Rhett Update

This post has been a long time coming. Every night before I go to bed, I think about putting my pen to paper, or let’s be honest, my fingers to the keyboard, to type this out. I think about where we’ve been and where we are now. And honestly, I’m blown away. There were times where I thought we may never hear Rhett say more than one word. There are times I thought he may never comprehend what we’re saying to him. There are plenty of times I silently cried myself to sleep reminiscing on what I thought life would look like for Rhett vs. the reality of what it was. I’ll be honest, that is the hardest part for me. Sometimes I still get caught up in that. What will the future look like for him? What will school look like for him? But I’m trying to let go of that. Let’s just start at where we are now.

Rhett visits a developmental pediatrician next week. I’m not a specialist of anything in any way, shape, or form; but I am prepared for an Autism diagnosis. Sometimes it’s hard for me to see the improvements because I see his differences from the other children in his class and just the difference between where he currently is and where his siblings were at this age. When he is really excited, he flaps his arms, he doesn’t have the greatest eye contact, he can’t jump yet, he still often prefers to play alone, he doesn’t understand sitting still for two seconds to take a picture, he often runs off (especially at Mason’s baseball games this year) unaware of safety, he sometimes bites friends when they are invading his space, he doesn’t speak in sentences, he can’t always tell me what he wants or what he needs. But within all of that he’s grown leaps and bounds. I don’t just mean physically (but, yes, he’s gotten huge!), but emotionally, academically, and socially. He’s putting together two words, occasionally three. He’s starting to understand emotions, when friends are upset, etc. He’s playing with friends! Not just next to or around, really playing with them. It doesn’t last forever, sometimes just a few minutes, but it’s something. He’s going pee on the potty! I used to ask him and he’s bluntly said “no” every single time. But now he’s sitting on the potty and making himself pee almost every time. We’re still working on this really hard, but he’s impressing us. He has adjusted beautifully to moving into our new home. The change has actually been a breeze on him.

There are still days that are hard for me. Days where I compare him to typically developing children and blame myself for the delays. What did I do? That crosses my mind a lot and probably will continue to do so. But God I love that little man so much. He’s always happy, always loving, always smiling. I’d do anything for him. I’m so glad God surprised us with him. He is literally everything I needed.

xoxo, Allyson

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Clayton is 5!

Today my baby boy is 5 and I am having all the feels!

A little background story about our journey so far…

I went in for my routine 38-week OB appointment on Monday, April 25, 2016. My doctor told me I wasn’t progressing and that we would talk about inducing at 41.5 weeks (which I was totally fine with). To be honest, I wasn’t ready at all. Not one bit. I felt very content with my baby being in my belly. I knew he was taken care of and happy in there, and I was terrified to take care of a newborn on the outside.

Flash forward to 11pm on Tuesday, April 26. My water broke at home. I remembered my doctor telling me that if my water broke, I had to go straight to the hospital. So, Graham and I got our bags and went to the hospital. Honestly, I thought we would come right back home. I mean, my doctor JUST told me that I wasn’t progressing. I wasn’t really in a lot of pain. I had Braxton hicks contractions, but nothing that felt severe. Long story short, I got to the hospital and they told me I was staying and having our baby boy! I’ve never been so scared in my life. I was supposed to have a May baby. It was only April 26th! We didn’t have a name picked out (I worried a lot about what everyone would think about his name), my family wasn’t there, Graham was exhausted and had an important meeting with his boss in the morning… I was just not ready. But Clayton was. At 10:55am on Wednesday, April 27th our sweet (red head at the time) baby boy was born, and my world has been different ever since.

