we got home. The contractions subsided. That night, I was awakened by my first painful contraction causing me to sit straight up in bed at 10pm. I tapped Logan & told him "this is it, call Dr. Adcock." I stayed doubled-over while trying to pack my bag. Dr. Adcock told us he would call the hospital & would see us soon. We got in the car. It was in the middle of a thunderstorm. I looked at Logan & we both smiled knowing this time we would be coming home with our little boy. I called mom on the way to the hospital. The nurses greeted us at the door & had everything ready for us. I knew the drill. My mom arrived as the monitor was being placed on my belly. The nurse informed us that contractions were inefficient because they were strong but as one contraction was starting to end another one was beginning. Dr. Adcock had to give me medicine again to slow the contractions in order to make them more efficient. Then, he gave me bad news...he had to be at the Alabaster clinic. Are you kidding?! We wanted him there more than anything. He is board certified in high risk pregnancies which made us feel better. But we knew his group was great. Dr. Ross ended up being our doctor that day. The anesthesiologist came to place the epidural. My mom & Logan's mom stayed in the birthing suite with us until time to start pushing. It came very quickly. Stryker was born 45 minutes later (would have been quicker but he got stuck). He was truly a miracle. A gift from God. I'll never forget that first moment of seeing him & then feeling him against my chest. Mom & Logan's mom came back to the birthing suite after a little while to hold Stryker before going to our room upstairs where the rest of the family met us.

Monday, December 27, 2010

rushed to the ER

It was a typical late afternoon/night for our family until a busted eye came into the picture.

Logan & I were playing with Stryker in his room like every evening. We talked about my work as well as Logan's practice. Stryker was playing with his basketball goal when he decided to pull up on his wooden toy chest just as he's done many times before. It seemed as though it happened in slow motion. We saw him starting to fall, but unable to catch him before his head hit the toy chest. He's had falls before, especially since learning to cruise along furniture & stand independently. He didn't stop crying in my arms as daddy hit the toy chest saying, "bad furniture, don't hurt Stryker." This routine always makes the tears go away & the smile re-appear. But, this fall was different. He screamed louder & louder. I looked down to find blood gushing from his right eye. Oh my goodness. I lost it seeing my little boy bleeding. Logan rushed to grab a wet rag to clean the eye in order for us to see where the blood was coming from. My mind kept thinking about the blood originating from behind his eye due to a head injury. I know you're thinking I over-reacted but you have to remember what profession I am in. I always think about the worst possible scenarios. We could not clean Stryker's wound enough to tell the damage. As I continued holding Stryker, Logan called the doctor. They said to take him to urgent care. Unfortunately, urgent care was full & not taking patients. WHAT?! How can you not take patients, people?! This forced us to rush Stryker to Children's Hospital Emergency Room. I called Coco on our way while Logan called grandmomma. Logan & I ran Stryker into the waiting room. The bleeding had slowed by this point. Coco quickly arrived after we were triaged. The ER called us back to a room shortly thereafter.

The first doctor to visit was a male resident. He was very nice, but Stryker just stared at him during the examination. The resident requested for nurse to clean Stryker's eye in order for him to examine the wound better. Logan had to hold Stryker for the nurse because he did not want anyone touching his "battle wound". The resident returned along with the chief resident. This resident was female. I tell you that because I want you to keep in mind how Stryker acted the first time seeing the male resident. Stryker immediately began smiling & flirting with this doctor. Can you believe this? He's too young to be a "ladies man". She gave him her stethoscope to play with while she conducted a quick examination of his vision & facial/eye socket bone examine. Stryker kept smiling & babbling to her the entire examination. She loved Stryker! The examine came up negative along with the doctor stating the stitches were not necessary. We were instructed to keep the wound clean, use ice to decrease swelling, & use ointment.

Guess this was a first trip of many to the ER! Until next time...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Stryker's first Christmas

our little boy waking up & smiling on Christmas morning

Coco pushing me around in my new bike!

playing basketball w/ daddy

not so sure about this wrapping paper

Fletch & Logan struggling to put all these pieces together

It's snowing!

Coco opening her present - picture book of Stryker
Nothing else would measure up to this perfect gift

Merry Christmas!

Stryker was asleep in his crib as Logan & I got ready for the busy day ahead of us. Is that sounds I hear in the monitor? Yes, it is! He's awake! We ran upstairs to find Stryker rubbing his little eyes & yawning. "Good morning little boy. Merry Christmas!" I picked him up as Logan began wrapping his arms around the both of us. Our son was about to enjoy his first Christmas. How exciting!
Knock at the door brought Coco & Fletch into our living room. It's time for Coco's famous mouth-watering, traditional Christmas breakfast. Coco & I started cooking in the kitchen while Fletch & Logan played with Stryker. The kitchen smelled of coffee cake, scrambled eggs, bacon, & toast. Yummy! Christmas music playing in the background as Coco & I enjoyed mom-daughter time. This is a tradition that is special to me.

