Cutest blog

Friday, March 30, 2012

2012 | P52 | Getting Answers

P52 | Thirteen

This week we are....
Getting Answers.

Ugh.  This photo pretty much sums up the last week or so in the VanDyck house.  Jordyn had a followup with her pediatric neurologist in Bismarck this week.  Not much new to report there.  Her medication was adjusted and she will go back in 6 months for another follow up as well as another sleep study (yay). Abby is getting seen in about a month for her MRI results follow up and if there is any new information we need to know.  Now for me.  Ever since late summer/early fall my asthma and allergies have been out of control.  In the fall I chalked it upto seasonal allergies. In the winter, I blamed the lack of winter and it not killing off all the spores like it should have.  Now, it is the beginning of spring and its getting worse and worse to where I am waking up in the middle of the night needing my rescue inhaler.  Finally got in to see a Dr today who gave me a whole new slew of meds to try and get it under control.  This isn't even everything, and is  in addition to what I already took for my allergies. (I would say this is maybe 1/3 of our families' RX's...I just snapped a shot of this while I was unloading my giant bag from the pharmacy and laughing at how ridiculous this was.)  Everything had to be upped.  Allergies being under better control will help my asthma meds work better to get my asthma back under control.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

2012 | P52 | Taking it easy

P52 | Twelve

This week we are...
...taking it easy.

After a crazy busy weekend in California for my sisters wedding last weekend, this week flew by.  I am 2 days late on my project 52 this week, but I think I have a decent excuse.  I finally had my foot surgery to remove the foreign piece of glass from my foot from over a year ago!  That's right I have had some glass just chillin in my foot for the past year.  After it NOT working its way out like it should have, I finally saw a podiatrist who decided it should just be surgically removed.  It was a fairly minor surgery, but they did do it in an OR with me put under.  They cut a decent amount of the bottom of my foot to get it out, and its on the ball of my foot (where most of the weight is placed when you walk).  So now I am sporting an awesome walking boot :)  I go in tomorrow for my first post op appt, and then I will go back the next week to have my stitches removed and then I should be good to walk around normal.  Until then I am semi enjoying sitting around with my leg up....but it is pretty boring, and kind of hard for me to not do anything.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Jordy's Birth Story

I really thought that at some point I had typed up Jordyn's Birth story....but I guess it was not on here.  Maybe it was back in my "myspace" days, but who knows.  So I thought I would share it.  All of our family and friends that have been around for years know most of the details, but some of our newer friends might only know some or none of her story...and quite a few people have asked since her seizure diagnosis came back up, as well as why we are constantly at appointments for her, yet she is never here goes.

First a quick review of Abby: Abby was born at 34 weeks weighing just over 4lbs.  My water had broke and they decided to just go ahead and let her come rather than try to stop it.  I got a few rounds of steroids for her lungs in my 36 hours of labor.  She was in the NICU for 6 weeks for mostly a prematurity condition called "Bradycardia".  When she left the NICU she was about 6 and a half lbs and still so fragile.  All in all, she is a very normal 7 year old now.  She has a very weakened immune system still and up until recently she was always still super tiny, being at least a size or two behind what she should be and hanging out in the 1-5th percentile for her age.

Fast foward 2 years....

After getting over our fear of having another preemie, we decided we would put it in God's hands, and we found out we were expecting again :)  Right away I was super concerned with everything.  Before Abby I had 2 miscarriages, so that was my first fear, was just to make it to my 2nd trimester.  Next up we have my horrible pregnancy experience with now a 2nd baby.  We are talking puking anywhere from 3-15 times a day.  It was definitely not quite as bad with my 2nd as it was with Abby.  They were nice and put me on Zofran from the beginning before it got out of control, which I truely think helped. I was still sick every day, but it was much more managble.  At my first check up they told me I had a 50% chance or higher of having another preemie, so they decided to put me in the high risk clinic, where I got seen about twice as much as I would if I was not high risk.

For the most part my pregnancy was very uneventful.  I was less sick and I was able to enjoy it slightly more than with Abby.  We found out we were having another girl and were thrilled.  We both wanted girls so we couldn't be happier.

I made it to my next goal of the 34 week mark and she still was nice and cozy inside of me.  36 weeks came and I was starting to get uncomfortable and nesting like crazy.  My dr told me she said there is no way I would go past 38 weeks, and that she wouldn't let me.  (I had trouble delivering Abby at 4lbs, so I was a little concerned at what a 7+ lb baby might do to me). 38 weeks came and went and they decided to let me go longer. I was still okay with it at this point, but something inside of me said it wasn't a good idea.  My head kept saying "this is a good will have a big healthy baby to BRING HOME WITH YOU" but my heart kept saying she needed to  After 40 weeks I pretty much stopped answering my phone, didn't sign on line, and pretty much started getting annoyed at everyone asking me if I went into labor yet.  I was sick of everyone saying "Well at least you wont have a preemie".  Yes I know that...and that is what kept me going, was that it would be different this time.

