Monday, December 3, 2012

A glimpse into life with an infant

I glanced at the clock and saw that Anna and I would have to leave in a couple minutes to go pick up Elizabeth from preschool.  No problem, since Anna was still sleeping in her car seat from when we dropped Liz off at preschool a couple of hours earlier. 

I should have known better!  Anna decided now was a good time to wake up and insist on eating.  Okay, fine, I'll give her a quick snack, but we have to leave SOON.

So while eating, she pooped.  Of course she did.

She finished eating and I laid her down to change her, knowing full well that she was most likely not finished filling her pants.  While reaching for another wipe.... she pooped again.  All over her clothes. 

I tried my best to get the clothes off of her without spreading poop everywhere.  Then ran back to her room to get clean clothes.  When I got back, I started putting the clothes on only to realize she had spit up and it was all over the back of her head.  At this point, I just laughed.  The laugh-so-you-don't-cry kind of laugh.

I cleaned that up and wiped her off the best I could and got her dressed, stuff her back into her car seat, and we ran out the door.

And guess what?  We STILL weren't the last ones picking up a preschooler!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Anna is 2 months old!

This little girl is such a joy.  I am so lucky to be her mama.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Anna is 1 month old!

My little peanut is a month old already! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Anna Kathryn has arrived!

Our sweet baby girl is here!  She was born on September 9, 2012 at 5:54 PM.  She weighed 7 lbs 13 oz and was 21.5" long.   Mom did an excellent job writing down details from the day in a special green notebook (even what time Nate had lunch!), but unfortunately that notebook has gone missing.  So I'm going to do my best to remember details.

I ended up being induced.  At my appointment on September 4th, the doctor decided that I didn't need to induce on the 5th like we were tentatively planning.  That was kind of a shock.  But he did want the baby to be born by the end of the weekend.  We went with Sunday just to give me another day to hopefully go naturally.  No such luck.

So on Saturday evening, we took Elizabeth over to Nana and Papa's house to spend the night.  I cried and cried.  I had been super emotional about Elizabeth no longer being an only child and not getting to spend as much time with her.  I'm thrilled for her that she is getting a new baby sister, and she's excited too, but her life is about to change so much.  Then I had to drop her off and couldn't even spend her last night as an only child with her, also knowing that I'd be in the hospital for a few days and wouldn't see her much.  Anyway, I was an emotional wreck. Fun!

Sunday morning we made it over to the hospital almost on time (7:13 AM).  We got the same room at the end of the hallway that we were in when Elizabeth was born! (yay!) 

After getting changed into the hospital gown, the nurse came in to put my IV in.  Wow.  That sucked.  After two unsuccessful attempts in my left hand, I started feeling light headed and nauseous. I didn't actually throw up, but it was close.  I've never had a reaction like that to needles, as much as I hate them.  An older nurse came in to try it on my other hand.  That sucked too, but at least it worked that time.  She said whenever I need an IV, look for the oldest nurse because she has the most experience.

They started the pitocin around 9:30 and contractions started coming regularly an hour or two later.  They were uncomfortable but tolerable. I was able to talk through them and everything. I mostly felt them towards the bottom of my belly.  At one point, after coming back from the bathroom and climbing into bed, I mentioned how I felt like I was leaking.  Could this possibly be amniotic fluid??  I was really stoked that SOMETHING with this labor could be happening naturally!  Someone got the nurse and she tested with some tape thing and said it was negative.  I was bummed.  But then she checked me and said that my water had definitely broken.  She said when she moved her hand, there would be a gush.  And?  There was a gush! Yay!

The contractions started getting more intense and the anesthesiologist came in around 12:30 for my epidural and got done around 1:00.  This actually sucked.  A lot. With Elizabeth, I remember this process being fairly quick and easy.  This time, I had 3 numbing shots (or "bee stings") and he had to try a couple times to find a good spot to put in the epidural because the first spot caused pain on my left side.  At some point, I remember hearing Nate breathing funny, like real quick breaths.  I thought maybe he was trying to get me to mimic his breathing or something, but I had to keep looking down so I couldn't see what he was doing.  After the poking of all the needles was done and he was pretty much just putting in the medicine (or whatever it is they do after poking with all the needles), Nate said something about feeling faint.  I looked up at him and he was white as a ghost.  He almost fainted because he was so worried about me.  (Aww... :)  Not that I wanted him to faint!  The nurse told him to go sit down in the rocking chair.  He kept saying how he felt like a wimp, and I'm the one that needed supported, he held out as long as he could, etc.  What a sweetie. 

