Friday, April 30, 2010

Last few.

A few more pictures.

6 months

Camille claims she has been too busy to update the blog in the last six months. She only has three kids, 2 dogs and me to worry about! Here is the quick update until Camille can fill you in. Rex is doing good. Olive is doing good....she had an MRI in March and the tumor is still there but not getting bigger. Lola has been a pain! She has averaged 2-3 weeks a month in the hospital since December. We went to Primary Children's Hospital in Sale Lake City last week and they think she is still aspirating. That's good because we have a direction to head and it is not something severely bad like Cystic Fibrosis (she tested negative). I shaved Maggie and Roscoe yesterday and now it's 40 degrees, windy and raining so they want to come in! Roscoe will be wearing a green beard and ear for the summer while Maggie has pink ears and rear! Well that's it in a nutshell. Hopefully you'll hear from the Boss...I mean Camille soon........if not I'll see you around November!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Halloween

When we first started talking Halloween at my house both of my kids knew in an instant that they wanted to be pirates. No bribing, pleading or begging on my part could change their minds. I wanted Olive to be a spider and truthfully, I was fine with Rex being a pirate. Pirates have hooks, carry swords and guns, and wear lots of skulls. In the eyes of a three-year-old boy there is nothing cooler than a pirate.

As I discussed costume options with Olive she informed me that she is a princess everyday, so for Halloween she was going to be a pirate. At the ripe old age of two, that girl already knows her place in the world. She is a princess in every sense of the word. At the last minute, our highness changed her mind. At 3pm on Halloween, she informed me she was going to be a witch and that was final. Lately, in my opinion a witch is very fitting for this little princess.

We enjoyed a weekend in Pocatello trunk or treating with my brothers kids and visiting old friends and family. On Sunday, we celebrated my mom's birthday. Always a good time.

As far as the candy stash at our house. My kids made a huge haul, however, they are still small enough that they will never realize that all the Kit Kats are gone. Ahhh the Kit Kat heaven in an orange wrapper.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oink Oink

As a teenager, all I wanted in life was a Volkswagen bus. To me, they epitomized all things cool. I dreamed of the day I would own an Old English sheepdog that could ride around with me in my eagle-nosed, 23 window VW bus. Then I met my husband. He told me that although they might look great, their engines were crap. Not one to be told what to do, I completely ignored him. I ran out and bought a 1998 VW beetle to tide me over until the day I could own my own bus. Although new, just like the old bugs, my cute like VW was a money pit that never ran right. After months of dumping a ton of money into repairs, I finally traded it in for an all to reliable Ford. To this day, however, ever time I pass a VW bus something in me aches for one of my own....

In other news... The swine flu is not just some vicious rumor. It is all to real and totally terrible. I speak from experience and I speak for all of us. The nightmare started about a month ago. Actually, the story begins the day Lola was born and Richard's throat started to hurt. By that night Richard and I both felt horrible. If we had been smart we would have been proactive and put some masks on around our wee ones, but we weren't...lesson learned. Two weeks after Lola was born, we were sitting on our couch one Saturday afternoon recovering from what we thought was terrible cold and flu. As Lola lay by me on the couch, I mentioned to Richard that her breathing seemed really fast and really shallow. I decide to do a little investigating on Web MD to see if I should be worried about her breathing. As I surfed the Internet, I happened to look over at her laying on the couch and saw that she had turned completely blue. I picked her up and her head flopped backwards. There was no breathing and I felt no pulse. I started screaming at the top of my lungs. All reason left my mind, and I completely freaked out. I believed that Lola was dead. Richard raced to my side already on the phone with 911 and holding the baby bulb nose syringe. He grabbed her, suctioned out her throat and nose, and then began to give her CPR. I could not believe what I was seeing. I could hear myself still screaming as the ambulance pulled up to the front of our house. Rex and Olive came to the front room to see what was going on. They saw the paramedics all kneeling over what appeared to be their dead baby sister lying on the floor.

Moments before they arrived, Richard had gotten her to take a small breath on her own. Immediately, they put her on oxygen and put us in the ambulance. We rode to the hospital, where just twelve days earlier she had been born. It was the worse 20 minutes of my life. I thought I had lived through hell before with the things we have experienced with Olive, but nothing could prepare me for the feelings of terror I had when I thought I was holding my dead child. By the time we had reached the hospital, Lola's oxygen saturation levels had reached 40%. I was worried that she might have suffered brain damage. (They tell me now, that she shows no signs of brain injury.)

Hours later we found ourselves sitting in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) Our baby was finally diagnosed with double pneumonia most likely caused by H1N1. Her lungs were almost completely filled with fluid which had caused her to tire out struggling to breathe. This resulted in her respiratory arrest. For the next two weeks Lola was kept in isolation in the ICU as she underwent intensive respiratory treatments and medication to heal her little body. Born at a whooping 10 pounds, she dropped nearly two pounds during her stay. Today she weighed in at 10 lbs 4 oz. At two months of age she has only gained 4 ounces more that her birth weight. This is a terrible way to start life here on earth and I don't recommend it. After 14 days in the hospital, we were finally allowed to bring our Lola home.

