The Fam

The Fam

Saturday, December 6, 2014

100th Post

This is my 100th blog post, so I feel the pressure to make this a good one. Though I don't really have much to say. I've been working a lot on the house lately- trying to get it all of the finishing touches done. I'm super duper pumped about the guest room. I hope to take a lot of photos when it's all said and done. We've been getting ready for Christmas, which is my MOST favorite time of year! The tree is up and the stockings are hung ON OUR MANTEL. ABOVE OUR FIREPLACE. I say that excitedly because at our old house we didn't have a fireplace or a mantel, and we had to hang the stockings from the piano. (Which did look nice, if I do say so myself.)

Fisher has been to see Dr. Ray (the Oncologist) again and had his lab work done. The AFP was still hanging around the same number as last time, which is good news. I still want to know why it isn't down where a normal 19 month old's is, but since it's not in the hundreds or thousands, I'll take it. If you're lost on what in the world I'm talking about, read this post, and then the most recent few. We will go back for an ultrasound in February, and then we'll see Dr. Ray again the next day.

Jude's adoption finalization was last month, and it was a beautiful celebration! Anna made the most fabulous video in honor of the celebration.

We've been staying super duper busy with photography this season, and now that it's December, it will slow down a bit. Any weekend that I'm not working at the clinic, we're out doing sessions. The only true days off that I have are any weekdays I'm off work. We usually don't have sessions then. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. We love it. I mean, who else gets to hang out with their best friend for hours and do their hobby? It's a dream job!

Oooh! Ooooh! I know something that is exciting that I can share with you all! My friend Courtney  told me about something called Stitch Fix a couple of months ago, and it seemed too good to be true, so I signed up! Well, it is too good, but it's definitely true. You fill out all kinds of information about your sizes and the type of styles you like, and then your stylist chooses 5 different pieces for you and mails them straight to your house. You don't pay for anything except for a $20 styling fee when they start putting together your fix, and that goes as a credit towards your purchase. So let me lay it all out for you..... You fill out info. Yes, you put a credit card info in, but you're not charged anything yet. About 3-4 weeks later, they'll get your fix ready to ship out, and they'll charge your card $20. When you get the box on your porch it's like Christmas! Everything is a surprise! You open it all, try it on, (still not paying for anything yet), and you choose what you'll keep and what you'll send back. If anything doesn't fit, or you just don't like it, you put it in the already stamped and addressed bag that they provide you and put it in your mailbox with the red flag up! To checkout and pay for what you are going to keep, you get online and sign into your stitch fix account and your items will already pull up in your cart. You check what you're gonna keep and anything you're sending you back, there's a blank for you to fill in why you're sending it back i.e. it was too small, you don't like oversized sweaters, etc. If you keep everything, you get 25% off the total! It's awesome! You can sign up for automatic fixes every 2-3 weeks, or every month, or every other month, or you can just choose when you want a fix and not do automatic fixes at all. The first fix I received, I had literally just found out I was pregnant, so I couldn't justify spending money on something I wouldn't be able to wear for a really long time. Luckily, they sent a great pair of earrings, and my $20 styling fee went towards them. I then told my stylist I was pregnant, and asked if she'd please send me oversized sweaters, shirts, and jewelry. Unfortunately, I miscarried, and then had to tell her never mind on the previous message. With my next fix, she sent the sweetest personal note about how she, too, had just gone through that, and she was very sorry for my loss. I ended up keeping 3 out of 5 of the items from that fix because one of the shirts was too small, and the boyfriend jeans were way too short waisted for me. The most recent fix that I got was the best of all! I got burgundy skinny cords, a big plaid cardigan sweater, a burgundy necklace, a gray sweater with a cream silk shirt sewn in at the bottom (where it looks like I'm wearing a nice shirt under the sweater), and a navy dress. The dress is a little small, but it was cheaper to keep it and get 25% off, than to send it back and lose the 25%. :) So, I'll just have to lose weight and fit into it someday. Another bonus is that for every person that signs up through your referral link, when their first fix ships, you get a $25 credit! So if you are going to sign up, please, please do it through my link! :)

