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May. 22nd, 2006 @ 03:39 pm Four....
FOUR JOBS I'VE HELD:
1. Cashier at FoodWorld
2. Manager at FoodWorld
3. Secretary at Muscle Shoals Music Academy & Huntsville Hospital Wellness Center
4. Youth Minister

FOUR MOVIES I WOULD WATCH OVER AND OVER

1. Mary Poppins
2. Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail
3. The Goonies
4. Steel Magnolias

FOUR PLACES I'VE LIVED

1. Pasadena, TX
2. Cotaco, AL
3. Florence, AL
4. That's it :)... though I did move four times within the city of Florence

FOUR NEW TV SHOWS I LOVE
1. CSI
2. Without a Trace
3. Charmed
4. Extreme Makeover Home Edition

FOUR OLD TV SHOWS I LOVE
1. M*A*S*H
2. ER
3. Judging Amy
4. Little House on the Prarie

the best FOUR PLACES I'VE VACATIONED
1. Bed and Breakfast in Scottsboro
2. London
3. Switzerland
4. Disney World

Four of My Favorite Dishes
1. Spaghetti
2. Chicken N Dumplins
3. Chicken and Rice
4. Home Grilled Steak

FOUR SITES I VISIT DAILY
1. YMexchange.com
2. preemiegroup.com
3. wesleywired.org
4. livejournal.com

FOUR PLACES I WOULD RATHER BE RIGHT NOW
1. At the hospital with Sarah Beth
2. Sitting in Sarah Beth's room with Sarah Beth (if she were home)
3. At Chili's with my best friends
4. At the lake or beach

I'm not tagging anyone, but I'd love you to fill this out too if you read it. :)
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Apr. 27th, 2006 @ 03:09 pm Holding my baby
Current Mood: jubilantjubilant
I have this list of stuff I want to do before I die. It's got about 100 things on there. I've done a few of them. Number 3 says, "Hold my baby in my arms." I finally, after 24 days of Sarah being here, get to mark off that number. The nurse let me hold her today. I cannot explain the joy, pure joy, I feel. After a number of bad days, I needed one good one. In fact that was my prayer today and God gave me more than I imagined.

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Apr. 22nd, 2006 @ 02:45 pm Sarah update
Well, Sarah is doing better today... THANK GOD! The past three days it's seemed like she was constantly de-sating and not just slipping a little, but going down into the 30s. It was nice to sit next to her for an hour and a half and only hear that ding of the pulse-ox alarm about 7 times. That is nothing for her. She is so beautiful. I mean, really, she is tiny but she's so pretty! Maybe I'm prejudiced, but others say it too, so unless they are lying to me I think I'm right. :)

She gained almost 2 ounces yesterday. That's her biggest gain to date, so I pray that wasn't just a fluke but more of a turning point for her. The doctor said last night that he hopes she'll be off the vent very soon, at the most 2 weeks. It would be SO nice to see her face without that tube, but she'll still probably be on the nasal C-PAP for a while, so she'll still kind of have the tube.

Last night, we had a wait a little while for them to let us in because they had a new admit (a 29 weeker -- Sarah was 27). They don't let anyone in while they are getting the babies settled. They also don't let people in while the doctors do "procedures" on any of the babies. It is for their protection, and I completely understand it, but it sometimes feels like it just takes forever. So, they got the baby settled and let us in. However, they were waiting on the doctor to come and do a couple of procedures on this new baby. So we went in and hung out with Sarah. While we were there the secretary came through and asked our nurse (in front of us) if we should leave because the doctor was doing a procedure. The nurse kind of shrugged and the secretary walked off. I asked the nurse, "Should we leave. We don't mind." She said, "No, just stay back there and don't be loud and it'll be fine." So, we stayed. The secretary came back through and said something like, "Well, I'm going to let other parents in if they (meaning us) are staying." I told the nurse we'd just go ahead and go. She said ok, so we said goodbye to Sarah and left. I kind of felt bad, but seriously, the nurse nor the secretary ever told us to leave. If anyone had said, "The doctor is doing a procedure, you need to wait outside until he is finished," we would have left quickly, but no one said anything. I found it kind of funny in a way because the nurse and secretary were going at it when we were leaving. Oh well. Such is life.

