Sweet Baby Caralynn

Sweet Baby Caralynn

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Chris deployed a few days ago. Tonight I have found myself struggling. I can't stop crying. It's so hard to be feeling so sad when I'm alone and don't have him to talk to and not even know when we will be able to talk.
I held her hand and feet cast for a long time tonight after the kids went to bed. I talked to them for quite some time. But I knew I really wanted to be holding her. So I went into the living room and picked her up. She's sitting with me at the computer right now, in between myself and the keyboard.
I told her how sorry I was for everything (again). I asked her a bunch of questions I wish I knew the answers to. I kissed her a million times.
 I'm still crying. But I needed to get my thoughts out - otherwise, i wont be able to get any kind of sleep tonight. Last night i stayed up until 1am hoping Chris would call or skype... And of course I had to wake up at 6:30 to get Christopher up and ready for school. I know I need sleep... but this is kind of like staying up all night with a baby, right? God, I wish.

My beautiful angel... why you? God couldn't have really needed the most perfect baby in heaven, could he? I never heard you cry. You had never sinned. You were perfect.
And I feel so guilty for cremating you. I hate the thought and the idea of it and what has to be done to do it... it just doesn't seem fair or possible to do that to such a precious baby. But I had to take you with us... I couldn't stand to leave you. I've often wanted to take you with us, like to daddy's deployment. It just wasn't fair that you couldn't be there with us. And I don't mean by spirit... Your urn is perfect for you. A beautiful wooden box with a simple heart. A heart not broken. It has 3 red roses. One for each month you lived. A million grains in the perfect wood. One for each life you touched.

I wish I could be feeding you or changing a stinky diaper right now. I wish for everything with you. I wish for just one day to hold you where you weren't attached to everything. One day... I hope to get that pleasure one day.
I could write my feelings down forever about you. All the what ifs, could haves, and should haves. I miss you.
And I wish daddy was here so we could talk and cry with each other.... I love you.

p.s. did you get the balloon we sent you? Your brother and sister ask me all the time if I think you liked it and I tell them you love it and you play with it everyday.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

~*~ Our Sweet Caralynn ~*~

It's been 3 weeks today since Caralynn passed.

Chris was with us for block leave in Tucson. His second to last day there, August 13th, Caralynn had an infection. It was in her belly fluid and every time they'd drain her belly fluid, it would re-accumulate immediatly. Her sats were very off and at one point we very nearly lost her. It was so scary and so sudden.
You see, Caralynn had an allergy to the best antibiotics she could have recieved. So they weren't an option. Her heart was doing good. But she couldn't breath well because of the belly fluid.

After she crashed, they had us decide how far we wanted them to go. She had just had her 7th surgery to close her sternum because the wires broke off her ribs nd opened up. We knew they were very fragile and would be very very painful to her if they did chest compressions. So we had decided DNR but they could give her medicines to save her life. And the medicines did.

That night she had a good peaceful night. We were very happy in the morning, spent 2 hours with her until I had to take Chris to the greyhound station. Chris gave her kisses and said he loved her so so much and he'd see her soon.

The kids and I took him to the greyhound station, then went back to the hospital.

I was there with her for a few hours. The chaplain came in to talk to me, see how I was doing. We said a prayer for Caralynn. The second we said Amen, her blood pressure alarm went off. It was incredibley low. Her nurse, Steve called the dr's and everyone rushed down to the room... I stood there as they poked her to draw labs. I felt like I was standing outside of my skin just looking in through a window. I was so scared and nervous I didn't know what to do. The ped intensivist was --for lack of better word, yelling at me to make sure we didn't want to DNR. I could only think "I don't know, I don't know".

Chris had just sent me a text message saying he was going to turn his phone off so his battery didn't die.
So when I tried to call him, I just got his voicemail. So I sent him a text knowing he would see tha immediatly when he turned on his phone.
I called my mom and told her it was an emergency and she needed to call the greyhound station and see if they could get in touch with Chris's bus driver.

They were still working on Caralynn. The child life volunteers came and got the kids. And I was sitting outside her room watching everything. I couldn't take my eyes off of her. I knew what was going to happen. She was done fighting. She had fought so hard for 3months, 3weeks, and 3 days. Had 3 open heart surgeries and 4 other surgeries. We had tried everything we could to give her the best life. Her heart was strong! It was the belly fluid and the infection that made it impossible to breath. She was on the strongest vent settings and being on those settings, it's damaging to the body.

The chaplain was still with me and she was asking me how we could get Chris back to us... She thought of Ft Huachuca and if anyone there couldn't intercept him and bring him back (since he's in the army). But she had an idea to call the state police first to see if they could get him.

Chris called me right then, I told he he needed to get off the bus, NOW. So he went and talked to the bus driver, who told him to go grab his stuff, there was a rest stop he could drop Chris off at in 2 miles. Chris was almost 2 hours away.
The Chaplain got ahold of the correct state police people and they said they could do it! Chris waiting for 5 or so minutes before the cop car came racing into the rest stop lights and sirens going. Chris ran and hoped in the car. 2 officers shared the 2 hour drive and both cars went at least 100mph lights and sirens and got Chris to us in 45 minutes.
My poor husband, I had an hour to come to terms with what was going to happen. Caralynn, our baby, wouldn't be in pain anymore. She would be an angel to look over us. Our personal angel. But Chris hadn't yet... He was crying so hard and I tried comforting him. We were hugging over our baby. As nice as it ws to think about how she wouldn't be in pain anymore- it hurt so bad. Our baby would never have any kind of normal life. She would never have a bottle again (she only had a few before her first open heart surgery- the surgery that went so wrong and caused all of this). We would never hear her laugh, know how great life on earth could be, we would never walk holding her hand, have conversations with her, or anything.
We set up that Chris would hold her, and then me. Our dear nurses that had become family to us came to be with us. Affie and Christy could make it in to support us and be there. Kennon wouldn' be able to make it until later.

