Saturday, June 25, 2016

Evie Ruth

The first time I held Evie I knew she was special. She was born blue, not breathing, and even after they got her to breathe she hardly cried. She looked at me with her big eyes and I just fell in love. She was the best baby. When she was 10 months old I gave her some scrambled eggs. Her whole body broke out into hives and I had to stab her with an epi pen. It was terrifying. That began our journey to find out what the heck was wrong. Evie spent most of the first 2 years of her life with hives all over her body. I lived at the ER, doctors office, and the allergist. It was so frustrating. No one could tell me what was wrong with her.

I remember having fights with the allergist who told me "nothing is wrong with her, she just has ecema". I would full on scream at him. Until one day, I walked out and walked into my pediatrician without an appointment and sobbed, begging her to help me figure this out. She had no idea the allergist was being such an jack hole and immediately calmed me down. After blood test after blood test, skin test, all the tests, our pediatrician sent us to a rheumatologist at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake. She was really great and talked to us about what she was 99% sure was going on however, she didn't specialize in that so she sent us to one more doctor. At this point I was just coming to the realization that I may never know what was wrong with my baby. By the time we met Dr. Firtz at the immunology department at Primary's we had an answer. He was an immunologist that specialized in what we know now is Evie's autoimmune disorder. Evie has something called idiopathic urticaria. Now, usually this only effects adults 20-40 and eventually goes away. When you google it, it seems like not a big deal at all. You take some meds, everything is fine. But there is a tiny 1% of kids that get it and she has it. Basically, he explained to me, what happened is her body developed an extra set of negative cells that attack all the positive cells. She essentially doesn't naturally produce antihistamines and also doesn't naturally produce Vitamin D. This means she is allergic to everything. We have been very very lucky. Once we were able to get correct medicine to her, she had 2+ really good years. You never would have guessed anything was wrong. She gets sick REALLY easy but, besides that, we were fine. When she got sick, like a cold, she would have a really hard time breathing and she was diagnosed with asthma but, we easily controlled it without a problem. 

Fast forward to 3.5 weeks ago. We decided that we needed a break and left for Utah very last minute. It was such a wonderful vacation for the kids. The first thing we did was go to Moab to play at Sand Dune Arch. The kids had a ball. We were with cousins running around and having a blast. The very last time the kids rand down a very tiny incline, she fell in the dirt with her cousin Isla. I noticed that she was spitting up dirt and so I assumed she had face planted in the sand. It wasn't until she looked up at me, grabbing her chest, and throwing up mucous in the sand that I realized she was having an asthma attack. She couldn't catch her breath. I tried to calm her down but she was really struggling. I started to freak out and Jamie carried her out of the arch to the car where we had to bribe her to use the inhaler. I was terrified. She had never had an asthma attack before. 

Over the next two weeks she had 4 more attacks. Twice while she was sleeping and one of those time she stopped breathing all together and I had to wake her up and take her into the bathroom for a nebulizer treatment. I was so worried. She just couldn't catch her breath. On Tuesday night, the night before I was to fly home, she had another attack in her sleep. I had to drag her to the bathroom where she was still half asleep and hyperventilating because she couldn't breathe but also didn't want to do the nebulizer. Her whole body was in hives and so I tried to give her a benedryl to calm the hives and she chucked the cup of water at me while screaming and throwing up because she couldn't catch her breathe. I finally finally shot three puffs of albuterol into her mouth while she was screaming and that calmed her just enough to get her to take the nebulizer. It was by far the scariest attack. I didn't know what to do. 

On Wednesday we flew home and got to see our daddy. On Thursday I sent a message to our Pediatrician Dr. Cooper as soon as I got home. I let him know what was going on told him I would call him to set up an appointment sometime next week when Beau could be there. I went to bed Thursday night feeling anxious but, nothing too bad. At 6am Friday morning I was awoken by Evie shaking me as hard as her little body could and she was throwing up on the side of my bed. She was crying saying "mommy I can't breathe, my chest hurts, I can't breathe" The nebulizer was still packed so I picked her up and set her downstairs on the couch while I dug through our luggage trying to find the medicine and machine. I finally found it and got it to her. I just started sobbing. What was I suppose to do now?  

