Sunday, February 23, 2014


It’s about time I post about Whitefish. Last year we enjoyed such an amazing trip to Fernie with our friends for a quick Ski Trip (you can read about it here), so we decided to plan another trip for this year. I don’t know how it was decided, but we picked to go to Whitefish instead, and I am SO GLAD we did. We ended up with a nicer cabin for about the same cost as last year, and overall food and gas was cheaper than if we had stayed in Alberta or BC. Seriously, I was expecting Banff pricing at restaurants, so I was very surprised at how cheap it was to eat out (even with the dollar exchange). We decided that because Whitefish was a little farther to get too, that we should book for 5 days instead of 3. We found this amazing cabin that was just 10 minutes from downtown Whitefish located on a private acreage surrounded by lots of trees. It just felt so secluded and magical. Back when we booked this trip I was already pregnant, so I already knew I wasn’t going to participate in the skiing aspect, but that’s okay, because I was looking forward to the company and relaxing part anyways.
Overall it was a perfect week of relaxation, mountains, snow (lots and lots of snow), fun, games, and company. I’m not sure what the next year will bring, but I hope that if possible, we can still do a ski trip next year. 

The boys enjoying the hot tub while deep in conversation
Sean and Calvin making some of their own fun
The cutest little coffee shop in all of Whitefish
Downtown Whitefish

