October 11, 2012

Marathon 2

Last Sunday, I ran my 2nd marathon and it was a much, much better experience this time than the prior year. I was in much better shape this year compared to last year, even if my training wasn't that great.  Despite not being able to follow a training plan, I did my best to get in some long runs.  I ran 2 half marathons this year, ran a couple 14 mile runs, several 6-10 and 2 18 miles runs.  With all of the longer runs, I had to walk some of it.  Not exactly how I wanted training to go.  When I signed up to run it again this year, my plan had been to train the right way, run the entire thing and do it in less than 5 hours.  But with just life in general, training was put on the back burner and I figured this year, I'd just do what I could do and be happy.  I really thought it would take me 6 hours to finish. 

I worked Friday night and we left Saturday morning to head up to the expo.  I figured by the time we hit the expo, carb loaded and checked into our hotel, I'd be so exhausted I'd fall asleep and sleep all night, like last year.  I was in bed, asleep by 7:30. Anyway, at the expo, I signed up with the 5:25 pace team, knowing I most likely would NOT be able to run it that fast because of my poor training.  Last year, it was pretty hot the day of the marathon.  Temperatures this year were upper 30's in the morning, with a high of 50.  I figured I'd be cold to start but honestly I do run better when it's cool.  At 5am, I get up, shower, get geared up and we head down to the train at 6am.  It was pretty cold.   My friend and I headed to the start after a 20 minute train ride and we find our start corrals.  Thankfully this year, I was in a corral more appropriate for my ability.  Last year the slow pace team in my corral was 3:50...this year it was 5:10.  Of course, the pace team I signed up for was in the corral behind me.  I overheard a couple people talking before the start, and said they were going to do the 5:45 pace team, but the pace would seem so slow, so they decided to run with 5:10.  It sounded like a good plan so I decided I would do the same...follow the 5:10 pace team as far as I could and when I had to stop and walk, I'd manage from there.  Thirty minutes after the start, we cross the line and the pace was actually perfect.  I felt like I could have run faster, but that's exactly what you want - you want to feel like you could run faster the first half so you can finish the second half.  Early in the race, the miles fly by.  I saw Husband and our "road crew" at mile 2 and 4.  By mile 3, I was done with my jacket, so I passed it off to Husband at mile 4.  We're still cruising along, and we all started chit chatting a bit.  It was a lot of fun.  The pace was easy, conversations were interesting.  One girl introduced herself at mile 6 and said "We'll finish together.  We'll do our own thing with this pace team, but I really think we'll cross the line together".  At mile 11, I decided to eat one of the gels I brought to help with electrolytes and refueling.  At the halfway point, I was still running, a big surprise to me and I felt great! I felt strong and like I could run forever.  Mile 16 last year was when I started hurting so I was surprised I still felt pretty good at that point.  I at another gel at mile 17,  saw Husband at mile 19 and I was just glad he was able to see that I was still running because at mile 19 last year, I was not and in quite a bit of pain.  It was an awesome feeling. I used my last gel at mile 21. The race started to get tough at mile 22.  My feet were sore, but I had come this far with the pace team, I didn't want to not finish with them so I kept going.  At mile 23, my calf and hamstring in my right leg started cramping up.  I considered pushing through, but decided to walk just a bit to stretch those muscles.  After a short walk, I started running again.  I knew if I walked for too long, I wouldn't be able to start running again.  I also realized that even if I walked the rest of the way, I was going to finish in less than 5:30!  I couldn't believe it and that got me pumped up.  I ran to about 24 1/2 and was really needed an energy gel and I was very thankful to see they had a station with these gummi things.  At mile 25, I had to start walking short bouts, followed by running on and off to keep those muscles in my right leg stretched.  Total distance walked was maybe 1/2 mile.  I got to the last 800 meters and almost just pushed through the cramping to run to the finish, but the last 300 meters there is a hill.  I walked up the hill and then ran across the finish line.  As I crossed the line, there was the girl I talked to throughout the race who said "See?  Told ya we'd finish together!"  I got my medal, my cover and headed down to the mile 27 post race party to find Husband.  I knew I had beat last years time, but I didn't know exactly what my time was because the clock on the finish line was started at the start of the race and my time didn't start until I crossed the start line myself, which was quite some time in between.  It wasn't until I met Husband and looked at the runner tracker messages that I saw my unofficial time.  5:12:21!  I couldn't believe it!  I knew I was right behind my pace team but the fact that I actually RAN a marathon and finished that fast (for me, not fast compared to hardcore runners) was amazing.  I was pretty darn sore that night and the next day and I think I strained the muscles in my hamstring but it was worth it.  Today, just a couple days later, I feel pretty good.  I can tell my muscles are still recovering and are fatigued, and that hamstring is still sore, but I can get up and down the stairs no problem. 

My official time was 5:12:21.  I owe a lot of thanks to that pace team.  It was probably the smartest decision I could have made.  They were right on with their pace to...pace was within a few seconds at the 10K, half, 30K and finish.  They kept me from going out to fast, kept me slow and steady the first part of the race and kept me motivated the second half.  It was almost like running with a group of friends instead of a solo experience.  It was fun to hear about all the marathons they had run, other challenges, like the Iron Man.  It helped the miles go by.  I don't know if I'll run another marathon.  I had said no way I would run another one until Caleb goes to school because there just isn't a lot of time right now.  But, the challenge and reward of finishing will probably draw me back to that start line with 26.2 miles ahead of me. I'll definitely do half marathons.  That's a halfway easy distance for me to run and I don't have the recovery time afterwards, and I could go to work that night after a morning race.  But we'll see.  Come sign-up time for the marathon in 2013, the temptation may be too great for me to pass up. 