With our family there, Chris held her, and then Affie held her for a few minutes as she passed our sweet Caralynn from Chris to me.

I was afraid to hold her while she passed. I didn't know what would happen. Or how it would happen. Or how quick. The nurses and dr's said with the bad shape of her breathing it wouldn't take long. And that with them knowing me/us, I needed to hold her. So as it was my turn holding her, we told her we were so sorry for everything and that she wouldn't get to experience how wonderful life could be at home, with us. We told her it was okay to pass, that she would have a wonderful time being our angel and she would not be in pain anymore.

She kept peeking her eyes open at us. And she gave this look like "what am I still doing here"... it was a sad, in pain look. And when she looked at me that last time after we told her that, I knew it was time.

We had the kids brought in to say their goodbyes... but they really didn't know wha was happening, Even though we told them. It was just like saying goodnight to her every night for the last almost 4 months to them. We had some last family pictures taken and then the volunteer took the kids out again.

They turned the monitors off and took off the ventilator, but placed an oxygen mask up to her trach so she would still get oxygen and not sufficate.

It didn't take long. After a few minutes, maybe she turned pale. I couldn't feel her breathing anymore and we took the oxygen mask away. The dr checked her. And our sweet Caralynn with the broken heart... It was still beating.
It was so hard knowing that her heart was still strong, but soon would not beat anymore. I desperatly tried to feel it beating, but then some fluid dripped out her nose, and we knew. We kissed her a million times and told her how much we loved her. How much she had changed our lives, and how much we would miss her and the things that we would never experience with her.
Christy got to hold her as she took my baby from my arms to the bed. She too gave her kisses.
You see, Caralynn touched so many people. Taught so many what strength and fight was all about. She also taught everyoe to hug their babies just one more time, to go in for that 2nd or 3rd good night kiss, and that life is so precious and short.

We went to a grieveing room while they cleaned her up, clipped some pieces or her hair for us to hold forever, and also make castings of her perfect hands and feet. All of which I hold all of the time. It helps me grieve to hold her hand and look at her picture.

Kennon came to see us shortly after and so did Claire and our PICU friend Tonya. Many other nurses came in to say their goodbyes.

I didn't want to leave that night. I knew everything that would happen next and I didn't want them to. I knew that the first step to all of them was leaving her for the first time. I went back to the room 3 times while tryig to leave the hospital. She just looked so peaceful and perfect. Steve told me to take my time, he wasn't in any hurry (it was well past shift change) and tha he was honored to be the one to take her downstairs, he would get to hold her then.
When the kids saw her without all of the wires and tubes, they were SO happy and said "Caralynn's all better! Can we take her home?!"... How do you tell your 3 and 5 year old that she's in a different, better home? We tried explaining... and if you ask them today, they'll tell you Caralynn died and she's in a box on the shelf.

It's taken me a LONG time to write and finish this. But I knew I wanted to write it all down sooner then later. And since She touched so many, I knew I wanted to share her last few moments. I will never forget the looks of annoyance she gave us while we were taking our time to say goodbye. Our sweet Caralynn- you're the most perfect, prettiest angel of them all. And we love and miss you so so much.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

8 weeks later

On Tuesday June 21st, Caralynn will be 2 months old.

So far in her short life she has had 2 major heart surgeries, 18 procedures, 25 days on ECMO, 70 x-rays, 20 echos, tons of blood replacement, and a dozen IVs.

To list that out is incredible... she has been through so so much. She's the biggest fighter I have ever met. God sure must have a plan for our sweet angel. We can not wait to prove to him that we can give her the best life here with us as possible. I know the nurses and doctors are giving her the best fighting chance and best life she can possibly have while in the hospital. But call me selfish... I want my baby home and in our arms and in my (and Chris's) care.

Yesterday she started showing signs on infection again, so they took cultures and we're waiting for results to know where it's coming from. There is suspicion it's from her incision on her chest. We're also curious if it's the spot where the cannula went into her neck. Since just an inch down is where the last central line got infected... they could certainly be connected.

She could use all the prayers we can get:
O Lord God, I come to You for help and succor.
You have afflicted my child Caralynn.
Help me to understand that You mean well.
Give me grace to bear my child's affliction with patience and strength.
Bless me, O Father, and restore my child Caralynn to health.
Do not forsake us, but give us an assurance of Your loving Kingdom.
Bless this illness to me and my child Caralynn, and help us both to be better children of Yours because of it.
In the name of Your Holy Son Jesus Christ. Amen!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Miracle Baby

Yesterday was so hard! The dr's didn't think she was going to make it...

But a few hours later her numbers started going up to where they needed to be. But we weren't in the clear yet. The first 24 hours off ECMO were crucial to Caralynn and what her outcome would be.

By 12:30am, just 12 hours after coming off ECMO Caralynn was already off 1 of the 4 cardiac support meds! And the others had been weaned down basically to half from where they had started.

When we got in the hospital at 9am- she was back to peeing on her own, she had 4 poops (these are HUGE accomplishments!), her o2 was at 60, bp in the 60 range and her hr was about 150-160.

Now, at 5:30pm her urine output is SO good! Everyone is very pleased- normal output is 6-7ml and she's doing in the 7ml or higher range.... she has to make up for yesterday when she only did 4ml (for 12 hours!) after coming off ecmo.

Tomorrow Caralynn will be getting another echo on her heart and lungs done to see how everything is going. Then it'll prob go to 1 a week, unless there is cause for concern. We're also going to be having a neurology consult because she doesn't care to open her right eye all the way, she'll peak it open but not open it wide like she does the left. And she hasn't cared to since she was born.... so we don't think it's a side effect from ecmo. Nor do we think a stroke could be the cause because the rest of her facial expressions are equal... we'll just have to wait and see.

