Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Josh is such a great big brother!

Christmas card photo...sans the snow.

First bath with all the kids!

Two months old!

Heather has started writing lots and lots of letters.

Christmas sugar cookies

Our "gingerbread" men and women.


We talked about the layers of the earth in preschool, and for a activity we made a cookie model of the earth's layers.

Happy birthday to Jesus!


Sunday, November 30, 2014

November and Joseph's Birth Story, Part 2

November was eventful as well. I spent most of my time at the hospital, but once I could drive, I came home a lot more often. It was important for me to be there for his feedings, so I was rarely home for long. I truly believe that one of the reasons he did so well with gaining weight, breastfeeding, and thriving in general, is because I was there. Babies need their mommies! On November 3, after a lot of hard work, he got his feeding tube removed. Well, we will be honest and say he pulled it out (for the hundredth time!), they just didn't put it back in. And he did awesome!

No more feeding tube!

I just love those little wrinkes!
He continued to slowly gain weight, ounce by ounce, until on November 7 his doctor gave the go ahead to start rooming in! Josh and Heather came by that night, and held him for the first time. They were SO EXCITED! We had a little bit of drama, but other than that, we were a happy family. It was nice to finally all be together. I love our little family so much!

After 2 days rooming in, we were able to go home on November 9th. We had to wait until Joey was at least 4 lbs. before he could go home. He was weighed that morning, and was just under 4lbs. But we re-weighed him in the afternoon when the doctor was there, and he gave to go ahead! We did the car seat test, to make sure their oxygen saturation stays up when elevated for an extended period of time. He passed with flying colors. It was so nice to be home in my own bed, with my own family. No more beeping and getting up, going down the hall (in all the bright lights), and fully waking every 3 hours! All I had to do was walk 5 steps in the semi-dark, and nurse him before rolling back in bed. :)'s the little things.

Look how tiny. SO cute!

Jessica was still around to help out, and life regained some normalcy. We got a little bit of a routine going. But on Nov. 21, my family came to take Jessica away! After a week long visit for Thanksgiving.

First bath at home.

One of Jessica's many selfies...seriously. I probably had 1 GB of them by the time she left...

My three boys.

Love those wrinkles!

Josh and Mommy doing a science experiment.

Reading before bedtime.

It was a lot of fun, we got to meet Efren (Hannah's boyfriend) who helped my Mom drive out, we went to Indianapolis, my mom and I got away for a little while, and spent way too long (according to the boys) at the antique mall. It was an enjoyable time for all. We stuffed ourselves on Thanksgiving and had pie and leftovers for DAYS afterwards.

Uncle John and Joey

Rare smile caught on camera. He must know who she is.

Checking out Indy. Not the best photo, but we were there. :)

Heather loved the seashell display at the library.

We couldn't find any elevators, so the boys took turns lifting the stroller down (and up) the stairs.
Indy 500 track. Josh was SO excited!

We had probably 7 pies! They were all delicious!

Josh and Isaac loved rough housing with Efren.

 The family left a few days after Thanksgiving, and Jessica went with them. It was sad to see her go. She and I had developed a great relationship that we hadn't cultivated yet, because she was 6 when I left home. I am so grateful she came! It was wonderful in so many ways! BUT it was nice to have her gone too. Does that even make sense? It was nice to be our own little family unit, and to really get into our new routine.

In hindsight, I am also grateful for the experiences we went through in October and November. I feel like now that I have experienced preeclampsia, a preemie, and a c section, I can understand other people better. And know how to help them when they are going through similar situations. We are still figuring things out, but I love our new and improved family. Joseph belongs with us!

Friday, October 31, 2014

October and Josephs Birth Story, Part 1

WOW! October was a crazy month! The first part of the month was a pretty normal month...besides the fact that I was starting to get a lot more headaches and pretty swollen. Not a big deal since both of those things were pretty regular with me the last few months of pregnancy with the other two. We played outside a lot and enjoyed the beautiful change in the weather and the leaves. 

I know these photos look like some kind of tantrum or time out, but the kids are actually talking to each other through the vents. I remember doing that as a kid, and now they do it. :)

I loved the way his hair fluffed out as he played like he was Saturn on the spinner.

We had an indoor campout the first weekend in October, because we didn't get to go as a family the week before. Mommy and Josh suprised Daddy and Heather with our little "camping trip." Complete with stars and a fire.

We enjoyed lots of rainy and puddle jumping days.

So dapper.
On October 7th, I started to get a little worried about the persistence and intensity of my headaches. I took a blood pressure test at the store, it was slightly high, so I called my Dr. I went in and we listened to the baby for a long time. I was also made to take a 24hr. urine test. Awesome...not!

