Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Elden is doing well at the hospital. Last night he weighed 4 pounds 6.7 ounces! Today he is on ad lib feedings--he won't eat until he lets us know he is hungry. He has been having a hard time drinking all of his milk in the half hour allotted to him, and needs lots of prodding, so the doctor wants to try and see if this will work out. For every hour that he sleeps he will get 10 milliliters of milk. So, if he sleeps for four hours, then wakes up, he needs to eat at least 40 milliliters. The feeding I gave him today he did pretty good--finished in 27 minutes--but with lots of encouragement.

Tomorrow he has his head ultrasound and I am praying that there won't be a cyst and that everything will look normal. I am really optimistic that we'll be able to go home in 2-3 weeks. But that is just my guess alone. I tried nursing him the other day but he wasn't catching on at all. I will try again tomorrow and keep trying. I wanted to wait until he was better with his bottles, but one of the nurses Elden has had told me to keep trying and that it will be a learning process for both of us. I am glad that I nursed all my other kids so I at least know what to do. Hopefully Elden will catch on.

My brother Sheldon is in Italy now and we got an email from him today. I think it's so funny reading letters from people who serve foreign missions. They start mixing up English and the language they are learning. For example, Sheldon was telling us about the toilets in Italy and he wrote "tiolettes". I don't know if that is the Italian spelling for toilet, but it sure looks Italian-ish! It sounds like he is doing really well and I am SO happy because his trainer was the assistant to the mission president for the last six months and now gets to train Sheldon his last transfer before going home. I was able to train three times on my mission, and I also got to train my last transfer. It was great. We had several baptisms and were very busy teaching people. I loved it!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What a busy last week! And to clarify, Elden is still in the hospital. I realize in my last post it probably sounded as if Elden was home with us. I wish he was!

I will try to make this update short, but who knows, I might go into more detail than some of you care for. So if you are one of those people, scroll down for some pictures!

Saturday morning we left very early from the Ronald McDonald House and headed to Memphis. We were on the freeway by 3:00am. It was my choice to leave so early, so I volunteered to drive. It was my first time driving since I drove myself to the hospital about 2am on February 2nd.

We met up with Lena and Mike and three of their kids and Shanna and Haley in Memphis (well, Bartlett actually). I had envisioned getting some big hugs from my little girls, but no such luck. They were not happy to see me--not that they were mad to see me, but they shied away from me when I would try and hug them or pick them up. They instantly warmed up to Lee. I was not surprised though.

Lena and Mike did sealings and we watched their kids at the nursery in the Stake Center. When they got back from doing sealings, Shanna went up to Mike and pulled on his pant legs and raised her arms up for him to pick her up. It was weird and cute and funny. Lena and Mike had somewhat become their parents. Considering Lena took care of them for over two months (Feb 6th to April 18th) that is 10% of their lives!

While in Memphis I also got to see the Yorgasons and the Schauerhamers, which was really fun. I should have taken pictures of them!!! Plus I saw a couple other people that I know. I messed things up and didn't get to see my friend Laura though. Oh well. We drove into the Cabanas and showed Clark where we used to live. We still have a parking sticker on our van for that place, but no one was in the guard shack anyway, so we drove right in. We made it out without any gun hold-ups. (Lee was extra glad about that I am sure.) We arrived back home about 9pm.

It was great to see everyone at church on Sunday, back in our regular ward. It was so sweet as many people went out of their way to say hi to me and ask how Elden and I were doing.

Last week was VERY busy. We spent the week organizing some things and taking care of kids. It was great and weird to be back home. For the first few days we felt like we were babysitting Lena's twin girls. Also I think everything that has happened to me really sunk in.

One project that we finished up last week was switching kitchens. I know, not many people have the luxury of having two kitchens. Our "regular" kitchen has been invested [when I was re-reading my blog checking for mistakes, I thought it was so funny that I wrote invested instead of infested. Guess you can tell what's on my mind!] with ants for MONTHS; since last November! Sure ants are better than cockroaches, but it was even more frustrating because I basically always keep my kitchen clean. I cannot go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink (unless I know that Lee is going to do them.) And with keeping the kitchen clean the ants got into the dishwasher and would eat the food off the dishes in there! GROSS!