But we are SO proud of how great Caralynn is doing. She is our strong miracle baby. We love her SO much!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

~*~ OFF ECMO ~*~

This morning at 6am they started weaning her flows.
She was able to maintain her numbers very well!
Dr Teodori came in about 10:30am and had a look at her, how she was doing then talked to Dr Typpo (ped intensivist) and they both agreed that today would be good to come off- her heart is in really good shape and the lungs were as good as they'd get being on EMCO.

The OR came and set up in her room and at 12:30pm on May 22nd, 2011 - at 1 month 1 day - Caralynn came off ECMO!
For the first hour things were looking pretty good..
The second hour her stats started to drop........
They told us they didn't think her lungs were good enough, but they were going to try some drugs that would boost her heart and help with the blood flow that the lungs couldn't push through.
Chris and I took the 'big kids' to eat lunch and had a hard talk.... the dr's said if her heart stopped, that would be it, they couldn't do anything else because a heart & lung transplant hasn't been done in a newborn. And if they just did the heart, the lungs being in bad shape would make it fail.

So after lunch (which Chris and I couldn't stomach to eat) - we went back and talked with them again, understanding what would be done if things didn't work... we would lose Caralynn.

Shortly after, the new medicines came.
1 hour later- they were in and working GREAT! Dr Teodori was shocked with how good her stats were when he came in... he even went from 90 on her o2 to 80...
Now, 7 hours after coming off ecmo and she's doing realllllly good! We don't know much about her lungs right now and won't really until her morning chest x-ray.
Her o2 is now at 65 and she's maintaining her spo2 at 99-100 :)
Her blood pressure and heart rate are also in perfect range!

We're getting ready to leave the hospital as we've been here for 12 hours now with the kids and it's their bedtime. This has been the longest non-stop day we've put in with both of the kids here with us...

I pray for my sweet Caralynn every minute of the day and am so thankful for everyone else praying for her. Praise GOD she is doing good right now!! We pray that she will continue to improve and be able to wean off her cardiac meds ...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Coming off ECMO

Well- lots has happened in 9 days. I wish I could blog more about it, but the best way I've been communicating with everyone about Caralynn everyday has been on facebook...
Caralynn has been put on status 7 for the transplant list - which is an inactive status.
They did this because they think her heart is a LOT better!
Which give us a lot of hope :)
So since Tuesday 5/17/2011 - which is the first day they wanted to take her off ecmo.
But it got too late after Dr Teodori did a surgery and then had a procedure to do on another patient.

Wednesday 5/18- Her morning chest xray showed a lot of fluid in her lungs, so they were glad he didn't get to take her off the night before. They set up a vigorous suction schedule every hour to work the fluid out. He said he'd do it the next day after his surgery, which should be over at 1pm.

Thursday 5/19- They were all set to remove her from ecmo but then thought maybe one more day would help...

Today, Friday 5/20- After re-incubating her -removing it from her nose and replacing in her mouth, and then having a bleeding issue from a leg catheter, they decided that tomorrow or the next day would probably be better.

We're anxious to get her OFF already! Everyday she is on poses risks to all of her other organs, but we also need her lungs in tip top shape to come off. It's most annoying to be told today, no tomorrow, no the next day....
Thank you everyone for all of your thoughts and prayers!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Waiting on a heart, wing, and prayer

We've been so blessed to be able to make it to 20 days after Caralynn was born.

Her surgery was on April 27th- 6 days old.
It didn't go well. We almost lost her. The repair went okay, but not perfect.
But during the surgery something went wrong and it caused her heart to distend. And after the surgery the left and right ventricals were having a hard time working. There are also valves that are leaking too much.

They placed her on a ECMO machine which is a heart and lung by-pass to give her heart time to heal.
6 days after her surgery and on the ECMO, her heart still hadn't healed and they don't think it's going to.
The Dr and Nurses told us that we have two options: get a heart transplant or say goodbye.
We asked to have until Thursday for that decision because my mom would be in Phoenix to help us and we wanted her to at least be able to meet Caralynn.
The next day we set up to meet with a transplant team- we defiantly were not ready to say goodbye to her. She was sent to us by God for a reason- for a life- and we will give her the best life she can have here on earth.

The meeting went well- she would have to transfer to a hospital (St. Joes) down the street because Phoenix Children's heart transplant program wasn't starting up until June 1st. So we set up to do that, she would be heading over on Friday (May 6th).
On Friday they switched her to a travel ECMO circuit and were waiting on the official word that insurance had gone through. But in the mean time she needed her chest cleaned out -as her chest is still open. So Dr Pearl took her into the PCH OR while waiting for official word. We got the call half way through that procedure that she wouldn't be able to go to St Joes for the transplant because tricare insurance doesn't work with them...
Now the Dr's were scrambling to find her a new hospital- There were talks of Mott's in Michigan, UCLA, Stanford, and Diamond Childrens in Tucson. We picked Diamonds Childrens Hopsital (DCH) because they have an excellent surgeon and she would be the ONLY infant on the transplant list for 1A priority in the area. Not to mention it is only 2 hours from Phoenix and 4 from El Paso. So transportation would be a lot easier because when you need to transfer on ECMO to a further location - the only people that can do it, is the military! And that wouldn't be able to be arranged until Monday.

We've had great care at DCH so far- the Dr here though from an echo scan that he might be able to fix her heart. So Sunday, he went in to explore. Unfortunately, although we all had very high hope, her heart is just too broken.
Monday, we meet with the transplant coordinators and signed the papers!
Tuesday, May 10th at 6:07am she was officially listed on the 1A (top priority) heart transplant list.

Caralynn's other organs are all still doing great, she pees and finally after 12 days- she pooped! And thats exciting to us because that means no organs are shutting down. If any of her other organs would shut down, she would be removed from the transplant list.

