Saturday, October 31, 2015


Grace's toe continues to heal and as Dr. Herald told us "it is a process" which I documented with pictures. I was initially discouraged that he only allowed us to apply betadyne to it to keep the scab dry. He wanted it to be as dry as possible to act as a natural dressing. I did however slather her foot and the base of her toe with coconut oil, a natural antibiotic, along with thieves oil to keep down infection. I also put it on her other foot and her lymph nodes. We are so thankful infection never did set in.

Changing her dressing each day took a bit of time being that the gauze almost always stuck and I'd have to lightly wet it and carefully peel it off. And Grace wasn't the most cooperative. She didn't want us touching her toe. Initially the doctor attached her old nail with one stitch to protect it and so it didn't look all that bad to me. I had painted a little heart on her big toenails the night before the accident and you can still see it here.

Week 2

You can see here where her toe was cut in a "c-flap" and hung on by that back portion of skin.

Grace is very particular about which shoes touch her feet and makes sure they are large enough for her toe. I found some Crocs on eBay that work great since her slippers didn't work well outside. Once in awhile she doesn't even want those on.

She has learned to adapt to her injury by walking and running on the side of her foot.

Week 3

Recently when we were in the basement at my parents house Grace saw the cardio glide where she had her accident. Suddenly she gasped, pointed and exclaimed, "owie!" And so she does remember. She has also reverted to her terrible sleep habits and wakes screaming in the middle of the night. I bring her in bed with us and she calms down instantly. In the past week she has slept through the night twice so maybe we are gradually getting back to normal. I do enjoy my girl but I don't know how people do the family bed thing. It is hard to sleep with a wiggly little one between us flinging her arms everywhere, pulling hair, and practically pushing us off the bed. Although, waking up to such a sweet face adoringly watching you does make up for it.

After about a month her nail did fall off in her bandage and then she kept asking to put another bandage on right away. It is all dry and crusty. The black is the scab and the doctor had said it acted as a natural dressing and the new skin of her toe was forming underneath.

Week 4

A week later the black scab started to lift up when we were changing the dressing. She screamed so John was careful to press it back down. It fell off completely a few days later without a problem. You can't see it well here but her toenail is growing back and it will be about 6 months for it to fully return and at that time it will be rough.

Week 5

Dr. Herald wanted to see her when the scab came off and he was very happy with how the skin looked. It was very pink and healthy and he doesn't think there will be much evidence that it ever happened. And this time she even smiled at him.

Week 6

And here we are 6 weeks later. It looks pretty good, although still quite swollen. The rest of the brown crud "protein build-up" will fall off . Grace hasn't been able to take a bath this whole time so her toenails are a bit dirty. But now that it no longer has to be dry she is able to take a bath again.

I am simply amazed that I can't even see where her toe was cut! How awesome is it that God created the body in such a way to heal so perfectly -- and especially in children.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Grace's Big "Owie"

In our 16 years of parenting we have never had a major injury requiring a trip to the ER. Oh, we've had breathing problems that have landed children there numerous times but never anything involving blood. Considering we have 6 boys that always surprised us. That all changed this past weekend. (See bottom of post for what actually happened) We were at my parents house on a normal Sunday afternoon for dinner and hanging out. Grace had not taken a nap and it was getting late into the afternoon when I heard Thomas from the basement yelling "Oh No!" followed by the same sentiment from John. John bounded up the stairs with Grace in his arms dripping blood from her foot calling for paper towels. Everything was happening fast, there was a lot of yelling, people were crying, and it was a bit crazy. John worriedly expressed that it looked like her toe was dangling and we needed to get to the hospital. I could not look. My dad drove our big van barreling down the road as John cuddled Grace tight and tried to comfort her. Thankfully the hospital is only a couple of minutes from their house.

We got into the ER relatively quickly but then it was a waiting game. Nurses came in and looked at Grace's toe. John and I knelt on the floor crouched over her as she lay on the gurney  She cried each time a new person entered the room and moaned "owie" but gradually and very thankfully she fell asleep from exhaustion.

The ER doctor came in with a loud voice and I of course asked that he whisper to try and keep her sleeping. He looked at her toe and confirmed what John had suspected, that the tip of her big toe was hanging on by very little and the nail was hanging as well. I glanced to the side and saw a bloody mess.