So when the epidural didn't really seem to be working, I was pretty upset.  The anesthesiologist came back in after 15-20 minutes with a glove filled with ice and asked how cold it felt on different parts of my legs.  When I didn't feel the cold on the calf of one of my legs he said, "It must be working," and left soon after with instructions to call if we needed anything.  I remember with the epidural I had with Elizabeth, I was feeling much, much better by the time the anesthesiologist left the room.  This time, I was in quite a bit of pain still.  The nurse asked if we should call him back in to try again.  Nope.

However, when the nurse checked me, I felt nothing down there!!  Which is actually a pretty big deal.  Every time my doctor checked me at appointments and when the nurse checked me up til that point, it HURT.  It hurt SO BAD.  Apparently my cervix was waaaay back there.  They had to reach AROUND the baby's head to find the cervix.  I swore my doctor was up to his elbow in there.  It SUCKED.  So when I wasn't able to feel anything after the epidural, I was thrilled.  I still felt every contraction in my abdomen though.

So for the next few hours, I progressed and rested as much as I could with a rude interuption every two minutes.  Shortly before my doctor came in to check me again, all of a sudden I felt nauseous.  I told someone to grab me a puke bag and I got it just in time.  I sat up straight and threw up.  The nurse then said, "We are going to have a baby soon, guys!"  I guess from the way I was acting and the throwing up and stuff, she could tell we were getting close.

I remember telling Nate around 5:20 that this baby had an hour and 40 minutes to get out.  I didn't want to switch nurses half way into pushing like I did with Elizabeth!  (Actually, with Liz, I had the same nurse all day and started pushing at 6:45.  Fifteen minutes later, there was a shift change and I had a new nurse.)

The doctor came in and checked me (if I were to guess, I'd say around 5:30), then said they were going to get some things to set up and then I can push.  I was shocked.  I asked if I was at 10 cm.  He said yep!

Things got even more intense from there.  Everybody was moving quickly.  My abdomen and back HURT really bad and my right hip/leg started hurting so bad with each contraction.  I remember saying to Nate after a particularly bad contraction that, "This is going to suck." All of a sudden, the doctor was instructing my mom how to hold up my leg and telling me to hold my thighs when I'm pushing, etc.  And then I was pushing. I had four people yelling at me to push.  I pushed with everything I had.  But... I couldn't feel it!  I couldn't tell if I was just making intense pushy faces or if I was pushing my guts out.  These four voices were telling me that I was doing great and they could see so much of her head, etc, so apparently I was doing something right.  I just focused on my doctor and what he was saying to me. 

Nate said, "Did you just hear what the nurse said?"  Then he told me that she had been on the phone with someone (no idea who) and said something about how I have one push left.  I said, "What?!"  She nodded.  Okay, maybe I can do this! 

So I pushed one more time and everyone said, "Her head is out!"  And I'm thinking, "Are you freaking kidding me?!?"  Then, just like that, she was out.  After about 3 contractions and maybe 4-5 pushes, my daughter was out!

I remember asking why she wasn't crying. They said she was fine.  After Nate cut the cord, they put her on my chest.  The nurse was picking on her, trying to get her to cry.  Then she took her from me, saying something about how she looked too comfortable.  Meaning she wasn't breathing very well and was turning blue.  They took her over to the infant warmer and picked on her there.  Typically they leave babies on their mama's chest for an hour or so right after they are born, before weighing them or anything.  So it was pretty scary that they had to take her from me.

Mom went over there and I guess pretty much collapsed on the couch.  I told Nate to go over there to be with the baby.  He clearly felt bad about leaving me alone, he kept coming halfway back across the room and turning around, not knowing what to do.  I said that as long as she was fine, I was fine.  I was busy getting stitched up anyway.  (Which hurt not at ALL, by the way.  WAY different than after Elizabeth was born.)  I thought it was sweet that he didn't want to leave me alone though!  They kept assuring me that she was fine and oh so beautiful!

