Thursday, July 31, 2008

Check out my eye!

I have no idea what in the world I did, but my eye was itchy a few nights ago, so in my typical fashion I started digging at it and grinding it around. Then I noticed that I couldn't see very well out of that eye. It hurt like hell. It started watering and felt as though it was swelling up. And low and behold it did! And do you see how the eye itself is bulging out on the bottom (it looks like it has pus in it or something). Just totally weird!!

This is the same thing that happened a few weeks ago. I had written about being bitten by a mosquito or something. It went away the very next day. It went away the last time too. It's weird! I was thinking maybe I had pink eye or something like that. Does this look like pink eye? And if so, why does it go away and then come back a few weeks later.

I took pics so I can take them to my doctor and he can see what I'm talking about. I might just have to wait until it does it again and then go to the doctor, but it always seems to go away by the morning. It is just really weird!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

God's laughing, can you hear him?

Now that I told you all the wonderful things my children have done, let me share how rotten and annoying they have been. LOL!

Amanda ~ has been told more than twenty times to put her hair straightener away when she's done using it. She leaves it plugged in too. Do you know how hot that thing gets? Zach has burned his finger on it. Nathan wants to play with it. This will be the third time it's been taken off of her in six months.

I told her three days ago that if she didn't help and do the chores she was assigned to do than she would be grounded for a week. She ignored me. I told her if she didn't do it again, I'd make it two weeks. She still didn't do it. Today, I overheard her tell Anthony that I was mean and a bitch. Niccccee! She'll be lucky if she's not grounded until she graduates high school! And that's just a few things!

Anthony ~ has been stealing his dad's soda, drinking it and lying about it. The kids are only allowed either one can a day or they can share a 2 liter bottle at lunch. But he's been sneaking it.

I told him two weeks ago to mow the grass - still not done!

Sarah ~ has been whinning about everything. Although I really can't complain too much about her, she's the only one that's really been helping. And the only one so far that got her allowance money.

Zachary ~ has been sneaking soda too. It's not even for himself, he's been doing it for Anthony.

He has been listening to Anthony and Amanda so much, it's now at the point that if I ask him to do something and then Amanda or Anthony asks him to do something that he will listen to them first.

Nicholas ~ has been back talking!

He and Zachary have been fighting over everything.

Nathan ~ He's a cutie, but he's been a little stinker lately too.

I used to roll my eyes when my mother would say "I hope you have kids just like you one day." Well, now I've got six of them. Thanks mom! Oh and I've totally been saying it to my kids as well. The curse must go on.... I even add a little something to mine though. It goes alittle something like this, "I hope you have kids that act just like you one day and when they do and you call me and ask for help, I'm just going to laugh and laugh and laugh, until I can't laugh anymore! Hahahahahha, take that!

~Nathan Part Three~

Nathan is true to the meaning of his name.

Nathaniel means "gift from God". And Nathan really is a blessing that God gave us.
Marcus means "warlike". Which with three older brothers, he is holding his own as well as he can. Rich's only uncle is named Mark. And Rich has felt since our first child we should name a child by using his uncle's name. After Rich's father died, his uncle stepped in and helped keep an eye on his brother's only son. Uncle Mark still looks after Rich. He is like a mentor to Rich. So it only seemed fitting to name a child after him (or sort of after him).

Nathan is now three. I asked him this morning "Are you three now, Nathan?" and he said "Yep!"

He has been nothing but utter joy for this entire family. That simple. We all love and adore him and he is completely spoiled by all of us. God is Good, and for that I'm glad!

Nathan, Part Two

Sunday, July 27, 2008

~*~ Nathaniel~*~

My littlest bugger, Nathan! I just love him, he brings such joy to my life!

During his pregnancy, I had alot of back and side pain. I found out that I had placenta previa (where basically the placenta is low and covers the cervix). Most of the time it moves on its own, alot of times, it means a c-section. I was scared to death when the doctor told me this. He told me to "take it easy" no sex, no heavy lifting, no strenuous housework or anything that could provoke bleeding. I came home crying. I kept thinking great another "high risk" pregnancy, why me? I told Rich and he told me to quit my job. He made the older kids pitch in with housework. They would do the laundry and bring me baskets of clothes to fold (which was the only thing Rich would let me do).