While Grace slept, the x-ray technician came in and decided rather than move a sleeping baby to bring the equipment in. John helped hold the foot in the correct direction while I softly sang "His Eye is on the Sparrow" and "Jesus Loves Me" in my girl's ear. Such a comfort to me as well and Grace slept through it as she clung to me. And, praise the Lord her toe was not broken!

Dr. Herald the surgeon came in and calmly but matter-of-factually said that he would need to do surgery and she would need to go under general anesthesia. He explained that a short sedative would not be enough time for him to fix it as needed. John looked at me with a fear in his eyes but there were no other options and of course we consented. Then more wait. We so wanted to get the show on the road and be at the end of the ordeal for her. Grace slept on and off until surgery when John carried her up to the 2nd floor surgical unit. We met with the anesthesiologist who explained that they first would sedate her to give her an IV then take her to surgery and put her under general anesthesia. He gave her a shot of Ketamine and that was very hard to watch as it put Grace into a state of not being aware of anything. She would look at us but not really see us. She moved her head from side to side as if looking but yet not. Kind of a freaky. And then she began to shake, which is normal. John and I continued to stay at her side singing and stroking her maybe more to calm our nerves as the doctor observed. The IV went in and they were ready to take Grace. The hardest part of that which I'm sure many parents who have sent their children for surgery was that she was still awake when they wheeled her away. I had so hoped that the sedative would make her fall asleep first. John and I went to the waiting room where my Dad was waiting with teary-eyed hugs for us and Noah was waiting there too.

The surgery took about 20 minutes and Dr. Herald came out and explained everything to us. We won't know for a few weeks if the tip of the toe will heal completely and it depends on how much blood is able to get to it. When he fixed it a portion wasn't as pink as he would have liked but he said that children's bodies heal so well. He said he is able to reattach amputated fingers on a child where with an adult he wouldn't. He also repaired the nail bed and temporarily attached her old nail to make it less painful. That will fall off and her new nail will grow in.

I was so nervous as I waited to see Grace again. My stomach was in knots knowing that she was waking up in an unfamiliar place with people she did not know. Maybe 30 minutes later the nurse wheeled her "prison" crib out to us and kept telling Grace, "there is your Mommy". We walked with her up to a room as insurance doesn't allow them to discharge patients directly from recovery. They have to go to an actual hospital room first. And so we got settled in a room for a short time. Grace was happy to be in our arms again but to be expected she was not herself. True with probably any child, she did not like the oxygen monitor hooked to her toe or the blood pressure cuff on her arm or the iv in her hand and those were the things that were bothering her.

She did not talk or smile -- both of which are total opposites for her personality. She didn't want to drink anything and seemed that she might be a bit nauseous judging by her gagging a few times. She received two toys from the nurse to distract her as they began to remove the contraptions she was connected to and then we were  free to go. As soon as we neared the door to exit, Grace growled her first words, -- "Noah!" She was trying to be silly and attempted a smile too.

Once home Grace slept through the night without a problem. I am sure she was exhausted and the doctor said he gave her a long-lasting numbing in her toe to help. John and I both checked on her in the night and John left for the airport in the early morning. He was so disappointed not to see his precious happy girl awake before he headed to Mexico for the week. But I texted him pictures of her the next morning with her silly grin.

The day started off with Grace not wanting to walk anywhere. She didn't want to move her foot and her siblings were happy to oblige by carrying her anywhere she wanted to go simply by pointing her finger in the direction she wanted to go. Her big brother Thomas was very concerned about her and was never too far from her that day. 

But by evening she was raring to go and had enough with her lack of independence and attempted walking using the side of her foot. That worked for her and by the second day she was back to running and climbing.

Grace visited the surgeon on day 3 and she was not a happy girl at all. Lots of crying ensued as they removed the bandages while I held her close and her Grandma attempted to read to her. She kept looking back at her foot.

So, what actually happened? Grace was sitting on the cardio glide with Thomas when she told him she wanted to get down. However, she didn't give him time to stop and proceeded to step down. Her foot was in the wrong spot and in looking at the area later John said it worked in a scissors motion and of course she always has her shoes off. Thomas said he won't ever forget the sound and initially he did struggle with what happened but we loved on him well and once he saw his little sister that really helped him.

