Tag Archives: baby

These days

It’s been a while since my last post so I thought I’d do an update on what we are doing these days.

*We started preschool last week. By pre-school, I mean me take 30 mins – an hour, about 3 days a week to do some intentional play, reading, and crafts. Now that E will be two next week, both boys get to participate. Mostly this has resulted in E throwing fits when I put the colors away because he wants to keep going. 

*Z and I started “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”. He’s really interested in reading. I’ve modified the lessons a little and told him we will do 10, and then he can decide if he wants to keep going. A lot of research shows it’s most helpful to many kids to not start formal, structured learning until they are 6 or 7. Generally, I agree with this research, which is why “pre-school” is pretty casual in our house and I’m not pushing the reading lessons all that hard (thus the letting him decide if we go past 10). [He won’t start kinder until fall of 2019. We have tons of time.]

*Baby girl is set to arrive in 8 weeks.

*We moved E into a big boy bed on Z’s room. So that is a new challenge.

*This summer has been tight between work slowing down and OB bills, but we have hopefully made it past the most difficult period. Work is picking back up and my OB pre-pay plan has likely been met.

*With the help of some birthday money gifts from family, daddy built the summer birthday boys a sandbox. We’ve been having fun with that. (Sand everywhere! Hose downs before coming back in the house.) 

*As we approach being in our new house for almost a year, we’ve finally gotten around to selling some things. Vases, chairs, shelves, dishes, and such. Stuff we didn’t have time to sell before we moved last year. That’s been both a challenge (taking pictures, writing up descriptions, determining prices, and posting online) and a relief (cleaning up clutter, making space, and having a little extra cash).

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Filed under baby, birthday, kindergarten, pre-school, reading, school, summer, work

Yuck!

We’ve been on the down low lately because on March 21st, I got hit with the stomach bug. Not only did I lose 4-5 pounds(!), but it triggered a migraine.

JJ had to leave his work early (it was only his 2nd week there!) because I just couldn’t take care of the kids. And of course, 48 hours after I got it, little E got it and JJ 48 hours after that. It’s a miracle Z escaped it all together!

Sweet baby boy had it linger around for almost 2 weeks. After a few days, we would think he was ok and then he would throw up again, 3 days fine, then not, 2 days fine, and then not, etc.  And even at the very end, apparently his little tummy shrunk while he was sick so he was back to his cheerful self – and we accidentally overfilled him. Add to all of that, he was temporally lactose intolerant so we had to switch his formula. YUCK!

It was just a two-week period that I’m so thankful we are through. Everyone is finally back to normal.

Speaking of little E, it brings me to both my current praise and prayer request.

Praise!

When E was about 1 month old, we, along with his pediatrician, determined that he was cow protein intolerant. After a lot of thought and prayer, we decided to stop nursing him and switch over to a specialized formula. Within 48 hours he was practically a different baby! While we were really thankful, any momma out there that goes from nursing to full stop knows how difficult that can be. It’s both emotionally hard (momma guilt!) and physically painful. However – after a couple of weeks of a much happier, healthier home, we were so glad with our decision.

Here’s where the praise comes in. Little did we know at the time (October) that we were headed toward heart surgery. Can I just say I am so thankful for discernment and wisdom back then?! I cannot even imagine trying to stop nursing because I have heart surgery coming up.  WOW. I’m so thankful I don’t have to deal with the emotional (and painful) choice right now. It is so wonderful to be able to look backwards just to October and see how even then, God was directing us, helping us make difficult decisions that would ultimately help ease our way to heart surgery.

Prayer

Related to all of the above – we are really hoping and praying E will be sleeping through the night by the end of May. Both for the ease of those taking care of the boys while I’m in the hospital and for us when we get back home and are in the middle of a long recovery road. Honestly, with Z, he was a big baby and I’m pretty sure he was sleeping through the night when he was 3 months old. E is a different story. A month ago, we assumed he would be there by 9 months old, but the stomach bug set us back.

During the stomach bug we took him to the doctor and he weighed in at the 15 percentile range. Basically, right now at 7 months, E weights 16.5 lbs. Z weighed this somewhere around 3 months old. They could not be more different in body type. Between trying to get on track post-stomach bug, restarting solids, and thinking E’s in the middle of a growth spurt, he wakes up at least 2 times a night right now.  (He was down to 1 most nights, and sometimes none.)

Like most things, it’s small by itself, but it’s big to us right now. No matter the case, we trust God will provide. Either though E sleeping through the night, or endurance for those looking after him.

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August by the Numbers

Ok… so not ALL of the numbers are in yet and I’m still waiting for a few statements so we can actually write checks and pay off medical bills, but we do have a pretty good idea of how it will play out.

