Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I wanna go to camp, too!

This looks like SOOOOO much more fun than the week I've been having -- can I go to camp, too??

**Mackenzie & new friends -- Mackenzie on far left of front row, making bunny ears!**

**Kenzie on pool deck, with friend and counselor**

**On "her" horse -- she's doing the "Jr. Trailriding Camp" this week!!**

Somebody pack my bag and let me go too!!



My two partners, Audrey and Lori, both ended up going out of town for a week at the same time, leaving me home with a full load of clients and praying like crazy that it would work out. And I guess it HAS worked out -- somewhat -- in the sense that at least I haven't had two in labor at the same time yet!!! My schedule over the last few days:

Friday night into Saturday AM -- up until 4 AM waiting for a thoughtless teenager (who shall remain nameless) to decide to come home after going out with friends for the evening...... that in itself is a whole 'nother story!!

Saturday AM -- woken up at 6:45 AM by the puppy, who desperately needed a potty break! Then up for several hours working on finishing up the packing for my youngest daughter, as she was leaving for camp (River Valley Ranch) on Sunday after church. I was moving at a leisurely pace -- partially because I was pretty on top of getting things ready early and partially because I was tired from lack of sleep!! In the early afternoon, I got a call that a client might be in labor -- uh, oh -- time to go get a nap -- QUICK!!! Off to bed for several hours, then up to work on the packing again. At which point I got a call from the midwife: "Need you here -- NOW!!! So I dropped everything, threw the not-yet-complete packing list at my husband, and ran out the door!!

Got the birth center; the mom was completely dialated and beginning to push -- YIPPEE!!! Baby was born shortly after 9 PM, no problems at all. Client went home shortly after midnight and I was home and in bed by around 2:30 AM. Now I was pretty tired........

But....... I had to get up first thing in the AM for church. On any other Sunday, I might've considered staying home and sleeping off the birth; but on this day, the plan was to leave directly from church to take our daughter to camp. So -- off we went to church, then directly to camp, which is about a 1 hour, 20 minute drive north of us, right on the MD/PA state line. We arrived around 2 pm, got her checked in, bed made up, and all that kind of stuff, and then drove back home. I actually nodded off in the car several times on the way home -- I was pretty tired.

Arrived home around 6 pm, and at 6:30 pm (I'm NOT kidding!!), I got a call that ANOTHER client might be in labor........oh, my....... off to the sofa to lay down and rest. Please, God -- could this MAYBE be a false alarm??!! Nope -- at 10:30 I got the call to come to the birth center -- and to PLEASE hurry...... I arrived at the birth center at 11:10 PM. The client's car was parked all cross-ways across the driveway; the backdoor to the center was unlocked and ajar; the entrance foyer at the bottom of the steps was strewn with clothing and messy chux pads -- OH, NO!!! I went running up the stairs, only to hear the midwife calling out, "Hey, Pam!! She had the baby a few minutes ago!!" Again, thankfully, all was well, though it was an incredibly fast turn of events!! Mom, dad, and baby went home around 2AM. But the midwife and I were VERY tired and feeling a bit punchy, and it took us quite a while to get things cleaned up and organized. After that, we sat around and talked for about 45 minutes. Why??? I don't know...... I think we were both too tired to be thinking straight!!

I reached home around 5:30 AM and since I knew my husband would be getting up shortly, I decided to rest on the sofa and not wake him up. When he left for work, I got up and went to bed. Unfortunately, I was woken by a phone call at 9:45 AM from my oldest daughter, who needed a ride home from class..... blah......... I told her I'd get there whenever I could and she'd just better sit tight!! I ended up not picking her up until almost noon -- I just could NOT get myself moving.

After coming home and eating and trying to wake myself out of the stupor I was in, I got a phone call at 2:30 that -- can you believe it?? -- ANOTHER client might be in labor???? HELP -- I'm drowning..... Off to bed for another nap. I think I slept about 4 hours before getting up, eating dinner, and just trying to take it easy.

The call from the midwife to come to this birth (at the client's home in Alexandria, Virginia) came around 9 PM. Off to Virginia again -- 3rd trip to Alexandria in three days. My car ought to be able to make that trip on autopilot, don't you think?? Beautiful baby girl was born at 4:30 AM today; mom and baby are doing well.

