Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Why I'm passionate about vaccines

Ok. I see vaccination posts on Facebook at least 4 or 5 times a day now--and every time it takes me back. So I realize this is a heated and hot topic, but I am going to try to explain why I am so passionate about vaccines. It was a really dark time in my life that I want to write about, that most of you if you know me, know about.

2 and a half years ago Lilly got a cough and a runny nose. If you have been a parent any length of time you know that this is extremely common, and usually nothing to worry about. However, my mom had been in Seattle where there had been outbreaks of whooping cough also known as pertussis. She insisted that I take Lilly to the Doctor as soon as she started coughing. I laughed and thought she was being a little over protective and thought to myself, really whooping cough? What the heck is that…isn't it just a cough? But I took her in anyway, and the doctor pretty much laughed at us and said, you would know if she had it, and sent us home. As the week went on she developed the small whooping sound and I took her back in--still sent us home nothing to worry about. A couple days later she got a 104 temp and I took her to the ER. The ER Dr. did a spinal tap, blood draw, urinary catheter, but refused to do a pertussis test on her. They sent her home again. Two nights later Lilly coughed so hard her lips turned blue. I freaked out and took her back in insisting that they test her for whooping cough. They sent us home and told us it would be 5-7 days before they would have the results back. That night Lilly coughed so hard her lips, hands and feet turned blue. We immediately took her back to the ER and admitted her in the hospital. I have a lot of nurse friends, so I am NOT bashing nurses, but I could not believe how NONE of them took her case seriously--because we did not have the results, no one was convinced that she actually had pertussis. At one point her cords came off her foot and her monitor readings "flat lined". It took her nurse 3 minutes to come in and check on her and she was freaking out because it had flat lined. The first two days we would pick her up and just hold her while she would cough--we didn't know what we were doing. I had been awake with her for over 24 hours and Dave wanted me to get some rest so he stayed up with her. This is the night where I know without a shout of a doubt that the Lord's hand was strategically on my Lilly. That night she took a turn for the worse. She coughed and stopped breathing for several minutes. Not only did her face, hands, and feet turn blue--it faded into grey. And that night she just happened to have a retired nurse who was just volunteering for the week assigned to her who just happened to have seen pertussis in an infant before. She immediately grabbed lilly from Dave and sat her straight up opening up her airway, and blasted oxygen in her face, suctioning anything that came up when she coughed. They were seconds away from bagging her and hooking her up to a machine that would breathe for her that would cause her to have to have a feeding tube. But by the grace and mercy of the Lord she caught her breath and breathed! I wish I could say that was the end of it, but it was only the beginning. We spent an entire MONTH watching her around the clock and she would have these "episodes" every 2-3 hours--with every one she would turn blue, and not be breathing for a few minutes but  it seemed like an eternity. I wanted to yell at the nurses every time to do something more, With tears and my voice raised I would yell Breathe baby breathe! She would eventually catch her breath and let out the tiniest cry of exhaustion and fall fast asleep. There is nothing more helpless feeling than watching your child not able to do the most natural thing in the world-breathe. I have read so many pertussis stories that start off just like mine, reach the point to where their babies can't breathe on their own, get put on a breathing machine and tube feeding and watch their tiny newborn babies not take a breath and just give up from exhaustion and die.

I am SO blessed that God gave me my stubborn, hard headed, strong willed, determined Lilly. Because she fought at 7 weeks old and kicked that whooping cough in the butt!! But it was a process of being in the hospital for a month, and setting up a home hospital for the next 2 months. Any laugh or cry could set her into an episode.

Now before this, I was on the fence about vaccines. I knew that from history books all of the diseases were bad and wiped out hundreds if not thousands of people--not only that but took people's eye sights, limbs, mobility, hearing, etc. But in all honesty, I hadn't heard of any one in our day and age getting them and had never seen or knew anyone who had any of them. But, seeing first hand up close and personal, I understand why there was a vaccine created. We had Lilly at one of the best hospitals in the city and still most nurses did not know how to take care of her. One nurse came in during an episode, froze up, freaked out and asked ME what to do. I was shocked and immediately took charge--there was no time to explain.

