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. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Been there, done that

It's strange how things happen. How one day everything can just seem so normal, and then within minutes that all changes. Like last week when I went in for a routine Prenatal appointment, we went over the ultrasound I had just had a few days before. An ultrasound where everything was perfect. We talked about all sorts of routine things. We listened to my heart, my lungs, measured my uterus and then went to listen to the baby's heartbeat. It was kind of hard to find....but not such a big deal because I was just 14 weeks and my placenta was in the way. This happened with Cait - and everything turned out ok. After about 10 minutes the doctor gave up and said not to worry. I had just had a beautiful ultrasound a few days earlier, so there was nothing to worry about. BUT, she did send me in for an ultrasound to calm my mommy nerves. I hopped on over to the clinic. I was thinking about how this was such an inconvenience because I really needed to get home for Hailey's Birthday party...and I still needed to pick up a few last minute things from the store. But then again I will NEVER pass up a chance to see one of my babies on the ultrasound screen. I thought it would just be a quick look at the baby, a confirmation that everything was ok.

It wasn't.

There was no heartbeat. And honestly, I was shocked. I had not expected this in the slightest. In fact, I kind of thought I had filled my bank full of loss. I guess not. So I went back into the maternity clinic and met with the doctor. We talked about a few things and then she asked if I wanted to meet with the OB. I would have loved to talk about it with her at that moment, but I had a party to get to, and 7 year old girl birthday parties don't get put on hold for anything. So I booked an appointment for the next morning. Still in shock I drove home and threw a great spa party for my beautiful 7 year old Hailey. What a perfect distraction.

The next morning bright and early Ben and I went in to see the OB and discuss our options. Basically the only one that made sense to us was to go in for a D&C the next day. Ben drove me home and Cait and I spent the rest of the day cuddled on the couch watching TV while the big girls played with their cousin at soccer camp.

I've been here before. And it sucked. I didn't really think it would be so hard again. But it is. It's not quite the same as when we lost the twins. That crushed my world and changed my life. This is sad and a huge set back, but I feel like we'll be ok. With the twins I thought I'd never smile again. This time I have no choice, I have three girls who are expecting a smiling fun mom. And that's what they'll get. It's strange though, these emotions, I thought I'd conquered them. And even though I know it will be ok, it still sucks. I still feel ripped off. But there's nothing that can be done. So I'll be sad, but I will get better. I'll cry but it won't be forever. I'll mourn this loss, but maybe we'll get another baby one day. And if not, we'll be ok. We've done it before and we'll do it again. I'm lucky to have such great friends and family, and three beautiful little daughters and especially my amazing husband! He's just perfect and I'm glad he's the one by my side through all this. He's an expert you know!

Here are some pictures I took of my girls recently. Ironically I tool them the same day I took pictures of their Tea Party pregnancy announcement. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Just a little announcement

So a few months ago Ben and I decided to talk about whether we should have more kids. I really struggle with New born babies, it's just so hard, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to put our family through that again. We were pretty much decided that we were happy with the three we had and we should count our blessings and move on to the next stage of our life. But something the form of a positive pregnancy test. I guess our 'decision' wasn't really ours to make. So we wrapped our minds around the idea of another baby and decided that it was actually pretty fact pretty amazing. We were pretty shocked by the news and decided to keep it a secret for a while. We needed time to let it all sink in first. And then the morning sickness hit. Hard. And I just had no energy to talk to anyone or tell them what was going on, I just had to focus all my energy on getting through the day. And that's what we did. There were small breaks in morning sickness where I got to dream up cute announcement ideas. And one day decided on a little tea party for my girls...just like the one above. And then weeks later there was another break in the morning sickness and I pulled it all together and got a few adorable pictures of my three perfect little girls. And so now we just wait to find out we're having (at the end of August). And just for the record, before anyone else says it, we were NOT trying or hoping for a boy. We were also not trying or hoping for a girl. What would make us happier than anything is a baby that can spend less time at the hospital than Cait. So please, understand that. We are just happy to have a baby...boy or girl!!

So that's the news...McCance baby number 4 (or 6 depending on how you count) will be here near the end and January. We've got a LOT of work to do to prepare. Like maybe develop our basement?? Or just organize baby clothes - get rid of or buy new ones depending on the gender. Check out our car seat and see if it's even valid anymore. Buy a baby swing because I honestly have no baby stuff anymore. Think about names, and all sorts of other baby things. Get Cait ready for a baby. Get Cait into some important doctors appointments BEFORE the baby comes. And so on. SO MUCH WORK!! SO WORTH IT!