September 2, 2012


A few months ago, we moved into our brand new labor and delivery unit, something we've been looking forward to since 2007 with excitement and trepidation.  The layout of the huge new unit, how we provide care changed a little bit when we moved from a LDR model to a LDRP model.  No more moving from the labor room to the post-partum floor.  Everything happens in one room, with one hallway dedicated to antepartum/postpartum for our preterm labors/antepartums and scheduled c-sections.  We are more baby friendly than we were in the past - almost every baby stays with mom unless she requests the baby to go to the nursery, all care is given at the bedside if possible, skin-to-skin is initiated, unless declined or mom/baby is unable to, within 30 minutes of birth.  And, something I'm VERY excited about:  skin to skin in the OR!!!  That has been a slower process of change with that, but it's been wonderful to see and I think its a huge benefit to moms and babies.  Even with all the positive changes, there have been some kinks, as you would expect when you move from one unit to a brand new unit and changing the model of care.  It's hard to staff an LDRP.  We have a triage area now.  The idea was the triage nurse would admit, decide if they are labor or not and if they are admitted, hand off to a L&D RN.  But in a unit that is relatively small compared to big city hospitals, it's a bit tricky because we just don't have the staff and don't do enough business to make that work and keep the cost down.  So frequently, that triage nurse will admit the patient, the patient turns into labor and then that triage nurse has to move the patient to a LDRP room, admit her and that just adds more time onto the admission.  Another hiccup is the layout of the unit.  It's huge and we are all so spread out.  And there isn't a central nurses station so knowing what is going on with other patients, what docs have patients there, etc., has proven to be a challenge.  We are getting better but I know there have been times we've called a doc for something who had just been called about another patient, or a doc calls wanting to talk with their patient's nurse and we didn't know who the nurse was.  Thankfully, over the last months, that issue is getting better.  It's a process, and we've had to be flexible and adapt.  Overall, its been great. Patients are happier, patient care is better and even though there has been a little bit of disorganization in the beginning, it never affected the patients and it wasn't any worse than what was to be expected. When comparing our old unit to the new unit, it's like comparing a Super 8 motel and the Hilton.  Both work for what they are designed for, but it's much nicer to stay at the Hilton. 

August 2, 2012

Marathon #2

Only 65 days until I run my second marathon.  Yes, I am in fact a crazy person.  This year, my plan was to train appropriately, to run the entire thing and I had really hoped to be able to finish in under 5 hours.  That will not be the case this year.  It's just been too hard to get out and run as much as I need to be able to do that.  Baseball games, blazing hot weather, putting up siding and windows, and work all got in the way.  I'm still going for it, it just won't be the performance I had wanted.  I do think I'm in better shape this year.  I've been running some, and the last 2 weeks, I've been able to log some decent miles.  Last week I did a 10 miler and felt ok.  It would have been 14 miles, but a storm popped up and thankfully, Husband was watching the clouds.  I was watching them too...but I was enjoying the fact that the sun wasn't beating down on me after the clouds started rolling in.  I even took a couple pictures with my phone because the clouds were really cool.  It wasn't doing anything, but with about 4 miles to go, the sky turned yellow, and I got to the the top of a hill and the wind picked up out of nowhere and it started lightening.  I was done enjoying nature.  I ran back down the hill to where there was a house, stood behind a tree to be out of the wind (yes, I know under a tree is not the place to be) texted Husband and was 30 seconds from knocking on the door of that house to get out of the storm when Husband came over the hill and picked me up.  About 60seconds later, the rain came pouring down, well, more like blowing sideways.  Husband actually had to pull over because he couldn't see to drive.  We did get back to town and there were tree limbs all over and a huge tree, had fallen on a house just 1 block from our house.  It was a nasty little storm and it popped up out of no where.  No storm warnings were out for that evening, and nothing ever came over the tv or radio I guess.  But besides that little adventure on my runs, I've been getting out.  So far this week I did a 7.25 mile and 3 mile run.  Tonight I'll be attempting that 14 miler again, barring any adverse weather conditions, I think it will be successful.  Even with these long runs, I know I won't be "ready".  School and football/cheerleading starts soon, so the evenings won't be free like they are now and if I was following the training plan I had intended on, I should be doing my first 18 mile run.  Even with my lack of runs, I think I'll do at least the same if not a little better this year.  There is a later start to the marathon this year, which does concern me because it could mean my last hour could be very hot.  But it is an October marathon, so who knows what the weather will be like.  I've also entered that "what was I thinking" mode of training.  On my run the night of the storm, when it was still super hot and that sun was beating down on me, I ,kept thinking to myself "I'd rather be pregnant with a pregnancy as hard as Caleb's for 5 years than run another marathon".  But then it cooled and I was ok.  I'm trying to remind myself that the reward is worth it.  The feeling of crossing the finish line, knowing that I did it! is worth the effort and the sore muscles and feet. There is a commercial they are playing now that shows a guy running, and the announcer says something along the lines of "you may be no marathon man.." and Jacob proudly said to Clara "Mommy is a marathon woman".  That right there is all the motivation I need. 