We are just so thankful that God was watching over every detail. It was only the tip and not the complete toe and the toe did not break. Grace was amazing through it all. Of course she screamed at times and it wasn't easy but of all of our children she is one of the more resilient. We imagined if it happened to certain other children it would have been so much more traumatic.

And so we wait for what the doctor said is "a process".

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

18 months! Can it be?

As always time continues to march on and Friday Grace turned 18 months old. I was in the dressing room at Kohls recently and heard a mama whispering soothing sounds to her crying baby. What a sweet sound to my ears and how I miss that infant cry in some ways. Thankfully, Grace is very much still a baby to me. First of all, she looks like one with the small amount of hair on her head. Second, she still wakes at least once a night with her cries. And she is still eagerly nursing. I am enjoying every chance I get to cuddle my precious girl.

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Mommy and Gracie at the Botanical Gardens in St. Louis

She is petite but not as much as her sister was as evidenced by the fact that she is currently wearing the clothes Missy Blue wore at the age of 2 and much of it is too small. She has been in size 18 months for the past few months. She is at the height of hitting her head on tables and weighs just 21 pounds, which she has been at for awhile now. Gracie has hair mainly on the back of her head and I love how it curls up, especially in the humid air down in Alabama. George had curls when he was little. Maybe my little girl will too?

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This girl and her goofy grin. I keep trying but she will not sit still long enough to pose for me anymore. This is about all I could get.

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Grace likes to eat "chee" (cheese) and "nana" (bananas). I haven't found anything else to be a real favorite except desserts. I am afraid she is going to have a sweet tooth like a few of us do. If she doesn't want something she will shake her head no, scrunch up her nose, and say "uh uh". She is drinking water from a sippy cup and can drink from a big cup as well otherwise she is still nursing.

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Rolling out dough with Grandma

New words are forming more with each week. Grace attempts to say her siblings names and can say "Noah" and "Kay-ee". And she does know the difference between Pete and Re-Pete. She says a breathy "woof" for dog and "ki-ee" for cat. Her latest is hiding then coming out to say with a song"Pete-A-Bee" (Peek-a-boo). That is my favorite! When putting on her socks I'll say "one" and she follows with "two". She can also say "she-oo" (shoe). She likes to say things are "pretty" and when she is hurt she expresses that with "ouwie" and of course she says the basic -- Hi and Bye. Grace is getting to the point where the kids will ask her to say a word and she will try to repeat. At this age Zippy could repeat any word clearly, although he was our unique child in this regard.

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Gracie with her dolly and Missy with hers :)

Grace is into absolutely EVERYTHING! We thought she was different than her siblings but then I looked back at some posts I did about her brothers and I realize that maybe each child was like this and those are the memories we tend to forget. She loves to climb and especially onto tables which we will not allow. However, once in awhile she climbs on the coffee table and dances and is so charming that we can't help but let her. Haha!

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Exploring the Fort in Alabama

Grace loves to play in the toilet any chance she finds it open. And this past month she realized she can lift the lid herself so we now have to keep the door closed. Otherwise we will find her splashing in the water of the toilet bowl. I am often heard calling out "Where is Grace?" and when no one knows, we run to the bathroom. She has been found brushing her teeth with a toothbrush she had swished in the toilet water. Of course it was right after her sister had thrown up (and flushed) -- oh my! At least everyone remembers to flush.

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Grace is a happy girl and loves to smile at everyone she meets. She'll often look at a person until she is noticed and then grin. Of course she has her moments of grumpiness, especially in the evenings, but for the most part she is happiness.

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Grace is a Daddy's girl. John has said that she is the one who has cuddled with him the most. I don't know but she certainly is giddy with excitement when she hears the garage door open around 5:30 p.m. "DA-ee?" and runs to the door waiting for him. She squeals and gives such a big hug patting him on the back. What Daddy doesn't melt at that?

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Now that it is beginning to get warm Grace wants to be outside any chance she can get. She stands at the window or door calling "going, going". She seems to be a little explorer noticing her surroundings. She has taken to various animals and this morning I observed her delight in watching ants only to squash them with her foot. Grace seems to love turtles. At a nature center in Gulf Shores she followed one around trying to pat it's shell. In St. Louis she did the same and then picked it up. We took it away when she decided to throw it to the ground.

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She enjoyed carrying around a worm her cousin Conner gave to her.