(A little background on his name… Allyson suggested Clayton to me and Graham’s brother Jordan suggested Clayton to him. It kind of just felt meant to be & I thought other people would like it. Did I mention that I REALLY cared what other people thought of his name?! Clayton’s middle name, Joseph is a pretty special name to us. Joseph is my grandpa’s name and Graham’s brother’s name. At the time Joe (Graham’s brother) was in remission from cancer. However, it came back a couple of weeks after Clayton was born. Clayton got to meet Joe once before he passed away in October of 2016. People always say that Clayton looks and acts just like his uncle Joe. Graham and I think it’s a sign. He was meant to have the middle name Joseph. And now our Clayton has the best guardian angel out there)

I have a really hard time sharing this because it’s kind of like being naked in front of all of you. It is something I have been ashamed of for a long time. Something I am so embarrassed about. When they handed me my tiny 7lbs. 1oz baby boy, I felt nothing. I remember thinking, all of that nasty white stuff that was all over his body when he was born (I’m sure there is a medical name for that stuff) was getting in my wedding ring. Something was just off for me. I wasn’t feeling the way you’re supposed to feel when you hold your baby for the first time. I wasn’t overjoyed or crying… I felt…. nothing.

Before being discharged from the hospital I became really sad. Just constantly crying for no reason. I really tried to keep it to myself. I didn’t tell Graham or any of our nurses how I was feeling. They even brought me that little postpartum quiz thing they bring you before you are cleared to go home, and I just hoped that what I felt (or didn’t feel) would go away- so I lied on the form. I felt like I couldn’t share how I was feeling without being judged. Subconsciously I could feel other people saying… What do you mean you felt nothing when you first held your baby? You should be overjoyed because not everyone is lucky enough to experience this. I felt so guilty. We were discharged on Friday, April 29th. I cried all weekend. I was so utterly exhausted and scared to me a mom. I was terrified something was going to happen to Clay or I was going to do something wrong.  At one point Graham took Clayton from me and told me to go take a nap (he was also beyond exhausted) but all I did during that time was lay in bed and cry. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat…. Basically, I could barely function. Graham was starting to get really worried, so on Monday morning he called my doctor. He got me an appointment for that afternoon. We went into the appointment and I bawled… hysterically. I tried to tell her all of my fears and feelings, but I was crying so hard I was hyperventilating. I don’t think she could understand a word I was saying. She talked to me for at least 45 minutes about my life and her life, and then, of course, we talked about my options. We decided I would start taking Zoloft and (besides going off of it when I was pregnant with Collins) I have been on it ever since.

The medicine slowly helped me get back to a new normal. But, if I am honest, the biggest help was Graham going back to work. It forced me to have to do it myself. I faced my fear and proved to myself that I could do it. Clayton was safe with me. Every morning after we woke up, we would watch the Today Show, I would do dishes and laundry, and then we would go to Starbucks. After that Allyson would come over and visit while she was on her break from work. Adrienne also came over every day (she was in between jobs at that point) and we would go have lunch with my mom at a park or a restaurant near her work. Once I had a routine down, things started getting better. My mood was better. I wasn’t crying as much. I wasn’t panicking as much. I got used to being a mom. But it took time, A LOT of time, for me to feel like “I got this” or “okay, this is my new normal.” If you think about it, being a mom gives you a whole new identity. So, it makes sense that some women would struggle with the change/adjustments that come with being a new mom. And to those moms that didn’t struggle, cry, become anxious, or angry… you are so lucky! I wouldn’t wish PPD or PPA on anyone! That said, I truly believe that my postpartum depression and anxiety only made my bond with Clayton 10x stronger. I had to work really hard to bond with him, and we made it through one of the hardest times (in probably both of our lives) together.

Clayton is sweet and sensitive & the biggest momma’s boy there is! I love our bond so much (I also love my bond with Collins… this just isn’t her birthday post) and would be completely 100% lost without him! His hugs and smooches (even the gross ones) make my day. His sarcasm and jokes make everyone laugh. He is such a bright light in a world (that at times) can be so dark. I cannot believe he is 5 years old and heading to Kindergarten in August. I swear he was just our little chubby bunny (shoutout to Kensey for the nickname) yesterday!

Do you have all the feels when your kid (or someone special in your life) has a birthday?

xoxo, Audriana

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Where? What? Why?

Hi guys! I’m sure you’re wondering where I’ve been, what I’ve been up to and why I haven’t been present. Life has certainly taken my family & I in several wild directions lately. I’ll catch you up.