The placenta did eventually move and I didn't have to have a c-section. I was due July 29. I was so miserable towards the end that my doctor said I could schedule an induction. I said where do I sign up? On July 26, we headed to the hospital at 7:30 in the morning and by the time they registered me and I signed a gazillion papers, they put the pill (cytotec - to start the labor) in at 8 a.m. The nurse checked me and I was still at a 1 (cm dilated). I had to stay in bed for an hour, so that the pill would take place. After that I was allowed to get up, so at 9, I walked the halls, went back to bed at 10, the nurse checked me and I was a 2-3.

AT 11 a.m. She checked me again, I was at 4. By the time 12:30 rolled around I was at a 5-6 and in alot of pain, the contractions were about 1-3 minutes apart. The nurse asked if I wanted an epidural, and told me the doctor would be there by 1 p.m. So, I decided to wait until the doctor got there, but by 10 minutes til 1. I was in so much pain and I felt pressure (like I needed to go the bathroom), the nurse told me it was the baby.

At 1 p.m., I told Rich to get the nurse and get me the epidural, now! He ran out for the nurse. The "epi" doctor came in and took 20 minutes to put the epidural in. I was literally in tears at this point and really felt the need to push. But when the dr and nurse asked me if I had to push, I lied. I wanted that epi bad! LOL! But at the same time, I was afraid I would drop a baby on the floor.

By 2 p.m. my doctor was there and they were prepping the room and me. The epidural kicked in and all I felt was pressure from the baby. I felt so much pressure. After the first two pushes the doctor asked if I wanted some help (meaning the suction cup thing that scarred Nicholas' head). Rich told him "no", because he was afraid it would do the same thing to the baby. After two more pushes,he was born at 2:26 p.m He weighed 7 pounds and 12 ounces.

I was breastfeeding him, but it didn't work out very well. He wasn't getting enough. So the doctor put him on preemie formula, he lost so much weight, that I felt so guilty. He ended up down to six pounds. Which is alot of weight for a newborn to lose. To this day, I still feel horrible! Somebody was extremely jealous of his new little brother, almost every picture I have has Nicholas in it.

~Nicholas Part Three~

Nicholas still struggles with life's obstacles being thrown at him. In August of 2007, he had to have his tonsils and adenoids removed. On his follow up appointment it was discovered that he had fluid in his left ear. He will need to have tubes put in his ears. I didn't mention his heart before, but he had a small hole in his heart when he was born as well. It was between the bottom two chmbers, it closed on its own. He hasn't had any problems with his heart or kidneys since then.

Through it all, Nicholas is a wonderful little boy. He brings such joy to me and Rich. He is thoughtful, kind and sweet. This year he will enter the first grade. He plays baseball (tee-ball) and loves to ride his bike. And boy does he ever love Scooby Doo. While he was hospitalized as a baby, he was given two stuffed animals. A dog we named Rags, and a bear we named Boo-Boo. They have gone on all of his journeys. When he had his recent surgery, the two animals went with him. The give him such comfort. He doesn't need them now as much as he used too, he gave them to Nathan. What a darling boy I have.

I can't wait to see this little boy grow up and what life holds for him. Nicholas will always be special to me as he is our little boo-boo boy. Long ago, when we were discussing his problems, I asked Rich what do we do with a hurt little boy and Rich said "you just love them more than anything." And we do!

Nicholas, Part Two


Nicholas' pregnancy was a difficult one, mentally and physically. Through some routine ultrasounds the doctors discovered that one of his kidneys was larger than the other. They told us it was called Polycystic Kidney Disease. Rich and I had to undergo genetic testing. Later they told us that what would likely happen is that the enlarged kidney would eventually atrophy and then be absorbed into his body and he would be born with one kidney. They told us it was perfectly fine, and there are lots of people out there that are born with one kidney, because of this, most don't even know they only have one until the existing one starts to shut down.