July 29, 2012

Jacob's birth story

My oldest baby turned 9 years old July 13th.  I don't think I've ever posted his birth story, my only vaginal delivery, so I thought I'd share :)
I was due July 31st.  At the time, I was working ICU stepdown and I really thought I'd go into August before I went into labor.  I was late signing up for childbirth class (because I was certain there was plenty of time) and we attended our 1st class Thursday July 10th.  I had seen my doc and not only had I put on 10lbs in 1 week, she said I was 3cm/80% and baby was at a zero station. Anyway, at the class, I noticed  contractions that felt much different than the braxton-hicks I'd been having.  I started timing and they were every 15 minutes.  This of course got me excited.  We went home that night and I ddin't sleep.  I was in the recliner, miserable with these mild contractions that refused to let me sleep.  I called work at 5am Friday morning and told them I thought I might be in labor so I stayed home.  They got closer together, but not much more uncomfortable, so I called Husband and we went in (I wasn't well researched, I'll admit).  I get there, I'm still 3 so i walk for a bit and the contractions space out and there's no change in my cervix.  I was really embarrassed and worried because the contractions I was having hurt and I just didn't know how I was going to handle real labor.  I felt silly, and kept saying "I'm a nurse, I should KNOW when it's labor".  Silly me.  Again, I barely slept Friday night because the contractions I was having, although still very irregular were uncomfortable enough to keep me awake.  I got a break in the early morning that Saturday before they started in again in the early afternoon.  We took a (very) short walk, I talked to my mom about 4pm and at 5pm, I had myself propped upright with pillows and I slept for about 2 hours.  Around 7pm, I woke up with more contractions but these really were different.  I started timing them, but was so out of my mind and determined not to go in until it was the "real" thing, that I kept telling Husband "they aren't regular...they are every 2-4 minutes!".  I got in and out of the tub, moaned, paced, drank water, puked, and was passing pink mucus.  Every time I'd see that pink tinged mucus, it made me feel better than something might be going on. I remember thinking that the contractions felt like Charlie horses in my uterus, so I ended up rubbing my belly with each contraction, like I could rub out the tightness like I did the whole pregnancy and the leg cramps.  I started getting more restless and at midnight, Husband said to me that we were going to the hospital.  I fought him.  I did NOT want to be in there for a false alarm/too early, but I finally relented and we went in.  I was 6cm on admission.  I remember telling S (who i would come to be good friends with in a few short months) that I was exhausted and that I was so afraid it was false labor.  It felt so good to hear I had made some change and although the contractions hurt, I was handling them.  But I figured I still had a long time to labor, I was tired so i opted for the epidural and it was wonderful.  Husband called family, my sister arrived and I went to sleep. I had hoped for several hours of sleep but Jacob had other plans.  I'm not sure of times, but S came in to check me and informed me it was time to start pushing.  I couldn't believe it!  I wasn't ready, I wanted more sleep and wished I could just roll back over for awhile.  I wanted a mirror to see and once it was brought it, I saw why I had to start pushing...I could see his head when I pushed!  He had SOOOO much hair!  I was just amazed at the fact I could see his head AND that I wasn't in excruciating pain.  I thought it was great.  S called the doc who was on-call.  He was old-school and did episiotomies on just about everyone, so thats what I got and the next contraction, his head was out.  At 4:23 am, July 13, 2003 Jacob was earthside and screamed his hello.  I was was in total shock that I had just given birth to this beautiful creature, that he was mine, and that I was his mother.  They gave him to me and everything else just faded away as I gazed at his face.  I remember kissing his head, not caring that he was covered with mucus, some vernix and blood.  He was just beautiful.  Shortly after, I delivered the placenta and here I was with this wonderful little boy.  Jacob James.  I had said I'd "try" to breastfeed (makes me laugh now, considering the breastfeeding advocate I became) and he latched right on.  I remember before he was born wondering if it would feel weird to breastfeed, but it came very natural for him and I.  Over the next few hours, I remember just looking him over and then curling him up on my belly, like he might have been in the womb, something I would do with all 4 of my children, and I just marveled that a few short hours earlier, that's where he was.  The body is an amazing thing.  I also remember looking at Husband with brand new eyes, and falling in love all over again and even deeper with the man who was the father of my son.  I remember this, and several other small details like it was yesterday.  It's hard to believe that 9 years have passed and I have given birth to 3 more children after him.  Happy Birthday, Big man! 

June 16, 2012

10 Years

So I'm about 8 days late, but June 8, 2012, Husband and I celebrated 10 years of marriage.  It's hard to believe it's been that long!  It's been a wonderful, fulfilling, sometimes trying, 10 years.  It's not been easy every step of the way, but I wouldn't want it to be.  We've had some rough spots.  We had our first big one shortly after Isaiah was born.  These last couple months have been very difficult with the stress of trying to have our house lead abated within 90 days, coming up with the money on top of the daily life things.  But here we are, stronger than we've ever been for all the joy and trials we've worked through.

In the last 10 years we've:
Rented 1 apartment, and 2 houses
Found employers we're happy with
Bought our first new car
Bought our first minivan...and traded it in for another minivan
Bought our first home
Welcome 4 beautiful children into the world
Bid farewell to the childbearing years
Mourned as we lost one child at 11 weeks gestation
Mourned the loss of our full term niece
Mourned the death of 2 aunts, 1 uncle, a grandmother, a couple great aunts/uncles
Watched as our friends married and had children of their own
Sent our first child to school
Sent our second child to school
Sent our 3rd child to pre-school
Watched our last child turn into a toddler
We manage a schedule with football/cheerleading and 3 kids in baseball!
Fought to the point we thought we'd never make it
Worked through the issues we had and made our relationship even stronger
I ran a marathon, Husband helped make it possible
Dealt with my sister moving far away as she followed her love to Texas
Learned to knit
Put in new windows and siding on our house

Our soloist at our wedding sang "Parents Prayer" and one line of the lyrics is "But now in your eyes the two will be as one" ...it's truer now than it was before.  While it hasn't always been easy, we've always come together, eventually.  The day Husband and I married, a poem I wrote was read and the last line was "With love and happiness in my heart, Today I marry my best friend".  I'm happy to say that's still the case.  Husband, I'm more in love with you now than I was 10 years ago.  I can't wait to see what the future holds in store for us!

In honor of our anniversary, our song:


recessional, with some changes, instead of "if" it was "now that someone.."

Father/Daughter dance:
In my arms by Mark Wills

June 5, 2012

Long time no post

In my defense, we've been really, really busy around here.  Thought I'd run down some highlights and hopefully, life will take us out of the fast lane with road construction here soon!

*  We just finished putting up new siding and installing new windows to help take care of the lead issue.  We were able to do it ourselves, which saved us a lot of money, but it was still quite pricey and we relied heavily on help from friends and neighbors.  The house looks awesome but we still have  few projects left we have to finish before we are given our "lead free" paperwork. 

*  One of our cars has died.  Yep.  The first car Husband and I bought together has finally bit the dust.  And because we are just loaded with more money than we can manage, this is no big deal. (sense the sarcasm)

*  I've had some amazing births lately and met some awesome moms and doulas.  I love that women are turning more and more to doulas for support and I've been impressed with the skill these doulas have. 

*  I ran my second half marathon and finished in 2:16...that shave off quite a bit of time from my first half marathon!  I'm very happy, considering I hadn't been able to get out and run like I had hoped.

*  Softball/Baseball/T-ball season is in full swing.  We have a game almost every single night.  I think for June, we have 6 days with no ball games. 

