Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Haddles is 2 months, Gavs is 4

What a crazy two months this has been.  But in spite of everything, it's been crazy good.  I mean look at this girl.


I think we may be starting to settle into a little bit of a routine (well, as much of one as you can have with 3 kids).  My pain is basically gone, and the only doctor we have seen this week was for our well child checks.  

The boys are doing a sports camp this week in the mornings.  Today after camp we went to the pool with friends, and it was like a real summer day! I was able to put Hadley in the gym childcare for an hour to swim with Gavin.  He's doing a great job trying to swim on his own.  It's not "pretty" but he's at least at the point where he wouldn't instantly sink to the bottom if he fell in.  

I feel like I have a lot that I want to share as the emotions from the big transitions we have gone through shake out.  Of course, it's already 10:00, so I must be disciplined and get to bed.  Thankfully, my mom and Hadley and I are taking a little girls trip to California to visit family this weekend so I'm hoping for a few free minutes to help type out everything that is in my head.

And for the record, even "normal" life with 3 kids pretty much kicks my booty.  All my friends with 3+ made it look way too easy.  It's also incredibly worth it.  :-)

Sorry all of these pictures are Facebook duplicates.  I have so many more I'd love to post … broken record: no time!

These 2 month pics of hadley were driving me nuts to edit because the blanket she was bouncing back way too much light.  I didn't have time to mess with them too much, so I don't love the images, but the subject makes up for it :).  And no, I didn't saturate her eyes.  In the light, that's their blue.  I doubt they will stay that steel-blue, so all the more reason to take as many photos now as I can!!

This is my favorite picture of Gavin because it combines his mischievous  defiance with his irresistible sweetness.  He's such a charmer.  

Monday, July 7, 2014

Benign but not forgotten

On the 4th of July, we met my surgeon at his office bright and early to get my penrose drain (like a wet-noodle looking straw sticking out of my neck, puuurrty!) pulled.  I was terrified because I was already in so much pain, and the thought of him pulling it out was the last thing that sounded fun.

Matt prayed for me in the car, and I took a pain pill 30 minutes before like a good nurse-patient.  We were a few minutes early to meet the surgeon, so we were in the hallway of his office when he got off the elevator.  He just yelled down the hall to us: "BENIGN.  It was all benign!"

I didn't even register what he was saying.  I had zero expectation for the result to come back before Monday and had geared up for a long weekend wait.  The doctor was just as surprised that it was already back.

To everyone who prayed for my benign results and for a quick read, thank you!!! It would be easy to dismiss this all with "wow the lab worked quickly" or "I just knew it would be benign." but I am convinced that the result is 100% credited to God's hand in all of it as response to fervent prayer.

I could go on about the weekend, but I'm afraid I'm going to lose you, and the theme of what I want to say next is just way more important than the details of our weekend.

We had Gavin's little birthday party on Sunday (thank you Mauria for pretty much doing everything).  Once we got home last night, I texted my friend Lauren to say how insanely tired I felt.  I didn't even stay awake 5 minutes longer to get her reply.

Perfect little angel Hadley has been giving us the gift of sleep this week.  She has been sleeping 8 hours at night since my surgery.  This is some odd genetic attribute that my children have blessed me with, so don't think for a second I'm some sleep guru.  It is nothing I do, they just sleep through the night really early.  Sorry to all the moms who want to kick me right now.

When I woke up at 5:30 this morning before anyone else, I sat up and for the first time in days didn't have searing pain in my neck and jaw.  I was decently rested.  I felt oddly like "myself" who is actually a relative stranger after a long pregnancy and the past 2 months.


"You are feeling better.  You have so much to do.  You haven't done anything productive for days.  Actually weeks.  Actually months.  Actually a year.  You have some serious catching up to do.  Laundry, cleaning, bills, baby announcements, photos, thank you notes, busy busy busy busy busy."

And this time … because it wasn't instantly recognizable as fear or worry (in fact, it just sounded like me), I didn't spot it at first.  Sounds about right in my brain: a constant laundry list of all the things I need to accomplish to make me valued and satisfied.  All good things.  Things to help our family survive and thrive.  Things to bless others.  RIGHT?