The problem with most of these diseases is they have high incubation periods. Meaning you could have it for a week without showing any symptoms and be highly contagious. And most of these start with a runny nose and a cough--which as a mom doesn't seem very harmful right? I still go to the grocery store if one of my girls has a runny nose. We wouldn't leave our house if I stayed home for every cold or cough. So why vaccinate? Because of infants like my Lilly. At 7 weeks she did not have any of her shots. With the measles that is going around you can't vaccinate until they are 12 months old. I hear people all the time whooping cough is just a bad cough, measles is just a rash--big deal. It IS a big deal in a 7 week old. Measles is a rash with 104 and above temperatures for several days--that is a big deal for an infant. That is a big deal for someone with cancer. And it wiped out thousands of people when they didn't have malls, grocery stores, church every other day, parks, target! Can you imagine if one person had the measles in a church service--because they wouldn't be showing obvious symptoms and have no clue they even had it--sneezed or coughed or touched the door or got coffee how many people that could effect?? Can you imagine if one child got it in the preschool class--not only exposing it to every other preschooler, but their siblings? And them not even knowing for up to two weeks?! Vaccinating is not to protect vaccinated people. It is to protect the elderly, people with weak immune systems who can't be vaccinated, infants who are too young to receive shots, pregnant mommas, and I'm sure more!

Our problem is we have not seen first hand what measles, pertussis, rubella, mumps, polio, diphtheria, etc. really is. So we don't take them seriously. Sure if your 10 year old gets it he probably won't die. But what if because he or she wasn't vaccinated got it and your close friend with a new baby got it? This is why I'm passionate about vaccines. I pray that no one has to go through what we did with Lilly. Maybe if we see more cases of these diseases--which we already are, we will understand that vaccines were created for a reason--they were not created for a money pool, they were created to save lives and to prevent people from having their loved ones endure and suffer through them.

A peak into our journey…

The evening before her worst episode.

 And the morning after.

She wasn't able to get out of her crib much, but we let her watch a little cartoon in a bouncer. It only lasted about 15

minutes and she went into an episode.

We had to wear masks the first several days. Everyone close to us had to go on the antibiotics that Lilly received as well--but unfortunately it was too late to have any effect on the severity of her cough. 

 I didn't get to snuggle her much because of all the things she was hooked up to which made feeding extremely challenging, but she never had to go on a feeding tube!! 

 Being away from our Gabby girl was one of the most difficult parts, but I'm SO thankful for my mom and sisters who kept her for us! 

Eventually she got to take her oxygen off during the day.

 And finally got to take it off at night.

She is a miracle. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Taking a day off of being "a stay at home mom"

So after a day of complete chaos yesterday I decided today I was going to take the day off and just be "mom". I'm not sure where this overwhelming sense of 100% completed tasks, spotless houses, perfect children, Pinterest like life came to be, but I give up. Yesterday I spent the entire day doing laundry, cleaning and recleaning, raising my voice at the girls to get off the furniture, stay out of my room, take your toys downstairs, and finally spent nap time cleaning a poop filled basement--thank you Lilly. My newborn son cried almost all day just wanting to be held. Last night I said enough is enough and I told my husband I was just going to play with the girls today. And that is what we did :) all morning!

We made some "magic jello" they still think it's incredible that the powder turns orange when you add the water :))

We built a sweet fort…

We painted get well paintings for their cousins. I even painted a little something--don't be jealous of my art skills ;)

The girls showed me how to properly build a couch jumping pad and insisted that I jumped with them. So I did!! They thought it was absolutely hilarious!

I even tried being crafty and made them octopus hotdogs...they were a complete fail in my eyes, but you should have seen their faces light up with excitement when they saw them. And it was even okay to play with our food for lunch today!

They also built a "slide house" in the living room while we watched frozen.

I learned something kids need me. They need me to be engaged in what they are doing. They need to see me laugh and have fun. They need to see that I'm not perfect and things arent perfect and that's ok. They need me to sit down and snuggle them while we watch a movie together instead of me looking at my phone while they watch a cartoon.

