Tuesday, November 18, 2014

We Moved!

September and October were crazy busy! For the past year or so we have been watching for a house to come on the market in the neighborhood we have lots and plan to build in. A house came on the market about half a mile down the road from it and both my husband and I had looked at the pictures on-line and neither one of us knew the other had. We both really liked it so we called our realtor and came to look at it. It was overpriced and the owners were not willing to come down but we kept talking about all the things we liked in this house. Finally, my husband said, "Why don't we rent it and get ready to build or buy in our neighborhood?" So we called our realtor and started the process to sign a lease. The very next week the tenants in the home we rent out informed us that they were moving out. Talk about bad timing! Since we were not able to get out of the lease we decided to try and get our house in town rented, our little house sold, and go ahead and move. 

So in September and October, we moved and got one house ready to rent and one house ready to sell. It was a month of extreme worry and stress but after our house in town was listed for a week we had a great family sign a lease and move in and then in October we listed the little house for sale and about ten days later we had a contract on it. Whew, all that worry for nothing!

Our lease on the home we are renting ends in June and there is a house we are expecting to come on the market very soon in the neighborhood we want to live in! From what we know of the house, it is going to work great for us but its going to need a lot of work to update it. Its got wallpaper in every room and even worst, a wall paper mural in the master bedroom. Not only is there wall paper in every room, but its all hunting themed too!

I'm really glad that things worked out for us to rent this home and sell the little house. In the past several months we have actually made offers on a few houses we were considering but if we are able to get the home in our neighborhood where our lots are it will work out even better. It really feels like God has directed us and closed doors because he knew there was something better for us down the road, but I will say that trusting Him has been really hard and I have worried a lot. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

One More

I want one more baby. Last month, when I saw my nephrologist and talked about getting pregnant again he asked me if I want "One more" in a way that made it sound like every perfect family in America is made up of TWO kids. I said yes, but in a way that left if open for more because truthfully, I would be just like Michelle Duggar and pop out babies every 18 months if I could. I've started a lot later than her so I wouldn't even get close to a dozen kids but I'm just making a point that I want a lot of kids. I've said I want four for at least the last twenty years and to me, it sounds like the perfect number. Here lately though, I've been trying to live in the present and stop worrying about how many kids I might have and just focus on Baby M and the next baby we are trying to have. 

I thought that since we finally found a treatment that worked and helped us bring home a baby, getting pregnant again would be easy. We would just do the same things we did last time and things would go great. It never crossed my mind that we might have another second trimester loss or even a miscarriage at all. I was very sadly wrong.

I found out just days after I got the "blessing" from my neph to get pregnant that we were. It was the Tuesday before my period was supposed to start and I had just a little bit of spotting, which is not normal for my cycle. My brain quickly ran to implantation bleeding as the cause so I took a pregnancy test and it popped up positive. When I was at Target I saw a cute "Big Sister" shirt so I bought it and Baby M was wearing it when hubby got home from work. I had already started planning the nursery and we were getting excited. Well, the bleeding never stopped and only got heavier and the next day it was a full period. I tested again and it was negative.

I went ahead and called my ob and they had me come in to see him and have lab work. My ob said that it's common to have chemical pregnancies and if I had never tested I would have never known but just in case it was caused by auto-immune stuff we doubled my meds. I doubled the plaquinel and baby aspirin and we decided that as soon as I got a positive I would start progesterone and lovenox. 

Fast-forward 26 days and another faint positive. This time, I didn't believe it and waited to test the next day. The line was so light I had to hold it in bright light to see it and even then I wasn't really sure I saw anything. Many, many test and two days later I got a real positive. Still faint but I knew it was really there. Then the next day, nothing, it was totally gone. I went ahead and called my ob to have labs (yesterday) but I'm pretty sure it was negative because they never called me back. I'm going to call tomorrow and ask about getting a rhogam shot and starting progesterone and lovenox even earlier. My period has also not started and since I'm on day 28 of my cycle it should have.

