Thursday, November 26, 2009

Little Olive

Lynette posted a very encouraging update.
Olive's infection has cleared and she is back to breathing room air. She also had a strong sucking reflex for the first time, so they may be able to begin trying to breastfeed later in the week.

Thanks for all of your prayers, love and support! You all are so amazing!

A little more on pregnancy...gagging

If you are easily offended or grossed out, stop reading right here.

I know that I gag easily, but these days it can be a bit ridiculous. Don't misunderstand- I don't feel ill like at the beginning of this pregnancy, but lately, my gag reflex is almost embarrassing. Snot, (even my own), can make me gag. This week at school, I gagged and had to leave a classroom after a student ... passed gas. And, I threw up in the bathroom sink because someone before me left a ... smell. I know, lovely things to discuss. This morning, on the way to the YMCA, I had to do some deep breathing in the car to stop gagging because...I drank OJ and water before I left?? Then, at the Y, I gagged when I saw someone who was very sweaty. WHAT!? I don't have any idea what that was about. Anyway, I was telling Wayne about my weirdness (who just rolls his eyes and laughs at me) and decided I'd share it with you. Because, what is better to discuss on Thanksgiving than gagging?

OK, I'll get back to putting up Christmas decorations and leave you be. Hope you're having a wonderful holiday :)

34 weeks


I signed up for a few weekly emails that give me information on each week of pregnancy. This week's email from babycenter seemed especially timely...

"Most of the time, your cardiovascular and nervous systems are able to adjust to the many changes taking place in your body, but occasionally they can't, and it can make your head spin. Dizziness or lightheadedness can be caused by a variety of things, such as standing up too fast, lying on your back, low blood sugar, anemia, and overheating."

Tuesday, for the first time, I did feel dizzy and light-headed throughout the morning, and I thought it was really weird. Then, my weekly email came yesterday. Aha! Oh the weirdness that pregnancy can cause.

Along with the same email was a little bit about the baby getting hiccups. Good timing as well since I've felt more hiccups this week. They feel very low and I'm hoping this means she is head down. We shall see.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

:( Olive

I realized this morning, that I never posted the latest update from Lynette and Rusty. They received very disappointing news that Olive's infection made it inadvisable for her to fly home to the states yesterday. This was quite a blow. This presents lots of challenges - the flight there for them and their doctor/nurses was arranged, and return tickets for the medical staff had already been purchased. There are also emotional challenges as they remain far away from family and friends, and financially as their insurance either has or soon will run out. So, it has been heavy news...please keep them in your prayers as they wait to see what is next.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The auction

The Auction for little Miss Olive Hope begins today!

http://auctionforolive.blogspot.com

Discouraging

Please read Lynette's blog for the complete update.

Olive has Staphylococcus Aureus, which means she has meningitis. Praying for healing of the infection and that she can stabilize enough for the trip to the states on the 24th.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

They're back

The boys made it home safely on Tuesday night.

I told Tyler I had seen a picture of him holding baby Jillian.

He said, "I held her more than one time. I had lots of practice for holding my new sister."

He paused, as though it had dawned on him, "I forgot...you're pregnant!"
Silly.

He also, apparently, bonded with his Daddy on this trip. The other night, I hollered at Wayne to come upstairs.

Tyler looked at me and said, "Don't yell at Daddy. That's my Daddy. Be nice to him. He is the best Daddy in the whole United States of America." :)

They had a great time. I am thankful that they could join in this special family time! And I'm also happy to hear that Jillian (and her parents) continue to do very well.

Infection for Olive

Lynette posted to her blog, which I would encourage you to read.

Olive has developed an infection from the temporary drain and has to be on two IV antibiotics again. The nurses are again having trouble starting an IV on her.

Tomorrow an opthamologist has to assess Olive's eyes again. Sounds like a very uncomfortable procedure. They put metal clips on her eyelids and pull them back - which makes Olive cry. :(

They are still planning to fly to Grand Rapids on November 24th! :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Government hospital and coming home?

Lynette posted an update on her blog. She reported that the doctors at the government hospital are overworked and after Olive's head circumference had continued to increase for six days, they finally put in another drain this morning (this evening in Thailand). Pray that she does not develop an infection so that they can fly home to the states on Monday, November 23rd!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Jillian

Sue sent me a couple more pictures tonight, and I think they're worth posting.
The new Showalter family

Tyler and Jillian...don't let her get away, Tyler! :O)


I miss my boys. While I'm thankful that they had this opportunity to visit, and it sounds like they had a great time, I'm so glad they're coming home tomorrow!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Potato Chips

Microwave Potato Chips
-Adapted from Taste of Home

1 potato
1 T or so olive oil
salt

Scrub the potato and cut into thin slices, about 1/16 inch-thick. (I used my mandolin). Lay 3 paper towels on a plate. Toss the potato slices in olive oil and arrange on the paper towel. Do not overlap. Sprinkle with salt. Microwave for 3 minutes. Turn and microwave for 2-3 minutes more until the potatoes are dry. Sprinkle on a little more salt. (I did 3 minutes/side and they were golden brown and crunchy). Let cool for at least a minute before serving.

