Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chase's Surgery

Most everyone knows that Chase's eye surgery went very well! Coming out of anesthesia was hard, but after that he was back to normal in just a few hours. When we got home and finally took the patch off, his eye was completely bloodshot. We understood this would happen, and be even worse because the doctor had told us he would most likely have a herpes flare-up in addition to the redness that comes from the surgery, but in just a weeks time it looked tons better. Here are a few pictures from the big day, and I want to thank my sister, Lindsay for taking Taylor the whole time Chase was in the hospital, and my parents for coming down from Logan to be there with me since Brad couldn't get off work. But he was there with us in spirit too. Also thanks to all my friends and family who included us in your thoughts and prayers. Obviously those prayers were heard!
These two pictures were from the exam room before the surgery. Chase thought it was fun that he got to wear hospital jams and that the nurse gave him a pair of surgical gloves!
Chase thought it was very exciting that the doctor pulled him through the hospital in a little wagon! Unfortunately I'll never forget the look on his face when we got to the point were I couldn't go any further and he turned to me, arm outstretched and started crying and calling out, "Mommy, no!!"
Here we are right after the surgery in recovery. They wouldn't let him go home until he had drank 4 ounces and was demonstrating signs that he wasn't reacting badly to the anesthesia. Such a brave boy!
I took this picture the day after the surgery when we took the patch off so people could see how red his eye was!
Then this picture was taken exactly one week post surgery to show everyone how well he recovered. It's now been two weeks and he is doing great!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Taylor's Birth Story

Lets just say I have been planning for Taylor's birth for a long time. It all started on a September day three years ago, when I had to have surgery while I was pregnant with Chase. That was so hard to recover from, I got it into my head that I couldn't deal with another surgery ever, so I had to deliver Chase vaginally! The rest of my pregnancy with Chase was pretty uneventful, including no contractions AT ALL!! Some would consider that lucky, but I was pretty frustrated, because I knew how big Chase would most likely be and my doctor wouldn't agree to deliver me sooner than one week overdue since he was my first baby. Since I wasn't having any contractions, I knew my body wouldn't help me come early, or probably even on time, so I was finally induced 8 days after my due date.

After having Pitocin induced contractions for 10 hours of labor, I was stuck dilated to a 5, and not progressing. My doctor decided I needed to have a c-section after all, and shortly after that my 10 pound 9 ounce Chasey was finally in my arms. While my doctor was stitching me up, he said "There is no way you would have been able to push this kid out of your small pelvis. At least all the rest of your pregnancies we can schedule a c-section and you can do it a week early!" So this time since I knew I would have a c-section, I wouldn't go into labor on my own, and I could pretty much plan my delivery, I started making said plans very early.

A few weeks before my scheduled c-section, September 21st, I was pretty proud of myself. I had accomplished a good portion of my "To Do Before Taylor Comes" list, and I had worked out detailed instructions for Brad on everything he needed to know while I would be in the hospital. I had places for Chase to go every day, even while Brad was in school at night, my bags were packed, and everything was covered.

Unfortunately, in the middle of all my plan making, I forgot to ask Taylor when he wanted to come, because his plans apparently didn't coincide with mine...

Thursday evening, September 16th, yes that was 5 days before my scheduled c-section, Brad, Chase and I went to grab some dinner at Magleby's Fresh. As we were leaving, I had a contraction!! I was shocked because I didn't think my body would do that, in fact, I wasn't even positive it was a contraction, so I didn't think much of it. But, by the time we all went to bed that night, they kept coming. Far apart at first, and mild pain, progressing to every 5 to 10 minutes and very painful by midnight. Unfortunately, someone like me who was uneducated in the ways of normal "labor" didn't know what the protocol was for someone who was laboring but was planning on a c-section. So I told Brad at about 2:30 that I would try to tough it out, and call my doctor in the morning. But by about 5, I couldn't stand it anymore, and I figured we could go to the hospital and see what they said about it. So Brad got up at 5 to get ready for work as usual, but I told him to call in, we were going to the hospital.