Dustin & I have officially sold our home! We started meeting with a realtor in March. We wanted to get the low down in the world of real estate before we moved forward with the process. If you’re not familiar, the market is insane right now. Interest rates are lower than ever. It most certainly is a seller’s market. Houses are going for 20-30 grand over asking, buyers are paying the difference in appraisals, waving inspections or paying the difference and realtors are receiving multiple offers on homes. Like I said, all great for sellers.  We received two offers on our home and sold it for asking price the first day it hit the market. We were floored. Excited. But floored.

Now dare I say we’re in panic mode. This market is insanely challenging for buyers. You have to be ready at the drop of a hat to go see a house the pops up in your price range. You have to be willing to make an offer that is appealing to the seller. The scary part is, you have to be ready to rent or find a place to live if you home closes and you haven’t purchased a home. So, this is where we are currently. Still looking for a place that fits our needs, our budget and hopefully one that we fall in love with. I will update you as we continue through the process.

In other news, our daughter started tutoring. When I was growing up, I needed a lot of extra help in school. So when we started to notice that Tinley was falling behind with reading and math we really wanted to support her in every single way possible. Covid hit and Tinley had half a year in Kindergarten. She literally got nothing at all out of remote learning. Honestly it wasn’t until she went back to school full time that she was getting anything out of the education process. Once she was back in school full time she started acting out, which is completely unlike her. Her self-esteem was plummeting. She would lie about knowing “everything” and would just scribble random answers to questions on her school work. She didn’t like to try hard because she felt like she didn’t know the answers, so why put in the work. She’d talk about hating school, etc. We met with her doctor and her teacher and came up with a plan. I hate to see a child (any child, but especially mine) have low self-esteem or self-doubt at such a young age. Watching it as a parent is heartbreaking. We go through enough of that kind of thing when we’re older. We are seeing improvements with her academics and her attitude. She’s been working so hard and we’re so proud of her!

Our oldest, Mason, started baseball. It’s a huge commitment. He’s on a travel team this year. They practice two times a week for two hours. When games start, they’ll play three a week. Several double headers. There are almost enough kiddos on the team to have two teams, so it’ll be really interesting to see how much the kids actually get to play at each game. My husband is obsessed with youth baseball, so he’s digging this (well maybe not so much the three games a week thing…eek). It is really nice to get him outside and active after this long winter. Mason is still mad I told him he was not doing basketball this year. Baseball is outside (and, again, is such a huge commitment!) so it seems safer to me than him being inside guarding another kid, masks on faces. Basketball is his favorite sport & we’ll get back to it (hopefully) next year.

Rhett is going strong with therapies. We now have 2 of the 3 therapies in person, which I appreciate so, so much! I also think he is getting so much more out of them then he was in front of a screen. It makes me so happy that he’s understanding so much. Language comprehension was much more important to me in the beginning than how many words he was using. Now that I know he is comprehending things so well, we’re really focusing on sounds, mimicking and adding vocabulary. We’re still working on invading his space and playing with other kiddos. He’s really improved. His attention span has increased. He’s learned to put his coat on (sometimes the wrong way, but hey…huge milestone!), he’s working really hard to put his shoes on. Some days are better than others, but we’re still moving forward.

A bit about what’s been up with me. I had emergency surgery to pull a wisdom tooth that was badly infected. Never put off dental work. That was the worst pain I have ever experienced…and I had 3 c sections. They ended up pulling all of my wisdom teeth. It wasn’t fun. I was so hangry throughout the process. I apologize for anyone who came across my path during that time hahaha. Kaitlyn and I have started watching Grey’s together every Thursday at her house. I feel like it finally has given me some “me time.” I haven’t been able to spend as much time in the kitchen baking since we’ve had to keep the house so clean, but I do plan to get in there more in the coming week! With spring finally being here I’m getting really excited to start working on the garden with my father-in-law! He gets so much fresh produce each year & I’d love to take you along on that journey. He is a gardening expert, so I’ll come back & do a post about any of your garden questions!

That’s it. That’s where I’ve been. I’m hoping that life slows down a bit and gives a little bit of grace here once summer starts. I hope you’ve all been well! I sure have missed you! What has everyone been up to?

xoxo, Allyson

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What’s in a Name?

