Thursday, January 22, 2015

Baby Mathews Update

We have arrived safely at 12 weeks! I had my 12 week appointment on Monday, January 19th. It was a state holiday so Hunter hunted in Camden & Mama went to the doctor with me. She was so excited! I was hoping they'd do an ultrasound but they didn't. We got to hear the heartbeat with the Doppler for the first time but he didn't tell me the rate. After we left, we went to my work & took a peek at him/her with the ultrasound, just so Mama could see movement. I keep wanting to look at him/her at work, just so I know everything is still ok....hopefully when I feel a little movement in there, I'll chill out a little bit. Dr. Lawhon let me stop taking the progesterone, yay!!!!

Not much has changed, otherwise. I still want fruit...and McDonald's fries. Hunter has been so good to put up with me....he has been on numerous grocery store trips for fruit & even brought some to work because I called him with a pitiful sob story about how bad I wanted blackberries, blue berries & raspberries RIGHT THEN. I've been tearing up watermelon, strawberries & pineapples, too! Since I'm going to need quite a few days off in August, I've started working 4 & 5 12 hour shifts a week, rather than just my normal 3 shifts. I figured I better work lots while I can & save up money now, before I get huge. Thank God for Hunter....he's been so good to wash dishes, wash clothes & cook dinner. There have been a few times when I've told him I'm going to make a list of what NOT to say to your pregnant wife. For example, the night he said, "you're going to eat ALL of that???" I'm not as tired as I was in the beginning, thankfully! I gag every morning when I brush my teeth & I get a little nauseated at 5:00 every afternoon- it's really weird!

I go back on February 9th for a 15 week checkup & blood work then 2 weeks later at 17 weeks to find out the gender on February 27th birthday!!!!  That might possibly be my most favorite birthday present, EVER!!! I have decided on names....and Hunter has decided on names....but apparently there will be blood shed before we agree on ANY of them. I'm such a sentimental family person & I want to use family names. Hunter's choices come from way out in left field. My sweet mother-in-law & I cleaned out closets so baby has room for lots of clothes!

Will update more after my 15 week appointment! We love you all!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Baby Mathews

In case you've been under a rock lately or haven't seen any of our parents around town, WE'RE HAVING A BABY!!!! We had planned to wait until May buuuuuuuuuuut if you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans, right?

How we found out...

I called in to work on November 11th because I had spent the whole night calling dinosaurs in the toilet.... I NEVER call in to work & I NEVER throw up. I blamed it on the pancakes I had for breakfast at work the day before. Of course my phone was continuously going off with texts from the girls at work asking if I was pregnant. Heck no, I'm not pregnant!!!! We're waiting until May, remember? There were already 3 girls at work who were pregnant...Kelsey, Bridget & Holland (read Holland's story HERE) & there were bets on who would be next. NEWSFLASH: DO NOT DRINK THE WATER IN THE MEDICAL INTENSIVE CARE UNIT! Even the doctors joke about that newsflash. Anyways, I got a little nervous & took a pregnancy test....negative. Holland quickly reminded me that the first one she took was negative, too, and it just might be too soon to detect. Hunter's sister, Amanda, also said the same thing. I decided that I'd take one Thanksgiving morning before work....that would be something to be thankful for, right? I got up Thursday morning, November 27th & turned the shower water on. While I was waiting for the water to get warm, I took the test. The first line turned pink & I thought to myself, 'I don't think that line was that close to the middle of the little window last time.' Then the second line very clearly turned pink. I said, "Oh my God. HUNTER!!!!! Come here!!!!!!!!" Hunter, being the grumpy pants that he is in the mornings, said "Ugh! Tara! What?????" He later told me he thought I was waking him up because my hair had clogged the shower drain....again. I was standing by the sink, crying....excited, shocked, nervous, but mostly scared to absolute death. He stomped in & I said, "I'm pregnant..." he looked like he had seen a ghost & said "Oh God...yay, pretty!!!...congratulations!" CONGRATULATIONS??? As if it's not his child, too?? He saw me crying & figured he better say something positive & I guess 'congratulations' was the first thing that came to mind!! That makes me laugh so hard now!! Obviously I didn't have time to wash my hair at this point & I kept catching myself staring into space while I was trying to put my makeup on. Finding out before work was not a good idea. I couldn't focus on ANYTHING that day...and that's scary in my line of work!!

The cat is out of the bag...