After she was pink enough, they brought her back to me and laid her on my chest. They were right.  This girl was gorgeous.  She has my ear lobes and Nate's toes.  She has Elizabeth's cute little nose.  Lots of dark hair and a perfectly sized abdomen, if I do say so myself.   Then she started rooting around.  It was adorable and shocking!  I moved her over to my breast and she latched on perfectly.  What a good girl.

I love her so much already.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

She's almost here!

Well it has been another few months since the last pregnancy update, so figured it was time for another!  I am 38 weeks along today.  I feel like a worthless lump.  Making a baby is hard.  I don't remember it being so hard the first time.  Although with the first time, I wasn't trying to keep up with a three year old either. 

I'll start with an update on the baby.  I first felt her move during the first week of April (17 weeks) and felt her move from the outside on May 12th (at 22 weeks).  But the movements were few and far between.  As the weeks went on, I was concerned and told my doctor about it.  I know babies are all different, and some move more than others, but still. During the ultrasound (on June 25th, 29 weeks), he agreed that she didn't move a whole lot.  So he gave me two HUGE glasses of water to drink and a handful of Hershey's kisses.  Then they set me up on the fetal monitors to track her movements.  It took a while, but I guess eventually the chocolate made it to her system, because she started moving around quite a bit.  Doctor looked at the results that printed out and said she was fine. Phew!

July 21st - at 32 weeks pregnant and also our 5 and 10 year anniversary.

So fast forward a few weeks... At 32 weeks, I went in for another appointment and the doctor said her tummy was measuring small.  (On the plus side though, her head was measuring HUGE.)  So this was concerning for us.  He said he wanted me to come in weekly to keep an eye on tummy (or "abdomen," if you're a grown up. Happy, Nate?) growth. He said this could indicate that growth is not being distributed properly. The next week, he said that the tummy still looked small, but was in the normal range. (Also, head is still huge - like, 97th percentile huge.)   And now, after keeping an eye on it, he seems less concerned and said that the baby is little, but has a big head.  Nate said she is going to look like a lollipop when she comes out.  I was not amused.  At my appointment yesterday, he guessed her to be around 5.5 - 6 lbs. What a difference from Elizabeth!  I was worried about how big she was going to be!  Now with this one, we are concerned with her being too little.  Whatever though.  My babies are perfect no matter their size. :)

Last week, my amniotic fluid was a little low, at 7.25.  I guess normal is 8.0 and REALLY low, like, you need to be induced right now, is 5.0.  Also, just like her sister, this baby thinks she needs to accessorize with the umbilical cord around her neck.  Although it is just draped over her shoulders (like a stethoscope), where Elizabeth had her's all wrapped around her neck.  So the doctor started talking about the possibility of inducing at 39 weeks.  He wanted me to come in twice this week to check on the fluid levels.  So yesterday was my first of these appointments.  And the amniotic fluid was up to 9 something!  Such a relief.  And the cord is still just draped around her shoulders.  So based on yesterday's appointment, we are now leaning towards not inducing next week and just letting her come naturally.  We'll see what happens at my appointment on Thursday...

I'm in a fairly constant level of discomfort, to say the least.  When this baby isn't rolling around on my bladder, she is punching me in the cervix. My heart burn still sucks.  My lower back /  tail bone on the right side has hurt for a few months, but in the last 4-5 days, it has hurt really bad.  It feels like something is out of place.  Sometimes it has been hard (or harder) to walk (waddle?).  My pubic bone hurts and pops unpleasantly when I move around, especially at night.  Breathing is difficult.  I can't find a comfortable position to sit or lay in that helps me breath easier.  OH, and something that is extra helpful with the breathing?  I have broncitis.  I have been coughing constantly for almost 3 weeks now.  These last few days it does finally seem to be getting better.  I'm still coughing, but not as much and not with as much force.  Fun!

And the lack of movement issue that we were having earlier in the pregnancy?  Gone.  She moves all the time.  And kicks, punches, squirms, wiggles her toes up under my ribs.  It is usually awesome and sometimes painful.  But mostly awesome.