*  Husband and I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary this Friday.  I can't believe that on June 8th, 2012, Husband and I will have been married 10 years.  It just doesn't seem like that much time has gone by, but wow, have we seen our share of blessings and sadness.  In 10 years, we've added 4 beautiful children to our family, said goodbye to our own little angel, a niece, a grandmother, 2 aunts, an uncle, a couple classmates, great aunts and uncles, lived in 4 different places, bought our first mini-van and home, went through the stress of having to put up new siding and windows due to a high lead level in our premature son, attended our first marathon with me running and Husband as my biggest supporter, watched our friends marry, have babies, divorce. We've had our good times and our not so great times, like the rough patch we had after Isaiah was born.  But here we are, at a milestone that seemed ages away 10 years ago.  I've seen Husband at his worst, Husband has seen me at my worst and yet somehow, here we are.  About to start the next decade of our marriage.  .  God has blessed us and gotten us through some very difficult times.  I cant' wait to see what the next 10 years hold in store for us

April 22, 2012

Racing Season

Finally, it's road racing season again!  My competitive side has been waiting since last November for it to come around again.  Ok, so I could have run a few 5K's in the cold months, but I'm not a cold weather runner.  Today I ran my first race, a 10K.  It's the first time I ran a 10K race.  I'll be honest, a 10K race is a bit intimidating because it seems like those that run and are fast, run it faster than my 5K pace.  I just didn't want to come in dead last and feel silly.  Today though, I figured I'd run.  I went to work, reported off at the end of my shift in a timely manner and was able to get down to registration with time to spare.  I signed up, and it was only in the 40's...usually not a temperature I like to run in.  It was a very informal race - no race bib numbers, no "official" time, etc.  It was just mapped out over a college campus.  Finally we were off, and I started off feeling pretty good.  The course was terrible wasn't great.  It wound all over campus and it was sometimes hard to figure out which way we were supposed to go.  Twice I had to stop and try to figure out which way I was supposed to go.  Thankfully, I chose correctly.  Others did not.  I was probably in the first 1/3 of the pack and as we're running the last 1-2 miles, a few groups of girls that I know were behind me were suddenly way ahead of me.  I'm pretty sure one of the places where it was confusing which way to go is where they turned.  And by turning early, they skipped probably an entire mile of the race.  No one ever passed me so I know that had to be the case.  I initially thought "Dang it!  I turned wrong and I'm running more distance than I should be!" but 2 other runners were right ahead of me and I just followed them to the finish line.  Turns out we were correct.  I think I was the last to cross the line, something I dread, but my time was 1:02:18.  They had a clock we could look at as we crossed the line so I at least had a time to go with my effort.  I was pretty happy with my time and I wondered if maybe it wasn't exactly 10K but I had tried out my friends garmin and it did say that I ran 10K.  Plus those other people didn't run the entire distance.  I'm sure they were pretty pumped when they saw their time, but if they ever run another 10K race again, they'll be sorely disappointed in their time because of missing that last mile or so.  Saturday is a half marathon I'm running.  I had been very worried about how I was going to do, but I think it will be fine.  I won't be breaking any records because I'm not adequately trained, but this 10K  gave me hope.  I felt good at the finish, I didn't walk at all, didn't even drink any water to rehydrate.  My competitive drive is back and I'm ready to run.

April 18, 2012

Skin to skin

A few months ago, my hospital's entire healthcare system implemented a new protocol that I actually really, really like. They want newborns to be placed skin-to-skin for at least 30 minutes after birth, if possible. It doesn't have to be right from the womb to the chest. And moms don't have to have their baby skin-to-skin because some women just aren't comfortable with it. But for most cases, babies now go directly onto moms chest and stay there for 30 minutes or more. I LOVE this!! It's something some of us have been doing anyway, but I do like that the whole system recognizes the benefits of keeping the baby and mom together. It's amazing how wonderful skin-to-skin contact is. If the baby is cold, the mother's body will adjust to raise the baby's temp, will cool if the baby is hot, the baby's heartrate and breathing are regulated, all because of that skin to skin contact. We've noticed APGAR scores are higher. A typical score is 8 & 9 and very rarely are there scores of 10, but lately, even the most conservative nurses are assigning 10's! The only 'problem' with this? I cry sometimes. Ok, ok, so I tear up pretty easy, but I just love it. Maybe it's because that's what I wanted with my kids and I fondly remember holding Caleb skin to skin in the recovery room. Whatever the reason, it's not uncommon for me to have tears in my eyes when moms are holding their sweet new babies on their chest. I think maybe because it's a different reaction when they hold their naked baby on their skin, compared to holding their swaddled baby. One mom, who's first baby was born before viability, was terrified of something going wrong, terrified that something would happen to this baby. She was so afraid, she refused to read anything about pregnancy beyond 22 weeks. She delivered by c-section, I was able to keep baby in the OR with the mom we went back to her labor room to recover (gone are the days of the 'recovery room'!!) She was scared of this baby and didn't know quite how to hold him and was so uptight, so I helped her get her baby skin to skin. Within a minute or two, she was relaxed and didn't let that baby go. It was just beautiful. After I gave him a Leboyer bath(2 hours later), he went back skin to skin and we wheeled out of the labor room to postpartum. I'm not sure that baby spent much time in the cribette! Another mom, who had been very, very sick a few years earlier held her baby skin to skin and the entire family started to cry because at one point, they thought they would lose her...now here she is with her newborn. As usual, I walk out of the room with tears in my eyes. Another mom laboring with her 3rd was open to the idea of skin to skin, but wasn't completely sure but said she'd try it. With the other 2 babies, the old routine was done....baby taken to the warmer, wiped off, meds given, weighed, all that stuff done while mom is taken care of. It wasn't done with any intention of separating them, it's was just how it was done. This time, she delivers a healthy baby who we place immediately skin to skin. She stays that way for a good hour and within 10 minutes, that baby was looking for the breast to nurse. It isn't always possible, sometimes the baby needs help to transition to life outside the womb, or mom isn't stable enough, but for the majority of healthy deliveries, it's been a wonderful change. I just have to keep tissues in my scrub pockets.

April 4, 2012

Things I've learned so far this week

It's only Wednesday, but so far, I've learned quite a bit.

1. Gak and furniture = not a great combination. To remove green gak from your furniture, a hot iron over a rag will work for the most part. But not completely. Works well on berber rugs, too.