And me??? I am BEYOND tired...... is there a stronger word than "exhausted"??!! I got about 4 1/2 hours of sleep this AM into the mid-afternoon. Hopefully, I can to bed early tonight and try to get my body back into the correct time zone!!!

Unfortunately, I still have a client who is now 4 days overdue! PLEASE, God -- no more births, at least not tonight!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

How many pairs of shoes......

....does a 10-year-old need in order to survive 5 days at camp?

I may have a budding Imelda Marcos on my hands....... (and we're NOT done packing yet!)


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's ALWAYS spring in my kitchen!

My sister's mention on her blog of finding wild orchids on their property in Honduras gave me the thought that it was time to share (read "BRAG!!!") about the orchids I grow in my kitchen. The original pair of orchids were not mine -- for some reason, my husband wanted to try his hand at growing them, and so we bought two for him. Unfortunately, he lost interest rather quickly, and somehow I decided I needed to save these poor plants from an untimely demise....... and then family and friends decided I MUST be really interested in this...... and started buying orchids for ME...... and thus began my orchid collection and education. My friends think I have a green thumb or a passion for orchids; I really don't have either. I've just done a bit of reading, a LOT of talking with people that grow orchids, and learned just enough tricks to make the poor things stay alive!

A little knowledge is probably a dangerous thing in this case, because I think I might be over-fertilizing them; as a result, I get blossoms that last for MONTHS on end and plants that keep reproducing and overgrowing their pots. One of my plants is BADLY in need of being divided -- but I have no clue how to do this! I guess it's time for me to go find one of my orchid experts again to help me.

And without further ado, here are pictures and comments about my kitchen greenery -- enjoy this extra bit of springtime!!

PLANT #1 -- just beginning to bloom in January

Plant #1 (again) -- check out all the buds on those stems -- it was GORGEOUS by February!! (and just lost the last of its blooms three days ago -- wow!!)

Plant #2 -- blooming in January

And now blooming AGAIN in June:

Plant #3 -- piles of flowers blooming in January --

And STILL blooming in June --

Sadly, plants #4 and #5 have had "issues" this year and decided not to bloom! Their "neighbors", however, certainly made up for that laziness!!

And here's the view of the kitchen window yesterday --

Monday, June 22, 2009

The purpose of going through the rough times??

This is another question I've thought about many times over the last few years. I can come up with pat little answers: "Suffering teaches you lessons"; "It makes you stronger"; "It brings you closer to God"; etc. And while these are probably true, at least in part, those answers never seem like enough to satisfy.

Almost as soon as I hit the "send" button after the last posting, a Bible verse came to mind -- one that I have not thought of in years. I remember I HATED trying to memorize this verse as a child, because it seemed like so much of a tongue-twister to me. And yet, in this time of unsettledness in my life and the lives of so many around me, God brought THIS particular verse to mind.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NKJV)-- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

As I was typing this verse, I decided to do an internet search on it, and turned up this wonderful paraphrase:

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 -- What a wonderful God we have - He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does He do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us.

I don't know if this is an official "version" of the Bible, but that paraphrase makes it so clear to me. By going through those difficult times, whatever they might be, I become more compassionate to those around me who are going through suffering. It makes me able to cry with my client going through labor to deliver a baby who is already gone; it makes me WILLING to pray for MckMama and Stellan and family, a family I've never even met; it urges and compels me to go seek out our pastor whose mother died and give him a hug after church yesterday. I can FEEL their pain, because I've been in their place, walked that same path, felt the same grief and anguish myself.

Do I WANT to suffer? Oh, NO -- not for a moment!! But I pray that when those times come -- and I KNOW they WILL come again -- I pray that I can thank God for the opportunity to learn more about trusting Him and that I can use those times to learn how to share even more compassionately with those around me who are suffering. Oh God, make me willing to learn.......


Miscellaneous thoughts on life and God

A week like the one past causes me to reflect on life, how quickly it passes, how swiftly things change, and how we need to be dependent on God, who is faithful through all of life's craziness.

