The Fam

The Fam

Sunday, January 29, 2017

3 Years Ago - Hemihypertrophy

I was looking at my Timehop this morning, as I do every morning, and I saw Fisher's 9 month photo. Two things came to mind immediately. 1. How fast time has flown. 2. When I took that photograph, we were about to head to his 9 month checkup, and I had no idea how everything would "change" in an hour or so.

When we got to his 9 month wellness checkup, I went in assuming that we might get in a little trouble because he wasn't cruising yet, and I knew that was our homework for this visit. But other than that, I expected a clean bill of health, just as we had always gotten with Finley and Fisher up to this point. While Dr. Watts was examining him, she noticed that one leg was larger than the other- in circumference and in length. This started a whirlwind of emotions and questions. Unfortunately, Google did nothing to ease my mind or heart. We went to an Orthopedist, a Geneticist, and eventually, even an Oncologist. To sum it all up, Fisher was diagnosed with Hemihypertrophy. Google it if you'd like, but everything on Google about this is scarier than it is in real life.

That's why I'm writing this, actually. I've had multiple mamas reach out to me because they've found me on Instagram or through my blog, and their kid has recently been diagnosed with Hemihypertrophy. So this is really for them. Here is the breakdown of why Hemihypertrophy is scary.

1. The obvious is because for some reason, hemihypertrophy is linked to Wilms tumors in young children. HOWEVER, the percentage of children with Hemihypertrophy who actually develop a Wilms tumor is extremely low. And I'm even hesitant to believe it's as high as it says, because I think that a lot of these children are diagnosed with a tumor, and THEN it is discovered that they have Hemihypertrophy. I think that there are several cases of Hemihypertrophy that go undiagnosed, because they are not that noticeable. Heck, I didn't even noticed Fisher's leg overgrowth, and I'm his mother! I was changing his diaper, and kissing those chunky thighs every day!

2. Because of the fact that whatever is overgrown, can continue to grow at a faster rate than the rest of the body. But, there are so many doctors and specialists that stay on top of everything, and they are ready to use their expertise. And, there are a lot of cases, like Fisher, where the overgrown area never outgrows the other areas anymore than it already is.

3. There will be so many blood draws and ultrasounds, and the thought of a baby having their blood drawn every 3-6 months is so sad. Well, this is true. But guess what? They get used to it. And so do we. And every time they're drawing his blood, I think, "This is just them staying on top of everything. We have to do this to make sure nothing is changing. There are lots of other moms and dads who only wish that these blood draws are the only thing they had to worry about.

4. What if the lab work shows an elevation? That means a tumor! Turns out, it doesn't. I got a horrible call on a Friday (of course it was a Friday, which meant I had the whole weekend to think the worst), that Fisher's tumor indicator lab work came back higher (and it should never go higher). They said his ultrasound was clear, which meant they didn't see a tumor in his abdomen. Through tears I asked, "Does this mean he could have a tumor somewhere else?!" The nurse hesitated as she said, "Yes." We were referred to an Oncologist the following week. And you know what he said? He said that everybody overreacted. He said that the number, though higher than it was initially, was nothing to worry about. That if it was 21000 instead of 21, then he'd worry. But that he'd like to keep following Fisher. So, he pretty much took over the case from the Geneticist. He started ordering the labs and ultrasounds instead of her. And he examines him every 6 months. I embrace this as just one more set of eyes making sure that everything is going well.

Basically, if I could go back to myself 3 years ago, I would tell myself that it really isn't a big deal. I mean, it is, but it isn't. The specialists know what they're doing. Everyone keeps a close eye on my boy as precaution. He's totally normal, he has no ideas his leg is bigger, and nobody else can tell, either. So to all of the mamas with kids who have recently been diagnosed with Hemihypertrophy/Hemihyperplasia, I know it's scary right now. Dr. Google is scary. I only hope that Dr. Google leads you to this blog post to calm your nerves and heart.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. This day brings up all kinds of emotions for me. Naturally, it makes me think about the baby that I lost two years ago. It was a miscarriage- though I don't like that term- miscarriage. "I miscarried a baby" makes it sound like I didn't carry the baby like I should have. Like it was my fault or something. Like I didn't do everything that I should have to grow a baby for 9 months. 
I start to get a little anxious this time of year because I know I'll start to think in depth about it all over again. Of course I think about the baby other times than this time of year, though not as often as I used to if I'm being honest. When it all happened, I thought that I would think about him/her every single day of my life. But I actually don't. I feel guilty saying that, but it's the truth. I'm in a very happy place, and when I think about what might have been, sadness washes over me. I'm not a person who lets sadness come over me often. (Just ask my husband- he calls me the ice princess.) But just because I don't allow myself to think about him or her often, doesn't mean I'll ever forget. It all replays very clearly to me. The image of the sonogram. The ultrasound technician's sweet, sympathetic voice as she told me. The drive from Ft. Worth to Granbury alone- barely able to see the road through my tears. The surgery. The hormones. The strange feeling of knowing that the baby was still inside me for two days, but not alive. The only way I can think to describe it is sad. It's all just very, very sad. And it's sad that so many women know exactly what I'm talking about. But when I look at Fielder's big blue eyes, I know that things are exactly as they should be, and without things happening as they did, he wouldn't be here. That's the peace in it all. He's my rainbow baby. If you're not familiar with the term, a rainbow baby is born after the loss of another baby. They're called rainbow babies because a rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of good things to come. I'm very aware that I'm blessed to have him. Some women aren't as lucky as I am- and they're still awaiting their rainbows. Whether their rainbows come in the form of a baby or something else, a lot of women are still stuck in the storm. If you know somebody who today means a lot to, let them know you're thinking about them. And if you know someone who is currently weathering the storm, please pray for their rainbow. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Fisher & Fielder's Room

