Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A little October update from my iPhone

I've been so busy lately. Like crazy crazy busy. I've taken on some more responsibilities with the business, I started up Piano again, picked up two more students (total of 10) and I've been steady with photoshoots all September and October. I haven't done laundry in weeks, which means one of my children is now stuck wearing her sisters panties because we ran out of hers. We're also been contemplating this potty training thing. Some days I try, some days Cait tries, and some days neither of us bothers. Dinner is hit and miss around here, more often it's a miss. And I haven't vacuumed in at least a week. One of the girls (not Cait) is getting night time potty trained (there's actually a physical reason for the bedwetting - according to Cait's nephrologist). So she's been sleeping with a bed wetting alarm, which goes off at the slightest indication of moisture. It's actually working and her dry night far outnumber and hint of a wet night. But it's still exhausting. I can hoenstly say I'm looking forward to things slowing down just a bit. Life feels so out of control.

Which is why I'm posting iPhone pictures. My real camera is always full of clients pictures that I haven't pulled it out for our own. And even then, my iPhone is hardly taking any pictures...I think I'm kind of burning out. So here's a little tiny update:

Waiting for the bus

Playing games with Dad

Potty Training

Drawing pictures during General Conference

Scouting out new Photography locations

Playing in the beautiful fall leaves

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Cait's Ambulance ride

So a couple weeks ago Cait checked off another first by taking an ambulance ride to the hospital! Now I thought I'd share this story in it's entirety so people understand exactly what happened. Ben was at work and I was putting the girls to bed. It had been a long exhausting day so I was taking my time getting upstairs. The big girls were in the bathroom brushing her teeth and Cait decided to join in. Apparently she climbed onto the toilet (or counter) and then slipped and fell and hit her head. I heard the fall and ran quickly to grab her. I was there within 2 seconds and had her in my arms. While in my arms her eyes rolled back and she had a seizure. It lasted maybe 5-10 seconds tops. Then she passed out. Again, this lasted maybe 5-10 seconds tops. So basically she hit her head, had a seizure and passed out all within 30 seconds. My first instinct was that this was normal. But I thought I'd double check, so I called my mom and she recommended I call the health link. So I did. I waited on hold for 10 minutes. In that time Cait had come to, but was still sleepy and lethargic on my lap. I've called health link a million times and never once have they made me promise to get off the phone ASAP and call 911! But this time they did.

Apparently this wasn't as normal as I'd thought. So I called 911 and they reassured me that I absolutely was right to call them and then Cait most definitely needed to ride an ambulance to the hospital. I guess with this kind of situation there's always the chance she'll have another seizure on the hospital and she could also lose consciousness again. If that happens while I'm driving, there really is no way to make sure she's ok...not choking etc. So we waited for the ambulance to come. By the time it showed up Cait was fully alert an acting 100% I was second guessing the ambulance. But they reassured me over and over again that you don't want to take any risks when it comes to head injuries. So off we went - I left the girls with a friend. Cait got a brand new little sutffy (medic moose) and she loved every second of the ride. She's such a pro with doctors and had no problems with them checking her vitals every few minutes. She just sat there as chill as ever.

When we arrived we were tossed into the busiest ER waiting room I've ever seen (even the paramedics said they've never seen it like this before). My parents met us there and then Ben showed up. And then we wait 6 hours!! Honestly...six...long...hours. The whole time we were there we had a nurse come out and regularly talk to us and check her vitals. So we weren't being ignored by any means...but it still felt like forever.

Finally at 4 in the morning we saw the doctor. She reassured me that they weren't ignoring us, but that because we'd arrived by ambulance and had already been assessed they knew she wasn't in any immediate danger - especially since all her vitals were normal. They also knew that before they'd do any testing they would keep us there for at least 5 hours of observation. This is probably standard procedure, but her medical history also played a roll in this decision. She has been exposed to more radiation that most healthy children in her life. When possible we'll avoid exposing her to any if we don't NEED to do a scan we won't. Basically whether we saw a doctor first or not, we would have been there the same amount of time. Plus we were regularly being monitored by nurses the entire stay. We just weren't in a room. And with it being so busy that night they needed the rooms for other patients. I'm totally fine with that explanation.

Ultimately in the end it turns out she had what was called an impact seizure. Totally benign. The passing out was either a result of the seizure or because she had a breath holding spell (where you hold your breath until you pass out), both of which are normal and not worrisome. After 6 hours of no repeat seizures or loss of consciousness, normal vitals, movement, alertness etc it was safe to say that it was an isolated incident and that there was no brain damage. We didn't need to do any testing or scans on her to confirm this. It was obvious. And I'm grateful for that.

So now we just keep an eye on her and make sure she doesn't fall off so many things. I'm actually quite happy with the care we received even though it was frustrating at the time. Looking back on it I feel like the best decisions were made for her overall health. And I'm just happy that we can walk away from that incident without anything more to worry about. We see enough specialists as it is!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Easily the best photo series from this summer

I'm just sorting through our summer pictures and came across this beautiful series of pictures in front of the Old Faithful Geyser from our visit to Yellowstone National Park. As you can see, we have an 'Old Faithful' of our own.

Just a typical day in our is blissfully unaware, one is bullying the other, and the third just couldn't take it anymore and ends up in tears.  And don't you just feel like these are the pictures we'll all enjoy looking at in 20 years? It's not the perfect ones that are interesting, it's the REAL ones. 

