Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Good News and Mixed Messages

Our visit to the cardiologist went very well today, thanks for asking!

Kristin's aorta has grown just a little, but that's to be expected. The doctor expects that it will continue to get a little bigger throughout the pregnancy, but he didn't seem overly concerned.


Just 7 weeks ago he was instilling horrendous fear into us and talking about "selective reduction" and heart surgery. Now? He seems pretty happy with how things are rolling along.

Not to say that it's not serious - it is serious - and there are many concerns, which he reminded us of (including going through a what-to-do-in-case-of-emergency mini lecture). He also reminded Kristin that she should be relaxing with her feet up, staying in the house as much as possible and having hubby do all the lifting (like I haven't been doing that for 4.5 years...)

So we feel like we've been getting some mixed messages, but we're incredibly thankful that God has answered our prayers - her heart is doing okay and there are no surprises this time!

When the conversation turned to surgery he wouldn't rule out the possibility, but was a little more optimistic this time around. He told us that Kristin would be monitored after the babies are born, and if her aorta doesn't shrink down, they'll prepare her for surgery. If it goes back down, they'll just keep monitoring, he says.

"Unless you're planning to have more kids..."
We laugh. "Hah, I think we're all done..." I say, "three will be plenty!"
He smiles, "Well, you never know... but if you were planning on having more, I'd recommend the surgery, then you'll be okay to have another pregnancy."

Uh-huh. See you in 6 weeks, Doc...


Thank you for your encouragement and prayers, as always we appreciate them! Our next appointments are on Friday for our now routine ultrasound and clinic morning.

Oh, more good news today - La-Z-Boy just called... our replacement recliner is ready to be picked up! Yahoo! Now Kristin will be able to recline her days away... and the freezer comes tomorrow afternoon!

More updates in a few days! We're almost done renovating the kitchen and the nursery is almost ready to be photographed and displayed! Stay Tuned!

Friday, September 25, 2009

All Stitched Up!

After many delays and mediocre hospital food, I'm happy to announce that we're home! Finally, real food again. Oh, and comfortable places to relax.

Not that hotel McMaster was all that bad, but... let's just say it's not home. The staff there are top notch though, they were so wonderful to us during our brief stay!

We arrived at the hospital right on time yesterday, 9am, for Kristin's 11am procedure. After going through the pre-op warm-up (read: hospital gown, IV, meds), we waited in our white walled cell until they called our number.

Not that it was the first time Kristin has spent several hours in a white room, except that other one had padding....

Anyway, our 'number' was not called... the procedure was delayed... 4 grueling hours. Good thing I brought lots of books and my laptop to watch movies on! She finally went in around 3pm.

The docs were really pleased with how everything went, and Kristin has had no side effects at all! Amazing! I'll spare you the gory details of the surgery (not that I was there... they didn't have an extra pair of scrubs.. oh well), but once the freezing wore off, Kristin was pain free and ready to eat! She wasn't allowed to eat the night before, or the morning of, so the babies were hungry!

It was an uncomfortable sleep at the hospital for Kristin, so she's even more happy to be home!

Babies' heart beats are all strong and there are no signs of infection or pre-term labor, so we were all set to come home!

Thank you all for your prayers, phone calls, visits and emails - we continue to appreciate them!


On another note, we have been going back and forth with our insurance adjuster since our basement sewer back up in July. We've been waiting a long time; there have been almost 7,000 claims in our area of Hamilton, so everyone is really busy. We were given a little bit of money to get a washer/dryer, new furnace and some plastic storage bins, but were told we'd have to wait to replace anything else.

We've been without a lot of our 'stuff', but we're trying to be patient, recognizing that our insurance company is extremely busy trying to place value on everyone's contents and restoration costs.

He told me a few weeks ago that he wouldn't be issuing us any other advances - he would have a look at our content list, assess value and then we'd discuss replacement options. We've been patient, but this week I contacted him about a few items - our La-Z-Boy recliner and our deep freezer. To my amazement, he said I could get some quotes and we'd work it out! Hooray!

