Michael & Leah's Continuing Saga...2011

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Ever since we moved to Alaska, we have stayed in touch with friends and family through email. We've put together this web site to journal our letters and put pictures to our stories. We enjoy hearing from everybody, so stay in touch!


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31 December 2011

Hey Everybody!

Just wanted to send out a short email while the kiddos are still sleeping...sorry, can't send any pictures at the moment...I'm having computer difficulties in that arena and Michael's gone down to Colorado Springs for his TDY leave and isn't here to help me with it...I am definitely not the "techy" one in the family...! :)

Hope all is well and you all had a wonderful Christmas! Michael, the kiddos, and I were all sufficiently spoiled...especially Cooper! We went through three phases of opening presents and cleaning up after each one...Cooper didn't say he was tired of opening presents, but you could just tell that he wanted to play with some of the new toys that he got.

We are currently sitting at about -30 degrees outside...burrr.....but the house is nice and toasty warm...I have the car/truck plugged in, the well heater plugged in and am planning to stay indoors for the most part. Yesterday I made sure we had plenty of food, diapers, pullups, wipes, and formula to last us through our three day weekend here at the house. Although I am hoping we'll make it into town tonight to go see the New Year firework display put on by the University.

Michael is down with his family and is currently heading up to Mount Princeton Hot Springs for a few days before his classes start. As for me, I'm just hanging out with the kiddos. My plan is to try and figure out Cooper's new LeapPad that he got as well as all his other techy toys. I am still figuring out my new Nook Tablet that Mike and the kiddos got me for Christmas...and I plan to do some serious spring cleaning in my closet, my craft room and other areas of the house.

Well, kiddos are up and energetic so I guess that is going to put an end to the email!!!

Love you all!!! God Bless and hope you have a happy and safe New Year!!!

Leah, Cooper, and Janelle


17 December 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope all is well...we're doing pretty good. Just wanted to send a few candid shots of the kiddos out. My Aunt Jan (my dad's sister) made wonderful quilts for my kiddos that we all will treasure forever!!! We went to a gal a few weekends ago who took some pictures of us for a Christmas card (that you all should be getting shortly...if not, send me your mailing address!!) My Christmas letter list is up to about 180 people! I love it! Anyhoo, we brought along the quilts so she could take a few photos of the kiddos with their quilts as well. Cooper had fun rolling around on the floor with Janelle and blowing on her belly. He had fun picking out different animals on his quilt, too. So, enjoy! Aunt Jan, I can't thank you enough...these are such special treasures that my children will love forever! You have a little something coming in the mail!!

Love you all!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Janelle


5 December 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope all is well with you with the start of the Christmas holiday season! We have just been going and going. I think the last time I wrote was around the middle of November or so before we were heading down to Anchorage. So, I guess I'll give the update on that first. Our drive was fairly uneventful and our family attended a Strong Bonds family retreat put on by the military. I met more people that work with Michael as well as their families and it was just a nice chance to concentrate on "us" as a family. Cooper spent some time with Michael at the hotel pool and got fairly comfortable with dunking his head under the water. And, Janelle rolled over for the first time, too! We didn't get too much of a chance to see many friends while there...sorry!!! Janelle had her post surgery followup appointment while we were down there as well. She had more x-rays done and then we saw her surgeon. He said everything looks great...incision site, the rib spacing where they were separated during surgery, and everything else. So good that he said he'll see us again in six months! Phew...it's kind of a change of pace for me...not having to think about the next doctor's appointments that I have to make, referrals are taken care of, and all the travel arrangements are in place. So, I guess we can close this chapter for the next six months or so...!!! Woo hoo! Go baby girl!!! She just turned six months old...! So, then Thanksgiving came and went...just us...my turkey came out pretty darn good...not much fan fare. I worked on Black Friday and since I was out of the house anyways, I managed to do a bit of shopping as well, but only hit a few places that don't seem to draw the huge crowds. Although, when I headed into work, Fred Meyer was crazy busy!!!

So...that came and went as well... And...for the most part, we've just been working and working. I've managed to get Christmas shopping almost all done...just need to wrap all the out of town gifts and mail them off. We're gearing up for Cooper's third birthday that we are celebrating with all of his friends a week early...as in this coming weekend! I can't believe he is going to be three years old!!! He is having a Toy Story party and we are having it at Fairbanks Bounce-N-Play this Sunday...so far it looks like we are going to have a pretty good turn out! He's getting pretty excited for it! We'll do a small family thing on his actual birthday on the 18th. Phew! December sure is a busy month!! We put up our Christmas tree over the long Thanksgiving weekend. I decorated it while Cooper was napping and he was so cute when he came down the stairs and saw it for the first time. He was all in awe over each new bulb he saw on the tree. We also put up an advent calendar that I bought last year where you put in your own candy or trinkets and whatnot. Cooper makes a beeline for it as soon as he comes down the stairs in the morning. He keeps wanting to open more than one door a day and we've caught him a couple times pulling a chair up to it to stand on so he can sneak a peek in some of the doors...silly kiddo!

So, let's see...my next project is getting our Christmas cards out. We took some family pictures today so now I just need to go through all the pictures to see which ones to put on the card! And, of course, need to write our yearly letter as well... Michael's Christmas party is this coming Tuesday. Cooper's daycare teacher is going to watch Cooper for the evening and I'll just take Janelle down with me to the base. My work is going pretty good...just crazy busy as usual. I'm still seeing my personal trainer at the gym...although, my days just seem to get derailed all the time and I always seem to end up cancelling an appointment with him once a week or so. Janelle had gotten a 24 hour bug this past Thursday. I just wish I was able to give more to my workout routine, but like I said, my days seemed to get derailed all the time...between sick kiddos and no sleep and just life in general...but, all in all, we're doing good... So, right after Christmas, Michael will be heading down to Colorado for his three week military TDY. I'm so bummed we aren't going with him...and, yes, worried something is going to happen while he is gone that I'm not going to know how to deal with. My car is in some need of some major work so we'll get that taken care of in a week or so. At the moment we are having a warm spell...things have warmed up to above freezing and we've been getting rain. Same thing happened last year and our power was out for a few days and things were so slick we couldn't get up our hill to get out to the highway. Well, it's doing it again at the moment, but we haven't lost power. We'll see how long it lasts...just don't want this to happen while Mike is away!!! But, we'll just deal with things a day at a time... Well, guess that's about it for now...hope you all are doing well and we'll talk to you soon!!!

Love you all so much!


Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Janelle

Sorry so few pictures being sent out...mommy duties await!!


10 November 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope this email finds you all well! We are doing pretty good...now...this past week has been pretty rough, though. Starting on Halloween, Janelle had a fever and had gotten a pretty bad cold. Janelle and I spent the nights camped out on the downstairs couch sleeping while sitting up for the past week. Good for her so she could breathe better, not so good for this tired mama! But, alas...she is better and is now back in her crib and I am back in my comfy bed!

Just wanted to send out a quick email...I'm at Barnes and Noble at the moment...the internet is out at the house due to the snow we are currently getting. So...the basic update is...I'm back at work two, sometimes three, days a week. Doing good...trying to get started early on the Christmas shopping for the year. Cooper is beyond done, but just keep finding the most awesome stuff for him...he's just at such a neat age where the possibilities are endless! Good thing his birthday is a week before Christmas...that way I can divide up all the loot between the two.

So, our family is heading to Anchorage again next week. We'll be driving down on the 18th...our 11th wedding anniversary!!! We will be attending a military sponsored TDY Strong Bonds conference for the weekend...I think it's like a marriage retreat and they provide child care...hot diggity! And, since we would need to drive down again in another week to have Janelle's check up with her surgeon...we checked with him if we could do it a bit early and he said that was fine. So, we see him on Monday the 21st, and then we'll drive back to Fairbanks on Tuesday. That way we don't have to drive down twice during the winter time in the span of a few weeks. She'll be having some more chest x-rays done and hopefully everything will look good! Fingers crossed!!!

Other than that...things seems to be flying by!!! Next week is the trip to Anchorage, then Thanksgiving, setting up for Christmas, Cooper's birthday, Christmas, New Years...and in between all this, working, cooking, cleaning, gazillion loads of laundry, picking up toys, changing lots of diapers...did I mention more laundry??? Anyhoo...

Well, guess that about sums everything up at the moment. Sorry...will have to send out pictures another time...don't have access to them here at Barnes and Noble. Talk to you all soon! Love you all bunches!!!


Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Janelle


27 October 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope all is well. We are doing pretty good...just trying to get back to "normal" around here...although, have I ever been normal? :)

Here's the update on Janelle. She is doing fabulous!! She had a followup chest x-ray this past Friday at her pediatrician's office here in Fairbanks. She is progressing beautifully...her upper lung is expanding nicely down into her chest cavity. Although, her diaphragm is a bit elevated and there is still some residual fluid in her chest that her body is still absorbing. This is all to be expected. Her incision looks great and is not on any pain meds. I sent the x-rays and radiology report down to her surgeon and heard from them today. His response was that he is "pleased as punch!" We will need to drive down to Anchorage in about 4-5 weeks to see her surgeon again for a checkup. She started back into daycare this week as well. She is sleeping much, much better...which makes for a happy mama! I am so happy with the outcome of everything and am glad we are able to finally move on now. She is weighing about 15 pounds now...I started her on rice cereal a few days ago and she is diggin' it! She's cooing and babbling up a storm. My friend Lindsey sent me 30, yes thirty, new bows for her hair that she made! They are so beautiful and I just love putting a new and different one on her every day!!! However, on a sad note, Janelle's pediatrician did say she thinks it's a really bad idea to get Janelle on a plane any time before six months of her having surgery. So, unfortunately, that puts all our plans to travel in January and February to Colorado, Texas, and Hawaii on hold for a while. It makes me sad that the family won't be able to see Janelle when she is a small baby. But, what would be even worse, would to chance it and get on a plane and have something really, really bad happen to our baby girl. Another thing that concerns me is, since Mike will be in Colorado Springs for the first three weeks of January for his military TDY, I'll be here with the kiddos. And, I'm sure that is when we will have our bought of negative 40-50 degree weather, my car won't start due to the cold, we'll be snowed in, the ATV with the plow won't start (much less I won't be able to plow with the two kiddos around), and the electricity and phones will go down. However, Mike said he'll let one of our neighbors know we'll be on our own and to check up on us if needed (he's in the Army National Guard and knows how it is). So, I guess...feel free to come visit us...

Well, with Janelle back in daycare, I started back to work this week as well. I've been catching up on the cleaning and whatnot, too. I started back with my personal trainer and am trying to get my momentum going again. I feel like I've been in a funk all week though...I think I'm coming out of my "going, going, going" stage with everything going on for the past couple of months and dealing with the stress of Janelle's surgery. Now I feel like everything is finally okay...but I think I just need to go hide out for a few hours and just have a good cry to decompress...sounds kind of silly, but oh well...sometimes you just gotta have a good cry!

Cooper is doing awesome, as well. He is really into his toy cars and trains at the moment. He will spend lots of time building and rebuilding his train tracks on the floor. He's gotten really good at it, too! He is super happy that there is snow everywhere now...he looks out his window every morning to see if we are getting new snow...and for the most part, we have been almost every day this week. He loves sledding and they even built a snowman at daycare. I have plans for us to build a big snowman here at the house this weekend...we'll see if it happens though, we are going to a birthday party on Saturday and then on Sunday we are going to make yummy special treats to take into daycare on Monday for Halloween. He is really fixated on whether it's night or day and if the sun or moon is up in the sky. I've been trying to explain to him that in the winter time when snow is on the ground, the days are darker...especially up here in Alaska! Don't know what he is going to do when we only have about 4 hours of daylight in December...and, of course, about 20 "why's" later, I feel like I'm right where I started in my explanation and have gotten nothing accomplished! Although, maybe he's just toying with me...it's so neat to see his little brain soaking up all this information. His stubborn streak is better on some days and not so better on others...some days I just have to tell myself to either "Pick Your Battles" or "Embrace the Chaos!!!" ;)

Everyday I just look at my kiddos and think, wow, did we do that? I can't believe Janelle is going to be five months old on the 1st of November and Cooper is going to be three years old in December. Where does the time go?! They are both such a special joy to us!!

Guess that's about it for now. Hope you all are well and we'll talk to you soon!

Love you all bunches!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Janelle


15 October 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope you all are fairing well...we are doing pretty good, considering what Janelle's gone through this past couple of weeks! We were discharged from the hospital this past Monday and drove home on Tuesday. We tried to keep you all informed either through emails or Facebook...you all should have gotten emails #2 through #6...if not, let me know and I can resend them! :)

Well, we are just trying to get back to "normal" around here. Cooper went back to daycare on Wednesday and Thursday (and had a blast...was very happy to see all his friends again). Didn't make it back on Friday...we had gotten snow on the ground on Thursday and things had gotten pretty slick. I didn't have my studded tires on my car yet and even going 5 miles an hour down our hill, I was still slipping and sliding. My most wonderful hubby is putting them on my car now as we speak...er, I mean, type!

Janelle is doing beautifully!! I cannot believe what a strong little trooper she is! I'm sending along a picture of her incision sites...about a two inch long incision line and two spots where her chest tubes were. It's a lot less than what I was expecting. She is only on Tylenol for the pain. She doesn't seem as "content" as she was before the surgery to just hang out and watch everything...I have no idea if that is related to the surgery or if she is in some amount of pain...I'm actually thinking maybe her mood has just changed and wants to be snuggled more. She also only used to get up once during the night and now she is back to the newborn stage and getting up about three times a night. I know her days and nights got screwed up being in the hospital so maybe she is still just readjusting. I think I am going to try to feed her some rice cereal and see how she does with that. But, overall, she is just her smiley, cooing little self!

