Giving Christ Control: Lillian

I’ve taken a little break from posting the last week or two as I soak up new baby moments and spend lots of time in the rocking chair.

So today I am taking a little time to share about our last few weeks. The last few weeks contained a few emotional up and downs and prayers surrounding Lillian’s health. At Lillian’s week appointment our nurse practitioner noted that one of her metabolic tests had been flagged because it was 0.1 below a considered normal. Our practitioner told us not to worry and she was sure everything was fine, but that Lillian would have to have another blood draw. So other than reluctantly having to put Lillian through an antecubital blood draw, I didn’t really think anything of it. I mean 0.1 below the normal? Nothing to worry about, right?

Well, about a week later we got a call from Akron Children’s genetic center wanting to schedule an appointment.  Needless to say I was a little in shock as no one had yet told us what her results were or what this meant. I asked for the results, but the person scheduling did not know and said she was only in charge of scheduling. She said she would have our doctor call us. After hanging up the phone I was already in tears. I had no idea what this meant and only knew that there was a whole plethora of things that could be wrong genetically, some worse than others. The imagination can run wild with this sort of limited information. I called Dustin worried and upset. He tried to calm me down and reassure me that we didn’t know yet what was wrong and not to freak out. He reminded me to say a prayer and go from there, though he was pretty upset that they had called us for an appointment without any explanation of the results. After waiting about 20 minutes for the doctor to call, I went ahead and called myself. The nurses at our family practitioner noted that they had just gotten off the phone with Akron Children’s, but that they were unable to interpret what her results meant as they were not specialists. *Cue more tears* They said that the genetic specialist was supposed to call me back. I asked if they would call today and they said, “I think this afternoon, but if not give them a call tomorrow”. I felt like I was getting no where and called Dustin again. I asked him to call Akron Children’s because every time I talked to someone I was trying to hold back the tears. He called, but got a voicemail. He left a message voicing frustration and asked them to call us back. Finally I got another phone call from the genetic specialist. When it was all said and done there was really only an hour from the first phone call to the final phone call, but let me tell you, it was a loooong hour. The specialist explained that after Lillian’s second test it showed that she was low in carnitine. This is an enzyme that converts fat to energy (hmm, who knew?) She noted that it was nothing of immediate concern, but they would need to run more tests to see if this was a primary or secondary problem. They noted that there was also a chance that I could be the one deficient in carnitine and due to breastfeeding, she may be showing low levels.

So that next week, on Valentine’s day, we went back up to the hospital for blood draws for both me and miss Lilly. What a way to celebrate Valentine’s day, right? The doctor also did a physical on Lillian and asked some questions to try to help rule out her carnitine levels being low due to a more serious secondary issue. Then it was a waiting game, again, as they noted that it would be another week until the results were in. During that week there was a lot of praying and appreciated support from family, friends, and church family. Though we knew that most likely all that would be involved would be taking a carnitine supplement to prevent any problems down the road (like heart problems from muscles getting eaten away at) it was still scary.

We spent most of our Valentine’s Day in the lab…waiting for Lillian to pee for a sample. Fun stuff, right? But at least I got lots of snuggles!

Finally the tests came back. The results showed that the low carnitine was most likely due to my low levels and not Lilly’s. I was so thankful and relieved.  It’s much easier for me to feel like this is manageable for me with taking supplements and any future blood draws and etc,  instead of having to put Lillian through all of it. So there is still a bit more testing and such to go through, but I feel hopeful that all I will have to do is take the carnitine supplement.

This was just a small taste of what many parents have to go through on a much larger scale with sick children. My heart aches for all those that have to suffer through those emotional ups and downs and having to watch their children get pricked and prodded. There were many prayers sent up for Lillian, but it was often hard to give it all to Jesus and not let the worry in. It’s definitely a reminder that in both good times and bad, I need to turn to Christ first. I need to give Him my joys and my fears and put Him in control.

How about you? Do you have trouble giving Christ all your fears and giving Him control. Have you every had a scary situation where it was hard to give Him control, or definitely not your initial reaction? If you want, take a moment to share and encourage others along this journey of giving Christ the control.

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Ballerina Cupcakes and Birth Continued

Part two of the Ballerina Cupcakes and Birth story!

So we left off at getting admitted to the hospital about 9:30ish and having those pesky fetal monitors strapped on me. One of the things that Dustin and I had in our birth plan was intermittent fetal monitoring and freedom to move around and try different positioning. With Gracie, whenever they had me lay in bed and strapped on the monitors, I became more uncomfortable. I kept hoping they would soon take off the monitor and Dustin asked for me, but baby was on the move and they were having trouble getting a good reading. They also said that they were seeing some decelerations in baby’s heart rate and needed to get the ok from the doctor to take off. *sigh* But they did finally let me move to an exercise ball by the bed which was a little more comfortable.

