Sunday, September 26, 2010


altThis picture was taken the day I went to the hospital.  Desmond and I had painted wall #2 in his room that morning.  Desmond loved helping out and since the carpet needs to go it didn’t really matter where the blue paint fell.  After I was checked into my hospital room I discovered that I still had paint on the bottoms of my feet.  Whoops!

I haven’t touched his room since.  I need to get back in there and paint another wall.  There’s still a lot to do before we can move on to the nursery.  Glad I started early!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Quick Update

Just wanted to let everyone know that things are going well and my heart is behaving itself. I feel totally normal in that department. I'm avoiding frozen desserts right now because I've been eating one every time I've had one of my heart episodes. The doctors say that it's highly unlikely to be a cause, but why risk it? It's just too bad that I love frozen desserts! I've resurrected my Studer Baker pregnancy blog. I'll have brief baby blurbs here but for all the details you can go there.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Hospital Story: A Heart Scare

Wednesday night we had just put Desmond down for bed and started a movie when my heart did a hard, rapid series of thumps, and I noted the time was 7:18 pm. 

This has happened twice before: once in June and again just two weeks ago.  Both times I’ve come out of the irregular heart beat on my own, but it’s lasted for 6 and 10 hours respectively.  I wore a heart monitor for 30 days after the first episode but they didn’t find anything. 

I called Kaiser advice which takes forever on hold!  Davin and I had managed to count my pulse and it was 144.  It was hard to take my pulse because the beats aren’t regular and they kept pausing and jumping around.  The ER doctor wanted me to come in immediately with my heart rate being so high, so we woke Desmond up and headed off to the ER at SW Washington Medical Center around 8:30 pm. 

They got me an ER room right away and hooked me up to a monitor.  My heart rate was jumping anywhere from the 120’s to the 160’s and the ECG confirmed that I was in atrial fibrillation.  The doctors were concerned but couldn’t do the normal drugs or shock me out of it because I’m also pregnant.  The doctor conferred with specialists and decided the beta-blocker metroprolol was the safest so I started receiving that.  My heart rate decreased to between 90 and 110 but the fibrillation continued.  They decided to check me in to the hospital for the night. 

Desmond was a trooper during this long night.  He behaved well and didn’t get fussy.  He was, however, very concerned about me.  When the nurses came in and put me on oxygen and hooked me up to heart monitors he had the most concerned little look on his face.  He put his head against Davin’s shoulder, his little mouth turned down, and a tear trickled down.  It broke my heart!  I smiled really big and kept telling him I was ok and talked about how the tubes tickled my nose, but he wasn’t convinced.  Davin took him out for a little while.  Sometime between midnight and 1 am Davin and Des went home and I got settled in my hospital room.

I got maybe three or four hours of interrupted sleep that night because they kept coming in to take my vitals, give me more medication, take more blood, or the doctor would come talk to me.  Dr. Bean (great name, huh?) explained atrial fibrillation to me and possible treatments.  He could tell I like information so he printed off tons of info on A-fib for me to read.

Thursday was basically a day to try and find the right level of medication.  They were trying to get my rate down, but beta-blockers also drop blood pressure and mine was getting too low.  They also ran more tests, and the lab results and echocardiogram all came back normal.  I talked to more doctors: Dr. Lundsgaarde was my main doctor and my cardiologist was Dr. Lamberton.  I have lone atrial fibrillation which means there are no other contributing risk factors.  That means they can’t explain why it’s happening but also it means I have a much lower risk of stroke normally associated with this heart rhythm.  All through the day my A-fib continued.  It’s never gone on this long and I kept thinking it could pop back into normal rhythm any time now.  Davin and Desmond joined me around 11 am and we quickly decided to send Desmond off to play with the Lees for the afternoon.  Thank you, LeRoy!  Davin had to leave around dinner time to get Desmond.  They stopped back in briefly on the way home for the night. I had hoped to go home, but they weren’t happy with my heart rate yet so I had to stay.  I cried after Davin and Des left.

I got a lot more sleep on Thursday night and started Friday feeling refreshed and hopeful that I’d get to go home soon.  I was feeling a bit better and at one point wondered if my heart had gone back to normal.  But no, a little while later the nurse came in concerned because my heart rate was still too high but my blood pressure was too low.  I started to feel discouraged.  I was going stir crazy for one thing.  There’s only so much sitting in bed knitting and watching TLC that I can take. 