 They even helped me do a little cleaning. I wasn't about to let my house get completely out of order, but they helped with the dishes. They helped changed poopy diapers--don't forget about little man who poops every 5 seconds!
I don't want my kids growing up thinking that I'm always stressed out about the house being perfect, or that I always raise my voice, or that I just need them to go downstairs and play by themselves. I'm not a perfect mom, and I know I have responsibilities to keep my house in order, but I have decided that my first priority as a stay at home mom is to be just that- a mom. Not a house keeper. They are only little for so long and this crazy, messy season of life will be over in a blink of an eye. There is always laundry to be done, there is always dishes to be put away, but my littles will not be little forever. So for the mom who feels like she has to have it all together- since the common question for us stay at home moms is "what do you do all day?", take some time to just be mom and have fun playing with your kids :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A glimpse into my life...

Today I felt the urge to just write. A day to just be real with where I am at in life and to give a glimpse into a simple stay at home moms life. Hopefully this will bring encouragement to someone who is really having a hard time with life in general. So here we go...

I'm 25 years old...pregnant with my 3rd little one, and there are days that I wake up and think "how in the world did I get here?" When I was pregnant with my 1st, Gabby, there was this incredible excitement to enter motherhood--the desire to stay home and raise my little girl was for me exciting and I was a bit naive and thought she would just kind of fit into my life. I knew it would be difficult at times, but for the most part I thought it would be easy, relaxing, and wonderful. Well reality hit me on June 22nd, 2010 and I quickly realized that motherhood is not as glamorous as what my fairy tale head imagined it to be. It has exposed every bit of selfishness in me and has forced me to make a decision to be selfless when it comes to my husband and my children. It has made me dependent on Christ...there are days where I let exhaustion, and when I'm hangry, and just this sense that I need a break- or I need some me time...a shower for instance would be nice to take alone where I don't have to reach over an almost 2 year old and an ever growing belly to shave my legs. I will open my bible and it's as if God is speaking directly to me reminding me that my life is not my own..He is so gracious with me, always teaching me, always showing me how to be more like Him when I reach the end of myself. Now entering this common season of life for me for the 3rd time, I have mixed emotions. I know the exhaustion of what lies ahead, I know the seasons of feeling alone and wondering if you will ever be able to just have lunch with a friend and have an adult conversation again. The struggle of finding that balance of being a mom and spending time with The Lord...I think for me that was the hardest change. Going from a life of being able to spend hours at my keyboard worshipping, reading my bible and actually studying it whenever I wanted...with Gabby I flipped completely to the other spectrum, and since she demanded so much of my time I just gave it all to her. But when I had Lilly I realized I can't be the best mom to my girls without spending time with The Lord--that I was doing them a disservice by not letting them see that part of me. It has not been easy, but The Lord gives me exactly what I need and knows my heart. So the 10 minutes that used to be 2 hours can actually be more fulfilling to me.

