Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas this year

It is so crazy to think back to the memory of our last Christmas. We were right in the middle of Taylie's 3rd round of Chemotherapy, and there was no way we were getting home for the Holiday's. I remember walking down the ICS halls looking and counting all the empty rooms. On ICS there are rarely any empty rooms. Somehow knowing somebody got to go home for Christmas helped keep my spirits up. I didn't like the thought of spending Christmas in an Hospital room, but there was nothing I could do to change it so together as a family we decided to make the best of it.

We were living in Room #9. It is one of their isolation rooms. Meaning there is a room you walk into and then there is another door letting you into the actual room. Out of all the rooms we lived in this one was the smallest. There really wasn't any reason to be in it, that was just were we happened to land when we admitted this round.

We were always tight in our room. Especially having a baby there with all the things required for that. The greatest thing about this room though was that we had the extra room hooked on. We never payed any mind that they actually used this room for supplies and such. It was just our special play area with windows all around. The fact Taylie was stuck in her room was not fun but she could see so much more in the hallway without the assistance of her stool. Helped her feel like she was getting out even though she wasn't.

One of he favorite things to do was squiggle her bum on the glass at the nurses. Always funny!

Was tight but it was big enough to play around in with this little car.

You had to be careful entering our room. You never knew what Taylie might do to you. The fun part about it was that they let her!

Anyways there is always more I could add, but to get back to the point of my story...

Christmas Eve came and there were only 12 room filled. It was so amazingly quiet. We spent the day all together as a family. Night was approaching and I was having the hardest time having to leave my family. So I decided to ask the charge nurse if we could all just stay the night. Technically you aren't supposed to have more that 2 extra people and that is even stretching the rules. Her response was a gift. She said, "I am not going to tell you no!" With tears in my eyes I ran back to tell my little family that we would at least get to spend the night all together. I think this Christmas year was turning out to have a lot more meaning for us than it ever had before.

So we let the girls open up their Christmas Jamies and went to sleep. We played musical beds throughout the night without the music, of course! Not much sleep, but who sleeps anyways on Christmas Eve?

What we awoke to Christmas Morning was so awesome! Our little room was filled with gifts. Santa brought a few I know but where the others came from touched our hearts. It was an incredible experience to be a part of receiving so many gifts from anonymous donors. I think I cried more than a few times. My girls thought it was super cool. They kept opening and opening and finding more surprises. We felt so blessed to receive so much that was so graciously given.

So this year we decided to make it our Christmas to be apart of making Christmas happen for families that were like us last year, stuck in the hospital. We decided that we wanted to bring them something that could help them feel like they were home for the holidays. We put our thinking caps on and came up with this...

1) Everyone enjoys making a Gingerbread house

2) It needs to smell like Christmas. Scentsy tins in holiday smells did the trick

3) Wassil always makes it feel like Christmas

4) Our Cancer Tiles we made last year put into perspective "What Cancer just cannot do " & what things we really hold dear.

5) Then of course we made a huge sack full of all ages of toys, stuffed animals and blankets to be dispersed as needed

6) A couple of Radio Flyer Scooters for the entire floor to enjoy.

7) Can't forget the parents. They always can use some popcorn and assorted things to eat.

So badly we wished that we could have done more. Still we felt good about the list we put together in hopes it might help bring a little more of the Christmas feel to those hospital rooms we once new so well.

Outside the ICS Unit there is a beautiful tree that was always stood as glimmer of hope for us.

A new change in policy did not allow us to take gifts around ourselves. Kinda bummed me a little, but it was okay. We couldn't get away until we had a good visit with all the nurses who became our best friends. Taylie especially cannot leave until she has tackled Nurse Irish flat on the floor. He is the best sport.

We were all getting hungry so on we went to eat at the Rainbow Cafe downstairs or the cafeteria at the hospital. Except that it was closed for the next hour. We kinda wanted to eat there just because of the memory of all the times we had before, but thought it best to feed the hungry tummies right now. Wingers did the trick!

After dinner we headed off to temple square to look at the spectacular lights. It was a great night. It was snowing ever so lightly and the girls had a blast posing all over the grounds for pictures.

By the time we go into the truck to drive on home the girls were beat. This was the reaction when we asked then if they wanted to go somewhere else. Ha Ha Ha!!!

They smiled when we told them we were only going to stop at Grandma Jeanne's long enough to get jamies on.

It didn't take long before all were sound asleep including Dad. Good thing Mom was driving home. All alone, by myself in a crazy snow storm...ahhhh!! No worries, I made it just fine. Though I might add I was very ready to be off the snowy roads and in a nice warm bed.

The funniest thing to me was after this beautiful day came to an end, it almost felt like Christmas was over. All our efforts and preparation in putting together a little Christmas for other Cancer Fighting families was our main focus. And it was done 10 days before Christmas was even here.

Then we had the opportunity to enjoy a most different Christmas than we experienced last year.