We were all treated wonderfully during our hospital stay...and we had lots of super nurses, doctors, and friends looking out for us. I've been brain storming on what kind of thank you gift I could send to them...but just nothing seems adequate!!!

Well, not much else is going on. Janelle will be recovering from her surgery and out of daycare through most of October. I'm going to try and get more stuff done on my to-do list...but that list just seems to keep getting longer instead of shorter!

Talk to you all soon! Love you all...thank you all so much for your love and support!


Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Janelle


9 October 2011

Hey Everybody!

Well, I would've written and sent this out last night before I went to bed, but Janelle fell asleep and it just looked to good to resist for me to do the same. As they say, sleep when the baby sleeps!

Well, this is what happened yesterday. After we saw the surgeon in the morning, he said he saw some fluid on the chest xray and that he's keeping an eye on it. But he did say that there was no air in it and that was good. Her wound is draining a bit. While I hold her, she got to get disconnected from all the monitors so that made maneuvering her a ton easier. She still had both IV lines in but were saline locked so no fluids were running in...one less line attached to her. She's eating great. She's back to giggling and cooing more often than not. By the way, if you're on Facebook I took a cute video of her gabbin' away that you can take a look at. She had a bath later on in the day...and she smelled delicious!

Sleep is always hit or miss in the hospital for the both of us. But about 3am this morning she had a pretty painful episode where she awoke choking/coughing and was just screaming mad. Very unusual for her. After comforting her down and giving her some Tylenol she fed and dozed back off after about an hour or so...until the technician came and woke her up again for her chest xray. Have no idea why they have to do stuff at such butt-early hours in the morning, but whatever (can you tell that's not my favorite part of staying here at the hospital?) So, our surgeon came in later and said the xray was "okay", not great though. He said there is some haziness in the lung. He said it could just be bruising on the upper lobe from the manipulation of it during surgery, and this is not unexpected. But it could also mean infection, blood, pleural effusion (pocket of fluid)...all not good things. However, she is breathing fine and her breath sounds are good. There is still some fluid that has accumulated around her lung and it will just take a while for her body to absorb it. He said he's still going to keep us overnight to get another chest xray in the morning and will more than likely discharge us later on Monday. May even get to drive home on Tuesday.

What else...she is now free of both IV lines. When the nurse came in to flush her IV sites to make sure they were okay, they weren't. The one in her foot infiltrated so the saline flush went into the surrounding tissue and made the skin puffy...all things that can happen when you've had an IV in for a while...I know that...it just kills you to see your baby crying in pain though. Mommy cried too. And, the one in her hand was not flushing as well so that was taken out too. She was a much happier camper after having both hands free to stick in her mouth. Now that her arm board is off as well as the one on her foot, she can wear clothes again!

So, hopefully we'll have an event free night. Michael and Cooper are doing good. They've gone swimming at the hotel a few times, they've gone to House of Bounce, and we even found his Halloween costume...he's going to be Lightning McQueen! Vroom! Overall, doing good...

We learned that Michael's brother, Brian and wife Vanessa, are in the hospital expecting their first baby! We hope for a wonderful delivery of our new little nephew.

Well, Janelle is waking up...time for cuddles! Love you all!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Janelle


7 October 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope you all are fairing well...we are doing okay. Today was a tough day for Janelle. Our morning started super early, never mind up throughout the night breastfeeding her! :) Mornings are always busy times for rounding on all the patients and we were certainly no exception. She was visited by her surgeon's partner at about 5am, then had a chest xray, and from there we saw plenty of other nurses, more nurses at shift change, nursing aides, residents, doctors, and students. We are very happy everyone is taking such an interest in her care while here in the hospital...but from a mama's perspective, sometimes you wish they would all show up at once and "git er done" instead of coming in a few minutes after the other person just left and waking Janelle up again. Oh well...I'm just happy she is getting such superb care!

Her surgeon came to see her around 11ish. He removed her second (and last) chest tube. It had been leaking around the site and she has a little bit of skin breakdown underneath her dressing. Nothing that some room air won't heal up quickly as soon as we can remove it. She was not a happy camper throughout the ordeal. She was given a dose of morphine for the pain. Then she had another chest xray. And after that she started grunting and holding her breath a lot. I was plenty worried for her. She sure seemed uncomfortable and sore but was still breathing okay. She was given another dose of morphine and it took awhile for her to seem to get comfortable enough to fall asleep. But, her grunting stopped while she slept and she took a really nice long nap. I went ahead and took a much needed nap myself. I woke a few times when I heard the nurses say to whoever was outside the door to please not go in because we were both sleeping. We super appreciated that! But, sorry if you were trying to visit!!! The nurses and I woke her up so she could feed and she didn't seem to be grunting much after her nap. Phew! We did go ahead and give her some Tylenol with codeine just to make sure she was doing okay. And, now she's napping again...! But, at least she has one more tube removed from her, and the painful one at that! She still has two IV's in her hand and foot. IV fluids are still going in through the one in her hand. She has three leads attached to each side of her chest and one on her belly measuring her heart rate and respiratory rate. She has an oxygen saturation line attached to her big toe...that she likes to kick off all the time and send the monitors dinging away. She also likes to pull on the O2 line from her toe like a pull toy...as well as pull on all the lead wires attached to her belly. We try to tuck them through the side of her diaper to keep them flat on her belly, but she's on to us and it doesn't work very well! Silly girl!

Overall, still doing peachy...even though I shed a number of tears over her today with all the grunting and whatnot. I'm just glad she's doing much better! We'll keep you all updated as usual!

So, due to what happened today, I'm not sure if we will be discharged tomorrow or not. I'm not in any rush to leave and I don't want to leave too soon. Her surgeon did say that he wants to see us in his office on Monday or Tuesday before we drive back to Fairbanks. So, we're fine just hanging out...!

Love you all!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Janelle


7 October 2011

Hi Everybody!

Well, hopefully you all got an email #2 and #3...unfortunately email #1 has gone somewhere into oblivion and we can't seem to find out where it went. Which is a bummer, cuz now that all my days have ran together, I can't remember what it said...

So, let's see...we got the pathology report back and the surgeon said that the pathologist said the the cyst taken out of the muscular wall of her esophagus is actually a bronchogenic cyst...basically meaning when the cells are looked at under the microscope, they are made up of bronchial tissue, not esophageal tissue. The lung tissue was looked at as well and no cancer is seen...I repeat, NO CANCER!!! I was doing the happy dance all over the place!!!!

Yesterday, I went to the park with Cooper and Michael for a few hours and when I came back Janelle had had a bath to clean off all the orange betadine solution off of her belly...she didn't look like a little pumpkin any more! They also removed her foley catheter. And she was kicking her legs and wiggling about and doing really good. She had a really good night with minimal pain meds. I had decided to go back to the hotel and catch up on my sleep since I was expecting to start breastfeeding Janelle the next day and would be needed at the hospital.

So, we all came in the visit Janelle this morning. She was having some leaking around her chest tubes so the dressings were changed. The surgeon came around noon to take a peek at things and he removed one of her chest tubes. He will probably take the other one out tomorrow if there is no drainage. I even watched him snip the stitches out of her and remove the tube...and I didn't even hit the deck...go me! She wasn't needing much morphine, but she would still get somewhat uncomfortable when we would move her around so she was changed to tylenol with codeine. I was able to hold her for the first time today since her surgery and I fed her some pedialyte to see how she handled it, and she did great. Her IV fluids are just trickling in due to her now being able to breastfeed again...and she is a rock star! I have missed snuggling with my baby girl and having "me" time with her. Her naso-gastric tube was removed this morning as well. She is carrying around more fluid weight than normal...her belly looks more chunky-monkey than normal but she is not uncomfortable.

She was changed to Peds status and were moved out of the PICU this evening. We are now in room 312. Her surgeon said she may be out of the hospital in 48 hours. We'll need to still stick around town for a day or so and be seen in his office again before we make the trip back home. It will definitely be easier to "handle" her once she has her IVs and last chest tube out...right now it's a two person operation just to be able to hold her so that lines don't get pinched and whatnot.

I went out to dinner with the boys this evening so we could have a change from hospital fare. We went to one of our favorite restaurants in town. On our way walking down the sidewalk, Cooper said something funny...he saw a car that had obviously been in a wreck...and he said, "Look! A bumper car!!!" Kids, gotta love what comes out of their mouths! When we came back up to the room, Janelle was in a lovable spirit and was back to her smiling and cooing self...she just seemed like such a happy little camper. She is currently zonked out...

Well, guess I'd better hit the sack, too...talk to you all tomorrow! Love you lots and thank you all for your love and support!!!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Janelle


6 October 2011

Hey Everybody!

Well, today is day three of being in the hospital....and the day after Janelle's surgery. She did really well overnight. Her pain is pretty well controlled...she's not crying or fussing...every once in a while she'll grimace...but who wouldn't after what that gal has gone through???!!! She will wiggle around and open her eyes. We think the morphine is causing her nose to itch because she keeps wanting to rub her nose. But, we don't want her to accidentally pull our her NG (naso-gastric) tube in the process so we are going to secure her arms in some "No-no's" to keep her from doing that.

All her nurses are totally fabulous...she is being completely doted upon! She's snuggled up to her favorite toy and all comfy-cozy in nice warm blankets. She sleeps most of the time. She is breathing just fine...and she is doing so well that they may even move us out of the PICU and out to the pediatric floor later this afternoon!

We'll keep you posted on all future events. Michael and Cooper just came and got me so I could have a change in my environment for a few hours. We spent some time at a park just down the street from the hospital and then came back to the hospital to pick up some more clothes for me and send out emails.

All in all, we're doing great. Mike and Cooper are going to go swimming at the hotel after his nap so I'm thinking they'll be sleeping great tonight! Talk to you all soon!

Love you all so much!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Janelle


6 October 2011

Hey Everybody!

Well, Janelle was wheeled down to surgery around 11am this morning, but I didn't see her again till about 5 o'clock. Her surgery went well although she was dealt a double whammy. Her left lower lobe of her lung was resected out without complication. It is being sent to pathology to see if there is anymore information we can find out from it. Hopefully we will find out by the end of the week what it contains. The surgeon said when you take this lobe out it has to be separated from the diaphragm and the upper lobe so there is always a possibility that the surrounding tissue can get nicked causing an air leak and/or bleeding. She has two chest tubes in place to drain any excess fluid and air. However, she was also found to have an esophageal duplication cyst. It was a cyst in the muscular lining of the esophagus and the surgeon took that out as well. It was growing out towards the lung verses to the inside of the esophagus. That is why on the scans it "appeared" that the cyst was in the lung growing towards the esophagus...all in all, extremely rare that she had both of these issues going on. But, in a sense, it's good that we found this esophageal cyst now because it would have only started to get bigger and fill up with mucus, possibly cause an infection, as well as cause swallowing difficulties in the future. So, she has sutures in her esophagus and a naso-gastric tube in place to suck out any gastric juices in her tummy so it can rest and heal. Because of this her stay in the hospital will be a bit longer and it will take longer for her to start eating again. She came back out of surgery and is now staying in the pediatric ICU for the next couple of days or so. She was not intubated when I first saw her...but, of course, I had to shed a few tears!!! I'm a mommy, what can I say!!!

So, at the moment, she is resting peacefully. Her pain is controlled with morphine and Tylenol. She seems uncomfortable at times, but not in any severe pain. I feel so lucky to be having this surgery here at Providence. A lot of wonderful nurses and doctors, who are also my friends, are taking very excellent care of our little baby girl...as well as her mommy!

As for the upcoming future...not exactly sure! I asked the surgeon when was the next time he needed to see us. He said Janelle will need a chest x-ray in another 2-4 weeks that we can have done up in Fairbanks and then it will need to be sent to him. And then 4-6 weeks from now he'll need to see her back in Anchorage. I asked if we could fly down (driving is just such a huge production when you're traveling with two little kiddos!), and he said she could not fly for 6 months. Argh...but, gotta do what you gotta do and Janelle is our first priority. He did change that 6 months to a 3-6 months...but it all depends on how Janelle is healing and how well that upper lobe of her lung compensates. So, with that being said...not sure if the kiddos and I will be able to make it down in January to visit the folks in Texas and Colorado while Michael is on his military TDY. And, our Hawaii trip may need to be postponed a bit as well. We just absolutely don't want to mess up any of the handy work the doctor just did that could be detrimental to Janelle.

So, guess that's about the gist of it for now. Janelle is doing pretty darn good considering everything that she's gone through today. We've had lots of visitors and friends checking up on us...thank you all for your prayers and well wishes!!! We soooo appreciate it!

Love you lots!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Janelle


27 September 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope you all are doing well...we are all doing fine...just gearing up for Janelle's surgery and getting the house winterized. I'm sure before long snow will be on the ground...hopefully not until we make it back home from Anchorage.

Well, I've been keeping both Cooper and Janelle out of daycare in hopes of keeping them sick free before Janelle's surgery. But, Cooper must have picked up a little bit of a bug before I did that. Nothing major...but we've all had stuffy noses and whatnot last week and are now in recovery...I hope. We've been trying our hardest to keep Cooper entertained...he sure misses all his friends at daycare! I've taken him to a place up here called BounceNPlay with some bouncy houses/slides and whatnot and he just loves it! We done lots of playdough and coloring and playing with lots of toys. He's even gotten pretty good at helping mommy with her errands and watching over Janelle in her stroller.

Michael's been around the house taking his paternity leave but is spending most of his time at Barnes and Noble studying for his Air Command Staff College. Would've done it here...except it's pretty hard to study with two kiddos around! He's been giving me some free time to head to the gym and meet with my trainer as well...still going really well.

Today was a pretty nice day earlier...I think it's one of our nice days left in the season. The forecast says snow is coming in the next few days...so not ready for that! But, we still have lots of fall leaves on the ground so we snagged the kiddos and did Fall pictures outside. I think they turned out pretty cute!

