I want to take a quick minute to say Thank You to all of our family and friends, near and far, for the outpouring love, support, and kindness through this rough patch in our lives. I honestly can't say thank you enough to everyone's generosity and all they have done. From everyone who sent meals to our home for 2 weeks, to the gift baskets and magazines, to every flower arrangement that adorns our home! Every single thing not forgotten, and every flower a reminder that we truly have some very special people in our lives! It is truly humbling, so thank you again!
And because every flower we have received is way too beautiful not to share and has truly brightened my day!
And the most beautiful little flowers Charli picked just for me and was so excited to show me when I got home!
One thing I always knew I wanted to do for my children was breastfeed. It is something I held close to my heart and is something I feel incredibly lucky about, because I have never had a single issue doing so, with either of our babies. Though having Crohn's Disease and being pregnant brings a lot of concern to both the baby's health along with my own health, it also brought concern about breastfeeding. There was a lot of research done between my OBGYN and Lactation Nurse to confirm breastfeeding was OK for our babies due to all of my meds.
I nursed Charli until almost 15 months and there was never a doubt in my mind that I would do the same for Crew once he was born. Unfortunately this go around, there was a bit of a hiccup due to my Health. After finding out just a couple of months after Crew was born that I started to develop Cancer cells within my Colon and I would have to undergo surgery, the very first thing that popped into my mind was Crew and breastfeeding (call me crazy, but it's true). The first question to my Specialists and Surgeons was "Is it at all possible to wait a few months and do surgery when my baby is a bit older since I am nursing?" Thankfully they were OK with doing so.
I felt I had done everything right in preparing Crew and myself for what was ahead. We Introduced Food much earlier than anticipated in hopes that by the time surgery rolled around he wouldn't be nursing all day every day. I started pumping a supply and storing in the freezer. I had almost 30 bags plus a couple of fresh bottles in the fridge, and of course I always think best case scenario and thought this would be plenty for our little guy since I would be home in 4 days.
Boy was I wrong...
Crew went through every single drop I had saved for him within 3 1/2 days (I think he was a little stressed and confused and was looking for comfort). Needless to say, Steven had to buy formula for my mom to supplement. Now, I don't think there is anything wrong with formula, because at the end of the day formula was made to nourish our babies when breastmilk couldn't. But since I was a breastfeeding mother and never had to use formula for Charli, I was devastated. I felt like a complete failure as I laid in my hospital bed, that I hadn't prepared enough for our little guy.
Not only was I devastated and felt like a failure due to this situation, but my milk was starting to dry up in the hospital. From the very first day in the hospital I pumped (and let me add that it was Steven who pumped for me the very first evening when I couldn't, as I laid there under heavy Anesthesia. Have I told you how amazing of a guy he is? Because he is. Thank you again honey). We pumped and we dumped as much as we could but it still wasn't enough. The fact is, my body was trying to keep itself alive. I was running on just about nothing, was completely drugged up, and I was away from my baby. How could I quite possibly produce milk? Well, I couldn't. I was pumping maybe 2 drops per breast by the 5th day in the hospital, and as the tears rolled down my cheeks I thought it was over. I was not prepared for this and Steven tried everything to calm me down "Crew needs his mommy home and healthy more than he needs your breastmilk", "You may have only breastfed him 3 more months, he needs you for a lifetime". Which yes, I agreed, but it still didn't take away that feeling and the fact that I was not ready to possibly be finished nursing.
To say I was determined more than ever from the very moment I walked through our front door would be an understatement. Steven walked me to our bedroom and as I slowly laid down my mom brought Crew in. All I wanted was for him to latch on and to have him on me and in my arms again. I can't tell you how special that moment was. I had nothing to give him but he still nursed and fell right to sleep. Oh my sweet boy!
I wasn't sure what was going to happen but I was prepared to do what I needed to to get my milk back. Well, our bodies are a crazy thing, and after just one full day of having Crew on me again, my milk came back on its own! I can't tell you how happy this made me. I am still unable to pick him up or carry him and can only hold him sitting down for a short time, but to know everything I have just been through and this is something I don't have to give up. It makes my heart truly happy!
I'm sorry sweet boy for having to be away but Mommy is here now!
As I sit here in bed and type this, surrounded by the laughs, giggles, and of course screams of my 2 beautiful children, the love & help of my mother, and of course the love from my husband, I couldn't be more grateful to be HOME!