The death of baby Logan, not even ready to be born yet, struck me profoundly. Why him? Why not me or you? Why not somebody else's child? And yet God, in His infinite and great plan, has a reason for his all-too-brief existence. What is the reason? I don't know -- maybe I never will know in this lifetime. But his short life has me reflecting again on God's closeness in my life during times of need, and I pray that this experience will impact Logan's family in the same way.

Then I read this entry, posted here on McKMama's blog. I feel like I could've written it myself, especially four years ago when we were going through my husband's cancer treatment; I could identify with every word she wrote.

This paragraph, especially, reached out and grabbed my attention:

When I feel helpless, what other choice do I have than to cry out "Lord, help me! Lord, help me! Lord, help me!" And as I frantically grasp for Jesus' hand with my own, clawing to get a grip as I'm gasping for breath in the darkness of the valley I find myself plummeting into, God meets me. As I grope about in my darkest hours, God lights a lamp of hope. And only then is there light enough for me to see that, although I am searching with my hands to find God's so that I won't fall any further, He already has me. His powerful, righteous hand is always holding me, and not just by the hand, either. He has such a tight grip on me that there is no way I'll fall where He can't reach me.

At church yesterday, I learned that the mother of one of our pastors unexpectedly died from a stroke on Saturday, and is now in the presence of God Himself! While a shock to his family, and while they are no doubt grieving tremendously, what a comfort to know that this life is NOT the end -- that there is so much more, so much that is BETTER, than what we experience here.

Why am I posting this? I don't know -- God has put it on my heart, and it just feels good to put these thoughts down in writing. So I'll end by quoting the end of McKMama's post:

As we watch Stellan walk this road, and our family walks it along with him, I am trying to remember that "our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." 2 Corinthians 4:17. A closer, more personal, deeper walk with the Lord is an amazing relationship that, at times, seems to grown and thrive best in seasons of deep pain and hurt.

I choose to praise God in this storm. In fact, I will praise Him for this storm.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thoughts as I stroll down memory lane

Four years ago today, I was sitting in the local hospital with my hubby, who had undergone surgery for colon cancer the day before. During that time, I wrote e-mails to keep people updated on what was happening. That was MUCH easier than fielding dozens of phone calls every day. I decided a few days ago to go back and read all of those e-mails. I had saved every one, as a way to document what we were doing, how we were feeling, how people helped us, how God was with us each step of the way. And boy, did reading those ever bring back a flood of memories.

I decided to write about this today. Writing is good "therapy" for me -- it clears my mind. But four years ago, our journey with colon cancer began, even though we didn't know it at the time.

A month before then, N was drinking that horrible stuff they have you consume before doing a colonoscopy. Boy, that stuff is FOUL!! I know my day for drinking it will come soon enough, but in the meantime, I'm certainly not glad it's right now!!

On May 10, 2005, he had his colonoscopy. This is part of the e-mail I sent to my pastor and church's prayer chain the day after the colonoscopy:

(May 11)
If you could please pass this on to the prayer chain and/or the men's group e-mail list, we'd appreciate it. N went to the doctor on Tuesday for a "routine" colonoscopy. During the procedure, they found a 4-centimeter bleeding polyp embedded in the wall of the colon. The polyp has been removed and sent to a lab for a biopsy. Please be praying with us that this is non-cancerous and will cause no problems. His family has a very strong history of cancer (sister, mother, two uncles all died of cancer), and so this is very worrisome to him. Thanks for your prayers!!

At that time, we were told to return to the doctor's office on May 31st for the follow-up. However, on May 12th, we received a call from the doctor's office. From my e-mail again:

(May 12)
I wanted to let you all know that N's doctor's officecalled a little while ago. The results of the biopsy are already in, and they want to move his follow-up appointment (scheduled for 5/31) up to this coming Monday -- and they literally told us, "You pick the time". Of course, they won't tell us anything via phone, so we will have to wait 3 1/2 days to find out anything more.