Well, we'll be heading down to Anchorage this coming Sunday. We'll be staying at the Residence Inn Marriott again while there...or will be in Janelle's room at the hospital. We'll keep you all posted on her surgery and whatnot. Keep the prayers coming and please keep our family in your thoughts! Thank you all so much for your love and support!!!

Love you all!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Janelle


13 September 2011

Hey Everybody...

Well, just wanted to update you all on our little Janelle. We flew down this past Sunday to have an early morning CT scan on Monday morning. Janelle did absolutely wonderfully for her CT scan. She only cried (and mommy, too) when they had to place an IV for her to get the contrast for the test. They strapped her in a papoose to keep her still and she did so well that they didn't even need to sedate her. She was so calm strapped into the papoose and just munched away on her pacifier and was a happy little girl. We had to wait to get the results until that afternoon. So, then we went to go see her surgeon to see what he said. Gotta tell ya...I was expecting to have a two minute visit and he was going to tell us we were good to go and we'd be out the door and see him again in six months. Ummmm...no. He started asking me all kinds of questions on her breathing and eating and all that kind of stuff. I knew that we could have expected to have issues, but I just didn't. Apparently all that ultrasound she had done when she was six weeks old was just put me in a false sense of security. Anyhoo, what the CT showed was actually quite shocking. Her left lower lobe of her lung is filled with multiple air filled or fluid filled cysts. The largest cyst measures 2x3cm and is fluid filled and even though it is still in the lung, it is over by her esophagus. The doctor also said that 3/4 of the volume of the lower lobe is hyper-inflated and is abnormal tissue. So, obviously not good. Her surgeon wanted to put her in surgery the next day and said he didn't want to sit on this. Well, I needed some time to make plans and get travel arrangements done and change schedules and whatnot...and his surgery schedule was actually pretty booked. So, the plan is now to drive down to Anchorage on October 2nd. Janelle will be admitted to the hospital on the 3rd. She'll have blood drawn needed for surgery and she will also have a swallow study done to see if that large cyst next to her esophagus is causing any issues as well. She'll then have surgery on the 4th. The doctor will remove the entire lower lobe and unfortunately the incision will be larger than originally doing it mostly laprascopically. He does not want the cysts to rupture inside of her because he doesn't know what it contains. Her hospital stay will be 3-5 days after surgery and recovery time will be 2-3 weeks. Sigh...so, I'm still teary eyed and absorbing all the information but keeping it together. I have an appointment to do all the travel arrangements this Friday and I've already talked to my most wonderful boss to get the time off. I'm going to finish out this week working but then am going to keep Janelle home from daycare to decrease the risk of her getting sick. If she got some kind of respiratory infection now before surgery it could be really bad because that defective lobe of the lung would just turn into an infection pocket and be hard to cure. So, that's all I know for the moment. We'll keep you all updated when we find out more. Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers!!! Little Miss Junebug is sure going to need them!!!

Love you all so much!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Janelle


9 September 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope you all are good...our family of four is doing pretty darn great! Wow...we've sure been busy since the last time I've written!

I have started back to work...working about 3 days a week. Things are going well and it's good to be back in the pharmacy with my friends again. It always amazes me on how fast the drug industry changes things. Just in the few months that I've been gone I've seen all kinds of changes, new drugs, older ones going generic, yadda, yadda, yadda. Janelle has been in daycare for the past three weeks as well and she is doing great. Everybody just loves her and says she is such a content little girl and just love her to pieces! Everyday I bring her in wearing a big bow that matches her outfit...I just can't resist! It seems that's what she is known for now and the girls in her room always want to see what different bow she is wearing for the day...thank you Lindsey for all her hair accessories! It definitely makes it easier going back to work knowing that she is so loved there and will be taken great care of.

Janelle just turned three months old on the 1st! Oh, and how I love our little girl! She's very smiley and her personality is coming about. She has this super great girlie, girl squeal she does at times when she's talking and it just tickles me pink! I miss her so much on the days that I'm working. She is pretty much out of 3 month clothes now and I'm putting her in 6 month clothes or bigger for the most part. Janelle and I are going to be flying down to Anchorage this month on the 11th and staying through Monday, September 12th. We have to be up on the pediatric floor at Providence at 7 o'clock in the morning for her sedated CT scan to check her lung out again. When she wakes up from her sedation we'll have an appointment with her surgeon and see if we need to run any further tests. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers...hopefully her lung is as perfect as can be! We'll be flying in around 1pm on Sunday and then leaving around 7pm on Monday night. Hope you see you all while I'm in town!!!

Cooper is doing great. He loves being outside. We are in the process of potty training. When I pick him up from daycare and ask him what he did that day, his usual remarks are, "I played in the sandbox" or "I rode the motorcycle really, really fast!!" He is slowly pilfering the sand from the sandbox at daycare to home (or my car) one shoe full at a time. I was in Hallmark a few days ago and found the most awesome present for Cooper...I'm having a hard time saving it for either his birthday or Christmas because I just want to give it to him right now!!! It's a three book series about a teddy bear named Cooper!!! It's an interactive book set and it comes with a plush teddy bear that looks just like the one in the books. When I first saw him, I thought if my little boy looked like a teddy bear, he would look just like this bear! And what's even neater, is when you read certain lines in the books and you're holding your little boy and his bear, the bear will respond with certain lines of his own...it was just so neat! I can't wait to read them with Cooper!!! And I'm also glad I'm getting some Christmas shopping done early! Cooper is just a hoot and a holler all the time...he's started this thing lately where he'll take really big stomping steps around the house and will promptly tell us, "I'm a stomp-a-saurus!!!" I think he got it off of a cartoon but he just loves doing it...and is he ever a LOUD stomp-a-saurus especially in our log house where everything seems to echo! I was talking to Michael an evening a bit ago and said that the store had started carrying Halloween costumes already and I saw the one I wanted to get Janelle...a little ladybug...super cute. Anyhoo...we were asking Cooper what he wanted to be and explaining about dressing up at Halloween as a favorite person or whatnot...and he told us he wanted to be Kelly. Kelly is his main daycare teacher that he just loves so much...I thought that was so sweet! Cooper is the pickiest of picky eaters and I was asking Kelly for her help at daycare to try and get him to try new things. Well....yesterday she told me that she told Cooper he had to at least take one bite of his mashed potatoes...and he made himself gag and throw up his one small bite-full of mashed potatoes. What child doesn't like mashed potatoes??? Mine apparently...oh well! Silly boy!

Well, I finally got my butt back to the gym and met with my new personal trainer. He was asking me what my goals were and I told him I wanted to look like a "hot sexy mama!!" He cracked up and thought that was great. I also told him I wanted to be less "jiggly!" I'm sure he is going to wipe the floor with me...and I'll hate him while he's doing it, but I'll love the end results. I'm meeting with him twice a week...and I'm sure I'll be walking really slowly from sore muscles from now on...

Mike is doing great, as well. At the moment he is outside splitting wood for the winter...and Cooper is out running around with him getting wheelbarrow rides here and there. He took the boat out a few days ago to give it a good run, too. We still don't know when his TDY to Colorado Springs will be or when exactly we are going to Hawaii. Hopefully we'll know soon!!!

As for our weather...we are firmly in Fall! Our temperatures range from the 40's during the night and 60's during the day and we're getting rain every few days or so. All the leaves on the trees are beautiful shades of yellow, orange and red...and falling steadily off the trees...very beautiful!!!

Hope you all enjoy the pictures!!!

Guess that's about it for now...talk to you all soon!!

Love you all bunches!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Janelle


8 August 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope all is well...we are all doing really good. Not much to tell in the email...just nothing major happening at the moment. So...I guess we'll send out lots of pictures instead!

Let's see...update on Janelle...she had her two month well baby appointment on the 1st and she is doing great! She weighed in at 13 pounds 4 ounces and has grown almost three inches since birth. I think she bypassed the itty bitty baby stage altogether. She got all her vaccines and handled them like a champ as well. If I had one word to describer her, I'd say she was "content". I can plop her in her bouncy chair, swing, or activity pad and she is hunky dory and I can get some chores done or dinner cooked. It's awesome! I've already handed down her newborn clothes to a friend of mine that has a little girl about a week older than Janelle, but is definitely on the smaller side. We are getting all our ducks in a row for Janelle and I to go down to Anchorage around the 1st of September for her to have her CT scan. I believe we'll be staying around 48 hours or so in case the surgeon needs to do additional testing. Our daycare called and they have a spot available for Janelle to start on the 22nd of this month...it's kind of bittersweet though! She'll be in the same room with the same providers as Cooper so that definitely makes me feel better about the whole ordeal since we all know each other and I have complete trust in them. Cooper didn't go into daycare until he was around 8 months or so because he wouldn't take a bottle...and I couldn't let go of him being a first time mommy and all that. I just never really introduced the bottle to him very well. Well, Janelle is already taking a bottle and seems to be doing fine with that even though she is still mostly breastfed. I met with my boss this past Friday to discuss my schedule and whatnot when I get Janelle situated in daycare and get all her testing taken care of.

I am still planning on working part time, but am going to try to work a bit more when I can so we can pay off some expenses we've acquired while I've been on maternity leave. One of those being Cooper's outdoor play set. Michael finished putting it all together and it's just awesome! Cooper thoroughly enjoys it...it's a battle getting him through the door when playtime is over.

Some of our plans for the upcoming months include some travel. Mike has to go on a three week TDY to Colorado Springs...we just don't know when exactly it will be. We are hoping for some time close to Christmas and me and the kiddos are going to tag along for the ride and visit family in Texas and Colorado. Since it's in Colorado Springs, Mike can help with the kiddos on the looonnnngggg flight down and back up. Cooper's just too much of a runner at the moment for me to travel with him and Janelle by myself in busy airports. Not my ideas of a good time! We are also planning a trip to Hawaii some time when it's just too darn cold here in Alaska and we are looking to go to some place tropical.

And...just wanted to give a shout out to my totally awesome niece, Brittany. This very bright and talented gal has earned a full tuition scholarship to Oral Roberts University. She is so musically talented and will knock your socks off when you hear her sing. My sister-in-law, Jennifer, and my brother, Dave, sure raised a wonderful kid! Enjoy this new chapter in your life, Brittany!!! Love you bunches!

Michael's brother Kevin and his wife, Crystal are expecting their second child on the 10th of this month. Best wishes and prayers for a good delivery of your little baby boy!!

We went to the Tanana Valley Fair today...unfortunately it was just rainy and cold and we didn't get to do all that I was planning on. But, there's always next year...

Brian and Vanessa, did you ever receive the three boxes we sent to you??? Please let us know if they arrived....

I think our summer is already over. There are yellow leaves on our lawn and there was even a frost advisory night before last...how sad is that? Mike's been splitting wood for our winter fires on the weekends, too. Sigh...just not ready for the cold weather to set in yet...

Well, guess that's about it for now. Just sending along pictures of the kiddos. If you're on Facebook, you may have already seen some of them. By the way, if you're wanting to friend me on Facebook, I'm under Leah Muller Scadden...!

Love you all!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Janelle :0)


24 July 2011

Hey Everybody!

How are ya? We are all doing pretty good...except little Cooper has a summer cold, but it's not slowing him down much at all. So, just wanted to update you all on what's been happening in our neck of the woods. Janelle and I flew down to Anchorage on the 14th for her to have an ultrasound on her lung...yes, I'm just getting around to writing about her doctor's appointment, sorry! Life happens...

So, like I said, Janelle and I flew down to Anchorage...she was super awesome on the plane...slept the whole way down...as well as back up on the return flight. She was so super easy to travel with. I made my rounds at the different baby shops in town to do a bit of shopping and then we went to her appointment. And, just to rehash...at birth, the size of the mass in her left lung was about the size of a marble. Well, during the ultrasound, the technician could not find any trace of the mass at all. I just wish I knew what happened to the darn thing!!! My heart is jumping for joy that we have gotten this miracle and my prayers have been answered...but, my scientific brain just wishes I had more of an answer. After the ultrasound we met with the pediatric surgeon. My feeling from him is that this is wonderful news, as well as concerning news. Wonderful, because the mass appears to be gone and she may not need surgery...but concerning because if there is any trace of the mass, if could possibly, maybe turn cancerous in the future. Unfortunately, we just don't really know because these kinds of patients just haven't been followed to really see what happens down the road. So, the plan has obviously changed...we are going to go back down to Anchorage when Janelle is 3 months old for a CT scan and other testing if needed. If the CT scan doesn't show any sign of the mass, then we'll just keep an eye on her lung and do periodic ultrasounds every so many months to see if there is any kind of return of the mass. But, for the time being, I'm just going to be super ecstatic that our little baby girl is healthy and strong and give her lots of lovin'!!!

Janelle is just so precious...and beautiful...!!! Her eyes have stayed blue and her hair has stayed dark, too...I'm kinda hoping it stays that way! She's cooing and smiling and sleeping fairly well...which means I'm sleeping fairly well, too! Cooper likes to snuggle up next to her...and since he's a bit under the weather, I'm really trying to keep him from stealing her pacifier and putting it in his mouth, and then returning it back to her. So far she doesn't seem sick...hopefully it stays that way. She is 7 weeks old and is already in three month clothes...and depending on the brand, I've snuck in a few 6-9 month outfits too.