The week prior, Lee and my dad and Chris moved our washer and dryer into the ant kitchen and Lee moved a lot of things into the "laundry room". So we finished up the move last week. (Sorry, this was a little anti-climactic.) I really think our North wall of the house is invested [ha ha, I did it twice!] with ants.

We went to the park a few times and enjoyed visiting with our great neighbors. We walked to and from school a few times as it was wonderful weather last week! Lee and Clark rode their bikes to Clark's school two days. Oh, and Clark learned how to ride his bike in about 20 seconds! We all were excited about that and it was fun I could be there for it! We also made another big, fat loan payment. November 13th is getting nearer!

Friday morning we headed out for a craft activity at the community center. We were going to walk over so I wanted to wear something comfortable. With all the walking around our house my feet were hurting and I didn't want to walk a mile in flip-flops. So I wore a t-shirt, some stretchy shorts and my running shoes.

I got to the craft thing at about 10:20, and I saw through the window that one of my friends from church had showed up too. I opened the door and they said "Surprise! Welcome to your craft activity!" It was a BABY SHOWER for me and Elden!!! I was SOOOOO SURPRISED! I was SHOCKED! WOW! I was glad it was a surprise because I wasn't going to take up any offers of a baby shower. With Elden being my 5th kid and Lee already having two showers in honor of him and Elden at work, I figured the shower parties were done. But no!!! My friends Kelly, Claudia, Kristi, and Theresa gave me a fun shower (I think those were the main people...) A lot of my friends came and it was fun to see them and visit, even if for a little bit. Thank you everyone!!!

Saturday morning we went to Calvin's baptism. It was really nice. Malee gave a great talk about baptism and becoming part of Christ's family, and Calvin and his friend/relative that was baptised right after him, did a great job with singing a song together about baptism. After that we went home and finished some laundry and packing and headed up to Columbia again. I was able to do a little shopping and we later met Lee's parents up here. We had a nice weekend together--and somewhat crazy with all the kids--and they are all now at home, including Lee's parents. They will be with Lee and the kids for a week.

It was so good to be home. I really just wanted to stay, but knew of course it would be good for Elden for me to be with him.

Elden is doing really well and hopefully we can ALL go home in about 3 weeks! He is now 4 pounds 6.2 ounces and getting 37 milliliters of milk at each feeding. It was really funny when we came in Saturday night to see him. The nurses told me they had ran out of my milk and Elden had been getting formula Friday night and during the day Saturday. I was very surprised. We couldn't go down to verify and check the freezer in the main NICU as it was during shift change. So Lee and I went back to the Ronald McDonald House and got 50 or so containers of my milk. (I have about 200 of them there.) I brought them back and in the NICU freezer there about 30 containers of my milk! So, I put some containers in another plastic shoe box thing. The rest I left in the grocery bag on the bottom of the freezer. It was kind of funny. Lee and I were sure that I had left enough milk for Elden. And I had. Now there is a surplus in the NICU. A big surplus.

Tonight I went up to get Elden ready for his bottle feeding and he had pulled his feeding tube all the way out. The whole tube was across his face and a little behind his head. That was the first time I'd seen it ALL the way out from him pulling it on his own accord. Elden is now on all bottle feedings or PO feedings as they call it. Once he goes 24 hours drinking all of his milk from his bottle feedings he can get his feeding tube pulled out. Well, he didn't do very well at his 11:30 feeding, so he would have to wait another 24 hours. Tonight though, since he pulled it out, the nurses are just going to keep it out till he needs it again. Hopefully he won't need it. If he doesn't drink all of his milk during a feeding the nurse will have to put the tube back in to finish the feeding with the tube.

He will have another head ultrasound on Friday. I hope everything will look good and that a cyst won't have developed!

Enjoy your week!