Keep praying for Sarah! Thanks everyone!
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Apr. 14th, 2006 @ 05:44 am Early Morning
It's 5:30 a.m. and I'm awake. It's also Good Friday. I keep being reminded how Sarah was not supposed to have her first Easter this year. I'm debating getting "Baby's first Easter" stuff, or just waiting until next year when she might be able to go to the Easter service and Easter Egg Hunts and all that jazz. I explained Palm Sunday to her last Sunday. I'm sure I'll explain Easter to her too. I wish she could come home and experience it.

Sarah Beth amazes me daily. All my feelings, all my hopes, all my prayers and all my thoughts are wrapped up in her. I realized yesterday that she is all is talk about anymore. She is all I do anything about too.

She was so good last night. She was sating well (that means her oxygen saturation was 90% or better), and even when we took her off the vent for a moment to move her around, she didn't de-sat or get fussy. She just let us do what needed to be done and did beautifully.

She had a brain scan yesterday too. It was to look for any bleeding around her brain which is a common ailment in preemies and causes learning disabilities from mild to severe. Sarah had NO bleeding and everything was normal. Praise God! That, of course, doesn't guarentee she'll never have a learning disability or anything, but it is quite promising that she has the best possible chance.

Well, I'm going to try to sleep a couple of more hours before my day is forced to begin again.

God Bless....
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Apr. 9th, 2006 @ 11:00 pm Hand in Hand


It's late and I'm tired, but I wanted to show you this picture. Sarah actually reached up and held my finger for a moment today. It amazes me how tiny her hands are and yet how perfect they are.

I'll write more tomorrow.
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Apr. 8th, 2006 @ 07:20 pm Sarah Beth - Day 6
Well, Sarah is now 6 days old (or will be as of 9:04 this evening). She's doing fairly well. She's still on the ventilator but they've turned it down to 34% oxygen. It breathes for her 25 times a minute if she forgets to breathe. It's a smart ventilator so it won't breathe for her if she is breathing regularly. Technology amazes me.

We went to see her this morning and were able to hang out for a couple of hours. Mary came and was able to see her too. I'm going to start hanging out in the waiting room a little more and chatting with the other parents. I'd like to hear from them since they are in this too. I think Sarah is the youngest justationally in the NICU right now since she was born at 27 weeks, but I'd like to find out.

The nurse said she rests well during the quiet times in the NICU, but while we were there she was very fussy and wiggly. I saw her eyes today so much more than I have in all the other days. She was awake a lot. I want so badly to sit beside her for as long as I can. I know I can't do that though, everyone is so worried about me resting and getting better and all but I can't rest well without her. Knowing she is ok helps me rest... seeing her and sitting and watching her helps me rest. BUT, she doesn't need visitors because she rests better when it is quiet. It's such a catch 22 for me.

Keep her in your prayers... please.
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Apr. 7th, 2006 @ 03:25 pm A Crazy Week!
Current Mood: happyhappy
Wow, what a crazy few days.

Saturday's Marketplace at church was good. I'd tell you how much money we made, but I have no idea because I came home and went to bed. I was exhausted... as I expected to be... and I had a headache. I haven't had a headache since I started going to the chiropractor so I was a little worried. I called my mom and just asked if she could check my blood pressure just to be sure. I knew I was going to the doctor on Monday, so I wasn't completely worried about it. Mom came over and didn't have her sphygmomanometer. So we tried a few things, like laying still with a rag on my face and being quiet. Nothing really worked, but again, I wasn't too terribly worried. Then, I got a terrible pain in my stomach. I didn't know what was happening. I almost felt like I needed to throw up but it wasn't really that and it wasn't pressure like contractions... it just HURT. I did throw up and mom called her friend who lives across the street from us who had a sphygmomanometer. She came back with it and checked my blood pressure which was normal. So we decided she'd make dinner for Joe and I while I rested. While I was lying there she came back and said... "I just feel like I need to check your blood pressure again." So we did. It was 190 something over 110 or so. REALLY high in other words. She checked it again about 5 minutes later and it was higher. We called the hospital we wanted to deliver at and discovered they wouldn't take anyone who was less than 8 months along. I was only 27 weeks (7 months), so we were told to go to Huntsville Hospital. We got there about 9:30 p.m. on Saturday night. They admitted me to Labor and Delivery. The nurses seemed really concerned. My mother and husband's mother were quite worried. I knew it was pretty bad. I was really worried about Sarah more than anything. I knew 7 months was really too early for her to have to be born.