It wasn't very big, in fact we didn't even have an actual Christmas Tree. We just used three decorative trees I had instead, and it ended up being so perfect. The mere fact that we were home, together, and everyone was in good health (especially Taylie) was all that we could have ever wanted. We enjoyed the whole fabulous Christmas week together. Free from any care or worry with all the time in the word to make waffles and work on puzzles. Our most favorite Christmas tradition. Needless to say we received everything plus more that we could have ever wanted for Christmas this year.

We truly could feel our Savior Jesus Christ this season. The spirit of Christ was in our home and that is how we want to keep it all year long. How indebted we really are to him who gave all so that we might have all.

We have so much gratitude in our hearts for our many many blessings. We have been given so much and for that we have so much to give. This March will be the one year mark of Taylie reaching remission and being Cancer Free!!! How we pray everyday that this may continue forever.

We want to say a huge thank you to the many hands that touched our life. At a time when those many hands we so needed. Sometimes when I think back to it all I wonder how it all happened. How did we make it through all that we did? Deep inside though I do know, but it amazes me still. It is a memory, never to be forgotten, but still only a memory & we are going to keep it that way.

Sorry for the lengthy post... :)


Friday, November 19, 2010

..a little chop, chop

My girls think that it is the coolest thing ever to have their very own salon right in their house. Well, it is actually my salon, but shhhh...we won't tell. The same routine happens every morning when we all spend time getting all ready for the day. Other than that Mom is always busy chopping away on someone else "making people look so pretty!" as my Mayzi would say.

Our little friend Suzie doll gets "the works" done constantly. She has got to be the favorite thing to play with at our house. She needs a rest now and then, and I have to hide her. Mayzi just can't quite grasp the concept that her hair won't grow back! And it is sad that she cannot speak, for if she could she just might object!

The funnest thing for me is the day when I say to my girls, " Who wants a haircut?" It is excitment to say the least. Call us strange but in this house we LoVe hair!

First up everytime and always is my little Mayzi. This makes her day to get a haircut. She has the cutest curls that who knows where they came from?

Trying so hard to hold still.

Isn't she so darling!

Next in line is my Taylie. Can you believe how great her hair has come back in! It is so amazing and fun to see it grow so much every month. Silly how much such a simple thing like hair can make you so gidddy!

She is a beauty beyond all measure!

Then it's Sunnie Soda's turn. This one took a few attempts and this footage is the last and final time. She is, however, getting the hang of sitting still.

So Pretty!

Maybe I was just meant to have girls. Dad never gets as excited to get a haircut.

...so a little chop, chop and we are golden for a while longer!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

my Sunnie Soda's story

This is only two months later than I expected.
Exactly one year ago today @ 4:00 a.m. I lay in bed at my mothers house. My contractions were getting more and more consist ant and regular. I was dilated to a 1 and over 50% effaced. Only the day before I sat in a hospital room with my Tayliebug patiently awaiting the arrival of my dear husband, Bret, and the precious cargo he was bringing to me. It was the cord retrieval kit needing in retrieving and storing this new surprise baby's cord blood. In hopes that she would be a match for our daughter Taylie who was diagnosed only weeks before with AML Leukemia. We were in need of a match to her Bone Marrow. Her treatment plan would play out according to whether or not any of Taylie's siblings could be a positive match for her. It had been a rough road for me and my husband through all of this. We were still trying to understand what was going on and doing our best to function with the unexpected new life we were called to be a apart of. In all it's craziness we were expecting our third child, another girl who we were not exactly planning for. It was a surprise pregnancy for the both of us. Upon learning about Taylie it popped into our minds that this new baby was coming at not a wrong time but the right time. Maybe she would be that match we needed for a Bone Marrow Transplant. We felt the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ, as we were trying to grasp and understand all that our family was going through. A whole new meaning of having this baby presented itself. We felt comforted in the thought of her being a match. Having this pure cord blood without an environment was going to be just what we needed to help our Taylie get better again.

When I saw the cord blood kit in my Husbands hand I thought to myself, Baby you can come! With all the added stress of all that we had just experienced I was trying my hardest to keep this baby from coming until this kit could arrive and be in my hands. I had been having countless days of contractions while I assisted my Taylie in the hospital. I new it was getting close. I was ready for a break. I was tired and very ready for this baby to come. So I switched Bret and went home to my Mothers house to rest and see my two year old Mayzi. It wasn't too long after I fell asleep that night my contractions began again and this time they were not stopping. How interesting it really was to me. How fast she was coming and so close to when the kit had arrived. I truly felt an added strength to me while I was experiencing some much.