Finally they put in the order to induce me at 41 weeks...but there was no empty rooms.  We called every morning at 4am, and was finally able to get in to be admitted at 41 weeks and 5 days!!!!  Finally...I was going to get to meet my sweet baby girl.  And I am full fact OVER due, so everything will be perfect...right?

Well everything was perfect.  They started my pitocin and I was actually already about to go into labor, on my own.  I was already 3 cm when I got there, so the pitocin just gave me a little jumpstart.  I was progressing so perfectly.  At 7cm and about 7 hours into my labor, my water broke..on its own.  At just over 8 hours (umm a fraction of the time it took for Abby!) I was just about 10cm and ready to push.  The checked me one last time and the dr had a very confused look on his face.  Jordyn was stuck.  She was turned the wrong way, causing her chin to be caught on my pelvic bone.  He told me right away, I now had a 50% chance of a cseciton, but she was just fine.  Her heart rate was good and she didn't seem to be in any sort of destress, so they said they wanted to try to manually turn her.  All of you moms can probably figure out what manually turning entails....but luckily I had already gotten an epidural (I was on pitocin, I wasn't trying to be super mom!)  BTW, this Dr..had the biggest hands I have ever seen in my life and seemed to be the worst candidate possible to try and turn her.  After about an hour, he said he wanted someone else to try...someone who had a really good success rate with turning babies.  So he comes in...tries for about an hour...she just doesn't want to move.  At this point they said she is still doing fine, and I really do not want a csection after going through labor and all of this.  They left and came back with a teeny tiny dr who had the smallest, skinniest fingers ever...seriously, she looked like a skeleton.  They said if she can't do it, we give up.  After a total of 3 hours of them trying to turn her, we see that her heart rate is slowly starting to go down and we all said its enough, we need to get her out.  I was considered an "emergency" so they had me back into the OR within about 20 minutes...and she was out about 20 minutes later.  I got really sick and they needed to give me meds to make me go to sleep.  I needed to make sure she was okay before I could though. She wasn't crying or making a sound...and there were probably 15 doctors, nurses, and techs surrounding her.  Finally after about 10 minutes they walked her past me as they were taking her to the NICU.  They simply said "she was having some breathing problems"...and then put me to sleep. 

I woke up not too long later to no baby, and no hubby, and them still "working on me".  They were having trouble stopping the bleeding and was about to get a transfusion when they were finally able to get it under control.  That was pretty dang scary waking up all alone like that....but Geoff had gone to be with Jordyn.  I had to go to recovery for a bit, and then finally to my room where Geoff is waiting for me.  I was told I could see Jordyn in the morning. Of course I couldn't sleep for crap even on massive amounts of pain killers.  In the morning a nurse came and taught me how to walk again.  That was terrifying too.  I just wanted to do it and go see my baby...

ugh, and here it is....

We finally get to go see her.  We are met by a Dr while we are scrubbing into the NICU. They warn us that her birth was super traumatic and she needed help breathing so she was intubated.  We were also warned how bruised up she looked.  My heart was beating probably 200BPM at this point.  I saw her and I just immediately burst into tears.  A nurse was standing there with me telling me she was okay.  But that didn't help me at all.  Looking at her was the most heartbreaking thing ever. Her face (from what I could see of it...her tubes covered so much of her) was covered in bruises, welts, and open sores)  They told me I couldn't hold her until she was extubated and stable.  Later that day, 3 to who knows how many drs came in to talk to us about Jordyn.  First we found out she was having seizures.  Next we found out she was having possible random organ problems (kidneys, liver....). It just seemed to be one thing after another.  I think at one point she was having trouble digesting.  She was on IVs for the first few days, she even had one on the top of her head for a while that freaked out Abby.  The first 4 days in the NICU were the LONGEST 4 DAYS OF MY LIFE.  Finally after 4 days, she was extubated, and I was finally able to hold my baby!!!!  She was still having breathing problems though...she had what is called "stridor" which made her sound like a little mouse, and she aquired the nickname "squeakers" for a while.  Eventually after about a week in the NICU she had some significant improvements. Her face was healing up so quickly, and you could hardly see any trace of the marks (they told us she would probably have permenant scaring).  This was the first time we experienced what we like to call "Jordyn's crazy healing powers".

