Thursday, November 18, 2010


So, so sad. When Katie and I got back from the mountain Monday, November 1st, I took the twins upstairs for their nap. Almost to the top Sydney just plastered me, herself and Cora in the same vomit that had been coming out for a week and a half by that point. She was losing weight and it really showed. She reminds me a bit of Gollum here. Jeremy thought she looked like a survivor of a concentration camp. She only weighed 15 lbs 5 oz the day before we flew out and in less than a week's time she was at 14 lbs 4 oz. After trying scheduled Zofran, 3 IV infusions, a KUB, 2 CBCs, and a UA with no clear improvement, the pediatrician in Cedar and I decided it was best to head to Primary Children's in Salt Lake. I can't be grateful enough for my mom. She came straight home from work and took over Katie and Cora, had almost all of my things packed by the time I got back from the Dr.'s office, and watched those two from that night until Thursday night, when she made the 4 hour drive with them in tow. I didn't have to worry about them at all and could focus just on Sydney. It was the first time they were separated and I worried about that a little, but I think they both enjoyed how much individual attention they got (Sydney was held almost every second she was awake and I know Cora was held a lot, too). They sure melted my heart when they got back together though. They just smiled, reached for each other, and cooed. Katie was so excited to see Jeremy (he flew out a day early and she hadn't seen him for two weeks) that she ran up to him, wrapped her little arms around him, and said, "My Daddy! I love my Daddy."
Here's my angel sister, Ann, holding little Sydney. She just loved to rock and cuddle with Ann. Ann just let me lay there half asleep and still visit with her. It was the most quiet time the two of us have had together probably since her first girl was born. As much as no one wants to hang out at the hospital on vacation, it was a lot better to be there with family close enough to visit.
Here's my little girl in her gown. We walked the halls of the hospital many a time and ran into several people I knew from nursing school and work. What happened? We still don't really know. We just pumped her full of fluids again. She had an upper GI study (basically she drank liquid chalk under an x-ray), that showed her stomach was emptying kind of slow. They ran labs. She had an endoscopy. They took biopsies. Everything came back negative. Go figure. So it's a good thing nothing was found, yet we still don't know what happened. She threw up a few more times once she was discharged, but she is definitely heading in the up direction. I'm grateful it was something so small. I think I say that and some people think I'm nuts. But anyone more familiar with the medical field knows there are such awful things that kids and their families have to go through. We were not up against a chronic or terminal disease. We have insurance. No surgery. No months to years of prescriptions. We were able to get into the hospital and know that it was clean (if you've seen health care in other countries then you'll understand what I mean by that statement).

Yes, I really wanted to know what was going on with Sydney. I didn't want her to be hurting, but having seen some very painful things in hospitals, I knew the couple of sticks she was receiving that were helping her get better wouldn't be a problem. She did so well with the staff there. She really adored several of her nurses and was great with letting the docs check her out. Syd was a trooper. It was nice when we got to leave though. Sleeping in a bed without the lights, beeps and 4am vitals was so good!

Next Round

Are those sheep, you say? In the middle of town, you ask? Yes, and yes. Since I have left Cedar a new tradition has begun. Going back to the sheep herding roots, the town has a livestock festival every fall. We were lucky enough to be there to catch the parade which ended with a grand finale of sheep running down main street. What you're seeing in the left of the picture was a minor stampede just before they got to us. I guess they wanted to see another part of town.
This is the back of Katie's and my mom's head. Katie was quite concerned that the sheep's "legs were hurt" and that they needed band-aids because she could see the blood that some of them had on them from running each other over. Has anyone else noticed that sheep are not that smart and we are constantly compared to sheep in the scriptures? But the more I watch myself and the world around me I think it's a good analogy.
Here's Cora and Sydney dressed for the big day and sitting on my dad's lap. I actually ran a 5K that morning. I didn't think I'd feel old with a bunch of college kids, but then I remembered I'm turning 30 this year. I'm not saying that's old. It was just weird to realize I'm not the same age as the college crowd anymore. Sydney hadn't thrown up in two days so we felt good about that. Then we end our day with....
Trick or treating! Yes, it's the same costume she had last year. And she'll probably still fit it for the next 4 years. But at least I bought her a hat this year! Not that it stayed on her head....
My brother is one of the semi-head honchos at the ski/board place near Cedar City. Katie and I spent Monday morning going up to see him. It's an awesome place because it's pretty personal and laid back. It was fun to see him at his job. Then Katie and I had to go find some snow to play in. Too bad I forgot her mittens.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Beginning of Vacation Pictures

All 8 of these lovely children were housed at my parents house for 3 days. Seven of which were in diapers. Let me tell you what a mad house it was. It was a ball at the same time. We were a sad that we didn't have Jeremy and Jess there, and family pics were limited to the grand kids. What an adventure it was to get all of them to hold still and look in the right direction. At least we picked a fun park.
Here I am with Cora.

