Friday, February 26, 2010

Infertility has a face - my review of "The View"

The other day I happened to see a commercial for "The View" scheduled to air yesterday morning. It was said to be an entire episode about dealing with infertility. Needless to say, I set it to record on my DVR. While folding laundry last night, I watched the episode.

Now I know everyone has their own opinions on the panel and outspoken nature of one or more of the ladies on there, I won't get into that on here (even though I do have my own opinions of who I like to listen to and who I like to avoid!).

It certainly brought back some memories and terminology that I have not used in a few years! I applaud them for bringing the discussion out, and devoting an entire episode to it. That alone should show you how much of America deals with some form of this issue. We tend to hide out in the dark feeling so lonely dealing with the super sensitive issue.

Then they brought out a celebrity couple Bill and Giuliana Rancic to discuss their public infertility struggles. I think the most profound statement Giuliana made was about celebrity couples that conceive in their late 30's, 40's have twins, etc make it seem so easy. That they can focus on their career for their 20's and 30's, then have kids and have it all. However, what is not discussed is the fact that by the age of 30, 97% of your eggs are gone. And most of these celebrities have also gone through fertility treatments, had egg donors and surrogates. The public does not know this, but will model their careers and successes after some of these celebrities.

After that they brought out other "regular" people and interviewed them about their struggles. Honestly, I was bored when I got to one lady, so I stopped watching at that point. While I don't feel all was said about the struggles and heart ache of infertility, I am glad they showed what they did and put a face to the issue. I just don't think that all could be discussed and understood by the general public in an hour episode. I don't think the pain and struggles could be shown in an hour episode. However, I do feel this showed the tip of the iceberg and will encourage folks to start discussing it with their doctor.

I would count this as a successful episode if only one person would feel comforted, not alone, and willing to discuss their issues with their doctor! I even applaud them more by putting more in depth resources on their website. This episode has a thumbs up from me, good job "The View"!

Click here for a link to the episode if you want to watch it on Hulu.

Click here for a link to someone that has blogged about their personal struggles of dealing with infertility for years.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Update on Bethany

Caution: Hard reading ahead
My heart breaks for my friend Amy and her family, I just can not imagine dealing with this horrible cancer in their little three year old. I received an update the other day and wanted to share it with those that were wondering how they are doing. (For those of you that did not see my first post about Bethany, or want to still contribute for Project Smile, please click on this link.)
Bethany and her Mommy
Hello friends,
My husband and I went to Ann Arbor yesterday to meet with a few doctors. We were kind of hoping to get some good news. However, after talking to the doctors for over 2 hours the news is NOT good. Bethany will no longer be receiving any treatment. Her cancer has progressed so much that at this point, nothing would really help. The doctors went into great detail why she would not be able to get any treatment. Rather than just saying no, they actually explained it. We talked a lot about what other hospitals have and basically, there is nothing out there that U of M does not have.
She has cancer basically on every bone of her body except her hands and feet. 95% of her bone marrow on her left side has cancer in it and 50% on the other side has cancer in it. The cancer has done major damage in her skull area. The bones near her cheeks and sinus area have eroded and so even if they were able to get rid of more cancer, they would never be able to fix those bones. Those eroded bones in and of itself are fatal.
Basically, we are at the point right now, where we are really concentrating on keeping her pain free. She will continue to get transfusions for a short time, maybe a couple of weeks top. After the transfusions stop working, then she will have just a few days left.

I apologize if this is a very difficult thing to read. Trust me, I understand how emotionally hard it is to hear our story and what Bethany is going through. My own emotions are going through the roof. I HATE having to look at funeral homes for my 3 year old little girl. I HATE seeing her miserable. I HATE feeling stressed, confused, sad and really scared.

I continue to put my trust in God... I know He sees each of my tears and hears my heart cry. I will continue to turn my eyes on the Lord.

Please continue to pray... Please pray for my family. These next few days are going to be extremely difficult on all of us, especially Bethany's older sisters. They know that Bethany is very sick, but I don't think they have a clue what is going to happen.

Thank you all for your continual support and love shown through all of the mail. It really has brightened our day!

God Bless,

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Our NICU Story

As I saw a sweet little baby at church tonight, I could not believe how tiny she was! I asked how much this little 3 week old baby weighed, and she was over 7 pounds. It made me realized I can't now remember how little our 3 pound babies were! I got back out my NICU book I made, and flipped through it. As cute and as little as they were, I am very thankful to be past the three preemies stage! I thought I would share in case anyone else would like a peek into the boys 25 day NICU adventure.
(under the pages below the book, you can click on the link to make it larger.)