Cooper is doing awesome as well. He is definitely a two year old...every other minute is a small meltdown about something new...and his hearing is perfect except that he has selective hearing and does as he's told if he feels like it...definitely has a stubborn streak in him. Oh well. He is just so excited about his new condo (er...outdoor play yard) that his daddy is building for him. Today is the forth day that's Michael's been hard at working on it. He's enjoying himself putting it together and has been enjoying the nice warm and sunny summer days that we've been having lately. Cooper's woken up a few times from nightmares, I believe, and he'll tell us about "scary robots" that kick him and he'll point to the front yard out his window. It just breaks my heart. But now every morning he'll tell us about the scary robots, so don't really know what to make of this. He loves, loves, loves being outside...he always wants to turn on the water hose and water the flowers and make puddles to jump in...especially mud puddles, they're his favorite. Needless to say, he gets a bath every single night! I don't think we sent out any pictures of the Forth of July so we're sending them now...we got some poppers and whatnot for Cooper to play with on top of Mike's truck bed. He had a ball, of course!

Let's see, what else...not much I think! Michael's doing pretty good and just finished up an inspection at work.

As for me...I'm just in mommy mode...! I feel like my washing machine is always running and I'm trying to pick up toys as fast as Cooper brings out a new one so the living room is not overrun with them. I just saw a number of doctors for myself...my OB checkup was good from after having the baby and I was also checked for any skin cancer again and it looks like I'm good to go so far. I'm looking forward to starting up at the gym again...but I'm guessing that probably won't happen until Janelle goes into daycare around three months old. Mike and I are planning a trip to Hawaii so we gotta get our bikini bodies in shape!!! :)

Well, guess that's about it for now...time to get Cooper up from his nap and me to start thinking about dinner! Talk to you all soon! Love you lots and miss you tons!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Janelle


13 July 2011

Hey Everybody!

Just wanted to let you all know that Janelle and I are flying down to Anchorage tomorrow on Thursday for the day. She's having a lung ultrasound and x-ray among other things. I just got my plane tickets right now and the office closed right now...so didn't know if I was going to make it down or not. Anyhoo, I'll stop by to see you all in Anchorage when and and if I can!!! Keep us in your thoughts and prayers for us to have a good flight and good doctor's visit!!!

Love you all!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Janelle


2 July 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope you all are doing well! We are all doing pretty good...! Our baby Janelle is now one month old...sure is true how everyone says that time flies, and boy, does it! She is just super snuggly and I enjoy just cozying up to her and taking a daily siesta with her. She likes to tease me by having a couple of good nights in a row where she will sleep about 5-6 hours in a row, but then decide that she's not ready for that kind of nightly routine yet and will only sleep 2-3 hours in a row. But, it will all eventually work out...

Cooper likes being a big brother...he always wants to hug her, hold her and kiss her. I'm really trying to evenly divide my time up so he doesn't feel left out and, of course, that's a challenge at times. He has a little trouble sharing...but still don't know if that stems from having a new baby sister or just being a 2 1/2 year old. On nights where Michael stays at the base, I'm always wishing I was an octopus. I find myself holding Janelle in one arm and putting Cooper in the kitchen sink (luckily it's a big one) for his nightly bath and scrubbing the sandbox out of him one handed...and somewhere in there making dinner. Phew! But, I'm getting better at it...well, I like to think I am anyways!

Sigh...what else...oh! I'm just a few pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight...go me! Sorry, just had to toot my own horn there for a second...the bonus of giving birth to a big baby!!! :)

Let's see...not a whole lot to report. It's been raining a ton here...the grass is loving it...so are the mosquitoes. We are still awaiting the play yard swing set that we ordered to arrive. We ordered it before I left for Anchorage but was then called three weeks later from Lowes and was told that particular company didn't ship to Alaska. Well, I called that company directly and I actually managed to get them to try something new and they are shipping the play yard to us directly. I couldn't believe it! Yes, they are charging us a bit more for the shipping but overall it's still cheaper than the other set we would've bought from Lowes. Hopefully, it will make it here...Cooper is going to absolutely love it. I even ordered an infant swing for it so we can have little Janelle out there too.

What else....oh! Brian/Vanessa and Kevin/Crystal...we are sending you each two BIG boxes of Cooper's hand-me-downs in the mail. It's going to take three plus weeks to actually get there...but it's coming!!! Hope your little boys can enjoy them and get more use out of them!

Guess, that's about it from our end...talk to you all later! As soon as the photography studio finishes Janelle's birth announcements, we will send them out!!! I just saw the proof of it and it turned out so beautiful!!!

Love you all!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Janelle


13 June 2011

Hey Everybody!!!

Hope you all are doing well...the expanding Scadden household is doing fabulous!!! We are so enjoying our brand new baby daughter, Janelle Gwendolynn!!! I really feel like I know what I am doing this time around and I'm much more relaxed...and not sleep deprived (seriously!). Cooper is completely digging his new baby sister as well...he always wants to give her hugs and kisses and wants to hold her...I'm glad that noise and movement don't seem to have that much effect on our little anchorwordsJanelle, or we'd be singing a different tune, I'm sure. Janelle is such a joy...my mom says I have my very own dress up dolly now...and I love it!!! In just her few short 12 days of being with us, her features seemed to have changed so much already. Her face doesn't seem as "puffy" so we can actually see her beautiful eyes when she opens them. She's a great eater and sleeper and is very easily consoled. And she is just so super snugly!!! I love cuddling with her...and let me tell you...one of the best investments I think we have ever done is get that rocking recliner chair in her room...love it!!! I am recovering beautifully from my c-section and don't seem to be having any issues...even with all the running around I'm doing...it is the way to go!!!

Well, I guess I'll just back track a little bit. Janelle was born this past June 1st. I stayed in the hospital with her for five days and got frequent visits with anchorwordsMichael and Cooper and lots of friends. It was a nice time to get my baby groove back in action and get to know my little girl. Janelle's name came from my wonderful mom (Mary Janell...but we added an "e" at the end)...who I can only hope and aspire to be as wonderful a mother as she is. Gwendolynn is my middle name. Cooper's middle name is Glenn, which is Michael's middle name...so we thought it was a nice way to have something of ourselves in each of our kiddos. I was discharged on Sunday and we made the very long drive home to Fairbanks on Monday. We didn't get back until about 10:30 at night...but we had a totally awesome surprise waiting for us when we got home. My friends at the pharmacy came to the house while we were away and left a beautiful "Welcome Home" sign for us, baked us super delicious cookies and brownies, left balloons, and set out beautiful flowers for the outside. How special is that?!?! It was such a beautiful surprise...all I can say is "WOW!!!" We are so blessed to have such wonderful friends here in Alaska...and everywhere else!

The next day we had Little Miss Juney bug's first well baby appointment and she is doing just fine...her next appointment is this coming Wednesday. Her jaundice is much improved. The mass in her lung has shrunk to the size of a marble!!!! How wonderful is that!? My prayers have really been answered! In discussing everything with the surgeon, we have come up with a future plan. She will have another chest x-ray and ultrasound done with she is 6 weeks old. She will then have a CT scan done at 4 months and surgery will follow shortly thereafter at about 5-6 months old. Since the mass has gotten so much smaller than before, the surgeon thinks he will be able to just cut a wedge out of the lung to remove the whole mass. As long as all the abnormal tissue is removed, he thinks this is the best course of action. However, if the mass is up by all the blood vessels, then the whole entire lower lobe will need to be removed. I did mention before that the surgeon had said that he would remove the whole lobe because if he didn't there was a chance of the remaining tissue becoming cancerous later in life. Unfortunately, kiddos with this abnormality have never been studied 40 or so years down the road so there is no telling what really the risk is. But with the mass getting so much smaller, he feels just wedging it out is the way to go. Michael and I need to do some studying up on all this and we'll go from there.

So, let's see...for the rest of the time that we've been home, we've been unpacking and getting the house back together (although Mike did a great job without me here, so not a lot really had to be done). Michael's been mowing the grass, edging, getting the leaves out of the flower gardens and all that other stuff that summer calls for. Don't know if or how much gardening will get done this year...it's just not high up on the priority list...especially with a newborn and toddler running around! Michael took Cooper outside with him earlier today to finish up some yard work, and it just melted my heart! Cooper was always two steps behind his daddy trying to help in whatever way he could...and getting wheel barrow rides across the yard. Michael even made him Popsicle with frozen apple juice...he is the best daddy ever!

Yesterday we had Janelle's newborn portraits done, as well as family portraits. It was a four hour event...but the two photographers plan for it to be so long just so we can have mommy and baby time to nurse, change diapers, and rock back to sleep and whatnot. Janelle had many fashion changes with different hats, bows, tutus, and other items that have been made for her. I haven't seen any of the photos...we have our viewing session next Friday!

Oh what else...Michael noticed while I was down in Anchorage that back out by the garage a mama bird had made a bird's nest on top of some 2x4's. Well, we now have little baby birdies!!! Michael snapped a quick picture while the mama was away. So cute!!!

Overall, we are settling in just fine. Mike is back at work. Guess that's it for now!!!

Love you all!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Janelle :0)


4 June 2011

Hey Everybody!!

Hope all is well...just wanted to give you an update on little Junebug and me...

First of all...so sorry pictures are not coming with the emails!!! I don't have my cord with me here in the hospital that transfers my pictures from my camera to the computer!! Mike is working on it...just give us time! Although, if you are on Facebook, there are pictures posted there!!!

Junebug and I are staying in the hospital until Sunday...not sure what part of the day we'll be discharged, but I assume it will be in the late morning or so after the doctor's have rounded. We will stay at the hotel overnight on Sunday and our plan is to drive back home on Monday. We are trying to get baby appointments going up at Basset in Fairbanks, but having trouble getting a hold of the right people (typical). So, we may end up having an appointment down here in Anchorage at Elmendorf AFB before we make the drive up. Janelle is doing wonderful...she is just so super soft and cuddly...I have really enjoyed our time here in the hospital just being with her and getting my "baby groove" back on. She does have a touch of jaundice that we are keeping an eye on but her bilirubin levels are still in the "normal" range for her age. She reminds me of my dad with her darker color hair and darker complexion. She makes the sweetest little baby sounds, too. EVERYONE here on the maternity ward loves to hold her and says she is just so sweet...I entirely agree!

As for me, I am doing GREAT! C-section is the way to go! I am up and around and today I am just on ibuprofen and we'll see how I do without any narcotics. I still don't want to push it, though. Dr. Richey says I'll be back in my bikini in no time! Ha ha ha! I really am feeling pretty good. However, they said the heaviest I can pick up is Janelle in her car seat...and I can't pick Cooper up for 6 weeks! He is so not going to like that...I haven't broken the news of that to him yet, but we'll find a way around it. Luckily he can scramble in and out of my car by himself. My right hand is rather swollen from a blood draw that was done on this past Tuesday and all my knuckles are black and blue. It's numb and tingly as well. Don't know what that is all about, but it looks better today than it did yesterday....

Junebug will need to have another ultrasound of her lung done in 6 weeks and a CT scan in about two months. Don't know if they'll do them both at the same time or not. But, the mass has gotten even smaller!!!! I'll meet with the surgeon and pediatrician today to find out what all we need to do and when.

Cooper is totally diggin' his little baby sister. He loves to give her kisses and pet her face. He wants to hold her all the time when he is here as well. We hear a lot of "My baby" coming out of him, too. He will be a great big brother and a good helper for mommy...once we get through to him that he can't pick her up! :0)

I've had lots of visitors and warm welcomes for our little Junebug! Thank you everyone!!! Thank you all for all the emails as well!!! I know I haven't answered each and every one but just know that all your letters are treasured and welcomed!

That's about it for now! Breakfast has arrived! Talk to you soon to add more updates and whatnot! Love you all...our prayers have really been answered!!!!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Baby Janelle :0)


June 3, 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope all is well...we are all doing pretty good! Wednesday was my C-section and everything went fairly smoothly. The anesthesiologist got my spinal done on the first shot...phew! Nothing happened during the surgery that I was not really expecting so no big surprises there...I think the only big surprise was how much Janelle weighed! Phew! 9 pounds 11 ounces...can I say again how glad I am that I had a c-section???!!! I'm pretty sore...it feels like I've done a million sit-ups, but I'm moving around by myself...although a bit slowly. The day of surgery I was having problems with a lot of nausea and my oxygen levels going down because of the IV narcotics. I was put on some oxygen and that took care of that problem. I had them take out my IV that evening and just start me on oral medications and I've been doing much better since. Cooper did wonderful with my friend Paula. He played with his new train set (thanks Michele! It was a huge hit with him!) and showed her how he can put his puzzle together. She brought him up to my room and had stopped by the hospital gift shop before coming up. She bought him a "I'm a big brother t-shirt" which he proudly wore!!!

The nurses kept Janelle in the nursery for a good bit overnight so I could get some much needed sleep. Boy! Providence is the place to be to have a baby!!! We have been soooo well taken care of here!!!! I am not a zombie like I was the first time around and there is no shortage of people who want to hold our little Junebug! Her cheeks are a huge hit!

Let's see....yesterday was Thursday. Took a wonderful shower, had some visitors and just cuddled my little baby girl all day long...it was awesome! Cooper and Michael came to visit a couple of times. Michael took Cooper to an awesome park to go play at and had a tough time peeling him away from it. Still not sure what Cooper thinks about having a baby around, but last night he was all over wanting to hold "his baby!" He didn't want to let go of her and I'm sure he'll be a good little helper. Janelle had "given" Cooper a big plush stuffed Mickey Mouse as a present...he's toting it around.

And, today is Friday. I had a great night's sleep and I'm just waiting for breakfast to arrive. I couldn't have asked for a better experience through everything. My tummy is a bit sore but I just make sure I take my meds on a scheduled basis and I'm doing great. Janelle has had an ultrasound of her chest as well as an x-ray. I expect I'll meet with her surgeon sometime today and we'll see what the plan is. She's doing so well and much better than expected so I think we'll end up doing surgery around 5-6 months...we'll just see what the doctor's say and I'll update you all. Michael is keeping Cooper busy...I think the park is on the agenda for today as well!