Luckily, Brad's parents are so close by, and his mom was able to come be with Chase. Once we got to the hospital at about 5:30, things started happening really fast. Orem Community Hospital is so great and efficient, and they had me checked in and hooked up to a monitor by 6 am. It turns out even if you are scheduled for a c-section, when you come in they still monitor you for an hour to see if you make progress before they determine whether or not to go ahead and deliver the baby. When the nurse checked me, I was dilated to a 3 and 90% effaced. But, we didn't know what I was previously because with a c-section planned, of course my doctor had never checked my progress. So the plan was to keep letting me have contractions and see if I was progressing in an hour. Again, my body did something unexpected. My water broke! I said to the nurse, I think I am peeing, and she checked and we all were delighted to find out it was water leaking!

Once this happened they didn't need to watch for progression anymore. One of the partner doctors in my doctors office was called, since my doctor was out of town, and he said he'd be there in half an hour. So I was quickly prepped, given my spinal and moved into the operating room. By 7:03 am Taylor was out and I was being stitched up! My HUGE miracle came into this world at 11 pounds 1 ounce and 22 inches! He beat his brother by half a pound and an inch!

Taylor came out breathing and crying and seemed just fine to me. I wasn't told until later that the respiration guy was a little concerned so after we got to see him, he was taken to the NICU. Since it takes a while to be stitched up after a c-section I knew it would be a while before I would see him anyway. Once I got back to my room though, and still wasn't able to see him, I put Brad on duty to find out what the deal was. Turned out our little man had to be put on oxygen because his levels weren't where they should be.

Long story short, it turns out Taylor had two things working against him. It is common for bigger babies to have breathing issues, and it is common for some of the air and fluid babies are born with to not get pushed out of their bodies when they are delivered by c-section. Taylor had a little pocket of air next to his heart, and some fluid in his lungs. We were reassured that these things would work themselves out, but he needed to be watched, so he didn't get to come to my room and the doctors would be checking in on him frequently. Another precaution that was taken "just in case" was to give him an IV of antibiotics to make sure there weren't any infections.

All this made the hospital stay very hard. We went in and visited our little man in the NICU very often, and I went in for all the feedings. He kept getting a little better, and they would take him off the oxygen for little bits at a time. But by Tuesday, when I was hoping we would both be discharged, little Taylor still wasn't ready. Ironically, this was the 21st, the date my c-section had been scheduled for. So Tuesday night and all day Wednesday, I opted to board in, which meant a paid a little fee to stay in a room, but I could come and go as I wanted to. This worked out okay, but I was getting a little sick of the hospital. I was hoping that Taylor could come home Wednesday anyway so I wouldn't have to worry about staying again. However, after the pediatrician came and did his circumcision Wednesday morning, he gave me some crappy news.

The news was laced with good, that I must point out. He told me we would be able to take our little man home the next morning! We were thrilled about that. Unfortunately, that was where the good part stopped. He would be checking us out at 11 am, and that was on purpose because he had scheduled an appointment for us to see a specialist down from Primary Children's at Utah Valley Hospital to get an EKG and echcardiogram on Taylor's heart. Again, they said this was "just in case" and they wanted to rule out any heart problems. Also, we would be taking an Apnea monitor home with us for Taylor to have on for at least two weeks which is keeping track of his breathing and heart rate, to make sure he is doing okay.

Now to the present. We have been home for 8 days. Taylor is two weeks old today. Yesterday we had his two week doctor appointment and everything is fine. The results from the heart tests were positive, a few things were a little concerning, but they will work themselves out over time, and we don't even have to follow up. Taylor has to have the monitor on for two more weeks, but the doctor thinks that will be fine too. Now we are just settling in to our new routine with our new bundle of joy. Chase is thrilled to be a big brother and he helps out as much as he can. We have had tons of support from family and friends and we are so excited to have our little four person family at last!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Logging Roads

So there is a running, or should I say driving, joke in my family about getting stuck on logging roads. As you all know, I hail from Oregon, where there are frequent mountains, and trees. Hence lots of opportunities to get stuck on skinny roads, usually through mountains, that may or may not have lots of Semi's driving on them pulling loads of logs.