It was about 9:20 am on Friday.  I stood by the window thinking and wishing Davin were there.  I’m a healthy 30 year old.  I shouldn’t be in the stroke unit with all these old people.  (I was the only one under 65 there.)  The other thing that keeps going through my mind is that I KNOW God is in control of the situation and that one word from Him can put my heart back in rhythm.  I could feel my heart rate increase, my chest got tight and my breathing started coming fast and shallow.  Something’s really not right, and I thought about pushing the nurse call button.  Am I going to be okay?  Will my baby be okay?  Maybe my heart will stop and baby and I will both die.  It was a hard moment standing there by the window looking at the cloudy sky.  I took a few deep breaths, picked up my Bible and randomly opened to the Psalms which is my comfort book.  It fell to Psalm 19, “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul… The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.” I continued to Psalm 20:

1 May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. 2 May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. 3 May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. Selah 4 May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. 5 We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests. 6 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand. 7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. 8 They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. 9 O LORD, save the king! Answer us when we call!

As my heart pounded out of my chest, God gave me words of comfort, and I rested knowing I was in perfect, all-powerful hands.  I found out later that Dad was reading Psalm 17 and praying for me at that exact moment. 

I heard a little voice in the hall and Desmond came running in.  A minute later at 9:33 the nurse came in and said, “Good news!  Your heart converted at 9:32 and you are back in a normal rhythm.”  Really?  I sat there and tuned in to my heart beat.  Yeah, the fibrillation is gone!  It happened just as Davin and Desmond showed up. 

Dr. Lundsgaarde came in about three minutes later to do morning follow up.  He starts talking about going ahead with the cardioversion – shocking me out of it.  He said my heart rate jumped up to 175 a short while ago (when I was feeling really bad) and he really wanted to get me out of this fibrillation.  Davin and I looked at each other and told him that the nurse just said I came out of it.  The doctor was confused because he had just looked at my heart monitor ten minutes ago.  He went to double check and then said I’d be able to go home as long as I stayed in a normal rhythm the rest of the day.  The specialists he’d been conferring with also wanted to get an ultrasound to confirm my pregnancy was viable. 

Nothing much happened the rest of the day.  We had Desmond with us and the nurses loved bringing him treats.  Then when the doctor came in Des asked him to get him some apple juice.  He thought the staff were all personal waiters.  It was pretty funny.  Desmond took his nap in bed with me which was some nice snuggle time.  We also got a visit from a therapy dog and Desmond cried his eyes out when they left.  Aunt Marcia came to take him home at dinner time.  We were all getting restless and getting on each other’s nerves so this was a welcomed break.  I finally had my ultrasound sometime around 7 pm.  It was so good to see our baby for the first time and that beautiful flashing hear beat!  I was discharged shortly after 8 pm. 

What an experience.  I’ve never been in the hospital except to give birth.  My atrial fibrillation has happened before, but I sure hope that it doesn’t happen again.  I’m also afraid that we just spent our roofing budget.  God knows what our needs our and what the future holds so we’ll just have to take it as it comes.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Desmond’s Cute Ways


The other day Desmond pulled out his Cars pajamas from the folded laundry pile and asked to put them on.  Nana made these for his birthday and they’re his favorite.  Then he added striped socks to his hands, and this is how he looked when we went to go pick up Davin from work.

Another favorite is his new-found “robot helmet.”  He loves to put it on and become a robot.  Thanks to GrandmaIMG_2207 Linda for the perfect box.  (He loves the bath blocks, too.)

On the way to the beach we were snacking on trail mix and Desmond was just eating out all the M&M’s and then asking for more.  I told him he could have more after he ate the nuts and raisins too.  About a minute later he asked for more and handed me his empty bowl.  I praised him for finishing it all, but as I handed him more he says, “I spilled it out!”  I looked and sure enough, there were the nuts and raisins I had asked him to eat dumped in the car seat next to his leg and partially up his shorts.  We had a good laugh.  He’s getting sneaky except for the fact that he still tells on himself. 