Okay, that was kind of off subject, but there really isn't a subject of this post I suppose. I'm just blabbing on and on. For a hundredth post, it really isn't that grand, after all. But to end, enjoy these photos from the past couple of months. :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 15th

Today is officially Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. President Ronald Reagan declared October Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month in 1988, and since 2002, October 15th has been the specific day. Everyone lights a candle at 7:00pm to remember. I came home from a photo session, and coincidentally, Hooper had a candle burning. I asked him if it was because of the day. He had no idea what I was talking about, and said it was because the living room smelled like dog pee. But hey, we had a candle burning. And of course I remembered our baby. I thought about it a lot today, but no more or less than any other day. The loss is still so fresh, and not thinking about it is a task.
Hooper got home last Wednesday, and my D & C was Thursday. It went very smoothly. I had to fast, and I'm always a real grump any time I have to fast. Not to mention my surgery wasn't scheduled until 12:30, so I was even hungrier than most surgery fasters. (Yes, I was!) When I was in the pre-op room, I noticed a rack on the wall with prayer cards/papers in them. I was really touched by the gesture, and it honestly put me at ease.
I was totally anesthetized for the surgery, and then I woke up to the sweetest nurses taking care of me. When the super duper sweet one passed me off, I just broke down crying. I know it was a mixture of the drugs and my emotions, but I just felt so sad. Right after that is when Hooper came back, and I cried to him, too. It was weird to think that my baby was no longer in my belly. We left the hospital and got something for me to eat (finally!), and came home. I felt totally normal on the way home- not like I had just been under anesthesia at all. I took about an hour and a half nap when I got home. Not because I needed to, just because I wanted to. I was expecting to feel totally drowsy and to take a deep, 4-5 hour nap. Then I expected to sleep a very deep sleep that night. My expectations were wrong. I slept horribly that night. In fact, I didn't start sleeping well until Sunday night. Friday I went to my mom's house and hung out with her and the kids to keep my mind off of everything. Hooper left town to play a gig in San Marcos. He was hesitant to leave me, but I assured him that all was well. Mom and Elliott and Bennett had a slumber party with us Friday night and we had a good time. Saturday night my best girlfriends and I went to dinner and saw "Legally Blonde" the musical at The Opera House.
It was really good for me to put makeup on and get out of my neighborhood. Finley saw me when I got ready and said, "You look better." (The night of the surgery she said, "You look different", and when I asked her what I looked like she said, "yike an old mom".) So her compliment gave me a little pep in my step. The next day Hooper and I took the kids to the State Fair to meet Eddie, Anna, Elliott, Beckett, Bennett, and baby Jude. 

The weather was absolutely perfect for the fair. We got there when they opened, which is the only way I'd advise going. 

Monday I returned to work for the first time since all of this. I was nervous that a client might ask me about the pregnancy, and that I'd have to tell them I lost the baby. I'm just not really sure if I can handle that sentence without tears yet, so it makes me nervous. Luckily, nobody asked me, and the day went just fine. It actually felt good to be back. Tuesday was my day off, and my cousin from Dallas met me in Glen Rose to go to Fossil Rim with the kids. She has 3 kids, and I brought Bennett, Finley and Fisher. It was an awesome day. We all had such a great time.

I'm totally blown away by all of the flowers, cards, and meals that we have received. People are so kind.I'm just taking things day by day, but I've actually gone 2 out of the past 3 days without crying. And Meatloaf once said, "two out of three ain't bad". And I love Meatloaf. More so the food than the singer. But I do like, "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I won't Do That)". 