While in the hospital Lola was diagnosed with a heart condition called Wolf-Parkinson-White. This is a condition in which the electrical pathway of the heart can short circuit causing the heart to beat abnormally fast, never allowing the heart to rest between beats. This condition was discovered one night when Lola's heart beat reached 250 beats minute. She now is on a medication that controls her heart rate with the hopes that as she gets older her heart will repair itself. If it does not then a relatively simple heart surgery (as if any heart surgery is simple) can fix the problem.

So, we bring her home thinking that things could finally get back to normal. We were wrong. Three days later, a trip to our pediatrician revealed that both Rex and Olive had the swine flu, and Richard and I were suffering from another strain of influenza. We masked up and called my mother. She came and took Lola to Pocatello where she stayed for the next ten days. The rest of us sweated through 103.5 degree fevers and coughed all over each other. As of today, Lola is her to stay. She is 8 weeks old, and I have only lived with her for 3 weeks. I feel like we are just now being introduced. She is darling. The rest of us are also feeling better. Olive barley dodged the bullet of having to be hospitalized with her swine flu. She began suffering severe dehydration from all of her vomiting. Luckily, her anti-nausea chemo pills got her vomiting under control, until she was able to keep some fluid in. I write this now feeling confident enough to say that we are all finally feeling better.

Richard and I have started to joke that our children are like my beloved VW buses. They are darling to look at but their motors are crap and they are always in need of repair.

In all seriousness, I have to end this post by giving all the credit to my husband. In my greatest moment of need he was there to save the day, and save Lola's life. I know that if I had been home alone that day, the ending of this story would be very different. He saved her life. I watched him do it. As I stood there totally helpless, he breathed life back into my baby. Days before, I might have brought her into this world, but he gets all of the credit for keeping her here in it. Richard, I love you, and everyday I thank God for you. Thank you for saving my baby.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ten Days Early and Ten Pounds Big

The last month of any pregnancy is always the longest. Everyday that you wake-up, even though your due date is still weeks away, you can't help but wonder if today is the day. From the way I looked, it seemed I had passed my due date months ago. In the beginning of August, I began to tell strangers that I was due any minute with twins. In reality, I had until the 9th of September before the big day, and my doctor had no intention of inducing me any earlier than the 2nd of September. I was dying. Every bone in my body hurt. Each day I hoped and strategized how to go into labor early, and every night I went to bed still very pregnant and very uncomfortable. Every morning as I complained to my mom she would tell me, "It will happen when you are not thinking about it." This statement would prove to be oh so true.

Then it happened. Something broke, and it wasn't my water, it was Olive's thumb. Days earlier, we had noticed that Olive's thumb had swelled to twice the size of the other. However, she never showed any signs of discomfort or pain, and she continued to use it like always. We called her doctor who worried it might be a blood clot caused by her central line. He had us admit her to the hospital Sunday morning to run several scans and x-rays on her hand. After several MRIs they determined it wasn't a clot, and an X-ray of her finger showed that it had been broken. They drew some blood labs to test for any infection that might have settled into the joint, and told us to return to the doctor Monday morning. I scheduled her an appointment to immediately follow my weekly checkup with my doctor.

At this point in my pregnancy, my appointments have become quite bit more involved. At each visit, the doctor must determine how far I am dilated and how soon I might deliver. This involves some compromising positioning that I felt my two toddlers did not need to see. I had my friend Kelly Whitlock meet me at the doctor's office so she could watch my kids for me while I saw the doctor. As I pulled up to the hospital, she was standing in the parking lot waiting for us to arrive. She came over to help me unload the kids from the van. As I bent over to help Rex get out, my plans for the day completely changed. Within seconds, I was standing in a huge puddle of water, and I knew I hadn't wet my pants. There was no doubt, my water had broke. I was completely unprepared. My mom had been right, I was not planning on this at all. I could only think about how my house was a mess, and I still hadn't packed my hospital bag despite all my mom's warnings.

Kelly helped the kids and I slosh up to my doctors office. I was like Hansel and Gretel leaving a little trail of goo behind me everywhere I went. It was completely disgusting and I even left a puddle in the elevator. For this I apologize. I walked into the office, the doctor took a quick look at me, and told me this baby would be here by 4:00. They then sent me across the parking lot to St. Luke's to get my self admitted. By now, everything I was wearing was completely soaked. The most unfortunate part of the whole scene was the white cotton skirt I had chosen to wear that day. It could not have been a pretty picture. On our way down the elevator, Rex actually slipped and fell in the puddle I had left on our way up. I felt sorry for anyone who had to be around any of us.

