Thursday, November 30, 2006

She's Home!!!!!!

I have been wanting to post for the past few days but am finding it really hard to find the time. I want to include all the details which has inhibited me from posting because I just know I don't have the time to write it all out now. So I decided that I would post the details as I can - by the time you get them all you'll probably be sick of me talking about it. But for today - I will post Piper's first week in pictures (if Blogger will cooperate).


Birth- She came out covered in vernix. None of my kids had ever really had any (Sharon commented that perhaps she wasn't really due for another week or so, but at 8 pounds I'm glad I didn't have to wait the extra week). It really looked like someone had spread cream cheese a quarter inch thick all over her body. But when it was all cleaned off, she had the softest skin I had ever felt. My Dad remarked that it felt like you were touching whipped cream. The sad thing was once she was put under the phototherapy, her skin really dried out and started peeling. :( I also thought she was SO little when she presented. I said - Wow she is so tiny. The nurses all looked at me funny and said - "She really isn't that small", "she's bigger than a chicken, what do you want?" I thought for sure she was 6.5 pounds, but no she was 8 pounds even. That is only 2 ounces smaller than Ainsley was but Ainsley seemed so much chubbier.

Oh and because Dad wasn't there, I got to cut the cord.

All cleaned up.

Mom enjoying Baby!

She was born at 1:55 am on Thursday, by Friday at 8:30 am (She was roughly 36 hours old) they took her away because of her terribly high bilirubin level and put her in photo therapy in the nursery (more detail to come on this - I've learned a ton about reticulocytes, bilirubin, RH factor, blood group incompatiblity, antibodies, cooms tests etc..) She spent 4 and half days in the isolette under triple light therapy - only leaving to eat. It broke my heart to see her completely unswaddled with her eyes covered. Sometimes she would be quite alert when she would finish feeding only to have her little eyes covered and all to go dark. Sometimes she would fight it and sometimes she would just give in. My heart kept saying saying - "this isn't how it should be, she should be wrapped and cuddled and in her mommy's arms." The glasses made her poor little eyes so puffy.

Friday morning, at one day old the doctor told me her bilirubin level was at 11.3 which was high for a 3 day old. They put her under the lights and took her levels again in the afternoon and it was up to 13. By the end of the day it was up to 15 and the doctor was really worried that it would be going up so high even under the lights. They told me they wanted to put in an IV (in her head of all places) and start her on formula. Ultraviolet light breaks down the bilirubin and the other way to rid the body is to have a bowel movement. They wanted to her to start having regular bowel movements right away and of course after only 48 hours my milk was not in. So they started her on formula which we "finger fed" her with a "hazelbaker". They said finger feeding doesn't cause nipple confusion as a bottle would. So they let me finger feed her, then I would nurse and finger feed her after to make sure she was satisfied. Once my milk was fully in I nursed every 3 hours.

Here's Piper with her very puffy yellow eyes finger feeding. Also note the IV in her head.

After 6 days in the hospital (7 for me) we finally got to come home. We got home late afternoon on Tuesday, Nov 29th.

This is how Piper felt about coming home!!!

But even at home we weren't out of the woods yet. She came home on a biliblanket which is a 5 inch by 20 inch band which they can lay on or can wrap around their belly exposing them to ultraviolet light. She had to be on this at all times while at home which meant she had to stay near an outlet all day and all night. Brielle called her a little "glow worm".

We got some good news today. Her levels were her lowest yet. The Dr. said we could take her off all the lights and get a bilirubin check done tomorrow to see if her levels stay stable with no lights. The poor baby though - she has about 18 holes in her heels and I am not exagerating. There may be more than that. I am sure glad she doesn't have to walk on them. I had no idea that out of each of these holes they fill a baby test tube of blood. I thought it was like a diabetes prick and they test a drop of blood. But no they milk that heel until they fill their little tube and the poor baby sobs. The mother almost sobs too. I am glad I have only had to witness it twice so far (I guess tomorrow will be 3 times).

She sure has some big fans at our house!

Now we just can't wait to have that priceless picture of our sweet Piper in her Daddy's arms!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

She's Here, But She's Not!

Here's a quick update for those who haven't heard. I had my sister-in-law post this on her blog for family to read because I haven't had access to a computer since the birth so I just copied her post on my blog for now. I am home for a few minutes between feedings and once I am home for good I hope to get some photos up and explain everything in detail. Thanks B, for posting this for me.