Delicious!


OK, does it make it better or worse that I made these after I went to the YMCA tonight? :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Update from the boys...

Wayne and Tyler seem to be enjoying themselves with the family in Indianapolis. Sounds like Tyler has been Hollins' shadow. Today, Grandpa and Grandma Stuckey came down for their first visit to Hollins and Rachel's house.
Wayne sent me some pictures today.
Here is my new niece, Jillian Kaye.

Tyler and Caesar


Watching Daddy from the stairway.


I've also been enjoying my time at home. I've gotten a lot of little projects done around here. I guess that way I can relax with them when they get back. :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lynette posted this morning...

"This morning the neurosurgeon did another ultrasound and he was pleased with the results. He said that her brain tissue is continuing to expand and he was also pleased with how active she has been. For the last two days she has been breathing only room air, so that is also good news!

They are considering trying to switch all of her medicines to go through her ng tube and remove her IVs now that she is getting 22 ml of my milk 8 times a day. This way they won't have to keep poking her.

We are feeling encouraged as we crawl into bed tonight.

love,

Lynette"


Woo Hoo! Sweet little Olive - we love you so much. What encouraging news!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Olive moved again...

Lynette posted several updates to her blog since I have posted anything here. Sounds like there are still lots of changes, most recently with her being moved to the army hospital in Bangkok.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Goodbye boys

Ted and Sue, Wayne's parents, called us yesterday morning to tell us that Hollins and Rachel's new baby girl, Jillian Kaye, had been born. They were planning a week-long visit to Indianapolis, leaving at 6 am this morning.

Last evening, Wayne told me that he thought it'd be great if he and Tyler could go make an extended weekend visit sometime soon. We discussed whether I could go too - and decided I should stay here. I, rather impulsively, suggested that they tag along with his parents.

So, last night we got them all packed up and at 5 this morning, they headed to Hesston to meet up with Wayne's parents. I must admit, I miss them already. I've never been away from Tyler for more than two nights.

But, I also know they'll have a great time. I'm jealous of the time they'll get to spend together, and of holding new, sweet little Jillian. We looked at pictures last night, and Tyler declared that she is "adorable" and I must agree.

So, while they're gone, I'll work on getting some things done, relax and try not to miss them too much. :)

Lovey

A few times, when putting Tyler to bed, he has said,

"Mommy, you are so precious. I love you more than any person in the whoooooole world."

A few nights ago, he suddenly looked worried, and followed up with,

"What if some day, I meet someone that I love more than you? Will you be sad?"


Stinker. I love him so much too. :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jillian

I got a call right before leaving for work from Wayne's parents, Ted and Sue. I'm an aunt again! Hollins and Rachel had their baby girl, Jillian Kaye this morning. She was born at 5:06 am this morning, 36.5 weeks and weighed 6 pounds.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reflections from Mom and Lynette

Lynette both posted reflections on how she is processing what has happened and is happening with Olive.

Mom posted an excerpt from a book, I assume, titled High-Tide Grief is Not the Time to Speak Solutions.

I was touched by both.

Sweet Olive

I copied this update from Lynette's blog this morning...



Olive had a rather uneventful day today which we always are happy about. She is on room air with her oxygen, and though she is ready to come off the ventilator the doctor has decided to keep it in until her surgery is finished.

She has had very few seizures today (I only saw one), and has been able to control her body temperature much better. The neurosurgeon asked for the nurses to clamp her drain for 24 hours to assess how much her head grows during that time. 19 hours later it is still measuring the same at 32.5 cm, so this is also good news.

She has been comfortable most all of the day, except for the last time I visited her and she was getting poked and poked while they searched for new veins. The poor little dear! I had to leave so that I wouldn't make the nurses feel like someone was breathing down their necks, and will go back and visit her again in 30 minutes.

We are still waiting for a bed to open up for her at the NICU at the government hospital. The doctors are hoping that happens tomorrow, but they can't make any promises.

I left the hospital today and walked around in the sunshine for the first time since we have arrived a week ago. I forgot how healing just smelling fresh air and grass can be after being in a hospital for so long. I think I will try to make a habit of it.

Thank-you for your words of love and encouragement and continued prayers.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Olive...the next step

Lynette added a couple of updates on her blog. I'm copying here what they're plans are, but go to her blog to see pictures of how much the tap has made a difference in just four days or so.