2. Scentsy wax won't burn you if you get it on you, but it's a P.I.T.A to get off of a wall. A plastic cup works wonders for scraping it off and keeping the wax pieces from going everywhere.

3. Easter egg hunts are put on by grandmothers as a payback for what their kids did when they were young. The kids have a blast, but those little plastic eggs are full of candy, gak, play-doh, tiny markers, etc. All sorts of things that will get the kids wired and they can then redecorate their parents house in the amount of time it takes to go to the bathroom. It comes full circle. In several years, I will put on an Easter egg hunt...like I said, full circle.

4. Trying to run more than 4 miles after working three 12-hours shifts in a row isn't a good idea.

5. Black clothing is an allergen for toddlers. The instant you pull on that black shirt, their noses will run, they will sneeze if held too close to it and they will wipe their snot all over your shoulder. Hmm, maybe I need to have a snot colored wardrobe.

6. I *could* have been a grandmother by now...and could have been a grandmother for 4 years if I had a baby when I was 14 and then my kid had her 1st at 14. Ack.

7. A waiver from the state health department will cut the cost of putting up new siding and windows because we are able to do it ourselves, or with a group of people willing to help us do the work. It will be a considerable chore, and a major clean-up of the inside of the house to minimize lead dust, but it's a feasible solution. :)

March 31, 2012

New routine

As much as I want to just hide my head in the sand (if it's by my house, it's probably contaminated with lead dust) I can't. This nightmare we've been living since September that keeps getting worse as time drags on isn't something I can wake up from or ignore. So until it is over, here are some of the things that have become part of our routine.

Oh, how I hate to clean. I love a clean house, but I have 5 people that I swear go behind me and undo the cleaning I've done. I'll admit that dusting was the big thing I wouldn't do if I didn't feel like it. I tried to keep clean clothes and dishes and keep things picked up. But with lead paint on the outside of the house, I HAVE to dust. Twice a week, I take a wet cloth and wipe down all the window sills. I wet mop the floor twice a week. Once a week I wipe down the walls around the windows. It probably doesn't sound like much work, but we have 16 large windows. And no carpeting. It takes me awhile and I hate every minute of it.

I've spent a lot of time looking into various aspects of this lead fiasco. I'm in contact with the lead inspector, the health department, I've talked with the State Lead Program contact, the EPA Regional lead contact, the head of Lead Safe State. We've also had multiple contractors out to the house to get estimates...2 of which have declined to do the work for us, if that gives you any indication as to what kind of mess this is :( I've also been looking for different ways to fund this small little project we are required to do. I bought a lottery ticket this week, hoping to cash in that big jackpot, but unfortunately my ticket wasn't the winner I was sure it was. In April, there is a lead meeting and at that point the Lead Safe State head will know if there will be any funding to help with lead abatement. We applied for a home equity loan that really was a waste of time, but maybe, just maybe I'll be surprised. I did find that there is a type of loan called a Title 1 FHA home improvement loan. There is one bank in our area that is approved to handle this type of loan. The only problem is the maximum amount you can get is $25K so we'd still have to get a personal loan for the additional $11K that we need. We could try to refinance our house and depending on the house appraisal amount, request that amount instead of just what we owe and use that to help fund the repairs, although I doubt that the house is worth $36K more than what we owe. Another option is to try to finance through larger siding and window companies. For now, we're waiting to hear from the credit union. Sometime next week we'll know something, but considering there is no equity in the house yet, I'm not hopeful.

Letter Writing
This is something I have been working on. I've sent a few letters of to the health dept and lead heads, but now my new tactic is to write to our congressmen. If I have to, I'll write a letter to the President of the United States. I'm trying to get my thoughts together so I sound like an intelligent, well-informed individual. The last thing I need is to receive yet another copy of Lead in Your Home: A Parent's Reference Guide. I want to make sure these people do understand that I am completely aware of the hazards of lead paint and it's implications for growth and development. I don't need a lecture on it's hazards. What I want to convey to them is that if they are going to require a family to do something that costs this much money, there needs to be something to help with the cost, whether it's a grant, or some type of loan.

OMG, the stress. I've been stressed before, but this is unreal. The lead is there. But the fact that only 1 of the kids had a high level says something. Even with my poor housekeeping skills, I've managed to keep the hazard minimal. With the exception of that paint chip that Caleb ate. The honest truth is this: for us anyway, if I had been a better housekeeper and cleaned up those paint chips, we wouldn't be here. It isn't the lead dust that poisoned Caleb, it was those damn paint chips from the door jambs. On one hand, the lead is still there on the outside of the house so it needs to be taken care of, but on the other, I just don't know how it will get done. When we do figure out how to fund this, we will be out of our house for the duration of the work. Hopefully, it won't take too long, but this won't be a quick 1-2 day job to replace 16 windows, put siding up over our large house, and encapsulate parts of the porch. We are a busy family: Husband works full-time, I work full time, and 3 of our 4 kids are playing summer league baseball...3 different age groups. That's one aspect of this adventure I'm not going to try to fix until we know when the work will be done.

We're trying to have a good attitude. The contractor we like so far explained that there will be yellow caution tape put up around our property, with signage that tells people to stay out of the work area. I feel like we're living in a condemned house. It will look awesome, like the old houses I dream about ours looking like once it's done. We will take pictures of the progress, just so maybe we can look back on this and laugh someday.

March 30, 2012

Lead Nightmare

Back in September, we took Caleb to his well-baby 12 month visit. All was well, and because we live in a house built in the 1880's, we had his lead levels tested. We had the other kids lead levels tested and they were always normal, so after the test was drawn I never gave it a second thought. Until I got a phone call from the office the next day. His lead level was very high, so they wanted to have it re-drawn to make sure. So we did. It was still high and we were very upset and went crazy trying to figure out how it happened. Our house is old but we were told when we bought it that there was no lead paint in use in the house and that it had been repainted years ago. We knew that when the house was repainted, that they hadn't done a great job removing all the old lead paint because there are areas where it is peeling, but Caleb wasn't ever outside. We had the other kids rechecked and they were fine. After looking around the house, we decided that the lead probably came from our front door jambs. When Isaiah gets on the bus at noon, I would leave the big wood door open so I could see Caleb through the glass door as I walk Isaiah to the bus. In between the doors, there were some paint chips from when I forcefully pulled a Christmas tree out the door. We think he picked up a paint chip and put it in his mouth. I then immediately cleaned up the few little paint chips and we painted over the door jambs to prevent any more paint from chipping off.