Saturday, February 15, 2014

28 Weeks

How far along? 28 weeks (7 months | 3rd Trimester!)
Total weight gain: 23lbs. I’m very pleased with this number. I was always scared of being one of those ladies that gets pregnant and puts on over 60lbs. I haven’t been trying too hard as I still have been eating things I like, but I feel I’ve been pretty good and not let the “eating for two” be an excuse. I eat when I’m hungry and that’s about it. Now I just hope to get through the 3rd trimester just as successful!
Ultrasound/ECHO/Dr Appt update: We had another ECHO last week. The appt didn’t exactly go great. We didn’t get to see Dr. Fruitman, and instead had to see her counterpart Dr. Myers, whom we weren’t a big fan of (she wasn’t unprofessional or bad or anything, we just feel more comfortable with Dr. Fruitman). The diagnosis has still stayed the same, but they can’t see her Thymus Gland. They told us Thymus glands aren’t exactly easy to see in ultrasounds, but it’s still a cause for concern. With the combination of Pulmonary Atresia with VSD, her aortic artery arch coming off the wrong way, and unable to see her Thymus – it creates a bigger concern for an underlying chromosomal defect – specifically called DiGeorge Syndrome. They have again offered to do an amniocentesis, but we have again declined. Even if we found out she has DiGeorge before she was born, it really won’t give us a clear picture of what to expect in the future. DiGeorge has such a broad spectrum, and so some individuals born with DiGeorge display no symptoms, while others land on the sever end of the spectrum. The symptoms I am talking about are mostly learning difficulties, feeding problems, immune issues, etc. So again, if she has DiGeorge, we really won’t know the severity until she gets older. At the moment, the main concern is that if she is born without a Thymus gland, this may cause issues in her recovery from open heart surgery. The Thymus provides babies and children with immunity until a certain age. This means she could have a rougher recovery as she will be more prone to catching a bacterial or viral infections after surgery, and just more prone to getting sick as a child in general. Overall there are just so many unknowns at this point. As hopeful that I am that future ultrasounds and ECHOs will reveal information, we have to face the fact that we really won’t know a lot of things until baby girl is actually here.
On another note, baby is growing within normal limits and weighs a whopping 2.5lbs. We also finally got the big phone call from Edmonton scheduling us for appts and visit that we have to attend before my due date. Nick and I will be going up to Edmonton March 5&6 to have an ECHO, Ultrasound, meet the team of the specialists that will be taking care of our little girl and get a tour of the Stollery. Part of me is happy because it will help us feel better prepared, but I’m also really nervous. I’m nervous that more bad news will come from this visit, and that the reality will really start to sink in.
Maternity clothes? Yup. If I wear a regular shirt, my belly starts to stick out at the bottom and Nick laughs because of how ridiculous I look. I get a good laugh while I’m getting dressed and Nick stares in amazement at how pregnant I look.
Stretch marks? Nope. I’ve been applying BioOil every few days. I think this is a tiny worry for Nick, because he’s always asking if I’ve applied my oil lol. So far so good.
Sleep: Alright I guess. I usually am a great sleeper, but now I always wake up during the night and it’s getting harder and harder to get comfortable.
Best moment lately: Our little getaway trip to Whitefish, Montana!
Miss Anything? Moving around is getting harder, and it’s easier to lose my breath when doing a strenuous activity.
Movement: I don’t think I go a single hour without feeling her kick. It sometimes isn’t a good thing when the ultrasound or ECHO techs are trying to get images of her heart for the cardiologists and it causes quite the trouble. The last tech at one point exclaimed that she wanted to pinch her to hold her still lol. At the end and not getting anywhere for over 10 minutes, she finally went and just grabbed the pediatric cardiologists to come view her heart “live”. What a little stinker!
Food cravings: Salt (specifically McDonald’s fries – with a cheeseburger on the side). I only give in about once a week.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Sausage or large amounts of chicken.
Gender: GIRL!
Labor Signs: Nope.
Symptoms: Just my growing belly!
Belly Button in or out? In, but I swear it’s on its way out!
Wedding rings on or off? On, but I probably would have a tough time getting them off at this point.
Happy or Moody most of the time: If you’ve noticed, I’ve been sort of avoiding posting when it comes to updating this blog on my pregnancy. When I first set out to do these “weekly updates”, I planned on doing them about every other week, but that was before things changed. Last week’s ECHO was tough on me. I took things a little harder, and it took me almost a week to come out of my sad and depressive state. I didn’t want to leave the house, and did anything to avoid people. I cried a lot, and was stressed beyond words. Nick was super great, and after a little while the worries and stress was able to settle enough for me to feel better. A friend advised me to keep busy, so I'm doing my best to do so.
I however will admit that I am done being pregnant. It’s not the “I’m huge and tired” reason, it’s more to do with the fact that I’m experiencing so much anxiety, and I haven’t been able to enjoy the experience like I thought I would. Don’t get me wrong, I do not want her to come early, the longer she is inside me, the better. My body is the perfect incubator and she’s growing so well. I guess with the fact that we know what is to come, I just want it to happen instead of sitting around and thinking of it happening and go over multiple scenarios (both good and bad) in my head. 
Right now I am happy and praying for the best, but I do go through waves of emotions. I can't wait to meet her and Nick and I are excited to be parents.
Looking forward to: For February I’ve got an exciting Valentines planned for Nick and I, and facial booked near the end of the month.

*In case you aren't aware, this last week has also been national Congenital Heart Defect week (Feb 7-14). A blogger that I have just recently stumbled across wrote a great post on CHD. Her name is Christie and she is the writer behind A Lemon Squeezy Home. Anways, click here to read her post on CHD Awareness and some interesting facts.*