When I was in High School, we had to read the book Great Expectations. For some reason it’s the only book that I actually wanted to read…aka the only book I didn’t have to use Spark Notes for. The name Estella always floated in the back of my mind. “Maybe one day if I have a daughter, I’ll name her Estella.” I carried that name with me through all three of my pregnancies. Though, none of our children are named Estella.

Name trends are awesome and also exhausting. From one year to the next the tops names are rated. In 2011 when I had my first son the most popular name for a boy was Jacob, followed closely by Mason (which is my son’s name). Today the most popular is Liam. When I had my daughter in 2014 Emma & Olivia were the front runners for girl names. Today the most popular name for a baby girl is still Olivia. In 2018, when I was pregnant with out last son (though we didn’t know if he was a boy or a girl) the top boy’s name was Jackson and the top name for a girl was back to Emma.

Tinley Audriana, Rhett Anderson & Mason Timothy

Names like Claire, Emily, Thomas and Johnathan may seem like a thing of the past. However, working in child care I will tell you, we do still see them. Now that we’re in 2021, the trends have definitely changed. Parents are looking at powerful names that pack a punch. Superheros are maybe a little geeky, but who wouldn’t want name their kid after someone who is brave and honorable. It’s also pretty freaking awesome that superheros have crazy awesome super powers. Popular superhero inspired names include; Parker (after Peter Parker), Quinn (in regards to Harley Quinn), Logan (Wolverine), Oliver (Green Arrow), Wade (Deadpool) & Selina (Cat woman).

Namberry predicts we will also see a rise in “day names.” Yep, you heard it here. Sunday, Monday Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday are creeping up on the charts. Millennials and Gen Z’s alike are digging cottagecore names like; Fawn, Clover, Bear, Jane, Flora, Silas, Wilder and Maisie. Teen pop star Billie Eilish’s name is also impacting popular names like; Jessie, Josie, Pirate, Sunny, Teddy, Frankie and Stevie.

In 2021, we are likely saying goodbye to names like; Cora, Cove, Coraline, Corey and Corinne. This is because of the close comparison to the dreadful COVID/Coronavirus.

I wonder how many little ladies will be named Kamala by the end of the year?

Would you have named your child after a superhero? How about a character from your favorite Netflix show? What name trends do you love? Do you have a name planned for your future child? How did you pick your child’s name? We’d love to hear all about your name selections!

xoxo, Allyson

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Kennedy Blair: A Real Life Miracle

Photo Credit: Amelia Zobrist Photography

This story has been a long time coming. I’ve asked you all more than once on stories if you wanted to read it or if it was something you didn’t care about. I appreciate the amount of you that care and want to know. It makes my heart SO FULL that our readers, some of whom don’t know me personally, wanted to know our story. I’ve had this written since a week after we launched the blog. I thought it was ready to post. I read it a few times and decided I wasn’t ready. I rewrote it a few weeks ago and decided again that I wasn’t ready. On Valentine’s day, I recruited my husband to help me by reading the story from my perspective and then writing his own. This is a combination of our stories. 

My husband Steven & I had Nathaniel very soon after we got married. We got married on October 22, 2016. I found out I was pregnant on January 25, 2017. We planned it that way because we knew we were mentally ready for a baby. That story is simple and easy to tell. I wasn’t sick. I was induced on 9/11/2017. He didn’t want to come out. I pushed for 5 hours and he was here. We’ve thrived with him ever since. Kennedy’s was not simple. Honestly, it was so much harder, exhausting and terrifying. It was an emotional drop from the very beginning that just kept going down, and we are so lucky that it ended on such a high. 

In 2019, I was ready for another baby. Steven was quickly on board with the idea, and we started trying in September 2019. Many pregnancy tests were taken & SO many were negative before I got the first positive test on November 9, 2019 (which is also my husband’s birthday). He says “probably the best birthday present ever” and I’d have to agree. We were so excited to add another member to Team Overmyer. Little did we know all of the things we were about to go through. 

Because this story is a very rough read, I wanted to include a tidbit that I find hilarious to lighten your heart before reading. Before I found out I was pregnant, I learned that the Sneak Peek Early Gender Reveal blood test existed. It is an at-home blood test that you send in to find out the gender as early as eight weeks for those who aren’t aware of it. One of my cousins had friends who had used it successfully, and I was convinced it was worth the money. As soon as I found out we were expecting it, I ordered it & paid to get the results in 72 hours. 