When I was about 10 years old, my family and I went on a trip to Southern Oregon to see some of the sights and just get away for a few days. Please keep in mind this was long before the times when a GPS and portable DVD player were common place on long family trips. I fondly remember our entertainment, and that was playing through the two "Best of Huey Lewis and the News" cassette tapes my dad loved. And our navagation consisted of my mom reading a map. It was about a 5 hour drive from Salem, where we lived, and somewhere along the way, my dad "discovered" a short cut....or so he thought!

We ended up going about 2 hours out of our way on said logging road. It was very scary for all, especially a 10 year old girl, who has anxiety anyway, who kept looking out the windows at the steep cliffs we were dangerously close to or looking up to see huge Semi's pulling logs coming towards us all too fast, because they knew the road well, and we didn't!

Needless to say, we survived and even enjoyed our vacation. But that is not the end of the story. Another time, when Brad and I were newly dating, we went home to Oregon to see the family and meet my newly born nephew, Dallin. So this would have been when I was about 26. On this trip, my whole family, in two cars this time, took a day trip to a couple of fun cities in Oregon including Bend, and Seaside. Now these two cities were quite a drive from Salem, and quite a drive from each other. The trip from Salem to Bend was easy, as we had done it many times. From Bend to Seaside on the other hand was not as familiar to us, and again, dad thought he found a short cut. Still no GPS for our family at this time. So again we got stuck on a logging road, for and hour or two. This time it was much more funny to the family though, because we could relate it to the first experience and so we made it a lighter situation.

Well, like father like daughter! This past weekend Brad, Chase and I went to Merced California for a 90th birthday party for my Grandpa/Christensen Family Reunion. Merced is not in the fun parts of California where everyone thinks of. No beach, no Disneyland. It is actually in farm country, and getting there coming from Utah by way of a huge portion of Nevada involves quite a distance through the Sierra Nevada mountains, and lots of logging type roads.

Now Brad and I learned a valuable lesson on this trip. Despite having the luxury of traveling with a GPS this time; said GPS, or Jenna as we refer to her, has settings. One of those is chosing between the shortest distance to a location and the fastest time. Jenna was set to direct us the shortest distance, and she didn't take into account that less miles may not mean getting stuck on logging roads!!

As we were coming out of Reno, Nevada I started to wonder because instead of staying on the major freeway we started taking little 2 lane highways through random cities and lots of farmland, forests and the like. But I didn't really get concerned until I noticed we were in a National Forest, and the switchbacks were getting steeper and the road was getting skinnier. Finally I stopped and asked a nice man who was taking pictures of the beautiful view from the top of the mountain we were on if we were headed in the right direction. Unfortunately he confirmed my fears. We were going to get to where we were going, but it would take a long time, be difficult, and there was no easy or timely way to turn around. So we kept going.

We finally made it off of the logging road, and to a bathroom, which the pregnant lady was very grateful for, and after a few more re-routes, we made it to the family BBQ that had started at least an hour earlier, that we were expecting to have plenty of time to arrive to!! It was an adventurous trip to say the least! Thanks dad for teaching me at a young age how to handle driving on a logging road!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hello, again, hello...

I guess that title was inspired by last nights episode of Glee.

I haven't posted in awhile, and I'm not sure anyone misses it, but I thought I would do a quick update.

As all of you probably know, I am 16 weeks pregnant. So far this pregnancy has been less dramatic than my last, but not without its complications. For one, I have been throwing up way more than last time. That sucks! Also, I had some bleeding in my uterus, which is attributed to the placenta pulling away from the uterine wall a little. Fortunately, this is common, and usually heals itself, as it did in my case. There is also a little cyst on my one and only ovary, which of course, the doctor is keeping an eye on, as we don't want a repeat of last pregnancy!

