Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Oregon Baby Shower

This weekend I was lucky enough to make it back to Oregon...for a total of 36 hours.  I am hoarding vacation days and decided to fly out late Friday night and return early Sunday afternoon.  

My creative sister Katie and sis-in-law Emily were thoughtful enough to throw me the CUTEST shower - I'll let some pictures do all the talkin:

A children's book theme?? C'mon...how adorable.  Every little detail was perfect.  It was so fun to be home with dear, dear friends and my sweet family.  
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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Spring Cleaning Came Early

With a move only a few months away, we decided we had better start going through our things before our little bebe joins us.  I'll admit, I actually LOVE going through my old things.  I like being able to relive the memories, but also feel the satisfaction after throwing/giving it away.

Yesterday, we decided to go through our "travel room", or the room we have dedicated to all of our artwork from around the world, a world map, and books upon books upon books.  Piled high among these books were old spirals, schools notes, textbooks, etc. and random items in between.

Something I found to be hilarious - 

Ryan was first.  He started thumbing through all of his notes from MCAT prep, his hardest science classes from his undergrad, and you could almost see him relive the pain of all the hours of preparation and study.  I looked at him sympathetically, and encouraged him to think honestly about whether or not he would ever use them again.  Slowly and regrettably, he started to place all his notes in the trash - I was so proud.

Then it was my turn.

I found the stack of business law papers I had written, along with the creative pieces I had especially loved.  My mind went rushing back to Utah State, and the sleepless nights that went into these difficult papers.  It went back to my roommates at the time, and fun moments from that time of life.  I remembered how satisfied I felt turning them in, and receiving good grades.  I held them up to my chest and said, "oh honey I can't get rid of these??"  Then, with a little less sympathy and more of a "if I had to, you had to" attitude, Ryan gave me the look...and I even more slowly, started throwing each paper away.

Isn't it funny how things we haven't looked at in years, all of the sudden become so important to you?  I think it is the rush of memories.  It throws you back to another time of life that could have been easier, or harder, or just different.  Getting rid of things is going to be a challenge, and will take a LOT of encouragement, but I think the process of reliving memories we may have forgotten will make it all worth it :)

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

San Antonio Here We Come!

I never, in a million years, would have guessed Texas would be our next destination.

I was born in Richardson, Texas and moved to Oregon when I was only about six months old.  The only things I knew about Texas came from stories from my three older sisters, who spent a good portion of their childhood there.  This is what stuck with me throughout the years:

 - Texas has spiders - BIG ones
-  Texas is hot
-  Texas is flat
-  Texas is not as green as Oregon
-  Texas has fire ants that hurt like heck

Obviously I just sifted through all the good and bad, and hung on to the bad as I grew up.  I remember being so thankful my family decided to move to Oregon, and how I would never end up in that hot, flat and bug infested place.

Oh how life works!

Ryan applied to medical school and got into a great school in San Antonio, and we are so so grateful.  What was surprising though were people's responses when they learned we would be moving there.  I was expecting similar Texas facts like those listed above, and was shocked when we started hearing...

-  I have heard nothing but good things about SA
-  Oh we used to live there, I loved it!
-  So much to do there!
-  A very green area of Texas!
-  Friendly, warm people
-  Not too many spiders and bugs :)

Immediately my mindset changed.  I obviously knew nothing about this new area, and decided to wipe the slate clean and go forward as excited as possible - which we are!  We can't believe this adventure officially begins in July, and already 2014 is making out to be quite the year for us.  Brand new baby?  New state?  Let's do it!

Friday, January 3, 2014


Ryan and I have been keeping something very close to our hearts.  

At first we wanted to tell our parents and siblings only - it was too sensitive to share.  Then we were overwhelmed with support and love, and knew by sharing with our closest friends we would feel that support in Utah.

Then recently, as I was catching up on my favorite blogs, I ran across a young family with a similar story, and my eyes welled up with tears.  It was encouraging to know we weren't alone, that others were having similar worries and heartache and it was a comfort to me.  

Which is why I have decided to write it down - to maybe bring comfort to someone else.