I grabbed my phone as I always do to check the time.  I saw the reply text that Lauren had sent the night before.  It read, "New week, fresh new chapter.  You are probably going to be drained this week. Emotional drainage is harder than any marathon, and you just went through a triathlon my friend."

CRASH.  That metaphor hit straight in my heart.

In the past 2 months I've had a baby (which is enough in itself), been hospitalized with her thinking the worst, and had surgery and a cancer scare.  Triathlon.  The race course had several unforeseen uphills too including all the work of fattening up a tiny baby, thrush (nurses don't even roll your eyes, it's a BEAST, I had never experienced it and hope to never again), the pukes (Gavin), Matt moving to a new store,  our besties moving away, and more.

The chatterbox (Satan) would just want me to see all of those things as disturbances from what really matters in life according to him (clean house, happy kids, perfect little quiet balanced life).  Since his attempt to scare me with cancer didn't work to make me question my faith, the sneaky guy would subtly want me to get back to the enslaved grind of chasing that perfect life ASAP. It's actually what he does best.


I had never recognized it to the extent as I did this morning after reading Lauren's text.  Matt and I just finished a triathlon  We need to recover.  We also will never be the same.  I refuse to be.  My perspective on life, faith, God, motherhood, etc has been forever changed.

I had asked the doctor to write down the name of my tumor on a post-it so I wouldn't forget it because I was in such shock on Friday when he told me.  I took that post-it and stuck in on the fridge.

Matt and I have been talking about how whenever we get into a fight, we need to just say: "Remember when we thought you had cancer?"  Nothing to put you in proper perspective than remembering the day you stared down that fear.

I'm hoping that the post-it note doesn't start to just blend in to the happy photos scattering our fridge.  My prayer is that it hits me in the gut every single time I see it.

"Benign mixed tumor.  Pleomorphic adenoma."

Aka: You get your life back.

Sort of.

I actually don't wan't that old life back.  I don't want to be more concerned with the status of my laundry room than with how long I get to be here to watch my kids grow up.

God has been speaking to me all day long about this topic, and I could share forever, but I will save it for another day.  His very quiet whisper is still much harder to hear than the constant chatter that is so familiar reminding me of all of the things I should be doing.

Right now, the physical pain as well as my super cute neck bling are a constant reminder of where my priorities should lie.  I HATE "selflies" (epitome of "look at me, look at me, I'm so awesome") but here is a rare one from me.  Bandage selfie.   It's the new rage.

Once this eventually stops throbbing (much better today but still not fun) and the incision fades, I will be tempted to brush off this experience.  I am truly hoping that post-it keeps me grounded.

Benign but not forgotten.

This may sound completely crazy, but I have been thinking about it a lot, and I think I am actually just really grateful for this whole thing.  I would not have wanted to live one more day trapped in the bondage of the daily life habitual chatter-imposed pressures I was imprisoning myself in.

I plan to turn to the story of Mary and Martha in the bible this week and read it with new eyes.  I've always been really annoyed by that story.  I think I may finally be able to read it with some better understanding.

I used to think that I lived life not dependent on circumstance to make me content, but I actually had no idea what that really meant.

We sang this worship song at church on Sunday, and it was so amazing that I have to share the words.  It's not nearly as soul-piercing without the music (the language of the soul), but the lyrics still really speak so much.

"When the sea is calm and all is right. When I feel Your favor flood my life.  

Even in the good, I'll follow You. Even in the good, I'll follow You

When the boat is tossed upon the waves. When I wonder if You'll keep me safe

I believe everything that You say You are

I believe that I have seen Your unchanging heart

In the good things and in the hardest part

I believe and I will follow You. 
I believe and I will follow You

When I see the wicked prospering. When I feel I have no voice to sing

Even in the want, I'll follow You. Even in the want, I'll follow You

When I find myself so far from home. And You lead me somewhere, that I don't wanna go

Even in my death, I'll follow You. Even in my death, I'll follow You

When I come to end this race I've run. And I receive the prize that Christ has won

I will be with You in Paradise. I will be with You in Paradise!" 

