Friday, September 20, 2019

Road to Recovery

I know, it's crazy! I'm posting more than twice this year! This is our family journal. This is a place for us to share and remember. Although I like sharing all the good and exciting, sometimes it's important to share the hard too. We can appreciate the struggle, see the blessings, and discover a lot about ourselves in the struggle. To say that the last few  months have not been a struggle would be a little bit of an understatement. I'm just going to tell a little about my personality for perspective. I am a doer. On my college soccer team, our team shirts read "Go Big! or Go Home!" And, that has kind of been how I have done life. I'm up for adventure and challenge. If I'm going to be here, I might as well get some experience, right? And, if other people can do hard things, what makes me different enough not to? I don't mean that I take the hard road for the sake of taking it. Or, that I don't learn from other's experiences and try to make all the mistakes, but I don't back down easily to challenges. And, let's face is a challenge. I've always had this kind of attitude. Things need to get done, so I might as well do them. With that being said, I am learning that I can not do everything. I shouldn't do everything. I am not meant to do everything. And that is okay. So, back to challenges of life. With the move approaching, baby getting ready to come, and all the craziness that comes from having a house full of relatively small children that are need a lot of me, I was like, "It's gonna be hard. It's gonna get crazy. It's gonna be an adventure." I'm sure my optimism, positivity, or mere stubbornness can surely drive Paul crazy, but I am his sunshine, and he is my rock. So, four days after Emerson was born, the movers came. They packed, loaded, and got us out of there. We said goodbye to our amazing friends, doctors, and house. We were on our way to Texas with a packed 12 passenger van! We decided to take a little slower than we normally road trip. We usually bust out the 18 hour drive to Oklahoma in one fell swoop. But, we had time and we were going to enjoy this adventure a little bit. When we got to McKinney, we had a day before closing. We kind of explored the area with the kids. They went to the pool. We grew weary of 700 sqft hotel rooms! We closed on the house and unloaded the van. Our things were scheduled to arrive that Saturday, but unfortunately would not be arriving until the following Thursday. We had no beds, no pillows, and no furniture. We did get the refrigerator delivered on Saturday. So we could have food! The kids were starting school on Wednesday, and we had to figure out all the registration stuff. They don't let you officially register for school here until you have closing documents and have promised your kidney. It was a little crazy! Luckily, Paul had taken his 3 weeks of parental leave during this time. Also, because our things hadn't arrived when anticipated, the vanline told us that our air mattresses, bedding, and other household essentials were on them! So, come and visit! We have some really nice air mattresses! Anyway, we were getting a little more settled. Since we moved into a home almost twice the size of our home in AZ, we needed a few furniture items. Costco and IKEA are 15 minutes away! Yay! Urgent Care is 5 minutes away too! Paul was moving some of the seats out of the big van so that we could pick up a couch at Costco. The new garage has a little lip in the pavement. He hit the lip, and the carseat came down on his ankle. I was feeding Emerson when I heard the not-so-calm "MOLLY!" As I came around the corner, I saw him on the tile, clutching his ankle, and lots of blood. I got him some paper towels. We told the kids to stay upstairs. I called the one person I had contact with in the ward, for which we are so grateful for the kindness we have experienced so far. Texans are friendly! Marissa came right away and watched the kids while I took Paul to Urgent Care for stitches. The house is officially ours after the blood sacrifice in the garage! He's fine. The movers came, unpacked, and left us to figure out where to put everything. We're still working on that, but it's coming along. School supply shopping was ridiculous! I'm not sure why we have to be so specific on folder color, but when everyone needs 3 yellow folders, 2 red folders, 3 blue folders, and 1 orange folder there are none of those colors available the night before school starts. So, amazon prime has become my best friend. Kids were in school. We were figuring out bus schedules, lunches, classes, and lockers (middle school....insert lame eyeroll). With school comes new germs! And, with moving comes new allergies! I don't know what combination, but everyone had a little bit of something. The babies had goopy eyes and snotty noses. The big kids had coughs and headaches. And then the mom, this one, got it. I thought it was just a cold or allergies. I was up with a nursing baby a lot. I was up making