Back in July of 2012, on a typical Saturday after a quick stop at the farmers market, Ryan was picking some vegetables from the garden and I was preparing an early lunch.  I had been feeling a bit unusual and decided to investigate - surprise!  We were pregnant, shocked and pregnant.  The pregnancy was typical, with early-set nausea and many sleepless nights, but around week 9 I felt miraculously better.  I remember thinking "hey this pregnancy thing won't be too bad after all!".  It was about two weeks later, on the first day of fall semester classes, that I went in for a routine ultrasound, and was told the terrible news.  Alone and scared, shoulders drooped letting out the most polite sobs I could muster, the sweet doctor held me until I was able to pull myself together and go home.

{Fast forward to a year later}

We found out we were expecting again - and could not be more thrilled.  The first 12 weeks were extremely nerve racking, and our entire family gave a silent (or quite loud) cheer when I made it past the first trimester.  The first sigh of relief.

Thanksgiving was around the corner, and we wanted to know the gender before going home to surprise our families.  We scheduled an early ultrasound, and went in the Friday before we were to go home.  For months I had been feeling strongly it would be a boy, and Ryan was a waffler but placed his bet on a girl.

We were extremely excited, and as the ultrasound tech went through the different structures in the body, we were overjoyed when she said things were “looking good”.  Heart, brain, spine…then came gender.  A sweet baby boy was to join our family and we couldn’t have been more thrilled.  A few times I asked her if she tells the couple if she sees things that may be concerning, but she avoided my question.  Then after several more minutes of re-measuring and re-surveying parts of the body, we asked if we could stay for a few more minutes just to make sure it was a boy – I didn’t want to be blindsided later on.  So she said she would check for any other patients to see if there was time, and left the room.  Those few minutes she was out of the room, Ryan and I beamed, shook our heads and couldn’t believe what was happening.  A sweet baby boy. 

Minutes later, the tech walked back in, with our doctor at her side.  I thought, “oh a routine ‘congratulations’ from the doctor- how nice”, but my heart sank when he said he had debated telling us some heavy news before the holidays, and wanted to walk over certain parts of the baby’s body.  Over the next few minutes, the doctor explained our baby had a developmental issue, with a large amount of his intestines and possibly other organs that were outside of the body.  He also said to prepare for many scenarios, one being the baby not making it, the baby being born with severe disabilities, or a surgery at birth and a potential normal life.  Those few minutes of absolute bliss were swallowed up with the heart breaking news that was just delivered.

We were told from now on we would see a specialist, that our baby would be delivered by a specialist, and to expect a surgery soon after delivery.  They scheduled a few appointments, and we were out the door.

Hearts heavy and feeling numb and confused, we went home and sobbed – feeling as though our shoulders were just too inexperienced and unprepared for such news.  Would I even be able to carry my little boy full-term?  Would he make it?  What other complications would accompany his life?  Will I be able to hold him or feed him?  A flooding of questions and eventually despair overcame us, but our dear family and bishop carried us through the weekend with their incredible strength and love.  We named our baby Caleb and tried to be strong.

A week later, on December 6th, we were asked to see a perinatologist to go over the entire body once more, and to talk more about the implications of what was happening.  He immediately told us that Cal had an omphalocele, and in many cases it involves other complications due to a chromosomal issue.  After two hours of our doctor counting fingers and toes, chambers of the heart, every single detail of the body that could be detected at 20 weeks, he told us some very encouraging news.  Everything looked normal, but the intestines that were outside the body.  He was growing at a normal rate, and from what he could see with his limited technology, the heart (one of the most frequent abnormalities associated with an omphalocele) looked fine.  He immediately scheduled an echocardiogram with a pediatric cardiologist for January, scheduled an appointment with our pediatric surgeon, and a genetic counselor. 

We felt like we had been involved in a miracle.  Our baby, as far as we could tell, did not have any other major complications and would only require surgery at birth. 

We met with our genetic counselor and said we did not want to do any chromosomal testing until birth.  We then met with our surgeon who said surgery/recovery could take anywhere from 2-8 weeks, with no other complications at birth.     

Although for the first few hours after the gender ultrasound we felt completely at a loss, mostly wondering why we have not been able to have a “normal” pregnancy, or a happy ultrasound.  We were reluctant to leave our appointment with the parinatologist full of optimism, but felt strongly that things will be fine – no matter how they turn out.

Now it is all about little Cal.  We are overjoyed every time I can feel him move, and are anxiously awaiting our next two appointments in January.  We are ready to handle whatever surgery and recovery may mean and look forward to the day when we are told “he is ready to go home.”