A new baby!
Lady wanted me to update everyone, as she hasn't had a chance to get online for a few days. Lady went to the hospital on Wednesday morning to start the induction process... and at 1:55am on Thanksgiving day, Piper Lea came into the world. She weighed in at 8 pounds even, 21 inches long. Lady says the nurses in the nursery keep exclaiming over how long she is laying there in the isolette (sp?).Despite a less than effective epidural, Lady came through with flying colors. Piper is dealing with some blood incompatibility issues, and so has to remain at the hospital for phototherapy until bilirubin levels come down some more. She has both Rh incompatibility (even with the Rhogam shots) and blood grouping incompatibility (i.e. A vs O). Lady gets to stay overnight at the hospital (free of charge) to continue nursing baby Piper, until the bilirubin levels drop below 11 (I think...feel free to correct me Lady!)Congratulations and lots of love to Lady and Man! We'll look forward to some pictures, once everyone is home safe and sound!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Make A Guess

We are down to about 24 hours before we go to the hospital to have this baby. While at my mom's house on Sunday we took a poll to get everyone's guesses as to what time the baby would be born and what the weight would be. If any of you would like to register your guesses - please do so under the comment section. To be fair - I'll give you my history and additional insight. My 3 baby's have ranged between being born 4 days early at 8 lbs 2 ozs to being born 2 weeks late at 9 lbs 1 oz. My doctor has told me more than once that "clinically, this doesn't feel like a big baby." I hope she is right cuz I really want this baby to my "small" one and for Daniel's sake as well. Knowing my history, I am very interested in seeing if she's right. The other info you might need to know is that I report to the hospital between 7:30 and 8 o'clock am. The guesses from Sunday ranged from having the baby at 11:47am to 7pm and from weighing 7 pounds to 9 pounds 3 ozs. It's fun for me to see all your opinions so - Take a guess!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Hello from Iraq

My wonderful partner Lady made a suggestion that is certifiably true. "Why don't you write a blog and update everyone with what you are doing and how everything is going? There are a lot of people who are really interested in you." So, here goes. I have been pretty busy recently in the operating room with cases that range from repair of injuries to ears, noses and eyes to localized infections of the throat and tonsils. Most recently I have seen three perforated eyes. These unfortunate individuals have to be transferred to another hospital to see an opthamologist because I do not have the expertise in Globe (eye) injuries. On the other hand, if there is a problem with orbit (eye socket) or the soft tissues of the face, that is my expertise. I recently had a patient from which I had to remove a large piece of shrapnel from underneath his eyeball. He recovered very well with out incident. Some of this may be graphic for some of you, but I think it's important for you to know and understand the nature of the things that I am doing and to realize that people get hurt, suffer and sometimes pass away in war. I am very proud to have been trained in the medical arts and to have knowledge and hopefully wisdom for the benefit of my fellowman. I am also proud to be able to represent my country, family and practice here in Iraq. I have been very fortunate during my short stay here in that I have been blessed with growth on many fronts (physically, emotionally, and spiritually). My love and appreciation for my beautiful and supportive wife has deepened greatly. She is unbelievably tough and inspirational. Lady, I adore you, and want you to know that I think of you and pray for your well being constantly. I also need to thank all of you for your prayers for protection. I can honestly say that I feel the protective powers of our Lord surrounding me and keeping me safe. I am filled with grattitude for the great fortune that I have experienced because of the wonderful people who are in my life. My family, partners, friends and associates have all been so good to me and have shaped and directed my life for good in ways that I could never have done on my own. As I close this short update, please continue to pray for the safety of those sevring our great country and please pray for the people of Iraq that they can assume responsability for their country and want it to become a safe place again. Please lend a helping hand to anyone in need wherever you find yourself. YOU can be a great influence for good with very small efforts to help others. I love and appreciate all of you! See you soon!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Let Us Eat Cake

Tonight we went to my parents to celebrate my older brother's birthday. We had a great dinner and enjoyed visiting and eating a Carvel icecream cake. My sister arrived from Idaho and the cousins had lots of fun playing games and running and screaming. With 3 three year olds, an 8 month old, a 5 month old and a 7 year old that loves to chase the 3 year olds, it got very loud and chaotic at times. Here are some highlights of the night:

Brian's Family -

Lot of helpers blowing out the candles!
Why is it that the most exciting part of the cake is getting to lick the ends of the candles. Our kids fought over who got a candle to lick - don't they know they are getting a whole piece?