Over the course of our 2nd week in the NICU, Abby was allowed to come in and visit more often as we got to know the staff more.  Abby actually got to meet Jordyn that first morning, but she just seemed so confused. It was one of the saddest things ever when we had to tell her we couldn't bring her sister home with us that day.  She was sooooo excited about being a big sister...she was more involved than any other kid I have ever seen, and she was only 2 and a half.  Even with how smart she was, she just didn't understand.  We had gotten her so excited about getting to hold her and snuggle her in the hospital, and then...she wasn't even allowed to touch her :( Ugh.  This was when I completely lost it again.  After the first week though Abby seemed to be a little more understanding that sissy was sick and needed to get better.  Even in the NICU though, Abby was the most amazing big sister ever.  She brought Jordy presents, wanted to hold her and never give her back every time, and was always kissing and loving on her constantly.

Finally after exactly 2 weeks in the NICU, they said she could finally come home!  Before we could take her home we had to speak with tons of drs again.  The main Dr we had to stay in touch with was her neurolgists at the hosptial.  They tried their best to explain her seizures and how they were caused by blood on her brain.  They said she will most likely have long term damage from this, ranging from small things like slight learning disablitlies to as severe as cerebal palsey.  They just kept saying "Expect the worst, but hope for the best". Which is what we have done for the last 4 years. We finally got to bring our sweet girl home with us.  She was completely tube free and just came with lots of paperwork, medications, and information on followups with several different speciality Doctors over the couse of her first year of life.

The crazy thing is...I actually didn't realize how scary/crazy/serious her birth actually was until the day we brought her home.  We were enjoying having her home with us finally...and I was sitting on the couch, feeding her, and reading her discharge paperwork.  It was then that I read the details of exactly what happened.  First, it took them longer than a normal amount of time to get her out for an "emergency csecion".  She was so far down and was one step away from crowning when her chin got stuck, so there was a lot of pulling and tugging to get her out.  When she came out she was in fact NOT all.  She had an apgar score of 1.  The only reason they even gave her a 1 was because she had a heartbeat of about 10bpm.  Yes, that is correct. 10 bpm.  Full life saving  resuscitation measures were used to bring her back.  She was with out oxygen for at least a few minutes.

By the time I was done reading her discharge report, I was bawling my eyes out (yes, I cried and prayed..A LOT the first few weeks) and in shock of what my baby girl had gone through.  But we did it.  There is no way we would have made it to where we are with her with out God and a strong loving family.

There you have it...Jordyn's birth story (spared a few details that most do not want to hear about)

It's still hard to believe what our family went through 4 years ago.  We gave everything over to God because we knew he would take care of her...either on earth or in Heaven.  But we couldn't help but be full of gratitude to Him for allowing us to keep her.  I just can not fathom our life without her in it. She has been such a Blessing to our family.  She brings us so much joy, laughter, craziness, silliness, and lessons of patience.

Very few people have seen photos from Jordyn's first few days of life.  If people ask, we have always been willing to show them, and it's only been the last 2 years or so that I was able to pull them out and show people, without crying.  Be warned, some are kind of graphic looking....

 First time I saw Jordyn

A Few days old...Abby is warming up to her being in the NICU now.

Off her ventalator and breathing on her own!!!!

First time Abby got to hold her baby sister.

While I was pregnant...Abby was just so obsessed with her baby sister.  She had planned a Happy Birthday Party for Jordyn for when she was born.  She was so excited about it.  She was going to bring cake and party supplies to the hospital.  But things didn't go as planned we helped her change it to a Welcome home party for Jordyn.  We had lots of friends come and celebrate an amazing day with us. (I think it was the day after or so that she came home)

Friday, March 16, 2012

2012 | P52 | Counting our Blessings

P 52 | Eleven

This week we are
Counting Our Blessings

of our two beautiful miracle babies!

The last couple of weeks we have been doing a lot of work with the March of Dimes March for Babies coming up this weekend.  The march of dimes is our favorite non profit organization, thanks to our sweet girls.  Working with the march of dimes reminds us of  how blessed we are to have our sweet girls.  My good friend Chelsea made these adorable NICU Grad shirts for the girls to wear to the walk this weekend, so I had to get some pics of the girls in them.  These photos mean more to me than I thought they would....they seriously show how far they have both come and how God has just completely over flowed us with such blessings.  

And for those wondering, I actually finally typed out Jordyn's birth and NICU story for the blog, and it's almost done, so I will be posting it soon.

Friday, March 9, 2012

2012 | P52 | Outside

P 52 | Ten

This week we are...


A LOT.  

Things are finally getting back into a normal schedule with Daddy being home, but normal for us means active and busy!  We have finally had some winter here and have been out playing in snow, going on a walks, and last night, we headed out around 8pm to go see if we could see the Northern Lights which were reported to possible be visible last night and maybe tonight. We were not able to see them last night because they ended up not being visible until around midnight, but we had an AMAZING full moon last night (which is what made it even more difficult to see the lights).  We are going to head out again tonight and watch.  I love all of our adventures as a family, even these little ones :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Family Fun & Fitness

A lot of our family and friends comment on the fact that we are always really busy, and that we are always outside doing stuff and doing random trips and adventures.  So some might say we are a VERY active family.  We like to be out and about and we love for the girls to have all sorts of fun memories when it comes to family time.  Myself, I have always been a very active person.  I worked at a health club through highschool and collage, and in the summer I worked at an outdoor education camp in the Northern California Mountains.  Before the girls came we did very little (in Hawaii we took up surfing and hiking ALOT.....because that was all we could afford LOL).  When we became parents we decided we wanted our kids to experience as much as possible when it came to trying new things, and seeing new things.