Otherwise, I am still enjoying being a full time mom, and not working outside of the home. I do think I keep myself plenty busy however, running my dad's print business, and starting a business of my own as an Independent Beauty Consultant for Mary Kay. I am really enjoying it and learning a lot about skin care and other beauty products! If anyone wants to order product, host a party, or find out about owning your own Mary Kay business, let me know! I also recently became a certified phlebotomist, and I am starting a CNA course next month.

Brad is still in school part time, working his way towards his bachelors in Behavioral Science. He only has ten classes left so we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. He seems to have really found something he loves in Social Work, and we think he will do great things when he graduates. Brad also recently had a huge shake up at work. American Express, whom he worked for at Convergys for almost twelve years, pulled all of their projects out of the Orem location, so Brad is now working customer service for the United States Postal Service. Just within a month of being on this project he has already been selected to be on a more elite phone team, and he is wanting to hopefully move back up into a management position within 6 months. We know he can do it!!

Our little Chasey is doing very well, and growing like a weed! He had his second birthday in January, and is really starting to learn a lot. We are starting to work on counting, colors, and spelling his name. He also likes to sing his own version of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "Book of Mormon Stories". It is fun watching him learn and grow. Chase is also excited to become a big brother, and he often kisses the baby in momma's tummy!

So, that's it in a nut shell! Thanks for checking in, and we'll keep you all posted on any future developments!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Disneyland Holidays!!

Brad and I are BIG Disney people. We love the movies, the characters, the Disney store. We both have a ton of Disney clothes and stuff around the house. So of course we have gotten Chasey into it as well. He loves Playhouse Disney, has tons of clothes also, and sleeps with stuffed Donald Duck, Goofy, Nemo, and a few others. Brad and I took our Honeymoon to Disneyland, and we've been to Disneyland 3 other times since we've been married. In fact we just went in March. Then sometime during the summer, (before I lost my job) we decided to book another trip for over Thanksgiving. It was unusual for us to go twice in one year, but we wanted to be there during the holidays again, since that's when we went for our honeymoon, and that was five years ago. It seemed like a nice "anniversary" type thing. So we went over the week of Thanksgiving, and it was so amazing!! Disneyland takes Christmas very seriously, and the parks were so gorgeous with trees, and garlands, and lights and everything else that someone like me would LOVE!! Chasey really got into it this time too, and all three of us had an amazing week!! Here are a few pictures of our trip.
Chasey discovered a true love for the teacups ride while we were there and wanted to ride it about 4 or 5 times total. Unfortunately, Brad hates that ride, so I had the "pleasure" of taking Chase on it EVERY time!!
This was the beautiful Cinderella castle at night. It was meant to look the way Cinderella thought it would look after a snowfall.
The funny thing about Chasey this time is his recognition of characters. When it came to characters he is familiar with from Playhouse Disney, like Mickey or Winnie the Pooh, etc, he was as happy as a clam! But when we saw people he didn't know as well, like Woody from Toy Story, or Santa for instance, he started crying terrified!! Here are Brad and Chasey with Tigger.
And here they are with Pluto.
I got to be in the picture with Minnie!!
And here is the whole family in front of one of the beautiful Christmas trees. It was such a great trip, and of course we can't wait to go back again. Hopefully at the holiday season again because it is so gorgeous!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Bowen Halloween - for anyone who may have missed us!!

It has been a LONG time since I have posted anything, so I thought I would update you a bit. This has been an eventful winter, and we have some pictures to show for it. Here are a few Halloween gems....

This is obviously our whole little family. I am in my standard clown costume that I got on sale about 10 years ago, and I pretty much wear it every year. Chasey is his favorite Disney character, Nemo, or as he calls him, Meemo. And we found Brad an awesome Fred Flintstone costume that i think is hilarious.

Here are my men trick or treating. Chasey never quite got "Trick or treat" down, but by the end of the night he was a pro at saying "Tank ooo". Such a cutie!!