When week eight finally rolled around, I had a day off and decided to take the blood test. Thankfully, Kaitlyn is an RN, so she and her RN friend Suzie came to help. Thank god they did. They can tell you all about how long it took! The way this test works is that you have to basically squeeze the blood out of your hand into a tiny little tube, secure it and send it back. Whatever room the test is completed in must be completely clear of any male DNA, or the test will come back that it’s a boy.

Long story short, there was a LOT of male DNA in my home between Steven, Nate & our dog Chief; HA! Three days later, I got the email in the evening, and it came back as a boy. I sobbed. I knew that this would likely be our last baby, and I was mourning that I’d never have the daughter I dreamed of. Fast forward to week 20 (March 1, 2020): our anatomy scan. The sonogram tech asked first thing that if the baby cooperates, would we like to know the sex…of course, we said yes. She did all of the things they look for in the anatomy appointment and then said, “I think the baby is looking a little girly!” I didn’t believe her. I literally said, “it isn’t that I don’t think you know how to do your job, because I trust you completely, but I took a blood test that said baby is a boy”. So I told her and my doctor all about my experience with the Sneak Peak test. They all laughed with me and showed me on the sonogram the places that specifically show this baby was a girl. I still didn’t believe Kennedy was a girl until she was out of my body. HA!

Trigger warning: This post contains content about stillbirth and medical issues with babies.

It was VERY early on when I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t get to see the doctor until just before Christmas. Before that first appointment, I thought I was miscarrying due to some discharge I was having. Steven says that Kennedy started scaring us right out of the gate. Accurate. AF. I called my doctor’s office & went in for blood work. I was put on progesterone until I was 12 weeks, and let me tell you, that was the WORST 12 weeks. Without getting into too much detail, progesterone made me feel like I needed a shower all the time. It was gross. I digress. Week 12 happened. I saw the nurse practitioner in the office who said, “Hey girl, you don’t have to take this anymore!”. We were thrilled & thought that was the end of the weirdness. It wasn’t.

Still, before the eight-week mark (for it to be time to see my doctor), nausea kicked in. Steven felt so bad that there was nothing he could do to help me. He would have to force me to eat just so I would have something in my stomach, even though I would throw it all up anyway. Another fun tidbit, my 28th birthday was 24 days after discovering I was pregnant (I only know this because Steven and I are 24 days apart in age). I threw up all over my job parking lot, all over my clothes, coat, and car. I had to go come and change my clothes before I went to my birthday dinner, and then I threw that up too.

I called my doctor’s office and explained my nausea to them. Instead of giving me Zofran (thank god), which is often what doctors prescribe for nausea in pregnancy, I was given Bonjesta. Bonjesta is a combination of an antihistamine and B6 (is that medically correct? I have no idea), and let me tell you, it made me TIRED. Like, I can’t keep my eyes open tired. I took it my entire pregnancy. I was throwing up constantly, all day, every day, therefore couldn’t keep my prenatal or anything else down. Things went along like this for weeks, and I just figured it was my new normal. I had purchased a second trash can for my bathroom designated for getting sick because it was too much and too uncomfortable to throw up in a toilet. Life went on like this for a while. So sick, constantly throwing up, and I did not look pregnant at all for quite some time.

I hit about 24 or so weeks when the weirdest things were happening to my body. I was SO ITCHY. Everywhere. I was breaking out in a rash at my 24-week appointment. I had the same issue with Nate and mentioned that with him, I used Benadryl cream, and it went away. The doctor and nurses said it looks like a heat rash & to use Benadryl cream, and that would make it go away. It didn’t work this time. Over the next few weeks, I wasn’t sleeping at all, even though I was exhausted. I was up all night scratching all over my body, most specifically my hands and feet, and only at night. I couldn’t control the itch. For the most part, allergy medicine isn’t safe for pregnancy, so I didn’t try to take them. I was losing my mind. The weirdest part of it all was that I had NO rash on the itchiest places. ZERO. After a couple of days, the itch subsided everywhere but my hands and feet. It was the most severe itch I ever remember having in my life. Finally, one day at 4 AM, after I had been up for over 5 hours scratching my hands and feet, I gave in and did the one thing I promise myself I regularly that I will never do. I googled my symptoms. 