So I called the doctor, who is in Pennsylvania, and he got us in for that evening. I loaded up the three kids and drove straight there. When we got back Dr. Cooper looked at her (she had really blood shot itchy eyes which apparently is something she will struggle with the rest of her life because her body can't fight off the itch) and he listened to her lungs. Then, he sat in front of me. I will never forget the look on his face. I went through with as much detail as I could everything that had happened. He said to me "unfortunately this is the tip of a huge problem that we just don't understand." Basically, her lungs are not able to support her body anymore. Between her autoimmune and her asthma, she doesn't stand a chance. Think about when you start sneezing because of mild allergies. It's hard to breathe right? Your airwaves are trying to battle back the allergies from getting into your lungs. Now, imagine you have no natural blockers and you are allergic to everything, including the air you breathe. And, your lungs are already weakened from asthma. That is essentially Evie. Dr. Cooper basically told us because this came on so fast, we are probably just at the beginning and it's going to get worse from here as we figure out the depth of the problem. Our main goal is to train her lungs how to breathe even when they don't want to.

So what now? Where do you go from here? How do I sleep at night knowing that she could stop breathing in the middle of the night like she already has twice? Do I hook her up to a CPAP machine so if she does, an alarm goes off? Do I sleep on her floor? What is she has an asthma attack and Beau is on duty and I need to rush her to the hospital? How do I do this alone?

Dr. Cooper prescribed 8 different medications that she has to be on daily. 3 of which are steroids for breathing, albuterol, and 4 antihistamines. We are on a very strict schedule for medication including waking her up at midnight and giving her albuterol and flovent just so she can make it through the night. 

How do you explain to a 4 year old, who has more energy than she knows what to do with, that she can't do the same things as the other kids? How do you explain to her that she is so tired from walking in the store because she isn't getting enough oxygen to her brain? I never want her to feel like she doesn't have the same opportunities that her brother and sister are going to have. But, I also never want to watch her struggling for breath. We are hopeful. If we can get control of this over the next four month, we can wean her off of two of the steroids which would be awesome. We love our baby girl. If I could, I would take it away from her. 

Friday, August 28, 2015


Yesterday Gracie went to her first day of Kindergarten. I have been back and forth on sending her because of many different reasons but, in the end she was so desperate to go that I just enrolled her. Gracie loves to learn, she loves structure, and she loves meeting people. It was really a win win situation. I feel like she will blossom and become even more brilliant than she already is but, it's really hard for mommy. This morning as I got her ready to go, she was so excited she could barley stand it. They have full day kindergarten here in Maryland and so I thought for sure it would be too much for her but, she is in heaven. It's hard to let go as a mother. It's hard to not be able to control all of her social interactions anymore, not be able to control what she is learning at all times, and not be able to protect her from harm 24 hours a day. I know this is a necessary right of passage in life but, I'm not a big fan. I never knew that I was such a helicopter mom until today when Beau loaded her into the car and took her to school. So I will breathe and learn to let go just a little bit during the day but then hug her extra hard in the evening to make up for our time apart.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Charlie Joseph Gibbs

The birth of Mr. Charlie is a miracle to me, just as all my children's births are. This baby was supposed to be in our family and he has fit like a missing piece since moment one. But, getting him here was a whole other experience.

Beau entered Basic Training for the US Coast Guard on April 7, 2015. I sobbed ever day for two weeks and then cried every night for the other six weeks. Being very pregnant and taking care of two kids, plus seriously missing your hubby, takes its toll. And miss him we did. We had a paper chain and a calendar that we would check off every day that passed. It was about seven eternities before we got to the end. 