lunches pretty early. I was unpacking, organizing, situating, and figuring out all the stuff. But, I was determined to make this a grand adventure! Go Big! or Go Home! I started to get really stuffy and achy. My ear hurt. But, I thought it was just a cold. I was going to get better. Viruses just run their course. Drink lots of fluids. Eat my vegetables. Take a shower. I'd feel better. Friday before Labor Day, I was in so much pain. I was taking ibuprofen trying to manage the pain, especially at night. I woke up to feed Emerson, and my ear didn't hurt anymore, but there was drainage. I told Paul that I thought my ear drum ruptured. It would heal, but that it was starting to hurt again. I decided that if it didn't get feeling better by Monday (Labor Day--My Birthday), I would go to Urgent Care. Monday came. I was in Urgent Care right as it opened. They checked me out. Felt so bad that I was there on my birthday. Told me I had an ear infection. Got me some antibiotics. And, off I went. I don't take medicine very often. There are too many side effects with my heart problems, and I'm usually pregnant or nursing which also limits what I can take. I like to believe that our bodies can do a lot of the healing when we are healthy. Antibiotics usually work really fast for me. Within 48 hours, I feel so much better. Not this time. Pain, stuffiness, a lot of pain. My ear wasn't getting better, and I just couldn't do it. On Wednesday morning, I felt my cheek twitch a little as I was getting up. For some reason, which I totally believe was divine, I remembered a post a friend of mine made a few years ago about Bell's Palsy. I immediately started googling all about it. I told Paul that I was worried that I might be getting it because of this dang infection. He told me not to stress. Everything was going to be okay. Sunday came around and I was still struggling. I asked Paul's brother-in-law who's a PA at an Urgent Care in Tulsa what he thought. I was willing to go back in and figure this out. He was going to call a steroid in for me to get the swelling down and hopefully help the issue. I was getting ready for Church when I noticed that I could wink. I do not normally wink. I mean seriously. Paul can wink with both eyes. He teases me when I try because I cannot do it. But, I came out and showed him that I could wink. We decided to go to Church, and then figure out what needed to be done. I was out in the hall after feeding Emerson with the three younger girls talking to somebody when I felt my smile not smiling the way it should. After sacrament meeting, we had a linger-longer. I found Paul and told him I needed to go. The left side of my face wasn't moving. We let the kids eat, and then headed home. We took Emerson with us to Urgent Care. Since I had just been there on Monday, they got me in really quick. He looked at me and advised with an ENT who sent us straight to the ER. After getting checked out there, the ER doctor came back with the diagnosis of either Bell's Palsy or Ramsay Hunt Syndrome--All kind of scary stuff. We had a course of action of prednisone, antiviral, and continued antibiotics, and an appointment with an ENT the next week. The doctor said that we probably caught it early. He expected a full recovery. We were hopeful, but my sunshine was starting to cloud. I had to tape my eye shut at night. My ear hurt. My body was falling apart. I was a hot mess. I cried, a lot. I had never taken prednisone, and was really nervous about side effects. Things started to get better. Paul came with me to my ENT appointment. We were able to leave Adelaide and Isobel with our new, wonderful Relief Society President, Lara. She is wonderful! The ENT doctor, Dr. Dang listened to how things happened and where we were at. She did a scope, hearing test, and exam. She kept telling us that she was going to get me all fixed up, everything was going to be fine, and I'd fully recover. It was almost like she was trying to convince herself, too ;) We learned that it is neither Bell's Palsy or Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. It is a very bad infection. The fluid and inflammation was so bad that it was irritating the facial nerve that runs close to the eustachian tube. So, we were to continue with the prednisone to help with the inflammation (I'm currently tapering), start nasal spray with a steroid, keep the oral antibiotic (I had like two days left), and start an antibiotic/steroid ear drop. While we were in the office, she put a tube in my ear drum to drain the fluid and get me on the road to healing. That was not very comfortable. I'm glad they put little people under when they do that. She said the numbing part was the worst. No. No, it is not. Having them actually puncture your eardrum and put a tube in it is the worst. It's probably a good thing I stopped nursing Emerson and gave him to Paul during the procedure. I'm a week out from the appointment, with a follow-up next week. I'm doing a lot better. My face is coming back. I'm still