When we found out we were expecting, the initial thought was to turn our guest room into Fisher's room, and put the new baby in Fisher's current room (it's the smallest). But I really, really like having a guest room, so I wanted to wait to make any decisions until we found out what we were having. When we found out that he was a boy, I started planning on having the boys share a room for the time being. Sure it's the smallest room in the house, but it just makes the most sense to me right now. Fielder won't actually be sleeping in there for a few more months, and his clothes are in the guest room closet. So really, it's their room, but it's still just Fisher's room in a way. When Fielder finally moves in there, I'll let Fisher decide if he wants to stay in there or if he wants to sleep in Finley's room for a little while until we move him to the guest room permanently. I knew that I wanted the nursery to be black and white, and that I wanted the triangle decals on the wall (which my mom generously put on the wall for me!). Everything else came together pretty quickly. I got the curtains, crib sheets, boppy cover, and changing pad cover from different shops on Etsy. The two sets of antlers came from my sweet friend, Stephanie. Actually, they came from her sweet hubby. Hooper spray painted them for me, because I'm not very good with spray paint. My mom made the pillow covers, and one of my mom's best friends made the beautiful quilt that is hanging on the crib. The blanket draped over the chair is from my awesome friend, Jennifer. I'm happy with how it all turned out, and Fisher is happy with it, too. I'm sure that someday Fielder will be happy with it, as well. :)

Click on the items below to be directed to their shops.

Here's a walk down memory lane... Finley's nursery and Fisher's nursery.

Fielder's Arrival

I feel guilty taking so long to write this post since today Fielder is officially 4 weeks old, but the memories are still very fresh in my mind.
My C-Section was scheduled for 12:30pm December 17th. Fasting for that long is really hard on a pregnant woman, but I followed the rules and didn't eat or drink anything that morning. I woke up in a really good mood, and was very excited to start the process and to meet my little guy.

We arrived at the hospital shortly before 10:00am. My sweet friend, Jennifer, met us in the parking lot to give Fielder a personalized blanket and beanie, which I am obsessed with! (I love Jennifer's products! ) When we went up to the labor and delivery floor, all of the nurses were in such good moods, and we laughed and joked with them as we signed in and filled out a little paperwork. We were shown to our surgery prep/recovery room and got settled. Anna joined us shortly after. The two hours passed pretty quickly, and I was still in very good spirits and just ready to meet Fielder. My mom got there in time to see me before surgery, and before I knew it, it was go time.

Hooper got all suited up and they wheeled me back to surgery without him. Daddies aren't allowed in the room until after the spinal is given. I started to get a little anxious when I got in the room. It's really hard to be completely naked from the chest down in a room full of strangers. I had to sit on the edge of the bed and get the spinal. That part is no walk in the park. You naturally want to pull away from it, but the anesthesiologist is telling you to push into it. Ugh. When I got the spinal, I could feel the medicine running through my body. I don't like that feeling at all, and it just made my anxiety worse. After they give it, they start yelling, "Hurry lay down! Move your legs over a little! Can you shift a little to the right?!" All because in a few seconds, the numbness will take over. And I'm no little thing that they can just move around easily as dead weight. Finally Hooper joined me, and my anxiety eased a tad. Surgery started and I could only feel some tugging and pressure now and then. The room started out so cold, but it quickly got very hot. They had put this thing across my chest that blew warm air on me since the room started cold. But I started sweating and my heart rate increased because I was kind of freaking out on the inside. The anesthesiologist asked me if I was feeling anxious. I began having a stinging pain in my left shoulder and it didn't blend well with my anxiety. I told him about it, and he said that when there is pain in your diaphragm, you can sometimes have pain in your shoulder- that the two areas send the same exact message to your brain. He said if it was making me uncomfortable he could put something in my i.v. to help with the pain a little. I thought about it, and really didn't want to float through the day without really feeling "present", but I was so anxious that I figured it would take the edge off, as well as get rid of the pain, so I told him yes. He turned the heating thing that was on me to blow the room air on me instead. He also put a wet washcloth on my head. I finally got settled and felt more like myself (well, a medicated version of myself). My doctor was talking about how big Fielder was, and I was so anxious to see him! She was tugging around to get him and he finally came out. He came out peeing everywhere. When they handed him over to the nurse, he peed again. I looked over to my left and saw him. He was so cute, so very blonde, and reminded me of Finley. He was moving his mouth and bright eyed like Fin was when she was born. He was born at 12:49pm, weighed 9 lbs, 3 oz and was 21 inches long. I cried happy tears. Hooper was so giddy and proud. 