They told us he had Autosomal Recessive PKD. You can read about it here if you like:

The pregnancy was mentally exhausting, and I was told to "take it easy". I had to have numerous ultrasounds to monitor Nicholas' kidneys. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I kept feeling like I was leaking fluid or something. While I was sitting in the waiting room at my doctors office I was having contractions. My doctor did a test to see if the fluid was amniotic or something else. I was still having the contractions. The test came back and it was indeed amniotic fluid that I was leaking. So he sent me straight to the hospital. I was going to have my baby that day. On the way to the hospital I had to call Rich and tell him what was happening. He took all the kids to a friend's house and met me there.

I had an epidural, because I remembered how marvelous it was when I had the twins. However, they didn't shoot me up as well and I still felt everything. I had some trouble pushing him out, so the doctor used a suction cup type thing to help pull him out. We came to find out later, that the suction was ripped off his head a few times and permanently scarred his head. He has two noticeable scars on his scalp that doesn't grow hair. He was born at 6:01 p.m. and weighed 8 pounds and 8 ounces (my second biggest baby).

Right after I gave birth, they rushed him off to do another ultrasound on his kidneys. Both kidneys were still there (the left one was still enlarged). They put him on an antibiotic to help stave off any bladder or kidney infections. We asked for the best pediatric urologist they could find. We were sent to Children's in Pittsburgh. His doctor monitored his progress, ordered bladder scans and kidney scans, more ultrasounds and voiding cystourethrogram.

When Nicholas was nine months old, the doctor decided he would try to put a stint in his urthea tube, thinking that the cysts were coming from backup built in the kidney (called kidney reflux). The surgery was supposed to take place on a Thursday, I think. We had called Rich's mother to come in and help watch the kids the first couple of days. The morning of the surgery, I got a call from the hospital. The lady told me that the doctor wouldn't be able to do the surgery as there was a huge car accident that morning and he was going to be doing surgeries all day. When I told Rich, he said God will take care of it, we're going anyway.

So off we went. We waited and waited, they sent us from one waiting room to another. My mom and her husband came to sit with us, but weren't allowed back, so Rich and I took turns sitting with Nicholas. Rich went and bought us lunch but you can't eat in front of people waiting for surgery, so we took turns eating as well. One of the kids old babysitters is now a nurse and at the time she was working at the hospital, so she came and sat with us too. Nicholas did amazingly well for a boy who hadn't eaten or had a drink since the night before.

After hours and hours of waiting, the nurse told us they wouldn't have time to do the surgery today, and the doctor had used up his allotted time. The doctor came to us while the nurse was still standing there and said he would do the surgery. He said he would even pay for the room if he had too, because we came all that way and waited. That man should be a saint! Nicholas was prepped and I waited with him. They took him back and I went to a waiting room where Rich, my mother and her husband and I waited. The doctor came out and told us that Nicholas was fine, they were sending him to post op, a nurse will take us to him when he woke up. He told us they inserted a camera to look around and discovered Nicholas' urthea tube was kinked and tied in a knot. So he took the kinked, knotted part out and fused the two ends together. Meanwhile as we waited to see Nicholas, our old friend and babysitter, took us in even though we weren't allowed. And we got to stay with him until he woke up. I ended up staying in the hospital while he recovered.

The doctor later told us that his left kidney is now functioning, not as well as the right one. But it works. He also told us the kidney will always be enlarged, mainly because it was enlarged for so long.

Nicholas means "victory of the people" Aaron means "enlightened". We named him these two names for a reason. He is named Nicholas after Rich's great grandfather, who traveled here from Italy. He overcame so many obstacles on his journey, just as our Nicholas did. Nicholas is also named because of his victory over his obstacles and struggles. He keeps overcoming them and he is victorious. Aaron because God showed us the problems, he "enlightened" us and we made decisions based on the information we received.