To start with, we have to pay the hospital. The hospital bill that we are paying out of pocket for both Z & myself: 5,714.40.

That’s quite a chunk of change! But… considering it’s the largest medical bill I’ve had in my adult life, where I have not had to say “Hey Hospital, here are my financials, I have no money, please let me work out a payment plan” I’m super PUMPED! We planned well and will be able to pay this entire amount with money we saved up in the “Crisis Fund.”

Next – I went to another consignment sale. Why is this part of the numbers this month? Because when we’ve spent money that was not initially in our budget for the baby, we’ve used Crisis Fund money to do so. What!? Going outside of the budget!? In this case, Yes. We purchased some much needed items like a standard stroller. The stroller we bought would have been at least $200 new. We spent $38. 🙂

In total, we spent $135 at the consignment sale, for items that would have totaled $425 if they were all new. Also, as a side note, I made some extra income through consigning. A whopping $22.

So … we now have a much better understanding of how much extra crisis money we have and can put it toward debt.

Medical Bills paid: $5,714.40

Consignment Money Spent: $135

Extra Income: $22

Extra Debt paid: $2,591

Total Debt paid in August: $2,837

Since 1/1/2012 – Total Debt Paid off: $35, 773*

*For the purpose of Baby step 2 we are not factoring in our home mortgage

 

Consignment savings Running Total numbers:

Running total for used items: $393
Approximate amount if all items were new: $1,119

Savings: $726

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My CHD – Pregnancy Edition

So last post, I ran through what I mean by “my heart condition.”

I thought this post, I might write about what it meant for being pregnant.

To lay some groundwork, when I was a teenager and young adult cardiologists said that I might not be able to have kids. Not that I couldn’t, but that it’s very highly likely that I shouldn’t.

Before you start thinking “Way to go and ignore your doctors, Debra. You just had a baby!” In the last maybe 8 years or so, my doctors changed that. My current cardiologist told me a handful of years ago that it shouldn’t be a problem. I would be high risk, and have to be watched closer than a ‘normal’ woman, but I should be able – and could if I wanted – to have kids.

Biggest Risk

Now, as I mentioned last post in “Long Term Outlook,” the long term risk to me with my CHD and resulting enlarged heart is Congestive Heart Failure.

The four main symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure are:

1. Irregular heart beats

2. Swelling due to the heart not being able to keep up, extra fluid in the lungs and around the heart, but also showing up in ones legs, hands, etc.

3. Trouble breathing, particularly while lying down and resting (due to fluid around the lungs)

4. Dizziness

These are the things I keep an eye out for. However, symptom 1 is VERY common for me. My heart skips beats or races on a fairly often basis. So it’s hard to take any special note of that symptom, unless I seem to notice it happening more frequently then what would be ‘normal’ for me.

Increased Risk While Pregnant

With the increased blood flow and fluid retention that pregnancy brings, Congestive Heart Failure is a bigger risk.

The second symptom was extremely frustrating during pregnancy. I had some major swelling issues at about 3 months. It was a little early for pregnancy swelling, yet, it was difficult to determine if it was pregnancy or heart related.

My cardiologist suggested to cut down on sodium and see if that helped. Thankfully, it did! I was pretty bummed to have to be super cautious about how much sodium I was eating for 6 months – and it did affect our food budget as my normal way of cooking (with canned goods) had to be altered, but it made a huge difference. I only had a little swelling for the remainder of the pregnancy. And when I did, it could usually be traced to a higher sodium meal recently eaten, or having just spent a lot of time on my feet (which is normal for pregnancy).

The other main risk is once the baby is born. When the body is eliminating all the extra fluids. I was told to expect to stay in the hospital for observation for 4-5 days after our baby was born.

Z was born. And things looked to be going well. However, about 4 days later, one of my feet blimped up really bad, and really quickly. I was told it probably was NOT heart related as the typical MO for that would be that both feet would be equally swollen, not just one foot becoming very swollen. It was a little scary and they had me go in for an ultrasound to make sure I didn’t have a blood clot. Thankfully, I did not.

It was not a big enough concern for me to stay much longer in the hospital as I was discharged the next day. It did take my foot a week or so to finally get back down to size, which was such a relief when it did.

I did experience symptom 3 (trouble breathing while lying down) when I got home. It was concerning enough to call the cardiologist. They suggested that (since my heart was looking so good when I left the hospital) it might just be something that anemia (from loss of blood during the c-section) was causing. Funny enough, the second night I experienced this, I discovered that in actuality, I was having issues with Snoring! (Which is not normal for me.) As annoying as it was, it was such a relief.

The same night I had trouble breathing, I was also dizzy (symptom 4) at one point around 12:30 am. This only happened once and was also chalked up to being anemic.