I had my tubes tied, so finishing the surgery took a little bit longer than it did with Fisher. Though I felt like it went by quicker, Hooper told me that it didn't. They wheeled me back to recovery, and I really don't remember much there. (Thanks to the shoulder pain medication. Ugh.) 

Meanwhile, in the waiting room.. They had received a photo of Fielder, and both Jude and Fisher were kissing the photo. :) Bennett and Finley were so excited that Poppy and Grandma were there!

My family came in the recovery room and met Fielder and visited with Hooper, but evidently I slept the majority of the time. Whoops. I do remember the moments of Finley and Fisher coming in, though. And that was the most important to me. Both of them were so adorable and excited. I had no doubt that Finley would be head over heels, but seeing Fisher so proud melted my heart. It's always a little emotional when your baby isn't the baby anymore. 

You can see how sleepy I was in the family photo above. Ha. I could barely keep my eyes open. Though I don't recall much from the recovery room, one thing that I will NEVER forget is that the nurse came in and was checking my incision and out of nowhere she pushed so hard on my stomach, which was no longer numb. I almost cried. It ranked in the top 3 worst pains of my life. It totally caught me off guard and it hurt like a SOB. From then on, every time a nurse checked me I would say, "You aren't going to push on my stomach, are you?" I'm telling you, it was horrible. Anyway, sometime after that they moved us to the room that we stayed in for the next two nights. I was a little more with it at this point, but look how worn out I look in my selfie with Fielder...

Speaking of being worn out after the surgery, about a week after he was born I was looking through my phone at photos and found a hilarious selfie that I apparently took right after he was born. Ha! Look at this "before surgery" and "right after surgery" comparison. HAHA! I don't even know why I took that, unless the medicated version of me thought it would be fun for the unmedicated version of me to find it someday. 

With Finley and Fisher, we were so lucky to get to have Vima as our nurse. She is the sweetest! And so smart and helpful. I personally requested her 3 months prior to having Fielder, and my doctor made sure that she was working and put in a request for her as our nurse. We were so excited!
The first evening my best friends and some more family came to visit us. I was still not 100% myself, but I could at least carry on somewhat normal conversations with visitors. Fielder did well, but he wanted to eat non-stop. I did a lot of my sleeping with him in my arms. In fact, most of our time in the hospital, I was holding him. Hooper and I laughed because one time when he went to hand him to me to feed him, it looked like he smiled on his way to my arms. 

First Bath
Look at that blonde hair!
The second day at the hospital, Finley and Fisher came to visit again. It was just as sweet as the initial meeting. They are both just so proud of their baby brother! 

We dressed him in the "Baby Hooper" onesie that Anna had made when we were first pregnant with Finley. All three of the kids wore it in the hospital. I must say, I was a little worried that it might be too small for Fielder! 

Here he is in the sweet blanket and beanie from Jennifer!

As far as pain goes this round, it was worse. I didn't have a c-section with Finley, and the recovery after her delivery was very hard on me. With Fisher, I had a c-section, and the pain was pretty rough for 3 days. After 3 days I felt like my normal self again. With Fielder, maybe it has to do with the fact that I had my tubes tied, or maybe it has to do with how big he was, I don't know. But I was in pain for the first 3 weeks. And my back had weird spasms for about 2 weeks. 

Saturday, December 19th, we got to go home. It's always bittersweet to me to leave the hospital. I love the whole hospital experience. I love the nurses taking care of me, and the feeling that if anything goes wrong at all with the baby, professionals are right there ready and willing to help. With that said, once they told us that we would be discharged, we showered and packed and got all ready to go. Then we waited. And waited. And waited and waited and waited. We had to be seen by the pediatrician once more and she was doing rounds at another hospital. When she finally came, we still had to be discharged by the nurse, and that took another 45 minutes or hour. We were more than ready to leave when we finally got to do so. Fielder wore the same outfit that Fisher and Jude wore home. :)

Fisher, Jude, Fielder
Our sweet welcoming committee was ready for us!

Overall, it was a wonderful experience (except for that lady pushing on my stomach!). We couldn't be happier. Fielder Augustus is so loved by so many people, but especially by Hooper, me, and his big sister and brother. Our family is complete.