Some pictures from my baby shower. I should have had pictures taken of all my friends that came! But it was such a surprise that getting pictures of my friends didn't cross my mind.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Elden is now 4 pounds! He is up to 34 milliliters on his feedings. Can you tell I'm home? I have been pretty busy and haven't posted anything very recently. I will update soon.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Elden is 3 pounds 9.5 ounces. You may be getting bored with the weight and feeding updates, but it is exciting for me to know that he is growing! And of course his feedings were increased to 32 milliliters.

His brain bleed went away which is great. Though there may be another problem: PVL. PVL is a cyst that grows on the membrane on the outside of the ventricle??? (I think that is what the doctor told me.) Right now he doesn't have the cyst, but it looks like it could develop. The doctor said the cyst will form and stop growing and the only problem would be tightening of the muscles, so he would have to do physical therapy. But I will hope and pray that the cyst doesn't even form. Elden will have another ultrasound in 2 to 4 weeks to look at it again.

Some pictures of Elden yesterday. I thought he looked extra cute in the stripped onesie. I am sure it is a preemie size, but it's too big for him. He is build like his daddy.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Today I had my "six-week" appointment (though it's only been five weeks since my c-section). Dr Floyd is a wonderful doctor. He was very concerned about me and my family and how everything is going; he asked about the kids and the baby. Then he basically asked me: "How are you doing?" then, "How are you REALLY doing?" He wanted to make sure that I was okay because of all of the crazy things that happened during my c-section and the fact that Elden will be our last child.

I mentioned before that it seemed that my pregnancy and c-section had a bit of fame among the residents and the doctors. Dr. Floyd confirmed that. He said for a couple of weeks it was a main topic of discussion. Having scar adhesions from my previous pregnancy and of course placenta previa and increta, I can imagine that my rare pregnancy complications would be something that doctors and residents would be curious to see first hand--and outside of a textbook. I am just glad that nothing rare or weird has happened to Elden!

I also got the go-ahead to exercise and I am looking forward to that. I want to wear my old clothes!!! (I have 25 pounds to loose...) When I was leaving he gave me a hug. He's like a surrogate grandpa (kind of). Especially since I saw him every morning M-F for 4 weeks (he was out of town one of the weeks I was on bedrest) it was good to see him again today. Also, there is a doctor here that looks SO much like Dr. Floyd! He and Dr. Floyd look more like twins than my girls do!

By the way, Elden had another head ultrasound this morning and I will find out the results tomorrow. He is doing well and drank all of the milk from his bottle this morning at 2:30am. Today he drank about 15 milliliters for me, which is still pretty good. He is up to 30 milliliters now.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I received this via email this afternoon. This sounds like a great event to attend:

Town Hall for Hope
Mark your calendar for April 23 at 8:00 p.m. EDT! We are holding an exciting one-time national event called Town Hall for Hope, and you're invited!

We all know that the economy is causing a lot of fear among Americans. It's time for our nation to come together to find hope for the future—and that's exactly what Town Hall for Hope is all about.

At this free, 90-minute event, Dave will address the nation live with straight talk about what's really going on with the economy. He will discuss the history of the economy, real stats, and steps to take toward hope! Plus, he will answer questions from all around the country. You can submit questions via email, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

You do not want to miss this historic event! It's shaping up to be one of the most-viewed webcasts in history. Over 5,000 host locations across the U.S. will be broadcasting the live feed on Thursday, April 23, at 8:00 p.m. EDT (West Coast delay—7:00 p.m. PT). The event is completely free for anyone to attend. Search for a host location nearest you on our site using the zip code tool.

Get involved now and start spreading the word at We'll see you there!

—The Dave Ramsey Team

Susan Boyle--Incredible!

Brittany sent the link of this to me. I also saw a clip about her on the Today Show this morning. Wonderful!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I finally caught up with the blogs I follow on my reader. Not only do I love blogging, but I love reading blogs too.