I hope that you can take even one ounce of perspective from what I've been learning and be blessed by it.  One last repetitive thank you to everyone who is making life do-able right now while I am still healing and recovering.  We love you and could not do life without you.

Here are some quick phone kid pics as your reward for actually reading to the bottom of this.  I'm not blessed with the gift of succinct-ness.

Blessings on your week.  ~ Jessica

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Hello incredible friends.  I wanted to do an update about my surgery.

Here was Hadley entertaining me the night before.  She was up way later than normal, but she was keeping me so distracted with funny faces that I loved it.


The surgery went very well.  I think the procedure was about an hour and a half.  I dreamed I was taking a nap holding little Hadley in my arms.  It was so peaceful.  I wouldn't have had it any other way.

She brought me a lot of peace in the pre-op short stay area.  As I walked in the little bay and put my gown on I was feeling extremely nervous.  But as soon as I was able to hold her, my nerves instantly calmed.  They really should let anyone gearing up for a scary event hold a little baby before hand.  They just ooze peace.  My mom, Matt, and my sister in law Hannah with my niece Quinn just all gathered in my tiny little room waiting with me.  We just chatted and had a nice time, so I was well distracted.  I still got waves of nervousness (plus I hadn't eaten/drank in 12 hours and with breastfeeding that makes you really shaky).  Soon enough, they came to get me.

Here we are in pre-op.  She charmed all the staff, of course.

Surgery was scheduled for 11, but I didn't go in until noon.  I remember all the bright white lights in  the room and just wishing they would hurry and put me to sleep.  Only after a few minutes, they did just that.

In recovery, my pain was so strong that I couldn't swallow which made me feel like I couldn't breathe.  Plus, I remember just really wanting to see the doctor to find out if he thought it looked benign or malignant (he had said he would most likely be able to tell).  The nurse cranked up my oxygen and gave me 2 doses of fentanyl, and I was able to go back to short stay within an hour.

The doctor met with my family in the waiting room and said he just wasn't certain either way if the tumor was benign or malignant.  The tumor was bigger than they had surmised from the CT scan, and it went up in to my jaw line.  He said if it had been turned the other direction, I would have felt it much earlier.  Thankfully it was fully encapsulated in the gland, so he feels that he removed all of it.  He did say that the rest of the surrounding area looked really good.  He took out one lymph node next to the tumor.  It didn't look all that concerning but he just didn't want to have to do another surgery to take it out later for any reason.  He had to get back to clinic so I never saw him after, but I will meet him tomorrow morning to have him pull my penrose drain (looks like a flat straw sticking out of my neck).  He's coming in just for me on 4th of July which is so nice of him.

I had been really nervous about nausea after the anesthesia because I was so nauseous with my wisdom teeth sedation.  The anesthesiologist gave me a scopolamine patch to prevent nausea for 72 hours; it was a huge success.  I have not had one hint of nausea.  Yay!  I've just had enough nausea in the past year from my pregnancy, so I am stoked that I didn't have to deal with it this time.

We stayed in short stay for a little over an hour, and they let us go home.  I went to sleep as soon as we got here, and slept pretty much the entire night except for getting up to feed Hadley.

As a nurse, I always tell my patients that swelling and concurrently pain will increase in the first 48 hours. I'm definitely experiencing that now.  I have been much more painful than I had anticipated.  Even with staying on top of all the pain meds, it's just very sore.  Plus, you don't realize how much you move your neck to look around, talk, drink, or eat.  Eating is especially tough, but my mom filled my fridge with juice and soft things, and I've been able to take a few bites of solids today too.

Again, its all just much more intense than I had thought it was going to be, but it's probably good because knowing me if I felt at all normal, I'd push myself and not just rest.  You would all be proud of me because I am laying low and asking for help.  Everyone has been generous beyond words.

