Friday, October 15, 2010

October 1st through 15th Update

As most of you know, we went in for our routine 35 week ultrasound October 1st. Everything looked great for our son, Nathan. He measured big and had a great heartbeat. When we went to check our daughter, Alexis, she was measuring smaller than we expected and we didn't measure a heartbeat. We thought that was strange but the ultrasound technician sent us to a room without telling us anything (they have to wait for the doctor to do that).

As we waited I had this overwhelming feeling that something wasn't right as we have always seen and heard a heartbeat. I immediately prayed that whatever news we heard, God would be there to comfort us. I really just thought that maybe she wasn't growing as good and that we might have to have them early since we had discussed possible things that can warrant earlier delivery. When the doctor came in, she said, "I have some bad news." Immediately my heart sank. She said, "Baby B doesn't have a heartbeat and has passed away." At first they said it was Nathan, but I knew Baby B was Alexis. We were in limbo for a minute, but we found out it was definitely Alexis.

I immediately cried uncontrollably. I was completely overwhelmed with grief. I have to say that in the 9 years I have known Lee, I have maybe seen him shed a few tears a handful of times. To say he was overcome with grief is an understatement. We discussed going ahead and delivering Nathan. I will say that even though I was overwhelmed and my heart ached, I knew that God had His hands on Nathan and that everything would be great with him. Lee and I called our family and wept in the room until we could compose ourselves enough to leave and head home to get our stuff so we could head to the hospital.

We got to the hospital and they monitored Nathan and he was doing great - great heartbeat, very active. They scheduled my c-section for roughly 5:00pm since I had something to eat at 9:00am. The c-section went beautifully. I kept focusing on Scriptures that were encouraging. It took a while since I have had a c-section before and had a good amount of scar tissue, but at 5:45pm I heard the greatest sound in the world, Nathan crying. Immediately came the tears. At that point I was still hoping and praying that maybe the tech was wrong and I would hear my precious Alexis cry. Needless to say, I didn't. The nurse came and told me that Alexis was beautiful and looked just like Nathan. Lee brought Nathan over to me and I got to love and kiss on him. He is so beautiful and I believe he looks just like Daddy's baby pictures. I opted not to see Alexis at that time as I knew that would be too much to handle while still finishing up my c-section.

We got everything finished up and I went to my room under the impression that Nathan would be in the NICU until 10:00pm (4 hours for observation). Well, he was doing so great that he came out in about an hour. I was thrilled. I couldn't wait to hold and kiss him. Lee and I had some time with him and then Luke came in and then family came in in groups. It was amazing having this precious heathy baby boy and enjoying him with our family.

Lee and I wanted to see Alexis and hold her and let our family have some time with her before we sent her to the morgue, but she didn't look good and it was too much for me to take, so I only saw her for a quick second and they went ahead and took her. I want to remember her from the sweet ultrasound pictures and active kicks in my belly for the past 35 weeks. They did give us a box with her footprints and some of her special items (blanket, hat, bracelets). I know we will cherish it forever.

Nathan did really well. We worked on nursing, pumping, making bottles, and getting into a routine (every 3 hours) while we were in the hospital. We got to come home on October 5th and it was really nice. It was so tough leaving the hospital with only one baby. Seeing Alexis' empty carseat and the double stroller in the van was almost too much for me to take. It just felt so wrong. When we got home and I had to go in the nursery for things, it broke my heart seeing all of her stuff (especially her name on the wall).

Physically I did great this time. I wasn't in labor for 26 hours this time so that helped. I recovered quickly which I know was an answer to prayer because I had asked God to heal my physically ASAP since I had so much to deal with emotionally.

We had a funeral service for Alexis on Friday, October 8th. It was beautiful but heartbreaking. I cried uncontrollably the entire time. It was almost too much to take. I was thankful I had Lee, Luke, Nathan, and my mom to hold onto during the service. So many wonderful friends and family attended and had such kind words for us. That made it more bearable. Our pastor did a great job and he shared some great letters that my mom, my mother-in-law, and I wrote. Lee's cousin sang "The Old Rugged Cross" and a sweet girl from church sang "I Will Carry You." It was just perfect.

On Sunday, my mom, Lee, and I went through all of Alexis' stuff and boxed it all up. We put a lot away in case God blesses us with another daughter down the road, but some of the things personal to her (her coming home outfit, special blankets, special stuffed animals) went into an "Alexis Box". It was so hard. I cried the whole time. It just felt so wrong to be putting that stuff away. We worked fast and got it all done in a couple of hours. The nursery looked so empty when we were finished. It still feels so wrong.