On the way home from a friends house late last night we pulled out onto the main road and passed a strip club with lots of flashing lights.  “Oh, look!  Pretty lights!” Desmond points and exclaims excitedly.  “Yes, those are pretty lights,” I reply as Davin and I again have a good laugh.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Oh, Baby!

This new little one is causing me grief!  Well, nausea really.  I didn’t feel sick with Desmond and when I did feel a little icky a snack took it right away.  I try to snack on this or that and drink 7-Up but it’s just not helping much.  Feeling sick all day really slows me down and wears me down!  I don’t feel like I can work out or chase Desmond around to play.  We’ve been watching lots of TV unfortunately.  At least we made it to the park today.  I try to look on the bright side that this part should be done by second trimester, but that’s about 7 weeks away!  Blah!  Long time to feel like throwing up.  At least it’s a reminder that this little one is there and doing well.

Labor Day Weekend - Monday

It was great that Davin didn’t have to work on Monday!  We decided to get in our annual beach trip before summer was completely over.  Of course Desmond didn’t remember last year so it was like a whole new experience for him. 

Before we even got there Desmond was saying he didn’t like the beach.  We got down to the sand and he refused to walk in it.  Finally he discovered how fun it could be when Davin wiggled his toes into the sand.  He enjoyed digging with his shovel and watching the kites.  The first time we went down to the water and it touched Desmond’s feet, he ran away saying, “No! No! No!”  But by the end he was throwing rocks in the water and wanted to go all the way in.  He cried loudly for the water when it was time to leave.  It was fun to see the progression from wanting nothing to do with the beach to discovering how fun it really was.  It takes him a little bit to get used to the idea of new things. 

We finished the day with a late lunch at Mo’s, and Desmond was asleep in 8 minutes after we got back on the road.  What a full, fun family weekend!

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Labor Day Weekend - Sunday

IMG_2142Davin and Desmond stayed home from church because Davin was quite sore and tired from his ride on Saturday, and Desmond had a runny nose we didn’t want to share.  After naptime we went in to Portland again so Desmond could ride the train this time.  We had fun hanging out as a family and got dinner at Clackamas Towncenter.

Labor Day Weekend - Saturday

Saturday was a full day!  We started off early driving Davin in to the MAX station to meet LeRoy for their century ride.  Desmond wasn’t happy when the train left with Daddy.  We then picked up Jeremy from Multnomah and drove down to Albany for Nathan and Mom’s birthday party. We stopped in to see Great-Grammy on the way.  Desmond had a good time at the party playing with gravel and doing puzzles with Aunt Marcia.  He’s really into puzzles right now!  I guessed right that though Nathan is 34 now, he still likes Legos.  We drove back and picked up Davin on the way home.  It was strange to think that they were biking the whole day.  He and LeRoy rode 113 miles and had a surprise hill at the end, but had a great ride overall.

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Thursday, September 02, 2010

So Many Wonderful Blessings

Desmond will occasionally request that I sing my Destiny solo "For Every Mountain."  He calls it "Mommy's Song," and it really is a fitting song for this year of my life.  In April God gave us our second child and six weeks later He took him or her away.  Shortly after that I was brushing up on this song for my Multnomah college reunion and the words spoke so deeply to me. 

"I've got so much to thank God for.  So many wonderful blessings and so many open doors.  A brand new mercy along with each new day... You've been my provider, so many times You've met my needs.  So many times You have rescued me. I want to thank You for the blessings You give to me each new day.  That's why I praise You, and for this I give You the praise." 

God provided friends to surround me during the darkest grief of my miscarriage.  Then he gave me peace and hope for the future of our family, and I could truly praise Him for His blessings in the midst of loss. 

As I performed this song at the reunion I didn’t know it but I was pregnant!  I am now five and a half weeks along.  Some recommend waiting until the second trimester when the miscarriage danger is over, but I can’t help but tell people.  It so much more meaningful to share the news this time especially with those who have been praying us through this year. 

I feel different this time.  I'm dreaming of life as a family of four with a new little sibling for Desmond.  I feel peaceful and excited about this baby unlike the last time when I wondered if something was wrong.  Of course if I think about it too much I wonder if my feelings are off, so I just have to rest and trust in God knowing He has it all under control and has our good in mind.