I have a stocked fridge, gourmet meals, gorgeous flowers, restaurant gift cards, and infinite offers for help with kiddos and laundry and chores/errands.  It's mind-blowing.

The boys devoured the quinoa and black bean quesadillas that Jinger left in my fridge while we were at the hospital.  And Lauren and the kids brought dinner today.  How cute are the "bigs" Brooklyn and Tyler holding the "littles" Levi and Hadley.  The "middles" Ben and Gavin were off somewhere probably causing mischief. ;-)

I want to say one extra special thank you to the several moms who have messaged me offering their frozen breastmilk.  That stuff is liquid gold and very hard earned on their part, so the fact that they would offer that on their own is just beyond words for adequate thank you.  I've told them that I was able to get through surgery fine because I have a decent amount in the freezer but if there is any upcoming treatment that will require me to pause nursing, I will absolutely accept the gift.  Hopefully it does not come to that and they can bless another mom with it, but knowing that it's out there has given me so much peace in that area.

My friend Kristin just posted on her caring bridge the following, and she said it so well that I'm going to quote her:

"Once again, I just want to express my gratitude and appreciation for all the support I've received. All the offers to help with our girls, chores around our house, or food for our family from those of you living around us have been incredibly selfless and amazing. All the prayers and love from our family and friends that don't live around us have been incredibly encouraging. Then there's the notes from people that I've never even met, and those are incredibly inspirational. It has all been overwhelming, but in the best way possible :). Thank you! Those two words feel ridiculously inadequate, but they're all I've got. I just hope you all know that none of what you've done or said has gone unnoticed. The strength and determination you have shared with me will help me conquer this."

Thank you Kristin for saying so well all that feel in my heart. Kristin had her PET scan this morning. Please pray that the PET and her biopsy from yesterday all come back showing NO metastasis and NO lymph node involvement. Also, she is in a clinical trial for a new drug, so please pray that she gets the real medication and not the placebo. PRAY PRAY PRAY!

Alrighty, this is long enough, but I just wanted to share how things went. Those who know me know how self-sufficient I like to be, so you'd be proud of me because I am not only accepting help but actually requesting it. This afternoon Matt had a meeting, so I texted a couple friends to see if anyone could come over to help. Sure enough, the amazing Jenny Devine jumped on it and brought her kiddos to entertain mine. It made what could have been a very stressful afternoon so chill and peaceful.

So, if you offer to help, I very well may take you up on it :-). Some seasons of life just call for extra hands, and that is what community is all about. I love each and every one of you for your extreme generosity of time, resources, and incredibly encouraging words. I love you all so much for it.

Simply put, thank you.

~ Jessica

Prayers ...

I think it is always so important to acknowledge and thank God for answered prayers.  So from my list last time, I have several praises.

1.  Surgery could not have gone smoother, and there was no nerve damage!

2.  I only had to dump ONE feeding.  

3.  We did tell the boys a short little bit about the surgery, and they were totally fine with it.  Plus, they have LOVED all the extra company and attention around here.

4.  Jon and Kelly safely arrived in Bend.  Not without stress because the youngest Anna seems to have some sort of a strain in her lower leg and is refusing to walk on it.  No fracture on X-Ray.  Hopefully it will clear up soon.  It's sort of impossible to unpack while holding a 2 year old.

5.  Kristin said she is not too sore and is recovering well from her lymph node biopsy.

6.  God has been so fully present in all of the details I've needed him to take care of.  

7.  My BIGGEST praise of all is the steady stream of peace I've been feeling.  I just know it is from all of the people praying.  I have been able to just really feel calm and in the moment, and even if the pathology comes back as malignant, I just have this strong sense that everything is going to be ok.

For those who would like to keep praying for us and have asked for specifics, here are some new ideas.

1.  I have to get my drain pulled tomorrow, and I'm thinking that is not going to feel amazing.  Prayers for good pain control during that and just in general, as it is still quite painful now.

2.  That the boys would have a fun 4th of July even though we can't do much out and about.  

3.  To get the pathology back as soon as possible, and for it to be BENIGN!

4.  To get my thyroid biopsy scheduled and done and for it to be benign as well.

Happy long weekend everyone!  