This week was a lot calmer since it was just Lee, Luke, Nathan, and me. We are getting into a routine. Nathan eats at 8, 11, 2, 5, 8, 11, 2, 5. He is getting good at nursing, but I am still pumping for some supplementation and to store for later. He gained back some weight at his check-up on Wednesday (October 13th). He weighed 5 lbs 8 oz. We are enjoying him so much. He sleeps all the time. We have to wake him for feedings sometimes (which is common for premies). He loves to be held and rocked and I happily do it because he should have been in my tummy for 5 more weeks and I believe he misses his sister.

It's been a whirlwind of emotions, highs and lows, ups and downs. I think I've experienced every emotion there is in the past two weeks. We are going through the best and worst time in our lives. It's hard to explain.

We've just been so blessed that friends and family call, write, encourage, pray, and bring meals. It makes it so much better. I can't imagine going through this without our friends and family. More importantly, I really can't imagine going through this without God. He hasn't left, forgotten, or forsaken us. He has a perfect plan and will even if we don't understand it all. I know Alexis Faith is in heaven and that we will all be together again. That is the hope that I cling to. God will heal our broken hearts, give us peace and comfort, and strengthen us for each day, each hour, each minute. He is ever present in our lives. To Him be the glory, honor, and praise.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Our Annual Autumn Trip to Phillips Farm

Okay, so I know that it is not exactly Autumn yet, but we decided to venture out over to Phillips Farm before I get too massive and uncomfortable (or even unable) to go. It is so much fun. They have 2 corn mazes, a hayride, a cow train ride, a corn husk launcher, a pumpkin launcher (new this year), a neat slide and tunnel, a corn box (a sandbox with corn kernels), and tons of yummy food and treats.

We got there and I got a picture of Luke and his cousin, Emma, in front of the entranceway.

My sister, Jennifer, my brother-in-law, Chris, my neice, Emma (4), and my nephew, Logan (2), on the hayride.

Lee and Luke (4 1/2) on the hayride.
A very pregnant (31 1/2 weeks) me, Lee, and Luke on the hayride.

Me, Lee, and Luke in front of the corn maze.

We started out by riding the hayride. It was so much fun. It wasn't too bumpy, but I definitely felt every bump. Then we ventured into the corn maze. It was all fun until I got a major cramp 1/2 way and had to tough it out. Luckily for me, everyone else got tired of doing it, so we surrendered (AKA waved the "come help us" flag) and we got help. I lucked out and the guy who rescued us put me on his golf cart and drove me back to the covered food area.
We had a snack (I drank about 3 bottles of water) and the kids and dads went to the rest of the activities. My sister and I rested under the shade with water and enjoyed watching them play. Then they all rode the cow train ride. I opted out for obvious reasons. ;) We rounded out the day by buying some BBQ sandwiches to take home for dinner and a couple of pieces of homemade pound cake.
It was so much fun. It's now a Webber Family tradition. I love doing things each year/holiday that my kids will remember when they get older. It's really important to me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Luke's Dentist Appointment

Let me preface by saying that I am a terrible mother. I took Luke to the dentist at 3 and 3 1/2, but once we moved and the dentist was 40 minutes away, I slacked and didn't find a new one. It's not that I intended to, but I completely forgot until he turned 4 and I had to cancel at the old dentist, then I got pregnant and was sick for a couple of months, and then it just kept slipping my mind. So, my persistent husband reminded me that I needed to take him. I asked friends for referrals and got one that sounded good. I called yesterday and they said, "New patients can't be seen until November BUT we have an appointment tomorrow morning." Thinking that a) he really needed a check-up and b) November seems tough with two new babies, I took the appointment.

The place was awesome. The whole office was a jungle theme, including tiki looking stuff on the walls. Each area had a jungle-themed name (like the conference room was called "Tribal Council". How cute. They had Madagascar playing and a ton of stuffed animals and toys. When we were called back, each chair had a tv above it with Madagascar playing. Luke got to wear jungle sunglasses to not hurt his eyes from the bright light. The hygienist was so great with him. She told him what to expect and offered rewards for each step.

When we got to the teeth cleaning, he was offered an array of flavors to pick from. He chose cookie dough which sounded disgusting to me, but he liked it (so much he was licking while she was cleaning). She flossed his teeth for the first time and instructed me as to how to do it for him. He got a sticker and then it was time for x-rays.

He was a champ during the x-rays. They had to try a bunch of times to get one and he kept letting them. I was a proud momma. He got to get another sticker. Then we met with the dentist. She was awesome as well and had the best teeth I've ever seen (go figure, right). She said the tooth that he hit on the tub a couple of years ago was totally fine. She said his 6 year molars were showing up and he would have them early, which doesn't surprise me since he's always cut teeth fast and early. She said to continue brushing like we have been and start flossing and to come back in 6 months. Then Luke got to go to the treasure chest and got a parachute toy.