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Recent Thoughts

There has been so many things going on (emotional and feeling wise), that I feel like I need to get them out. I want to be able to look back one day and read what I went through. In my last major pregnancy update (which you can read about here) I kind of went on a little rant and I got lots of messages from people (and texts from my mother) all worried about me. I guess just based on that post alone I did sound all mad and depressed, but I PROMISE that these were just some thoughts and emotions that Nick and I were going through for a small moment here and there. It’s normal for anyone to be upset when told there is something wrong with your baby which requires major surgery, and if I wasn’t thinking these thoughts and feeling those things, then I think that warrants for more concern. So I am here to tell all my friends and family who I don’t see face-to-face that often that I am truly okay! For the most part I feel I have taken everything pretty darn well, and I am not sitting at home every night crying my eyes out and I am in no way in a depressive state (which would be totally normal given the circumstances). For those who know me, I am still my upbeat, positive and optimistic self. I usually have a smile on my face, and I’m still the outgoing and social person you all know me to be.
I do have emotional moments, but I’m usually listening to a song and thinking of what’s to come. I get overwhelmed with the idea that I will have to live in Edmonton for a minimum of 7 weeks, and that’s just if everything goes smoothly. Nick will be with me when he can, and so will my mom, but there is no place like home, so I’m not exactly stoked about the whole situation. Family and friends will visit when they can, and I’m grateful that I do have some family and friends right in Edmonton, but I’m scared that I’m going to get very lonely and bored (I’m a social person – remember!). I’m sure watching and learning to care for my daughter will keep me occupied, but it’s a long time in general to be in a hospital (they’re not exciting places. I would know – I work in one!).
I know it will all be worth it in the end, and in essence this will be a small blip in the grand scheme of things. I just can’t wait for the moment where Nick and I get to bundle our little girl up and bring her home and enjoy that first few days as our own little family with no one else around (I plan on not having any visitors for the first 24-48 hours that we’re home after being surrounded consntlistey by doctors and nurses the first month of our baby’s life).

Some other thoughts I’ve been having is I can’t believe how much you can love someone that isn’t even here yet. Feeling her move around is so surreal, and how I already love her so much and so unconditionally. I try to picture what she’ll look like, what kind of personality she will possess, what’ll it be like to hold her for the first time and how my life will never be the same (in a good way).  I just can’t wait!

The last few thoughts that have been crossing my mind have to do with blessing, miracles and being realistic. I have received a few comments on the diagnosis, so I just want to address and clarify a few things. I would like to explain that while the diagnosis may change and alter a little as we go along, there is no denying the fact that she has a serious congenital heart defect that will require surgery. If there was any other hope of otherwise, I’m sure the doctors would have told us. The doctors are not wrong and have not made a mistake. I have ultrasounds every 2 weeks done by different techs and viewed by a different specialist at one of the top diagnostic imaging centres in Calgary at the Foothills Medical Centre – so it’s probably one of the best in Western Canada.

The heart is almost completely formed by 7-8 weeks in utero, so this will not resolve itself as she continues to develop inside me. The only reason the diagnosis may change (and it probably will) is because they will be able to see more as she grows. There is only so much they could see at 20 weeks through a uterus and amniotic fluid! The baby and heart are still so small, along with the arteries and vessels. Dr. Fruitman was very clear that there won’t be a clear diagnosis until she is actually born and they are able to do a direct ECHO on her without having to go through me. They will not even make a surgery plan until she is born, have all the facts (so multiple tests), and those results are presented to a bored of doctors in a conference setting who will decide the best course for action.

I am a religious person and believe in God. I do believe in miracles, but I’m also a realistic person. I think people forget that we live in an age of miracles. Just look at how far modern medicine and technology have come. Had this been even 30-40 years ago, we would be telling a very different story and dealing with a much lower success rate. There are already blessings and miracles that have occurred. We live in place with access to amazing healthcare and have doctors with amazing talent available at our fingertips (the Stollery has one of the top pediatric cardiology teams in the world!). Nick and I won’t have to worry about a single medical bill, and we will not be put out on the street to pay for surgery costs. We are told that our accommodation will be take care of as we are eligible to stay at the Ronald McDonald house just blocks away from the hospital in Edmonton, and through volunteers, will be feed dinner almost every night. It’s a miracle that they even detected the heart defect. So many babies are born without their defect detected (even here in Canada), and suffer worse consequences because of that. So while I am not praying for a miracle that my baby will be born completely healthy (because though I am an optimistic person and amazing miracles can and do happen, there needs to be a balance of hope, expectations and realistic answers to our prayers), I am praying for a miracle that the surgeon will be successful in performing the required surgery. That his hands will be inspired to know what to do, and that she will recover with little to no complications. Those are the miracles that I believe are realistic to wish and pray for. No matter what happens - what is meant to be will be, and we will make it though, no matter the outcome.
Much love,