We are pretty excited to meet our baby girl!  Elizabeth is pretty excited too.  She keeps asking when baby sister is going to knock on my tummy and tell us she wants out.  Soon!  So very soon!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

30 weeks!

This is another picture where I stole the idea from Pinterest. :)  We were in the Ozarks and it was about 400 degrees and we were putt putt golfing and thought we should get this picture.  I love it so much. And I love that little girl in the picture so much.  It is such a blast sharing this whole experience with Lizzie.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Bet she never asks that again...

Elizabeth: "Why do we speak English?"

Nate: "blah blah blah... Columbus... blah blah... James Town... blah blah... French and Indian War... blah blah blah... Louisiana Purchase... blah --"

Elizabeth listened intently, and then interrupted with, "Are you done yet?"  before she ran off to play.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pregnancy update and a picture!

Belly picture at 23w3d
(May 18th, 2012)

Well this pregnancy is over the half way point!  I am feeling okay, just tired.  And I get heartburn way more this time around.  I'm also way more emotional and hormonal this time!  I don't care for that and I think it is pretty safe to say that Nate doesn't care for that either.

We are no where near finding a name for this little girl.  I thought we had one picked out.  Nate was even calling her this name and everything.  Then all of a sudden, he doesn't like it any more.  Unfortunately it is the only name I like.  Hopefully he'll come around because he's not coming up with any ideas!

We are starting to get the nursery ready.  And by starting, I mean just barely started.  Mom and I took a bunch of the stuff from the office downstairs to get it out of the new nursery and... that's about it.  Oh, and I think I have the colors picked out.  I think we'll be going with pink, brown, and sage!  It looks so pretty in my head, hopefully I can make the room look just as pretty.  We'll see.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My little princess

I saw a picture on Pinterest a while ago that showed a little girl wearing her mama's wedding dress ( and I HAD to try this with Elizabeth. And since I have yet to get my dress preserved since the wedding almost 5 years ago (what?), it was perfect!

Elizabeth in my wedding dress. My heart is exploding from her cute.

*EDITED April 30, 2012: My dress is now cleaned and preserved and in a box. Boo.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We're having a....

Nate and I have been so excited for this appointment because the doc said last time that he might be able to tell the gender. So we get to the office and wait fooooreeeever. Or at least it felt like forever. I'm pretty sure it was forever though.

We finally get called back! Only to be told, "The doctor isn't here right now because he's delivering a baby."

What?! Crap! "But...but... he said he could tell us the gender today."

Then she said that the PA was there and she would try to tell what we are having.


So then we wait even longer in the exam room than in the waiting room. Finally get called in for the ultrasound. The baby was being super cute and moving around and waving and all that. BUT... the ornery cuss would not show its business. Or the PA wasn't experienced enough to distinguish business. Rats.

So after being thoroughly disappointed, it was time to take all my blood for the quad screen. While the needle is in my arm, I look up and see the doctor just walking in!

As he walked passed my door, I said, "Hey! Want to do an ultrasound?"

He said, "Sure." YES!

We had to wait another bit so they could sneak us back in between patients. Fine with me!  Once he started the ultrasound, he was able to tell fairly quickly what he thought it was.  He said he was 80% sure.  He printed out an ultrasound picture and put it in an envelope for us to open later.   Later happened to be in the parking lot. 

Sitting in my car, we opened the envelope and discovered we are having another girl!  Well, probably.  80% and all.

We went to Hy Vee and got a couple of these balloons for the grandparents.  (Same thing I did when pregnant with Elizabeth.  At least I'm consistant?)  We went to lunch with Rob and Judy to tell them, then to my parents house to tell them and my younger brothers.  The other siblings got this picture of the balloon as their big fancy annoucement. :)

When we told Elizabeth, I figured she'd be upset, but wow.  She wanted a brother.  Really, really bad.  She'd interupt us if we'd say "Your little brother or sister-" with "Brother."  Poor girl cried and cried.  It was so sad!  I know she'll warm up to the idea of a sister, but probably not today! 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Just (another) little scare...

My children are mean to me. So we had another scare. After what Lizzie did to me when I was 8 weeks along with her, and then again when she was 10 weeks old, I'd say her little brother or sister should be nicer to me.