in glasses rather than contacts just to keep my eyes moist. My ear is a little stuffy, but getting much better. We're recovering, and learning. I really feel like I may have pushed my abilities a little too far. Rest is important! Sleep is wonderful! And, sometimes it's important to ask for help. Paul is amazing and wonderful! I have wonderful kids that are capable of a lot more than I give them credit for. Mom doesn't need to do everything. And, if it's not done the same way I do it, but it still gets done, it's okay. I'm still learning to not just jump in and get things done when I should really let them do things. I'm so grateful for prayers that were said on my behalf! I sure felt them! I'm grateful for Priesthood blessings! I am grateful for an eternal perspective and inspiration. It could have been worse, and it's going to get better. And, now I know that I need to take care of myself a little bit more. Eight babies in 11 years is a little much. But, I wouldn't ask for anything different. So, there may be times where I'm just going to let Adelaide watch Bubble Guppies while Isobel is taking a nap, and I'm going to lay down with Emerson and enjoy his babyness. He's the sweetest! He is smiling and cooing. He talks to me when everything in the house is quiet, like he's just been observing the happenings and is giving me his two cents. Things are good. And, they're going to get better. My follow-up is next week. With each day, there's more movement in my face. My smile isn't so "wonky". My eyebrows lift. I can twitch my nose. I'm starting to taste sweet more. My eye isn't dry. My ear is becoming less clogged. It has been quite an adventure!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

And On To The Baby!

After we get home from Texas it was time to wait for the baby to come. We had about 4 weeks until my due date, but we were hoping that his arrival would be a little early. I felt like I needed a little time to recover before packing up and moving half-way across the country. I went in for my 36 week check and was a 2 and 50%. Dr. Decker, bless his heart, said that he'd be seeing me within the week with this baby. I didn't really believe him. I knew things were happening, but I didn't think that it would happen that soon. My next appointment, I was at a 4 and about 75%. So, things were happening. Every night for the next two weeks I'd wake up from 1-4am with contractions every 2-3 mins. They weren't painful enough for me to go in, but they sure did keep me up. When I'd go in for my appointment, Dr. Decker would reassure me that things were happening, and that he was surprised that I was not really in labor. My mom came that week just in case something happened. She was going to help me get ready for things. He stripped my membranes twice, but nothing was moving fast enough and I really didn't want to get induced. But, we decided that 39 weeks was probably a good time to have him, since the movers were coming that next week, and we were closing on the 5th. So, we went in on July 26 at 6:30am. Instead of inducing me, because I was a 4+, he broke my water. In the past, within an hour of my water being broken, a baby would be there. After four hours of no progress, I decided to let them put me on the pitocin. I do not like pitocin! That stuff is like being on the machine in The Princess Bride. It takes years of your life away! But, something just didn't seem right. Within 20 minutes of the pitocin, I was at a 6. About 30 minutes after that I was an 8. The contractions were coming strong! I was breathing and counting. Paul was great. He is an amazing support! Dr. Decker came in to check since I was getting to that point. I was ready, but I couldn't really breathe. He left the room and said, "Let me know when you're ready. I'm 6 seconds away." Paul pretty much followed him out and was like, "Yeah, we're ready." So, things started happening quickly. Nurses were moving. And so it began. I would just breathe and count in my head. I tried to see how high I could get before the next wave came. Sometimes it as 25 seconds, others it was 10. I began to push and just count. Something felt different, but I wasn't sure what it was. I felt like I was working really hard to get him out, but there wasn't that relief yet. Dr. Decker had me just keep pushing. So, I counted. I just kept counting in my head while pushing. I got to about 45 and was still in pain and working really hard. He had me really push (I thought I was...) for a little longer, and then the relief came and I could feel the rest of his little body come out. I was a little in shock. it got a little intense. They put him on my chest and I asked if everything was okay. He didn't seem to really "cry" like the others. He just looked at me. And, then...he cried! The nurses asked if they could just take him for a second to warm him up. I was still dealing with other things coming out of my body. So, I was like "sure, but he's not leaving the room." They rubbed him down while the rest