Grace is a joy and a delight. It is difficult for me at times to see each milestone pass and even more this time knowing that she is our last baby. And so, even tho Grace still wakes in the middle of the night, I am content in that because I know that the day she stops crying out for me will mean I never again will wake in the night to comfort my baby. I could say much more on that. Maybe another day. The Lord has blessed us beyond measure and we are truly grateful!

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Having fun on stage with her brother's hat from the play he was in.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A New Year

Hello Friends! Its been a long time since I updated. That seems to be a common phrase for me in the past months. Obviously blogging has taken a backseat to life and sometimes that is the way it needs to be. In this new year I hope to post more often to capture the tidbits of our days that I never want to forget. My blog was taken over by Baby Grace this past year but we do have other children that I don't want to leave out. Maybe I make blogging more than it has to be. I always want to have that perfect picture to match what I am writing. Maybe I'll go back to the days of writing what is on my mind instead of waiting. If you want to read more of our days go to the archives and start at the beginning. I did and I can't believe how much has changed since those days when we had five little children. I am so glad I wrote those stories down!

As you can see I finally created a new header to include our entire family. The previous one still had Zippy at the age Grace currently is. I am gradually working on my sidebar pictures as well seeing as the ages are all wrong and some of my boys have matured so much they don't look like the little boys I have pictured. I also need to add Miss Grace.

I am not going to include a picture with this post seeing as I worked hard on that header today. It took more of my time than it probably should.

In my Christmas newsletter I talked about traditions that seem to go by the wayside at times and how it feels like our little ones are "missing out" in some way. I had been reminded of an old song by the Christian singer, Larnelle Harris called, All Year Long talking about what this season should remind us of.

All year long
We must worship day by day
All year long
Tis the season to obey
May the Christmas tree lights
And the sleigh rides at night
Remind us all to stay in God's presence
All year long

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Grace's Birth Story

Now that Grace turned one year old I went back and updated her birth story. I had shared a brief description of what happened last November but I am so glad I wrote it all down because there are many details I completely forgot. And I never want to forget as remembering causes me to rejoice in the Lord again and be grateful for His amazing goodness to us. The story is long and I don't share pictures this time but I did include a video of Grace near the end.

I was due December 3, 2013 with a baby girl and was scheduled for my 6th c-section two days before Thanksgiving on November 26th. Initially I wasn’t thrilled to be in the hospital over Thanksgiving but realized that it didn’t matter and I knew my family would be well-cared for. My pregnancy was good even though I was of “advanced maternal age”. I had an ultrasound in Green Bay that summer to make sure that my placenta wasn’t adhering to scar tissue as that could cause a problem but the specialist said everything looked great. Nothing was out of the ordinary. I was big as always and measured 1 week ahead each time. I had Braxton Hicks early on which is normal for me also. By week 30 I wondered how I would make it another 9 weeks I felt so heavy and weighed down.

October 31st I spent getting ready for Katie and Seth’s birthday party the next day. I baked a cake, shopped for needed items with plans to run to the store the next morning to get a cake topper. I was thankful that John was home as the night before he had been in Detroit. That night Simon was sounding like he had a cold and about 1 a.m. or so on November 1st we woke up to that dreaded croup cough. John brought Simon to bed with us as it wasn’t too bad at that point and then we could monitor him. I turned over to give him a hug and at that moment had a Braxton Hicks contraction followed by an intense shooting pain. I turned over to see if it would subside but it only grew worse. I wondered if it could be labor, although last time I labored I had moments of relief and this pain was intensifying. But what else could the pain be? I have also had kidney stones during pregnancy and knew it wasn’t that either.

I got out of bed and walked to the kitchen knowing that moving could help relieve pain. My doctors have always emphasized if I am ever in labor to call and get to the hospital right away. I called the triage nurse who calmly told me to come to the hospital. By this time, only maybe 15 minutes had passed but I knew something was very wrong. I could no longer walk and sat down and called out for John to help me. He woke Noah and explained what was happening and Noah and John managed to get me down the stairs and into the van. Noah recalled knowing I was in a lot of pain and that it had something to do with the baby but he didn't know anything else. He checked on everyone and Katie woke to find out what was happening. Then he didn't want to be alone at 2 a.m. so he woke up Luke and Jonah and eventually the others woke up too. They ended up watching movies until morning when Grandpa came to pick them up.