As for little Janelle...she is super sweet! She has a fair amount of dark brown hair...not sure if it is straight or will have some curl in it or not. She's easily consolable and is such a little snuggle bug. She has had no problem what so ever breastfeeding and there was no learning curve involved for either of us...she is a champ at this! I am supplementing formula just until my milk comes in which makes her a happy camper...and me, too!!

Feel free to come visit!!! Thank you all for your love and support!

Love you all bunches and bunches!!!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Janelle :0)


Tue, 31 May 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope all is well...we are all doing pretty good. I had my pre-op appointment today and went over everything to expect from having my C-section. Tomorrow is the big B-Day for little Janelle!!! We are so happy to finally bring her into this world and meet her! My C-section is scheduled for 7:30 tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. Be patient with us, we'll let you all know as soon as possible how things are going with the baby and whatnot and send out some pictures as soon as we can. Yes, we would love visitors, but they said my worst day will be tomorrow, but I should start feeling fairly good towards the later afternoon. We'll let you know what room I'm in once we get situated!!

Love to you all!!! Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers!!!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Little Junebug :0)


Sat, 28 May 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope all is well, we are doing good. Today is Saturday and Little Miss Junebug will be here in FOUR DAYS!!! My c-section is scheduled for this coming Wednesday, June 1st at 7:30 in the morning!! My last appointment went just fine...still just same-o, same-o. I was not dilated at all and my doctor was pretty certain that I wasn't going to go into labor any time soon and I should at least make it until Mike and Cooper came down. Got the gist of what to expect from having a c-section and having a tubal ligation and all that good stuff. My feet and hands are swelling so I'm taking it easy and doing pretty good. I'm finishing up my LAST topic to scrapbook that I brought down...and then I'll be able to pack it all up before little Cooper hands can get a hold of it. I have Cooper-proofed the hotel room as much as possible...but I'm pretty certain I am going to be missing having a baby gate around like we do at home. AND, Michael and Cooper are driving down as we speak!!!! They will be here this evening and I am just so excited to see my guys again!!!!

That's about it for us!!! Keep us all in your thoughts and prayers please!!! We'll keep you all posted on the future events!!!

Love you all so much!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Little Miss Junebug


Fri, 20 May 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope all is well, things are good on our end. There was nothing new really from my last appointment this past Tuesday. Junebug had her hands and cord in front of her face throughout the whole appointment so I didn't really get any pictures...or rather, she didn't want any pictures taken of her...I think she's still a little upset about us discussing her weight from the time before. Females! :0) Next appointment is this coming Wednesday. I've been in touch with the pediatric surgeon and also a doctor that will be doing her well baby care while she is in the hospital if she is breathing okay.

Overall, just taking it easy. I've gone to breakfast, lunch, or dinner with a friend here or there...still scrapbooking daily and taking long naps every day. Cooper is now up to being 14 months old in his scrapbook...I am making progress! Michael says he tells people I am on a government sponsored scrapbooking vacation...ha ha ha! But, I'm the one that has to get my belly cut open in the end!! I am showing some "signs" that I am nearing the end of my pregnancy, but nothing that is definitive that says I'll be having the baby in the next day or so. So, Mike and I are just going day by day to see when he'll come down. Poor guy has a big inspection coming up at work and wants to be there as much as possible. But, boy...do I miss my guys sooo much!!!

My friends Leslie and Brian took me out to see a movie this evening and then to dinner. We saw Thor in 3-D and I must say, I really enjoyed it! Then we went to Peter's Sushi Spot for some awesome food and shared a dessert...sooooo yummy! Thanks guys! I had a wonderful evening!

I've met a couple here at the hotel that have been here over two months. They are super nice and I typically have breakfast and dinner with them here at the hotel almost every day. They are waiting to close on a house and Trish and I have taken to watching different TV shows down in the lobby area in the evenings. If anything, it gets us out of our rooms for some part of the day. She said she'll race me to the hospital if I am in need of someone to do that, which I thought was very nice of her.

Let's see, what else. Congratulations to both of Michael's brothers, and their wives...they are both expecting little boys in the months to come. Now we have people to send some of Cooper's things to!

Michael said there are some fires up near Fairbanks, but nothing really close to the house (over at Murphy Dome)...still doesn't make me feel better when we will be leaving the house for a while, but not much I can do about that. I am sending a 'picture of a picture' of Cooper. Before I left we had some "old time" photos taken of Cooper and Michael just picked them up today. He sent me one and that's what I'm sending out...he's such a cutie!!!

Guess that's about it for now...talk to you all soon! Love you all tons and tons!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Junebug


Sun, 15 May 2011

Hey Everybody!!

Hope all is well...we, as in Junebug and I, are doing pretty good. Michael and Cooper are still up in Fairbanks and are doing good, too...but, boy, do I ever miss my guys!!!

Just a quick update on me...not much different from the last time I put out an email. I'm still scrapbooking a lot. I scrapped with a bunch of gals yesterday and got a lot more done, but for some reason (like I took a TON of pictures of Cooper, apparently), Cooper just isn't aging very rapidly in his scrapbook! He's still only 7 months old and I have done over 40, yes FORTY, pages while I've been here!!! Not to mention he already has a scrapbook at home that is busting at the seems already...sheesh!!! Oh well, it's fun for me, and keeps me off my feet...

I'm catching up with a number of friends while I've been here which has been so nice. Fortunately, there have been a few events going on that have brought me into contact with a bunch of people at a time.

Hotel staff are still checking up on me here and there. They like to come and look at my fridge with the pictures of my kiddos on it and see some scrapbooking stuff. They always ask if I need anything...but I think asking them if they could put on my socks and shoes for me would be pushing it a little!!! Getting to that point where it's just not so easy to bend over anymore! Ugh!

Well, guess that's about it for me...next doctor's appointment is on Tuesday morning and I'll give you another update then. Talk to you all soon!


Leah, Michael, Cooper and Little Junebug :0)


Tue, 10 May 2011

Hey Everybody!!!

How are ya? I'm doing pretty good...except for the normal "uncomfortableness" of pregnancy and I have a bit of a head cold...I knew my good streak wouldn't last!!!

Anyhoo, had my doctor's appointment today. Junebug is doing very well...the mass is significantly smaller...I didn't write down the exact measurements (I was just so excited that it was smaller), but the numbers were in the threes verses the fours from before. May have had something to do with the steroid shots I got when I was 33 weeks. And, Junebug is going to be a big girl!!! They did measurements and she is weighing around 7 pounds 8 ounces...and still got three weeks to go!!! Did I mention that I am so happy that I am having a c-section???!!! They told me not to worry about the weight...afterall, I was 9 pounds! :) We were talking about what day to do the c-section...we are going to try for June 1st...then she'll actually be a Junebug!!! They'll call me tomorrow to verify if there is a spot available for me to do it on that day and we'll go from there! Phew!

I now have Junebug's ultrasound pictures up on the refrigerator next to Cooper's pictures. Oh yeah, Junebug was totally frowning during the ultrasound when we were discussing her weight...is she a female, or what?!

Everybody has been extremely nice here at the hotel. Starting to get to know some of the staff. The complimentary breakfasts that are here every morning are awesome! And they do complimentary dinners Monday thru Thursdays...tonight I had Ravioli Primavera with all the fixings, and it was so good! I did a bit of grocery shopping this morning to basically get some lunches and snacks for me to munch on. Stopped by the pharmacy today after my appointment and made a dinner date with a number of friends for tomorrow evening. We're going to the Glacier Brewhouse! I can't wait to eat there again! Anyhoo...guess that's about it for me. Agenda for tomorrow is....scrapbooking, nap, and dinner with some good friends...all in that order! I was just on Skype with Michael and Cooper...and Cooper blew me kisses...love it!!! :0) Talk to you all soon! Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Junebug


Mon, 09 May 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope all is well...I am doing good. I flew to Anchorage today, yes, the day has finally come. We dropped Cooper off at daycare before Michael took me to the airport...and, of course, I cried and cried when I said goodbye, and then again when everyone was giving me hugs! And then AGAIN when I said goodbye to Michael at the airport! I'm such a softy!!!

After drying my tears, I hopped on my plane...it was a good flight. I didn't have to lift any luggage between getting to the airport, retrieving my luggage, putting it in my rental car, and getting it into my hotel room. So many people want to help when they see a lady with a big pregnant belly!! :)

So, now I am all unpacked, my scrapbooking table is all set up, I managed to sign on to the internet at the hotel all by myself (I am so not a techie person and Michael is my own personal computer tech support), ate a bit of lunch, took a nap, and even added a little bit of home by putting some pictures of Cooper on my refrigerator here at my home away from home. My hotel room ROCKS!...I'll be very comfortable while staying here.

I have my doctor's appointment tomorrow and I'll do some grocery shopping as well. I was going to do it today, but decided I was too pooped! So, I am going to go eat some dinner...the hotel is serving a complimentary chicken pot pie for dinner and I am going to go chow down!

Talk to you all soon! Love you bunches...thank you all again and again for all your love and support through this emotional time!!!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Little Junebug


Fri, 06 May 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope all is well! So far, so good for us up here. Just been tying up some loose ends up here for me today and I just need to finish packing...then I am ready to roll! I had my doctor's appointment today and I am set to go to Anchorage and transfer all of my care down there.

I have ultimately organized my scrapbooking stuff so that I am taking two containers down with me in my suitcase...I am so far behind in Cooper's scrapbook so I am hoping that I'll get pretty much caught up on that project! I am also bringing down my Barnes and Noble Nook electronic reader so I'll get caught up on some reading as well...I am set for some relaxation!!! Michael and Cooper will follow me down in a few weeks or whenever needed. We have our Skype account all set up so that we can "see" each other every day while I'm away from them. Cooper's favorite song is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star...I found one of those recordable story books at Hallmark that is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star so that Cooper and Daddy can listen to me read the story before bedtime when I'm not there, too.

I have all reservations squared away for the plane trip, car rental, and hotel. Here is where I'll be staying for the next month:

Residence Inn Anchorage Midtown
1025 35th Avenue
Anchorage, Alaska 99508 USA
Phone: 1-907-563-9844
Fax: 1-907-563-9636

I'll have my cell phone on me so feel free to call! 907-687-7863 Michael set up unlimited texting too! :)

Well, guess that's about it for me...I have my next appointment with my doctor down there this coming Tuesday. Hopefully we'll get more of a time line and see when they'll do a planned c-section.

Mike and Cooper are doing great. The snow has pretty much melted away except for in the shady spots. Cooper loves, loves, loves playing outside. Now that the snow has melted away at the playground at daycare, Cooper is in the sandbox every day. He comes home covered in sand...he's happy because then he gets to take a bath every night, too!! Michael and I have been looking into getting one of those big wooden outdoor playsets with slides and swings and whatnot...we think we have found "THE ONE"! Hopefully it will able to be shipped to Alaska via Lowes!

Well, I'll send another email out soon! I can't believe I am just shy of being 36 weeks pregnant! The clock is ticking!!! Talk to you all soon! Love you bunches!!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Little Junebug...! :0)


Sun, 24 Apr 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope you all are doing well...we three and one-on-the-way are doing pretty good. Hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Happy Easter!! We are in full break-up mode up here in Fairbanks so our three mile dirt road is one yucky-mucky muddy mess and I really want to get my car washed, but it would pretty much be a useless adventure.

Here's the update on me and Junebug. My infection is cleared up and I would say the contractions have cleared up about 75%...still get them here and there, but definitely not like I was getting them. I'm resting a lot but there are still times when I have to keep reminding myself to cool my jets and get off my feet and things will get done when they get done. I think I'm starting my nesting phase...but thankfully Mike has taken over the big time cleaning projects and that makes me feel so much better. I came home on Friday and Mike had completely taken apart our sectional couch and was vacuuming it and underneath it to clean up all the dust bunnies and kitty hair...found two long lost channel changers and lots of Cooper's lost toys. It was awesome! OK...so here is the plan (if no problems arise) for me and the rest of the family. I am scheduled to fly down to Anchorage on Monday, May 9th to stay for the duration...in a little over two weeks when I am 36 weeks along (currently 33+ weeks along)! Mike and Cooper will follow in the car one to two weeks later, or whenever needed sometime after that. I am staying at the Residence Inn Marriott for the whole time...this hotel is very close to the hospital, has a full kitchen, they will do my grocery shopping for me if I need them to, has a pool so Coop will be happy, and I'm sure I will be very comfortable while I am there. It's going to kill me being away from Cooper and Mike for that amount of time, but Mike is setting up a Skype account for us so we'll be able to see each other over the computer every day. I am seeing my doctor up here the week before I leave and will make a trip in to Labor and Delivery the day before I fly out just to make sure things are hunky-dory before I fly out. Other than that, things are just carrying on...

Soooo, last Saturday (a week ago) was a totally awesomely fabulous day!!! In the morning, we had a professional photo shoot. It was soooo much fun! We did my maternity pictures as well as family pictures and fun photos of Cooper. I haven't seen any of the pictures yet...that will be this coming Tuesday...and I can't wait!!!! We did lots of belly shots and sweet poses with Cooper kissing mommy's tummy. Later we drove to Frontier Park to do outside shots with Cooper jumping in puddles and whatnot...the two photographers have emailed me and said the pictures turned out awesome...ahhhh, the suspense!! Then, we finished up right before my baby shower...Mike was still recovering from the flu so he went home to rest and me and the Coopster went to the party!!!

My baby shower was so wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you, again, Tammy and Michelle, and all the other gals for making my special day such a beautiful, memorable event...!!! Because of the photo shoot, Cooper didn't have much of a nap, except for the ride in the car on the way over and I was afraid he would be a little stinker, but he did awesome!!! He was playing, playing, playing the whole time with the other kiddos. Little Junebug made out like a bandit! She got lots of clothes (she is going to be stylin'), diapers (always a necessity), an awesome over-the-top dress up tutu, lots of accessories that matches her bedding set for her bedroom, new diaper bag, a humongous piggy bank, and lots of other girlie-girl stuff. My very talented friend Tammy handmade her a beautiful green dress with matching bonnet and bloomers as well as a knitted cream blanket...love it! My mom-in-law sent a really sweet flannel blanket with crocheted edges as well. Everyone was very good to us...thank you all!