The nurses told me we should prepare to be in the hospital for a long time. Mom was telling me however long I had to stay I'd be basically in a quiet dark room laying on my side. They tried to start an IV normally, but I was so swollen they couldn't find a vein. They stuck me 5 or 10 times. I think it made them feel bad, but I didn't care. Finally they got an anathesieologist to come in and put in a jugular IV. It was very interesting. Every nurse after that was just shocked to see this IV and I think it really freaked out the nurse who ended up having to take it out. Anyway, they gave me this IV and gave me Magnesium Sulfate through this. If you don't know... this medication is HORRIBLE. It made me itch to no end and also made me hot from the inside out. The nurses told me to expect to feel like I was drunk. That warm inside but not outside feeling. I couldn't move. Talk about weird. But, in all this, I was still thinking... "Ok, I will lay on my left side in this hospital room for as long as they'll let me." I was preparing for a long haul... a few weeks or even a month or more would have been fine with me. I was prepared for that. I knew Sarah would do better if she could stay inside me for as long as possible.

My doctors came in shocked to see me. No one expected this and no one saw it coming by any means. It seemed a whole lot like no one really knew what to do too. The docs did prepare me for the possibility of a Cesarian Section. Ok. I understood that. It was scarey but ok.

So the first night came and went. Hubby and his mom stayed with me. My parents went home to sleep. They were back within a few hours and stayed all that day too. Sunday was odd. I couldn't move much. It was quiet and dark. Everyone moved around me like really quiet and such. I couldn't move. I ate a lot of ice chips. I was craving food of some sort just to have something to chew. I don't think I was really hungry, but I was tired of not being able to eat anything. My brother came from Birmingham to stay with us. Eddie and Angie came over from Athens. Eddie was my pastor when I was growing up and he was the pastor who married hubby and I. The days ran together, so it may not have all been on Sunday, but I remember it in jumps... like a TV show or something.

Monday came and went until about 8 that night when they told me they couldn't regulate my blood pressure and weren't sure how Sarah was, so we were going to do the C-Section. I was prepared, it was ok. My mother (who was a Labor and Delivery nurse for 12 years or so before she became a teacher) went over a crash course in what to expect in the surgery room with hubby and I. Eddie and Angie prayed with me before they wheeled me away. A bunch of the doctors and nurses at the Hospital who work with my hubby's mom and had worked with my mother came in and prayed with us. Then they took me to surgery. It was so fast. I wasn't necessarily prepared, but I was ready and I knew it had to be done. The doctor let hubby, mom and his mom come into the surgery room which is really not normal, but I was glad to have them there. Hubby was wonderful at keeping me calm. We didn't expect to hear Sarah cry when she was born, so those first few moments when she was in the world were tense. But, she did cry and it was the most beautiful sound I could have ever heard. It made hubby and me both cry. The neonatologist walked Sarah around to me and let me kiss her bye before they took her away. Hubby and the mom's went with her and they cleaned me up and moved me into recovery. I was completely awake and fine. SO happy to hear her and know she was breathing.

You can see some of her first pictures at www.bethandjoe.com/sarah. She was just born... my mother-in-law took those pics.

They moved me to a room in Antepartum (different from postpartum only in that the mom's still need medical care themselves). I saw a few people in there, but they left quickly. If you were there and I don't remember I'm sorry. I'm glad for all those who came. It was really a blessing to know how many people came, called, emailed, wrote notes, etc. Hubby kept saying how wonderful it was that we had some many people who loved us and in turn loved Sarah. I have to agree. It's taken a while but my blood pressure is down to a semi-normal level. They expect me to come off all medication by two weeks. My incision from the surgery is a little painful, but nothing I can't handle. I notice I get tired quickly and need to rest the majority of the time. I am not really happy to be home and not near to Sarah right now, but I know she is in good hands. The nurses of neonatology are wonderful. They are very protective of her and I love that. She's in a nice quiet, warm, dark area so she's resting well. She's on a ventilator, but only at about 40% oxygen. She's eating through a feeding tube that is down her throat right now. She could probably swallow, but the ventilator prohibits that, so the tube just helps it get to the stomach. She's tolerating her food well. She hasn't had a natural bowel movement yet, but she did poop once when they gave her a suppository... maybe TMI, but I can't tell you how encouraged we are by mear baby poop. :) The doctors seem very positive about her prognosis. The nurses have told us to expect some bumps in the road after about 2 weeks or so, because usually premie babies take that long to have any problems. So we'll keep everyone updated on that.