Stacy with baby Slater, Ainsley with blue lips from her icing!

My sister Brielle and her 8 month old came home with me so I will now have someone staying at the house overnight with me. The 3 year old girls spent the night with Mamaw to their sheer delight. My boys can't seem to get anything done with their 8 month old cousin Aspen around. They want to sit next to her, read to her, play with her, make her laugh, get one more hug before bed from her... I wonder if they will be this engaged with their new sister. I feel a sense of relief that Brielle is here in case labor comes on during the night. Although there aren't many nights left because we have made an appointment for induction on Wednesday morning. ( I really wanted MY doctor to deliver me, more that I wanted the kids to be in school when the baby came). So unless the baby decides she wants out earlier, we'll have her on Wednesday, November 22nd which is my maternal grandmother's birthday. So that is kinda special! Two days early sounds good to me too because I'm feeling kind of FULL!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Assembly, Part II

Now this is the assembly I like to do:

I finally finished this baby's quilt. I think in the past few days I have finished getting things out, washed, and put together enough that I won't be so stressed if she decides to come tomorrow. (Although there is now a kink in my perfect plan for her to be born the Monday after Thanksgiving - my doctor will be off the week after Thanksgiving. She has a new partner that would deliver me if I went then but I have only seen her twice and I would really like to have the doctor I have been seeing from the beginning. My doctor told me I've progressed further than I was last week and would be induceable if I would like to come in next week. She is on call all next week - the week of Thanksgiving. So we may be pushing our Thanksgiving to Saturday and having this baby mid-week).

This quilt is just a typical ragquilt - I used 7 inch squares in a random pattern. It's flannel on both sides but this is the first one I did with batting. I had leftover batting from Wood and Woodine's quilt so I decided to make this one a little thicker - since this is a winter baby. It's a lot more time consuming to add batting. I didn't buy enough fabric for the back. I bought the back fabric first and wasn't sure how big or what pattern I wanted the quilt. I slowly collected the fabrics for the front from different places and then came up with the size and pattern but now I didn't have enough of the back - I wanted a checkerboard on the back with the hot pink/aqua (alternating). I didn't feel like running out for more back fabric because I had gotten the fabric at different places and I really needed to start the quilt. So I came up with what I thought would be the best with what I had. I don't like it at all. But I LOVE the front. We'll just always have it front side up.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I am not one to assemble things in my house. I don't have the perceptual visual gift. I often need Daniel to help me readjust the carseat straps, to help me fold my fabric a certain way or follow directions in putting toys together. I just can't see it. Well being 8 3/4 months pregnant (yes it's 9 days away) and just barely getting things out for this baby, and not having a man in the house, I decided I needed to take the plunge. Although in my mind the baby won't be coming until the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend, because that's what would be easiest for me (the kids have off 5 1/2 days of school and I prefer they are back in their routine before the baby comes). I decided I should probably start getting thing ready now.

So I took this:

And made this:


Can you tell I'm a little proud? Sure I had to unscrew a few things cuz I put them on the wrong side or upside down - the whole finished edge vs non-finshed edge really threw me off in places. But on the whole - I was able to follow the instructions, screw and nail pretty straight, and got it together in a timely fashion. The best part is that it actually works! See:

Monday, November 13, 2006


MacGregor lost something!
Can you tell what it is?
MacGregor came home Saturday morning from a overnight campout very excited that he had a tooth that was especially wiggly (his first one). I told him it would be out very soon and to keep wiggling it. I told him to push it and pull it until he heard little cracking sounds. Well he was so excited, within minutes he appeared with an apple. He just KNEW that when he bit into this apple that his tooth would magically fall out. Well that's not quite how it happened. Instead, he bit into the apple and it hurt terribly. He then proceeded to cry for the next few hours. It was throbbing, he couldn't chew, he couldn't wiggle it anymore. He was devestated. It was so sad!! I gave him some tylenol and told him he should leave it alone for the rest of the day.
Sunday he got up feeling better. We got to church and during the beginning of Sacrament Meeting he asked if I could pull out his tooth - yes there at church. He told me we could go to the bathroom to do it. I said I really didn't want to take the chance he would get blood on his white shirt. I told him to keep wiggling it with his tongue and we would take it out (if he wanted) when we got home. When we got home he changed his clothes and we went in the bathroom. I had a glass of cold water, a couple of paper towels and a piece of ice laid out. I asked him if I could take a quick feel to see the best position of pulling it out (inside I was thinking - "Oh how I wish Daniel was here - the teeth pulling thing is HIS thing not mine") MacGregor was so brave and so calm - not anything like the experiences we had with this older brother. I felt around til I thought I had the best grip and with no warning whatsoever I pulled straight up and out it came. Easy as Pie! Gregor let out a little "OH" and then looked in the mirror with sheer delight! All in all it was great experience.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Already Thinking