Friday, June 27, 2014

The last days of school

So another school year has come to an end. Although I'm happy for summer vacation and the freedom and lack of schedule, I will miss their teachers. Paige's teacher was just so sweet and kind and wonderful. Paige loved everything about preschool. I'm so glad I chose to send her this year! Hailey's teacher was just amazing. I couldn't think of a better person to watch over my sweet baby girl all day long. She encouraged Hailey to grow and learn but yet let her have fun at the same time. I'm so sad that she's moved onto another school next year because now Paige can't have her in grade one. But I'm sure there are other great teachers out there!! It was a great year! BUT, summer...I can't wait!!

Just a quick comparison from their first day and last days of school. HUGE changes!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fathers Day Donuts

One of the best things about preschool is all the fun activities they this little Fathers Day donuts party they had one evening last week. Paige was so super excited all week for this day. She picked her outfit out especially for the night and even had very clear instructions on how to do her hair. There's just something so specially about a Father and his Daughter...and lucky Ben...he's got three!!

When it was time to go Paige asked me to take a picture of her and Ben on her way...she also had a firm idea of what this picture should like. Even though I thought it looked a little like a ventriloquist and his doll, she knew this is just what she wanted. And who could blame her, she's in her Daddy's arms!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


8 years ago I graduated from University. I actually should have graduated a year earlier, but because of a mix up with the Registrar I had to take one last course the following fall. Trust me, I spent a million hours crying about that mix up. But in the grand scheme of things it wasn't that big of a deal. So in the fall of 2005 I went BACK to school to finish my degree. I was working full time at that point so I just took that one silly final course in the evening. That September we also learned we were pregnant with the twins. It was a pretty emotional and stressful time to say the least. We were stressed about having twins, about finishing school, about my job, Ben's job, and then on top of it the million specialist appointments I had to attend. It was busy. But I had some really great classmates that I became close with at the time. They knew pretty early on that I was pregnant...I mean if puking in the garbage can in the hallway doesn't give it away, what does? And everyone was so great. We finished the semester in December. I qualified for graduation in the spring. In January Ben left his steady job to start a business with his Dad. And just 6 days later we found out the twins had died. It was an awful awful time in our lives. And somehow my spring graduation meant so little to me suddenly. We attended a memorial for our babies in May 2006 and then just a few weeks later I decided that I owed it to myself to walk the stage for my University Graduation. It still seemed so unimportant. I was a changed person. The things I cared about before meant nothing to be at the time. In fact, pretty much everything meant nothing to me. I was a sad broken girl. But I did it. I pulled myself together enough to walk the stage. And that was it. I would have traded anything...that huge milestone have my babies back. Those years of hard work felt so pointless. And so I went back to work the next day and didn't even think about my graduation again. I actually misplaced my degree...that very important piece of paper that proves I actually graduated...gone.

Anyway, I didn't put much thought into that day until just recently. Josh and Charlotte BOTH graduated this year from University (Josh's 2nd degree). They asked me to come and take pictures of them around the University grounds. It was so much fun...and it brought back a million fun memories. That is until we walked into the business school where I spent most of my time. And then all those 2005/2006 emotions came back pretty hard. I found my picture on the wall of 2006 graduates and I could see that sorrow in my eyes. I could feel that sorrow again. It hurts. And then we had a brilliant idea. We went outside and took a picture of me in Charlotte's cap, holding her degree (pretending it was mine) and smiling! Because that's what 8 years does to you. It heals those gaping wounds. There's still scars, and sometimes it hurts. But mostly I'm ok. And I'm pretty proud of all that I accomplished!!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Welcome home Grandma and Grandpa!!!

So my parents came home from their mission last week. We got lucky and they spent Thursday night at our house - we were the first to see them!!!!

So, my siblings and I had been planning a little (maybe big) surprise welcome home party for them on Saturday for a few months. It was pretty fun planning and organizing it all. We decided to have a huge icecream bar in honour of all the time they spent at their local DQ. When I say huge I mean it...every single topping you could possibly imagine was there. And everything was decorated so cute too! So many wonderful friends and family showed up and made the night so much more perfect. We had a small program where the grandkids sang a song, Nate gave a tribute, Mom and Dad responded and then we watched a beautiful slideshow of images from their mission (that we might have swiped without their knowledge) along with pictures of what all their kids were doing at home at the same time. It was a fun night and I'm glad we were able to pull it off and genuinely surprise them! They're the greatest parents/grandparents/friends/Aunt/Uncle/missionaries/people ever and they deserved to be acknowledged! We love you Mom and Dad!!