Here's what I think is going on: Conception is taking place but when the little babe goes to implant in my uterus something is going wrong. It's likely due to my anti-body stuff and the fix could be really easy or a little more complicated. Next cycle, I want to add progesterone and lovenox 5 days past ovulation. If that doesn't do the trick then I think I need to see a specialist. My ob has already called my MFM to schedule an appointment with him but I'm not sure this would be his area since they are happening so early. My MFM is really nice but I don't think he would be willing to try the lovenox and progesterone early as a precaution. My ob has always been very willing to try anything but he emphasized that I should wait until I get the positive to start either one. I hope one of them will agree with me. If not, I already have lovenox that I can start early but I don't know what I will do to find progesterone. 

I am really bummed that this has happened twice in addition to all we have gone through to have Baby M. I'm scared that trying to have ONE MORE BABY is going to bring a lot of tears just like it did with Baby M. It took us 5 years to have her and bring her home and it was a long road. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Waiting Room of Old People

Yesterday, I had my 6 month check-up with my nephrologist. I felt very out of place sitting in a waiting room with grandpas using walkers and barley able to hear. I looked the healthiest by far of anyone in there, but still, there I was sitting with the old people. Old people have a smell, have you ever noticed it? No offense to any "seasoned" person reading this. I'm sure if your reading this you're hip enough to have a computer and so you probable don't have the old people smell.

Enough of what the waiting room looked like, I'm sure you want to hear the results.

Everything either remained the same since my last appointment or got better! That's great news! Since I started the GAPS diet in April my protein spill has decreased a lot. It's really bad for kidneys to spill protein and it makes pregnancy even harder, but I'm so glad it has come down. I was spilling about 1.5 grams but now I'm only spilling about 300 mg. I've often been told to limit my protein by doctors and nutritionist but since I started GAPS I have been eating a normal amount and I saw improvement doing that. I also feel better when I eat a normal amount. That was the best news of the day.

My cholesterol also improved a lot since starting the GAPS and I have lost 20 pounds. Another amazing thing is that I have been able to completely stop taking a bp medicine. I wrote a post about how cutting out sugar helped bring it down enough to stop taking 1 but I had to go back up to half the dose because it was not low enough all the time and it sometimes would spike. I started using 2 essential oils last week and that's what has helped it come down. I used some before I left for the appointment and even though it was slightly high while there (130/90) it is normally even higher.

I was also given the green light to get pregnant again. He said I will still be high risk and I will have appointments every 2 months and more lab work but whenever we are ready he is supportive. That is going to mean a WHOLE bunch of doctor appointments because I already see the OB or MFM at least every week. I'm going to need a lot of babysitters. He also mentioned that he thinks my kidney function is very stable and does not think it will decline any more over the next year.

I'm going to be completely honest and say that even though the results were great I went in really hoping to see some improvement in my kidney function.   I'll just keep praying that God keeps me healthy so I don't ever have to worry about dialysis or a kidney transplant. God is my sustainer.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Quick Kidney Update

I put the orange jug in the fridge and shut the door. Yup, it's time to do labs and, as always, it includes that orange jug of pee. It's not easy to mistake it for juice though, it certainly doesn't look like anything anyone would want to drink from ;) I'm pretty pleased with it, it's almost full. 

I usually get nervous before lab day and the appointment (which is at the end of the month) but I'm really not. I know I've Prayed a Bunch and God is going to take care of me no matter what those labs say. They are just numbers and sometimes I really wonder if my kidneys even know that most of their filters are damaged.

Since I got my last labs done (in April) I have been doing a new diet. I started GAPS in April and its an anti-inflammatory, low-carb diet. I did gluten free/ dairy free when I got pregnant with Baby M and this is very similar. I can eat cultured dairy now like yogurt and cheese but I have removed all grains from my diet. I can't say I feel a lot better but I have lost a lot of weight. I also have more energy and I think that's a pretty big deal since my biggest symptom of lupus is tiredness and I have a baby to take care of.