I have one of those fetal dopplers to use at home to hear the baby's heart beat. It is the coolest thing ever. And for a couple weeks now, I've been able to find Junior Squid's heartbeat just fine, even if it takes a few minutes (or ten).

Thursday, however, I couldn't find it. I tried to find it a couple different times in the morning. Nothing. I didn't think too much of it, though, since I know those things are finicky and sometimes it is hard to find the heartbeat on something so freakin tiny.

So throughout the day, I kept trying. For 20-30 minutes at a time. I could not find it. Each time I tried, I began getting more and more freaked out. Nate came home and I was crying, with the doppler laying beside me. At this point, I was scared, but still thought maybe everything was okay.

So I tried again before bed. Still nothing. By now, I was pretty sure I'd lost the baby.

When Nate left for work yesterday morning, he called the doctor's office and found out that he was in his West Omaha office. He called me and asked if we should get an appointment out there. I said I was going to look for the heartbeat one more time, and if I couldn't find it, then yes, get an appointment.

I looked for about 45 minutes, crying the whole time. It was awful. I was certain the baby was gone. Nate got an appointment for 1:00 PM. Throughout the day, I'm wondering how I'm going to tell everyone that we'd lost the baby. I'm wondering when we'd be able to try again. I'm wondering if Nate would be upset if I didn't go to the BNI social the next week. About how now I won't have a newborn when Lizzie starts dance class in the fall. Everything from super significant details to tiny insignificant details, I'm going over in my head. It. was. horrible.

We get out to West O and find the office. They finally call us in and I told the nurse what happened. Saying it out loud, I felt silly. I KNOW those dopplers have issues sometimes. I KNOW people have trouble sometimes. That is part of the risk of having one. But I also know I have never had an issue with it and I had never had a problem finding the heartbeat. My regular scheduled appointment was on Monday anyway, so we just changed it to Friday. That made me feel a little less crazy.

The doctor came in and I told him what happened, too. The moment he put the ultrasound wand on my stomach, we saw the baby dancing around. It was such a beautiful sight. Instant relief. What an emotional roller coaster though! Hearing the heartbeat was just more than I could take. I started crying. It was awesome.

I also vowed to not get that doppler out ever again. Then the doctor said something about how it would be easier to find when the baby is a bit bigger. So I said, "Well... I won't get it out for a few weeks then."

We left the office and I suddenly realized what a beautiful day it was. I hadn't even noticed before. Funny how that works.

This baby better not pull any more funny business like big sister did.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sharing Our News

I found out I was pregnant on January 2nd. I tested pretty early. The test had the lightest pink line of all light pinks lines. I looked at the test and thought, "...bummer. No line. Wait.... what is that? IS THAT A LINE?!" I looked at that thing from all angles. Yep. Definitely a pink line!!

I wanted to tell Nate right away and in a super cute way. But right after I tested didn't seem like the time. I ended up going to lunch with Katy and not mentioning it the entire time. Do you realize how hard that was?!

On my way home, I stopped by the cemetary. Grandpa was actually the very first person I told.

When I got home, of course I did the only logical thing to do. I peed on another stick. Again it was sooooo light. But it was there! So my super cute way to tell Nate we are expecting Junior Squid?

"Hey Nate.... I'm pretty sure I'm seeing a line here. What do you think?" as I walked into the living room holding the pregnancy test. So much for telling him in a cute way! Ah well. He is pretty happy anyway.

Last night I asked mom and dad to come up to the house after they were done visiting Grandma so I could see them before they went back to Chicago the next day. Or at least that is what I told them! ;) I had this thing all planned out for how to share the big news with them. I bought a frame with two pictures; on one side was a picture of Elizabeth and the other side had this "Photo Coming September 2012" thing that I made. It was wrapped and everything.

But of COURSE, when Mom gets to the house, she needs to use the restroom. And of COURSE, Lizzie had to go with her. I should mention Elizabeth was wearing a "Big Sister" shirt with a little pink sweater over it to cover it up. While waiting for mom to come out of the bathroom, Nate comes into the living room and motions for me to get my butt to the kitchen. I rush in there and he says, "Elizabeth is in there yelling stuff about big sister!"