Elden is doing great. He weighs 3 pounds 7 ounces. He is up to 30 milliliters of breastmilk for his feedings. I keep forgetting to mention this: there is a powder that they put in his milk to add extra calories. It is called "Human Milk Fortifier". It cracks me up that the company used the word "Human". I don't know why because that is exactly what the powder is for, but I still think it's funny.

Elden now gets to drink out of a bottle two times a day. One at 2:30am and the other at 2:30pm. I feed him the 2:30pm one. Though I like to be here for his bottle feedings, I don't want to ride a taxi at 2:00am just for that. I'll let the nurses handle the early morning one.

Since he is over 1500 grams in weight, he is now learning how to control his own body temperature. Before he had a monitor thing on him that would pick up how warm or cold he was and the bed would automatically make it warmer or colder for him. Now though, the nurse will check his temperature and manually adjust the bed. He can wear a onesie and socks during this process. Once the bed reaches 29 degrees Celsius, AND he can still maintain his body temperature at around 36.6 degrees Celsius, then he can go into an open crib. (Which is one of those clear plastic boxes.) Well, one other stipulation, he has to be drinking all of the milk from two bottle feedings too. He needs to be able to eat well because if he can't, then he'll just be burning calories to stay warm and when it comes time to bottle feed he won't have enough energy to to drink well. Elden is the only one now in an isolette up in the smaller NICU room. But he is also younger gestationally than all the other babies too.

Two "scares" I've had the past few days. Last week Lee was in Las Vegas for a training conference for the Army. He was to fly out of Las Vegas at 12:35am (yes, very crazy!) and get to St. Louis at 7:35am. Some people he met at the conference told him if it's a government-booked flight, he can call and change his flight. He called and it couldn't be changed.

Thursday night I was in my room watching a movie on the bed with the lights off. Someone knocked on my door. "Yes?" No answer, but another knock. I got up and turned the light on and stood by the door. "Yes?" I asked again. Still no answer. I was thinking, there is no way I am opening this door. But then I heard a familiar voice. I opened it up and it was Lee! He DID get a different flight and was able to leave Vegas at about 2:30pm instead. It was great to see him. He sure surprised me and scared me a little!

Then today I went up to feed Elden. I was putting my stuff down and I looked in the isolette and he wasn't in there. I did a double-take just in case because Elden is small, maybe I was just looking wrong. I quickly scanned the room and did not see him. I asked the other nurse, "Where is my baby?" She told me the other nurse was holding him. Whew! I was not expecting that. The nurse was by the computers holding him. She told me that he was screaming (we were all surprised at that--even the nurses) and he had pulled out his feeding tube. She also put new tape on his face to hold the tube in place and lotion-ed him up. It was time to feed him so I think she was just holding him waiting for me to come.

I also wanted to write that the choir we had for the Saturday night adult session for Stake Conference was GREAT!!!

Also last week my friend Emma surprised me with a visit. Her daughter is so cute! I am glad they found me!

Kirsten and Shanna have been partners in crime, I mean partners in beauty, the past few weeks. Once again their creative side shinned through as they demonstrated their new make-up line Lena named Blatantly Blue. Quite fitting.

Clark and Cal spend Easter at Deborah's. They had a great time.

Is Cal trying to be that lion trying out to be the Cadberry Bunny?

And here's a picture of Haley just for fun. It was from June of 2008.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

One Month Old!

Elden was one month old yesterday! A lot has happened in the last month and I am glad that it has gone by fairly quickly.

He is up to 29 milliliters on his feedings and weighs 3 pounds 5.5 ounces! He is doing really well. Learning to eat of the bottle is something we are working on right now. He is only "33" weeks, so my expectations of him drinking all of the milk out of the bottle have been low. Elden gets to drink out of bottle once a day. Yesterday he drank 16 milliliters! Today he surprised Lee and I even more and he drank ALL of the 29 milliliters from the bottle. YEAH!

I want to go home by mid-May. (Well, I'd love to go home now.) Hopefully we'll be able to!

Some pictures of Elden on Easter

This is the bottle he ate out of today. My thumb is pointing to how much he drank.

He is still a little guy! Notice the size of my hand compared to his head.