There is a book that goes into detail about the diet and it was really interesting. It talked a lot about the gut and how so many things can damage it. Almost everything that can damage it I have taken, like steroids (took to stop the kidney disease from progressing) antibiotics (I got sick a lot as a child) and the list goes on.

I've also tried acupuncture in the last few months. I didn't really like it and so after 2 sessions I decided not to go back. I just had a feeling about it. 

One thing I've seen a lot of lately and I am researching is Essential Oils. I'm going to start slow with it though. Hubby is a little nervous that they won't help and so we don't want to jump in and spend a lot up front. I did find this though:Olivia's Oil Testimony A testimony of how they help one fellow FSGS patient. It's a pretty amazing story!   

Friday, August 1, 2014

Baby M Turns ONE!

A few weeks ago, we celebrated Baby M turning ONE! It was really exciting for me because we tried and waited so LONG for a baby. I felt like things weren't real when she was first born since Baby Malakai was only with us for a week. As she grew and got older, I relaxed more but making it to one year really feels like this is real and forever. 

Her party was so cute, my husband said I was really throwing it for me because she doesn't really know what's going on and he was right, I was ready to celebrate her being a part of our family. 

She has taught me so much over the last year, I can't say one thing stands out more than another but it's sweet to watch her enjoy life and get excited about the simple things. She's a constant reminder of what love really is as we are both still learning so much about her growing up. Sometimes, I don't know why she is crying and it turns out she is ready for a bottle earlier than expected. She's doesn't stay mad at me, she's just thankful when I get her bottle ready and hand it to her. Other times, I might hurt her feelings when I walk past her and she wanted me to pick her up, she doesn't let her hurt feelings ruin her day though, and a cuddle makes it all better. She gets so excited when her daddy gets home from work in the afternoon and can't wait for him to hold her. These simple things have taught me so much.

On her Birthday we were in the kitchen and she took her first steps! Now, she is able to walk really well, taking about 6 steps at a time by herself. She is also getting into so much now, she wants to explore everything in the house! I've even had to put baby locks on the kitchen cabinets because she is quick at pulling everything out!

Even on our hardest day, I still think that being a stay-at-home mom is the best thing in the world. I can't wait to watch her learn more over the next year!

Here is a cute picture of us from her one year pictures:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

How Changing My Diet Lowered My Blood Pressure

Most of my friends that know me, know I love candy. Easter season, in my opinion, has the best selection. I love jelly beans but my favorite candy is Sweetarts Chicks, Ducks, and Bunnies. This year was the first year I didn't buy any of it. At the beginning of April, my husband and I started the GAPS diet and it restricts all forms of sugar. The diet is very restrictive and after 2 months on it I have seen really great results with my blood pressure. I have even been able to completely stop taking one of them!

I really believe the reason I have been able to cut my medicine back is because I've cut out sugar. The only sweeteners I use is fruit, honey, and maple syrup. I have found some really yummy recipes that use just fruit to sweeten them and since we have been on the diet 2 months I really think my taste buds have adjusted to less sweet foods.

When I researched sugar I realized how processed and refined it is. I knew it would be great if I could stop using it for good. I've never had a medical professional recommend I cut sugar out to reduce my blood pressure, they only suggest salt but since I started the GAPS diet I have been using more salt, eating more bacon, and not retaining water. I don't really miss sugar but now that I've been using salt, food taste so much better!

I've seen a lot of improvement on the GAPS diet and I'll be blogging more about it in the future. If you don't already follow me on Facebook make sure to so you get the updates!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Baby M is 10 months old!

Yesterday, Baby M turned 10 months old. She is growing so fast, it feels like just yesterday she was a tiny little baby in my arms. I even watched her stand without holding on to anything for a few seconds yesterday. She is also taking a few steps behind her push toys, she is going to be walking so soon!

