Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The value of life.

So many people put a monitory or material value on life, why? The value we have in life should be based on the failures we have had, the growth that we do because of those failures and the choices we make to not fail a second time. 

Some failures cannot be foreseen, God has placed things in our path to draw us to him, to rely on him and to give him the power to guide us, we need to trust him and the choices that he has made for us in our lives. Sometimes he gives us things only to take them away, why?! Sometimes we may never know, sometimes it takes a while to learn his ways and occasionally we have that, "ah ha" moment shortly after. Each of the stepping stones he gives us, is to better ourselves and grow into him and concrete the values that he has taught us since conception. 

Lots of times when I tell people that I am going to school to be a nurse, they LOVE the idea. Most people who REALLY know me, know I am first and foremost a giver. I love giving time to people, gifts, making meals for my family and friends, basically anything that I can do for someone, I will. I value the people in my life and how I show them the value I have for them, is to give to them. So becoming a nurse just amplifies that nature I have, the values that God has instilled in my heart and soul. 

When I go on to tell people I want to specialize in Neonatal, they first ask what it is, most people don't realize there is a whole speciality just for little humans. Premature babies or those full term ones that need extra special medical attention for whatever reason. Then they ask WHY? "Oh, that would be so sad... Don't most of them die?" -- did you know that some experts will stand by the statistic that 70% of pregnancies end in miscarriage?! Did you know that the likelihood of a baby living born at 24 weeks gestational age is less than 10% and even less of a chance that they will not have major medical issues and mental delay. -- why would I want to fight along side these horrible odds? Why would I want to stand over these tiny humans and watch their parents make life altering decisions? -- WHY? Because I have lived, I have been at those appointments when your OB tells you that your child MIGHT have a major medical issue, I have lived through the specialist visits and the amniocentesis, I have lived through the unknown, I have birthed a child, a healthy, beautiful child. A child who brightens my worst days and reminds me why I take each breath. And because I have lost, I know the feeling of despair and the loss you feel when losing something that is part of you. There is nothing on this earth that could make you feel that helpless and lost. Because I VALUE these outcomes both good and bad, these are what make each of us individual. I VALUE the experiences that these parents are going through -- I may not have the personal experience of going through EVERY situation that some of these parents go through, but I VALUE their emotions, the confusion, the guilt, the pure desperation that they feel. I want to be able to be that rock that they need, the person who will tell them, "I am doing EVERYTHING in my power to help YOUR CHILD. Because if it was my baby, I would need someone to do the same for me." -- because as a parent sometimes you just need to grieve about the situation, regardless of the final outcome. In the moment of unknown you don't always need to be strong but someone does and that is the person who is taking care of your child, the one who is taking time away from their family to help yours. 

I know there will be times where I hate the job I decided to do but I know that the times when I see those parents pick their baby up and TAKE THEM HOME; I will know that the career I have chosen was made for ME. God has placed this career on my heart, the career chose me, I didn't choose it. So next time you ask someone why they are doing something that seems so hard, look at THEM, the values that they have, the purpose in life that has been given to them by our Lord. 

The value of life isn't based on anything other than life itself. If we aren't living we are dying, there is no getting around it. God has designed it this way for a reason. Value those around you, value your own life, your own journey, the one that God has given you to walk. One day your walk will end, you will be done trying to find your way. Whether it is before birth or at 110, each of us has an end to our journey. Does it make the value of our life any less because it ended sooner than another's? 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Life decisions...

So many people have asked Luke and I if we are going to have a sibling for Ford... This question always makes my heart beat fast, makes my throat start to close and makes me nauseas. Not because I don't want one, but exactly the opposite. 

For the last year-- yeah, it took a while to get baby fever after Ford-- I have wanted nothing more than to get pregnant again and have a second baby. As I see everyone around my posting pregnancy and birth announcements, I always get envious and think about what it would feel like to be doing the same thing. I am so great full to be surrounded by such wonderful women, who are so blessed to create such amazing life as all the kids I know are all truly amazing in their own ways. -- you can really see God's work in these kids-- But it hurts my heart to not have the commonality between the other women I know, a commonality I will probably NEVER have. 

I will most likely never be able to compare pregnancies and births, growth rates and firsts between my children because I have come to terms with only having Ford. I would not change him for anything in this world -- as he giggles next to me trying to "eat" Daddy-- He has been and always will be my #1 and will probably remain MY ONLY... It seems so final putting it in words, not that we couldn't decide to try in the future but the truth is.........