Thank you to everyone again for the love, support, and prayers as I underwent a very long surgery and an incredibly bumpy road while in the hospital. It truly meant the world to us to know we had so many family and friends behind us every step of the way during this battle.
So thank you again, from the bottom of my heart!
Surgery went very well and my surgeon feels extremely confident that he removed every single thing he needed and all is clear! I will go back in at the end of the month for a check-up and pathologies to confirm, but for now, I am clear and healthy and couldn't be happier!
Now on to my hospital stay and what lies ahead...
Spending 8 days and 7 nights in the hospital was not ideal nor fun for any of us.
Surgery was around 4 1/2 hours long and 90% of my Colon (around 4 1/2 feet) was removed. Fortunately they were able to do the procedure Laparoscopic, and unfortunately due to myself never responding well to Anesthesia I spent a good 5-6 hours in recovery not waking up. I know just how worried and scared Steven must have been watching families get to go back and see their loved ones (who by the way went in long after I did) as he continued to sit and wait. The nurses finally let Steven back in hopes he could actually help to get me to respond and thankfully it worked.
After a very long day and night, we headed up to our room (which by the way was not a private room, no private rooms in the hospital). The amount of pain I was in is indescribable. I don't remember anything from that first day. Steven said I slept a lot and I vaguely remember having a few visitors (we truly have some amazing friends here!). We were then kicked out of our room due to an old bitchy not very nice lady who felt "uncomfortable" because there was a man in the room (my husband who was by his wife's side taking care of her... Sorry rude lady). Any who, they moved us to a different room where we greeted another roommate (and where we would greet 3 more roommates after that).
The healing and recovery process has been hard. Not only was I in excruciating pain with 6 incisions in my stomach but I had just lost a large, major organ and didn't realize that would also mean my body would forget how to go to the bathroom on my own (I know it might be TMI but it's true). I had zero control of my bladder and bowel movements and was put in an adult diaper (which later my almost 3 year old kind of sort of made fun of me because of it...).
I was on a clear liquid diet for a couple of days and then moved to a full liquid diet on Monday (pudding and ice cream). I was on the full liquids that whole day when the absolute worst thing could have happened... My Small Intestine shutdown and stopped working. I started to feel incredibly nauseous and told Steven how much my stomach hurt. When I lifted up my gown to show him, my tummy looked as if I was 6 months pregnant (it was THAT swollen). I then started throwing up uncontrollably. I will be forever grateful for my nurse that night as she rushed the Doctors and X-Ray Tech to my bedside. They lifted me onto the board and started taking X-Ray's of my stomach. In the middle of the night on Monday, while I was passed out due to pain meds, the Doctor came in to tell Steven they found an Ileus (my small intestine shutdown and I had a bowel obstruction). I was told I could not eat or drink anything that whole next day and I was to be monitored 24/7 to see if they needed to put an engi tube down my nose and throat to pump everything out. Thankfully being young, my organs responded on their own and slowly started working again. The scariest part of it all was my husband being told his wife was "knocking on deaths doorstep"... With one organ shutting down others could have followed suite very quickly...
Wednesday came, and after a full day on Tuesday of no eating, drinking, and feeling awful I was feeling down. I was in so much pain, I missed my babies, and I just wanted to be back to normal. Steven decided to drive all the way home (an hour each way) to get my mom and kids to bring them to me. I can't tell you how happy this made me! I cried big ugly alligator tears when they all walked through the door. My heart was truly happy!
Things slowly started looking up as the day passed and I slowly started feeling a little better. I had better control of my bladder and bowel movements and I was starting to hold down clear liquids and even full liquids at dinner time! Thursday was another really good day and I was moved to a regular gluten free diet by lunch (let me add that my meals consisted of maybe 3-5 bites of food, that's about all I can handle). With all the improvements I was making they said if all continued to go well we could go home Friday afternoon!
Words I was longing to hear!
Friday came (day 8) and they said I could go home!!!!
I still have a long way to go but I am home and healing!
The road to recovery has started!
Thank you all again for all of the prayers!
I want to first start by saying Thank You to everyone for all of the prayers. I am officially home from the hospital. I am resting and recovering and will have an update on my health soon, but for now
Spring is officially here!
Spring has finally sprung here in Newport! The entire week I was in the hospital the weather was sunny, warm, and beautiful (literally a 75 degree day one day). My mom had the kids outside every chance she got; from gardening, swinging, picnicing, going for wagon rides (Crew's first), to just being outside playing in the grass or coloring the driveway with chalk!