If my memory serves me correctly, I google-searched “itchy hands and feet with no rash pregnancy.” The first thing that came up was a Mayo Clinic article that explained something called Cholestasis of Pregnancy. I’m going to link that article here for you all to reference. The short and easy-to-understand version is that it’s a liver condition that occurs in late pregnancy. It causes extreme itchiness with no rash to the hands and feet and can cause detrimental complications to mom & baby.

I immediately panicked. The Mayo Clinic article almost verbatim describes the symptoms I was having. I had no idea what this all meant, so of course, I kept reading. That’s when I got to the “consequences” section. At this point, I could feel myself going ghostly white. Cholestasis of Pregnancy’s consequences are preterm labor, lung development problems (if any cholic bile acid ends up in the baby’s lungs), and stillbirth.

I didn’t go back to sleep that night. Steven woke up that morning, and I explained it all to him, assuming he would tell me that everything was fine, that I was overreacting, and not to be that girl that googles her symptoms. He didn’t tell me that. That terrified me. He told me to call the doctor and get in immediately. I called my doctor’s office when they opened, and they had me come in for blood work, for the third time this pregnancy. I was advised that it would take a week for the blood work results to come back, but we would have an idea in a few days. I was told approximately three days later that I had it.

At this point, my doctor made a game plan for us. I was put on a medication for my liver. I was to come in weekly to do a non-stress test (NST); we were to schedule an induction at week 36 and get two shots to assure lung development in the baby girl. Those weeks went on, and I was so sick and so exhausted. Kennedy HATED the NST’s. She hated them to the point of I was hospitalized three times in that 10ish week period.

FINALLY. Week 36 came. We were scheduled to be at the hospital at midnight on June 22, 2020. On June 20, I thought I felt contractions as we were going to bed, but I thought nothing of them because they weren’t strong. I slept as much as I had been with being uncomfortable because of pregnancy, nausea, heartburn (that was so bad it burned in my ears), and the itch.

The next morning, Sunday, June 21, Steven had to work and was supposed to work a 12-hour shift. Nate and I had been hanging around the house, packing the hospital bag, cuddling and doing all of the things with your first baby before getting ready to bring home a second one. The contractions started early that morning but got noticeably severe around 2pm. We had A LOT of hours to go before midnight. I texted Steven through the day, telling him how much pain I was in. He said I called them cramps. I don’t remember that, but I guess it probably happened, HAHA!

I was bending over trying to pack Kennedy’s things for the hospital and had to stop every few minutes to try not to scream/cry. Steven ended up coming home early and arrived home about 3pm. He saw how much pain I was in and started timing the contractions. They were around 10 minutes apart when he got home. Steven tried to convince me to let him call the hospital and tell them we were coming. I refused, “because if anyone knows Adrienne, you know she isn’t going to do something she doesn’t want to unless she can’t handle it anymore,” according to Steven. My mom came to get Nate around 6:30 PM so he would think he was leaving for a sleepover, not us leaving him. I cried in agony while packing for another two and a half hours before I agreed to have Steven call L&D and tell them we were coming.

We got to the hospital just after 9 PM. By 10:45, I was getting an epidural. Steven would like to point out that I was having contractions during this entire process, and they never slowed down in between contractions. As soon as one ended, another would start. By 11:30, I was getting a second one because the first one didn’t take at all. The second one did. I felt GREAT. The nurses came in to check on me periodically, and I wasn’t progressing much further. Around 2am, I was administered Pitocin. As the next hour or so went on, I couldn’t feel the contractions’ pain, but I could feel the pressure.

The Actual Birth From Steven’s Perspective: 

At this point, we tried to get some sleep. I was awake on and off throughout the night. The nurses were constantly in and out of the room, checking on Adrienne and working with the monitors. The monitors kept going off because, as you know, Kennedy hates NST’s, which is basically what this was. 