So we pray everyday- all day... each time our phone rings that it's "the" call- the call that will tell us we have a heart. And in a whirl wind of just 4 hours, she will have it placed in her.

We have such wonderful friends, family, and strangers touched by Caralynn's fight- they are all supportive weather it's a nice comment on facebook, a phone call, text, or a donation... And we thank every single person supporting us. We love Caralynn so much and can not wait to have her home - around Christmas- as the transplant nurses said... :) wouldn't that be the BEST Christmas present in the world.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sweet Baby Caralynn - her first 24 hours.

I went in for the planned induction, only to learn that she wanted April 21st as her birthday anyway. I was 5 mins apart in contractions, 3cm and 70% effaced. They hooked me up to the IVs and let my husband and I get some sleep (since we got there at 2am).
I was having great and easy contractions, at 10:30am I was 5cm and they gave me my epidural and broke my water. By noon I was telling the nurse that she was coming quick (just like I had with our other daughter! lol). So she called the Dr and by 12:30 the Dr was there, they had the tables set up, and at 12:55 they told me to push. It was soo quick and easy with her!
Sweet baby Caralynn was born at 12:57pm (mtn time). She was born purple. They placed her on my lap while my husband cut the cord, then took her over to the warming table because of her color and because she wasn't crying. She was breathing but she didn't look good at all.

After a quick clean up they handed her to me for a quick 2 kisses and went off to the nursery with her.
My husband and I sat there clueless and SO SO worried. We didn't know what to do or think. So we sat and waited. About an hour after birth, they let my husband go see her. He sent me a picture on my phone and she was doing much better! She had pinked up and was in a little oxygen tent with heart and oxygen monitors on her. He stayed with her for a while. I had to wait for my sea legs to return and got up as soon as I could... They had me do the necessary things before leaving the room to see her. (And as a side note- I felt great and had no pain or discomfort!)

Trust me, I did them quick and walked to the nursery. Wow was I so happy to see her! We got to ouch her little body and talk to her. She made the cutest little noises!! We were instantly in love <3 . We still didn't have a name for her since we hadn't meet her personality or really got to hold her yet. This was about 2 hours after birth.

We took turns going back and fourth to the nursery waiting for the pediatrician to clear her and she would be able to go back to our room with us and home the next day! But he had ordered a bunch of little test because of her color. So we had to wait until those were done and for 3 hrs after birth. 3 hours came and went, the test still weren't done. We got moved into the post partum room where Chris would have a bed of his own and not a silly chair or couch. It made me so happy when he pushed our beds together and couldn't wait to put our newest princess between us for the night. We went back to the nursery and they said just 30 more minutes and then the last test would be done!!

45 minutes later I returned to the nursery because she hadn't been brought to us yet and I know how busy the nurses can get.
I walked in and was instantly scared (and I was so mad at Chris for not going with me- but we weren't expecting this!). She was getting an ultrasound done on her tiny heart. I stood there and watched. Everything was running through my mind and the nurse told me that they had thought they heard a murmur during one of the test so the ped ordered the ultrasound.
About 10 minutes goes by (it felt like an eternity!!) and a cardiologist came in to look at the ultrasound. A few minutes into it and Chris came in to see what was keeping me from bringing her back to the room. I saw the instant fear and scare in his eyes and knew exactly how he felt.
The cardiologist and tech were there for a long time and then a neonatologist joined them... 3 people, 1 tiny baby, and an ultrasound machine... not a good thing.
Another forever goes by when the neo gives us a brief whats going on... and then he said that the cardiologist would be finished in a few minutes and explain it in detail. It was so hard to understand his (I think Russian) accent. But we defiantly heard hole in her heart.
Once the cardiologist and tech were done. He sat down with us and told us that our (unnamed) baby girl had truncus arteriosus. It's a rare type of congenital heart disease in which a single blood vessel (truncus arteriosus) comes out of the right and left ventricles, instead of the normal two (pulmonary artery and aorta).
In truncus arteriosus, a single artery comes out of the ventricles. There is usually also a large hole between the two ventricles (ventricular septal defect). As a result, the blue (without oxygen) and red (oxygen-rich) blood mix.
Some of this mixed blood goes to the lungs, some goes to the coronary arteries, and the rest goes to the body. Usually, too much blood is sent to the lungs.
If left untreated, two problems occur.
- Too much blood circulation in the lungs may cause extra fluid to build up in and around them, making it difficult to breathe.
- The blood vessels to the lungs become permanently damaged. Over time, it becomes very hard for the heart to force blood to them. This is called pulmonary hypertension and it can be life-threatening.

Surgery is the only treatment and option.
All of the above we researched because everything that he told us sounded like Charlie Browns teacher talking.
He drew us pictures of a normal heart and one of how her's looked. With her truncus and hole. And wrote down "truncus arteriosus".
Then he told us that she was going to be going to Phoenix Childrens hospital for the surgery and would be flying out that night or the next morning and for surgery to follow around early week. And also that the nicu would be taking her over.
I asked him if we could spend some time alone with her, since she was stable, in our room. He said of course and gave us 15 minutes.

I can tell you that was a very hard walk back into our room because I knew we wouldn't be getting much or any time with her for a few hours. I didn't want that 15 minutes to end. I didn't want the nicu team to come take her from us. I didn't want any of this happening to our beautiful and prefect baby girl.

My sweet husband and I have never ever cried so much in such a little time. We took turns holding her, taking pictures with her, of just her, and a little family picture. A million things were going through our heads. But the one thing we KNEW we HAD to do... was name her.
She's way to beautiful to not have a name for a second longer. We had gone into the hospital with 3 names- but only 1 fit. And so Sweet Baby Caralynn got her name.

I gotta admit, I LOVE LOVE LOVE her "old man hair". She has a killer receding hairline and a ton of hair in the back! And it's dark <3 We really hadn't been able to get a look at her eyes yet because of her heart- one of the problems is being lethargic. So she sleeps and sleeps.