So since I have such an aversion to Halloween and coming up with costumes, I am thinking already.

I enlisted some help from my ward and we went through about 8 rubbermaid tubs of kids clothes. Our movers had mixed up all the clothes when they transferred them out of the bins. I don't know why they couldn't transport the bins the way they were. My ward helpers helped me separate the clothes by size and gender. Then I was able to repack all the boys clothes in bags labeled by size that I can give away easily to someone needing that size. The girls clothes were repacked in bins and the gross stained stuff was thrown away! Yeah! Now I can actually have this baby because I've found something for her to wear.

All of that was a side note explaining how we found an old dance recital costume of MacGregors when he danced the "monster mash". We have a 3 year old that thought it was a great find and her mother thinks it will work very well for next year's Halloween costume (as long as she doesn't have an enormous growth spurt, but we don't expect her too).

And in the rare case that she does grow out of the monster costume - I already have a back up.

A Buckethead Dog Walker!


Someone got a haircut.

Can you guess who it is?

Did you get it right? Ainsley's hair had really grown out - the longest it had ever been. It was super cute in a ponytail but that was the only way she could really wear it without it looking really stringy. She wasn't blessed with parents with nice hair. She got parents with the thinnest hair possible. So we got it bobbed and it looks and acts much thicker.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wonderful Weekend

As I said in a previous post, the weekend of October 27-30th was a wonderful one for me. My brother, Brigham, was staying with us and Wood and Woodine came to visit. They really took a load off me. I planned a menu and shopped for groceries the day before but then the majority of the cooking was done by others, the majority of clean up too, which was my favorite. I'm not a fan of dishes. I am also not a queen of baking. My idea of dessert is a scoop of ice cream, you can put it on bananas and add some chocolate syrup if you really want to. But one night Brigham made chocolate chip cookies. And another night Wood made Aunt Edy's Oatmeal Coconut cookies. He also undertook this venture with a 3 year old assistant. (he has way more patience than I do). They were delicious cookies and were eaten very quickly. I also had the chance to expose the aunt and uncles to some delicious "butters". Friday, before Wood and Woodine arrived, the kids had off school so we ventured out to "Amish Country" with Brigham, my sister Brinn and her husband Kent and visited "Kitchen Kettle Village". There they have a store which makes it's own jellies, jams, butters, preserves, relishes, and salsa. They have tons of choices (stuff you never thought would be jellied) and you can sample all of them on little oyster crackers. My favorite were the preserves and butters (which is like apple butter not dairy butter). I ended up buying "Peanutbutter schmier" (it's a really sweet sort of carmely peanut butter, "Pumpkin butter", and "Peach butter" (my personal favorite). Friday night we ate potato broccoli cheese soup and rolls and all were able to try the different butters. On Suday I was able to expose Wood and Woodine to a traditional PA Dutch meal of pork roast and saurkraut. It's actually the traditional meal eaten on New Year's Day. I was nervous they wouldn't like the saurkraut but everyone loved it.

The kids had a wonderful time as well. They boys really enjoyed playing long "grown-up" games like Risk and Settlers that I don't agree to play very often (like 2x per year, maybe). It also helped keep them busy while I worked on the "wedding quilt". We watched a movie, Disney's Haunted Mansion, which Ainsley is still talking about. She couldn't really figure why this woman's head (a gypsy) was in a crystal ball and why they carried her around. Ainsley was read to, played games like Chutes and Ladders and My Little Pony Memory and the boys got to play Uncle Brigham's playstation. It was a weekend where everyone stayed very much entertained. We also got to talk to Daniel on speakerphone which made his day as well. He wished he could have been here with everyone but I think he was happy to hear everyone's voices and feel like he was part of our weekend too.