".... Shit!"

So mom came out of the bathroom and acted like she didn't know anything. I watched her face. She tried so hard. She started smiling and looking suspicious and wouldn't look at me, so I said, "She told you!!" She started laughing and crying and hugging me. Apparently mom had complimented Lizzie on her little pink sweater. So Lizzie lifted it up to reveal her shirt underneath and said, "I'M A BIG SISTER!!

Poor dad had no idea what was going on! I had to call Lizzie into the room so he could read her shirt. Then I said, "Well this is how you were SUPPOSED to find out!" and handed them the gift. Oh well, Lizzie telling them was even cuter.

Then we went up to Rob and Judy's. I made them a similar frame, except with a lot more pictures to include all the grandkids! I wrapped it in such a way so that the last photo had an extra piece of wrapping over it. When Judy opened it, she kind of squealed when she saw all of her granddaughters. Then she took off the last piece of wrapping and squealed even louder! It was so cute.

Then I sent all the aunts and uncles a picture of Lizzie in her Big Sister shirt. It was pretty adorable.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Circle of Life.

Well, I have got to say, I am not too sorry to see 2011 go.

My poor family has been through quite a bit in the last several months. In the beginning of November (I'm pretty sure it was the 2nd), my Grandpa got so weak that he couldn't stay at home by himself anymore. It must have been so hard for him, but he called up my mom and finally took her up on the offer to come stay with her. So for a few weeks, she and my dad took care of him.

We hosted Thanksgiving at our house, in the basement, so Grandma and Grandpa could just come in the basement door in their wheel chairs and not have to get up the stairs somehow. It worked out pretty nicely. I am so glad we were all able to be together as a family for Thanksgiving. However, shortly after lunch, Grandpa didn't feel well and he slept in the guest room for the rest of the day. I liked him being there though. I just hope it wasn't too hard on him.

Pretty quickly, it was getting to the point that mom physically wasn't able to help him. One day Grandpa said to mom that he better go to the hospital, which is HUGE. Things would have to be really bad for him to suggest the hospital. So they went. He stayed there for about a week and then moved to the nursing home where he would be able to receive better care from people trained to help.

Meanwhile, the day before Thanksgiving, Mom found a lump in her breast. On December 1st, I accompanied her to Jennie Ed for an ultrasound to get it checked out. They thought that cyst looked fine. The other one, though, the one that she had checked out in February at Mercy and they said was totally fine and would never turn to cancer? Yeah that one... they thought that one looked suspicious. They were worried. They did a biopsy right then of the "cyst" that wasn't really a cyst and another biopsy of a lymph node. A whole agonizing day later, Dr. G called. She didn't have the official results yet, but they were worried and she was pretty sure it was cancer. This was a horrible weekend for all of us. Monday we got word: Moderately Differential Infiltrated Ductal Carcinoma. My mom has breast cancer.

In the nursing home, Grandpa continued to grow weaker. He quit eating, quit drinking. Mom was told by an aide that she'd be surprised if Grandpa made it to Sunday (Dec 11th), the same day that mom was scheduled to go out to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, Illinois(a suburb of Chicago). Why an aide thinks she is in ANY position to give information like that is beyond me. Very frustrating. After much, much, MUCH deliberating, and after a hospice nurse gave mom some very profound advice, she finally decided to go ahead and go to CTCA on the 11th. Saturday night, we all went to the nursing home and visited Grandpa. He was barely alert, but looked around at us when we talked and when I said "I love you, Grandpa," he said, "I love you, too." Then he said the same thing to mom when she told him she loves him. Those were the last words we ever heard him speak. Mom was sure this was her last goodbye with her dad.

During the week that mom and dad were in Illinois, I went to visit Grandpa almost every day. The aids said that he wasn't responding to anyone or anything anymore. Whatever. He totally responded to me. When I talked to him, he moved his arms around and reached his hand out. He acted like he wanted to say something but couldn't. Then Nate said something to him and got nothing. I talked to him again, and he moved his hand around again. I felt pretty special right then.