Not long after, the NICU came for her, they told us she'd be prepped for the transfer - in an hour we'd be able to see her again.
After they took her Chris and I held each other and cried for a long time. I've never prayed so hard in my life! The next thing we had to do was call our parents and tell them... reliving the whole last two hours was so painful. I couldn't even tell my parents half of what was said because it was to hard. I didn't want to tell anyone. I didn't want to believe it. I really just wanted to wake up in my labor room, know I had a bad dream, give birth to our princess, and take her home 24 hours later.

The next thing we did was get on the computer and research what the Dr had wrote down since we didn't remember a lot of the details.

We spent that hour wisely and learned everything we could, Chris packed his bag to fly out with her, and we spent time together not knowing when I'd be able to join them. After the hour was up, we went to the nicu to see her hooked up with a ton of wires and to a bunch of beeping machines. I wondered if the scary would ever end. It still hasn't.

They were finishing up with the transfer process. I had to sign a bunch of papers.
It was so hard to listen to them and try to savor every second I could with our baby because of not knowing when I'd get to Phoenix.
They placed her in the tiny incubator for the transfer. Chris and I said quick goodbyes and he got in the elevator with her. I couldn't watch the doors close on the elevator so I quickly walked away and back to my room.
I was now alone in a big post partum room... meant for a new family. 2 beds & a baby crib. It wasn't fitting at all. So hard to be in there... all alone. It was about 10:30pm now, not even 10 hours after I had her. It was so so hard to be alone and I don't think I stopped crying for a good few hours.

I wanted a prayer chain to start immediately- it took me a good 15 minutes to write a little facebook status. The love for Caralynn came in quickly and I bet God was bombarded with our love for her and the need and want for her to be with us here. There is no way I'm going to give up on her ever. And I am SO thankful for Dr Bowen and all his silly test because if he didn't do them. We might not have found out in time and she wouldn't be with us.

Chris got to stay with her in the nicu for the night. We both had a very rough time sleeping. I woke up every 20 minutes to make sure he hadn't called or sent a text. He kept waking up to check on her.
In the morning, both of us were up at 6am not able to sleep anymore.
They started running test on her- ultrasounds of her heart, belly, and brain.
I had to get a breast pump, call the insurance company, stay in touch with Chris as often as possible, talk with my family because my sister and mom wanted to come down to be with and help us, and a bunch of other stuff.
Chris's aunt and uncle who live 40 minutes from Phoenix went to spend time with them. He was so happy and thankful for them! We defiantly need family and friends right now. There is so much to handle... it's pretty overwhelming.

I got home around 12:30pm. I was SO happy to see out kids! My friend Kaitlin and her husband Eric took great care of them and I will never be able to thank them enough! They also said they'd watch Ninja Kitty while we're in Phoenix! Their cat is Ninja's mommy :)
I posted on facebook things that were going on and also that we needed someone to help with our two dogs.
We're so lucky to have such great friends here in our army family! My awesome friends Andrea & Matt are watching Annie and Alisha & Matt are watching Lucy.
We're had so many offered to be helped and I feel so blessed and lucky! Thank you to everyone that has, is, and has offered to help!!

That was her first 24 hours of life.
We're now at about 35 hours.
My awesome friend Cynthia brought me a breast pump because I'm not suppose to be driving and the hospital's manual one was horrible! lol THANK YOU!!!

Chris got to feed her her first bottle that she finally took!  Here's the picture he got after feeding her- you could say she's happy!!! He also got us a room at the Ronald McDonald house! The Army is being wonderful and so understanding of the leave time too!
I've started packing for the trip and time we'll be there :)
My sister got a flight and will be here tomorrow at midnight to drive with us up to Phoenix and stay 13 days!! The kids are SO excited to see Aunt FiFi!!

We definitely want to say extra special thank yous to our family! My dad "cashed in" his vacation time so that my mom and sister could have money for flights down here and for the gas money driving to and from.

We're expecting to be there about a month. But of course hope to be home sooner.
Thank you again everyone for everything! This tired momma is going to bed :) I hope to get some sleep now that everything is a little calmed down.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Finally time!!!

I know I haven't wrote in a LONG time! But I've been busy....
We moved into a new house, my oldest started Pre-K, and I've been super busy with photography clients and keeping up with the new big house and my family.

Everything is finally ready and I go into the hospital at 2am (13 hours from now!) to have Baby 'C' .
We're going in with 3 names: Caralynn, Camryn, and Camilla. With any of those first names she will have the middle name Rose.

Now onto her super cute room! Which by the way would not be possible without the help of her Granny! Thank you SO much for helping, Mom!
Here are pictures of her room :)
View from her door
other side of her room (car seat now in car!) :)

inside her crib/bedding


most important drawer- CLOTH DIAPERS!!!!

stuff drawer- I've since added cloth wipes made by my friend- thanks!!

extra clothes that I don't hang, like pants and shorts

diaper holder FILLED with more prefolds! :)

Okay, that's it! I can't wait to bring her home to her room and use cloth diapers!!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hold on baby! Don't come out yet!

I got really sick on Monday night- it started with just a stomach ache.
Then I started throwing up... and couldn't stop.
By 9am Tuesday, I knew Chris had to come home from work to take me to the hospital.
He got home as soon as he could, I arranged a babysitter for the kids not knowing how long it was going to take. (THANKS friend for watching the kids!!!) I knew I had to go in to get some fluids since I couldn't hold anything down and that dehydration causes contractions.

We got there about 1pm ish. And they sent me to the Labor and Delivery Triage room- where they immediately gave me an IV with fluids and hooked me up to what felt like a million monitors.

Shortly after getting all hooked up, we learned that I was having contractions every 3 minutes and that my cervix was softened. They increased my fluids and gave me a shot in the fluids to stop my nausea (which kicked my butt and made me feel like crap for about 20 hrs). Then I also got a shot in the back of my arm of something (forgot the name I was SO out of it by now) that would help stop my contractions.