Monday, June 30, 2014

My faith is not in the boat.

I'm going to be brutally honest as I write this.  You never know when someone else may stumble across it while up feeding their newborn at 4 am in their frightened google search of "neoplasm in submandibular gland."  Maybe my faith and experience can help a scared mama out there take a breath, silence the fear, and just trust that she is in the good hands of the God who loves each one of us far beyond what we can ever know.  

When I thought of maternity leave all summer long, it certainly didn't look like what the past 6 weeks have looked like.  I've seen the inside of more doctors offices and hospitals than I EVER have in my life.  Thankfully, God knew.  He was preparing my heart even when I didn't realize it.

Last week, unrelated to anything going on with me, my friend Kelly texted me the link to this very gifted, energetic pastor's recent sermon.  The church is called Elevation Church out of North Carolina, and Pastor Steven Furtick is incredibly charismatic in a very genuine and endearing way.  His sermon called "It Will Happen" (number three) from the series Crash the Chatterbox blew my mind.  The pastor preached passionately about staring down our worst fears in the face with the boldness of knowing who we are in Jesus.

I've been a woman of strong faith for many years, and I've come to know God intimately, but I'm never surprised when He takes my faith to a whole deeper level just with one scripture, sermon, song, lesson, interaction, etc.  I just knew after hearing that sermon that my perspective would never be the same.  

If I've intrigued you, please listen to it (link above).  I guarantee it will catch your interest in a few minutes even if you are not a Christian.  

From the sermon, I asked myself in what areas in my life I was having faith "in the boat" to get me across rough waters versus having faith that GOD would save my circumstance.   I could go on and on, but just listen to it.  

Armed with an even deeper faith, the very next day, my worst fear stopped me in my tracks (I'm not clever enough to know the nautical version of that saying … ran me aground?).

For some back story, Hadley was born on 5/16, and we brought her home on 5/18.  That evening I felt a sore throat coming on, so I felt around my neck for swollen lymph nodes.  Sure enough, I found a large one.  I had Matt feel it, and we both sort of looked at each other in a funny way.  Without any words, we both wondered, "Is that ok?" I will never forget looking into his eyes and for a split second each of us feeling gnawing fear and panic.  But I said, "I think I'm just getting sick."

I dismissed it as a viral related swollen lymph node, and I did have a very sore throat those first few days home.  The illness went away, the lump didn't.  With everything we were adjusting to at home having 3 kids, Matt transitioning at work to a new store and having to get his current store ready for new management, then Hadley being hospitalized, having to work so hard to bulk her weight up (and I could go on with several other headaches that have seemed to just not let up in the past month), life was so crazy that it didn't surprise me my immune system was in overdrive and the node was still big.  

Finally after 5 weeks, I went to my doctor, and she scheduled an ultrasound just to check it out.  I completely thought it was a node but just wanted to be safe.  When the report came back, I was shocked to hear that the nearly 3 cm mass was actually concerning for a neoplasm (tumor).

After a RIDICULOUS amount of phone calls complete with 3 kids being kids in the background (our medical system's red tape is absolutely absurd, and the fact that we make patients navigate so many hoops while they are grasping the concept that they may have something scary that is wrong with them is just terrible), I had an CT scan on Friday.  The read came back within an hour.

Not only did the radiologist feel that the mass in my submandibular salivary gland was suspicious of a tumor (no way to know benign or malignant without biopsy), he also saw a 1 cm nodule on my thyroid.
The lymph nodes in the area are normal which is a very good thing.  I was instructed to see ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialists on Monday.  And then, to wait.

Anyone who has done this wait from first hearing of a possible cancerous growth to finding out what exactly you are facing understands the spot that we are in.  You just can't  help but fear the worst, all while hoping for the best.  You have to hope.  You have a wonderful husband and three gorgeous kids (including this teeny tiny 6-week-old baby) who all need you.  At the very same time, their sweet faces staring up at you just reminds you of how much you have to lose.