Once when I went in, I talked to him for a minute and didn't get a response. Then I started to give him some news from mom, and he responded a lot. Shifting his shoulders and moving his arms, reaching out his hand. Then he seemed to pull at his blanket. I asked, "Are you too hot?" obviously not expecting an answer. I swear, I SWEAR I saw him shake his head ever so slightly. I told Grandma about it, and she said that earlier that day, she asked him if he wanted his mouth wiped with the wet sponge, and she said she saw him nod. While I was thrilled that it seemed like he could understand and hear what we were saying, I was also a little heart broken that he could hear and understand, but couldn't say anything back. I hope he wasn't upset or frustrated about that.

The news I told Grandpa about Mom that seemed to excite him so much is this... Mom's cancer hasn't spread. She has Stage 2 cancer and it is in both the "cyst" that Mercy said was fine and also 2 lymph nodes. It hadn't spread anywhere else. Thank God. Thank GOD. Her doctor said she was curable. Not treatable, mind you. Curable! However, she does still have to go through 4 rounds of chemo, surgery, and then radiation. She was able to get through her first round of chemo on her birthday while out in Chicago (happy birthday to her!) before she came home.

I picked them up from the airport and we went straight to the nursing home. Grandpa held on for her. He hadn't had anything to eat or drink in a week or so. This was rough. Again, the aides said that Grandpa wasn't responding. When mom got in there and talked to him, he definitely knew she was there. He responded by moving his shoulders, his arms, his hands. She told him the news again and I know he heard her and was so happy.

I stayed with mom the next several nights to help her in any way I could. She had to get a shot the day after getting chemo to make her bones stay strong. Apparently this shot makes a person feel like they have a bad case of the flu for 3-4 days. Mom was so miserable. She felt horrible. We bunked out together downstairs and she pretty much slept for the first two days while I updated friends and family on what was going on. And I watched TV. A lot of TV. I didn't want to leave her side.

On December 18th, I rolled over on our makeshift bed on the floor, and mom told me that Grandpa had passed away. Dad had come down earlier after a phone call from the nursing home and told mom. Apparently I slept through it. Obviously, it wasn't a surprise. I wasn't shocked. It was actually a blessing that he lasted as long as he did. So why did it still feel like I was being punched in the gut? I cried, just a little. Dad went to the nursing home to be with Grandma and Grandpa. I asked mom what she wanted me to do, and she wanted me to stay there with her. I was a little relieved about that.

By this time, mom was feeling not great by any means, but better than before. She was able to get up and out of the house and make funeral plans, even if she did have to force herself. We went to the funeral home to make plans and Mom and I went to a meeting at Grandpa's church to talk to the pastor who would officiate at the funeral. He asked a lot of questions about Grandpa and what he was like growing up and throughout life. It was nice talking about him. Getting to tell someone what an amazing man my Grandpa was.

Mom looked gorgeous and healthy at the visitation and funeral, even though I'm sure she didn't feel it. The visitation was December 21st and the funeral... my grandpa's funeral was December 22nd. That is so hard to type out. The funeral was beautiful, if a funeral can be beautiful. The pastor did a great job of telling everybody how wonderful this man was. Like they didn't already know. Everyone loved him. They still love him.

One small blessing is that mom still had her own hair for the funeral. Several days after Christmas, mom's hair started shedding a little more than usual. Quickly, it started coming out by the handful. On December 31st, mom and I went for a spa day. She decided it was time to cut her hair off. I told her several times to try not to let it bother her. To think of it as, "Screw you, cancer, you can't get to me." Obviously, this is easier said than done. I could not even follow my own advice. Not even close. We both cried big ol' fat tears when she was sitting in the chair waiting for the stylist to come back with the right size clippers. I did still have plenty of "screw you, cancer" thoughts, though. Then we both got a pedicure and manicure. Not what most people have in mind for a girls day out, but we had fun.

Today mom and I went to the wig shop and picked up her new hair. She really likes her new bangs! Tomorrow I will drop mom and dad off at the airport so she can head to Chicago for her second round of chemo.

So 2011... I'm not all that sorry to say that I won't miss you. I hope and pray that 2012 will be a year of joy and hope and healing and recovery and LIFE.

Also? I'm pregnant. :) So come on 2012... let's see where you take us. Please be nice.