Here I am burping him.

Before he drank all of the milk...

The nurses here do cute things for the babies. One or some of the nurses made these little bunnies for all the isolettes. They also have a Books for Babies program and the nurses buy books for the babies. They also put the babies' foot prints on the front cover of their book.

Pictures of Cal that he wanted me to take of his cherry tomatoes, March 27.

The quality of the pictures isn't that great. Sorry Mom R!

Lee and I were able to do something last night that we haven't been able to do in a few years. It took some careful planning on our part, but it all came to fruition last night: we were able to attend the adult session of Stake Conference by ourselves! I'll let you in on our secret. (Getting a babysitter would be too easy and would ruin the whole thing!) We worked it out so that I would be on bedrest, and sent a memo to Elden to be born early. This enabled my kids to go hours away from home to stay with my sisters so we could enjoy this evening by ourselves. Thanks Deb, Lena, Mom and Dad!

Twice a year our church holds conferences for the church members in a particular region. Saturday night there is a meeting for the adults and Sunday there is a meeting for the whole family. Lee and I love the adult session of Stake Conference. But the past several years we've had our kids in tow too. We really would rather have our family all back together, but since we're not, it was nice to enjoy this meeting with just Lee and I.

Today for the rest of Stake Conference, we enjoyed a great broadcast from Salt Lake. We really enjoyed the speakers. I loved what was said about Easter and that we essentially celebrate Easter every time we partake of the Sacrament. And I thought it was very fitting for President Monson to tell a Christmas story about boys giving service to some widowed ladies. People talk about having the Christmas spirit all year round, and there is no better time than Easter to restate that. Our Savior lives and we should always strive to be like him and remember him. We are so thankful for all of your Christ-like service to us through your emails, notes, prayers, fasting, babysitting, meals, packages, visits, etc.

Happy Easter!

Thanks to others for posting this video on facebook and on their blogs. Lee and I just watched it and it was a great reminder of our Savior's love for us. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland is one of the Twelve Apostles. I posted it below for all of you to enjoy. Ashley, Jeanne, Kelly and Michelle you would love it too.

An Apostle's Easter Thoughts on Christ

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I saw this on Ashley's blog and had to put it on mine too. Thanks Ashley! You always seem to be in the know of good things!

Free Diaper Sample

I too want to thank you Kimberly-Clark! It's just for three diapers, I think, but hey, something to throw in your car in case of an emergency!

My boys are in Iowa right now with my sister and her family for Easter. Here is something from my mom's email about something Clark said. I thought it was really cute.

"Clark woke up when we stopped for gas at the Flying J south of Waterloo. He looked up sleepily when I said we were almost there. "I'm so excited," he said, then promptly went back to sleep."

Too cute! Also, I forgot to mention that Elden has moved again. The NICU was getting too full, and on the 3rd floor there is a "Level 2 NICU" which can accommodate 15 babies. There are six up there right now. I asked how Elden was chosen to be brought up there and the nurse told me it was because he was stable/doing well!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Yesterday Elden had his first eye exam. He did not like it. That is the most I have heard him cry! And I have only heard him cry I think two other times for about 30 seconds. An MD and an ophthalmologist did the exam. Too bad Lee was here or he could have done it himself! I was really pleased with what they said: Elden's eyes are two weeks ahead of schedule! The staff here will refer to Elden's age as if he wasn't born yet, because he still has to develop and reach milestones like babies that are still growing in their momma's bellies. If Elden wasn't born yet, he would be 32 weeks along. So, his eyes looked like those of a 34 week-er. You make your dad proud Elden! (And uncles and grandpa and great-grandpa.)

He is now up to 27 milliliters at each feeding. He gets fed 8 times during a 24 hours. 30 milliliters or cc's is an ounce. He is still eating out of the bottle just once a day. He doesn't take the whole bottle either. But he is only "32" weeks, so it just practice for him right now. The almost-1-ounce feeding may not seem like a lot, but when you see the syringe with 27 milliliters laying next to him, it looks like a lot. He is still very small.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Elden is doing really well. Yesterday he had to have a blood transfusion, but that was somewhat expected. Every time the nurses draw blood from him, they record how much they took out of him. Then after they take so much out, say a total of 20 milliliters for example, then they have to give him a transfusion. Also his hematocrit levels were low. He was at a 27 and they like to see that number 30 or higher.