I honestly couldn't have asked for a better week for the kids!
Thank you again mom!
Now that I am home I was finally able to soak up some of that Newport sunshine! I spent a little time sitting on our back deck with my little family in between naps and it was glorious! My mom also pointed out all of the beautiful flowers we have (and will have) all over our yard, and I am so excited!
And oh how it is killing me to not be there with him but instead stuck in the hospital.
I love you baby and mommy will be home soon!
Crew's personality is really shining and he is still the absolute happiest baby ever! He loves everyone, loves attention, loves being held, talked to, and played with! Big sis is one of his favorite people and he has really developed an attachment to Momma (which let's be honest, it's my favorite!). Crew will be completely fine and happy if I am not around but then the moment he sees me he starts fussing and crying until I pick him up! Oh how I love that little guy! His tight hugs around my neck as he scratches me is my favorite!
It has been one fun month with our little man! He has officially started eating his feet, can move around in a circle on his belly, has done "so big", and has started doing this ridiculously adorable head tilt as if he is acting shy or flirting! He continues to amaze us and makes us oh so happy each and every day!!
Crew's Stats: *Weight: 22lbs *Height: 29inches *Diaper Size: Moving into size 3 Pampers Swaddlers this week *Clothes: 6 months and some 9 months *Teeth: 2 (bottom) *Sleep: Bedtime 7PM, wakes up 7AM. Crew sleeps straight through the night with no wake ups unless he is teething/sick. If that is the case he wakes up once around 2-3AM or twice, just depends. Morning nap is around 9AM, he sleeps for about 1-2 hours. Afternoon nap is around 12:30PM and he sleeps 2-3 hours. *Food: He is still loving it all! Some new things added this past month has been Hummus, Peaches, Pears, yogurt bites, broccoli *Words: Nothing new but still loves making noises and "talking"! He likes to pant too! haha *Social: He is still a social/lovable little guy who smiles at everyone he sees! We do Stroller Strides a few days a week, we go to the library for Story Time, and we have playdates with friends! That and all of our visitors who come and stay with us has this little dudes social calendar pretty full! *Other: Some of his nicknames: Bubs, Bubba, Crew Dude, Goober Pants, Goobs. Crew still loves his baths, diaper changes, and is still extremely ticklish! Bailey has started giving him kisses on his face and I'm not sure how he feels about it. It is one the most hilarious things to watch though! haha! One thing Crew does when he gets so excited is he starts moving his hands and turning his wrists, haha. He doesn't seem close to crawling just yet but he sure can scoot, move, and turn around in a circle when he is on his tummy.
Surgery week is upon us and as I think of these next few days and what lies ahead I feel a rush of emotions through my entire body (literally making me sick to my stomach). Steven and I have stayed strong through all of this, not only for us but for the kids and we continue to live our life as nothing is wrong and just go through our day to day motions.
The fact is though, behind this blank stare and these happy eyes is a girl who is scared shitless...
I received a call from my Doctor on Monday. He wanted to inform me that he, along with my surgeon and a team of Specialists had a conference regarding my case on Easter Sunday. They had special slides of all of my biopsies that they viewed in detail and he wanted to inform me that there was more cancer cells than what they had originally thought.
After receiving this news on Monday, it all hit me and I came crashing down. Reality is setting in... My mom was on an airplane headed to be with us, Steven was at work unable to get to his phone, but thankfully my best friend answered her phone and sat there as an ear who listened to me weep.
I am scared, I am nervous, but through it all I am trying to stay strong.
So here it is...
I have Colon Cancer.
I go in this Friday, April 10th for Surgery at Miriam Hospital in Providence, RI.
They are estimating surgery to be around 4 1/2 hours long.
If all things go good I might be able to go home in 4-5 days.
They will be removing over 80% (fingers crossed that is all they will need to take) of my colon in hopes to get every single thing out of my body in one fell swoop.
Thank you to everyone who has continued to think about us and pray for me (and my family) as we trudge along through something so scary. I am ready for all of this to be behind me and to be on the road to recovery!