In the meantime, because Caleb had a high lead level, it had to be reported to the health department. Little did we know how big an ordeal this would become. A nurse from the health department came out, and screened him to make sure he wasn't suffering from any developmental delays. Then she said a lead inspector would be out at some point to help us find the lead, and we would have repeat tests to make sure Caleb's levels were dropping. Thankfully, since September, Caleb's levels are now normal and dropped pretty rapidly. But after a couple weeks, we hadn't heard from the lead inspector. I actually thought they had forgotten about us, which now I wish they would have. But back in February, finally, he called and we set up a time for him at the beginning of March to come out, on a Tuesday. As fate would have it, I end up getting very sick with stomach flu the Sunday night before and was still a little sick on that Tuesday. I figured lets get this over with so I didn't cancel the appointment. I also didn't clean before he came. I had worried that when he came out that he would say you have to put new siding on your house but a coworker that used to work at the health dept for a short time reassured me that wouldn't happen. Wrong. He was at the house for about 3 hours, collected dust samples and in passing conversation, he mentioned that he had a case by the hospital I work at. The family couldn't come up with the large amount of money to have the lead abated so they walked away and let the bank take the house. Seriously?!?! I started to panic. After he was done, he said the inside of the house is fine, but the whole outside is covered in lead. Siding, exterior of windows. At this point, he wasn't telling me something we hadn't already figured out. So I asked what that meant for us.

We would receive a mitigation notice and a timeline. The mitigation notice would tell us what we have to have abated or mitigated. The timeline is 90 days, which can be extended to 150 days. If the work isn't' done in 150 days, then it's handed over to the States Attorney and we could at the longest extend the timeline to 1 year, but that's with court costs and possibly fines. And the way he presented it was if it wasn't done, and we continued to live in the house, we would be charged with child endangerment. WTH? It was all I could do to keep from breaking down until he left. How the heck were we going to come up with $10K (yeah, gross underestimate of the real cost but at that time, that's the number in my head) to reside the house.

Our mitigation notice came and not only do we have to reside the house, we have to replace all original windows, encapsulate areas of our porch and replace an original door going to the cellar. In 90 days. And if we don't want to use a lead abatement specialist, we can apply for a waiver so we can use a contractor that has their EPA certification to deal with lead-based paint. I spent so much time on the phone talking to people about this, if there was any aid, worrying about having to walk away from our home, etc. We also started calling companies/contractors to get estimates. Our first estimate was a major shock: $36,000. Yep. 10K suddenly seemed like no big deal. Because of regulations placed on contractors that work on houses with lead based paint, the clean-up and how they work increases the cost.

We're kind of stuck. We bought this house for the size because we knew we wanted a large family. The market is crap. This house won't sell for what we owe so we would take a huge loss, especially since it is required by law that we give any potential buyers a disclosure, in writing, that there is lead paint. Too bad we weren't given that. So selling isn't an option so we can't just move. We don't want to walk away because it's our home and there aren't any rental houses in our small town. Plus who wants to do that? Our only option is to try and get financing. The main problem with that is how do you come up with that amount of money? There is no equity in the house because we haven't lived here long enough, but we went ahead and applied for a home equity loan. I'm sure it's a waste. Another option is to try and finance through siding & window companies, which will be our next step. After that, I'm not sure. There was a church group who wants to help, but its not something that they can do because we aren't allowed to do it ourselves with that EPA certification. Maybe, maybe there will be grant money available to help but the state is broke and most likely they will deem us unworthy because of our income. In the interim, I have been washing the window sills to contain lead dust, I always mop the floors to that's nothing new, we can't open our windows because there's lead paint on the window jambs. Its a level of stress I never knew existed.

Lead paint is very dangerous, and it's not just the ingestion of paint chips that's the problem, it's the lead dust. I get it, I really do. The lady in charge of Lead-safe State said that we obviously are doing something right because Caleb's levels are normal and the other kids are fine. Our case is most likely ingestion. Anyway, it is a problem and it needs to be taken care of. We don't want anyone to have lead poisoning, but how can they seriously ask a middle-class family to come up with that much money in such a short amount of time? Obviously, if we had the money, we would have done it already. I guess they think it's ok to push a family out of their home, force them to choose to foreclose on their house because they can't afford the work or they decide it isn't worth it, ruin them financially, and then ask them to move to some small apartment or house? Really? Because if no one will finance us for such a large amount, that's what could happen. We could be forced to move out of the small town we love because there are no rental properties available. (I looked). We would have to either foreclose on our home, be ruined financially, and most likely end up in a smaller house than what we are in. And we work full time, pay our bills and until this happened, we are/were financially secure. But we don't have $36K. Is this really the goal? To push families from their homes, to ruin them financially, not to mention the consequences of the stress of something like this, all because of lead based paint? Especially since the kids levels are normal? I know God works in mysterious ways and doesn't give us more than what we can handle, but right now, it's overwhelming and who knows were it will take us.

March 14, 2012


Since Isaiah has been going to early childhood classes, we have seen some great improvements in his speech. It has been a wonderful thing for him. When Caleb was born, he was hardly speaking at all, and what he did say was just jibberish. But now, we can understand what he says, he can write his name, and he really knows most of the basic skills he will need for kindergarten. After this year, he will go to pre-k. One thing that goes along with school is riding the bus. He gets on the bus at noon with only early childhood kids and then rides the bus home with Jacob and Clara. In addition to learning how to write and how to behave on the bus, he is learning other skills. Today he showed me what he learned on the bus yesterday. And he proceded to flip me the bird. Grand. My 4 year old knows how to give the middle finger. I really hope he forgets this little "skill" and doesn't show it off to anyone else. I probably don't want to know what else he has learned on the bus.

February 17, 2012


It's been crazy up in here, so here are some random tidbits for your enjoyment.