I put her in the church nursery for the first time last weekend and decided to try it again yesterday and she did not like it! I was called to come and get her, and she was so upset, but as soon as she saw me the tears dried up.

At 9 months it's like a light bulb went off, and she decided she likes real food. Her favorite things are frozen blueberries and spaghetti sauce, and she makes such a big mess! We are doing baby led weaning so she feeds herself everything. I delayed introducing grains until last week when I gave her a baby cookie. After she ate it she was so messy, I just had to give her a bath.

Last week, we tried the city splash pad, but she did not enjoy the water raining on her. I think we will try it again when it gets warmer out, and maybe then she will enjoy it more. Bath time is another story though! She loves splashing around in the tub!

It is so much fun watching her personality develop; she is already a social bug and loves to be around people (as long as she can see mom!) I love being a stay at home mom and wife to my little family. Some days are really crazy and hectic, but I know this is where I'm supposed to be. It's by far the absolute best thing that has ever happened to me and I'm so thankful that God has blessed me with my husband and little baby M.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Why I Don't Want A New Kidney

I had a friend ask me why I can’t go ahead and get my family tested to see if anyone is a match for a kidney transplant. It’s a great question and one that I have been asked before so I thought that I would answer it on my blog today.

Scar from kidney transplant. Check out this cute blog, she has lupus like me too.

Check out her blog here:FlowonLupus

The quick answer is that while it sounds like a great solution, it’s really a double edged sword. Once I get a donor kidney, I will have to start taking anti-rejection meds for the rest of my life. These meds are no walk in the park and have serious side effects. Also, the kidney does not last the lifetime of the recipient, I know of one person that has had her kidney for 20 years now, but the average is much less.

A lot of people find it interesting to learn that the diseased kidneys are not even removed during the transplant; the new kidney just gets placed (normally in a different location) and the old ones are left. The reason for this is that even if they are only functioning at 5% they are still helping filter blood. As they die and stop working completely the body just reabsorbs them. The surgery to remove the kidneys would also be very invasive.

Currently, my kidney function is around 25% which means that for a person with healthy kidneys their blood is filtered through the kidneys about 8 times an hour and so for me it’s a lot less. In order to be considered for a transplant, my kidneys would have to be in failure, and I would likely have to start dialysis while the search begins. Sometimes, I wonder if my kidneys even know they are sick because most days I don’t feel like I have a serious disease. They are just down there doing their thing at a much slower pace.

The procedure is really tough, requires a long stay in the hospital, and is something I hope I can post pone for as long as possible. In fact, I’m waiting for advancements that will reduce the anti-rejection meds, and who knows how long that will be. Lastly, I'm praying for complete healing.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

February 26, 2014 Doctor Appointment Update

I’m normally so nervous leading up to an appointment, but today I had an amazing amount of peace and calmness. It’s easy to be nervous when I go to appointments, it’s not as bad as I’m sure it would be if it were a check-up for cancer, but it’s pretty close. I’m always scared that I’m going to go in and hear that my function has dropped and I’ll need to start dialysis soon. I also feel so out of place when I’m in the waiting room and look at all the retired men and women who must be in their 60’s or even older. Many of them have obvious degenerating health but there I am, young and healthy looking (this is how I see myself anyways). It gets even more awkward when they call me back and ask me all the usual questions like: are you experiencing swelling in your legs, feet, ankles, or blood in your urine, or… the list is pretty long. Then they go over my medications and make sure nothing has changed. After I answer all these questions with the nurse I have to go and wait again. I’m sure your thinking to yourself right now, how long am I going to have to wait for this update…

Today, I saw the nurse practitioner and the doctor. I really like the NP, she is nice, soft spoken, and seems to have a really good understanding of kidney related issues. I met her in the hospital after delivery and today was the first day I had seen her since. She said that everything looks stable and it seems like my function has returned to base line for me. When I delivered M my creatinine had jumped to 3.03, it went down about 3 months later and today it is still where it was 3 months ago. The best news is that my protein spill came down to less than 1 gram (950 mg). She said that we can start trying to have another baby as soon as we are ready and everything looks fine to try again. My neph came in next and looked over my labs and said basically the same thing. He added that we would stop the Enalapril at my next appointment and then we can start trying to get pregnant then. He was happy with all the lab results and I’m happy that my protein came down. Even though my function did not increase it stayed the same over the last 3 months and that’s still really good news.  