After eating the delicious breakfast (Stryker even loved it), present-opening time was here. We decided to let Stryker open his presents upstairs with his tree so he could immediately play with his toys in the playroom. As you can see above, Fletch & Logan was in charge of putting toys together. I think more laughter came from watching them struggle with that task. It's funny how they ran their mouths about how easy putting children's toys together was & they would have no problem. This ended up not being the case. Sorry boys, guess the toys ARE child-proof!!! (haha) Stryker was absolutely spoiled with Christmas. A tent, roller coaster, ride-on/push train, bike, clothes - just to name a few! We all enjoyed watching Stryker crawl, very fast, from toy to toy. Fletch & Coco left early afternoon. Logan & I spent the rest of the day playing with Stryker. I know he really enjoyed his first Christmas. Can't wait to see him tear into the paper next year!

riding my roller coaster

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Mom, Dad, Stryker, grandmomma, big daddy, Aunt Loren, Uncle Cody

"Chuck" - the dump truck

grandmomma gave Stryker this chair & button-up shirt that matches daddy's

Paw-Paw gave him these boots, but Stryker just wanted to eat them!

Cousin Isabella holding me

Paw-Paw playing "ride that mule"

Fletch is teaching me to box

Coco & Stryker in the beautiful sunshine

"I smell something yummy!"

Logan wearing his Wallace State sweatshirt - compliments of Coco

Fletch loves this little guy

farm tractor w/ animals - compliments of Uncle Steve & Aunt Barbara Pauly

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! We had an enjoyable day filled with lots of family time. Coco hosted lunch at her house. Coco, Fletch, Logan, & I all exchanged gifts. Stryker's gifts were saved for tomorrow. The food was delicious! Lunch was followed by time at Grandmomma's house. Dinner was eaten & then presents exchanged. Stryker received a few gifts but the idea was to see him open presents on Christmas Day. The toys that he did receive were unwrapped. He loved the toys! We can't wait to experience Christmas fun tomorrow!

Good night everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Another tooth

Is that another white speck I see in your little mouth? It is! Stryker's cut his 8th tooth today. It's amazing how tough this guy is to not show any signs of cutting teeth. This tooth is on the bottom, left of the front two teeth. Such pretty white teeth at this age. You can tell he loves having something to chomp, crush, & chew food. He'll put a bite of food in his mouth, immediately push it to the front of his mouth, start using his new teeth, & smile as it makes a crunching sound. How precious.

New job + stomach virus = unwanted Christmas present

Goodbye Trinity, Hello UAB. Tuesday (12-21-10) was my first day as a physical therapist at UAB Medical West (Bessemer, AL). This was a new start in my career. I will be treating patients in both the acute care & outpatient settings. A wonderful opportunity to maintain my skills in various avenues of physical therapy as well as learning managerial roles. As a general rule, I will be in outpatient Monday-Wednesday & acute care Thursday-Friday. Unfortunately, I started feeling under the weather before arriving that morning. Stomach cramps, weakness, shakes, & hot flashes filled my day. I crashed in the bed immediately after work. Logan woke me an hour later to find my symptoms worse. "Please don't let me have the flu" is all I could think of. Not only had I started a new job but Christmas was just a few days away. Logan & Stryker rushed me to an urgent care which informed us that I had a stomach virus. The doctor instructed me to drink as much fluids as possible because my heart rate was high. He told us to monitor my heart rate throughout the night. If it did not decrease overnight, then an ER visit would be necessary for IV fluids. No work for me the rest of the week. What horrible timing! Thankfully, I have a very understanding boss & co-workers. They were worried about me & just wanted me to get better. The stomach virus lasted Tuesday-Thursday. Thank you Lord for letting me feel better for Stryker's first Christmas.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Nacolah Falls

Something must have caught Stryker's attention

Hey, for Santa!

oh no, here comes the unexpected crying

a real reindeer

loved the lights

such a sweet family

my boys keeping me warm

family photo

Growing up, one family tradition was looking at Christmas lights. To carry on that tradition with Stryker, we decided on Nacolah Falls (Gadsden, Alabama). Logan had a baseball camp this afternoon so Coco & Fletch met at our house to begin the journey. We met Logan, grandmomma, Brian, & Christian in Springville. Logan hopped in the car with us headed down the interstate to pick up the rest of our group - Uncle Cody & Aunt Loren. Now, we can finally get to the exciting part, the Christmas lights. Clear night sky & cold weather allowing jackets, scarfs, gloves, & boots to be worn - what perfect Christmas weather! Not to mention hot chocolate & hot apple cider. To start the night off, we all rode the train. Logan, Stryker, & I behind the train conductor. The best seat! The rest of the family sat in the rows behind us. The train took us through the whole park allowing every light display to be seen. The cold air took Stryker's breath on occasion. He loved the lights. Did I mention there were Christmas lights galore! After the train ride, we hiked to see Santa Claus. We knew Stryker would love it since he had already visited Santa at Bass Pro Shop, but this time the rest of the family could see him. Mr. & Mrs. Claus was sitting inside a warm cabin. Logan, Stryker, & I got a picture with Santa this time. As Stryker was being picked up, he looked at Santa & started crying. Not sure what caused that. Wish I knew what our little guy was thinking at that moment. We all hiked back to the car headed to eat dinner. Top of the River here we come to fill our tummies. The food was delicious & the company was great! Such a great family experience. This will definitely be an annual Christmas tradition.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