I'm going to try to keep updating my blog throughout the healing process. If anybody is in the same boat as me, my secret to laughter is slumber parties with family, girls' nights, the State Fair, Fossil Rim, my children, and jokes about Meatloaf. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


When I found out I was pregnant with Finley, I knew that I should resist telling everyone until the second trimester because miscarriages are more likely in the first trimester, and when you tell everyone, it's hard to make sure that all of those same people find out if something goes wrong. Even though I was aware of this, I couldn't wait to shout it out from the rooftops. Now fast forward to Fisher. When I found out about Fisher, I felt the same resistance about telling everyone. My 10 year class reunion approached, and I was about 10 weeks along and figured I'd go ahead and announce it since I'd tell everyone at the reunion anyway.
And now fast forward to this baby. I was hesitant on publicizing this pregnancy for the same reasons. Not that I've ever had a miscarriage before, but moms are generally just a little more freaked out in the first trimester. Despite my hesitation, we verbally told so many people that I was pregnant, so when 10 weeks rolled around, we were like, "What the heck", and we announced it on social media. The tricky thing about social media is that people might see one post, but then not see any other posts from you for a while. Even though we announced it on social media, and verbally told several people, the one thing I was holding back from was my column in the paper. I wanted to have my 12 week appointment before announcing it on such a large platform. Which brings us to yesterday.
I don't like seeing Dr. Deem in Granbury because they don't have ultrasound technology in that office, so I usually schedule all of my appointments at the Ft. Worth office. But I scheduled yesterday's in Granbury because I had a hair appointment afterward. When I went in, the first thing they do is weigh me (which I dread). I didn't gain any weight since the last visit, which I thought was awesome. Then I went in the exam room and answered all of the questions the nurse had for me. She reached for the doppler to measure the baby's heartbeat, and this sounds crazy, but I had a feeling of dread and fear and I watched in slow motion as she brought it to my stomach. She couldn't find the heartbeat, but said that's common with being so early. She said Dr. Deem would probably come right in and find it immediately. So she left the room and I sat there alone for what felt like a very long time. I was nervous. And something didn't feel right. Dr. Deem walked in and tried to find the heartbeat with no luck either. She didn't seem pessimistic about it, and said that the placenta was on the front, which can make it harder to hear the baby. She said that I could either come back next week for them to try again, or I could drive to Ft. Worth and have an ultrasound for peace of mind. I chose to drive to Ft. Worth. But only after I had lunch with Beckett (because I had already promised her) and went to my hair appointment (because it's hard to get in). I stayed upbeat and told Hooper and my family not to worry, but on the inside I was scared. Hooper is away at a work conference, and he wanted to meet me at the appointment. I assured him that it was going to be fine. Anna wanted to leave work and go with me, but I told her the same. My mom wanted to load up all the grandkids and all go with me, but I just wanted to go by myself. When I got there, they got me back pretty quickly. My ultrasound tech was a lady named Jeanie. She did our ultrasounds with Finley, and did one of mine with Fisher. She has a very sweet voice and she exudes a feeling of peace. She started the ultrasound and I saw no movement. I can't read ultrasounds very well, and I don't really ever understand fully what I'm looking at. But it looked to me like a large open area (my uterus) and a little withered pile in the left corner. I looked at her face and she looked concerned. She said, "Chelsea. This is your baby. And I'm very sorry to say that I'm not finding a heartbeat." My heartbeat increased and I said "Okay." Such a strange word to say because I was everything but okay. "Okay" means that you understand, you accept. But I didn't understand or accept. She said she was going to go get the doctor on call and call Dr. Deem. I called Hooper and told him then I called my mom. I texted Anna and my brother. Jeanie came back in and said Dr. Deem was on the phone for me. She handed me the phone and Dr. Deem was really sweet and apologetic. She told me that I can do this naturally and let everything pass on my body's time, or I can do a D & C. I chose the D & C, and set it up for Thursday (tomorrow) so that Hooper is back in town.
I left Ft. Worth and drove back to Granbury. Anna insisted on pedicures, so I agreed to that. When we were leaving, I saw someone I know in the parking lot and she said, "Hey! Congratulations!" and I smiled and said, "Thank you." It was a little preview of what I'm going to have to deal with in the coming months. I wish there was a way to make sure that every single person that knows I was pregnant could find out that I miscarried. I need a tshirt that says, "I miscarried. Please don't talk to me about it." That's another thing. I really don't want to talk about it. I don't like crying in public for multiple reasons. One reason is that once I cry for the first time in a day, it's like the flood gates have opened and anything can set off tears for the rest of the day. Another reason is that I have an incredibly ugly cry face. :) Oh yeah, and a bad cry voice, too.
Last night I told Finley about it and she bawled. She said, "But I want you to have a baby! Why did it die!?" And just like 3 year olds do, she quickly seemed to get over it. Then came up to me and said, "I'm sad. About the new baby. And that's why's I have tears." I went to Anna and Eddie's last night with the kids to keep my mind in a happy place, and then my mom came and spent the night. When my mom came over, Finley gave her almost a word for word description of what I told her about the baby. (By the way, Hooper wanted to come home and I insisted that he stay at his conference.)
While I was typing this out, Dr. Deem called me to check on me. I asked her when they think I miscarried and she said that the baby measured 8 weeks and 5 days yesterday, and at my last sonogram it measured 8 weeks and 0 days. Yesterday I was 12 weeks. She said it happened somewhere around September 20th. She also said that more than likely there was something wrong with the baby and it wouldn't have survived outside of the womb. Maybe doctors say that to make patients feel better, I don't know. But I'm gonna go with it.
So here I am. Tomorrow is the D & C. I'm nervous about it. How am I? Physically I'm fine. I haven't had any cramping or spotting or any signs or symptoms of a miscarriage, which is super weird to me since this has been going on for weeks. Emotionally I'm not very good. My baby died. My baby that I had decided was going to be a girl, that was due on April 21st, that I was going to have on either April 13 or 15 via C-Section, that was going to have an adorable nursery, that was going to look like Fisher and Finley, died. It's not just a fetus that almost turned into a baby. It was my baby from the moment it was conceived. And it died. And with it, part of me did, too. But I'll be okay. I tell myself that this happens to people all the time. Some people go through this multiple times. But then again, other people aren't me. And it's never happened to me before.
But I will be okay. I will be okay. I will be okay.
Here's the only picture I have, from the 8 week sonogram. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