And the chatter starts.  This is unfiltered brutal honesty of the chatter that Satan plants to set fear deep in my soul:  

"I may have cancer.  I could die.  I could leave my three babies without a mother.  I could leave my husband alone to manage the life that we are suppose to navigate together.  My sweet children who are supposed to grow up under my love and in my arms could be left alone (shudder).  If I do have cancer and do chemo, I'd have to quit breastfeeding.  How much will all of this cost?  What if I can't go back to work?  What if we can't afford to live? What if what it what if what if ……….????"

STOP.  BRAKES.  SILENCE.  NO.  Crash that chatterbox.

Fear is NEVER from the Lord.  Any thought ever that provokes worry is a lying voice meant to distract you from what you know is true about the everlasting, ever providing, ever loving God of the universe who created you and has infinite power and resources at your disposal.

All weekend, any time that any of these thoughts has crept in to my mind, I have just said NO WAY ENEMY.  Whatever my precious Jesus has for my path, He intends it all for good, and I will trust Him fully as we walk.  

With this mindset, I was actually able to experience so much joy this weekend with my beautiful family.  And today, I finally met with ENT.

The doctors explained that a submandibular gland growth is relatively rare.  40% of them are malignant, 60% are benign.  The best thing to do is to get it out as soon as possible.  We will need to biopsy the thyroid as well, but that will need to wait for another time because the tumor is more time sensitive,  I had my prayer troops praying that we could get in for surgery ASAP despite the short week due to 4th of July.  As a huge answer to that, the doctors made space in their schedule this Wednesday morning just for me.  

They will remove the gland, which involves working around a facial nerve.  There is some risk of temporary nerve damage (permanent damage is extremely rare).  Then we will need to wait for the tissue to be sent to pathology to tell us if it is benign or malignant.  We will also schedule a non-sedated biopsy of the thyroid to see what lies down that rabbit hole … hopefully nothing!

I think that is the gist of the ride we have been on.  

Prayer requests right now include:

1.  Safe and smooth surgery with divine hands and wisdom for the surgeons, anesthesiologist, nurses, etc.   I'm also very concerned about how breastfeeding will be impacted by the anesthesia or pain medication.  Please just help me be able to get back to breastfeeding as soon as is safely possible.  This is actually one of my biggest stressors through this all (because feeding her has been my number one priority for 6 weeks, and it needs to continue to be).  Also of course for no facial nerve involvement.  

2.  Benign, benign, benign.  We HATE cancer.  No room for cancer here.  BENIGN.

3.  God to be in the details.  Having 3 kids including breastfeeding a newborn who has struggled to gain weight is to say the least is as time consuming as it may sound (or more).  Keeping them fed, clothed, clean, happy, etc is just a lot when your mind is also racing around chaotic circumstances.  For peace in the midst of all the daily life that continues.

4.  Wisdom to know how much to share with the boys about what is going on, and for God to just give them joyful obliviousness and to get to continue a carefree wonderful summer.

5.  For God to be with our dear friends Jon and Kelly Klos.  We have shared life with them for 12 years, and their moving truck to Bend is set to drive away the exact time my surgery occurs.  To not be there to say goodbye is very hard.  It is just going to be a tough day for us all.  Please keep them safe in their travels and let them experience joy in their new journey even though it is coinciding with this hardship.

6.  For my forever friend Kristin who is waist deep in her own courageous battle with breast cancer.  We always were "twinsies" at Santa Clara … didn't plan to be twinsies in an arena like this.  Please visit her caring bridge site and pray for her with boldness.  She is amazing.  AMAZING.  

We are so very blessed to have so much help.  Our family is incredible, helping care for our kids and pick up the pieces of life that we can't right now.  Our friends are just exceptional.  I can't say enough thank you's.  