Monday, September 15, 2014


Ok, I'll give in and blog about it. This year, just after school started, mother nature decided to play a trick on us. A cruel trick, in the form of snow in the first week of September!! Who does that?? Canada!! Yay! It ruined my garden, but it actually made the girls pretty happy. They built a snowman with some of the best sticky snow ever. It wasn't super cold so they got to really enjoy their time outside. The best part of it all is that it's supposed to warm up soon and give us some serious summer weather again! So I like to think we already had winter for the year...isn't that hopeful thinking??

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

It's basically winter...

It's Snowtember (you know, when the snow comes in September) and I'm just trying to remember what summer felt like. The snow this week destroyed my garden...which makes me so sad! It was looking so good until now. And it just feels so dreary and awful. Especially when I think about how we spent our weeknight just a few short weeks ago. I just have to remember this snow thing won't stay. We'll get some more summer weather before fall hits...right??

Thursday, September 04, 2014

First days of School

So the girls started school this week. Hailey started on Tuesday - and we were late!! We stayed out camping the day before way later than planned, so we happened to sleep in a little on the first day of school. oops. But we missed the rush, and found her class no problem. She has a few friends from last year which is great...and Denver. Of course she still has Denver! It's so nice dropping her off and not worrying about her. I know she's in great hands (her teacher seems really nice) and I know she's strong and confidant and totally capable of taking care of herself.

Paige started today, and it was just so much harder for me than I'd expected. She was very very excited about school, but I could see the apprehension in her eyes. I wanted to stay with her ALL day long! And I would have, but I also know this is fun for her and just what she wants to be doing. She's tough too...I just hope she can make some friends since she doesn't seem to really know anyone yet.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cait Update

So a few people have been asking me about how Cait is doing. And I haven't really had it in me to answer properly. Although her infections are a thing of the past (it's been almost a year infection free), there are still some pretty serious things going on with her kidneys. But mostly we're still in the waiting stage, meaning we will find out more as she grows and progresses. 

We took Cait in for some pretty cool testing a few months ago...back in June (cool as in she was literally radioactive because they injected her with crazy stuff). We had a pretty in depth look at her kidneys. What we found wasn't all that exciting. It actually took me a few days to fully process what exactly it was we are no dealing with. Part of that has to do with the fact that I was pregnant (first trimester) and really sick. But most of it was denial. I had fully expected to go into that last appointment and have her nephrologist say "everything looks great!! We are discharging you from our care and you can go live a happy, healthy, normal life!" But that wasn't what we heard. Instead it was a lot of sighing, asking of a million seemingly unrelated questions with a final "Well, unfortunately Cait will be a patient here for many many years to come."
 Enter my heart breaking.  

So what exactly is it we're looking at? We're not sure. We know that her one kidney is in the 6th percentile and the other in the 34th percentile. Neither one is no where near where a healthy kidney should be. Neither one is really doing what it should. The doctor suspects the one in the 6th percentile was a birth defect. Something that developed in utero. The other one, well we're not all that sure why it's so small and crappy. 
What we do know is that this is either Renal Hypoplasia or Renal Hypodysplasia. Hypoplasia is basically small kidneys with normal architecture. Hypodysplasia is small kidneys AND the presence of malformed renal tissue.

Renal Hypoplasia on it's own is actually quite's usually associated with some sort of syndrome. Which is what led to all those seemingly unrelated questions. 
So he asked about her development, which is relatively normal. She was right on if not early for all her physical milestones. She does have an interesting walk and run and I have had concerns about her hips. She is a late talker, but not abnormally. In fact pretty much right on track or ahead for a baby who spent 18 months in pain, sick and with multiple surgeries. 
We talked about her droopy eyelid. Which actually is supposedly better (but not at all really). But the beauty of that little defect is that she has already been in to see an ophthalmologist and we've already had an in depth look at her eyes and everything there checks out. There is a rare kidney syndrome that also has optic nerve problems. As far as we know her optic nerve looks ok. 

We talked about her weight gain and how she'd dropping off her curve. She's still well within healthy limits, but has significantly dropped off her own curve. However, so has Hailey and Paige. Ben and I are not big people, so at some point our big chunky babies will turn into skinny little kids. So this might be normal. 

We talked about her temperament and discussed her personality. Firecracker!!!
We talked about everything. And what we concluded is that we need more time. He kidneys are functioning ok right now. Our bodies are pretty miraculous. There's a very good chance that the one mediocre kidney might make a come back. The other one is pretty much toast. But she only needs one kidney. So if that one can catch up and pick up the slack, then she can live a very normal life. 

In January, we'll go back and reevaluate. If things haven't changed then we'll have to look even more closely at her kidneys and worry about her future. Which ultimately could be kidney failure, Kidney transplant etc. All of which will probably be ok. But scary and not at all what I had dreamed for her. But we're not there yet. We're still just waiting and hoping and praying.

So, although there are moms out there dealing with much worse, this one is pretty tough for me. When it comes to vital organs and your baby, well that sucks. When you know that you only need one good kidney to live and you see that both are lacking. Well that's pretty scary. When you hear that she might have some rare medical syndrome related to this kidney condition, it sure gets you thinking. It makes you look at every single little thing your child does and wonder if it's normal. Like the shape of her head. The way she runs. Even her personality. Are these all normal? What I've figured out is that she's exactly who she should be. She's all sorts of sweet and spunky mixed together. She lights up everyone's day and sometimes drives us crazy. She's relatively healthy and she probably will always be. We can't worry about what might be, but we can certainly hope and pray for the best for her! And that's what we're doing.