~The Twins Part Three~

Through the years, I have kept Sarah and Zachary in the same classroom. Zachary has some speech problems and I thought where he lacked in communications skills, Sarah could be his crutch. They really do depend on each other. I often find them sitting together on the couch watching a tv show, hanging out with each other. They both play baseball. Most girls Sarah's age switch to softball, not Sarah because she likes being with her brother. When they were infants, they slept in the same bassinet and then the same crib. I would put them on different sides of the crib and every morning they would be laying on top of each other. So it's neat to see that they still cling to that togetherness.

This is where I will separate them, so that I can focus on them individually.

Sarah ~ is a fun loving girl. She has the best giggles! And she loves to talk. She was the clingiest little girl. I couldn't even go out to the mailbox, without Sarah flipping out. She cried a LOT when she was a little baby.

Sarah, is a very good student (mostly A's, some B's). She loves to play sports (baseball, basketball, soccer), she is definitely a tomboy. And this was the little girl who pranced around on her toes and hated to be dirty as a toddler. She was in the chorus, last year. Sarah loves to dance! She will turn on tune disney and dance around in the living room. Sarah is just a bundle of energy bursting at the seams.

Zachary ~ is a good student. He does get lazy with his homework, plus he really struggles with spelling. At first I thought it was because he wasn't studying enough, but I think his speech problems are hindering his spelling abilities. He loves to play baseball and basketball.

He does seem to be a little accident prone. When he was about six years old, he fell off the swingset and broke his arm. Not in one place, but three. He broke his wrist, his elbow and a part bone between the elbow and shoulder. We had to take him to Children's hospital to a pediatric specialist. They had to put him under, to reset his arm. He had a cast the entire summer. Last year, on Halloween he cracked his head open and needed stitches.

Sometimes, I feel as though I neglect Zach, because of his younger brothers. It's so hard to find a balance. I've been trying to make a better effort at spending time with him.

Its been alot of fun having twins. As they say, twice the fun! I hope they continue to light up my life the way they have so far. They are growing up so fast...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Twins, Part Two

~*~The Twins Part One~*~

I'm posting about the twins together, because it's a story they share.

I'm sure everyone knows that I'm a twin. I have a twin brother. So this pregnancy was extra special to me. Rich once wrote a letter to Sarah and Zachary and in it he said "Nothing made your mother so happy, as to carry the both of you. To know that she was having twins was an absolute blessing to her." And he was right. I did feel blessed. It was amazing!

I was on birth control pills, and I missed two pills. Two pills, two babies! I was so sick for months. I was throwing up so much, that it got to the point that I knew what wouldn't be nasty coming back up. For four months, I was sick. My doctor threatened to send me to the hospital and hook me up to an IV. Rich and I went together for the first ultrasound. Because I was so sick, when those two black dots showed up, I thought something was seriously wrong with me. Rich, however knew and said "Twins?"

Around three months, I almost lost them. I was walking to the bathroom, when I saw all this blood on the floor. I left a trail all the way to the bathroom. I freaked and was so scared. Rich took me to the ER. The doctors got the bleeding to stop and they did an ultrasound. We were so happy that they were both still there. I was put on bed rest. Rich was still working and trying to keep his time off for the birth. We managed to muddle through relying of family and friends to help us. When something like that happens, its amazing to see how many people are there to help. People made us meals, they cleaned, they played with Amanda and Anthony. Rich did what he could too.

After a few months, I was given the okay to do things again. At 30 weeks, I was standing on a chair stenciling Noah's Ark on the wall in the babies room when I felt this horrible pain. And then the contractions started. I started timing them, because they were pretty regular. They were five minutes apart, I was in premature labor. Rich rushed me to the hospital. My doctor checked me and I was 4 cm dilated. They told us they didn't have the facilities to care for preemies and I would have to be taken to Pittsburgh. I thought that meant another ambulance ride. But no, they were going to life flight me. I was scared to death. First of all, I knew it was too soon for them to be born. Secondly, life flight? Holy shit!