So here we go...a picture of my last couple of days :)
So the past two days have been filled with tears from my almost 2 year old...she hasn't felt well, and it's been  a long two nights with getting up to give my girls Tylenol, or cuddling with two little ones who have the "chilly's", and just want to be next to me at 3am--while all I can think about is this ever growing belly and popping tums like skittles in the middle of the night because of heart burn, and getting leg cramps when I move my leg, and trying to roll over, but part of me is like a bag of sand that I have to help roll over ;) For whatever reason Gabby has been not wanting to sleep in her bed for like the past 4 months...I have no idea why. She says that she is scared. So for the past week we have been memorizing "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind." I would love to say that it helps her sleep in her bed, but it doesn't :) However this morning my girls were playing together and Gabby told Lilly to go get something in the basement, and Lilly says "I scared" and Gabby looked at her and said "you don't have to be scared. God gives us power, love, and what's the other one mommy?" My heart literally stopped. And in that simple moment, nothing else mattered. The exhaustion of being pregnant with two little ones, the sleepless nights, and the now going on second day of not showering, my hair looking like there is a bird or something that lives in it, my half folded laundry that will get finished after I'm done writing this...none of that mattered to me. I always joke to people that I cannot wait for My girls to experience salvation so the Holy Spirit can start convicting their little attitudes 😂. But in all seriousness, I see so much sensitivity in Gabby toward The Lord. And to hear her little voice talking about Him, to walk in on her worshipping--when she doesn't even know that she is worshipping, to hear her quote scripture to her younger sister, to tell me what she learns at church every Sunday, to hear her sing songs that I know they sing at children's church, to hear her talk about Jesus to her friends...I just get overwhelmed with how good God is. Yes, I am a really young mom, and most people my age are enjoying life and have all the freedom in the world. There are days where I feel so alone, but I wouldn't trade these moments with my girls for anything. The good, the bad, and the ugly. With every season there is always going to be extremely difficult and trying times, but there will also always be something beautiful in every season. Enjoy the good with the difficult, and understand that life never gets easy. The Lord is constantly taking us from faith to faith and from glory to glory. It's how we grow. So whatever season you are in, see the beauty in it-- know that God is teaching you and preparing you for the next season of your life :)

So here is a small glimpse into my life as a stay at home mom...

 Trying to entertain 2 little girls-- All day, Every day.

Playing with play dough for the first time when the colors are actually separated…the one and only time ;)

The messiness…I don't know why my husband thought it was a good idea to buy flurp or whatever its called for valentines day...

At least one of my girls is usually half naked…but that's ok, we usually stay home :) 

 The potty. Oy. The constant wiping of little booties…the accidents, the yays and clapping every time we poop and pee. 

The random times I actually take the time to get ready and look like a decent 25 week pregnant lady…My husband surprised me with a much needed date night.

 The picture I sent to Dave, wondering if I would survive until he got home.

The little developing personalities...

The sense of fashion...

The silliness...

The beauty of sunshine after a LONG winter. They picked their own outfits today ;)

The never ending half folded laundry...

And last, the picture of pure exhaustion, sleep deprivation, and success of putting a crying almost 2 year old to sleep for a nap--covered in snot, chocolate milk, and unshowered. And the moment I decided to even write this blog today…This is the picture of motherhood. This is me 90% of the time. This is my life. And it's beautiful, exhausting, difficult, rewarding, lonely at times, but I wouldn't trade this season of life for anything--because the Lord has taught me so much about not only myself, but about Him. Life is beautiful in every season--even when we don't always see it.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Big "5" year Anniversary