Alrighty, well that is that.  Here we go.  Hugs to all of you near and far who are my sideline cheerleaders.  You all know that I kicked some serious booty working out during this pregnancy, so I am a FIT, HEALTHY, STRONG, FAITHFUL woman and a force to be reckoned with with the power that shines through me.  ~ Jessica

"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.  I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." Genesis 28:15

"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man/woman who takes refuge in Him."  Psalm 34:8

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  Isaiah 41:10

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken."  Psalm 62:5-6

Saturday, June 14, 2014

I heart baby feet

I decided to take my own newborn photos of Hadley to save some money (oy I'm glad I did since our hospital bills will be a pretty penny now).  It was a great idea other than the fact that I have no time to post-process the photos I shot!  But this is one of my absolute favorites because when I look at it, I see two heart shapes with her feet and legs.  So sweet.

I will save all the other MANY baby feet photos for once I finally edit all her newborn pics, but my main reason for a post tonight is to say that Hadley gained weight!  Praise God!

I took her in to her weigh in today, and when I saw the scale read 7 lbs 6 oz, I burst into tears.  The wonderful nurse said, "Oh thank you Jesus" which then had me start crying even harder.  Yes, thank you Lord.  I just know in my heart of hearts that Hadley will continue to pack on the weight and grow like the healthy girl I know she is.  Thank you so much everyone for your prayers.

Ok, off to bed.  Night!!!

Friday, June 13, 2014

(Too) Tiny Peanut

The past two days have been quite the whirlwind.  Hadley was born 5 days late and weighed in at a hefty 7 lbs 11 oz, by far the biggest little Jordan.  She was probably very fluid overloaded from the IV fluids I got during delivery.  Since then, despite nursing great, she failed to regain her birth weight.  All babies lose weight in the first few days but typically are back up by at the least 3 weeks.  Hadley at least made it back to hospital discharge weight of 7 lb 1 oz a week ago which was reassuring.  

We thought her weight check on Wednesday would be just a formality to show that she was back on track, but she had actually lost weight over the past 8 days.  My heart literally dropped into my knees.  The pediatrician (who I know from working with her during her residency) looked at me and said, "Doernbecher or Randal?"  

Basically, we both knew that this weight loss was NOT okay, and Hadley had to be worked up as an inpatient at either of these two local children's hospitals.  Babies who are eating well don't just not gain weight.  Not this far along.  There had to be an underlying physical cause, and as a pediatric RN, I know way too many of the really scary ones.  Despite trying to stay calm, panic in my heart ensued.  I sat crying alone in the pediatricians office trying to feed my shrinking baby knowing that I had to pull it together to get to Tyler's kindergarten graduation in 20 minutes.  My absolutely perfect angel, the daughter I have waited a lifetime for, could be sick.  Any mother who has faced this reality can tell you that there is no emotion to describe this fear.  

I pulled it together best as I could and sat through Tyler's absolutely precious graduation.  Good thing we have it on video because I don't remember a thing.  It was a huge God thing that my entire immediate family was at the ceremony and scooped up the boys with loving arms while I ran home to grab stuff, and we headed to Doernbecher.  We were sent off with an amazing amount of prayer and love from the teachers and families of our incredible school Sonshine.  

Sitting in a room on my own very own unit as a mom instead of a nurse holding my perfect, beautiful baby facing the reality that something may be terribly wrong is an experience I will never forget.  I walk with parents through that experience all the time, but going through it myself rocked me to the core.   


My gratitude is never ending for the incredibly compassionate care of my exceptional co-workers.  Little miss has been poked, prodded, but of course also well adored.  

I can't even begin to summarize the experience.  I wish I had time to share the gamete of emotions, from the fear and surreal-ness of being a mom/patient to the unspeakable gratitude of the BEST team of colleagues in the ENTIRE WORLD who made it all just the best it could possibly be given the circumstance.  

Our nurses (my amazing friends) Alicia, Kacie, and Anne … I just can't thank you enough.  Our medical team was just exceptional, balancing the need to really examine all the possible causes without subjecting us to any unnecessary tests or worry.  We did the minimal tests to ensure there was nothing really obvious wrong.  What everyone kept coming to the conclusion of was: she is just too healthy to be sick.  Her physical assessment is that of an absolutely perfect baby.  This was the gut feel I had all along too, but it was so reassuring to keep hearing it over and over from the experts.  