When I got to the hospital in Pittsburgh, they rushed me into a birthing room. Mind you, Rich couldn't come with me, no room on the chopper. So here I was miles away from my family and being rushed into a birthing room. I was scared out of my mind! They started me on a magnesium sulfate drip to stop the labor. I was on bedrest in the hospital. I had a catheter put in and wasn't allowed out of bed. They gave me so many drugs I had no idea who was coming or going. I had to have a shot of cortisone to help develop the babies' lungs in case they couldn't stop the labor.

The next day, the catheter came out, but I still wasn't allowed out of bed. I had to use a bedpan. I was taken off the magnesium sulfate and put on terbutaline pill. They did another ultrasound and said the babies were showing good signs and baby girl is head down, baby boy is breech. Slowly, I was allowed to get up and use the bathroom, take a short shower every other day or so. After awhile I was allowed to sit up in a chair or on a couch.

After two weeks in the hospital, it was getting harder and harder for Rich to work, take care of the older kids, and visit me. He would come for visits and crash on the couch as soon as he walked in the door. So he discussed things with the doctors and they decided to do an amniocentisis to determine if the cortisone shots had done their job. When we got the postitive results that showed the lungs were developed, the doctors scheduled baby day. The next day October 24 at 9 a.m. the doctors came in and broke my water.

A few hourse later I was wheeled into the OR in case I had to have a c-section or something. I had an epidural and felt absoluting nothing! The nurses had to hold my legs open because I couldn't do it. After a few short minutes, Sarah was born (at 3:43 p.m.). She came out really easy. Rich said it was almost graceful. He then asked the doctors if I would deliver the next baby, or the placenta from Sarah next. The doctors said the next baby will come. The whole time Zachary was breech until the last few days. He was head down, when we started. After Sarah's birth, he started flipping around. He managed to wrap the cord around his neck. Another doctor started pushing down on my stomach to hold Zachary in place. Then Sarah's placenta came out and Rich looked at the doctor who looked worried.

I ended up with a hand printed bruise on my stomach from the doctor trying to keep Zachary from turning. Rich started praying. He said he prayed again that God spare the baby and take him instead. When he was through praying and said "Amen", Zachary was born (at 4:26 p.m.). Sarah weighed 5 pounds 1 ounce and Zachary weighed 4 pounds 13 ounces. He was so tiny, they both were.

Since Sarah was so "graceful" when she was being born, we named her Sarah which means "Princess". Zachary means "God remembered" God heard Rich's prayers and he remember them. They have matchy middle names Michael and Michelle, which means "who is like God"

~Anthony Part Three~

As the oldest boy, Anthony looks after his younger siblings. Once when we were in Florida, the kids were playing at a playground a block from the house. Sarah got stung by a bee and couldn't walk. Anthony carried her all the way home. He will stick up for them if they are getting picked on as well. Anthony never starts fights, but he'll finish them if he has to.

When Anthony was in preschool there was a boy that kept picking on him. Anthony told the teacher, but she didn't stop the boy. Anthony would come home complaining about this boy, when I couldn't help him anymore Rich stepped in. He told Anthony you always give someone three chances and after that if they still pick on you then do what you have to. The first chance is walk away, the second chance you tell the teacher, the third chance you try to talk to the kid. Anthony tried all of these things and the kid kept picking at him, until Anthony decided that was it, chances over and punched the boy right in the nose.

He was called to theh principal's office twice for fighting and none of it was his fault. One time it was a kid twice his age and size, Anthony took him down and Rich had to go to the school. Once Rich explained that the kid was bigger, the principal didn't do anything to Anthony.