Yesterday he weighed 2 pounds 15 ounces and today he weighs 3 pounds 2 ounces! He reached his 3 pound mark! Though as Lee pointed out, it was probably due to the transfusion.

Also yesterday, he ate 13 milliliters of out the bottle! That is the best he's done. I hope that continues to go well. Once he is eating 2 full bottles on his own a day I can start nursing him. Today he did pretty good and ate 8 milliliters.

We had a good weekend and enjoyed conference. When Clark listened he loved the candy game we had to listen for a specific word and then he would get a piece of candy. Also they enjoyed coloring the ties of the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


My mom emailed me the link to this article:

Trim the Fat Out of Your Food Budget, by Lyle and Tracy Shamo. The article mentions a government finding on what a family of four spends on food each month:

"For a family of four, the government estimates that spending ranges from the thrifty $524 per month to the very liberal $1,014 a month. (see How much should you spend on groceries? Associated Press, March 15, 2009,"

Seriously, the "thrifty" spends $524 per month?! As a family of SIX (of course now we are a family of seven) we spent $350 a month on food. Out of that $350, we easily had $50 every month to put towards food storage stuff. So you could say that we spent $300 on food every month. AND it was a good amount; I felt like I had a decent amount of money for food. (I buy milk and I don't bake bread...though I do know how to make bread, I am just being lazy.)

Of course I can't buy everything I'd like and I cook and bake almost everything from scratch. You may argue that my family of six (now seven) doesn't really count because I have small kids. But I think my sister would vouch for me when I say that my girls are good eaters and if you combined all of my kids together I am sure we could count as a regular USA "family of four" or even more!

I don't know who the government is surveying, but it sure wasn't me or my sisters. And I want to clarify, I am not trying to say anything about what you spend on your food. I just think it is weird that the government thinks spending $524 a month on groceries is being "thrifty." I think it's fun to spend money on food and when we are financially secure I for sure will increase my food budget.

I keep forgetting to mention that I appreciated everyone's votes in my vehicle survey that I had up a few months back. It was fun and interesting to see people's vehicle status. And thinking of that, it makes me curious about how much all of you spend on groceries each month. Feel free to leave your anonymous answer by participating in my survey. I only want to know what you spend on groceries--not toilet paper, toothpaste, laundry detergent, etc. Also, if you eat out and that is part of your food budget than include it, but if not, don't. For myself going out to eat can sometimes fall in the food budget and other times fall under the budget category of date/activity money. (We don't go out to eat much these days though!)

Some of you have received these updates, but some of you haven't so here they are:

Elden is off of the bili-lite for a 3rd day. His level was 4.8 today. If he reaches a "5" he has to go under the light. They check his blood to see what "level" he is at. He gained some weight too! He is now up to 2 pounds 12.8 ounces. Tomorrow they will do another infant screening on him. I guess it's required for all the babies. They did one when he was born, but Elden wasn't getting milk then, just supplemental feedings. Since he is now "eating" he will have another screening test done because they like to do the test when the baby is eating normally. Also his feedings were increased from 23 to 24 milliliters. I found out that the fortifier they are putting in his milk increases the calories. I forget the ratio, but basically there are only 20 calories in breastmilk (per ounce maybe?) and the fortifier adds an extra 4 calories.

Elden ate 5 milliliters at his bottle feeding today. Also I keep forgetting to write that he is a level 2 baby. The highest level is 4 meaning they aren't in the best condition. He moved to a level 3 about two weeks ago. And now he is a level 2. Level 1 is a well-baby. By that point he would be going home. So he will be a level 2 for a long time. I mentioned to my nurse my hopes of going home before May 15 and she thought that wouldn't be unreasonable to expect that.