* I decided to try out the elliptical at the gym to give my joints a break. After 130+ laps at the indoor track (10 miles) my right leg, which was on the inside lane was a bit sore. It isn't severe pain, but more of a mild pain but the leg feels weak. It starts on the outside of my knee and runs down across to the inside of my ankle. I'm self diagnosing myself with an overuse injury of my IT band. (I actually have no idea, it just sounds good) So I'm trying to back off on the running for a bit to let it heal and decided once I do start training full on again, I need to stick to road running. The track is just too small for doing high mileage and the treadmill is out. I must run differently on the treadmill because that also irritates the outside of my right leg, or what I'm deciding is my IT band, so I tried the elliptical for the first time. I felt a little silly because it took me a minute to realize how to turn it on (you just start moving...the treadmills have an "on" button) and the moving my arms as much as the machine has you do felt odd, but I did 4 miles and felt pretty good, no trouble with my leg. This was 2 days ago. I noticed that my back was sore last night and this morning and I couldn't figure out what the deal was. Until I remembered the elliptical. Now it makes perfect sense. Yep, I'm quick.

* Clara is sick. I think could be strep throat - headache, nausea, sore throat, couch, fever. But I really don't know for sure. It's going around the school apparently. So a doc office visit is in the plans today. I hate when the kids are sick. I don't want them to be miserable, I don't want it to run rampant through the house and get everyone else sick either. I got the call from the school as I was pulling into the parking deck at work for a meeting. At least I hadn't gotten into the building.

* Caleb's new pastime is dumping glasses on the floor. The older kids just can't seem to remember that they need to keep their glasses in the kitchen. When no one is looking, Caleb sneaks over to the table, grabs a full glass of milk (it's always milk, it can never be water) and then we hear the sound of liquid hitting the rug. We thoroughly enjoy it.

* The ornery thing also shook his head at me and told me "NO!" yesterday. We've never actually heard him say the word "no" before. I had run to the bathroom as to avoid a bladder explosion and Caleb must have thought I was abandoning him. So he cried like his heart was broken. I came back, sat down on the couch and said to him "Come here". He looked at me, shook his head and hollered "NO!" at me. *sigh* I'm glad he saved that little first for me. Husband thought it was hysterical.

* I am currently knitting scarf #4. Yes, I learned to knit. I made one for myself, one for a friend and one for Clara. I have camo yarn for scarves for the boys. I'm finally doing ok at not dropping or adding stitches. Maybe in 5 years I'll be up for making something like, say, a hat, or with a pattern. Right now, I'll just finish my scarves.

* Had a girls night out with my mom friends last night. Between the 3 of us we have 13 kids. We get out maybe once a month to the local pub (which is 1 block from my house...the beauty of small towns) In the summer, we get together with the kids, and there are a couple other moms that come sometimes, they have 3 and 4 kids. Only one of the kids is over the age of 10. So when the whole group is together, you need earphones as to avoid permanent hearing loss.

February 10, 2012

Small Steps in the Right Direction

The longer I work in labor and delivery, the more I see that there is a need for things to change, especially regarding c-sections. (No, this isnt a post about how there are too many c-sections...that's whole huge post and discussion for another day. Yes, avoiding c-sections altogehter is the best answer, but until we get to that point, there are still many c-sections being done and we need to manage things better until we get to that point) I'll admit, since 4 of my 3 kids were born by c/s, 2 of them preterm and one emergency, it hits a nerve for me. Why is it routine to take babies born by c-section away from their mothers? In certain cases, obviously there isn't a choice, either the mom is too sick or the baby is too sick. What about those non-emergent cases, like a failure to progress, scheduled repeat, or a repeat c-section in labor, or the like? It seems routine that the the baby is born in the OR, taken to a warmer where most the time the pediatrician is in attendance. Baby is held up to mom so she can see her baby, then Dad goes with the nursery nurse, pediatrician and baby to the nursery and the mom is left alone with strangers while they finish the surgery. The baby has already been evaluated and is fine, but stil they go to the nursery. Why? Had my last baby been term, I had already stated that he would not have left the OR. I knew he would be given a good once over by the pediatrician and nursery nurse, so I saw no reason why he should leave. He could hang out in Husbands arms until they were through with me, Husband would give me the baby and I would be wheeled out of the OR into recovery with Caleb skin-to-skin. But, that bonding wasn't able to happen until I was in recovery because he was 34 weeks. And this is where a lot of c-section moms start having trouble. Here they are, sometimes they feel like their body has failed them because they need a c-section. So their baby is delivered through their abdomen, they will have a longer recovery and the baby is taken away from them. They may seem "fine" during the short 2-3 day hospital stay because they have their baby and they do all the typical things new mothers do. But it's not until after they are discharged that the emotional turmoil begins for some. They start to realize they missed out on those first moments. They weren't able to hold their baby for 1-2 hours, in some cases, even longer. Here they carried and loved this child, labored and they are the last to hold the baby. Some women even feel like it was their "punishment" for not being able to deliver vaginally. And these feelings start spinning out of control and when they try to talk about these feelings to others, they are brushed off. "Well, you got a healthy baby. Why are you so upset/sad/angry?". Yes, the most important thing is a healthy mom and a healthy baby, but the birth experience is also very important. I know even for myself, when I tried to talk about my unsettled feelings about Calebs birth, some people look at me like I'm nuts, that I should let it go, "it's been a year plus, just move on". The thing is it's not that easy. Yes, I'm very thankful he was delivered healthy, considering his early gestation, and he is an absolute joy. But, I am still unhappy with the lack of respect I was shown in the day and hours leading up to his birth and during. I was almost denied the option of having Husband there. What would have happened if I hadn't worked in OB? Would I have thought to say "no, if the baby and I are fine I want to wait"? Probably not. That disrespect cut much deeper than the scalpel blade. Those physical scars have healed, but the emotional scars are still a bit tender. But having the opportunity to have Caleb skin-to-skin within an hour of his birth and being able to take him in, to hold him against my chest, eased some of the pain/guilt I was feeling. Ok, back to my main point. Why not keep the baby in the OR with mom? Why can't we keep her child with her, bring him/her to her so she can see, touch and yes, even hold her baby (it is possible) while the docs finish up surgery. Then the baby can go with her to recovery and she will be able to be with her child those first few moments and maybe that will help. I've been doing this lately. I've asked the nursery nurse and pediatrician if the baby can stay in the OR. And I've not met ANY resistance. The results have been awesome. I can't speak to how the moms feel after they are discharged or if it has any effect on possible emotional turmoil they may feel, but in the immediate here and now, they seem happy. They don't lose those first few minutes. They don't watch helplessly as their baby is taken to the nursery even though everything is fine. They get to do skin-to-skin as soon as they are in recovery and guess what? These babies have all nursed great in recovery. Coincidence? Perhaps. It might be a small step in the right direction. Maybe it won't have much impact. Or maybe, just maybe, it will make a world of a difference. It can't hurt to try.