I'm being as unselfish as I can be by making this decision. Yes, I am making this decision so that I do not have to postpone school, so that I can get MY degree(s) -- hopefully a masters or PhD in the long future-- BUT these reasons are also completely for Ford, to give him stability, security, freedom, to give him the time he deserves and the attention that all kids long for from their parents. I want to be able to provide for him, the things that I did not have, to do the activities he wants and yearns for, I want Ford to be able to grow up knowing that his parents worked hard, even after he was born, to become people who were part of society, made a difference and so can he, that he has the power to change the world in anyway that he chooses too. I want him to know that with ambition you can do anything. 

Having kids should not kill your dreams, but fuel them. You should want to create a better life than you could have ever gained for your child. That starts with being a joyful and happy person (yes, those are two different things)... I have not been happy, I have been missing something, I have been missing a piece of me and that was being an individual, not just a mom and wife, but being Amanda. I am learning who I am now and what I want out of life....

Do I want another baby YES, would it ruin my plans, NO... Which is funny because it seems like an oxymoron from what I have said above. I believe that everyone can adapt and overcome... Situationally things get stressful but you can always make it through. However, I know it would postpone our plans of school (both Luke and I) for a while and then slow down the process, which with me going into nursing I cannot take time off, I cannot only take a class or two, it is a pre established two year program, followed by another predetermined two years of classes for my bachelors degree. 

NO, I WILL NOT HAVE KIDS 10 YEARS APART! Thanks for asking.... It makes my blood boil when people act like this is not a HUGE deal. It is! You are going back to square one with a 5th (ish) grader... I do not want to be in my THIRTIES having a child (sorry ladies who are older than me, you are stronger than I) ... I think it is unfair and irrational on so many levels! It would be like raising two only children, no matter what you say, I will NOT be swayed on this topic... It is MY OPINION! 

Did we try? --- yup, we did in the sense that IF it had (yes, past tense) happened we would have been happy... I cried almost everyday for a week after all of the Christmas announcements because so many people I know are expecting and I felt like I should be able to have the same  happiness in my life too.... But then I realized, maybe God could only give us one because Ford is too special... Maybe he is all I will ever need! 

The last few weeks I have been able to pull out and go through all his old clothing, decided what we are keeping and what can be sold -- So if you're having a boy, let me know! -- without many (just a few) tears. 

I'm hoping slowly, I will come to terms with the fact that I will never be pregnant again, I will never to endure labor again or have sleepless nights. Most would be like SIGN ME UP, but unless you are already a parent -- especially a mother-- you do not understand that sacrifices like not having your body to yourself for ten months, not sleeping and not having alone time, are THE MOST REWARDING THINGS YOU WILL EVER HAVE IN LIFE! There is nothing like being a mom, NOTHING! 

Now I just need to come to terms that while everyone else is baby shopping and will have stories, milestone updates and sibling love, we will not. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

No Vacancy!

We have always been extremely gracious hosts. I learned early on in my life that having an open door policy with those you are close to is an important part of life; open communication, open home, open kitchen, what have you... We (Luke and I) have always allowed our friends and family to use anything we have as needed, to stay with us without expecting anything except a thank you, to eat, drink and hang out at our home without bringing anything. 

We love each and every one of our friends and family members. But the more gracious we are the more we end up getting burned. 

We opened our doors to some of my dad's friends, they flew up and stayed with us, ate our food, used my dad's vehicle. My dad paid to fly them on a float plane and have a guided fishing trip, paid to take them out of Seward to go ocean fishing. AND WHAT DO WE GET IN RETURN? After limiting out on Halibut, almost limiting on Ling Cod (which most Alaskans know is pretty hard to do) and catching 2 kings, some silvers and a black bass.... They took ALMOST ALL THE FISH..... Without a second thought, without pitching in for the trips.

When asked about it they played it off that, "you guys have tons of stuff in the freezer, you guys get to fish all the time"

Who can go out on a charter ALL the time?!?! Not us, we were lucky to go out in 2008 and this last weekend. That is FIVE years.... 

It completely pisses me off that someone would do something like that and then just brush it off like they did NOTHING wrong, not ASK about the fish and then tell ME that I don't need it! 