I’m happy with the results and I feel relieved that my function is stable. We all agreed to talk about trying again in 6 months and for now I am going to try not to think about it too much. Getting pregnant can easily consume my thoughts, but I have more important things to focus on for now.

Kidney updates from last year:

It would make my day if you would "like" my Facebook Page for 2kidneybeans https://www.facebook.com/2KidneyBeans

Friday, January 24, 2014

January 2014 Adoption Update

Last night, I had a dream I came home to bunk beds in the living room and my husband telling me we were matched with a sibling set of SIX! That would be pretty exciting and crazy all at the same time. Then I woke up so I don’t know anything else about my dream family.

In December, our county social worker (all foster/adoptive parents have a social worker) called to schedule a meeting to update our home study but I had to tell her that we needed to put it on hold until the summer. This summer we are moving out of the little house in the country and back into our house in town and so we don’t want to put little ones that have already been through so much through another big life change.

It makes me so sad because what if the perfect kids for us get matched with someone else, but then are they really the perfect kids if the timing isn't right? God knows exactly what our family is supposed to look like, so I just keep praying for our kids because it’s likely they are already born.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Baby M 6 month update

I wanted to post sooner since Baby M turned 6 months on Saturday, but on Friday morning I found out that a newborn baby, born to a mom in my kidney disease support group, had passed away. Her little one was born at 25 weeks and it brought back a flood of emotions since my NICU baby was born and died at 25 weeks also.  Her little one was a twin and yesterday she posted a beautiful picture of the baby being held kangaroo style. I am so close to the mom’s in my group that I knew I would not be able to write a post that focused on Baby M, but now I am glad I can share an update with you today.

Baby M is the best little package I’ve ever received. Being her mom is more awesome than I ever thought it would or could be. Watching her learn more about this huge world she was born into is amazing. She has almost mastered rolling over from back to tummy and from tummy to back, sitting up, and she is becoming an excellent singer.

It’s not always easy to take care of a little 14 pound wiggly baby, but it is the most rewarding task I have ever undertaken. Some nights I have to get up at least every hour to go settle her back to sleep, and that’s hard. Then I remember back to when I was in the NICU with Malakai and I am simply so thankful that she is HERE with me, in my arms, and healthy. Those late night baby snuggles are pretty sweet too, even if I am barley able to walk into her room or we both fall asleep in the glider.

Etsy art, could not find the artist.
Baby M has brought some amazing people in my life too. The ladies that pump extra breast milk so that she can be nourished are amazing. One of them is naturally on a mostly dairy free diet and after a day or so of just her breast milk I commented that she was doing so much better and the other mom said she wouldn’t mind giving up dairy for her too.  My gassy little baby is hardly ever gassy now and if anything made a night of sleep difficult it was a gassy baby. The more I get to know the amazing ladies that pump for us the more I feel like they become a part of our family.

I also could not write a post about my little bundle of sweetness without talking about how awesome my husband is as a dad. Baby M loves him so much and it is evident by the way she looks at him. I also know he loves her so much and he takes great care of her. I’m going to enjoy watching their relationship grow. I have always been a daddy’s girl and I have a feeling Baby M is going to grow up a daddy’s girl too.

Being a stay-at-home mom to baby M and a stay-at-home wife to my husband is the best job I have ever had. Yesterday, I got a call to schedule an interview for a very good job that I had applied for but after hubby and I talked about it I knew I didn’t want to miss out on all the time I have with Baby M.

I love my little family that God has blessed me with, it is better than I ever thought it would be and thank you for caring about us and reading my update.