February 3, 2012

Marathon #2

When I ran the marathon last year, I remember thinking to myself at about mile 20 "never again". I told Husband at I think mile 21 "This sucks. No more marathons". I said over and over again afterwards that "I'm good. I have no need to do that again". Especially that night when I rolled over in bed, forgetting that every muscle in my body was angry and sore and I winced in pain. But a few days later, I started thinking that I wanted to do it again, and train the right way, with adequate time to train. I want to run the entire 26.2 miles, none of this walking the last 6 miles. So, about 1 hour after registration opened on February 1st, I officially registered for my second Chicago Marathon!! I have 246 days to train, as opposed to 2 months. I'm running a half marathon in April, so I've been training. The local community college has an indoor track the public can use so I've been going there to run. For 1 mile, you have to run 13 laps and I just can't keep track of laps because it's monotonous enough running in circles. I can't torment myself with keeping track of laps. Instead, I've been running for a certain amount of time. I know I run at an 11-minute mile pace, so I just estimate how far. Wednesday, I ran for 1hour, 45minutes and it felt good. Plus running at the track, I can make a quick stop at the water fountain, and then get back out to running. Just like I would do during a race. So training is going great, and I'm already excited to be running another marathon this fall. My goal is to finish in 5-5:30 hours. Not a lofty goal at all, but it seems realistic for me. Now, time to get motivated.

January 20, 2012


*L&D unit, wee morning hours, mom presents in labor.

Mom: This child is my miracle baby

Nurselochia: Yeah?

Mom: Absolutely. We tried for year for a baby. Finally we had our daughter and we were on top of the world. But we wanted her to have a sibling. Someone to share life with. And we felt like our family wasn't quite complete. We wanted another child. So we tried, and tried and finally we got pregnant. Then I lost it. So we tried again. And again I lost the baby. This happened 3 times and I finally told my husband that I would try one more time. But if I miscarried another child, I couldn't do it again. We gave it another go. And I was happy but terrified when that second line came up. We waited until I was about 8 weeks to see the doc. We went in, both of us on edge and Doc did a sono to verify that I was pregnant. We saw the baby...but there was no heartbeat. No blood flow to the baby. We were devastated. Doc suggested we go home and give my body time to naturally miscarry. He wanted to see me back in a week just to check on me and we'd go from there if nothing was happening. I didn't want a D&C. So we went home and cried and started praying that God would allow my body to do what it had done with the 3 prior losses. But nothing happened. We went back a week later and saw Doc. He did another sono to see if anything was starting to happen, and the look on his face told me nothing had. He looked at me and said "I don't know how to tell you this..." and I interrupted "I know, I can tell nothing is happening". He said "No, that's not it at all. Here, look here". So I looked at the screen and there was this little flickering where there hadn't been a week ago". Doc said "See? This baby is alive. I don't understand it, but look at that!" And here we are, 40 weeks and I'm going to get to hold this little boy that I thought I'd never have!

I wasn't sure why her doc would have done another sonogram after the initial but I've never worked in an office before and that early pregnancy stuff I'm not so good with. I thought maybe she didn't quite understand everything, maybe she had been too early to see a heartbeat and that's why her doc wanted to recheck in a week. I also knew at 8weeks there should be a heartbeat. I also had no reason to doubt her. It just seemed so unlikely. I was skeptical until I looked at her prenatal record the office sent over. And right there, documented in this pregnancy history just as she had told me. "IUP at 8w. No cardiac activity noted." And then an entry that estimated gestation to be 9 weeks with a healthy heartbeat, followed by a long list of appointments that outlined her prenatal care, and verified that her dates were absolutely correct. Her doc affirmed her story at delivery. Maybe there was a more logical explaination as to what happened. Maybe they just "missed" the heartbeat, etc. But I choose to believe that they didn't miss anything, that this truly was a miracle. Why question something that had such a positive outcome? There wasn't a dry eye in the L&D department that night. A prayer was said as this little boy entered the world screaming and healthy. Very much full of life.

Who says God doesn't perform miracles?

January 9, 2012

One sign it's the end of a busy, busy night.

On one particularly busy, crazy night, I had a patient who we were watching for labor. She had an IV running for no other reason than to have it in "just in case she went into labor" and she decided wanted to get up and walk the halls. I saline locked her IV and just attached the end of the tubing to another port on the IV line, above the IV pump. She got up, walked for awhile and then decided she was ready to lay down. I flush her saline lock. About that time, I was called out of the room to go to the ER for a patient who came in by ambulance who was crowning. I quickly turn my pump back on, and make a mad dash to the ER where got the pleasure of catching a baby down in the ambulance bay while the ER staff stood as far away as possible. (They don't do labor...we don't do traumas. We have an understanding). Exhilarating. Anyway, I go in to check on my other patient who had been up walking, who was now asleep, and I'm surprised to see the IV bag looks suspiciously as full as it was when she went back to bed.* I use my clinical skills and I realized why...I never hooked the tubing back up to the saline lock. The fluid was just cycling through the pump, thus explaining why my bag volume looked the same...because it was. *Dumb* Thankfully, it was change of shift.

*no harm was done, before someone blasts me. Fluid was a *just because* order, so we'd have the line in if she went into labor and I was given "permission" to saline lock her if she got up and walked. I could have left her IV site saline locked or hooked fluid back up, and she was a little on the dehydrated side and I figured the fluid wouldn't hurt her.