Needless to say our "open door" policy will be revised, which makes me really sad but obviously people these days are more selfish then we are and will take advantage of getting to experience Alaska in its full glory. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Nothing sucks worse then being sick as a parent. Not being able to give your child the proper attention and care is always worse then what you are even feeling, except yesterday. I woke up not feeling too good, decided maybe because we had an early and light dinner the night before I was just really hungry. Made breakfast for Ford and I, still wasn't feeling very hot... A few hours later (now around 10:30 or 11am) I started feeling REALLY bad. I text Luke at work and asked him to come home as early as possible. Laid down on the couch and couldn't even get back up by this point the pain was worse then anything I had felt during labor (and my epidural was given really late in the game so I am pretty sure I experienced most of the labor process for myself without intervention). Luke got home around 2:30 after Ford has tried to climb on me and I burst into tears, which isn't normal for me. I walked into my knee surgery, walked to my labor room, I think I have a pretty high pain tolerance for "being a woman"... My dad got home a few minutes later and said, "here is my appendix scar" ... Of course that is exactly where my pain was radiating from so we decided that the ER was the best option. 

We got to the ER around 4, only took a few minutes to check in. Obviously being female they wanted to rule out ectopic pregnancy or a problem with my uterus so I had a urine, blood and Pap test done.... Urine and pap came back normal. Blood showed elevated white counts but nothing crazy so because of my pain area and that we did a CT scan. The contrast isn't too bad going down, I didn't think it was great but it wasn't horrible. Had to wait 90 minutes for the scan, as soon as I got the contrast in my IV during the scan I projectile vomited EVERYWHERE. I felt so bad as the radiation tech had to strip me down and basically sponge bath me.... But at least she didn't have to clean up the CT machine! We waited for results, of course I puked at the worst possible second of the scan BUT they could clearly see a calcification in the area and swelling/some infection. So the surgeon on call was asked to come in to look at the scan and chat with me. We decided there was no reason for a second scan and that regardless of continued observation I would need surgery so just to, "get er done". 

It was about an hour and then the pre-op crew came in, drugged me up and took me to surgery. I remember moving onto the table, talking to the anesthesiologist and then nothing until I was shivering like CRAZY... Then I remember waking up to the nicest male RN and of course feeling very woozy, etc etc. took a while but by the time I got up to my room for the night I felt okay. Especially after the IV pain medication and some fluids. Finally being able to drink water was AMAZING!

Luke stayed with me for about an hour then I told him to go home. He wanted to take me with but I had to wait until I could get IV antibiotics this morning and they wanted to make sure I was eating without issues too. Luke went home about 1 and I got to sleep on/off from about 2 to 6. Probably got around 2.5-3 hours of sleep total. At 6 I got vitals done, got to eat some crackers and take an oral paid med to make sure I could keep it down. At 8 I it breakfast, got more vitals and the surgeon came in not long after so that he could check me out. Said things looked good and I could go home in a few hours. Of course it takes a while to check out BUT by the time Luke and Ford arrived it was only like 30 minutes we had to wait until we could leave. 

It's nice to be home and I'm glad my appendix didn't rupture because if it had I would be in the hospital for 4-7 days. Less then 24 hours is much better, I also felt almost immediately better, unlike if I had bacteria in my abdominal cavity. 

I am so thankful that God blessed me with a knowledgeable hospital staff, that was fast working and not overly fussy about doing a bunch of unnecessary things... That he blessed me with a fast and easy surgery and hospital stay AND that he has blessed me with a great family who is taking over most of Ford's care without being asked too. Some people wouldn't say a surgery is a blessing but I know God has his reasons for things so I will just take the healing day by day and see what his plans for me are :) 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Relaxing... Think again!

I have always loved Arizona, the heat, the landscape, the food, everything. Okay, everything except the creepy crawlies! 

What I don't love is the fact that Ford thinks it's SO exciting that he can't miss a single minute of daylight. He has been going to bed between 9-10pm like normal but waking at 5:45, 6:15 or 6:30ish since we got here... While it's ok because it's nice and cool out in the AM. He has only been taking around a one hour nap each day; totally unlike him to get this little of sleep. 

He must know that soon our vacation will be done and back home we will go. I was so looking forward to a relaxing vacation but I think I will be more tired coming home then I was arriving in AZ...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Scorpions are Evil...