The "work it out" part is a whole other story, but as of last night he's approved the items and is mailing a cheque! Finally, we'll have a recliner that will be much more comfortable for Kristin, and a deep freezer to ... well... put food in. Obviously we're really looking forward to that though - our little freezer above our fridge fills up fast! We should have both of them on Thursday!!

So we're very thankful this week - we've seen God answer several prayers - and feel blessed to be back at home. Our next appointment is not far though - cardiology on Wednesday to check on Kristin's heart, and Ultrasounds and Clinics on Friday. Continue to pray with us!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Elevators and "I Felt it!"

A small crowd had gathered around the elevators in the yellow section. There's a distinct odor about the hospital; having spent a lot of time at Mac, I'd recognize it in an instant. I'm hungry, it's about 10:30am and we've been up for several hours.

Just a quick trip to the car in the parking garage, then I'll meet Kristin at the cafe for a bite.

I evaluate my potential elevator companions. Who looks like they're waiting for the 'down' elevator....

Hospitals have a weird effect on me. If I'm just walking around, I'm always wondering about the people around me. It's not hard to discern who works at the hospital, who's visiting and who's a patient; at least, it's not hard for me.

I look over my left shoulder. Two beefy looking guards from the local jail sandwich a smaller guy in an orange jumpsuit. His hands are in front of his chest; a padlock between his wrists. Weird.

It's not weird to see someone from jail at the hospital; I've seen that several times. Weird because he's keeping his hands up by his chest, instead of letting them fall in front of his waist. I wonder if he's been instructed to keep 'em up, or if he's just ... weird.

I try not to stare - people in orange jumpsuits tend to not like that very much.

I look back at the elevators. The white arrow finally lights up and the doors open. Turns out, more people are waiting to go up, so I enter with two other people. Just before the doors close, the guards and my orangejumpsuit friend walk on.

I'm not the least bit scared or intimidated. Orangejumpsuit isn't a big guy - significantly smaller than I am. He does look significantly crazier though. Seriously. Unkempt shoulder length black hair, thin face... he looks wily. Probably been in more than a few scraps behind bars.

I wonder what he's in for. Why he's locked up, why he's in the hospital...

It's a quiet ride downstairs. No one says a word. No one looks at each other.

Orangejumpsuit and his entourage step off at the first floor. The rest of us are going to the garage. As the doors close, I sense the female rider let out a deep breath. She looks relieved. She turns to me, "I thought that only happened in the movies...", she lets out a nervous laugh. I'm not sure how to respond, I laugh and make a comment about how it happens all the time. The doors open before I can say anything else, and we make our way into the garage.

Hospitals are weird places - you never know who you're going to see...


Anyway, Kristin is scheduled to have a stitch put in tomorrow. Her cervix is 'dynamic', which means it opens and closes. They don't want to risk it opening further (which would bring on early labor), so they're going to put a stitch in. It's a common procedure, but with any procedure there are risks. So, we ask again for prayer, that everything will go as planned and that her visit will be short. They will keep her in at least 24 hours, hopefully not much longer than that.


Last night I felt the babies for the first time! WooHoo! Kristin has been feeling them move with some regularity now, but last night was the first time I was able to feel them! What an exciting experience that is... it makes everything even more real....

Here are the picture from Friday's ultrasound. Thanks to DS for letting me scan them during Monday Night Football and for feeding me snacks!

Okay, so I have no idea why 2 of the ultrasounds turned sideways. When I pull them up on my computer they are fine, and I've tried re-sizing and re-saving no to avail. I guess you'll just have to tilt your head. Or your monitor... whichever...

I'll update when I can - I expect to be at the hospital for the next few days, but I'll try to leave a short late-night update tomorrow about the procedure.

Thanks for your prayers and encouragement!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Never A Dull Moment

If I thought our life's adventure was becoming stale and ho-hum, I can thank God for keeping things interesting!

We had two surprises today at Mac... we're having TRIPLETS! Whoa!

...okay, we already knew that, but it still seems surprising. Ultrasounds have a way of doing that to a guy.