Now that we have had the baby shower, we have been setting up Junebug's room...and we are finally done, except for a few things here and there. We were sooo happy how things turned out...we think it just looks so beautiful! Now it just needs a little Junebug in it! We finished the tree for the corner of the room and it turned out awesome as well. I stenciled a tree on two thin planks of wood, and then Michael cut it out with a jigsaw, sanded it, and painted it and then tacked it to the wall, then I placed adhesive wall stickers on it to embellish it...it was like scrapbooking on the walls! Our totally comfy rocker-recliner chair came in that we ordered as well...I think we are set!

Let's see, this morning was Easter morning. Cooper dived into his Easter basket before we all went to church. He basically had M & Ms for breakfast...as well as all the other kiddos at church, so I didn't feel too bad about that! He got two stuffed dinosaurs in his basket...and he's been calling them daddy's dinosaur and Cooper's dinosaur...who knew they would be such a huge hit...go Easter Bunny! :)

Well, I guess that's about it for now! Hope you enjoy all the pictures! We'll send out the pictures from the photo shoot when we get them! Thank you again for all your prayers, love, and support!

Love you all!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and 'lil Junebug :0)


Fri, 15 Apr 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope all is well...this email is a day or two late...but it's just the soonest I could get it out! :)

So, my visit down to Anchorage was a really good one, if a bit exhausting, but not too bad. Coop was in good hands with his daycare teacher and they took me to the airport (and picked me up) since Mike had to work a 12 hour shift that day. Anyhoo, my doctor's visit was a bit delayed but everything worked out just fine...Dr. Richey almost had to do an emergency c-section on an admitted patient and Dr. Roaten was finishing up a surgery...but we all managed to finally meet up.

So, little Junebug and I are doing pretty good, despite the contractions. I'll be rechecked this coming Monday with my doctor up here to make sure my infection has gone away. I'm still having constant contractions every time I stand up, but like I said, it's not painful, and I have even gotten used to them in a sense. My doctor said even if the infection has gone away, I may just have to live with the contractions...lots of women do...I'm fine with that. They don't feel like this is a really concerning issue because my cervix is apparently back to normal and I'm not dilating at all...yay for me! I didn't know your cervix can change all throughout your pregnancy so that was news to me. As for Junebug...she just looks sooo super cute on the ultrasound! She is currently about 4 pounds 9 ounces. I was wondering if she was getting too chunky but the doc said no and she's in the 75th percentile. Plus, if she is born early, it may be good for her to have some meat on her bones! The lung mass has gotten a teensy bit smaller, nothing really significant, but at least it's not bigger. And, since she has grown and the mass hasn't, it's not pressing on her heart as much so her heart has shifted back and isn't really displaced anymore....yay, go Junebug!!! On a funny note, right before the appointment I went to the hospital giftshop and bought a super cute preemie outfit (that said for 5 pounds on it)....needless to say, after the appointment, I went back and returned it! :) So, with both of us looking pretty good at the moment, the doctor's decided that the plan we are going to shoot for is me going down to Anchorage when I am 36 weeks (four weeks from now) and if there are no major problems with me or Junebug, then we will do a planned c-section when I am 39 weeks. They'll only take the baby early if problems arise, but hopefully we won't have to do that and add prematurity issues for little Junebug. After seeing all this, the surgeon said there is a good chance that Junebug will be breathing on her own after birth...we sure hope so so we can delay her surgery until she is bigger and stronger. After discussing all this with Mike, we think we may send me down to Anchorage a day or so before my next doctor's appointment on May 10th to stay. I will more than likely fly down...I can still fly at 36 weeks if I'm still doing good, plus, it's safer for me to do a 45 minute flight verses a 7 hour drive where you have relatively no options for health care along the drive and spotty cell phone coverage. Michael and Cooper will drive down sometime after that...we just don't want Mike to use up his leave time sitting down in Anchorage twiddling his thumbs if I'm still doing fairly good. So, like I said, this is what we are shooting for...hopefully more issues won't arise and things will play out how we want them to. Don't worry, I'll be resting...a lot!

So, looks like I will be able to attend my baby shower this weekend! Yahooy!!! I am so super excited for that! We are also going to do my maternity "photo shoot" as well as family pictures on the morning of the baby shower...yay, pictures!

That's about it for me and Junebug. Mike has unfortunately picked up a stomach bug so he's been staying down at the base in hopes of not giving it to Cooper and me. We are in breakup season up here and Cooper just got his rain boots...he is on the continual hunt for puddles to jump in and he basically doesn't want to take the boots off. He just surprises us every day with new things he says and does. He sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (yes, it's not perfect...but I never thought a two year old could do that) and he also says his version of the ABC's and 123's. He counts fairly well up to 9 by himself...he likes counting the jars in the fridge door when it's opened. He loves cutting with scissors and doing art projects, tugging around helium balloons, puzzles, cars...he's just a hoot! Junebug is apparently going to be a little kick boxer when she gets bigger...I can tell by how she kicks me...and I'm sure she will have no problem keeping up with her big brother!!

Guess that's about it for now! Talk to you all soon! Love you bunches!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and 'lil Junebug :o)

PS...we'll send out some pics later!


Fri, 08 Apr 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope all is well...we're doing okay...we have reached a little speed bump in the road though. I started having constant mild contractions Tuesday night and went to get checked out on Wednesday morning. I wasn't wanting to waste anyone's time when I went to L & D because I was thinking the contractions were the Braxton Hicks false contractions. But, they hooked me up to a baby monitor and ran a number of tests and cultures. They said that my uterus is "irritated" and that was causing me to have mild contractions. They found that I have a mild infection so I am now on antibiotics. So, just waiting for the antibiotics to kick in...I'm still having constant contractions...pretty much anytime I get out of bed...so I've been doing plenty of bedrest. Nothing has gotten worse and the doctors have cleared me to go ahead and fly down to my next appointment in Anchorage this coming Tuesday on April 12th. I did shorten the amount of time that I am in Anchorage since I don't really have a place a rest while I am there. I really, really want to make this appointment with Dr. Richey because the pediatric surgeon is also going to be coming with me to the appointment.

And, on top of that, I haven't even had my baby shower yet!!! Sheesh! I definitely have to make it to the 16th!!! :) I've also been searching for a photographer to do my maternity portraits as well as family photos and Cooper's two year pictures that we have delayed just a bit...wanting to do everything in one shot.

Other than feeling high maintenance, we're doing pretty good. Keep us all in your thoughts and prayers...!! Love you all!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Junebug

Oh yeah...so as for a name...we want to name our little baby girl Janelle...we're still deciding on a middle name...


Fri, 01 Apr 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope all is well...we are all doing pretty good! Yesterday went really well. We dropped Cooper off at his daycare teacher's house about 6:30 in the morning...poor little guy had to get up way earlier than he typically does...he's not a morning person we have found. But, I'll finish his story a bit later...

We had a good flight down to Anchorage...got to the hospital a tad early so we stopped by the gift shop and then popped into the pharmacy to say hi to some friends. Went up to our appointment and we were told that the doctor was in the NICU doing an emergency surgery. That was okay, I'm sure that little baby needed him much more at that time than we did. So, in the meantime while waiting for him, I worked on a lot of CE (continuing education) credits...I want to get all of them done before little Junebug arrives so I won't have to worry about it later...Mike played video games on his iPod Touch. So, doctor came back later, and I was very pleased with him. One of the first questions I asked him was if he's done this surgery before and he had. He was only going by some of Dr. Richey's notes as well as some ultrasound pictures I showed him and he believes that the mass is in the lower lobe of the left lung (left lung has two lobes, right lung has three lobes). He said that he would remove the entire lower lobe...even if the mass did not encompass the whole lobe and there was some normal tissue in it, he said he would still remove the whole lobe because he said in some instances, the remaining tissue has turned cancerous later on. He said the remaining upper lobe will continue to grow and will eventually fill in that area that was removed (lungs continue to grow till we are about 9 years old). He asked when my next appointment was with Dr. Richey and he is going to come to the appointment to see the ultrasound himself so he can get a better idea and we can all get a game plan together. I thought that was totally awesome for him to do this!

So, I asked about the surgery itself...because I have been imagining the worst like having to crack open the chest and all that. But, he said he would not need to do that. He would actually make a small incision on the left side of the chest under the armpit at the nipple line. Some of it would be done laproscopically and he would separate the ribs a bit to pull out the lung tissue. Now, we still don't know when the surgery would take place...how soon just depends on how Junebug is breathing after she is born. If she is not breathing on her own, or is having labored breathing, then she'll be intubated and surgery will take place relatively soon after a few days after birth. If she is breathing okay, then she'll spend about 5 days or so in the hospital to monitor her, make sure she is eating and gaining weight, and then we can take her home. Roughly around two months old she'll have a CT scan to check the mass and surgery would take place around 3-6 months of age. He did say that these babies don't breathe well in the hospital and then start having trouble at home...so that was a relief as well.

Like I said before, I was really impressed with the doctor. I asked him to give me an anatomy lesson and draw me a picture so I could get a better idea of what this mass look like...and he did. He also gave me his email address and cell phone just in case I have any more questions and to keep him posted. He is definitely in favor of me getting a steroid injection to help her lungs around 33 weeks...Marlene, did you get a steroid injection with Sydney and how did you tolerate it? He said if the surgery takes place later when she is 3-6 months, her hospital stay would be about 3-5 days after surgery. Now, depending on how preterm she is when she is born will also determine her hospital stay. He says he would like me to be down in Anchorage when I am 34-35 weeks. Argh. Something I don't really want to do is go down to Anchorage and sit around for potentially 6 weeks until Junebug is born...we would rather save as much of Michael's leave time as possible. So, something we need to figure out...do I go to Anchorage by myself and Mike and Coop stay in Fairbanks till needed or do I take Coop with me. Guess it just depends if I'm on bed rest and whatnot. I'll find out more regarding this with my next appointment on April 12th when I am 32 weeks along...

Soooo, I think that was the gist of our appointment. We didn't get out till after 1 o'clock, so then Michael and I went to go eat sushi at Peter's Sushi Spot for some lunch. The original Peter's burned down sometime after I moved to Fairbanks and we were very happy that he reopened! Lunch was so yummy...I only eat the cooked stuff, don't worry. Then we had a bit of time and went to do a bit of shopping at REI. Then we headed off to the airport and headed back home...

Cooper's daycare teacher took him in to daycare for us and then took him back home with her. When we showed up at her house, they were sledding outside and he was having a ball...it took lots of encouragement to get him back in the house to take off his snow gear. Cooper was so funny, he just walked around the place like he owned it and showed us the toys he had been playing with and how gentle he could be while petting her kitty cat. Kelly, his teacher, told me about his day and he did really well. She said that at lunchtime he fell asleep in his chair, sitting up, and the other gal, Katie, had to go catch him as he was falling over in his seat. He stayed asleep throughout his diaper change and getting his face and hands washed as well. Poor little guy was just so tuckered out! Kelly offered to watch Cooper anytime which is a great relief, because we still just have never done/found a stable babysitter for Cooper and he really enjoys her...yippee! I see future date nights!!

So, I guess that's about it for now...hope this clears up some things for you like it did us! Talk to you all soon! Love you lots!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and 'lil Junebug


Wed, 30 Mar 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope all is well. We are all doing good. Michael and I fly to Anchorage tomorrow on Thursday to meet with the pediatric surgeon. Hopefully we'll get our questions answered...and I won't end up even more confused!!! :) We are dropping Cooper off early at his daycare provider's house and then she will take him home with her when she is off work as well...she said she is going to snag a sled from work and they are going to go to a park and do some sledding!!! So, because I am being the typical mom and fretting being away from Cooper, our trip to Anchorage will be shorter so we won't be able to see lots of people...I'll be flying down again on April 12th for my 32 week appointment....yikes!!! 32 WEEKS!!! Anyhoo, if we don't see you tomorrow, I'll be down soon again and I'll write an email with all that we learned from the surgeon.