I sat in the back, trying to stay out of all of the nurses and doctors way while they rushed all around Adrienne. I was watching the monitors profusely, seeing Kennedy’s heartbeat stop as Adrienne would have contractions. I was terrified we were losing our little girl before she got here but couldn’t show it because it would terrify Adrienne, and we had to keep her calm. I remember at 4 AM nurse saying she was dilated, that the baby was coming anytime, and that they needed to call the doctor in for delivery. Kennedy was ready to come out to the point the nurses were telling her, “whatever you do, don’t push because we’re waiting on the doctor to get here.” A few minutes later, the doctor rushed in, saying, “okay, we are gonna have a baby!” 

One or two pushes, and our little girl was here. I bawled like a child. I was so happy that our little girl made it and Adrienne was okay, and that our family was going to be whole. After Adrienne passed the placenta, the doctor looked at it with a confused expression on her face and announced she had a learning opportunity for some of the nurses. The doctor started talking about how the veins on the placenta were outside the sac instead of inside the membrane. The doctor said that our daughter shouldn’t have made it to the point of being born. The doctor specifically said that Kennedy was a miracle baby. I knew she was going to be a little fighter from that point on.

The Actual Birth From My Perspective: 

Around 4 AM, I was told not to push–an impossible task when a baby is crawling out of your body. (Steven told me afterward that the nurses were getting ready to deliver Kennedy because my doctor wasn’t there yet). The doctor arrived. I pushed one time, and Kennedy Blair was born. 4:13 AM. 6 pounds 7 ounces. 18 inches. The daughter I had prayed for was finally here, and the hard parts were all over! We didn’t realize the storm wasn’t over yet.

Once Kennedy arrived, I held her, cried and told her how much I love her, how long I’ve prayed to have her, how thankful I am to be her mom, and how I’ve dreamed of this day my entire life. The pediatric doctor and team took Kennedy to be examined because she is a premie and a Cholestasis of Pregnancy baby. During that time, my doctor delivered the placenta and realized immediately that something was not right. She called it velamentous and explained it similarly to what Steven did. (you’ll have to google it for more information, I’m not a medical professional and still don’t really know what happened). My doctor immediately advised me of how rare this is, that Kennedy shouldn’t have survived and that she is a miracle baby.

The pediatric doctor quickly noticed that Kennedy was having issues with her oxygen levels and hadn’t cried. The doctor handed Kennedy to me for skin to skin. Once they were regulated, they took her to the nursery to monitor her oxygen levels and was put on oxygen. She was off the oxygen quickly, but they started giving her caffeine to kickstart her breathing, to regulate her breathing because she was holding her breath. The first time Steven held his baby girl, she was hooked to machines and had her oxygen and heartbeat monitored. And, of course, was wearing a mask because, 2020.

We were in the hospital from Sunday, June 21 to Friday, June 26. Kennedy came home on caffeine and a monitor similar to the one she was on in the hospital. Nate met her that night, and he was in love immediately. My immediate family was able to meet her over that weekend, and they were in love. While we were home during the weekend, Kennedy decreased her eating from 2 ounces to not eating half an ounce. We were up all night, every night that whole weekend between the leads from the monitors coming off and alarming the machine and trying to make her eat. The following Monday, we took Kennedy to the pediatrician for her “3-5 day” wellness check. She had lost a significant amount of weight, and we told the doctor that she was barely eating 20 ml. The pediatrician gave us a plan (which, after all this time, I don’t remember what it was), and we scheduled a weight check for the next day. Monday to Tuesday was AWFUL. We were up all night again. We couldn’t get Kennedy to eat more than 10 ml’s a feed.

We went to the check, and all I did was sob. She had lost a significant amount of weight overnight again. The nurse tried to stick to the plan at the appointment, but I voiced (between the crying, I was probably screaming) all my concerns about her not eating, and she grabbed the doctor. He said we needed to have her readmitted. Tuesday, June 30, we were readmitted. Steven had to go back to work that Wednesday, of course. He was feeling helpless because he couldn’t get more time to be with us. For ten days was in the hospital alone with Kennedy. Nate went back to my mom’s, and daycare reopened just in time for that. 