I sent my husband, Chris, home to be with the kids so my friend could go have dinner with her husband and spend a little time with him after work. That shot had helped... for about an hour until my contractions came back and I was having them just under 2 minutes now.

I called Chris and my friend and she said she's come back to spend the night with the kids and Chris could come with me. Because now the baby's heart rate was dropping too around every contraction I had. There was talk about an emergency c-section if we couldn't get them under control. Our poor baby is only 30 weeks! I was beyond scared and when I got that news, I was all alone. It was SO hard to deal with. My emotions went way over me and I already couldn't think straight and comprehend what was going on because of that nausea medicine they gave me.
Then a specialist came in with an ultrasound machine to check the baby's position, see if the cord was wrapped around her neck, and basically check her viability. I could barely stay awake during this ultrasound... and any expecting mother will tell you that it's one of the best parts of being pregnant- just to get a glimpse at your little one...
I drifted in and out and woke up to them giving me a Magnesium Sulfate bag. The nurse told me it wouldn't make me feel good.... so I said I already don't and fell asleep.
Chris got back to the hospital sometime around after my second ultrasound which again was checking to see what was happening with the baby and her heart rate dropping during my contractions.
They gave me a little green pill. And he and I fell asleep. Not to long later they moved me into a delivery room.
I tried to keep my family informed via text and facebook- but I can still barely remember the details, so texting back and forth with them was hard because I fell asleep in between the letters I typed.

They finally for my contractions slowed way down to 1 or 2 an hour (which I currently still have going on). Her heart rate stabilized too! They finally got to reduce the Magnesium Sulfate. Which is a very painful thing to have going through your body. It feels like it settles on your chest making it even more difficult to breath then it was. Imagine a 200 lb person sitting on your chest.

Around 8am, they said I was doing better still with the few contractions a hour and her stabilized. So I sent Chris home to the kids and so our friend could go home and find out what her baby was that afternoon!
In between all of this, we were packing to move into a new house (which we sign for today and move into tomorrow with them help of Chris's friends and one of my friends is going to help and watch the kids so I can just direct moving boxes traffic from a chair.). So whenever Chris was home, he was packing away.

I told Chris to come back up with the kids around Noon - which is when I'd be finding out about what was going to be happening with us (stay or go home). I was very happy to hear that the baby and I were good and could go home...on bedrest! When Chris came in with the kids, I was so happy to be able to be with them again. So we packed up and headed out! So grateful for all the prayers and well wishes that the baby gets to stay inside the womb and get bigger!

We want to say thank you to everyone - especially everyone praying, watching the kids, and helping us move! And also all the offers to help!

** and one thing I kept thinking about the whole time-- I don't have any cloth diapers for a baby this small!!!! I need to order some! and I need to wash the ones I have!

So to baby-- please stay longer!!! Get bigger and stronger, stay healthy and come out n about 10 weeks!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"The Stash"

ALL of my orders have arrived! I now have 26 cloth diapers, 12 pocket inserts, 34 indian prefolds, 2 snappis, and my Rockin' Green laundry detergent (My favorite scent is the Motley Clean).

I have a variety of the different diaper styles. I have AIO's, AI2's, Pockets, Prefolds w/ covers, WAHM, and Hybrids.

This baby's bottom is going to be spoiled! Only 10 weeks until my due date... and what am I most excited for?! Yep.. you guessed it, which diaper to put on her first! Although I will keep in mind that whichever one I put on her first- it will have a prefold to catch the meconium!

Oh and I also got this great grab at Joanns Fabric- it was in the left over fabric bin and I got it for $3 and it's just short of 1 yard! SO cute! It says "Sweet pea" and is a light teal color. I want to grab some terry cloth and sew the two together for a 2 sided wipe.

Today I'm going to a "Fluffy Party"- Fluffy parties are when a bunch of Mom's (some Dad's, and kids/babies) meet up and talk about cloth diapering- everything about it, from the different types, washing, and the how to. I'd hoping to remember to take a few pictures! And also to write about it tomorrow... We're currently in the middle of packing up the house to move next weekend. I'm taking a break to go to the party and my husband is going to take the kids to the park. Should be fun!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Got the Flips and the system is great!

My second fluffy mail came in! 4 Flip Diapers in pretty colors! Including the Grasshopper color which is the first CD my husband picked out!
The picture above shows them in all the stages. They are OS diapers too!
It's called the Flip system because you can get the inserts in Organic, Disposable, and Stay-dry.
I got all 4 inserts stay-dry.

The top left diaper is in closed newborn size 8-16 lbs, the bottom left in open and fits 17-22 lbs, top right is open and fits 23-35 lbs, and the bottom right shows the diaper open with the insert in it.

This flip system is pretty cool! I'd even consider buying the disposable inserts for trips home because my parents don't have a water softener and everything would turn yellow. And for $4.95 it comes with 18 inserts- which are WAY better for baby's skin and WAY cheaper then a disposable diaper! They also have great reviews from people! Making vacations more enjoyable and easier when they get home so they don't have a full wetbag of CD's to wash... just the covers!

The inserts are also compatible with bumGenius and Econobum- which makes me happy because as soon as all my fluffy mail arrives, I'll be able to use these inserts with most of my CD's (all but 4 of my one size!)!

My My My Prefolds!

     I got my first order of fluffy mail! SO excited to get the Indian prefold package for infants through Nell's!
It came with 30 Indian prefolds, 2 bummis covers, 2 thirsties covers, 2 snappi's, and a small Bummis roll of biodegradable diaper liners (100 count pack).
Here's what my order looks like- you can get different covers, I got girly and colors I don't have yet.
The *only* thing I was slightly disappointed about was the shade of the yellow Bummis (pokadot) cover. I thought it would be more of a sun yellow, and it's more mustard yellow... but it's okay! Just a different color then I thought. I also got 2 of each in the hook and loop (Velcro) and snap styles to see which I like better.