I know Woodine posted a picture of this already but for those from my circle - I have to post them again. Ainsley is a hoot and you never know what she is going to come up with. While we were cleaning up the kitchen one night, she opened up the cabinet under the sink, grabbed a pair of yellow dish gloves, sat in the middle of the floor and proceeded to put them on like a pair of socks. What she ended up with was "chicken feet".
On Saturday while Ainsley was at a Halloween party in a little town called Ephrata, we went to the "Ten Thousand Villages" store. This is a company that works with villages in developing nations helping to market their products with a "fair market value". They also help set up schools and health clinics in these villages. Their store sells all these imported products from jewelry, to instruments, to figurines, to carpets, to music, to handmade stationary, to toys etc.... We had a good time looking at all the interesting products and which countries they came from. It was also a neat time of year to visit because they have nativities from around the world displayed for sale. (Incidently Travis applied for a job with this company sometime back. We wished he was working for them now and he and Sarah lived only 15 minutes away.) While we were there I was looking at the international music seeing if there would be anything interesting to send to Daniel. I found a cd entitled "Arabic Groove". Since Daniel loves to get his "Groove ON" I thought this might be an appropriate cd. I also thought he would get a kick out of the title. It has a definite middle eastern sound with a modern pop twist. I thought it would be fun for him to listen to since he is surrounded by that culture even if he doesn't get to see or hear it from behind the base walls.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pillowcase or Sleeping Bag?

You would think that if the military called you up and sent you somewhere distant for months at a time, there would be certain items that would be issued to you or at least available for use. For example, a towel and washcloth. I thought it would run like a hotel or dormitory service. You use a towel and then put it in a laundry bin and next time you shower you pick up another clean towel. Well that's not how it works. When Daniel arrived in El Paso, TX for his training, there were showers but no towels or washcloths (and I am almost certain those items were not on any packing list we were given). Luckily his roommate had an extra that he borrowed until he was given time to shop at the PX (base store) where he purchased his own.

Now in Kuwait and Iraq - he's been given bedding (thank goodness). Ok - not exactly bedding we're used to. He was issued a sleeping bag. But no pillow. He luckily met a soldier who was just about to return home and this soldier gave Daniel his old pillow. But of course there wasn't a case, or pillowslip as Daniel refers to it. So being the resourceful person that he is - he used an old scrubtop as a pillowslip. I was feeling bad for him so the kids and I went and picked up some "November" fabric with turkeys all over it and I made him a real pillowcase. He received it this last week and was thrilled. He said it's a perfect fit! I'm not sure what Ainlsey thought it was at first because when I was done making it she asked to get inside it. I think she might have thought that it was a miniture sleeping bag.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Daniel is anxious to see the pictures of the kids dressed for Halloween. We had a successful hunt for candy - very much so for the boys. My brother, Brigham, was here for the big night which was very helpful. He helped get kids dressed and their make-up done. Then he took the boys thru some other neighborhoods. Our street is just a culdesac of about 20 houses and 6 or 8 of those weren't even home. Last year we only took the kids up the street and to a few other friends' homes. They certainly got "enough" candy but by comparison it didn't seem like much. Their pumpkins were only 1/4 full and I felt a little bad. So this year I had Brigham walk them thru some bigger neighborhoods nearby. Ainsley and I would have slowed the pace way down so the two of us just did our street. She got plenty of candy, she was certainly happy with her little stash. Well as it turned out the boys ended up walking a little over 2 miles and came home with their pumpkins overflowing! My brother decided to weigh the candy and it was 9 pounds - yes that was 9 pounds of candy! I hate my kids on candy - so Daniel is getting a lot these treats in his next few packages and we are going to send my brother home with probably half - for his services of course.



I really felt bad for the boys this year because I didn't give them a choice of what they could be. My dad asked Chase, "What do you want to be this year?" I quickly snapped, "Don't ask him that - he doesn't have a choice, unless you are going to make or buy his costume and accessories!" I just felt like I couldn't do any of that Halloween planning and purchasing this year. I am trying to get my Christmas shopping done and I can only do so much. Plus, we had white shirts and black pants and capes from last year. All I bought were some new fangs and some black hairspray. Luckily Ainsley fits into my nieces handme downs so I didn't have to do anything special for her other than makeup.

Terribly Fierce!

So Sweet!