That was a very long 25 minutes (probably less) to get to the hospital. John was on a mission and was driving fast that I asked him to please slow down as it hurt so much more on those corners. I was in such pain and as I moaned I kept asking Jesus to help me and to keep our baby safe.

At the hospital my Dad met us to pick up Simon who we didn’t want to leave with Noah seeing as he had been croupy. As he opened my door, I saw the look of concern on his face and he later stated that he will never forget the look of pain I had on my face. I slid out and John maneuvered me into a wheel chair and rushed me to labor and delivery. They put the fetal monitors on me somehow but all I really know is that I was in pain unlike anything I had ever experienced and never want to again and kept asking them to “please help me”. I can’t recall all that happened other than getting me ready to have my baby. I remember them yelling, “Get everyone here now!” and meeting the on-call doctor, Dr. Alice Haupt. What providence that she was on-call. She made it seem as if all was well and there was nothing to worry about always reassuring me. And indeed I had no idea what was happening.

I remember waving to John saying I’d see him soon and he had a look of fear on his face. Now, he doesn’t really like any c-section and they do worry him but this was an entirely different situation. He said it was the unknown that worried him.

They brought me to the cold surgical unit and I recalled my past c-sections and knew this was nothing like those. I was shaking uncontrollably and was still in tremendous pain. Dr. Alice was trying to calm me and I recall her telling me I needed to focus for the baby. Apparently I did because someone announced that baby’s heart tones were now stable. There was a whirlwind of activity around me. At one point someone yelled, “Is someone writing down everything we are doing?” People kept entering to assist. I was still shaking like crazy and my pain so great I wanted it over with. Dr. Alice held me to try and keep me calm so the anesthesiologist Dr. Parks could administer the epidural. As soon as the epidural took effect I could relax somewhat as I no longer felt pain. Now I felt as if I could pass out and tried focusing on the ceiling and kept singing to myself. I typically have music playing in the background but there wasn’t time for that. My nurse Mary Kay was wonderful and stayed with me helping me focus by asking me to look into her eyes. She also held up one of my arms as they didn't have time to get the board underneath for it to rest on. They decided not to have John come in and I was fine with that not wanting him to worry further. They threw up the curtain, and next thing I knew baby girl was out. I had a bit of fear as I didn’t hear a big cry like I normally do but instead a small mewing sound like a kitten might make. I could see a crowd around her but she was here and alive and that’s all that mattered to me at that point. I heard someone ask if anyone got the time of birth and another person called out "3:25".

Dr. Parks was on his phone almost constantly trying to get blood for me. He kept asking how long until my blood A+ was ready. I asked him later that week what that meant and he said they test it to see if it is compatible with my own blood which I think he said takes 45 minutes. But he didn’t have time to wait as I needed a blood transfusion. I knew something was wrong as I felt as if I was drifting and going to pass out and then I started to get dry heaves. At one point I vaguely wondered if this might be the end. Dr. Parks started the universal blood and I began to feel relief. I ended up with 3 pints of blood, two universal and the last one was my own type.

Typically during my sections I like to keep distracted from what is happening by talking to everyone around me getting a play-by-play. This was not as easy this time as everyone was really busy working on me and baby girl. Mary Kay asked if she could go with baby and so it was just me but I was more concerned about baby girl so I was fine with that.. The song that was going over and over through my mind was Lord I Need You by Matt Maher. It is a song that had ministered to me numerous times during my pregnancy and did so again this day.

I went to recovery and they assured me they would get me back to my room soon but seeing as I had lost blood they wanted to monitor me. I was feeling good by now and listened as Dr. Parks and one of the nurses went over all the details and documented the time each thing happened.

During all of this John was sitting in my room praying and trying to relax. The nurse came out to tell him he had a baby girl but he had no idea all that had transpired. He stood by while they wheeled baby girl into the nursery and watched as they worked on her and that is when he saw her chest retracting. He had seen that enough times when Luke and Jonah and then Seth had RSV as infants so he knew the seriousness of it. When Dr. Traeger, the pediatrician on call, told John that baby girl needed to be sent to Milwaukee it scared him. He called my parents and my Mom came to the hospital right away and she said when she got there John just sat in the chair with his head between his hands and he couldn’t watch them working on our baby. It was too hard.