Seriously though, there are two things that we discovered... the first is that 'Baby C' had a bright spot in his small baby bowel. It could be nothing, and is often discovered to be just that, nothing. It could also be a few other things, an infection or a sign of more serious things (Ie. cystic fibrosis, or other things...) The docs decided that we should do some blood work to try to rule some things out - just to be sure. The chances of the 'brightness' being something serious is small, but there's always a chance....

The other thing we discovered is that Kristin's cervix has started opening at the top, which isn't a great thing at (almost) 21 weeks. We're back to the hospital on Tuesday for another check - if it's opening, they'll admit her for a short procedure to stitch the cervix shut, so that it remains long. The risk of it opening - if you must know - is that it would bring on labor much much too early. There's nothing Kristin could have done to prevent it, it just happens.

So there you have it. There we have it. Neither of these things has us too nervous, it's just part of the process. It does give us a few more things to add to our list of prayers though! If Kristin needs to have the procedure done next week, she'll be in for a day or two, but then should be back home.

She has been given her ticket out of work though - a little earlier than we expected, but ... to be honest ... I'm a little relieved. I like the idea of her being able to take it easy and be home, instead of driving to Oakville and working 2 or 3 days a week.

That being said - if you have any tv series' on DVD that you'd like to lend her, a few girly movies that she might not already have, or a good book - you might want to email or call! I'm sure she'll be looking for ways to fill her couch time!

We're in good spirits and feel buoyed by your prayers, emails and phone calls! Kristin is looking beautiful at (almost) 21 weeks, and here's proof!That's all for now... we did get more ultrasound pictures to share, but they'll have to wait until I can get to my brother's to scan them onto the computer. I'll see what I can do!

Dave, maybe a little Sunday Afternoon Football/Picture Scanning? The Lions play at 1:00....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Just a Little Flutter....

Exciting news!

Yesterday (September 16) Kristin felt the babies for the first time! WooHoo! How exciting to finally feel them move! I'm sure she'll be telling them to stop kicking her in the ribs pretty soon, but for now, it's pretty cool that she felt one move!

Having been absent minded this morning, I forgot to upload the picture I took of her baby belly, so I'll have to post that another time. For now, we again ask for your prayers as we head to Mac again tomorrow morning for ultrasounds and meetings. Kristin's getting a little more uncomfortable these days, especially when trying to sleep; you can pray that she finds some comfortable solutions/positions, so that she can get good rest at night!

This is short today, but we'll have more updates and pictures this weekend! Thanks for your prayers, comments and support!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Defensive Strategies When Outnumbered

This past week marked the beginning of an exciting new season.

No, not your favorite fall tv programming.

No, not the cool air and orange leaves of fall.

I'm talking about Thursday's 2009/2010 NFL Kick-Off!

Sooooo exciting! For me, that is, not so much for Kristin. I've contemplated making her watch copious amounts of the sport - you know, so my babies can get a feel for the game in utero, but so far she's managed to avoid week 1 (as did my Detroit Lions, I think the defensive line forgot to show up... more on that later).

I had the privilege of joining my brother and friend AJ to watch the first game of the season on Thursday night, surrounded by spicy barbecued chicken wings, salty chips and dip, and sugary sweets for dessert. Seriously, you guys missed out!

As we watched the game, we discussed strategy. We commented on plays, missed opportunities, turnovers, penalties and formations. It occurred to me that my playbook as a parent will have to be much different than most.

There are a number of defensive strategies that a team can employ during a game. I'll try to make it easy here, for those of you who aren't football - or sports - fanatics. (I'm referring to you, Mom - but take comfort, I'm sure you're not alone!).

For most parents, you'd start off with double coverage. A team would use double coverage when they feel a little threatened by a player - like Calvin Johnson who failed to score this weekend.

Ahem, anyway....

The parent team has good odds of handling most situations with (relative) ease due to the 2-1 ratio. At times, for parents of one child, double coverage is unnecessary, and the team can safely implement man-to-man defense. Just as it sounds, Mom, this is 1 on 1. The parent, being bigger, and usually wiser, can do just fine managing situations - unless you're a first time Dad trying to change a diaper.

It occurred to me during that game, that Kristin and I will have to employ another type of defense, right out of the gate. Zone.