So, I thought I would do a post about what we do, and why we do it.

First of all, wee let them try out every sport they want.  Some they like, some they don't.  Sometimes one is good at a sport and the other is not.  They know that it's not about winning, but trying our BEST and having FUN. We do not always love having to drive them around and take them to practices, and to be honest some days we flat out just don't do it.  But they go to almost every practice for whatever they are signed up for.  Doing sports at a young age gives kids all sorts of confidence (not just in their athletic ability, but in their body image, courage, and so many other ways), teaches them team work, and good sportsmanship. We have found that Abby tends to like the less aggressive sports (well except hockey, but at her age they are not aggressive yet) like gymnastics, and Jordy likes the more aggressive sports like wrestling.  Sports where she isn't busy and having full contact she loses interest in much quicker (track) (she hasn't gotten to try a whole bunch yet because she is just now old enough to start trying them).

 During the summer we go to the base pool at least a few times a week, if not every single day. More than half of those days, we bike to the pool which is about a mile away.  In the winter we play out in the snow, and not just the kids...we all go out and build snowmen, sled, and have snowball fights.  Most people think we are nuts.  I know that most of the people we know here have never gone and played with their kids in the snow.  IF their kids even like going outside in the snow, they just send them outside.  Going outside in the cold isn't for everyone, and we will admit, we are not outside with them every single time...but people who NEVER are missing out big time.  This is the sort of stuff kids remember.  In a few years they will not remember me slaving over a hot stove and making that perfect healthy meal...they will remember us being with them and playing.  When we have in between weather we love going on family bike rides and just being outside.  So yes, we are definitely that "outdoorsy" family.  But there is more to it than just having fun and creating memories for our girls.  We are trying to set in them that being active is important.   It keeps you healthy and lets you enjoy life.  Real life, not the fake life you see on TV.  The girls know that we need to be active, and they know there are tons of ways to make it fun.  They see Geoff and I going on runs, or doing a work out video.  We never say it's to lose weight when they are around.  We tell them we do it to keep our bodies healthy.  Eating healthy and staying active are very important to living a happy life and we try to lead by example.  Our girls watch VERY little TV.  Somedays they watch none at all.  Most days they get 30 minutes at night before bed to help them sort of veg out and relax.  In the summertime, we walk after dinner as a family every night that we do not have any other commitments (which is usually some sort of practice).

  Also most nights we eat a healthy homemade the dinner table.  I know this isn't an option for many military families, but we are blessed that it is for us.  It is VERY rare that we will all just sorta randomly eat dinner at different times.  We have a set dinner time.  Now when we are more involved with some sort of sport with the girls we are not able to do this as often as we would like, but if we are home, this is what we do.

With that said, here are some random photos from the past year or so.  Most of them are pretty crappy photos because they are from a point and shoot or camera phone because I usually don't have a good camera with me when we are out and about.  I have a waterproof/shatterproof/freezeproof point and shoot camera that can take a pretty good beating and take decent enough photos to capture the memories.  It's not the best quality, but it gets the job done :)


exploring the peace gardens

playing at the park

Splash pad at Sea World San Antonio

Mount Rushmore

Climbing on rocks somewhere in South Dakota

Exploring Oahu, Hawaii...Windward coast.

Hiking in South Dakota.

Watching the boom operator refuel planes on a military flight to Hawaii.
(Jordyn's 1st military HOP, Abby's 5th)

Learning the Hula...Waikiki- Honolulu, Hawaii

Turtle Beach...North Shore Hawaii


Tubing in Bottinau, ND

Jordyn's first Hockey practice

Jumping in the rain puddles

Splash pad in Grand Forks, ND

Running Track



Abby's first time without training wheels.

Tower climbing


Both girls were taught how to swim underwater last summer.
This next summer is going to be even more awesome!

I know this probably seems like a lot to most people, but this is only a small handful of the stuff we have experienced and done over the past few years.  Being busy and active isn't for everyone, but we love it and have no plans on slowing down :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

2012 | P52 | Snowy

P52 | Nine

This week we are....


This past week has been pretty much CONSTANT snow up here.  I guess winter has finally decided to hit us.  We have gotten probably about 20 inches in the past week, when before this week, we had gotten less than that total the whole snow season.  We are loving it...lots of playing in the snow...and of course Kota and Holly have been ever so happy to have snow outside to roll around and play in.