Well, that's basically the story. Here are some pictures of her as of this morning.



She had a little jaundice, so she was under a "Billilight" for a couple of days. That's the blue hue you see. She wore her cool shades the whole time.


This is just a shot of her feet. I'll get one with my hand or something beside her as soon as I can, but her foot fits within the length from my finger tip to the first knuckle of my finger. But look how perfect they are!


This is one of the last pictures we took of her before we left this morning. She likes sleeping with her hand beside her face.
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Jan. 27th, 2006 @ 11:40 am Okay, just because I'm nice and I got tagged...
Faithy tagged me, so here ya go

State 5 Guilty pleasures, then tag 5 of your friends to do the same!

1-Cookie Dough. I know I'm not supposed to eat raw cookie dough, but I do it all the time. :)

2-South Park. I find that show freaking hilarious 60% of the time

3-DVDs. I buy them all the time. I don't even care if the movie was that good, I just love having movies around to watch randomly

4-Ice Cream. Especially like fudgesicles. They are awesome.

5-British Comedy. Any of it. I love it. Saturday nights on APT are wonderful.
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Jan. 16th, 2006 @ 05:23 am As the sun rises on another day...
Current Mood: awakeawake for some strange reason!
It's five-thirty in the morning on Monday. I can't sleep... but I'm getting used to it. People tell me this is God's way of preparing me for motherhood, I tell them, "at least when you have the baby you can look at him or her when you are awake at 5:30 in the morning." My back hurts all the time now. Mom says it's the sciatic nerve (sp?). I just know it hurts like crazy and isn't getting any better. I heard the heartbeat on Thursday last week. It's a squishy heartbeat and just about the best sound I've ever heard before in my life. I think if I were Tom Cruise, I would have nixed the sonogram machine and got one of those heartbeat listening machines, I could sit and listen forever. Husband and I go on Feb. 7 to find out what the sex of the baby is. And no, I really don't care what the baby is, as long as he or she is healthy. The fact that I only have a boy's name picked out means nothing.

I just spent almost an hour reading through old emails. It saddens me to know how many friends I've just lost touch with. I had one really good friend in Florence who I worked with for a long time who I haven't talked to in over 2 years. We just... grew apart... I guess. So I emailed her at her last known email address. I don't know if it still works, but it's worth a shot I guess. Maybe she'll get it and know I still think about her. Last I talked with her, she had just had her first child after a few miscarriages. I still have that baby's picture on my desk, but the baby must be almost (if not already) 2 years old. Wow. It's strange how our lives change. How we grow and our priorities become something completely different. I'm glad for those friends I've never grown apart from. I'm glad I have so many of those. I'm sorry to you who I don't talk to enough.

So, it's now about 6:45, the sun is getting ready to rise. Husband will be awake soon. Maybe I'll make him some biscuits or something like that for breakfast. Probably not though. :) I've got a very full day of fixing my office ahead of me. Right now it is a mass of boxes that have been rifled through to find the book we needed to use to teach. Such is life. Maybe I'll post pictures when I actually get into the office and settled. Pray they'll let me buy bookshelves and not make me use the old ones that everyone has thrown out because they were falling apart. :)
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Jan. 6th, 2006 @ 02:44 am Miners
My heart just breaks over this mining accident. So many families lost so many good men. The one man who is still hanging on is Randal McCloy, the youngest of the miners trapped too. I was reading on Yahoo News today and came across this:

"The miner's father, Randal McCloy Sr., told The Associated Press that he believes "in his heart" that his son's mostly 50-something colleagues decided during their last, desperate hours to share their dwindling supply of oxygen with his son because he was the youngest of the group and had two young children."

That hasn't been officially verified of course, but I could see that happening. The miners I know, have met and talked with, all seem to have this very family relationship with their fellow miners. That if anything happens to one of them it happens to all, so this isn't far fetched.

Things like this make me really think about the courage of man. God gave us great gifts and I'm amazed that men (I'm using that in the mankind way) can stand up to tragedies like this.

It wasn't long ago that Brookwood was shaken to it's core by that mining accident... back in 2001 I think. I remember chatting with people who knew so many people in that personally. Now, though I don't know anyone personally, I'm reminded and ask us not to forget. We pray and remember and think of these families while it is on TV and then forget when the pictures fade from our memory. Let's remember this time... pray, not just for the next few days, but for a while... a long while... because this hurt doesn't go away after just a few days.
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