And when my hubby got home- I showed him the different types of folds! He likes the Jelly Roll Fold best :)
Here are some pictures of HIM doing the work!


Twist Fold

Angel Wings Fold


Jelly Roll Fold

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How many do I need?

First things first... how often do you want to wash laundry?

Second- it depends on what style of diapers you're going with. Don't forget with prefolds and such you just need a few covers and then lots of prefolds. For example 6 covers and 30 prefolds will be good for every other day washing. Now when you use a AIO, AI2, or pocket- it's a one time use until wash day.

So here's the "about" what you need. now for prefolds just think of it as the number of prefolds you need, not diapers. You need to change your cover every 4 - 6 diaper changes. Unless of course it gets dirty, then you need to change it then too.

Wash   Newborn to 6 mths  6 mths to 12 mths  12 mths to 24 mths  P.Training
Daily:                 10 - 12                  8 - 10                    6 - 8                     2 - 4
2 Days:              20 - 24                16 - 20                  12 - 16                  6 - 8
3 Days:              30 - 36                24 - 30                  18 - 24                  6 - 12

As soon as my diapers arrive in the mail, I will have enough to wash every 3 days- which will be nice for me with 3 kids! I'm going to be busy and I'm so glad I learned how many I should have to go in between diapers!...
And remember! If you baby gets sick and it's laundry day... you're gonna need those diapers ASAP! So my 3 day stash will get washed every other day to make sure I have enough on hand for anything that comes up. I can't wait to get ALL those diapers in!
 Here's my current stash!
4 inserts for the 4 Smartipants on the left. Middle is a WAHM tinkerbell AIO and a OS bumGenius 4.0 artist series (in Eiffel Tower). Right is 5 AI2 Dream-Eze. Bottom are my 2 wet bags in medium from Kushies. Missing from the picture is a white pocket and another brown Dream-Eze  which I used in a photo shoot for a new born.
I've been very lucky with these diapers that I currently have! A great friend back home gave me the smartipants and wetbags and another great friend (who very first showed me CDs) picked up a great deal for $25 on craigslist of the 6 dream-eze, 1 white pocket, and the WAHM tinkerbell! And the beautiful BG Eiffel Tower she got me as a thank you for watching her cute pup while she went on a trip!
I'm suppose to be receiving my first order from Nell's today with the prefold package! I can't wait!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

My first fluffy order!

I am so excited! http://www.cottonbabies.com/ was having a buy 1 get 1 free sale on econobum covers that came with a prefold. So... I ordered 2 and getting 4! I can't wait to get them!
Econobum - White/Zinnia

From http://www.nellsnaturalbaby.com/ I ordered her Infant Indian prefold package- which comes with 4 covers, 30 prefolds, and 2 snappi's. And also 4 Flip covers, 2 samples of the Rockin Green Laundry detergent (I'll probably get samples of all the scents until I pick my fav!), and their super cool magnetic detergent scoop :)
Magnetic Laundry Scoop  Rockin Green Soap Sample Pack  Infant Prefolds Package: Up to 15 pounds

I also found a super cute Giraffe CD on Ebay and won the bid at $1.77!!!
Item image

I can not wait to get my first official FluffyMail!!!
Only 2 more months until my due date!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Letting you in on the CD lingo

Learning "the lingo" is half the battle!
*now remember... I'm learning all this with you!
 So if you're an "expert" CD'er- don't be harsh if I get something wrong, please just comment! :) *

AIO:  All In One
AI2:  All In Two
BF: Breastfeed
BG:  bumGenius
CD:  Cloth Diaper
CPF:  Chinese Prefold
DC:  Diaper Cover
DSQ:  Diaper Service Quality
FB:  Fuzzi Bunz
FM:  Fluffy Mail
IPF:  Indian Prefold
PUL:  Polyurethane Laminate
WAHM:  Work At Home Mom

Cloth Diaper Types
One Sized:  (fits all) From newborn to toddler! Gets the most for your money. They use Snaps or Velcro closures that grow with your baby from 7-35 lbs.

Prefold:  Have three panels of absorbent cotton or organic material. You need a fastener like a snappi or diaper pins. Also a cover or shell for waterproofing is needed. They come in sizes- infant (up to 15lbs) and premium (up to 35 lbs).
-Indian Prefold: are a softer cotton, wash up quicker, but may wear out quicker then a Chinese prefold. Takes 3 washes until usable.
-Chinese Prefold: are heavier duty, last longer, but they pill up and are rougher then Indian prefolds.
Takes up to 10 washes until usable.

Contour:  Are like a fitted prefold, except you don't need a fastener, you just place inside a cover and fasten  the cover around baby. Also come in sizes.

Fitted:  Is fitted to the baby at their current size. The tend to run more money because you need to buy more when the baby grows out of them.  Unlike the prefold this just goes on baby, and snaps around the waist. You also need a cover with this as it is not waterproof. Shown below is a Kissaluvs.

Cover or Shell:  Is made from water proof fabric (like PUL) that goes on the outside of the prefold, contour, or fitted. You fasten with Velcro or Snaps. You can buy these in One Size or Sized.

Pocket:  Are lined with fleece and have a waterproof outer. They come with an insert that you slide into a "pocket" inside the CD. These also come in different sizes. You can also use your prefold or contour if you like.

All in One:  Is the most like a disposable diaper. No inserts. Just place on baby and go! They do take longest to dry though because of the layers inside.

All in Two:  Comes with a cover and an insert. Some inserts snap into the diaper and you can re-use the cover. So unlike a pocket that gets stuffed inside, this one gets placed on top and in direct contact with the baby.