5 years!!!!! Can it really be our 5 year anniversary today?! In some ways it feels like more than 5 years ago since we vowed to spend the rest of our days together, in other ways I don't even know how these 5 years have already passed us by!
A couple days ago, Dave and I were up doing our morning routines and we happened to be brushing our teeth together. I had a hot pink barbie tooth brush that was somewhat normal size while he was rocking a hot pink Dora the explorer toddler tooth brush…you know the ones where the bristle is literally the size of one tooth ;) You see, our youngest Lilly who is a year and a half has an obsession with "chhhh" aka toothbrushes. aka brushing her teeth. She often puts them in places I can never find. A few times I've found them in the basement while a guest was over. The guest asks "is that a toothbrush?" I laugh, "Yeah, its probably an old one." But really I'm thinking, "That little stinker took my toothbrush to the playroom!!" So Dave and I are brushing our teeth, I chuckle to myself with toothpaste all over my mouth, spit, and ask "Did you picture life to be like this 5 years ago?" He laughed really hard and said "No."
So here we are! 5 years later, blessed with two little girls and one little peanut on the way. It's hard to believe that out of the 5 anniversaries we have had, 3 of them I have been pregnant in my first trimester. Woo! If you are blessed with amazing pregnancies, seriously you are BLESSED!!!!!!! But our marriage has survived yet another first trimester, and for those of you who have experienced the wrath of first trimester, aka puking 24/7 (There is no such thing as morning sickness- it is all day in my case), 0 energy to where laundry has literally piled up and you are starring at 10 loads of clean laundry wondering if you can even fold a pair of socks, you fall asleep at 8 pm because you are putting your children asleep and you can't seem to wake yourself back up, the emotional roller coaster of wanting to cry because you thought you ran out of soy sauce when you made chicken fried rice, and lets be honest…you can't have chicken fried rice without soy sauce ;)
I'd say that we have figured out that marriage is no walk in the park. It is difficult, painful, beautiful, wonderful all at the same time. But really that's just life. These 5 years have been the best and the worst 5 years of my life…I can't tell you how amazing it is to be married, I can't even begin to describe how beautiful it was to give birth to two little girls…but even more so to be a family and have nights of pillow fights, bath time, reading books, watching movies, kitchen dance parties, late night ice cream drives to keep our sanity, the wonderful rare nights of both the girls asleep before 7:30! Life can be beautiful! But life can also be painful….losing loved ones to tragic deaths, freak accidents, or just life. Offense in relationships- holy cow! If you haven't figured out that in life, people are going to offend you…and most of the time it is not intentional. In sickness and in health…..yeah there has been a lot of sickness in our family…those aren't pretty days/nights especially the 24 hour flu bug that has visited our home a couple times! The sense that you really cannot control life or your children. With my two year old almost drowning last summer and my sweet lilly getting whooping cough last fall….those are moments that will either make or break you.
You know the term, when it rains- it pours! That was definitely my life last year. It was just one thing after another. Dealing with the reality that my dad has decided to leave our family after 30 years for someone who represents everything He is not…has been…the worst thing I have ever lived through. I wonder when I'm ever going to "get over it" but each day is different. Some days I'm totally ok. Other days I am broken, devastated, emotional, and would give anything to have my family be whole for just one more day and have a family brunch with all the chaos of 4 children running round and round through the kitchen, the living room, the foyer and the dining room--toys starting in one room but finding ways to all the others. The boys joking and laughing so loud the house shakes. My mom and sisters sitting in our pjs on the couch deciding what we are going to do for the day.. I've never known what a broken family is like, because my whole life family has been wonderful, always there for each other. Our family was never perfect, but we did everything together. I know that God is doing something…many things…through all of this, but I can honestly say that even though it has been the worst thing, it has shown me an entirely new side of my husband David. I know that there is not a single person in the world that could have walked beside me this year especially and have encouraged me in ways that are so God breathed, Holy Spirit inspired, and covered in love…David…you have loved me so well. In the good times, but especially through the bad times--the horrible times. You have been a rock. A constant. Your faith challenges me, inspires me, and moves me. There are two things that you have said to me this past year that constantly run through my mind. "God gives us what we need, when we need it." And "God does a million things, through one thing". You are incredible David Holland…And there is no way I could have gone through these years without you by my side.
But that's what marriage is…walking through life together. It's not easy, but God truly does give us what we need when we need it. When one of us is weak the other is strong. When both of us our weak the Lord is stronger. We've argued more than once--ok a lot more than once, but I know that I love you more today than I did when I promised to spend the rest of my life with you.
Happy anniversary to my love, my best friend, my encourager…I love you!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Don't sit on your gifts and talents...They aren't for you, they are for everyone else, to glorify Christ.

Wow. God is so good. You know those times in Your life when He speaks and it's a hard word yet so encouraging- Where grace and truth collide perfectly and it causes you to move and do something. That happened to me last night. I had the opportunity to meet Matt Redman at a private dinner before his night of worship at Life church. I was so humbled and so encouraged to talk to so many different worship leaders in the area. He came and introduced himself to David and I, and he asked if we were songwriters as well as worship leaders. I said that I had led a few of my songs for worship services, but not really. Ever since I have had the girls, writing has been few and far between. It's difficult to concentrate on something with constant interruption-So my excuse was to simply not do it, or not do it often.
But the Lord spoke to me so clearly last night during worship about gifts and talents. He has given me a gift to write music and to lead worship. And he didn't give it to me to boast in or be prideful. He gave it to me so that I could give it to you, so that He would be glorified. So really when I am sitting on this huge gift that He has given to me, I am being disobedient because as long as it stays inside me, He can't receive the glory. This past year has by far been the most difficult and painful year of my life. There are things I don't understand, but I know that God writes some of the most amazing songs through me when I go through difficult times. And I know that He will begin to heal me when I operate in the giftings that He has given to me. But they aren't just meant for me. They are meant for His glory. So I want to share this song that I wrote this morning with anyone who reads this to encourage you.