So there you go. I was able to be pregnant, and have a child, while not having Congestive Heart Failure. But it was not without a few scares and I was so thankful for the great care from my cardiologist, my OB, as well as the nursing staff and of course my loving family.

What All This Means For My Child

To quick rehash from my previous post, heart defects are the most common birth defect – just about 1% of babies are born with one. Major ones can be very obvious from day one, and minor ones might not be caught until adulthood. Even though my heart defect is not due to genetics – it still increases the risk that my children will have a CHD.  Statistics say bout 4-6%.

Jackpot! Little Z has a minor CHD. Because of the slightly higher statistical chance, at 20 weeks, and then again at 24 weeks because they thought they saw something – we had fetal echos done. Basically, a super long sonogram – focusing in on the little guy’s heart.

Based on those two tests, they recommended we have an echo done on Z once he was born, before he was discharged from the hospital. We did – and it confirmed the diagnosis: Pulmonary Stenosis. Same valve that I have an issue with, but different issue. He’s valve is slightly narrowed.

Thankfully, tests confirm it’s very mild and the long term outlook is quite good, probably not ever involving any type of surgery or procedure.

So there you go – more than you ever wanted to know about CHD and pregnancy.

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July by the Numbers

Z_Birth So… once again, not a lot to report. However – This is hopefully the last month that the debt snowball is on pause!

While I was laid off in April (and now plan on staying home), the self-employed one in the house has had a tremendous increase in work. Praise the Lord!

Also, baby boy was born mid month! 🙂 He’s so precious. Yep, I’m bias, but he’s a super cutie!

And if you recall from previous “by the numbers” once the hospital bills are finalized, we’ll be able to use the Crisis Fund to Pay All the Medical Bills (creating no new debt!) and throw the rest at my student loan.

I’m guessing that the total number toward debt will be a bit smaller than I would have liked or hoped (mainly due to my not working since mid April), but every little bit helps.

I was looking at my student loan this month, and just paying minimum or a few dollars over minimum since November means we’ve still made a little progress. We are now almost under 13K for the loan. To put this in perspective, this loan was around 35K when I consolidated it into a 20 year loan, in 2008. (We’ve paid off 22K in 6 years. And we plan on having it done in less than 12 months, which is ultimately 13 years ahead of schedule.)

All that to say I can’t wait to report back for “August by the Numbers.”

One thing that was a bummer for July is that we seem to have spent a lot on food. However, this is because my mom was in town and we made trips to Costco and Sams. We purchased extra, and then she made us a bunch of meals – of double or triple proportions. Now we have somewhere between 10-15 meals in the deep freeze for simple cooking. We also have a wonderful community of friends that are providing us with meals a few times a week for the next few weeks. Which means the August food bill will be low and more than make up for the larger food bill in July.

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Filed under baby, budget, by the numbers, debt, family, food, pictures

June by the Numbers

We are only a few weeks away from the birth of our little boy – and yes we are super excited to meet him.

In addition to meeting him, to not being pregnant anymore, to having a new baby at home and getting into a routine – we are REALLY looking forward to getting the debt snowball going again.

As you know, we’ve been on hold, but once the baby is born and medical bills are paid – we will use the rest of the Crisis Fund to throw at debt.

I. Can’t. Wait.

In the middle of this month, we did dip a little into the Crisis fund to purchase the last remaining necessities for the baby (like the car seat).  At the same time, at the end of the month, we had a bit of extra income and gift money that we put toward the Crisis Fund.

That being said, I’m guessing it will be at least August by the Numbers before we have exact figures and know what portion of the Crisis Fund is for medical expenses and what portion is for debt. Mostly, the timing will be based on when we get final bills from the hospital.

I’ll leave you with the following picture, me at 37 weeks. Officially full term.

37_weeks

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We’re Ready!(?)

Well – probably not, but as ready as we’ll ever be.

35 weeks.  We have the car seat (still need to install) and all the starter diapers and clothing we need. So… just waiting for go time.

We should have the car seat installed this weekend, but even if not, we feel ready; because of my heart condition, we already know we will have some extra time in the hospital (like a few days). We figure worst case scenario, one of those afternoons, Daddy steps out to get the car seat installed so we can bring the little boy home.

Our little guy is still not head down and while I’m hoping and praying he turns, statistically that is becoming more unlikely by the day.

Time to get in our last-minute plans and activities.  Such as lunch today with a friend, hanging out with another friend at the end of the week, going to another friends shower on the weekend and (what I’ve wanted to do for YEARS and am really excited for!) going to Medieval Times this weekend.  Thank you groupon and some good friends for seeing the deal and asking if we wanted to go.

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