10:45 PM This was right before I moved to the exercise ball. They had finally checked me after determining that my water had not broken yet. I was 4 cm and 80% effaced. I was a little disappointed, thinking that I would be farther along as contractions were getting pretty intense. Dustin and I looked at the clock, thinking the chances were slim that baby would arrive before midnight. I made the move to the exercise ball and felt a little better. After about 20 minutes or so (I’m a little hazy on the whole time thing) I felt baby give what felt like a mini karate chop followed by a gush of fluid. Yep. My water broke. That was a new experience since with Gracie my water never broke. The nurse’s rushed to get me back into bed on my back…again…*sigh*

11:15ish Dustin asked them if they could get the tub ready and going for the water birth that we wanted. Those things take awhile to fill up! They started filling the tub and called the doctor. It was literally only a matter of minutes after getting into the bed that I started feeling the urge to push. The nurse checked and I was almost completely dilated. The urge to push was getting pretty intense and I asked if I could push. One nurse answered no immediately (since the doctor wasn’t there yet), while the other told me to try to breath through the contractions and if I still needed to push to let my body do what it needed. Thank goodness for her! I was breathing so hard that I started to feel light headed and overheated. I squeezed Dustin’s hand tightly through each intense contraction and the pressure to push. At this point they had stopped attempting to get the tub filled, because this baby was coming sooner rather than later! Dustin asked if I was ok to push in the position I was in, and at that point I didn’t really feel like moving. I really wasn’t actively trying to push at first, just breath like the nurse had instructed, but I could feel my body getting ready to push out baby and the head was starting to make an appearance. I think I really only went through around five really intense contractions where I felt the jarring pain and pressure of really needing to push. All it took was about one to two big pushes and baby made a grand entrance, delivered by the nurse before the doctor was able to get there!

At 11:34 PM on January 25th,  we got to meet our beautiful baby girl, Lillian Mae. We had decided not to find out gender and I was expecting that she would be a boy. I was surprised when Dustin told me we had another girl, and a girl with a full head of dark hair at that! They laid her on my chest and she just stared up at me with these big, beautiful eyes, alert and perfect in every way.

First picture taken shortly after she was born. Alert and enjoying some time with mommy.

A few minutes later the doctor arrived. He waited for the cord to stop pulsing and then Dustin was able to cut the cord. A few stitches were needed and through it all baby girl stayed with me on my chest. I was able to nurse her for about an hour and then when my parents got there I let the nurse’s take her to get weighed and measured. Lillian weighed in at 6 lbs 10 oz and 20 inches long.

We actually did not decide for sure on her name until the next morning, as I had last minute thrown another girl name into the mix. By morning I had decided that she was our Lillian. So far our Lillian has proved to be a bit calmer than her older sister (though we wouldn’t have Gracie any other way!) She doesn’t seem to get upset too often and most of the time can be calmed down quickly. She also has already slept longer stretches than Gracie ever did at this point, (thanks for listening to my letter baby girl!) She’s a good snuggler and already showing her strength by lifting her head up high and turning it from side to side. She makes the best faces and is always entertaining us with her little grunts and sighs. She is loved by us all and now makes us a family of four.

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Ballerina Cupcakes and Birth

Currently my life is very focused on two pretty adorable little girls. Gracie just turned two, while Lillian has just entered our lives. So today’s post is focused on sharing a bit about the events surrounding these changing.

Baby’s due date was February 1st. Gracie’s 2nd birthday was February 1st. I thought I would play it safe and have Gracie’s birthday the Saturday before she officially turned two. So January 25th it was. I was up in the morning making cupcakes. And not just any old cupcakes mind you, ballerina cupcakes. Because when you asked one certain toddler what she was having for her birthday, the answer would be “rina cake” (translation: ballerina cupcakes). She had also requested tea and pancakes. So this mommy was diligently working away to make something that resembled the torso of 20 little ballerinas out of pink wafers with frosting tutus. In turn, Dustin was diligently working away to rip up the linoleum in the kitchen to add in wood laminate flooring. Needless to say the kitchen was a mess. Picture cupcake supplies spread out across the counter, linoleum half torn up, kitchen table and chairs moved to living room, and one toddler begging for cupcake scraps at your feet.