Yet You Hold Me

Vs. 1
How long must I wait
I hear You speak just be still
But I'm growing tired and weary
and I can't find this peace You give
So I wait

And You breathe life into me
When I rest, I find Your peace
And I know You hold it all
Yet You hold me
What is life, without Your name
What is truth, without Your grace
This I know, You hold it all
Yet You hold me

Vs. 2
This pain that's deep inside my soul
That ache in me I can't let go
But as I surrender and lay it
down at Your feet, You give me peace
And so I wait


And You breathe life into me
When I rest, I find Your peace
And I know You hold it all
Yet You hold me
What is life, without Your name
What is truth, without Your grace
This I know, You hold it all
Yet You hold me

So I keep singing, I keep praising
I'm not letting You go
When my world is crashing, I fix my eyes on You
And You alone

Thursday, May 2, 2013

1 Year Ago ...

I cannot believe my Lilly Grace will be 1 year tomorrow! It is incredible how time flies by. At this moment last year we had the O'dells over for dinner and were just hanging out like we typically do. I was super pregnant, and Raina gave me the crazy idea to take castor oil. So we looked online and found a "midwife recipe" cup of orange juice, 2 tablespoons of castor oil, and a tsp of baking soda. I gag the drink down wait for 45 minutes and nothing...I then spend the next 15 minutes in the bathroom ;) Well nothing else was happening so the O'dells go home and I am thinking to myself-what a waste to drink that nasty stuff. Well I start to have a few contractions. Nothing big, but they were consistent. It was about 10:30 pm and I decided to pack a bag just in case anything happened. Well we are getting ready for bed and I am still having them, I told Dave we aren't going to the hospital until I know that I know I am in labor--After having a couple false alarms with my first pregnancy I was not about to look like an idiot after going through the birthing experience before! Ha! So I try to go to sleep, and about 11:30 I realize these contractions aren't going away and they are getting stronger and closer together. I told Dave "Load up Gabby, we need to leave NOW." So as we are driving to the hospital, Dave is driving the speed limit and I seriously feel like she is coming- So I say step on it!! We get to the hospital, and I run in because I knew she was coming and coming fast. We go to the triage room and they track my contractions- They keep me in there for an hour and tell me that my midwife (who delivered Gabby) was not on call that night. I lost her pager number and at this point I am freaking out. One I am full blown in labor- There were no walking the halls to get the contractions going. They finally put me in a room and check to see how far dilated I was- and I was at a 7! The nurse comes in and tells me they paged my midwife and she was on her way.
She gets there and checks me again and I was at a 9. She tells me that I only have a couple more contractions and she wanted me to push. At that moment the only thing that was going through my head was- I'm not ready! My whole life is going to change. I'm going to be responsible for not only a tini tiny newborn, but my 2 year old. I pushed and there she was :) She was the most beautiful baby girl. So tiny with blue eyes and a full head of golden hair. She was perfect. And now here I am a year later writing about her.
She is my miracle baby. It is a miracle that she is alive today. I am so thankful for her. She has the sweetest disposition. For the longest time she was just quiet and reserved. She hardly ever cried as a baby baby. She has grown into herself and can be pretty stubborn--only when it comes to her food. She takes eating very seriously and it is her way or no way ;) She is such a blessing and joy in our lives. I am so honored to be her Momma. So Happy First Birthday to my beautiful Lilly.
9 days

1 month
2 months

3 months4 months

5 months
6 months

7 months

8 months

9 months

10 months
11 months

 1 YEAR!