of delivery happened. Dr. Decker said that he looked like a Burkinshaw and he was a big baby! He looked big! They gave him back to me. I just held him in relief as all those emotions come over you after having a baby. The "holy cow! That hurt!", "I'm glad I'm not still pushing", and the "Oh, my goodness! There's a baby on my chest" feelings. He latched quickly and spent the next 15-20 minutes suckling as I continued to breathe. I asked Paul what happened. Why did it feel like I was working so hard, but nothing was happening? So, he told me. It seemed like with every push, he'd come down a little bit more but then get sucked back up. When I pushed for that really long time, Dr. Decker was able to see that the cord was around his neck and shoulder. He was tethered and couldn't descend all the way. The next long push got him to where Dr. Decker could get the cord, and then he came out really fast. All of my babies, except for the twins, have come posterior. So, he hit me as he came out. His little face was a little bruised, but he was perfect. I can totally see how women can have PTSD after having traumatic births. With all the rushing around, people scrambling, the calm going can be pretty scary. I'm glad we decided to stay with Dr. Decker and deliver in Tucson. He has delivered the last six, and knew me and how things usually went. He was aware of my capabilities in the delivery room. He stayed calm, reassured me that everything was okay. I think it made a huge difference. After I was all cleaned up, the brought me some food. I almost missed lunch, and was starving! I don't like hospital food much, so Paul went and got me a little more food after I went to recovery. We discussed names. We called and text family. We Facetimed the kids. Paul went down to get the kids. We had a lot to do in the next week before the movers came, and I was ready to not be in the hospital. We finally settled on a name, Emerson Timothy Burkinshaw, weighing 8lbs 3 oz, and 19.5 inches long. Paul stayed that night at the hospital. The nurses were really great this time. They didn't bother me at all. They didn't wake me up when OI was resting. No one followed me into the bathroom. Last year, the recovery nurse was a little overbearing. I wanted to say, "Hey! I've done this before. I know my body. I don't need you to hover at the toilet or come in every 2 hours and tell me I need to rest." I still don't know why they have someone come in at 3am and get some blood! Breakfast came, but wasn't much. Paul went and got me some Panera to supplement. He then went home to shower and get the kids. I wanted to be out of there by 4pm. The kids came up with Paul and my mom. They hung out for a little while, eating hospital ice and taking turns holding Emerson. Everyone was very excited, especially Ewan. He finally has a brother! Paul took everyone back home, and left my mom and the little van so I could check out. I had already been cleared by Dr. Decker. The pediatrician was a little worried about Emerson's bilirubin levels but said it was probably from the bruising and that I needed to come in first thing on Monday to have them checked. We got all loaded up and checked out. I was so ready to be home! Paul didn't tell the kids that I was coming home. We weren't sure they would let me go after 24 hours because I was GBS+ with Isobel, and they usually keep you even if you're not positive after. But, I think Dr. Decker knew we were okay. The kids were pretty excited to have me home! We ate dinner, held a baby a lot, and then went to bed. I decided to go to Church the next morning. It probably a little crazy, but Paul was getting released from the Bishopbric and I wanted to be there to support him. My mom was leaving also. My younger brother was getting home from his mission soon! It was a busy time! We are so glad things worked out well. Emerson made it to our family safely! We can't imagine life without his sweetness. He is quiet and content, but will definitely let you know when he has been "mothered" too much by a sister. He likes to be held at night. He likes to eat. And, he is very good at messing his pants. On to some pictures!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Time to Write Again

Yep, you guessed it. It's time to write again. We had a baby! But, this post is pre-baby. I've been meaning to write for a while, but life is...well, life! A lot of things have happened over the last few months. I should probably start a little while ago. We decided we needed a change, We weren't quite sure what it was, but we knew that we needed it for our family. We were growing out of our home, Paul was traveling a lot for work, we were expecting our 8th baby this summer, and we were unhappy with the school situation in our area. So, Paul started looking at other opportunities for work. We had some criteria. We wanted to be a little closer to family. We haven't had family close for a lengthy period of time and felt like we were missing out on some stuff. We needed more