Yesterday we had lots of meetings with the doctors discussing the next best step for Olive. A week ago when her temporary drain was put in the plan was to transfer her home to a hospital in the States once they took the drain out and she stabilized. We have been looking into options of getting Olive back to the States via air, but it seems as if those options continue to not be working out. Some of this is due to the number of stops a smaller plane would need to make and issues with changes in pressure. We have also looked into going with a commercial flight and taking along a doctor and nurse from here, but their have been issues with getting a stretcher on the flights (for her isolette) and oxygen issues and policies with the airlines.The other option would be to use an air ambulance service, but the cheapest option we can find is a minimum of $170,000 US dollars.

The doctors at our hospital are very well trained in medical evacuations and the specific requirements Olive would need to make a transfer at this point. They are suggesting for us to keep her here to do the VP shunt surgery. This is a major surgery where they place a shunt in her head that drains down her neck all the way into her peritoneum (in her abdomen). These shunts can stay in for a few years at a time if there are no complications. Usually doctors will wait as long as possible to do this surgery in small babies because of the risk of skin break down being greater the younger the baby is. However, in this circumstance the doctors think this would be the best option for Olive at this time.

The hospital we are at is very aware of our financial situation and the cap on our insurance so we have been working together to come up with the most ideal option for both Olive's care and our finances.The doctors here at Samitivej have a connection with a government army hospital here in Bangkok and one of the top neurosurgeons there (who works back and forth between private and government hospitals). He was trained in Australia and speaks great English, and the doctors here have full confidence in him. He has agreed to take Olive's case. If Olive is transferred to that hospital the cost of the surgery will drop significantly. They also tell us that this hospital has a better equipped NICU then the one we had Olive at in Chiang Rai.

So...after much thought and talking with a neonatologist in the States, we told the doctors this morning that we would like her to get the surgery done at the government hospital and then we will see how it goes having her there. If we feel we would rather have her at the private hospital again after seeing how they care for her at the government hospital, then we will go ahead and transfer her back here to Samitivej. If she is here at Samitivej I know she will always have one nurse focusing only on her, and that there will be no visiting hour limitations...and that they really encourage skin to skin and helping me begin trying to breast-feed her as well. But we will see...maybe the staff at the Army hospital will be wonderful too and we will feel confident in their care for her.

They are saying Olive will need to stay in the hospital after the shunt surgery for another month, and then after that they would like us to stay at a hotel or apartment close by and practice caring for her on our own (breast-feeding...etc) for another month. Then if she has any issues during that month they can help us or if she would have any complications. After that time is up, if we feel confident in caring for her and if she is stable (if she can regulate her body temp and is off oxygen, and eating well) we could take a commercial flight home. Craziness.

So...i guess we will be here in Bangkok for another two months or so. This is not what we were expecting, but it seems to be our only current option and I think I can speak for both of us in saying that we feel a peace about it.

Rusty is in Chiang Rai tying up loose ends and packing up a few more things since we originally thought we might be leaving for home in the next few days. He will return tonight to be back in time for Olive's surgery. So the journey continues...thank-you to all of you who are walking it with us.

Olive has been stable. The doctors think her apnea was maybe do to fluid overload in her lungs from replacing the fluid they were taking out of the drain. They put her back on the ventilator just for a few days to help her rest and help her gain weight easier. They said they can take it out today, but recommended keeping it in until her surgery is over since they would need to put it back in for the surgery anyways. She is having fewer and fewer seizures so that is good too. Today she seems to be very comfortable. Pray that her brain would be able to expand again after the intense pressure it experienced from the fluid in her head...this is a concern the doctors talked with us about. Please continue praying for damaged cells to be made new...

Love,

Lynette

Monday, November 2, 2009

Apple-Raisin Bread Pudding

I made this bread pudding last night for dessert. I halved the recipe and used an 8x8 inch pan. It's good comfort food on a cold evening.

Apple-Raisin Bread Pudding
Taste of Home -

"Our six children love this for breakfast on a chilly morning, but try it for your next party. It makes the kitchen smell warm and cozy." Janelle Fahnestock, Lititz, Pennsylvania

12 Servings
Prep: 20 min. Bake: 40 min.

Ingredients
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 loaf (1 pound) day-old cinnamon-raisin bread, cubed
3 cups chopped peeled tart apples
7 eggs
2-1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract

VANILLA SAUCE:
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold water
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
Pour butter into a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Combine bread cubes and apples; sprinkle over butter. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla. Pour over bread.
Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. (I left it in for an additional 10 minutes, and the knife still had butter on it, so I pulled it out. It was done).

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt and water until smooth. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Serve with warm bread pudding. Yield: 12 servings (1-1/4 cups sauce).

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

Double click for a larger view. Tyler saw this collage. He said, pointing at the pictures of him wearing the white wig, "don't ever show those pictures to anyone, not ever." I just love his "scary" faces, though.

Tyler woke up yesterday, after weeks of anticipating Halloween, and said excitedly, "today we can be really creepy." We made "creepy food" to celebrate.

Tyler (Darth) and his friend, Oliver, (football player) enjoyed trick-or-treating together last night.


Lynette's reflections

Lynette updated her blog with some reflections on God's faithfulness and love.