Arrangements were made for Mayzi and by 10:00 A.M. on September 2, 2009 my contractions were between 5-7 min apart. My mother drove me to LDS Hospital and I walked in to find my new doctor, Dr. Macy, I've only met one other time when she checked me earlier on that week finding everything in place, looking great. They were aware of my situation and the urgency in retrieving the cord blood. My mom drove up to Primary Children's so she could switch Bret and he could come at be with me. Of course there is always all the paper work to do when you are new. I was moving along pretty quickly. I finally was able to get the nurse to stop typing my info and check me. In finding how fast I was progressing they rushed the anesthesiologist to get me an epidural. I new I needed all the help I could get right now. Luckily it went in just at the right time and I continued to move along very quickly. While I was laying there I felt a huge amount of pressure and then a big pop! My water had broken and water was gushing everywhere. It surprised the nurse and she decided to check me once more. Instead of feeling a head she felt little feet. She gasped all of a sudden and said we have to go C-Section right now. I was ready to deliver my baby, but there was no way she was coming out Breech especially now that my water had broken. So here we went again another crazy situation. When in the world had she turned on me. Days before I knew she was where she was supposed to be. Bret had slipped out to go get the camera which he forgot. I managed to call him and said we are heading to emergency C-Section and to hurry as fast as he possibly could. Luckily he made it in the nick of time just as they were about to start.

All I could think about was getting her cord blood and having enough of it to be useful. It just happened all so fast. Dr. Macy was fabulous and so precise in what she was doing. I had an amazing anaesthesiologist also. I felt like I was in great hands. Bret never left my side and watched our little girl be born into this beautiful crazy world as we knew it. All I can say it was quite the experience. We hurried and called the guy to pick up the blood and get it sent ASAP! Then we called Taylie and told her the fabulous news. She also told us that her name was going to be Sunnie. She was so excited to have a new sister.
September 2, 2009
@ 12:15

our 3rd little baby girl

Sunnie Kristine Abbott

was here at last!

Weighing 6 lbs. 13 oz. measuring 19" long

Fully awake and aware of all going on. Her original due date was the 10th. This was my first little girl to be born early. Considering all the circumstances I thought I did good to keep her in as long as I did! Little did I know how great a blessing had been placed into my hands.

As soon as we were able we had Sunnie checked to see if she was a bone marrow match. Surprisingly enough she wasn't. I remember my mouth falling open when I had received the news. I was so sure I thought. She was perfect timing with all that was going on. How could this be? We soon discovered how little we really knew in the grand scheme of things. Sunnie's arrival into our family played and even more important role. Words cannot express what I am about to show you.

This is the day I left LDS Hospital and came up to show Taylie her new baby sister.

This is a picture of the first time at home in Richmond. Two weeks old and just so tiny. While we were home for the first time together as a family I discovered that Sunnie was running a 102 degree temp. Ahhh!! I freaked: 1- because she was so little. 2- Taylie had no immune system.

I jumped quick leaving Bret with the other girls and rushed her into the Dr. Because she was so young still. In order to find out what was going on we had to put her through all the tests.

That same weekend my sister in law Ginger was in town getting things in place for Taylie's Race which was being held the next month in October. Her timing couldn't have been better. I was leaving my house was when she was arriving. Having left her kids back in Colorado where she lives, she was by herself. She jumped into the car with me and told me there was no way she was letting me go by myself. There are always countless blessings when you stand in great need.

Watching my new little baby lay there so sick and so helpless was like the breaking point for me. I felt like I couldn't keep going. As soon as all the tests were done and the Dr's. left us I broke down. How thankful I was for Ginger to just hold me. I wasn't sure if I was tough enough for any more.
So while my other beautiful girls were at home where I should have been, I was admitted again to the Hospital with my new Sunnie. For how long, I had no idea. So far in the last 3 weeks I have lived between Primary Children's Medical Center, LDS Hospital, and now Logan Regional Hospital. Sometimes when the yucky hits, it hits hard.

Three days later I left the hospital baby in arms with a Rhino Virus (cold). How thankful I was for that and that it was nothing else. The next concern was bringing my sick baby back home to my immune compromised Taylie. I was so panicked and after a nice long chat with Taylie's Oncologist I relaxed enough to spend the last few days with my precious family before I had to return back to Salt Lake to start Round Two with Taylie.

We managed to get a few professional shots taken thanks to Sugarhouse Photography and our dear friend Amber Tanner.

We broke the rules all the time....shhhh! She was loved my all who saw her. The hospital should include baby therapy in with the dog therapy. I cannot tell you the countless kids that loved to see Sunnie. The smiles that came to their faces will never leave my mind. Taylie was perfect in giving her the right name! Plus the nurses adored her as well.

What a chunky....so cute!

Every chance she could we would find the tub and Taylie would give Soda a bath. And then we would mop the floor :)

We made a pretty good team

A little Daddy time...never got much of that. Was so sad that she new some of the nurses better that her own Dad :(

Sunnie spent the first 6-7 months of her life at Primary Children's Hospital while Taylie went through treatment. You would have thought I was given and angel for sure. She was perfect and such a good baby. Countless days and hours spent in a little hospital room. Sunnie and Taylie became the best of friends. Taylie was able to focus on something else that all that she was going through. For myself, the true blessing was to keep being a Mom, to care for my children and have the JOY of a new baby in my life while I experienced something harder than I ever had experienced before.

She will never remember it all, only see it in pictures. Sunnie came at just the right time. She saved us both you might say.

Happy 1st Birthday to you!!!

What is it with girls and a Phone ?

I love you Sunnie A Bushel and a Peck and a Hug around your neck!!!

...I love my SODA!