Sunday, April 17, 2011

Gone

I can't write much about this right now, because I just can't. Maybe one day soon I will, but not now. It's too fresh and my guts and my heart have been ripped open with loss and an emptiness that I can't even begin to explain. I want to be able to remember everything for my girls, but somehow, I don't think that I will need to write it down to remember every detail of every second.

My dad passed away on 4/15/11 at 4:08 PM in my and my Mom's arms. It was a beautiful and peaceful experience and I can only hope to feel as much love and peace as there was in that room when it's my time to go. He kept his dignity until the end, and passed away in his own bed - no needles, no poking, and no medication. He always DID choose his own path in life, and did things the way he wanted to - even in the end. We said our goodbyes, and a lot of words that I'd like to keep in the privacy of my heart, and then he went to sleep.

His funeral is tomorrow and I'm praying for the strength to make it through it. Mom and I are taking things minute by minute. The grief swells in waves, but is always there. A constant "hum" in the background of every conversation, every exchange. The tears flow several times a day, often unprovoked. I'm sure it will be that way for a long time.

For now, we have our precious Emma to love on and "nuggle nuggle" with, and sweet Abigail to prepare the way for. It's an incredible blessing to have those sweet girls to go on for. They will never know how much they've helped us all make it through these last few days, weeks, months.

Thank you all for the prayers, food, and general outpouring of love. We love each and every one of you and you have helped to ease the pain of our loss. We are eternally grateful.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dad

It's been awhile since I did an updated post on my Dad, and his health has declined quite a bit since then. If I remember correctly, the last post I did was shortly after he stopped taking Tarceva, the chemo pill. He had been having nausea and diarrhea and had lost a good bit of weight. Well, that was when the floodgates opened.

He began actually vomiting a couple of weeks ago. He ate his last "meal" about 2 weeks ago this Sunday. He began to refuse to eat, knowing that he'd be sick if he did. He would eat a bite of food and vomit. He had an upper GI test done that showed 2 ulcers in his stomach, which would explain some of his stomach pain, but not the nausea. He was prescribed more anti-nausea medications than I can count, and none really helped. He began needing IV fluids daily because he literally wasn't eating or drinking anything. A home health agency has been sending a nurse out every day to give him IV fluids. It's been a huge event.

Last weekend his doctor recommended upping his anti-nausea medications to see if it would help. Within a day or 2, he began getting very disoriented and confused. It has gone downhill from there, despite changing the medications.

Right now, not much of what he says makes any sense. He mumbles and whispers and it's nearly impossible to understand what he's saying. Even when you DO understand, it is so incoherent. He talks about my grandpa like he just spoke to him yesterday, and tells you about their entire conversation. He's just in another world. On top of that, he's incredibly weak. He can't walk on his own and frequently bumps into things or falls, even when he's being helped to walk. He's still as stubborn as always, and keeps insisting that he needs to jump up out of bed to go SOMEWHERE. He can't be left alone - even for a second. He's a master at silently getting up if someone leaves the room for a second. In fact, the other night he managed to get out of bed, make coffee, go in the garage, and make it back into the living room. He was completely disoriented when my mom found him. It's very scary because there's NO telling what he could manage to do if he was alone.

My mom has been by his side nonstop since this all began. She gets no breaks. He isn't really sleeping, and is keeping them both up all night. If it's not constant trips to the bathroom, he's insisting that there's blood all over his hands, and getting belligerent when she tries to explain things to him. He's been "packing up the camper" as well. During the day, he is only "sleeping" for a few minutes at a time. When he does, his hands are often near his face, moving as if he's acting out his dreams. It's perhaps the saddest thing I've ever seen.

My aunts have been taking turns helping my mom and trying to provide her some bit of relief. I've been going over daily, but it's very hard because it's impossible for me to bring Emma with me and be of any use. I have to wait until Brad's home and can either watch her at our house, or watch her at Mom and Dad's while I visit with them or sit with Dad while my mom takes a bath. I don't really feel like I'm able to do any good, but I'm trying to be strong for my mom in anyway that I can. I have no idea how she's done this for so long. She's the truest testament of true love and of loving someone "in sickness and in health" that I've ever known. She's also the strongest person I've ever known. If you had ANY idea what she's gone through and put up with in the 30 years they've been married.......

On Tuesday my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Jim helped my mom take Dad to have an MRI. The doctors wanted to check his brain and see if the cancer had metastasized there, or if it was something else causing the dementia. His nurse came last night and was unable to even get a vein for an IV, despite she and my Aunt Nancy (who's a nurse) trying over and over. This morning my mom heard from the doctor's office. His brain scan was clear. However, it appears that his body systems are shutting down. She's waiting to speak to the doctor himself, but we've pretty much accepted that it's almost time to say goodbye. Hospice has been called and a nurse should be coming by the house sometime today.