space. And, we needed better educational opportunities. The search began. Paul got a lot of interviewing opportunities. He flew to Denver, Kansas City, Dallas, and Oklahoma City. He had recruiters from all over sending emails. Most of the interviews ended with, "You have a lot of experience. But, you are overqualified for this position." We were a little disheartened, but we both knew that this was the time for change. He had applied for a job in Kansas City, one that he knew he was probably over qualified for, but that was the area we were really looking at. They wanted to set up an interview, but he had been traveling for work and things were busy. We were also getting ready to go visit Paul's parents in London. He decided (with some encouragement) to contact the company one more to see if he missed the opportunity to interview. They responded quickly and said they'd like him to fly there that Tuesday and interview. He would be coming home from a business trip to Alabama Sunday evening, and we would be leaving for London on Thursday. We decided to go for it! He flew out for the interview, got home, picked Grandma up from the airport, and packed for our trip. We had a wonderful time in London and are so grateful we had time together. Thank you, Grandma Maureen (Mom) for holding down the fort with our littles. A few days after we came home, the company said they would be sending an offer at the end of the week. So, the offer came and we thought about it for a while. We prayed a lot, had many discussions, went to the temple, sought advice from parents and close friends. We started the process knowing that we would be able to continue looking around and if another opportunity came that fit our family better, that we could pursue that. May was creeping upon us. We were getting our house ready to put on the market and had my brother's wedding to get to. The wedding was beautiful! We were able to see family for a short visit. We came home and met with realtors that the company sent. We got a list of things that we needed to prepare for. Instead of having to keep a home show-ready with 7 children and being almost 8 months pregnant, we decided that the best course of action was for me to take the kids to Utah as soon as we got the house ready and spend a few weeks up there, in between doctor's appointment. The house went on the market May 31st. I left that morning with the kids and drove to my parents' house. We were told that the house may take 30-90 days to sell. We were hoping for a quicker sell than that, but we were prepared for the long haul. Meanwhile, Paul's current company got wind of his offer, and at this point it was actually offers. We had received another offer from a company in Oklahoma City that we were seriously considering also. So, the company was ready to make a counter offer. But, we weren't really interested. We were ready to move, and Tucson wasn't offering the change we needed. Then, the company said they would move us to Dallas. It got a little more interesting. Dallas was a city on our list--great schools, closer to family, work opportunities. Prayer, fasting (on Paul's part), and going to the temple. No real answers came other than that the Lord trusts us with this decision and any of our options would bring benefits to our family. On June 3rd, I got a text from our realtor that we had a full-price offer on the house. The offer came in on Sunday, but she didn't want to bug us until Monday morning. we negotiated back and forth for a few days with the buyers before receiving two more offers that weren't quite as good. And then we took it! Now, we had to figure out where we were going to go and whether or not this baby was going to be born in Tucson or somewhere else. After much thought and discussion, we decided to stay in Tucson until the baby came and set the closing date for August 8, my due date was August 2. I decided to stay in Cedar City until the inspection on the house was done and some of the other walk-throughs and stuff were completed. We were home, we could breathe, but we had decisions to make. The official offer had come from the company and it was better than we were expecting. We struggled with the decision for a while--back and forth. We finally decided to take the offer for Dallas. Now, we needed to find a home. There was also a time crunch. I couldn't fly after 36 weeks. We planned on taking the kids back to Grandma's (thanks Mom). And fly out from Vegas to Dallas over the week of Fourth of July. We spent 4 days looking at over 25 homes. We looked at new builds, we looked at existing homes, and we looked at short term living. We spent a lot of time walking around houses, neighborhoods and the surrounding area. We narrowed things down to 4-5 homes. Narrowed it to 2-3 homes. And then settled on two. We made an offer on one. After little negotiation, we were under contract! We went back home knowing we probably had a house in Texas, our home in Sahuarita would hopefully close, and we had to get a baby here!