I don’t know at what time I found out my uterus ruptured. And when I did find out, it didn’t really register what that meant. I also found out that baby girl, who didn’t have a name yet, needed to go to St. Joseph’s in Milwaukee. That brought back memories of when I had Luke and Jonah as Jonah needed to go down because of a racing heart. But knowing that Jonah was back in a few days I wasn’t too concerned. As family and friends came to visit with tears in their eyes in the days that followed I began to see how close to not being here we were. And if it had taken much longer to get to the hospital, for instance waiting for an ambulance, the outcome would have been different.

The nurses wheeled my whole bed into the nursery where one of them was giving baby girl oxygen. Dr. Traeger, explained that he thought she had asphyxia and needed to be started on a cooling treatment at St. Joes. They knew she had been without oxygen but had no idea how long. Thankfully she never did come out of my uterus as she could have gotten into my abdomen.  I gazed at my beautiful baby girl who reminded me of Simon when he was born and I longed to hold her but then I realized not all was right when I saw her chest retracting. They only allowed me to put my finger in her tiny hand and talk to her. I was blissfully unaware of the trial we were about to face as I tearfully watched my baby being wheeled away. John left shortly after to follow.

I recovered in the hospital without my baby. I thought it would be hard being that I had a constant reminder of the baby bed in my room. But family and friends kept me occupied and the nurses were so wonderful that I was okay. I knew so many people were praying for me and I felt the Lord’s peace so profoundly. John would text me updates from St. Joseph’s and pictures that I enjoyed sharing with all who came to my room.

Two days after baby girl as born, a Sunday morning, John called with news that rocked my world unlike anything I have experienced before. St. Joseph’s was transferring baby girl to Children’s hospital as they had an ECMO machine they could put her on to help her breathe. They had been treating her for asphyxia with the hypothermia treatment to heal her brain but after trying two ventilators she was still not breathing well. This was the last option and Children’s hospital had it. They immediately started the gradual warming in preparation for transfer but things weren't looking good.

At that point the thought came to me that I had not cradled my baby girl in my arms and now I may never hold her on this earth. John came to the hospital and we held each other and cried not knowing what lie ahead. My Dad went down to Children’s along with John and our Pastor came later. When Baby Girl Mason arrived at the hospital the doctor informed John she was in bad shape. My sister came to stay with me and I had many from church stop to hug me, read scripture, and pray with me that day. We were so grateful for all of our prayer warriors for baby girl who would later be known as our "Miracle Baby".

Here is a video I took when Grace was 4 days old. She was hooked up to a ventilator that you can hear "puffing" in the background and if you look closely you can see her chest moving to that sound. It also has John talking with the respiratory therapist as I scan the area looking at all of the machines and medications she was hooked up to. They had the lights on briefly as the therapist had just changed something. Otherwise it was typically dark. If you are unable to view the video here is the link --

Baby Grace was in the hospital for 18 days. The doctors were amazed at her progress and had expected her to be there much longer. You can read my updates on her hospital stay in the archives during the month of November 2013.

A few things I found out later some of which people have asked about --

* They were able to give me an epidural, because baby’s heart stabilized. I believe there were reasons they preferred me awake but I never did find that out.

* My uterus did not rupture along the horizontal line but they believe it started with the small “j cut” that was done when Jonah was stuck. And then it split vertically on the active portion of the uterus.

* They did not do a hysterectomy as it is better to save the uterus and focus on that rather than more surgery. That was possible because they were able to control my bleeding.

* Mrs. Teske, one of the nurses that came in the next morning, and someone we know from 4H looked at the fetal monitoring strip and she said the hand of God was all over it. You could see Grace's heart rate drop and right before surgery it went up.

* The doctor told me the chances of my uterus rupturing were 1 in 250 after 5 c-sections since chances increase each time.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

11 months

Oh my goodness! We are almost to Grace's 1st birthday and I can't believe it!  I feel as if babyhood is suddenly behind us as Grace turned 11 months. She is so active and trying to be more independent each day. It is getting harder to get a clear picture of her as she wants to move, move, move.

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I am often asked if there are any delays in Grace's development and judging by the fact that she is standing on her own and walking by pushing a toy among so many other milestones I'd say no. I ask her continually to please slow down and be more like her big sister who was content to sit still. However, Grace will not oblige me in that. Her little personality is showing its colors more and more and John thinks she is going to be a little stinker.