God's big lesson to me in the last few years has been to learn
(REALLLY learn!) that He is in control (I LOVE that song that came
out a few years ago -- "God is in control, we believe that His
children will not be forsaken...."). And if there's anything I've
learned from working with birthing women over the years, it's that
I'm NOT in control -- all the worrying in the world will not change
the outcome!! So until Monday, I'm hanging on to Jer. 29:11 -- "I
know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not
for evil, to give you a future and a hope!!"

I'm still praying for a cancer-free outcome -- but also for the
peace to accept whatever comes our way, and the wisdom to know what
to do. Keep praying.....

Wow -- I think those were four of the longest days in my life. Somehow, I already knew what the diagnosis would be; I just didn't want to believe it.

(May 16)
Background for those of you who don't know: N had a colonscopy last week. The doctor found and removed a 4-cm. polyp and sent it to a lab for biopsy.

Visit with the doctor today for follow-up: The growth IS a malignant cancer. The biopsy was unable to state definitely that all the cancer was removed or that it has not grown through the wall of the colon. They THINK it was caught in time, but will not state that 100% at this time. The plan is:

* Pelvic cat-scan tomorrow
* Meet with surgeon in the next few days
* Have partial colonectomy (partial removal of colon) sometime in the next few weeks -- the sooner, the better from the doctor's perspective
* Hospital stay of approximately 3-7 days, then post-op recuperation at home for several more days ( ? )
* Follow-up after surgery with an oncologist (cancer specialist) to determine whether any cancer treatment will be necessary

Please be praying for us, as we have a lot of decisions to make very quickly. This also comes at an extremely busy time for us right now, as many of you know, with ML having her musical in the next two weeks, graduating on June 6th, and NR getting married on July 16. Please pray for patience, wisdom, peace........ and whatever else I'm not thinking of right now.

Sorry this is so short, but I need to be with the girls right now. They're not handling this so well. Pray for them, too!

The next few days were a whirlwind of appointments. This is my message from May 20:

We went to meet with the surgeon yesterday. We stopped on the way to his office and picked up the CT scans -- but the stupid radiology people didn't have the report typed up and faxed to the surgeon in time for our appointment (sorry, just venting here!!) I feel like everything is just "hurry up and WAIT"..... Anyway, with the information he has thus far, he's talking about removing approximately a 10" segment of rectum and lower intestines, and re-connecting them; removing the blood vessels that supply that area; and removing the surrounding lymph nodes. Surgery will probably last 4 - 5 hours.

Doing the meeting without the report was very frustrating. The CT scans had little arrows all over them pointing at things -- but totally useless, since there was no report to explain what those are about. So right now, the plan is for the surgeon to receive the report, and if everything looks the way we THINK and pray it will, we'll go back in next Wednesday for a final review of everything. If the report comes in and says those little arrows are "bad things"....... well, I'm not sure!!

We discussed our crazy schedule with him, and he's decided that unless those little arrows ARE "bad things", we can wait until after ML's graduation to do the surgery. So the current plan is to "party hard" and enjoy graduation on the 6th; probably do the colon cleansing thing again on the 7th (yuck), and the operation on the 8th. That's assuming there is available space in an operating room that day. The doctor's going to be checking on that and getting back to us on that. Then N would probably stay out of work until NR's wedding, and go back to work in mid-July. That's the plan, anyway........ And you know what they say about the best-laid plans......!

Five days later, on May 25:

Well, there's good news, and so-so news! (Not really "bad" news, I think....)

Good news is -- based on the radiology report and the CT scan, it doesn't look like the cancer has spread beyond the colon. Of course, the final confirmation will be the biopsy of the lymph nodes after removal, but right now, everything looks good.

The so-so news -- during the CT scan, they discovered a rather good-sized bladder stone (it never caused problems before, but it's definitely in there!). The second piece of so-so news is that in order to coordinate a surgery with TWO doctors from different specialties (because the urology guy needs to be there now, too), they can't get a surgery room and the two doctors together at the same time until June 16th. So surgery is now scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on June 16th at Howard County General Hospital.