Click here to view this photo book larger

Friday, February 19, 2010

Night Time Routines

The other night we were doing our bed time routine. I realized how far we have come from having three little infants and putting them to bed! However, they have gotten more quirky as they have gotten older. For some reason Dan can't ever cover them up correctly. They all have noise makers and their music. They have had those since they were born and they even travel with us!

When the boys were born and came home from the NICU, they had to be woken up every 3 hours to be fed, which was a chore to get preemies to eat. We were so sleep deprived! Eventually we got on a schedule that one of us took the first half of the shifts, and the other one took the second half of the shifts at night. Oh the first time to sleep for 5 hours straight was glorious! Once their pediatrician gave us the go ahead, we then started to get them to sleep through the night. By three months we had them sleeping through the night and they have been good sleepers ever since! I say "good" rather than "great" since they get me up at 6:30 every morning :) They have their moments, especially with sickness, travel and stalling that they try and push the limits, like all kids do.

Our bedtime routine starts with a calm down activity. Reading books, watching something together, etc. Then we change into pj's, 1 gets his pull ups (the other two are night time potty trained), brush teeth, then go to pray and sing.

Each child gets to pick a song. They get stuck in a rut! There are times we have to ban certain songs because if I have to sing "Three little Monkeys" or "ABC's" one more time I will go insane! We pray, and tuck into bed.

Easton is strange like his Mommy. We love how the cold pillowcase feels on our cheek. One
time when he was little and sick I had to change his pillowcase. The only one in the middle of the night I could find was the one I had in college and could never part with. It was perfectly cold and soft. Since then it has been his favorite bed time buddy. It will rotate from needing to be covering him under his blankets, rolled up, and currently folded perfectly into a rectangle.

Quinton he has to sleep on his right side, blankets pulled up to his chin, and holding the object of choice at the moment. He trades who is his night time favorite. On one hand it's very nice that he can trade easily, but on the other hand you don't know what he is wanting and trying to locate the item can be a challenge. It is usually one of three; Baby, sheep or prayer bear.

Dalton has had his blue stuffed cow since he was an infant. Struggling with asthma, stuffed animals are really bad for him. I had found an asthma friendly brand of animals when he was little. It can handle all the washings really well! It was only around for a short time when Dan asked me what the cow's name was. I said "Molly" as a joke, "to give me another girl in the house". It has been Molly ever since! Dalton pulls on the silky pink ears and they are coming apart. Since I am sewing-challenged Molly's poor ears are broken and hanging.

Fresh Pj's, clean teeth, blankets smoothed, special items in hand, noise makers on, music on, lights out.... ZZZZZZZZ

That is a peek into what we are doing around 7:30/8:00 every night. What is your bed time routine with your kids?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Disappointments, Dreams, Discovery

This past weekend has been one of those times that make your head hurt because you are thinking too hard. I've been processing all this for a while, so I decided if I blog about it, I might get a better nights sleep.

Friday Dan and I tried out a highly recommended babysitter. Believe it or not it's from another family in my Moms of Multiples club in Arkansas! Their favorite babysitter left for college, and it's the school where Dan is teaching at. We left for two hours, the boys did well!

During those two hours we met with a Realtor to nail down the details of what we are looking for, where, etc. We excitedly got home and discussed all these details for hours that night. I woke up in the middle of the night and could not imagine we might be able to get our dream home. Saturday I woke up to an email that the loan was denied for our buyers on our Arkansas home only 8 days before closing.

I felt Deflated. Frustrated. Angry. Disappointed. Crushed. Mad.

Then my laptop died. My source of communication to the outside world! (yes, I am dramatic when it comes to my laptop) Especially since we have not been in TN long enough to meet friends yet. At least ALL my photos and digital scrapbooking is on my external drive. Nope, that would not pull up either.

I again felt very emotional.

Then I started praying to the Lord that I will react better in this situation. Don't take it out on others, don't speak before I think, just don't burst.

Then I thought of Bethany. And Amy. And Project Smile. I had to turn this around. People are dealing with far worse situations!

Yes, our dreams of things running smoothly had halted. Our seamless transition has a ripple. We are thankful once again that we are renting a home rather than having two mortgages to pay. We are thankful for our health. We are thankful for Dan's job.

It is still on my mind, trying to decide what I can do from 7 hours away to make the house sell faster. All the "what if"s are there. I am not perfect, I still struggle with all that.

Now I'm just really trying to put this all into perspective and look to the positive!!!

Here is a picture from our movie night I took with
my phone to send to the Grandparents.
Horton Hears a Who was pretty good, the boys sat through it fairly well!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Project Smile

With a heavy heart I write this. I have a friend that I went to college with and Dan grew up with in MI. She has three girls and her youngest, Bethany, at 16 months of age was diagnosed with Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma. She is younger than my boys.