Overall it was an awesome visit and I felt better when they assumed it was his first visit as I guess most kids go at 4-5 years old. They even took a "first visit photo" to commemorate the occasion. I still want to be on the ball with his check-ups so he stays healthy and has good hygiene.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Homemade Pizza Night

Luke mentioned to me a couple of weeks ago that he would love to make homemade pizza again. We've done it a few times and it is always really fun. I make the dough in the bread machine, we use spaghetti sauce and mozzarella and parmesan cheese as well as any toppings that sound fun.

Last night we had turkey pepperoni, ground turkey, turkey bacon, and a variety of peppers. I usually like to have onions and pineapple as well, but I wasn't motivated to go back to the grocery store.

Here are some pics:

Lee making his pizza

Luke trying to toss his dough (he really got into it)

Luke putting on the sauce

Luke putting on his toppings (he made a smily face out of turkey pepperoni)

Our pizzas:
Top - Luke's - 1/2 turkey pepperoni, 1/2 turkey bacon
Bottom Left - Lee's - 3/4 turkey pepperoni, turkey bacon, and ground turkey, 1/4 turkey pepperoni and peppers
Bottom Right - Ashley's - 1/2 turkey pepperoni, turkey bacon, and ground turkey, 1/2 turkey pepperoni and peppers

They were sooooo yummy and we had a ton of leftovers. It is so much fun to do this and a fraction of the cost of one pizza from takeout. If I had to guess the cost, I would say less than $5.00 for all of them. 50c for the dough, 50c for the sauce, $1.00 for the cheese, $1.50 for the turkey pepperoni, 10c for the turkey bacon, $1.00 for the ground turkey, and 25c for the peppers.

What We've Been Up To

This summer has been really different for our family in that I've been massively pregnant for most of it and heat hasn't been my friend. We've still managed to go to the beach a few times - twice with Lee's mom and stepdad to Emerald Isle and once to Topsail to the Webber Beach Cottage. Most of the time was spent with me hanging out indoors (I did get down to the beach a handful of times and to the pool at the beach once or twice) and Lee and Luke doing the beach/pool by themselves. They still had fun and I had to get over my guilt of not being as involved.

Luke and I have gone to the pool a good amount, but not like we normally do (the past couple of summers we've gone at least 3 days a week). Each time has shown me how much bigger/more uncomfortable I am getting. Our last pool visit for the summer was on Monday. It proved to be too much for me and summer is winding down anyways.

We've had a lot of fun just hanging around the house. Luke is really getting good at coloring, painting, and crafts. ;) We play and I do a few things around the house and relax. It's been really nice. Although I feel bad that we can't do everything we normally do, we are all making the best of it. It's really been a fun summer overall. We are looking forward to Fall and our babies coming. :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

24 Week Ultrasound

Today we went for our 24 week ultrasound. It was awesome! Both babies are still perfect. We did some quick measurements, double checked the genders (nothing changed - thank GOD!), measured their heartbeats, saw them in 2D as much as we could (Nathan was hard to see), and then got a 3D of Alexis' face. It was incredible!

Nathan (Baby A) was 1 lb 8 oz (3 oz bigger than the average singleton at this point) and had a heartbeat of 143. He is also head down and very far down and will probably stay that way (not that it matters as I am having a c-section).

Alexis (Baby B) was 1 lb 10 oz (5 oz bigger than the average singleton at this point) and had a heartbeat of 145. She is breech (again it doesn't matter).

Here are the pictures. We didn't get many of Nathan, but we lucked out and got to see Alexis' sweet face in 3D.

Alexis' Sweet Face
Alexis' Profile

Monday, July 12, 2010

Howell Family Reunion

On Sunday we went to the 71st Annual Howell Family Reunion. The Howell family is Lee's mom's dad's parents and all of their descendants. They have been getting together for 71 years to eat a yummy meal, talk about family memories, and visit with each other. It was really neat to see all of the family members, catch up, and hear all of the funny stories. We had a really good time. The theme this year was "Trains" since there is a railroad track that runs right through Pikeville, NC, the town that most of the Howell family grew up in. Luke loved it. Here are some pictures.

Luke with the electric train. He built that bridge. I thought it was pretty creative.

Some of Clifton and Annie Mae Howell's (Lee's grandparents) great-grandchildren.

Me, Lee, and Luke.

Me and Lee.

Becky and Ivey (Lee's mom and step-dad). They made that train. I thought it was cute.