While we were at the surgeon's office, he spoke directly with the pathologist who did the biopsy on N's polyp. The pathologist said that 80% of what was removed was cancerous. Thank the Lord -- it looks like we probably caught this just in time. During our discussions with the surgeon, all of us were waffling back and forth on which type of surgery would be best to perform, since there are different ways of going about this. The decision has been made to perform the most extensive of the options, since the polyp was so cancerous, and also so we can be truly certain that nothing has spread into lymph nodes. While it will mean a hefty recovery, it will be the most likely to provide a good long-term fix to this problem.

Big item of prayer -- because of the scheduling problems with the surgery, this puts the surgery at only 4 weeks before NR's wedding. Not a lot of room for unexpected situations!! So please pray for, obviously, the surgeons to be able to deal with anything they find, but also that N recovers quickly and with no complications.

I guess what struck me most in all of this is how much our life changed in just a matter of days. On May 10th, we were grumbling about what a nasty procedure a colonoscopy was. Fifteen days later, we were finalizing plans for cancer surgery.

I learned a lot that summer about not being in control, as much as I LIKE to be! And I think that's why the stories of these families with young children suffering from cancer has struck me so deeply -- none of us knows what tomorrow will bring. We need to let our families, friends, everyone that's important to us know that we love them TODAY!! There may not be a tomorrow.

Go give someone a hug today and tell them you love them!!! (And I'm going to stop now and finish this up some other time -- otherwise, it may turn into the world's longest blog posting ever!)


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I solved the crime!!

The unobservant detective (me!!) was working on the computer and left both the dogs "sleeping" in the living room (mistake #1 -- "Never leave puppies unattended!") The conspirators were very quiet for a long time, and so I didn't bother to go check up on them from time to time (mistake #2 -- "Never ASSUME labs are behaving while unattended!")

All of a sudden, I heard sounds of skidding across the kitchen linoleum and a loud CRASH!! I went down the hall to investigate and the first thing I saw upon arriving at the crime scene was shredded paper napkins across the living room floor.... sigh..... Thankfully, my trusty vacuum was sitting nearby -- hadn't put it away after yesterday's "trashing" episode (I'm a slow learner!!) -- so I started vacuuming up the pieces. While walking across the carpet, I detected a little dampness under my feet, but chalked that up to last night's little pee accident not being completely dry (another crime episode!), plus the high humidity from today.

After the napkins at the scene of the crime were cleaned up, I went to the kitchen to investigate further to find out what the crash had been. The kitchen floor was SOAKED and the mops, brooms, and swiffers had been knocked down. What on earth?? Was the culprit trying to clean up the mess herself? Trying to remove evidence? And where WAS she now, anyway........????

I made my way back down the hall to the bedroom, following the damp carpet trail, to see where she was -- and there I found the criminal on the mat, soaked to the bone and shivering -- it's kind of chilly out today -- (and now, the mat was soaked, too!)

"What wet spot?????"

"Surely you don't think I was involved????"

Uh, oh, don't tell me she got in the kiddie pool all by herself..... We've been trying and trying to convince her that it's a fun place to play, but unless one of us got in there with her, she didn't think it was too great....... I guess today she changed her mind!!!

And here's the proof.........

Evidence from the scene of the crime --

"Yes, officer, the paw prints match those of the suspect perfectly....."

Case solved! Criminal now under close supervision and in-home detention!

I, too, have the "Itch to Pitch"!!


One of my favorite blogs to follow is "The Happy Housewife". She's always got TONS of great ideas suggestions on saving money, budgeting, homeschooling info, recipes and so much more.

This summer, she's holding a de-cluttering contest called "The Itch to Pitch"! I desperately need to declutter around here -- anyone want to join me in this endeavor??

Check out her website for more info. Hopefully, the link above will actually work!!


Saturday, June 13, 2009

I guess I'm a "non-compliant", "ungrateful" patient!!

This was sent to me a little while ago, and I just had to share. If asking questions, wanting to be informed before consenting to a procedure, or thinking about alternatives to a first opinion makes me "non-compliant" and "ungrateful"........well, I guess I've got two new character traits!! Read and see if you feel like you need to take action.


If you don't like the idea of being officially labeled "non-compliant" or "ungrateful" for questioning your physician, then go to http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/about-ama/our-people/the-federation-medicine/state-medical-society-websites.shtml, click on the link for your state AMA and contact them. Let them know that this proposal is unacceptable. Voting is next week.