Last night I put Ford to bed, part of Arizona is making sure you watch out for creepy crawlies... I checked his pack n play, making sure it was clear of uninvited guests. Put him to bed, I think he was relieved after our full day, not a peep came out of his mouth until 11:15. I was just laying down when he woke up crying; thinking he was simply having tooth pain from his LAST molar I had decided to pull him out and give him some tooth stuff and change his diaper. Then I noticed he had to two bumps on his hip, asking my grandma to look at them, we started tearing apart his bed and room to see what creature was responsible. Ford started shaking and crying hysterically so we decided the ER was the best option. He started having trouble breathing as his chest was tightening up and his crying wasn't helping. 

We got him to Oro Valley ER and they immediately let us into triage and didn't even get vitals or paperwork before having him admitted to the back because of his severe reaction, as soon as the RN saw him he knew what was going on and went to get the DR. She walked in, looked at him and said, "spot on, book symptoms for scorpion sting"... After an IV they gave him a muscle relaxer, trying to help ease the uncontrollable muscle spasms and flailing of his limbs. Having 6 people in a room working like crazy to help your child is both comforting and extremely scary!

I will tell you, straight up, the worst moment of my life was knowing that he was in the worst pain, he will probably EVER be in and I couldn't do anything but trust that the ER staff would make him comfortable and that as much as I was trying to comfort him, there wasn't anything I could do. 

Luckily, they had anti venom at the ER from a previous sting so it was a very fast process getting it. Normally they wouldn't even give it BUT because of Ford's reaction it was the best option. He ended up pulling out his IV and needing a new one, the RN's were so amazing with him during the whole process and I am so thankful that God blessed us with such a compassionate and trained staff. They gave him some pain medication as soon as the anti venom was done and immediately he became calmer and much more relaxed. We spent 2 hours being monitored to make sure everything was working correctly and without adverse affects. Then we were allowed to come home. 

I would not wish this experience on my worst enemy. There is nothing worse then watching helplessly as your child is suffering in agony, I thank The Lord that Ford was fast to recover and other then being obviously tired, he is back to his normal crazy self. 

When we got home we found the bark scorpion that had stung him, Grandma had her sandal off and smashed it before it knew what was coming!! We have turned the house upside down to make sure there aren't more (at least at the moment) and hopefully the rest of our vacation is BORING compared to the last 16 hours! 

After 2 rounds of muscle relaxers, anti venom and morphine, he was finally relaxed enough to rest a little. He could finally focus for a second or two at a time and got to pick out a stuffed animal, of course it was a giraffe (on the right partially under the blanket) 

This was him this afternoon, enjoying a semi-painless R&R session on the couch! 

I am excited for the rest of our vacation and hope it gets better from here! 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Traveling with a toddler..........

Some people think Ford is well behaved, but he is a WILD CHILD... Okay okay, yes, he is generally as civilized as any toddler can be, he is pretty easy going and "listens" (not the webster's dictionary definition but any parent of a toddler or who has older kids will know exactly what I mean!) 

I had this BRIGHT idea that going to Arizona for two and a half weeks without Luke was a good idea.... I know once we are there it'll be fine, swimming, zoo, children's museum, running, playing with the cats, playing with GGM and GGP (way easier then Great Grandma and Great Grandpa for an almost 2 year old), Ford will have a ton of activities to do. BUT two plane rides totaling 6 1/2 hours is a lot of a little guy. He is pretty good, everyone around us is always complimenting how he acts and is so good on the airplane. What they don't see is my battle with him to STAY IN OUR SEATS! He doesn't quite understand why he can't get up and run around; it's not like he is in his car seat (which if I had more then 2 hands would have accompanied us onto the plane!) plus, he gets SOOOOOOO excited to say HELLO to everyone he wants to walk up and down the aisle, which is fine on flights that don't take off at 5AM! Everyone is trying to sleep and he is happy-go-lucky Ford, who is enjoying all the new faces. Luckily the flight attendants are always SO gracious with us and don't mind if we spend some time at the back of the plane where he can stand up and has a little room to explore! 

He tried very hard this flight (currently almost to Washington) to fight taking a nap... I have since won the battle and he is sleeping in his seat next to me. 

Hopefully he will sleep some more on the way from SEA to TUC as he only got 5 hours of sleep last night and was up from 2:30-7:30... I do not think an 45 min nap (if he sleeps until we land) will do for the rest of the day. 

Well, that was short lived. Oh well lets hope the next flight has better results in the sleep department!