In the end, I have to accept that he's made this decision himself. HE chose to stop eating weeks ago, and still refuses food when offered several times a day. There's nothing else anyone can do. At this point, IV fluids are just prolonging the inevitable. In some way, I'm so glad that he's so incoherent and unaware of what's going on around him. My worst fear has been his last moments and somehow, knowing that he will hopefully be unaware of the reality of what's happening is truly a blessing right now.

We're all devastated and would really appreciate your prayers during this difficult time. And thank you all for the prayers that you've been praying - they are being answered, even though only God knows what is best right now. I can't even begin to explain how terrified I am with what I know is about to happen. I'm trying to be as strong as I can, because I know that when it finally happens, it's going to take all that I have to avoid crawling under a rock and never coming out. I'll be 31 weeks pregnant in a few days. My only hope had been that Dad would be able to hold Abby. We know now that that won't happen. Devastation.





Sunday, April 3, 2011

29 Weeks



The first picture is 29 weeks with Emma. The second is 29 weeks with Abby. I actually don't see a really huge difference between the 2 this week. In past weeks, it was pretty obvious that Abby was bigger. I have an ultrasound tomorrow, and can't wait to see how big she actually is. According to my weekly pregnancy emails, she's supposed to be around 2.5lbs this week.

I've been feeling really good lately. This pregnancy (aside from the gestational diabeetus) has been SO much easier on me than Emma's pregnancy. Looking back on my posts from back then, I was in SO much pain and was already seeing the cardiologist for my fast heart rate. At my last appointment, my heart rate was below 80. With Emma, my resting heart rate was often 140.

I'm also not in the tremendous pain I was with Emma. My pubic bone hurt TERRIBLY, and the back pain was almost unbearable. So far (knock on wood), I've had some back pain, but nothing too bad. Emma's been coming up to me and pointing to my belly and saying "Baby? Abby?" She's going to be such a good big sister. I can't wait to see my girls together.

I'm really looking forward to holding this sweet girl in my arms. I was talking to Brad a few days ago about what is going to be different "this time around." I don't think we've made any major mistakes with Emma so far (SHE may have something else to say about that once she's a grown up!), but I think I will be SO much more relaxed. I remember being terrified that she wouldn't latch to nurse her. I was stressed out and crying, she was stressed out and crying....Brad couldn't do much aside from sit back and watch helplessly. This time around, I know that she won't starve. She WILL latch and I WON'T think of offering her a bottle. I WON'T listen to the nurses in the hospital who tell me that I should just give her a bottle if she seems hungry. I know that I can do it, I know that she can do it.

I won't worry so much about her getting her days and nights straight right away. There's not much you can do for those first few weeks, and I plan to soak up every second of those "wide awake in the middle of the night" moments. They're often the sweetest. I know how precious that time is, and how quickly they grow. As much as I adore Emma and the age she is now, my heart still breaks that she's not my little baby anymore. I try to get her to let me hold her and play "baby," but she's not having it!

I have my ultrasound and OB check-up tomorrow and Brad's going to be able to come with me! He hasn't seen Abby on an ultrasound since I was 18 weeks pregnant. He's got Spring Break this week, as does my mom, so she's going to come watch Emma for us. I can't wait! I'll let you all know how big she is when we're back.

Friday, April 1, 2011

I Love You

Emma is growing up SO fast that it kills me! She's just been the most precious girl lately. She's so affectionate, and so sweet. She's also talking non-stop - seriously! I thought I'd spend a post talking about some cute things she says/does these days.

Stuff she says a lot....

I stuck.
I love you.
Thank you
Airplane
Baby CRY!
Where it go?
Go car? Mimi....Bailey? (she asks me this after EVERY nap!)
Nuggle nuggle (what we call 'snuggling' in the bed)
Come on!
All ready.
All done.
Come on Lucy!
Let's go!
Ok, ok, ok.
Waffle
Strawberry
Coke!
French fry
dipey
Gullah (from one of her favorite shows, Gullah Gullah Island)
Gabba (Yo Gabba Gabba)
Awesome!
Elmo
Night night dipey
Sauce. (pronounced saush)
Up above the... (when she wants us to sing Twinkle, Twinkle.)
Shhhhhh! Quiet.

We discovered a few weeks ago that she knows the last word to every line of her favorite song - Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. For example, I sing "Twinkle Twinkle little......" and she says "star." She knows the whole song that way!

I was folding her diapers the other day and she was helping. She picked up a stack of some of the inserts from her overnight diapers. I told her they were her "night night diapers." She proceeded to lay her head on them and say "night night dipey!" She STILL remembers that and does the same thing every time I fold diapers.

Yesterday while I was on the phone with my mom (I have a witness!) Emma walked up, pulled up my shirt and said "Baby Abby." "Abby come?" I was blown away. I rarely talk about that with her because I don't want to confuse her too much. It blew me away how much she understands.

She adores airplanes and has to stop dead in her tracks every time she hears one.

She will walk up to me and kiss me and say "I luh yee." It's the sweetest thing in the whole world. Check out the video!

video

She's very concerned about things "crying" these days. We went to the Yellow River Game Ranch and every time she heard an animal she said "oh no! Cry!" It was so cute.