Love you all...keep us in your thoughts and prayers!!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Junebug :)


Fri, 18 Mar 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope you all are well...we are pretty much status quo at the moment but still doing good. I flew to Anchorage on Tuesday for my perinatologist appointment. Flight went well...except that it was just very early in the morning!!! I went to breakfast with my very good friend, Paula, and we gabbed for a couple of hours before she went to my appointment with me...I miss doing that, Paula!!! Paula will be playing Auntie Paula for us and Cooper when we are down in Anchorage for everything...which is a huge stress reliever for us. Thank you so much Paula, I don't know what I did to ever deserve a friend as good as you!!! :)

So, we went to the appointment and did the ultrasound. The mass in Junebug's lung is basically the same, not bigger or smaller. Her airway and heart are still looking good...another good thing. She is weighing in at about 2.7 pounds at the moment...she said that is just a smidgen big, but I figure if I end up delivering early, Junebug will need all the weight she can get. Found out a little bit more about the mass...I'm glad Paula was there at the appointment because she was asking the doctor some questions as well and was able to explain it to me a bit better...she's a nurse! Your left lung is the two lobe lung, verses the right lung has three lobes. This mass is affecting one of the lobes of the left lung and it sounds like it is a space-occupying mass...so once it is removed, the normal tissue in the lung can kind of fill out and keep growing...but, At least, that is my understanding at the moment, and could be totally wrong...I hope the surgeon can draw me a picture and maybe I'll get it more. I'll need to get a dose of steroids when I am about 33 weeks along (I am currently 28) to hopefully help the development of her lungs. We had a lot of other questions, but kept getting the same answer...that's a question for the pediatric surgeon...frustrating since I feel a bit impatient, but what can you do. The doctor also told me that my cervix is shortened which can put me at an increased risk of preterm labor...on top of all the other things Junebug and I are going through. So, I need to decrease my hours at work and get more rest and go from there. I have been feeling some pains here and there in my stomach and she is wondering if they may be contractions...or just pregnancy pains. My first test for the gestational diabetes came back right on the edge so I needed to do the extended version to check for sure. I was pretty sure I was, but after going through the three hour long extended test, I actually came out totally fine...who knew?! I was kind of hoping while I was at the hospital I would have some of those pains so I could pop up to L & D and get put on a monitor to see if they were contractions or not...but, alas, no pains...figures. My amniotic fluid level is okay at the moment...apparently a level of 5-25 is normal and I came back at 20. Let's see, what else...so far the doctor thinks they will be able to handle me and Junebug's surgery here at Providence rather than having to go to Cincinnati...so, that's good too. Michael and I fly down on the 31st to meet with the surgeon, and then in another couple of weeks I'll see the doctor again for another checkup. And, we'll probably need to be in Anchorage for the duration when I am about 35 to 36 weeks depending on how I am doing. Junebug was a little cutie during the ultrasound...she kept putting her hands in front of her face and it looked like she was praying...and thinking really hard...I'll email some more pictures of her out later.

Let's see, what else. A couple of weekends ago we went out to see the Ice Carving Championships. We went out at night to see the lights reflecting off the ice carvings better. Such wonderful talent...we thought the best one was of this giant bird cage with a parrot in it...have no idea how they did that. That same weekend, we took Cooper out to North Pole to one of the schools that has a fabulous pool to swim in. Cooper was really ticked off that he wasn't big enough to go down the water slides, but his daddy made up for it by playing some water basketball with him.

Cooper is just a hoot...full of energy...loves helium balloons, which they do a lot at daycare for parties and whatnot and they can entertain him for hours. He likes digging in the silverware drawer and pulling out a knife, fork, and spoon and carries them around everywhere...I find silverware stashed here and there in the house every now and then. He is talking more and more...and loves Mickey Mouse. We are going to start on the hunt for a big play yard to put out in the yard this summer...once all this snow melts away!

Other than that, I'm just trying to get the house in order for another baby. Doing some spring cleaning and whatnot and making lists of what we need to take to Anchorage for an extended stay. And, getting an emergency bag together in case I have to get medivac'd out. I'm trying to rest as much as possible which needs to be my main priority at the moment. I'll see my OB up here in Fairbanks on Monday morning and get checked out again and go from there.

Guess that's about it for now. Miss you all so much. Talk to you all soon!


Leah, Michael, Cooper, and 'lil Junebug


Tue, 1 Mar 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope all is well...we found out yesterday the results of our amniocentesis and we are happy to report that there are no underlying genetic disorders (with respect to Downs Syndrome or Trisomy 18...obviously the doctors can't check for everything). It was sure nice to have some good news sent our way! But, I do have to laugh...because in a way, it's almost like this was so problem 263 ago!!! :)

I'm still trying to kick this flu bug...my stuffy nose is better, but I still have a hard cough and it's been trying to settle in my chest. And I'm just so tired...I still seem to be napping throughout the day.

Here's the update on our future Anchorage trips. I will be flying down on Tuesday, March 15th for my appointment with my perinatologist. I fly in about 7 in the morning and fly out that evening...hopefully I'll have lots more time to see friends and shop!!! We couldn't get an appointment to see the pediatric surgeon until Thursday, March 31st...so both Michael and I are going to be flying down on that day to see him.

Can't wait to see you all again! Miss you bunches!


Leah, Michael, Cooper, and 'lil Junebug


Thu, 24 Feb 2011

Hey Everybody...

Well, here's the update on me from my not so fun day yesterday. I started feeling pretty miserable on Tuesday and by that evening I had fevers, aches, chills, stuffiness, cough...and just general ickiness. Luckily, I already had an appointment scheduled with my OB up here on Wednesday morning because I really, really didn't want to go to the ER (which is what you are supposed to do after hours if you are pregnant and get a fever). Anyhoo, saw my doctor, he checked Junebug out and she was okay, took a few minutes to discuss the findings from my last ultrasound down in Anchorage, and then he promptly booted me upstairs to Labor & Delivery to get a full workup. So, I was temporarily admitted into the hospital...I was tested for flu and strep...they wanted to give me a chest x-ray, but I declined until I got the results from the other tests and I felt like my chest was clear. Anyhoo, I tested positive for Influenza A (most common flu virus) and I know just who the patient was at work that coughed all over a pregnant woman!!! Gurrrrrrr!!!! So, I'm now on a flu medication (which is just killing me to take...just didn't want to expose Junebug to anything even though it is relatively safe to be on during pregnancy)...and Mike and Cooper are on prophylaxis flu meds...in hopes that they don't end up with what I got...so far, so good. Because, holy cow...we are all always SICK!!! So, Michael came and met me at the hospital, took a pit stop at the pharmacy, went home, and I was sent to bed. I just wish I could sleep...I feel so exhausted and on top of being pregnant, all my joints hurt and it's just painful to be in my skin right now, and my nose is so stuffy!!! Yes, I am moaning and groaning...sorry to put you all thru it as well!

Today, I feel a smidgen better. Mike's been taking care of Cooper and taking him back and forth to daycare. I just hope this doesn't last!

Anyhoo...just more information on future events...

Found out what I was supposed to do in case I went into preterm labor. I immediately go to L & D and get prepped and stabilized. My doctor up here said if there is one thing the Army knows how to do well is to medivac a patient.

My next appointment down in Anchorage is March 15th. I am also trying to get a referral to go thru for me to see a pediatric surgeon (Dr. Jolley) so we can get an idea of how extensive this surgery is going to be, how long Junebug's recovery will be, and all that good jazz.

Well, guess that's about it on our end. Hopefully our next email will be much more bright and cheery!

Love you all...!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and 'lil Junebug


Sun, 20 Feb 2011

Hi Everybody!

Well, let's see...in the other email I told you all about my doctor's visit but nothing about what else is happening up here in the Scadden household.

As for Cooper...he is now 2 years and 2 months old. Baby gates are no longer a deterrent for him and knows how to get them all undone, except for the one that bolts into the wall at the top of the stairs. He just got a high and tight haircut just like his daddy did today...I like it, but I'm still getting used to it. He is full time in his "fort" bed and the crib is now completely in Junebug's room. He loves jumping on our bed, knows he is not allowed to jump on his bed, loves reading books, and playing with all his cars and tools...and generally making a mess of the living room. His favorite word is "no" and has just recently started giving us sourpuss looks when he says it...I never knew how much I hated that word until now. He loves exerting his independence...picking out his own clothes, what he's going to eat, etc. He scoots his little chair all over the downstairs and is just the right height to turn on and off all the light switches...and reach the ice maker/water dispenser on the fridge. He likes crunching on ice chips and getting his own water...and loves all the messes he makes along with it...I'm just glad it's just water...

As for me, I'm still working Mondays and Fridays. Our fundraiser is done that we were working on at Cooper's daycare and was a smashing success!!! We raised over $15,000 for the kiddo's new playground set. We had so much fun at the event.

Mike's working and things are going well there. He was out plowing the driveway today, but when you look out the window, it doesn't look like he did much, because we just keep getting more and more snow!! It sure is about time! He said he'll need to get up on the roof sometime and push all the snow off there sometime soon as well.

And as for Junebug's room, I have finally settled on a bedding set for her. I had one in mind when I was down in Anchorage, but they didn't have the full set in stock, and once I started really looking at it in person, I decided it was just a lot of pink. Now I have nothing against pink, but everyone knows, once you have a little girl, you can easily go overboard on the pink. I came across a bedding set that is apparently online only (Sundae by Cocalo), but the owner at "Cribs, Cradles, and Things" up here in Fairbanks said she would order in the whole shabang for me! She is such an awesome lady! I was super excited and it works out great because I am going to register with her for my baby shower. I love this bedding set I found...it has yellow, red, some blue, and brown...and lots of pretty butterflies and flowers on it and reminds me of my Grandma Coatney. In the "display" picture, they had painted a tree on the wall in the corner of the room and then put the wall decals on it. Now since we live in a log home, you can't really paint the walls...but Mike said if I stencil on the outline of a tree on some thin plywood, he'll cut it out and paint it for me so we can get a similar look like in the picture!! I love my hubby...he's so good to me! So, I guess now we have our next project to work on...along with all the others!

We're still having a heck of a time coming up with a name for little Junebug...well, I guess I'll rephrase that...we know what we want her first name to be...but can't seem to find the perfect middle name to go with it. Decisions, decisions...

Well, I guess that's about it for now...talk to you all soon! Love you all so much! Keep praying for us!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and 'Lil' Stylin' Junebug :0)


Sat, 19 Feb 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope all is well...just wanted to update you on our latest trip down to Anchorage. Michael, Cooper, and I drove down to Anchorage this past Tuesday...and, holy cow, is that ever a long trip when you are not used to driving it every other week or so! Cooper did awesome, so that was a big help. We checked into our hotel room, unpacked, and then zonked out.

Wednesday morning was my doctor's appointment. Got to the hospital a few minutes early so we swung by the pharmacy to say hi to everyone down there and get lots of hugs of encouragement. So, we had my ultrasound first. Junebug is indeed a girl...just wanted to make doubly sure because I wanted to pick up her bedding set while we were in the vicinity of Baby Depot and BabiesRUs. So, we'll start with the good news...if you recall from my last email, the doctor said her ears were lower set...but, she has now grown into her ears and everything is just fine there. Also, I don't believe I mentioned this in the last email, but she had a choroid plexus cyst in her head...not in her brain, but where there are two spaces in your head that make the spinal fluid. The doctor said that this could be a trait of Trisomy 18 babies (incompatible with life) but you do see them sometimes in other babies and typically go away and really don't mean anything (they are also frequently found in people during autopsies)...anyhoo, the one that Junebug had is now gone. So, then we took a look at her lung mass and her heart. Unfortunately, the mass has gotten significantly bigger. It was 3 x 3 x 2cm, and it is now 4 x 4.25 x 2.3cm. So, after taking a deep breath...I had the doctor tell me basically where do we go from now. Her heart is displaced to the right, but she is showing no signs of heart failure...the heart wall thickness still shows normal, heart beat is fine, no accumulation of fluid anywhere, and I have normal amounts of amniotic fluid. The doctor said what they'll be keeping an eye on is my amniotic fluid level...if I start to get too much, then that means Junebug is not swallowing it and processing it, meaning that the mass is taking it's toll on her. So, with the mass getting bigger, it obviously puts us at higher risk...and I'm trying not to get discouraged or cry...and still doing lots of praying. So, the doctor said with worst case scenario, if the mass gets bigger and she and/or I start to go downhill...we may have to deliver in Cincinnati, OH!!! Wasn't expecting that, but that is apparently where the best doctors are to deal with this situation and for her to have surgery right after birth. So much for trying to make plans for the delivery, huh? But, I asked the doctor how big does the mass need to get before this happens and was told it's not a matter of how big, but rather when and if it starts taking it's toll on her. She said I need to have all my ducks in a row by 35 weeks because the possibility of me going into preterm labor is higher (currently I'm at 24). And here I was stressing that I only have 3 or so months left, and now it's down to 2!!! And, she said if I do go into preterm labor while I am still in Fairbanks, I will be medivac'd down to Anchorage...wow, my life is just full of adventures, huh? :)

So then, after the ultrasound, I was prepped for my amniocentesis. I went ahead and sent Mike and Cooper out of the room because Cooper just needed to run around some and I think it would stress me out more to have Cooper in there acting up. So, Michael took him to the gift shop and bought him a big bouncy ball that lights up and they proceeded to bounce that ball all over the hospital, up and down the stairs and who knows where else. My amniocentesis went much better than I ever thought it would and wasn't traumatic either. However, I have been psyching myself up for it over the past month and kept my eyes tightly closed throughout the whole ordeal. They told me the whole thing would take less than a minute. It was by guided ultrasound so the doctor finds where the biggest pocket of fluid is. I felt the needle stick and I just started counting up to 60. When I was at 8, they told me the doctor was almost done drawing out the 20mL of fluid and by the time I hit 10, she pulled the needle out. Then Junebug and I were hooked up to a baby monitor for about half an hour or so to make sure I wasn't having contractions or going into labor. We did great! Then we all went back to the hotel room, ate some lunch and took a big nap.

For the rest of the day, I just took it easy, didn't pick up Cooper (he was not happy with me for that), and visited with my friends Emily and Paul (and their little adorable Oliver) who came to visit us. Later that night, Michael took Cooper swimming at the pool and I sat in a chair and took videos and pictures of them. Cooper was a bit timid at first when getting in the pool, but before long he was getting more and more gutsy and was having a ball.

So, as of Thursday morning, I had no complications from the amniocentesis and we were free to go back up to Fairbanks. Oh yeah, I won't get the results from my amnio for another 8-10 days...we'll keep you posted on that tidbit when we get them. We stopped by BabiesRUs, but unfortunately they didn't have what I wanted in stock...so bummed. So, we headed back home...I wrote this email while driving back home...that's why this is soooo wordy and loooong, because it's a loooong ride home and I needed something to do to occupy my time.

I needed to scan my ultrasound pictures to put them in the email before I sent it out too, so that's why it's delayed a day or so. I made sure to get pictures of the actual mass in her lung to so can actually see what we are talking about. In the one picture where you see the profile of the spine, the whitish, opaque triangular thing you see under the spine is the mass...it's basically taking up her left lung. The other picture is where you are looking "up" her belly to her lungs. The left lung is basically all whitish, abnormal tissue and the other darker side is her other normal lung. Scary, huh? And, the other picture is just a super cute picture of our adorable Junebug.