Wool:  The only style of cloth diaper cover composed of all natural, anti fungal, wear-resistant fibers. Wool is soft, breathable, and absorbent, keeping baby cool in the summer months and warm in the winter months. You can get them in a wrap or pull up cover style (shown below). They are not water proof and do use a soaker pad. They are expensive to buy, but if you know how to knit they are very cost effective.
WAHM: A Work At Home Mom- I love to look at their CD's for sale! As you can imagine- it's a mom that's working from her house making cloth diapers for others. They are great to use and buy from because they can make you a very specific to you and what you want on the diaper! (shown below is a Squishy Butt WAHM custom made covers and wipes/accessories-check out her website to see more, or order!)
Snap:   They are just that, button snaps. They are used to close the diaper and also to adjust the size of the one size fits all. Very handy and last longer then the hook and loop. They come in a huge variety of colors. You can see the snap usage in practically all of the pictures on this blog.

Hook & Loop:   The hook side (rough side) and loop side (soft side) of the fastener (commonly called Velcro or Aplix) is used to wrap around the baby. This wears out and does need replacing after a while of use.

Snappi:  As you can see the product below, it has hooks on the ends of it (reminds me of an ace bandage fastener) and just gently goes into the fabric ensuring a snug fit.
Diaper Pins:   You put the pin through the fabric and close it ensuring a snug fit.

Accessories / Other
Wetbag:   Come in several sizes. From a diaper wipe holder to a hanging XL bag that holds your CD's until you do the laundry. They are water proof and resist odors and keeps the smell contained inside the bag. Most recommend having 2 small or medium, 1 for the clean diapers and 1 for the dirty diapers when you are on the go.

Pail Liner:  They go into your pail (like a trash bag) and are reusable. Cloth diaper pail liners also make it easy to move dirty diapers to the washing machine.
Cloth Diaper Sprayer:  Come complete with all attachments needed to quickly and easily attach to a standard 3/8 inch compression water valve (valve behind toilet). Each unit comes packaged with a hand sprayer; a flow control t-valve; 4 foot reinforced white NSF Approved PVC hose; built in check valve in sprayer (one way valve); step-by-step picture instructions; and a matching wall bracket including screws & plastic anchors. Each unit takes approximately 5-10 minutes to install when using a standard adjustable pliers.
Many people buy these to hose off poop into the toilet before the washing machine. - my husband is particularly excited about this product!

Butt or Wipe Spray:  Is a gentle moisturizer for baby's bottom. You do not 'need' any technically. You can use just plain water. Or make your own buy adding a few drops of tea tree oil into a small spray bottle (which you can purchase in the travel aisle at any drug store). You can also add soap bits. They also have ones for purchase at practically any cloth diapering website.

Diaper Creams:   DO NOT buy regular diaper rash creams! They will not go well with the cloth diaper and as I like to think of it..poison them! You can find ones that are compatible with CD's on most CD websites.

Reusable Wipes:   Many people just use baby wash cloths! But you can also make or buy them when buying your CD's online. Flannel, Cotton, Velor, Terry cloth, etc are the different types of fabrics used. Most people just run them under water for a few seconds before wiping baby.

CD Safe Detergent: You really can NOT use regular detergent with cloth diapers. Like the diaper rash cream, it's poison to CD's. Check out this sites chart from Diaper Jungle
How to Wash:  

-Remove as much solid matter as possible if your child is not exclusively breastfed.

    (where a diaper sprayer comes in handy!)
-Place soiled diapers in the diaper pail.

-Wash every 2 or 3 days to avoid smells and excessive staining.

-Start with a cold rinse.

-Wash in hot water.

-Use the highest water level your machine allows.

-Use the recommended amount of your CD SAFE detergent

        *be sure to check CD safe compatability chart!!!*
-Rinse in the warmest water possible.

-Do an extra final rinse.

-You can hang to dry or place in the dryer (caution: I've heard it reduces the life of your CD!)

  *although drying the inserts and prefolds is okay. It's the covers with PUL inside that should be line dried.
    And occasionally dryer dried to tighten the PUL.
  *be sure to follow manufactures directions as well!
Stripping CDs:   Over time your cloth diapers no longer smell fresh, even right after laundering. This usually means that they have build-up and need a good stripping. Build-up occurs when residue left by detergents, oils or other substances remain in the fibers. Diapers with either super-absorbent hemp or man-made materials like microfleece tend to gather stink more easily than diapers with all-natural fibers like cotton or bamboo. If the funky smell wasn't bad enough, build up can also decrease the absorbency of your diapers and cause leaking. But don't worry, removing build-up by stripping your cloth diapers.
Be sure to know the washing instructions on your CD's so you don't damage them!
Do a hot wash with no detergent, rinse rinse rinse in the HOT water until you no longer see soap bubbles (can take 5 or so washes!).
You can also try:
-1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar especially in hard water areas- added to the last rinse cycle will naturally break down uric acid and soapy residue.  It also prevents yellowing, acts as a fabric softener and static cling reducer, and attacks mold and mildew. And don't worry, they won't smell like vinegar after they are dry!
-A squirt or two of Dawn dish soap (which will help remove oils) rinse wash until bubbles are no more.
Sunning:   It is used to remove stains and re-whiten your CD's!
-Do a cold soak, then add half the normal amount of detergent in a hot wash, followed by an extra rinse cycle. While the CD's are wet, place outside in sunlight with the stained side up for the sun to do the work naturally. This can take up to 3 times of sunning for stains to be completely removed.
-I've also read that you can spray lemon or lime juice on bad stains, but be sure to repeat the wash!

WHEW!!! Now that's a LOT of info... and just think, it only took me 6 hours to type it up! :)
SO please please please, if you know about CD's ADD to in the comments! Correct me if I got something wrong and Add if I forgot!
I hope you enjoyed and that this will make looking at cloth diapering websites a LOT easier!!!

And when you buy, don't forget that pre-washing is necessary!