*Stop looking at me OR No look at me like that (clearly if she has done something wrong and I give her "that look" haha!) *Bubs makes me so happy Momma (oh baby girl, he makes us all happy, and you don't know how happy that makes me to hear you say that) *I just love him so much (referring to Crew; And oh how I hope it stays that way forever!) *Sorry bout your luck (I really need to start watching what I am saying because girlfriend repeats EVERYTHING... Although this was quite hilarious!) *Are we going to the winewy today, for a tasting? (#youknowyouhaveaproblemwhen... HAHAHA) *Just come here and lay down wif me and talk about my day (this is our nightly routine, after daddy reads and puts Charli to bed, she waits for me to walk in and kiss her goodnight after putting Crew down and then we talk about our day!) *Tell me about Pwincess Charli (Daddy has started making up stories and one is about "Princess Charli"... Needless to say, it's her favorite! hahaha) *That's flunny (aka: funny) *You make me so angwy (at least she can tell us?!) *I'm talking on the phlone mommy (aka: phone) *I just facetiming DoDo (on her toy "flip phone"! haha!) *Oh no, there's a pie-da (aka: spider... I don't know when or how or why she has gotten frightened of spiders but she literally screams and cries when she thinks she sees one... FYI: She thinks EVERYTHING is a spider... dog hair, her hair, fuzz, crumbs, dirt... oy) *MMM, Dinner is so tasty mommy *Thank you for making dinner mommy! *I'm so tumfy tozy (aka: comfy cozy) *It's so toasty warm! (as we snuggle under blankets or in bed) *Oh My Gosh! *I do it by myself (when it comes to EVERYTHING! Charli is the most independent child I know... oy! I love it but it can get frustrating! She goes potty all by herself, wants to wipe all by herself, wants to put her clothes on by herself... Let me add that if we don't let her do it by herself she will literally take her clothes back off and put them back on or climb back up on the potty just to climb right back down...) *Oh I like cocaut (aka: coconut... and referring to EOS chapstick...haha)
And for fun, here is a legitimate conversation with Charli... Enjoy!
"And I was just like whats going on, haha, and somefing like that, and Wyan is not a Pwincess cause he's a boy, and like what's going on wif you I said, and no do it again, and I wun awound, and I say no do that, haha, and I said whats going on wif you, and I wasn't feeling whale because I had a pie-da in my mouf, but then I took it out and was feeling much better, and then we had dinner and I ate all my food so I eat a cupcake, and baby jesus gave evewyfing to evewyone, and baby jesus just loves all of us, and we go to the livrary today and we see all our fwiends!"
We really had an amazing and relaxing Easter weekend as a family. I had been so nervous as to what weather Newport was going to bring for Easter. I was just praying for at least 50 degrees and sunny (it is so sad that we think 50 is warm now.) Thankfully it was in fact a beautiful morning (a tad windy at times, but none the less beautiful)!
We did all of our little Easter traditions...
We dye Easter Eggs the day before...
Crew didn't partake in this but he was watching big sis paint the eggs as he stuffed his face with puffs and mum mums! Once the eggs dried he got to view the finished product though!
*And I may be bias, but Charli is AMAZINGLY talented!!
The Easter Bunny hops on by the night before:
*Charli's Basket: Band-Aids, Hair brush, Bunny Ears Headband, Jellycat Bunny (that she has named Bunny Ballerina), "lipstick" (chapstick), nail polish, Jammies, Swim Suite & Cover Up, Books, and of course a few pieces of candy!
*Crew's Basket: Jellycat stuffed Whale (which big sis named Taley the Whaley), Shorts, Osh Kosh palm tree overalls, teether, first toothbrush, Books
*The fur babies were also not left out! They got a new stuffed bunny toy! *Not shown: The Easter Bunny even brought Steven a Hobbes (as in Calvin and Hobbes) Stuffed Tiger (and my hubby was so excited about it too.)
Charli was so excited Easter morning and couldn't wait to see what the Easter bunny had left! We had the perfect Easter morning, just the 4 of us! Opening baskets, hunting eggs, and sitting down as a family for a small breakfast!
After lots of fun and of course eating every jelly bean Charli could find, we headed to our friends house for a small Easter Brunch! She did an absolutely beautiful job setting everything up and it was truly a wonderful time spent with some of our friends! We laughed, joked, ate, drank mimosas, and then let the kids run around outside to hunt more eggs!!
We headed over to another friends house for another little Easter get together before heading home and spending the rest of the day as a family! We ended our Easter with the perfect Easter dinner; ham, homemade mac-n-cheese, and green beans. And after putting the kiddos to bed Steven and I snuggled on the couch and watched Into The Woods (we loved it.)
Crew's First Easter was a success!
I have enjoyed seeing all of the Easter pictures out there and hope everyone had a blessed day and weekend!