The Second Hospital Stay from Steven’s Perspective

We had Kennedy readmitted to the hospital the day before I had to go back to work. Those were the longest two weeks of my life. I’d get up in the morning to an empty house because Adrienne and Kennedy were in the hospital, and Nate was back at Adrienne’s mom’s because I had to be up for work at 5 AM. I would go to work and try to distract myself from the fact that Kennedy was back in the hospital with a tube going into her stomach (an NG tube) so she would get the energy to eat by herself eventually. I would get home from work, shower and change, see Nate, then head to the hospital to see my exhausted wife and our little girl. It was extremely hard to be willing to walk out of that room, even if it was to get something to eat. We felt guilty for leaving Kennedy alone for even a second. I felt terrible that Adrienne was doing it all by herself in the hospital and that there wasn’t anything I could do about it but wait. 

The Second Hospital Stay from My Perspective: 

We were readmitted back to the hospital around 11 AM on that Tuesday. We texted our families. We quickly got phone calls from all of them that could. My in-laws were in town and ended up bringing us lunch. They couldn’t come inside because of Covid, so we came outside to have a picnic by the Van in the hospital parking lot. I saw them and immediately started to sob. My mother-in-law and sisters-in-law immediately came in with hugs, love, and words of assurance that this wasn’t my fault. In this ten-day time frame, my mom and mother-in-law both were there for sound advice and to be the voice of reason for me, as both of them had multiples (My mom obviously had twins with Allyson and Audriana, Steven’s mom had Steven & his triplet sisters) and spent time in NICU’s as well. After we came back in from lunch, the Pediatric NP that was on call said, “Well, she earned herself an NG tube.” Not the most delicate way for it to be put, but direct enough that I understood what it meant, which I needed and appreciated it.

To make an already long story just a little shorter, we were in the hospital for ten days. It was the most helpless Steven, and I have ever felt in our lives. We were constantly choosing between our little boy and our baby girl, and no matter which decision we made, we were wrong to every eye that looked at us. We were heartbroken, exhausted, and just yearned to be back home as a family. I fought to the (almost) death that we were not bringing our daughter home on the monitor she was sent home on. ALL of the doctors, nurses, and probably Steven thought I were a little overzealous. I was confident she didn’t need it. Finally, on July 9, we were able to go home for good, without monitors! Kennedy was back up to eating 2 ounces every 3 hours and eating well (for the most part) ever since.

Others who have heard this story often ask, “after all of that, is she at least a good baby?!” The answer is yes. She sleeps, she eats, she smiles, and she laughs. Now she is eight months old, and at her six-month appointment, she weighed in at just over 14 pounds. She just now is fitting well in 3-6 month clothes and some 6 month clothes. She was taken off the high-calorie formula on December 23, 2020. At her 6 month appointment she was still not near the 50th percentile for her age, but we will see where she’s at in March at her 9-month appointment! We are just so thankful the nightmare of this is all over.

I want to go ahead and add a huge thank you to the nurses and Pediatric NP/Doctors at OSF St. Joseph. I wouldn’t have made it through those ten days without you all checking in on us (I know, it’s your job, but I knew you wanted to be with us, not just because it is your job), keeping me sane, making me eat, making me laugh and sometimes keeping me distracted from the whole situation. I am so thankful for everything each and every one of you. 

Another huge thank you to my OBGYN and the nurses at Advanced Women’s Health Care for not making me feel insane when I called and told them what illness Google says I have. They took me seriously the whole time. They developed a plan quickly and constantly reassured me that I was doing everything for our girl that she needed and that she would be okay.

Before I had Cholestasis of Pregnancy, it’s not something I had ever heard of. I had never known anyone to go through it, and no one I knew had heard of it either. I feel like I needed to tell this story as part of the mental healing process and to help me move on from a situation that took such a heavy toll on me in every way. I hope that if you stumble upon this blog post and this is something you are experiencing, you know that you are not alone and that even in this terrifying timeframe things CAN turn out okay, against all odds. This is the worst thing I’ve ever gone through, and I can’t imagine if things would have gone the other way. I thank God for Kennedy Blair every single day. I prayed for a daughter my whole life, and I finally have this beautiful angel. I am so thankful for her.

xoxo, Adrienne

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