Anthony's blessing is strength. And he is strong. He doesn't have many fears. When he was about three, Rich was fixing the roof. After climbing unto the roof, he turned around and there was Anthony climbing to the top of the ladder. One day I was at work and Rich was watching Anthony. He heard all this hammering in the laundry room. When he walked into the room, there were over two dozen nails pounded into the floor. He looked up at Rich and said "I did it"

Anthony is also very intelligent. In elementary school, he was awarded the President's pin for excellent students, his name is also on the plaque for the principal's 4.0 club. In high school, he is a member of the Jr National Honor Society and on the Academic League. He also makes highest honors every nine weeks, since the fourth grade. We are very proud of him. He is turning into a wonderful young man.

Anthony, part two

Friday, July 25, 2008


When Amanda was 12 and a half months old, a little brother came along. Anthony was a surprise baby, a big surprise as I was using the sponges back then (the sponges that were later found to be defective).

My pregnancy with him was also uneventful. I gained about 20 pounds or so. We had agreed not to find out what the sex was again. But during an ultrasound (Rich wasn't there), I found out we were having a boy. Again, we thought we would use the name Joshua Aaron. Although I had mentioned a few Italian names that I liked, we were sure we were using the name we had picked out before.

Anthony was born smack dab on his due date, March 3, 1994. I woke up that morning around 2 a.m. and started having contractions that were five minutes apart. I started panicking and woke Rich up. My mother was going to keep Amanda for us. We all get into the car, Rich backs out of the driveway, and slides on some ice (it had been snowing pretty bad). Our car ended up in a ditch that was beside our driveway, blocking in our other car.

For a few minutes we just sat there in the car, probably stunned. Then Rich jumps out and starts running down the street towards a neighbor's house. I later asked him what he was doing, he said he thought our neighbor could pull the car out of the ditch. In the meantime, I took Amanda out of the car and went back inside. I got out books and started reading about home birth, because by this point the contractions were alot harder and closer together. It occurred to me as Rich was walking back inside, that we should call an ambulance.

When the paramedics got there, I was upset that Rich wouldn't be able to go with me. And afraid, I was having my baby in the back of an ambulance. I remember begging the guy not to cut my pants off. They were borrowed from my sister. How funny to think about something stupid like that in the middle of a crises. I also remember them asking me what hospital I wanted to go too. I told them Uniontown, because that is where my doctor practiced medicine. They said we won't make it, you're going to Waynesburg (a very small hospital that doesn't deliver babies). I started to panic, asked someone to call Rich. I also asked them if they ever delivered babies, because I was honestly afraid I was going to give birth in that ambulance.

When we got to the hospital, a nurse came out and said you can't bring her in here, we don't have the facilities. The paramedics said, she either goes in or has the baby here in the ambulance bay. They let me in. Apparently, when you go to medical school nowadays they don't teach you how to deliver babies. I say this because everyone just kind of stood around not knowing what to do. Someone suggested getting an older doctor that recently retired, but lived within walking distance of the hospital.

I arrived at the hospital at 5 a.m. I was lonely and afraid. I asked them about the prep stuff they did with Amanda, they said they didn't have time before the baby came. I asked them about pain medicine or an epidural, because I was in serious pain. They said there wasn't time. When Rich arrived, he didn't even have time to put scrubs on, Anthony was crowning. I don't remember much other than that, because I blacked out. I do remember asking Rich why I was so wet. He told me it was just sweat (it was actually blood). From what I understand, Anthony fought and struggled his way out. The doctor had to cut me (episotomy) to make room. For some reason when he cut me, I started bleeding. My blood pressure dropped. Rich said he started praying that God spare me, and take Rich instead. I guess they thought I was going to die.

After all that, Anthony was born with a black eye and scratches on his face. He really did fight his way out. When we saw him, we both knew he wasn't a Joshua. We named him Anthony David, after two great warriors (Marc Antony and David from the Bible). He must have been a hurry to get here, I was in labor for a little over three hours. He was born 45 minutes after we arrived at the hospital. Anthony was my biggest baby in weight, he was 8 pounds and 12 ounces.

Anthony means "worthy or praise"
David means "beloved"

Afterwards, we were transferred to Uniontown to be taken care of by my doctor, who put me on iron pills and arranged for Anthony's circumcision. I got to ride in an ambulance twice in one day.