10 months old!

loves baseball

such a happy boy

little monkey

outside fun

cool dude

I unfortunatley had to work as Stryker turned 10 months old. But, my hubby was gracious enough to bring Stryker for our Christmas lunch at work. Thank you Logan. Stryker loved the attention & thought everyone was having a party for him! What a ham! He loved eating some of the food, especially some of the dessert. Well, little man, you're 2 months away from your first birthday. Oh how time flies. Here are some new things you're doing now:

1. loves playing chase & rough-housing with daddy

2. very ticklish (especially on the back of your thighs, back of your neck, & feet)

3. waves & says "bye bye"

4. lets go with one hand to in order to lower himself to the ground or to reach for a toy/person

5. reach for you when wants to be picked up

6. cruises around tables/surfaces

7. stands independently for about 10 seconds

8. cries when his diaper/clothes are changed

9. cries when taken out of the bathtub

10. likes to feed himself (he'll even pull food out of his mouth if you put it in so he can do it himself)

11. bangs on his tray to let us know he wants more

12. will shake his toy when you say "shake"

13. will clap when you say "clap"

14. will grab onto the steering wheel correctly & change gears (pretend to) on occasion

15. loves to be upside down
16. outside is his favorite place (soothes him during any fussy time)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Interior Decorating

Today was filled with 2 important appointments for us. Stryker had another EI session at 12pm. This session was for a regular visit from our PT as well as an evaluation with an OT. Kristi, the PT, had continued praises on Stryker's progression with physical development. She cancelled the rest of his appointments for December & planned on seeing him in the future only for check-up visits. This was wonderful news! Way to go Stryker! The OT examined Stryker's thumbs which continue to remain adducted the majority of the time. Andrew, the OT, informed us that there may be several reasons explaining Stryker's thumbs: problem with his thumb joints (orthopedic problem possibly caused in the womb), muscle tightness, or just a habit. He planned on seeing Stryker regularly but wanted to get his MRI results before the next visit. Andrew gave us some interventions to use during daily activities, but also told us that this is something that would be difficult to work with until Stryker was old enough to understand when we reminded him to pull his thumbs out. Hopefully, the MRI will give us some answers.

Following these visits, Logan & I received an early Christmas present from my mom. Her interior decorator came to our home to give us a plan for the future. He is absolutely amazing & works extremely fast! Richard Tubb actually came to our home to decorate & give us ideas. He has decorated 4 homes that we've lived in throughout the years. My mom had already given us a living room suite (bonded leather: couch & 2 chairs with 1 ottoman) so he would be able to arrange them. He busted through our door, along with his assistant, gave me a hug & told us to go upstairs & play with Stryker. Richard & his assistant ran through the house looking at all our furniture/paintings/accessories. He called us down after about 30 min to see the re-arranged living room & dining room. Never would have arranged the furniture that way but it looked amazing!!! As Richard took us through the front porch, living room, & dining room, his assistant quickly took notes & drew pictures of each room on the plans Richard has for these areas. Because these areas are seen first as you come through the front door, we will only work on these plans until finished. Richard will come back after these areas are finished to make plans on the rest of the house. Now, only if we had enough money to do all of this right away!! Can't wait to begin working on these areas! Thank you for working your magic Richard Tubb!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

here comes Santa Claus

now, this is a real toy!

handsome dudes


he's comfy

Santa's coming to town...well, at least to the Bass Pro Shop! Logan & I took Stryker to see Santa for the first time. We were predicting how Stryker would react. Both of us thought he would pull Santa's beard. The line was moving relatively fast but not fast enough for little one. We let him play in a shopping cart. After about 15 min, he became restless. I kept our place in line while Logan & Stryker headed to explore the Christmas tree, remote control cars, & all the boats/4 wheelers. Logan switched places with me & I took Stryker to see the fake snow & train set. It was now our turn in line! It made me feel like a kid again! I ran around to get the perfect place to take a picture. Logan was cued for the Santa-handoff. As soon as Stryker was placed in Santa's lap, he stared at Santa with a look of uncertainty. Stryker looked at the camera for a picture then looked back at Santa. As Logan approached to pick him up, Stryker leaned back relaxing in Santa's arms. It was precious! We'll see how next year goes...