Hunter wanted me to wait until Christmas to tell our parents....a whole month....YEAH RIGHT. Thanksgiving night, we drove to Maplesville & told my Mama & Randy. We told Daddy & Melanie on Saturday and we told Hunter's parents on Sunday. We told Mama by writing 'Baby Mathews August 2015' on a piece of paper in a bowl...she thought we were drawing names for Christmas. She let out a scary scream when she read it! We wrapped up tiny shoes & gave them to Daddy. For Hunter's parents, we wrapped up a tiny baseball glove. Hunter's daddy always coached Hunter in little league ball. They were all tickled to death! Daddy called me 4 times that next Monday to talk about baby names! Our doctor appointment wasn't until December 16th & we didn't want to tell everyone until we got an OK from Dr. Lawhon so we only told close friends & family.

Days go by...

On December 3rd, we had a little scare so I went back to the doctor & they figured out that my progesterone levels were really low. Thirteen, to be exact. They put me on oral progesterone 200mg twice a day & I'll continue taking that until I'm 12 weeks. On the 11th, I went back for my progesterone redraw levels & everything was perfect! On December 16th, we went to our first OB appointment. Hunter looked extremely uncomfortable  a bit scared sitting in the waiting room & probably couldn't have gotten out of there soon enough! Before we saw Dr. Lawhon, they did an ultrasound & we got to see our sweet baby for the first time! Our Due date is August 2, 2015! We also introduced Baby Mathews to social media! 

Today, December 29th, we got to see our baby for the second time AND we got to hear his/her tiny little heart beating! A whopping 172 beats per minute! He/she has grown so much in 2 short weeks!

Baby Mathews got his/her first present from Hunter's parents for Christmas. A gorgeous white knitted blanket & a little lamb. My Mama got him/her a bible for Christmas. Piper, Saige's best dog friend, got him/her a box of goodies!!

Everything is good! I haven't had much morning sickness, thankfully. However, I could sleep all day, every day. On more than one occasion, I have come home from work & gone to bed without even eating dinner. I STAY tired! If I get still, I'm down for the count. As a matter of fact, it's a pure miracle that it's 9:16 & I'm still awake! I crave orange a gallon or two a week! I can't get enough of fruit, especially tangerines! Lately I've been wanting McDonald's fries but I'm trying to get rid of that craving. I get up at least once during the night to use the bathroom & that is annoying! Hunter & I both have been reading, not that any book could prepare us for the roller coaster we are about to jump on! 

My book

Hunter's book

We go back to the doctor January 19th. By then I'll be 12 weeks! Time is already flying by! I've been meaning to do the chalkboard timeline week by week so maybe by 12 weeks, I'll have a board & chalk & can start! We will see you in 3 weeks! Happy New Year! 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Holland's Story

I was pushed back and about to fall, but The Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation.                                                                     Psalm 118:13-14

   I met Holland in January of 2012 while doing my preceptorship in MICU at Baptist South. Such a gorgeous girl with the prettiest eyelashes, a very outgoing personality & super bright lipstick! I started working in MICU in May of 2012 & we quickly became friends. We had a lot in common...we were about the same age, we were both getting married that year and we were both 'girly,' often talking about our newest hairdo, nail polish or makeup. Jean, our unit clerk, calls us the 'beauty queens in the unit,' and she doesn't mean that in a nice way. I think she thinks we missed our casting call on the movie 'Mean Girls.' Anyways, Holland & I chat on our off days & we love an occasional margarita after a crazy 12 hour shift at work! She is back in school part time to become a Nurse Practitioner & is doing amazing with that! With all that being said, the past 11 days have taught me so much about faith, preserverance, hope, patience, humility, friendship & God's plans.