Well, guess that's about it for now. We'll keep you posted on any new information we get and when my next doctors appointments are. Talk to you all soon. Love you lots!


Leah, Michael, Cooper, and 'Lil Junebug


10 Feb 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope all is well...we are all doing pretty good...just busy, busy, busy! Today is Michael's birthday...he knocked off work a bit early, we picked up some Chili's to go, snagged Cooper, and came home to eat and then have some dessert...his favorite, cherry-o-cream-cheese pie! Cooper had fun blowing out his daddy's candles and then sticking his fingers in the pie and saying, "Yummmmm!" He was so silly...!

The fundraiser at Cooper's daycare is finally taking place this Sunday. We've all worked so hard to put things together and it's going to be so much fun. There's going to be a big silent auction, dinner, dessert, etc, etc, etc.

Today I was finalizing some decorations for the event, and then made Cooper's Valentines cards to give out to everyone for his party on Monday at daycare.

And next week I'll be 24 weeks along in my pregnancy journey...it's all just going waaayyyyy too quick for me. On Tuesday, Michael, Cooper and I are driving down to Anchorage to meet with my perinatologist again and have another ultrasound done. Hopefully Junebug's mass has gotten smaller...keep your fingers crossed!!! And after much debating and talking with Michael and my doctors, I have decided to go ahead and have an amniocentesis done. Yes, the gal that completely totally hates needles is going to have this done...I figure as long as I put a towel over my face so I can't see anything and they duct tape me to the table, I'll be fine. :o) The doctor says that after I have this done, I am to have a "sick day"...just resting...and unfortunately, no shopping. So sad. So we'll just have to hit Baby Depot and Babies R Us on the day we come in. If I don't have any complications for 24 hours, then we are free to drive back home on Thursday. We'll be staying at the Marriott SpringHill Suites in University Lake...it has a pool and whatnot which will be something fun for Michael to do with Cooper. I'll rest and maybe work on some CE credits...or read a book. Hope to see some of my buddies while I am down there!!! Miss you all!!!

Well, I FINALLY bought my first pink thing for Junebug. The girls at the pharmacy said I shouldn't do any shopping until after my baby shower so I've been behaving myself...but this, I could not resist buying!!! It's a little knitted hat with a feathery poof on it...it's so darn cute and completely over the top...and I just love it!!!

Well, guess that's about it for now...we'll keep you all posted on everything going on!

Love you all!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and 'Lil Junebug


29 Jan 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope you all are well...we have all had a tough week but I think it is now better...phew! Well, mostly anyways...

On Monday I met with my OB up here to further discuss the ultrasound findings and try to put together some kind of game plan. Something that I didn't find out during my ultrasound was how big the mass is and where it's located. I was on information overload...and emotional...and blah, blah, blah, so they could've told me but it just didn't sink in at the time...I don't know. Anyhoo...I did find out the mass is on the posterior left side of little Junebug...which is not good because that is the side where her heart is. And, unfortunately, the mass is already 3cm x 3cm x 2cm...and for a little bitty baby, that's pretty darn big...and my OB said that it is already pressing against her heart. So, not the greatest of news and this sent me in a tizzy all over again...but now it's sunk in and I'm dealing with it. We did listen to her heartbeat and it was normal and my blood pressure was on the lower side...which is all good, because this can cause her to go into heart failure if the mass presses too much on her heart. Mike, Cooper, and I are going to be driving down to Anchorage on Tuesday, February 15th, have my appointment the morning of the 16th, and then we'll drive back home afterwards. From there we'll have another set of data points to compare the size of the mass to and to see if it's getting any bigger. So, I guess now it's just a waiting game...

As for a game plan...I have no idea where to start. I am going to have to deliver little Junebug down in Anchorage (unless a miracle happens and the mass disappears). So, uprooting the family and traveling 350 miles away from home to do this is a scary thought. I am most worried about Cooper and am wondering what to do about him and keeping him occupied and whatnot at times when Mike may need to be with me. Has anyone had to go through this and maybe give me some pointers? Any temporary nannies looking for a job???

Cooper got another cold...gave it to Michael...and, of course, I got it, too....I know, big surprise. I'm almost 22 weeks pregnant and I think I've been sick with a head cold for like 18 of those weeks...sheesh! Oh well. And, of course, Cooper always seems to get sick on days that I have to work at the pharmacy...but luckily Mike was able to watch over him. Phew...he definitely gets the best daddy of the year award!

Anyhoo...that's about it for now. Love you all and thank you so much for all your prayers and warm thoughts! Keep 'em coming!!! :)

And...don't forget to look at some of the long awaited pictures of little Junebug!!!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Baby Junebug :0)


23 Jan 2011

Hey Everybody!

Thank you EVERYONE for all your prayers and words of encouragement! Keep 'em coming!!! Ha ha ha! We are all doing great...I think our stress level has decreased considerably and hopefully it will just keep going down.

Well, let's see...I am currently 20+ weeks pregnant. Still doing pretty good...some days I'm more tired than others...still just plugging along. I need to see the perinatologist again the week of Feb 14 for her to measure little Junebug's (by the way that is her nickname, not her real name!!) lung mass and compare it to this last time. Mike, Cooper and I will hopefully be able to drive down on Tuesday, Feb 15th, have the appt Wed morning and then drive back home. That way we'll have just a bit more time in town to visit with some friends and do some baby shopping!!! So, that's the plan as of now...hopefully it will pan out like we want it to...we'll keep you posted.

Still seems completely strange that we are having a little girl. I even went to go look at pink girly stuff and couldn't buy ANYTHING!!! It just still doesn't seem real to me...am I strange, or what?! Mike says he's sure I'll snap out of it sooner rather than later. Although, I am feeling little Junebug move around in my belly quite often now...yippee!

We have Cooper's big boy bed set up...actually his whole setup for his bedroom is probably the largest piece of furniture that we have in the whole house! It's a fort with a bed in it and we can even put a full sized bed on the bottom of it if we want to (we have the bed frame that goes with the set, it's just not put together...that way Cooper has more room to play in his room). So, we've had the bed set up in his room for the past couple of weeks and it's basically just been a play thing for Cooper (and the crib set up next to it)...but Friday night Cooper was adamant that he wanted to sleep in his new bed. I was too exhausted after working that day to deal with a silly, but totally cute toddler getting in and out of the bed until he was ready to settle down, so Mike crawled into the fort and snuggled next to him until he went to sleep. Cooper ended up kicking Michael out of the bed when he decided to sleep perpendicular to Michael but he was out for the count for the rest of the night. Last night started out pretty much the same, Mike snuggled next to him and then crawled out later. I would totally do it, but I'm getting a little lumpy and awkward to be crawling through the fort...you can see what I'm talking about by looking at the pictures. Naptime during the day is a whole other story. I'll get him tucked in, read books, get his favorite blanket, yadda, yadda, yadda...but before long I'll hear the pitter patter of his little feet upstairs. So, after three tries, he goes back into the crib for a nap where he is contained...luckily he's not a climber...and he's out in 5 minutes. Today was just too funny...one of those mommy moments where you are trying to be stern but not laugh at the same time. I told Cooper if he got out of the bed one more time he was going to go back into his crib. I heard him get out of the bed, walk down the hall, and I was waiting for him at the bottom of the stairs as he poked his head around the side of the wall. He giggled and then went racing back to his room, slammed the door and raced back into bed. By the time I waddled up the stairs he was back into his fort...faking sleep...little stinker! Sooo, I'm sure it will just take some getting used to a different way of doing things...

We're back to having a super freezing cold spell again...it's been in the -30s or so lately...burrr...! Can't wait for warmer weather...although February is typically one of our coldest months...argh.

Anyhoo...guess that's about it for now!!! Love you all so much!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and little Junebug! :0)


19 Jan 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope you all are well...just wanted to update you all from our end. As many of you know, yesterday I flew down to Anchorage to visit with a perinatologist. My appointment went much longer than anticipated so I'm sorry I didn't have a lot of time to visit with everyone I wanted to while I was there...and I was on information and emotional overload!

Well, I guess I'll start at the beginning. About two weeks ago I got a call from a midwife at Bassett Army Hospital telling me that my "quad screen" came back abnormal and that I was showing positive for Down's Syndrome. Long story short, all I was hearing from her was that I was going to have a Down's baby and no matter what questions I asked her, she kept telling me I was "positive" for Down's. Well, it took a number of days for my doctor to get a hold of me to further explain the test and what the results meant and blah, blah, blah...basically the midwife should have just told me I was at a higher risk of having a Down's child and that I needed further evaluation in order to find out. So simple...but alas, the seed was planted in our brains and many tears later...you know what I mean. So, even though I already had my appointment set up with the perinatologist (because I'm "high risk" because of my age) I also needed to see her to do a specialized ultrasound to check for this. So, off I went...

I met with a wonderful genetic counselor for quite a while and she explained lots of information to me and what the doctor was going to check for and all that good stuff. She also went over the procedure of an amniocentesis if I should choose to want genetic testing done at some point later. (They said they could do it that day if I wanted, but there is a risk of miscarriage and fluid leaking and I wouldn't be able to fly home for 24 hours...ticket was already booked...anyhoo...didn't want to do it that day.)

So, had the ultrasound and she checked for all the characteristics of Down's. Everything appears to be normal...except she did find one characteristic that may/may not be a characteristic of Down's. The baby has lower set ears...meaning, if you draw a line from the corner of your eye to the side of your head, you should meet the top of your ear. The baby's ears are set just a little bit low. Does this actually mean anything? Who knows...the only way to know for sure is to do an amniocentesis. I asked the doctor is she thought I should do one and she told me to look at it this way...if I did one now, would the findings make me want to end the pregnancy....well, no. So, if I wanted to do one later to give us more information then I should wait until 32 weeks or so. Meaning, since I'm 20 weeks now and if there were complications, the pregnancy could end as a miscarriage, if I do it later in pregnancy, and there were complications, then it would be a preterm birth. But, after talking with Michael, we have come up with the conclusion, why put me and the baby at an increased risk, and if we do want genetic testing done, we'll just do it after the baby is born. And regarding the ears...holy cow, the baby's only 20 weeks old...still has another 20 weeks to go...give the baby a chance to grow some more!!!! So, all in all, this was all good news to hear...!

However, we are not out of the woods. Baby was found to have a mass in one of the lungs. The doctor called it a "Congenital Cystic Adenomatoid Malformation" of the lung...she was calling in a CCAML..."camel". I'm basically going to copy some information that was given to me about this so sorry for any technical grammar. It is a benign (non-cancerous) mass of abnormal lung tissue, located usually on one lobe of the lung. It's caused by an overgrowth of abnormal lung tissue that may form fluid filled cysts and does not function as normal lung tissue. It did show up as a bright mass on the ultrasound...I don't know what lung it's located on, but was basically told it's not small, but not large either....so I guess it's somewhere in-between, right? So, I will be closely monitored now to follow the growth of the cyst/mass...I'll be going to Anchorage every four weeks for follow-up for the doctor to measure it. (Yay, more trips to Anchorage!!!) The baby will be going through rapid growth over the next 10 weeks so if the mass gets larger, we'll probably see it then. In most cases the fetus will do well and be carried to term without a problem. Ideally, we are hoping and praying that the mass will disappear during my third trimester. But, once the baby is born the mass may or may not cause difficulty breathing. If the mass doesn't go away, but isn't causing breathing problems, then baby will go home with me and will probably need surgery to remove it around 3-6 months of age. In rare cases, the mass may grow to be life threatening, causing a shift of the heart, compression of the blood vessels causing the heart to pump harder to circulate the blood, and possibly lead to heart failure. Baby will be closely monitored for this, as well as my health, because I could mirror these signs and symptoms with preeclampsia (high blood pressure and protein in the urine). So, I was told that I would probably need to deliver down in Anchorage because of this where there is a wonderful neonatal ICU if the baby should need it. So, lots to think and pray about...but, strangely I'm just going with the flow with all of this. Maybe it's because I've already gone through a surgery with Cooper...who knows...but Michael and I are handling this much better...!

Oh...and did I forget to mention??? We are having a baby GIRL!!!!!! I am just tickled pink...literally!!! And out of ALL the information that I got yesterday, this is the hardest for me to grasp a hold of!!! I had apparently totally, completely convinced myself that I was having another boy! I completely lost it when the doctor told me I was having a girl...not when she told me about the mass...but when she told me I was having a girl....goofy, yes, but what can I say...I have always, always, always wanted a little girl and do all the girly things. (She'll probably be a complete tomboy)!!! It's very strange for me to think in pink mode versus blue mode...!

So, that is where we are at at the moment...I think I have covered it all. And I must say, once I turned my phone back on after the appointment, I had about 50 emails, texts, and Facebook messages from everyone...thank you all sooooo much for your love, support, and well wishes! It means so much to us! Please keep our family and precious little girl (wow, that's strange to say!) in your thoughts and pray for the mass to go away!!!!!!!! :0)

Love you all bunches and bunches!!!

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and Baby Junebug


11 Jan 2011

Hey Everybody!

Hope you all are doing well...just wanted to send a short note out (I know, that's like unheard of from me, right?)

I will be flying out next Tuesday, January 18th to Anchorage to see a perinatologist. Just wanted to let my Anchorage peeps know that I am coming down and can't wait to see all of you! I will be leaving Fairbanks at 8am and then fly back the same day at 7pm, my appointment is at 1pm at Providence.

Please keep our family and our baby-to-be in your thoughts and prayers!!!

Love you all,

Leah, Michael, Cooper, and the-one-on-the-way!