The week Beau was to return home I went to my doctor and she had serious baby news. She started stripping my membranes and then said "Well, I will be very surprised if this baby makes it until Saturday." Saturday was my induction date and I REALLY needed him to wait so Beau, who returned home Friday night, could be here to watch him be born. I left the office feeling nervous but also excited for the end to come. Two more days and I would get to be with Beau, three more and our little man would be here! The benefit to this news was Beau's Company Commander gave him permission to call me every day. That was awesome.

Friday morning came and the baby was still in my belly and Beau was on his way to be one of the newest members of the United States Coast Guard. I waiting at Jenny's house anxiously getting text updates from Jamie and Mechel and watching the girls have a dance party with their best buddies. It was a wonderful morning. I felt very happy for the first time in eight weeks. At about 10am I got THE call, the one I was waiting for, "Hey babe, we are on our way to the airport soon." AHHH. Finally, FINALLY! So, I talked to the baby in my stomach and let him know that he could come any time he wanted, his daddy was on his way home.

Beau got dropped off at the airport and all the while I was stalking his airline. Apparently his first flight was going to be delayed and make it so he missed his second flight. When we asked them about it they said that he would be bumped to a morning flight. That was just not going to fly as I was supposed to have a freaking baby in the morning so, we had then change his flight. It made it so he was going to get in really late but, I didn't know what else to do. Luckily his gates were really close so he just switched over. Well, as I looked and looked, all of a sudden his ORIGINAL flight was on time! UGH! So he went back, told the lady that his wife was crazy (:)) and then switched back. He barely made his connection but, he made it. Meanwhile, back at home, I was preparing to surprise Beau and pick him up from the airport. He thought my mom would be the one to do it but, I had the girls make signs and I picked him up. 

When we were there waiting, he came out and almost didn't recognize us. He was so overwhelmed and I could tell. The first thing he told me was "I'm not suppose to hold your hand while I'm in uniform." He wasn't even in uniform.... Poor guy was having some SERIOUS culture shock. Especially because Gracie would not stop talking. She said to him "mom said I could stay up and talk the whole way home." And she did. NON STOP. Evie passed out right after we buckled her in but Gracie Leigh, she had missed the main man in her life and she told him about ever single detail of the last 8 weeks. It was so surreal to be driving home with him.

We went to bed at about 1am. In the middle of the night I rolled over and put my hand on Beau's stomach. He jumped out of bed, freaking out because someone was touching him. I freaked out because he was freaking out. hahaha. Needless to say, we had a rough first night. We were up at 6am and headed to the hospital by 6:45. Marisa and My mom came over to sit with the girls (love you guys!) and we were off. It was at this point that I began to seriously freak out. I mean, panic attack freak out. I knew that I was pregnant and had to have a baby but, my focus had solely been on Beau and getting him home so, I wasn't even in baby mode. Oh man...this was happening and I was freaking exhausted. It was like 8 weeks of everything came crashing down on top of my pregnant body and I just couldn't do it anymore. Not to mention that my husband wasn't sure if he was even allowed to hold my hand so, we were a wreck.

After we checked in they made us wait for a bit before they took me back to get ready. I have never been induced before so I wasn't sure what to expect. When I got changed and on the bed the nurse came to give me my IV. I was strep B negative this time but, because I had been positive with both of the girls, they wanted to give me the antibiotics anyway, just to be safe. By this point my anxiety was in full swing an I was feeling nauseous. I have a very very serious phobia of needles (like, I pass out phobia) and so when the nurse came to give me the IV I was sick with nerves. Well, the dang train a nurse blew the vein in my arm on the first try and I proceeded to throw up, a lot. This was not a positive start to an already slightly nerve racking situation for me. She then figured out that I wasn't kidding when I said I really hate needles and so she called in the tech to come and do it. The tech was fantastic. She gave me litacain first, which was amazing, and so I didn't even feel it in my other arm.