More Changes For The Hoopers

Let me start by sharing the verse of my summer. 
There’s certainly a lot to get you all caught up on since my last post. We moved into the new house on August 23rd, and are almost completely settled. I still need to hang pictures and finish some details, but for the most part, we are settled. We don’t have internet or cable yet, and that is really putting a damper on things for me, but supposedly, next week they’ll finally have it all worked out and we’ll be set up with both. Here's a pic of the day we moved. Very bittersweet. 

Fisher had his recheck AFP lab work last Monday, and after the blood draw, we immediately had to walk downstairs to his Orthopedist appointment. The appointment with his Orthopedist went fine. No changes with the difference between the sizes of his legs. Though Dr. Kennedy said that they usually don’t have a large growth spurt with one side until they’re a little older. He gave me a little more information on how they’ll put a plate in to stop the growth of the larger the leg when he’s a teenager if it gets to be a big difference. He wants to see him again when he has to see Finley again (for her previous hip dysplasia) in March. Later in the day, they called with the lab results. The AFP was 18.1, which was a little lower than last time. Wonderful news! We will see the Oncologist again November 3rd, and he’ll do an exam and possibly check the AFP again. We won’t have another renal ultrasound until February I believe. 
Remember how we wanted that house with the pool so incredibly badly? And remember how it was almost ours, and then it all fell through, leaving me devastated? Then we found our new house and it was almost too good to be true and we jumped on it super fast and closed in 2.5 weeks? Well our new house has 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. I was really excited that we would finally get to have a real guest room for our guests, and I would decorate it so cute. I had big plans for that extra room. The other house (with the amazing pool) was only 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms (but with a guest house). The night before we closed on our new house, I realized why everything had happened exactly the way that it had. We actually will need the 4th bedroom, after all. And I won’t get to have that adorable guest room like I had thought. 
And had we gotten the other house, we wouldn’t have room for this little addition. Not to mention we would be super duper financially strapped. But had we not fallen in love with that house, we never would have put our house on the market. Had our house not sold, we wouldn’t have been able to jump on this new house as quickly as we did, and it would’ve sold within the first week no matter what. In fact, our realtor said that a realtor in her office asked how solid our contract was, because she had a client that wanted to make an offer if we weren’t sure. And had we been able to pull out of the sale of our house when the other fell through, we’d have been stuck in a super small house with a growing family. I can totally see how God worked all of this out for us, and I’m amazed at all of the dominos that had to be set up meticulously for everything to fall into place exactly like it should. Oh, and remember how crazy of a month I had in August? This added the cherry on top. 