Zone defense is a little more complicated - man-to-man isn't an option - so we'll have a totally different formation. It's going to take a lot of focus and determination. Zone defense can be hazardous - one man can be left open for the long pass if the defense is caught unaware.

On the bright side, Kristin and I won't be used to playing man-to-man, so it might not feel as reckless.

This weekend, in the season opener, the Detroit Lions defense forgot to play and were embarrassed by the Saints QB Drew Brees (much to my brother's delight). The lions are 0-1 early in the season (but there's still hope!)

Kristin and I better get to work on our playbook...
Go Lions!, Stimers!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

19 Week Ultrasounds!

At last! They are scanned and ready to be shared! We apologize for the delay....

Mom and babies continue to do well - moving a little slower, but doing well! Babies are growing normally and all the 'structures' (ie. bones, organs, etc) look good, so we're very happy!

The first picture is of all three babies - it's a little hard to make out (they're getting to big to fit on one scan!), but you can see them! Baby B's head didn't make the photo though (sorry baby b!)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A little late....

...but better than never hunh?

I apologize for not updating sooner, but it's been quite a weekend!

Kristin and I want to thank all of you for your notes, phone calls and prayers; our appointments on Friday went very well! All 3 babies are growing at the same rate and all the anatomy looks fine!! There were a few things they would have liked to check more thoroughly, but one of the babies was content just doing somersaults and back flips. They'll check the few items they didn't get to next time.

Our meeting with the doctors was (thankfully) brief. They're happy with how things are progressing, so they didn't keep us long. We spent about 4 hours or so at the hospital - not bad! Since I wasn't allowed in the ultrasound room until the end, I spent the morning sipping coffee and watching a movie on my laptop; Kristin tried to have a little rest, but found it a little hard with all the poking and pressing. What a trooper.

Anyway, I'll have more to post soon: ultrasound pictures and pictures of the bigbabybelly coming soon (have to get the ultrasounds scanned on Tuesday), so stay tuned.

We hope everyone is enjoying their long weekends! Thank you again for your comments on the blog, your prayers and well-wishes, they mean so much to us!

More to come soon!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ooooh, it's been almost a week!

Oh, how time flies!

You're probably thinking, "Gee, Paul hasn't been writing about bees or other adventures this week - they must be laying low and taking it easy!"

Not so.

Well, it's partially true; Kristin is taking it easy. I, on the other hand, have been working hard with my father-in-law on a kitchen renovation. It's complete chaos around the Stimers Sty, but it's only temporary.

Or so I tell myself.

When we moved into our home in Hamilton about 4+ years ago, the kitchen was green and the tile black and white. The stove, light fixtures, dishwasher (which has never worked properly) and fans all black and white. It was very... ... well... 80's.

Not that there was anything wrong with the '80's... there were a number of excellent cop shows and cheesy sitcoms to make up for the trends in home decor...

Anyway, this weekend we successfully installed a new counter top, cut a hole in it - inserted the sink, and began working on the walls - preparing them for new tile. We hope to have some pictures to post at a later date!

This weekend we hope to finish up with the walls, trim a window and prepare for our painter to come (thanks Mom!)

You'll be happy to hear that Kristin is well - taking it easy and eating peaches (and delicious peach pie!) from the Winona Peach Festival - YUM!

On Friday we will be having a marathon ultrasound - the tech's will be slowly checking each baby's anatomy. We appreciate your continued prayers, as you join us in praying for our babies' health and growth! We hope to have more ultrasound pictures to share with you next week - babies are growing so fast, and we're so excited!

We ask that you pray for Kristin, as she endures over 3 hours of poking and prodding with the ultrasound machine, and for the tech's that have the challenging task of analyzing ultrasound pictures. They tend to get nauseous, or so I'm told.

I'll be patiently waiting in the boring white-walled room outside, as I'm not allowed in for most of the time (it's a small room - no room for a chair for me!) I get to join them for the last few minutes to check on our babies and watch them wave at me!

If you're in the area, feel free to bring me a coffee - just look for the sleepy, bored guy. I take cream ;)