They started my antibiotic first because I needed to have it in my system at least four hours before they broke my water. In the meantime my very tired husband took a nap on the couch while we watched the Harry Potter marathon. My mom popped in for a while which was great and also my sister Natalie. She has been at all my births so it was really wonderful to have her at this one too. I sent Beau home to be with his girls because he hadn't really been able to see them the night before and he really missed his ladies. He hadn't been gone more than 20 minutes when my midwife showed up to get things going. She decided I had been on the antibiotic long enough and was ready to break my water. I had a mini panic attack because Beau wasn't there and I wasn't sure how quickly I would progress so I had my mom call him but, Kristy still went ahead and broke my water then instructed the nurse to turn the pitocin on. That all happened in a five minute period. Within 10 minutes I was feeling contractions, 15 minutes Beau showed back up, 20-25 minutes the contractions were so horrible I couldn't breathe. I wasn't allowed to get off the bed because they were monitoring the baby so I just sat there. The contractions were so intense I honestly couldn't catch my breath. I was feeling so torn on what to do at this point. On one hand I really really wanted to have this baby naturally like I had with the girls, I felt like I was letting him down somehow by getting an epidural. On the other hand, I was freaking exhausted. Two months without Beau while being pregnant and taking care of everything alone took it's toll. Not to mention the fact that we didn't get to bed until 1am the night before so I was running on a very short 5 hours of sleep at this point.

Beau and I said a prayer and decided that I would get the epidural. I just couldn't even function. I had never felt pain like those chemical contractions and mix that with my water being broken, I was a mess. The nurse called in the anesthesiologist and then started pumping my IV full of fluids so I wouldn't get sick from the medicine. I was so nervous. I wasn't sure what to expect as I had never done this before so, I had Beau give me a blessing and then we were ready. The anesthesiologist came in and he was so great. He talked me through the entire process so I wasn't completely freaking out. He would have to stop in the middle of the procedure while I had a contraction and then he finished pretty quickly. Bent over as they shoved a needle in my back while having contractions was probably the worst experience ever but, Beau was a rock and totally talked me off the ledge.

Once the epidural was in they put me back on the bed. He told me that he gave me the lowest dose possible to start out with so we could see how my body would react and then he swung the little button to press if I needed more meds over the back of my bed and left. I was doing great for about 15 minutes then, I started to feel kind of strange. I kept telling Beau that I was going to throw up so he would come over, I'd puke, and then the room would start to spin. I could feel myself passing out. So Beau called the nurse in and she came running because she said she was monitoring me out there and my blood pressure was plummeting. I wasn't feeling pain but I was super nauseated and I felt floaty. The nurse gave me a shot of something that would bring my blood pressure back up and then I felt totally fine again. This happened off and on for the next hour. They called the anesthesiologist and asked him how much medicine he gave me because my body didn't seem to be liking it very much and he said "I gave her the absolute lowest dose!" I also just remembered that they kept rolling me to the side because they kept losing the baby on the monitor. The final time I crashed pretty hard and the regular stuff they were shooting into my IV to pump my BP back up wasn't doing it's job anymore so, they gave me some harder stuff and shut off my epidural and the pitocin to try and regulate my body. It was the strangest feeling yet. I was almost to blacking out point and then, my BP zoomed and I shot awake, threw up, and felt much better.

Suddenly, my midwife showed up and checked to see where I was. I had only been in labor for three hours so I thought for sure I wasn't ready but, she said "Well, it's time to push." And then they were setting me up for delivery. Now, keep in mind I had only ever delivered without meds so it was the most bizarre thing ever for them to be telling ME when it's times to push and not the other way around. I wish I would have written this story right after his birth because this part is a little hazy. I remember Beau being right there, like he always is. My steady rock, keeping me in control when I feel out of control. I also remember my awesome sister was there and my mamma was behind the curtain. Her very sensitive mamma heart can't take some situations so she stepped behind until the second he was born she was right there. I only had to push three times. My midwife was incredible. I delivered him in maybe five minutes and I didn't tear at all which is a first! However, I was hemorrhaging again but she was able to get that under control after turning the pitocin back on and cleaning everything out.