To answer any questions you might have (these are the ones people ask us): 
No, this was not planned. It was a total shocker. 
Yes, we know what causes that. 
Yes, we will find out what this one is because I think it’ll help Finley to know if it’s a boy or a girl. She’s really set on it being a girl, and if it isn’t she’ll need to have time to get used to that. 
And finally, I don’t know if he/she will have a name beginning with F. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Fisher Update

Ever since I found out that Fisher's AFP lab work was elevated, I've been waiting for today. Part of me would get excited to see the oncologist so that we would have answers. But another part of me was telling myself to enjoy not knowing, because ignorance is bliss. If we got bad news, I'd regret not enjoying the last week of normalcy. But if we received good news, I'd reflect back on the week as one of the worst in my life. So whether the last week flew by or dragged on (which it did both), today came. 

Our appointment was at 8:15 with Dr. Ray. As soon as the nurse called us back and had to get Fisher's vitals, no surprise to Hooper and me, Fisher started crying. He's in a major "stranger danger" phase right now, which makes all of his appointments even more difficult. After that nurse logged all the info, we went into an exam room where we waited. And waited. And waited. Our appointment was at 8:15, and I bet Dr. Ray came in at 9:15 or so. That hour was very similar to the past week. I was torn on how I felt about it. Did it drag on? Or did it fly by? Was it hard to wait? Or was I enjoying that I had a normal baby in front of me for that hour? The answer is all of the above. 

(excuse my wonky eye)

Dr. Ray was extremely soft spoken and polite. He asked us a lot of questions, and then did his examination. No surprise, Fisher cried during the exam. He very quickly got to the part that we had been wanting (or not wanting) to know about. The lab work was elevated, but not to a number that concerns him. Tumor levels would be in the hundreds and thousands. Fisher's is only 20.9. PRAISE GOD!!! We asked him why the level would have gotten higher and he isn't very sure. He said perhaps it's a lab or human error. (Exactly what we have been praying for!) I wanted to make sure that I understood him clearly, so I said, "So there is absolutely not reason to think that he has a tumor?" And he said, "No. No reason to think he has a tumor." 

Dr. Ray wants to see us back in one month to recheck the AFP lab, and then we will check it every 3 months until he's 4 years old, along with the sonograms every 6 months. That's a minor change in the original plan by our Geneticist. She was going to check the lab work every 6 months. And even though this means double the tears for my little man, I'm happier to check it more frequently. 

After the wonderful news, we ate lunch, went to a couple of stores, and then decided to get rid of the mullet. Fisher has never had a haircut, and he's had these cute little (yet long) curls on the bottom of his hair. I've refused to cut them off because I so badly wanted the top of his hair to catch up to the bottom/back. The past few days, the curls haven't had much oomph to them, and they've almost been straight. He's looked like he has a true, purposeful mullet. Today, I decided to tell my achy breaky heart that it was time to get rid of it. 

Of course, his stranger danger kicked in and he cried. But when it was finished, he looked so handsome! They gave us a certificate and a hunk of his hair for his baby book, which made me very happy. I get sentimental about things like this. 
Look how old he looks!

 And here is he tonight in his cute new pajamas. He has this new thing he does when you hold the phone up for a picture (and he's in a good mood) where he squints and does a cutie pie fake smile.

Thank you, everybody, for praying for Fisher with us. We are very blessed.