AMA Resolution Would Seek to Label "Ungrateful" Patients

AMA Resolution Would Seek to Label “Ungrateful” Patients

Redondo Beach, CA, June 11, 2009 - At the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Annual Meeting next week, delegates will vote on a resolution which proposes to develop CPT (billing) codes to identify and label “non-compliant” patients (1)

The resolution complains:

“The stress of dealing with ungrateful patients is adding to the stress of physicians leading to decreased physician satisfaction.”

“This resolution is alarming in its arrogance and its failure to recognize, or even pay lip service to, patient autonomy,” said Desirre Andrews, the newly elected president of the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN).

If approved, the resolution could hold implications for women receiving maternity care. For pregnant women seeking quality care and good outcomes, “non-compliance” is often their only alternative to accepting sub-standard care. Physicians routinely order interventions like induction, episiotomy, or cesarean section unnecessarily.

Liz Dutzy, a mother from Olathe, Kansas, delivered her first two babies by cesarean and was told by her obstetrician that she needed another surgical delivery. “My doctor told me that I needed to have a cesarean delivery at 39 weeks, or my uterus would rupture and my baby would die.” She sought out another care provider and had a healthy and safe intervention-free {home} birth at 41 weeks and 3 days gestation.

A recent report by Childbirth Connection and The Milbank Memorial Fund, called “Evidence-Based Maternity Care: What It Is and What It Can Achieve ,” (2) shows that the state of maternity care in the U.S. is worrisome, driven largely by a failure of care providers to heed evidence-based care practices. For most women in the U.S., care practices that have been proven to make childbirth easier and safer are underused, and interventions that may increase risks to mothers and babies are routinely overused. The authors of the report point to the “perinatal paradox” of doing more, but accomplishing less.

The resolution proposed by the Michigan delegation of the AMA could threaten patient care and patient autonomy for several reasons:

• Billing codes that would categorize any disagreement and exercise of autonomy on the part of the patient as “non-compliance” “abuse” or “hostility” could create a pathway for insurance companies to deny coverage to patients

• Use of these labels fails to recognize patients as competent partners with physicians in their own care

• Tagging patients as “non-compliant” fails to recognize that there is not a “one size fits all” approach to care, that different opinions among physicians abound, and that patients are entitled to these very same differences of opinion

• Labeling patients as “non-compliant” may, in fact, be punitive, jeopardizing a patient’s ability to seek out other care providers

The resolution also fails to address how it would implicate patients navigating controversial issues in medical care, like vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). While a substantive body of medical research demonstrates that VBAC is reasonably safe, if not safer, than repeat cesareans, most physicians and hospitals refuse to support VBAC. (3) The language in the resolution suggests that patients who assert their right to opt for VBAC could be tagged as non-compliant, even though their choice would be consistent with the medical research.

“The reality is that the balance of power in the physician-patient relationship is decidedly tipped towards physicians. The least patients should have is the right to disagree with their doctors and not be labeled a ‘naughty’ patient,” said Andrews.

About Cesareans: When a cesarean is medically necessary, it can be a lifesaving technique for both mother and baby, and worth the risks involved. Potential risks to babies from cesareans include: low birth weight, prematurity, respiratory problems, and lacerations. Potential risks to women include: hemorrhage, infection, hysterectomy, surgical mistakes, re-hospitalization, dangerous placental abnormalities in future pregnancies, unexplained stillbirth in future pregnancies and increased percentage of maternal death.

Mission statement: ICAN is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery and promoting vaginal birth after cesarean. ICAN has 110 chapters in North America and Europe, which hold educational and support meetings for people interested in cesarean prevention and recovery.

(1) Resolution 710 “Identifying Abusive, Hostile or Non-Compliant Patients”
(2) Evidence-Based Maternity Care: What It Is and What It Can Achieve
(3) http://www.ican-online.org/ican-in-the-news/trouble-repeat-cesareans

Friday, June 12, 2009

Birth of Baby Logan

Yesterday, I attended the stillbirth of baby Logan, born at 35 weeks gestation, weighing 7 lbs., 2.1 oz. He was a beautiful little boy and his family is devastated at his loss.