After the last push she handed me this little tiny boy human and I think my heart almost burst. He was perfect. Perfect curly black hair, perfect face, perfect everything. They let me hold him, Beau cut the cord, and then he had swallowed a ton of fluid so they took him pretty quick to clean him out. Oh my goodness. He is a dream come true. A dream I didn't even know I had, come true. I immediately knew that he was supposed to be mine. I looked at his incredible little face, I looked at Beau's incredible face, and I just felt complete.

He was born at 3:12pm on May 30, 2015 weighing 7lbs 15ounces and 19inches long. We named him after my Grandpa Waters whom I miss every single day.

That night, after everyone had left and it was just Me, Beau, and Charlie, I just sat and reveled at the fact that my husband somehow came home to me to be here for this incredible event. That he was able to hold my hand, encourage me, love me, pray with me, support me, and just lend me his spirit when things got hard. I can't express the feelings I had watching him hold his son for the first time. It's something we hadn't planned on and something I would never change. I am eternally grateful for the small moments that I have been a part of in this life and watching Beau hold each one of his children right after they are born, are some of the most incredible moments in my life. I am so grateful for the man and father he is.

I am also so grateful for my sisters. They are my rocks. Marisa took my girls without there even being a question and spoiled them so rotten, they sobbed when she left. But more that that, she supported me, let me complain, cry, and be mean, and loved me still. I am so so so grateful that I got the months with her that I did before we left.
 Natalie came up from Moab without a moments hesitation. She is my person. She makes me laugh during labor, chats, and is on the other side of everything. She is that way in life too. My heart feels full that I get these wonderful women all to myself. Sometimes being the little sister is the best.
 And of course my mother. My mom hates to see her children in pain and therefore she is terrible during labor (no offense seriously) But, that's what makes her so incredible. She hates it and yet, she is there. She stays for the miracle because even if it terrifies her, she is my mom and she loves and supports me through it all. And I love her for the person she helped me become. I hope I can love my children as fiercely as she loves hers.  

So now I am a mother to two little rascal girls and an incredible little boy. I think I love him so much I turn crazy as I hug him and squeeze him. I can't stand it. He is such a perfect tiny human and such an unexpected blessing. I can't believe I am so lucky that I get the raise these three children. How blessed I am.

Gracie's Birth Story
Evie's Birth Story

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Monday, February 2, 2015

FHE- Our bodies

 For FHE tonight we talked about how are bodies are like Heavenly Father and Jesus. We also talked about how are bodies are temples that keep our spirit safe inside. I've been feeling very prompted lately to establish very hard boundaries when it comes to our bodies. Having hard discussions is hard and I only have a five and a three year old! But, as we have been casually talking about where it is ok and where it absolutely isn't ok for other adults or friends to touch on our bodies, I decided that we needed an entire lesson on it. Complete with "repeat after me" done many times.

I am so grateful for my beautiful little girls. I love being their mother. It scares me more than anything else in this world that someone could hurt them/take advantage of them in a way they don't understand. Now, they do understand and I can rest a little better knowing that as we continue to be upfront and honest, talk about hard things, and re-iterate the importance of who they are, we can continue to build a strong open relationship with our ladies. 

Then we made crowns and marched around to all nine verses of "Follow the Prophet" and ate marshmallow cereal treats (way better than rice crispy treats :)). It was a great evening together.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Primary ramblings

This little pirate is in primary now. That first sunday was a doozy but, Thanks to my super great friend Jenny, it ended okay. She only had to bribe her with Candy. No big deal.
However, she has finally warmed up and gotten the hang of it.
This Sunday after I got out of relief society, the primary presidency was giggling in the hallway about something.
One of the counselors came up to me and said "did you hear what your daughter said in primary today?"
I at first thought she was talking about Gracie because Gracie LOVES to talk but, she was referring to the other crazy lady of mine.
Apparently they were having sharing time and the teacher in charge
said "you know how sometimes your mom puts you in time out?"
So Evie yells out:
"My mom doesn't put me in time out, she just kicks me"
Apparently I need to re-think my discipline tactics :) 
(Note: I do NOT kick my kids...though sometimes I am tempted.)