By this point it was 10:15 in the morning. I called Richard and told him he had to come to the doctor's immediately. Olive still needed to go to her broken finger appointment, and then he needed to take the kids to Kam's house to stay. I then called my Mom to tell her to get her little self over here to Boise ASAP. I planned on her only needing 3 hours to get here from Pocatello, except she wasn't in Pocatello she was in Island Park. According to my calculations, the baby was going to get here before she did.

At a quarter to 11, Richard showed up and took the kids into Olive's appointment (sure enough her thumb is broken, but shows no sign of infection). Meanwhile, Kelly took me over to the hospital to help me get admitted. After filling out all the paperwork and donning a hospital gown by 11:45 I was hooked up to monitors receiving pitocin and having full fledged labor pains. By 1:00 I had them give me an epidural. By 1:10 I started to worry that Richard was going to miss the entire blessed event. At 1:15 he arrived and I expressed concern that I was feeling way to much pain for having had an epidural. They told me my legs should feel numb and heavy, they did not. They told me I would have a warm, fuzzy feeling, and my feelings were far from warm and fuzzy. The contractions started coming fast and hard and so did the pain. I felt everything. By 2:30 it was time to push, but Dr. Werdel had not yet arrived. They then told me to not push. Wait..What?!
Flying to the moon would have been easier. At the last minute my doc finally arrived.

Here is where my version of the story and Richard's version differ dramatically. I believe I then spent the next forty to forty five minutes fighting for my life and believing the end of my body as I once knew it was near. It was the worst pain of my life. I was sweaty and screaming "ouchy ouchy ouch!" until my little girl was born. Richard claims that I only pushed for eight minutes, swearing at the top of my lungs the whole time. Regardless, at 2:57 pm on August 31, 2009 little Lola Linly Ashcraft made her grand entrance. She was good and ready to arrive weighing in at 10 pounds and 20 inches long. Her name had been a source of debate for Richard and I for approximately 8 1/2 months. I loved it immediately. He was never sure. The un-medicated labor must have convinced him I was right. It is a beautiful name. Linly is a combination of Richard's mom , Kelly, and my mom, Linda's names combined.

We are home now, and it still blows my mind that I am a mother of three. No one has every even determined whether I should be a parent at all. Once home, it still feels surreal that I have another little girl, yet at the same time she seems such a natural and obvious part of our family. I hope you enjoy the pictures. The one of me on the hospital bed is the only one I ever took pregnant. It was obviously taken before the pain began. The ones of Rex and Olive are my favorite. They have taken to Lola in such an adorable way, and are always very interested in where she is and how she is doing. It is darling. For now, things to me feel just as the should: chaotic, messy, loud and exhausting. In other words, completely perfect.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

For two months, every other night, Richard stood on the scale holding Maggie. It was my job to determine if they had gained any weight. Indeed they had. The reason for this ritual...a suspected canine pregnancy.

A few weeks earlier Richard was able to track down a stud sheepdog here in Boise. Within days, a large, Old English Sheepdog named Napoleon was roaming around my backyard. He however, seemed completely uninterested in little Miss Magpie May (our dog Maggie). She didn't seem to care too much for him either. We did our best to help them form a relationship; taking them on doggy dates and giving them treats to share. Then we kept our fingers crossed. For 2 and 1/2 weeks these two were left to nature's mating devices, and some helpful encouragement from Richard and I. By the time Napoleon went back home, we were hopeful Maggie was pregnant. Nonetheless, we were completely unsure if our match making had been successful.

June 3rd, we decided that Richard needed to lay off the potato chips and ice cream because all the weight gain had been his. According to our calculations, if we were going to be grandparents to some puppy loving, it would have occurred by now. Two days later, while cruising the Costco, I got a frantic call from Richard. Maggie was having puppies. I had been out running errands when Maggie had started giving birth. By the time Rich arrived home for work, she had birthed three puppies in the backyard. By two o'clock in the morning, Maggie was the mama to three females and five male puppies. It was quite the event, and Richard and I were up all night warming the pups, cutting umbilical cords, helping Maggie nurse, and cleaning up the mess of having puppies. I loved every minute of it. It was really quite amazing.

Our largest pup weighed 11 ounces. The smallest was only about 6. They were no bigger than a can of soda. All of them have steadily increased in size, and are now well over five pounds each. Rex has already picked out his favorite, a little boy with a black eye patch he calls Roscoe. The plan, however, is to sell them and get some bills paid before my baby arrives.

I look like I am ready to deliver any minute, which is what I tell people when the ask how much longer I have. The conversations are much easier and less painful then hearing them tell me I look like I will never make it 6 more weeks, or if I am sure there is only one in there. However, the heat of the dog days of summer our killing me. Maybe they are right...I might not make it six more weeks.

In the meantime, Richard has created a little puppy blog. You can see all sorts of darling puppy pictures at If you, or anyone else you know is interested in puppies, I know some that are available for purchase.