I have been receiving updates via her Facebook prayer page, and CarePages. Her most recent scans this week shows now the cancer over her entire skeleton. They are having to look at pediatric hospice for this little angel of a girl.

As a mom, I can not imagine having to deal with this whole process. My heart aches for that family with every update I see. However their love and faith in our Lord has truly kept them going. Every day when I think of this family, I go to the Lord in prayer asking for his guidance and peace for them. I want to help in any way I can, as I think we all feel!

A few weeks back a few of you might have remembered getting a note from me asking you to help with Project Smile. It is a simple process. Innendate Bethany and her sisters with mail! If you could PLEASE send something, just ONCE! More often, if you can. A recent message from Amy tells about the smiles that her girls get every day when checking the mail. They have at least 50 pieces of mail a day and read each and every one of them. The local Police came out to meet Bethany and give her well wishes! Please think about taking a moment and sending her a card for Project Smile.

Sisters Katy & Audrey with Bethany

The gold ribbon represents Pediatric Cancer Awareness.

I have included the original Jan 16th email below from Amy about the kick off of Project Smile:
"Hello Friends, As you may or may not have heard, we got some pretty difficult news from Bethany's doctors this week. We have never been given a time frame on Bethany's life expectancy before, but this week the doctors gave us one. The chemo that she has been having has not been working. If this continues and nothing we try does damage to the cancer, than she may only have 2-4 months left. We have been waiting to get on a brand new clinical trial. If that one works, that may add another 2-4 months. What do you say or do when someone tells you that your child has only a few short months left in this world? How do you smile? How do you find the strength to even get out of bed? The only answer that I know is through JESUS! Our families heart has been so overwhelmed with sadness these last few days. It is only by the grace of God and His mercies that we have peace. We have to now focus on the happiness of Bethany. We do not want these next few months to be miserable on her. It brakes our heart to see her feeling sick and we want to do everything we can to brighten her spirit. So, I really feel the Lord placed an idea on my heart. Here it is: PROJECT: SMILE! We would like to brighten Bethany's day with a piece of mail from those who have been praying for her. So many people have asked me if there is anything they can do for her or our family and this would be a great idea. Help bring a smile on Bethany's face and not only her face, but her sisters and family member's faces. Send a card or postcard. She loves getting mail!! It doesn't have to be anything special. If you need an idea, she loves animals and in particular puppies. We really aren't asking for anything special, just a simple hello will do.

Our address is:
The Hagerman Family
1257 Leonard Ave.
Muskegon, MI 49442

We are so thankful for all of your prayers and love! May God bless each of your lives in such amazing ways!! Keep believing for that miracle!!
With much love, Amy"

You can find out more about Bethany by clicking here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New House

Whew, we did it! We are all unpacked! Well, as unpacked as we will be here in our rental house. It has been a lot of work, but we wanted it done before Dan's classes started. We even put up a few of our decorations, while the rest will stay in boxes until we have a more permanent home. When we first were deciding our move date, I was overwhelmed with the thought of moving so fast. Now that we are here, I am glad we have had these couple weeks to get settled. A lot goes into a move, especially when it's to a new state! Change of address, phones, cell phones, license, vehicles, insurance, magazines, etc. We have been able to work on these a few at a time so that we felt more settled when Dan "officially" started teaching, although he has been in the office on and off since we have arrived.

A few people have asked what our plans our. Well, we don't have any set in stone at this moment. We have been blessed to find a rental house in the town we believe we want to eventually have a home. This allows us to be in the right school district to get the boys on the pre-school wait list, search homes in the area, and find out if we don't mind the 15 min commute to Dan's work, church, etc. So far we have been happy with the area, and have heard great things about the school district which backs up our research. The drive has not been an issue since Dan previously had a drive of 45 min to work.

As I write this and look at the pictures of the rooms all nice and tidy, I sit in the midst of Trios being built into robots, airplanes and dogs. As much as I am really liking the hardwood floors in this house, they make for strewn toys to travel a lot further! By the way, if you have any 3 year old boys or girls that love building, I can not say enough about the Fisher Price Trios! They work like Legos and Knex, but for younger kids. They click together really well and hold their shapes better. However, will work with more complicated sets when they get older. Click here to see the sets. Oh, and for the girlie girls, Amazon sells them in pink and purple sets too!

Back to what I was blogging about... this will be home for a while, and we'll keep you updated on the house hunting process. Please pray for us to have the Lord's guidance for our next steps. These next steps are choosing a new place to live, finding a church home, and everything else that comes with a new place. Now... here are some pictures of our house!

Here is the front of the house
(while the snow storm was upon us the other day):

Here are the rooms (click on the picture for a larger view):
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