On October 9th, I actually felt pretty good as I brought my urine in. (YUCK! Sorry lab technicians!) So I decided to do what we had planned and head to Columbus for the day. Daniel had left on a backpacking trip that morning, so we decided to have a little fun ourselves and visit some friends. I was told to "take it easy," so I pretty much just drove there and sat on our friends couch with my feet up. Later in the day, we decided to go to an indoor play area (where I could also sit and rest). While we were there, I received a call from my doctor. Telling me to get to the hospital right away. You can imagine my stress! Daniel was gone in the middle of the woods somewhere, and I had no idea if I could even get a hold of him. After calming down and saying a prayer, I called Daniel. MIRACULOUSLY, he answered! They had just got to camp, and he was able to find a way to meet me on some back road about an hour away. Our friends offered to keep the kids overnight, and fed me dinner before I left to find Daniel, and get to the hospital. It was such a blessing!

Heather and Hannah in Columbus. At the very top!
Made it to the hospital.
 After being in the hospital for 24 hours (and doing another urine test), they let me go because my blood pressure was only slightly high when I got there, and went down with laying in bed and resting. I was let go on the condition that I could get some permanent help at home and be on bed rest.

On October 13th, Jessica came to rescue us! Through the very generous gift of a family member, Jessica was able to fly in from TX at the first available flight. It was such a help to have her around! She cooked for me, talked with me, and was a mother to my kids where I could not be. She was such a blessing! She ended up staying for almost 2 months!

After laying low for a week, my blood pressure continued to be only slightly elevated, I was headachy, and swollen, but I was allowed to take an outing to go to church and go "leaf peeping." I asked my midwife if that would be ok, and she said yes. (At this point, I was seeing her and the Dr. every other day.) We got out of the car at our favorite lake, and Jessica took a family photo and a prego photo. Then I sat down and watched the kids throw rocks in the river.

2 days before Joseph was born.
On Monday, I went in for my appointment and my blood pressure was a little higher. They decided it was best for me to be at the hospital. They were hoping that me being at the hospital would have the same effect it did last time--only this time I couldn't go home. I was SO angry. I felt fine. I didn't want to have to be there. I could lay down at my house just as well... all those excuses. But I went. After yet another urine test, and my blood pressure only continuing to rise during the night, they decided to try and start my labor. The baby DID NOT like that! His heart rate dropped with every (only slight) contraction. By 6am, they had decided that it was best to do a c-section. (I should mention that Daniel had decided not to spend the night at the hospital, since we were really just expecting me to be there long-term on bed rest.)

We scheduled a c-section for 11am, and after getting all set up, in our fancy hats and operating room clothes, getting prepped and drugged up, they started the procedure. Joseph Henry Standage was born at 11:20am.

 He weighed in at 3 lbs 4oz. SO tiny. I didn't realize how small he was until I held him against me for the first time. He obviously had to go to the NICU right away, but I was able to see him and touch him in the operating room. He only needed a little help right at first with breathing, and other than that, he did great at using his lungs on his own!

I was put back in labor and delivery to recover. They were hoping just getting the baby out would make my blood pressure go down. Nope! It went sky high. I was put on some pretty intense drugs, and it helped a little. One of my dear friends was my nurse, and I mentioned to her (at 11pm) that I had still not held or seen my baby since he was born. She said that as a medical professional, she really couldn't move me, but as my friend, she wanted me to see my baby. She called my doctor, and was able to get me clearance to go visit him. (Only after pointing out that it might help my blood pressure go down, and the doctor saying to "pretend this conversation never happened" meaning, if he didn't find out about it, and nothing happened, it would be ok.) I was wheeled through the hospital on my bed to see him. It was a wonderful moment when I was able to hold him (12 hours later). He was smaller than I had thought, and all those feelings of a new mom came flooding in. And guess what? My nurse friend was right--my blood pressure did start going down after that.

On October 23, Joshua and Heather were able to come look at him through the glass. It was a wonderful and happy time, but we wished we could be in the same room.

When they first saw the baby.

On the 26th I was discharged. Leaving the hospital without my baby was harder and more emotional than I thought--even though I was coming back the next day. At this hospital, you are allowed to keep your room if your baby is in the NICU (if they are not too busy). The last 10 days of October are a blur of pumping, bringing my milk in to feed him, trying to breastfeed, feeding him through a tube, skin on skin, and trying to recover myself. I honestly don't remember much else.

I spent a lot of time sitting and reading or napping near his isolette.

My favorite
On the 29th Joey started "looping." Which means you could see his intestines through his skin. Kind of creepy. They took several x-rays and nothing could be found but gas. They had been supplementing my breastmilk with a special formula for preemies, and he was reacting to it. Once they took him off the formula, he was fine.

On Halloween, he got moved from his isolette to a crib, because he was doing so well at regulating his body temperature.
Lil' punkin

The kids came trick or treating to the hospital. :)