The mom is doing well physically; parents, baby's siblings and grandmother are all hurting badly, as you can imagine. After the birth, the siblings and grandmother came to the hospital to see and hold the baby; the chaplain came in to do a blessing of the baby with the family; and a photographer from a wonderful organization called "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" (http://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/) came to the hospital to take professional photos of the parents and baby. It was all very touching, very sad, and very comforting, all at the same time.

I cannot say enough good things about the bereavement program at this particular hospital (Howard County General Hospital, Columbia, MD). They are organized, kind, generous, thoughtful -- the way they shepherded all of us through the very tough day was awesome beyond belief or expectation.

Please be praying for the family of baby Logan during this difficult time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sad news......

I've had a long, sad day and am looking at another one tomorrow. As I was
leaving a postpartum visit this AM, one of the midwives I work with called and asked me if I would "do her a favor". She told me that one of our clients (someone I've been with for 4 previous births and who is now 35 weeks pregnant with #5) had called this AM and said that she had not felt the baby move since SUNDAY??? Yikes......

Anyway, the midwife was tied up at another birth, and since I was not too far away from the client's home, she asked if I'd mind going and taking a listen to the baby. No problem -- I needed to go pick up my daughter at the college nearby anyway. So I stopped at P's house, chit-chatted for a few minutes and got out the doppler to listen to the baby.

Absolutely nothing...... nothing...... nothing....... listened (or tried to) for
an hour; covered every possible inch of her belly. I changed the battery in the doppler, hoping it was too old and not picking up sounds well. I tried a stethescope -- nothing. I started pushing around on her belly (which was incredibly full of fluid) and I could easily push the baby back and forth while feeling no movement or resistance. My heart sank; I was trying to put a good face on it, but was starting to realize that this was not looking like a good outcome.

I called the midwife, told her what was happening, and passed the phone off to my couple. She told them to arrange some childcare for the older children and go to the hospital for a sonogram. After talking with P and her husband L, they told me to go ahead and pick up my daughter from college, and they'd call me from the hospital. I found out about 2 hours later that the baby indeed was dead.

The parents are taking this very hard, as could be expected. I've spoken with them a few times this afternoon, and they've decided they want me to come to the hospital to be with them through this. Cervadil was placed tonight; no plans are set yet for the induction tomorrow until they see what happens tonight.

So please be praying for this couple; their four other children; for me to say
and do the right things tomorrow; for an opportunity for them to see Christ
through all of this; and prayer for whatever else I'm not thinking about right now.

Updates tomorrow night, probably, if I'm up to it......


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Our dogs' fun day!

The day began with a toy "explosion" .... (what a shame these dogs don't have enough toys to play with!!).....

... included a rousing game of tag/bitey-face just to get the blood circulating.....

After lunch (sorry, no pictures!), a trip to the local retention pond for Taylor's first swimming "lessons" -- the dogs get in the water together (with Taylor on a rope for protection) and Taylor nearly got drowned in Cody's excitement!!!

And Taylor couldn't decide whether she needed protection from the water....

.....or maybe from Cody!!

After breaking up several near-drowning incidents, we decided Cody needed to sit out for a while....

.....and let Taylor try by herself!

Then Taylor got to sit it out during Cody's turn -- and she was none too happy about it, either!

Cody's free swim -- minus his "shadow"!!

The trip home included trying to mooch Slurpees.....


There was also a bath after coming home, but Mom was too tired to take more pictures!!

We also had a long, noisy thunderstorm and a curtain-tearing episode as well, just to finish out the evening!!

And at the end of a long and busy day, they're exhausted (and you know what we always say about tired dogs being good dogs!!) Good night, Taylor and Cody!!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Another baby boy!!

Nice, quick easy birth last night -- cute little guy named Asher. Boy, babies are popping out all over around here, aren't they??


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Catching some rays......

The dogs are enjoying this stretch of gorgeous, warm, sunny weather -- do you think they're enjoying it a bit TOOOOOOO much? Maybe I ought to be outside as well.....