She loves to explore and as of the past couple of weeks climb onto little chairs and also climbs stairs. I discovered that feat when I found her half-way up the stairs to the attic. Oh, you can climb now, great! I am lacking in ways to blockade this girl. Our doorways in the living room are so large that gates do not work. I tried chairs on their sides with a pillow to block any openings. Well, she is wise and simply pulls the pillow out and proceeds to crawl through the opening. I wasn't expecting her to figure that out right away!

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Grace is babbling more and more and clearly says in a sweet high pitched voice "DA-ee" of course she is still at the age where it has a variety of meanings but it takes on a more excited tone when she sees John. The most common noise we hear from Grace is her growl. At times it can be really intense and if we try to duplicate it it hurts our throat. Here Tank comes in to try and help her growl. This is nothing compared to her normal growl.

The only thing that she doesn't do often is laugh out loud. The only time she will is if you blow on her belly which "Zippy" enjoys doing. He also loves to give kisses and still likes to "hug her head" as he did right from the start.

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We think her laugh is actually more coming from her nose as she makes this crazy face and blows in and out with her nose. I keep trying to get a video of it as it is so funny but the camera comes up and she stops.

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Grace is wearing size 12 months clothing and is 21 pounds (on a big people scale). 

She is eating most of the same foods we do just ground up. I have never really liked baby food and especially with Grace have skipped over the jarred bland food for the most part except for convenience sake when out and about and then use the pouches. My favorite baby gadget has for years been my baby food mill. Whatever we are eating I grind up and she gobbles up. Of course she does enjoy those freeze-dried yogurt snacks and can handle small pieces of foods quite well.

Grace wants to be everywhere we are and she enjoys hanging out on my back. Here we were headed out on a hike.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

9 months

A much awaited update. I am quite certain Grace is my most photographed child or at least a close second to "George". I didn't get her monthly photo with the chalkboard since it broke but I took some sweet ones outside that really capture her personality. I also do have new family pictures that I will one day add to the header since our current one is so outdated.

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Grace had her first fever which got up to to 102. I am always reluctant to treat a fever so we let it run it's course and Grace was very content to be held and cuddled for two days. It most likely was a sickness as some of the rest of us ended up with the same fever that turned into a cough. Thankfully it ran it's course quickly and Grace did not have that.

She cut more teeth so now has 6 teeth with 4 on the top and two on the bottom. I forget how sharp those tiny teeth can be. Ouch!

No longer content with just Mama's milk. I am always slow at starting solids but Grace is now enjoying puréed foods especially sweet potatoes or zucchini with leeks. It is always nice to have a baby starting solids during the time of fresh garden veggies. I prefer to make my own food which is simple with a handy little baby food mill. I will take whatever fruit or vegetable we are eating with a meal and grind it up. Grace also had her first taste of ice cream from her Grandma while at Dairy Queen. Her siblings were disappointed because their Opa (Great-grandpa) is usually the one to sneak that tasty treat to my babies.

Napping is still sporadic. But then we are busy and on the go so often it is difficult to get into a good routine. And she still wakes once in the night.

Grace is pulling up on everything! Just as she turned 9 months she began letting go for a few seconds while standing.

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This girl puts everything into her mouth. I wonder why some babies do while others don't. Most of ours haven't but she has eagle eyes and finds the smallest fuzz. For the most part she will move it all around in her mouth then work it to the front so we can see it and grab it. Drool is a tell-tale sign she has something in there. I have found lego pieces, a dice and who knows what all else in there. I am so thankful she never swallows!

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Gracie doesn't mind sitting on grass. It's just one more thing to pick and and put in her mouth!

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She is a mama's girl and I love it! She doesn't want me out of her sight for too long. Of course she loves her Daddy too and siblings if she can't have us. This stage is over in a blink of an eye so I'll take her any chance I can get. Grace is the most content when carried. Although her favorite thing to do when I am carrying her is to pull my hair. And it isn't the sweet, let me hold your hair while I sleep kind of thing. It is all out yanking! Here she was using both hands!

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We took some family pictures with John's parents as we haven't for years.

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Enamored with our dog Lincoln

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Our Happy Happy Girl!

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