We found a couple of funky lab values that made for quite the anxious evening, but God gave us his peace overnight that it was going to be ok.  We rechecked labs in the morning which gave us a little insight.  We are indescribably relieved to so far have found that the likely culprit is that her kidneys are just taking their time to grow up.  So, she's getting rid of a bit too much water (hence the weight loss) but this usually resolves on it's own. Thank you thank you faithful Lord, nothing else is a big red flag so far. 

So, rather than do any unnecessary invasive testing will do our best to give her extra feedings at home to keep her fluid intake high to help her compensate until her kidneys start to work like a big girls' should (likely soon).  

And so, we got to come home yesterday with a so far healthy baby.  My heart still just aches knowing how easily that could not have been the case and knowing that SO MANY families are told much worse answers.  I just credit the Lord's protective powers for bringing us through this scare with pretty much the best case scenario explanation.  

I helped design this white board as part of a unit project to make families feel part of their care.  I love that Alicia filled it out for us before we arrived.  

We are definitely not out of the woods yet because she needs to start gaining weight, but in the meantime everyone in in agreement that most likely Hadley is a teeny-tiny yet perfectly healthy little Jordan peanut.  We still absolutely welcome your prayers that this continues to be the case.  We go in for a weight check on Saturday.  Please Lord let her be nice and chubby :).  We are working super hard stuffing her up nice and full.

I was telling a friend that this will make me such a better nurse.  She sweetly replied that I'm already a pretty darn good one.  While I know this is true, there is just something that rocked me to the core about being a mom of a hospitalized child, even if just for two days.  I will refuse to feel awkward just sitting in silence for a moment with parents staring at their beautiful baby with them (sometimes no words are just the best way to be present).  I will never again dismiss the strong significance of bringing a mom a cup of tea, making a parent's bed up for them, or putting a sign on the door to help a family get some much needed sleep.  I will never forget to look a mom in the eye and tell her, "You are doing an amazing job.  None of this is your fault, and you are such a great mom."  I always try to get to these things, but sometimes they just seem trite in the grand scheme of things, or I wonder if they matter.  As the recipient of such kindness I now know 100% how much they matter!  "God is in the details" someone said to me during this experience.  Isn't that the truth?

The emotional spectrum of the past 3 days has been exhausting, as has all the extra work to pump Hadley up with fluid.  When we got home, we took the best skin-to-skin nap in the world.  

I had never been so grateful to be in my own bed with my sweet healthy baby.  Thank you Lord for making that possible, and thank you to everyone who has helped us feel so supported.  God has been in the details showered on us by those around us during this frightening experience.  We are blessed.  

Grow baby grow!!!!!!!


Clearly I've been more than a smidge MIA from the little Jordan family blog.  I have a REALLY good reason.

In the past 9 months since I posted last, I spent 4 of them horrendously nauseous/throwing up.  The other 5 I actually felt pretty good but was so incredibly exhausted and working like a mad woman to save up my time for maternity leave.  This crew had to by my number one priority:

But now, our ever so precious Ms. Hadley Lane Jordan is here and gorgeous.  There are not words to describe the entire experience of waiting for and finally meeting her.  Hopefully I will take time in the future to write about that.  Here she is in all her perfection.

Ok, now that we are caught up from the past year (wink, wink), let's get on to some much overdue blog posting.  I can't make any promises because life with 3 littles is complete and utter joyful chaos with very little if any left over energy for typing.  I'm not here to have a well visited blog.  Not at all.  

However,  the past 2 days have sort of rocked me to my core and have made me want to resume my love of sharing my perspective on our little life with those who love us.  The peaceful normalcy of life (however chaotic it may seem at the time) can all be taken from you in the blink of an eye when you find yourself in a situation that picks you up out of your life and plops you into one of your worst nightmares.  And so, I hope to celebrate "normal" by once again documenting a few ins-and-outs of daily life [faithfully].

"For Your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness." Psalm 26:3

~ Jessica