There's my dad helping Van the man down the slide.
Cousin Kaylee.
Another noble attempt at a group pic.
Sydney and Cora, enjoying everyone trying to get them to smile. Poor Sydney. This is before her first trip to the Pedi office to get an IV. She was not feeling so great.
And here's Sydney post first IV. We sure thought that would be all she needed. Surprise, surprise. I'll be adding more pictures later.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


We pulled into our home in beautiful New Hampshire at 6:15pm last night. I don't know how I feel about calling that a restful vacation. It was kind of forever. We came home to little posters with sweet notes taped all over our porch and door, a huge banner in our kitchen saying, "Welcome Home, Pele missed you," a fresh gallon of milk in the fridge, and a chicken dish waiting in the fridge to be put in the oven. We have the best neighbors in the world. Sounds like we got home just in time though. Pele had stopped eating yesterday. I think she really felt abandoned. She was so happy to see us and all is well again. Anyone who has spent some time away from home knows that wonderful feeling of coming back to your own bed, fridge, bathroom, and having a good place for time-outs.

As we drove passed the trees, the early 1900 cape style homes, the rivers, and could smell that we were home I pondered over how split and torn I feel inside at times. Where the heck is home? During the three weeks we were out there I spent time in Cedar City (where I went to high school and my parents and grandparents still live), Salt Lake (where I worked and went to school for 5 years, Jeremy's family, and my sister and her family live), and in Idaho (where I went to school and worked for 2 years). I visited with family, friends, old roommates, teachers, and co-workers that have all been a part of my life. I feel like I have left threads of my soul everywhere I've been and truly loved what I have gained from each person and place. Utah, Spokane, Florida, Idaho, New Hampshire, Maryland, it all feels like home. Even staying at Primary Children's hospital for that week in a way felt like home because it reminded me so much of working at Shriners. In a way that really did feel like a vacation because there was only one child to take care of, I was not responsible for laundry or meals, and there were several people around I could always ask to hold Sydney so I could shower or eat. That would not have been the case if things were more life-threatening. This is all beside the point though.

I talked to my mom about all of this - how I feel like I may never be whole because everywhere I am I miss parts of and people from where I've been. As we talked she said something that reminded me of something CS Lewis says in Mere Christianity. I'm not going to quote him perfectly, but more or less that we will never feel completely whole until we are with God again. That all of the love and joy we feel in this life, all of our good memories and peaceful feelings are shadows of what life is like with our Heavenly Father. Only then will we feel complete. So to all of those who have been pieces of Heaven in my life, who have helped me feel the love of Heavenly Father through their love, friendship, and examples (even the ones who don't believe in God!), I just want to express how much joy you have given me. Even the ones I almost never have contact with anymore. My life has been so enriched because of yours, so thank you. Friends from Badger Creek, Cedar City, roommates, people at Shriners, mission companions, people at the Burn Unit, most especially family, and this list can keep going on, but I just wanted to express how grateful I am for the love of so many and how amazing life has been.

I don't know where Jeremy and I will end up. And we'll always miss the places we've been. I'm just grateful for the faith that we can be made whole in the next life and that all of our experiences are for our good.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Good news. Sydney barfed all over herself and her crib during her nap yesterday, which was just before the docs rounded. Why is this good you say? Because that meant we moved on to an endoscopy and they found some spots of infection. Which translates to WE KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON. She's done great with all the fluid we gave her and has been drinking formula without any problems. So Sydney and I are checking out today, Jeremy rearranged his flight and will be here in a few hours, and we still have over a week to be here with so much family support and a staff very aware of what's going on that we can contact if we start to go backwards. She'll be on an antibiotic and an acid blocker for a while, but she looks TONS better and I'm excited to have all of our family together again.

It has been humbling to walk these halls (sometimes at 5am) and see what so many families have to deal with. I wonder why I ever complain. We get to go home. I have three beautiful daughters, I'm married to a wonderful man, and have so much extended family always there for us. Life is far from perfect, but it all depends on where my focus is if I'm going to enjoy life or suffer through it. I guess you have to suffer through parts of it to understand the joy of it. But again, I feel very blessed. We'll see how I feel after making that long flight again with all the girls, but I still know we're blessed.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It seems I spoke too soon in the last post. The morning after I posted Sydney barfed up everything all over me again. She looked much too skinny and we could tell we were headed down hill again. So this time we ended up going to Salt Lake and we're currently hanging out at Primary Childrens. We're not quite sure what's wrong, but any anatomical problems have been ruled out and we're onto the guessing games of which bug to battle. She's doing much better after having IV fluids running all night long and has done really well with the staff here. I don't know how long we'll be here, but for whatever is going on, we couldn't be in a better position. The staff are wonderful, we've got so much family support, and both Jeremy and I having had different rotations here I feel pretty comfortable. I do wish Jeremy were here, but he will be Friday and hopefully we are out of here by then.