Jake and the Neverland Pirates! Arrgghhhh...Gracie turned five!

 The little love of my life had the best birthday party ever! She has been telling me for a year that she wanted a Jake and the Neverland Pirates party. Now, if you have ever tried to plan a pirate party, you will commiserate with me about how difficult it actually is. There are NO pirate party favors anywhere! I kept asking her "are you SURE you don't want a princess party?" because there were isles and isles of princess stuff but, one little row of pirate things. Had I ordered everything online, I would have been in better shape but, we just made due with what we had! 

 Gracie kept telling Beau and I that she couldn't wait to see her pirate ship I hadn't made yet. I'm not exactly a baker and so, I was going to just order one for her from one of the many talented cake decorators I know but, in the end, Beau and I banded together and just made it ourselves.  The frosting was seriously delicious but, not the best for cake decorating. However, in the end it didn't matter because when she walked in and saw the ship cake with Jake and Skully sitting on top, she let out the loudest squeal of joy and it all ended up being worth it.

Originally I told Gracie she could invite five friends to her party. I thought, that would bring the total to seven kids including her and seven I could handle. So, when we sat down and started making invitations she just kept naming kids that she "just couldn't leave out". I am so happy my little lady is a people person. So we ended up having ten kids and it was perfect. She was just so excited every time one of her friends would knock on the door and come in. 

We had the kids make their own pizzas and then, while those cooked up, we played some pirate games. Pirate Beau was in charge of the games. He gave each kid a Jake bandana and a sword and then, made them walk the plank! They loved it. Beau told them that he was looking for the traitor and whoever fell off the plank was the traitor! They all crossed with ease and then Beau took his turn. He "fell off" and they all attacked him with their swords! He was the traitor after all. 

 I was actually surprised at how well Evie handled all the noise, games, and attention. She take a while to warm up to ANYONE and it's a process every single day. We got her to walk the plank and she was so proud of herself when she got off on the other side. Eek she makes me smile. Look at that face. She gets embarrassed SO easy and it's adorable. 

We had all the balloons scattered around the floor during the party and we told the kids that they were "cannonballs". During this game they had to keep their cannon balls in the air using only their swords! 
We also played "Pin the bandana on Jake". Beau drew a Jake the Pirate head on a poster board and the kids took turns pinning the headband on him.

 Food time! The kids loved making their own pizzas. Though, keeping them sorted out while we baked them ended up being quite the job.

Present time! Gracie loved sitting with her friends opening gifts. Everyone was so generous to our little lady. It is amazing to me how blessed she is to have such great friends at a young age.
I hope, as we get ready to move, that she never forgets these special kids who helped her become such a fun vibrant five year old! 

We did a treasure hunt and it ended at a treasure chest pinata! The kids LOVED it! I recorded a video of the treasure hunt but, it was deleted :( Bummer. 
We sent home goodie bags with chocolate gold deblumes, pixie dust, eye patches, pirate flags, and Jake fruit snacks. Then the kids had their swords, Jake headbands, and treasure from the pinata. 
It was such a fun party! The kids had a blast and Gracie is STILL talking
about her Jake party.

That night, after the dust had settled, we let Gracie choose where she wanted to go to dinner. She chose Chili's so out we went. She went complete with her Jake ensemble (including the eye patch) on. The waitress we had brought out ice cream with a candle and sang to her. I thought she would die from embarrassment. 

Oh our Gracie Leigh. She is our fiery, rambunctious, smart, brave, beautiful little girl. Gracie loves science and wants to be an astronaut or a paleontologist when she grows up.
When I held my little love for the first time and looking into her incredible big brown eyes, I had no idea that I was in for the ride of my life. I don't even recall life being as vibrant before she was in our lives as it is now. 
Gracie helps Beau and I remember why it is we are here. To have a good life. She is a vital part of our good life. 
I am so glad she is mine.