   Two weekends ago, Holland & her husband, Nic, went to Atlanta to a Braves game and Hunter & I were in Pine Hill for Collins' 2nd birthday party. Needless to say, Holland & I didn't talk all weekend. On Monday, May 5th, I was at work & it was crazy busy, as usual. When I got around to checking my phone, I saw that I had 2 texts from Haley, Holland's sister. The first one said, 'Hey Tara it's Haley. Have you talked to Holland recently??' And the second text 2 minutes later said, 'Call me when you can.' I automatically knew something wasn't right so I called Haley from our break room. She told me that Holland had been having headaches so she went to the ER & they did an MRI...I knew what was coming...and that they found a mass on her brain. She was being transferred to UAB. My heart hit the floor & I wanted to vomit. All I could say was 'No.......' Haley was obviously upset & said 'Tara, what could it be???' I work in the ICU...of course I thought the worst. I immediately started praying when I hung up the phone. It felt like I had been gut punched & I can't even imagine how Holland & her family felt. From that very morning, Haley said, 'We serve a God that made the blind see. This is not too big for Him!' What strength that took....her baby sister had a mass on her brain & was facing the unknown, yet she put aside the questions of 'why?' and surrendered it straight to God from the very beginning. I want to be a woman of that kind of conviction! The next 24 hours were filled with CT scans to determine what the mass was....a tumor, vessel abnormality, infection/abscess or an abnormal normality (whatever that could be). My heart ached for Holland. Why do bad things happen to good people? I humbly prayed & prayed & prayed, just like everybody else that knows Holland did. Andrea (another girl we work with) & I went to UAB to visit Holland the next day. She seemed to be in good spirits but still had a pounding headache. We laughed & talked about everything, trying to avoid talking about the elephant in the room. Let me say this- Holland has an amazing THE BEST support group. Her room was filled with both her family & Nic's family and tons of snacks, flowers & cards. She is so loved! That night before we left, Dr. Okor, the neurosurgeon that we all grew to LOVE, came in & said that they narrowed it down to a tumor or an infection/abscess. There were talks of a biopsy but he just didn't feel comfortable doing that since he wasn't 100% sure that it was a tumor. As hard as it was being on the 'other side' in a hospital, I respected Dr. Okor for not jumping the gun when he really didn't know what he was dealing with. On Wednesday, they decided to let Holland go home with steroids, pain medicine & nausea medicine & planned to see her again in 3 weeks for a follow up MRI. 3 weeks....that would have been a LONG 3 weeks! The next day, Holland texted me & said Dr. Okor moved her follow up appointment up 2 weeks. Great, right?? That's 2 weeks of gut-wrenching nervousness that we won't have to endure! Wrong...I was a nervous wreck that he knew something that we didn't & 3 weeks was too long to wait. So...for the next few days, I turned into my mother...calling/texting Holland at all hours to check on her. On Friday she sent me a text that pretty much broke my heart....she said she felt like she was dying & she had no energy to do anything- she felt invalid. People joke all the time that they 'feel like death' or that they are 'dying' after too much to drink the night before, but this was a way different situation. What if she did have a malignant brain tumor & she was dying? I never said that to her but I was so, so afraid. That weekend, Hunter & I went to Atlanta to a Braves game with Ashlee & Matthew. We had a good time & sent Holland funny snapchats all weekend to cheer her up, per her request. Sunday morning when we woke up, I had a text from Haley that said Holland was throwing up again & really sick. They were rushing her back to UAB & there was more swelling on her brain. A million things were running through my head...why Holland? She doesn't deserve this. Is it a rapid growing tumor? How in the world did this  happen so fast? Once again, Haley, being the amazing person that she is, said, 'They are going to fix this with The Lord's help. What a testimony she will have for His kingdom!' Talk about faith, perseverance, humility & hope! That girl has it! Her heart rate started to drop & she was maxed out on pain meds but still in agonizing pain so they moved her to the neuro ICU. Her MRI that afternoon showed increased swelling, increased size in the mass, her front 2 ventricles had collapsed & she had a midline shift...WHAT?? If you work in the medical field, your jaw probably just dropped. If you don't know what that is, then let me tell you that it is BAD. It was an absolute blessing that she got to the hospital when she did because we could have easily lost her that day. That night, they did emergency surgery. When they got in, they found a brain abscess behind her right eye & drained 60cc of fluid. Holland said that when she got into the operating room, she heard Dr. Okor tell the nurses to only shave a tiny area of her head. THAT, along with the fact that he came into the hospital on his day off to do her surgery because he said that she was 'his patient,' is another reason why we loved him...he didn't make Holland feel like she was just another patient & he knew losing her hair was a big deal to her & it meant a lot to her that he cared about that. She spent that night in the ICU & I was up there the very next morning. When I walked in, I hugged her, she gave me a kiss on the cheek & held my hand....a 2 year friendship that felt like it had lasted a lifetime. She talked & laughed & told stories of the shenanigans that took place while she was coming off of the anesthesia after the surgery...WOAH...her poor nurses! It was SO good to hear her laugh & her be headache- free! The next day she moved to the step-down unit & she got to come home on Wednesday with IV antibiotics.

   What an AMAZING God we serve!! Haley was right...this wasn't too big for Him. After surgery, Dr. Okor told Holland that it's not about WHEN you finish the race, it's just about finishing it. This wasn't in Holland's plan, it wasn't in her family's was God's plan & he has already used it for His kingdom. Lives have been rededicated to Christ through Holland's story & I know numerous other lives have been touched. So many people have grown closer to Him through this, including myself.  Please continue to pray for Holland as she has big decisions to make about work & school and continue to pray for her family who hasn't left her side! Today I'm thankful for my sweet friend, her health & what she means to me!

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, according to his purpose.                                                                                                            Romans 8:28