10:00 am. Cupcakes finished and our friend, Drew, had arrived to help Dustin with the floor. Now my job was to keep Gracie busy. We pulled out Gracie’s tool set and she began to “work” as well. Sometime in the next hour or so I noticed mild contractions. I briefly considered that it could be the start of something, but brushed it off at first. Then I noticed a few more, still irregular though. I then thought that just maybe this was the start of something, but doubted that it would progress very quickly.

Fast forward to around 3:00 in the afternoon. Contractions are now more noticeable and regular, but I still figured it could be awhile as my contractions have not seemed to be by the book type contractions. With Gracie my contractions started out at about every five minutes, but were very mild for awhile and lasted all through the night in a noticeable, but manageable way. I finished getting ready for the party. Dustin and Drew worked to finish the floor.

4:30 PM. I headed over to Mimi and Pap Steiner’s (aka Grandma and Grandpa Steiner, so christened Mimi and Pap by Gracie) for the party. Dustin and Drew stayed behind in hopes of quickly finishing up the floor. Both sides of the family were due to arrive around 5:00. Did I mention contractions to anyone? No. I was focused on getting this party completed and didn’t want a fuss over something that could still be awhile in the making.

5:30 PM. Everyone had arrived. Dustin and Drew were there after just about finishing the floor, but just needing a few finishing pieces and then move everything back into the kitchen. I was manning the pancakes and sausage and Gracie’s 2nd birthday party was well under way. And the tea that she asked for…well she decided she wanted juice instead.

6:30 PM. A ballerina cupcake was finally given to the ballerina birthday girl (she had been asking for one ALL day). Candles were blown out to the tune of Happy Birthday and sugary icing was thoroughly enjoyed. Presents were unwrapped and through it all the contractions continued. A little more noticeable, and a little more regular.

7:30 PM. One tired and starting to get cranky ballerina was taken home. Stories were read, milk was drank, and songs were sang.

8:15 PM. Contractions were getting stronger. We called Dustin’s mom to fill her in and have her on standby to come stay with Gracie if we needed to leave during the night. We told her it was just a precautionary call and it still may be awhile.

9:00PM. That precautionary call turned out to be not so precautionary. Contractions continued to have stronger peaks and were getting closer together, about every two minutes or so. They still felt manageable, but were getting increasingly more painful with stronger peaks. I also started to feel a little shaky and figured it was about time to go the hospital. I did feel a little stressed about the decision to head in. Was it too early? Would we be there awhile? And for some reason I didn’t like the idea of having to head in through the emergency room since it was after hours. But we made the call to Dustin’s mom and she headed over to stay with Gracie.

9:30 PM. We headed into the hospital and I called my parents to let them know we were going in . This started a sequence of calls
and texts from my mom wondering how things were going and when they should come in. We got admitted through the ER and headed up to the maternity wing. They strapped on the fetal monitors and started asking me a whole slew of questions that at times weren’t particularly fun to answer through contractions.

And next the exciting part of the birth story! But… I have hungry little girl, currently needing nursed so you’ll have to wait for the Birth part of this Ballerina Cupcakes and Birth story!

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Change

A lot can change in a week.

This week we welcomed Lillian Mae and now officially have a two year old running around the home. Our family is now a family of four, and Gracie is becoming more independent by the minute. These changes definitely mean some adjustments for our family, but I’m loving this time in our lives. I’ve been trying to soak it all in and engrain these moments and special gifts on my heart and mind.

480. Destroyed room after nap time
481. Pitter patter of running feet
482. Tiny hands brushing hair out of face
483. Baby kicking in belly while in bed and Gracie at my back stretching and pushing
484. Watching Gracie and Dustin dance in evening
485. Ballerina cupcakes
486. Ballerina leg warmers
487. Messy buns
488. Dustin and Drew working on kitchen floor on a Saturday
489. Finishing kitchen floor
490. Contractions
491. Feelings of change
492. Family close by to spend night with Gracie
493. Dustin’s hand to hold
494. Quick labor
495. First cry
496. First look at baby girl
497. Healthy baby
498. Head full of dark hair
499. Beautiful, wide eyes looking alertly into mine
500. Ten tiny finger and toes
501. Nursing
502. Snuggles after birth
503. Family and friends visiting
504. Baby breathing, sighs, and grunts
505. A big sister’s first look at little sister
506. Two girls to stay inside with out of the cold
507. Sleeping baby
508. Fuzzy duckling hair
509. Busy toddler in only a onsie
510. Independence
511. Kind friends and family that bring food
512. Baby in my arms as I type this

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