Monday, September 22, 2014

"Embrace the struggle and let it make you stronger. It won't last forever."

"Embrace the struggle and let it make you stronger. It won't last forever."

Turns out being a new mommy, even a year later, is a pretty busy job. I've probably written around 30 blogs in my head, and a few as drafts but keep leaving things unfinished. Sometimes refreshing my memory on things I want documented rehashes too much pain, therefore requiring a break and then results in me never finishing it. Other times, I am unsure where the blog was going. Did it sound too "whiny"? Is what I'm writing relevant to my readers? Do I care? Should I just write it in a paper journal that I may lose, then pick up another journal and write in that? The main reason I write is for myself, but sometimes it's to share, connect, and provide witness for my continued walk in faith. 

Saying vs. Doing. 
The epic battle continues now.....

Let me close the chapter of our journey to parenthood by explaining how it came to be that we got duh you totally know how, but for those who have struggled/are struggling with fertility, I'd like to tell THAT PART of the story. You know the rest. :) 

In November 2012, I blogged that our fertility doc had found nothing to be "wrong" with either of us. We were healthy, showing good signs of being capable to make a baby, but we just needed some assistance. Clomid clearly did not work for me, but resulted in my body rejecting the meds, so Femara was our next step. I began my first round of Femara in November and got pregnant that first month. 

This was 9 months from when my sister had found out she was pregnant, so while I'm sure the Femara helped, I couldn't help but think God had that perfectly timed out. She got to enjoy her pregnancy and being a new mommy to my precious nephew, and then it was my turn. Even though she's younger than me (15 months), it's been so great to have her to look up to and ask 212,394,943 questions about being a mommy! 

The first trimester was full of cereal eating and major food aversions. I felt like I was peeing every two seconds! I had an awesome student teacher and teammates who were so amazing and helped me so much. 

At 14 weeks I noticed bleeding and totally freaked out. Come to find out I had a low lying placenta, which was putting some strain on me so I was advised to be on modified bed rest. Basically I could continue teaching, but mostly sitting down, no bending over to pick up things, no vacuuming (darn!), no cooking (okay that I really was bummed about), and I needed to be in bed other than the times I was at work. If ya know me....that's not how I teach, live, or what I wanted- BUT anything for my baby! This continued for about six weeks until my placenta had moved out of the "danger zone" and then came enjoying my pregnancy. 

i weigh what?!?

Truth be told, a week before I knew I'd deliver I started having major anxiety breakdowns. I was questioning if I could do the whole motherhood thing, if I'd like it, and if I could manage breast feeding, being nice to people (zombie-zone), and still being a loving wife. My husband rocks, ya'll. He has always, and will always be the sound voice when my anxiety gets the best of me. He reminded me that we are in this together and no matter what , we will be just fine.

Ya know what? We are.

That beautiful little joy who took 13 months of trying, 13 hours of laboring (mostly napping because I had the epidural almost immediately), came on August 13th and fulfilled our lives in ways I had no idea were possible!

So, while things didn't go quite as I would have planned, they turned out just perfectly. I was able to reach out and meet/talk to/connect/advise/counsel others who have struggled with fertility. Many who's stories were much more difficult than mine. Making a struggle that most deal with silently , known was one of the best decisions I could have made. All because I felt like God was placing it on my heart to reach out!

 All along He was preparing my spirit for something so much bigger than I could see. The strength and confidence I gained through this chapter has completely helped me along in this new journey. That's what it's about. Learning how to be strong, finding your faith, praising Him through the storm, and thanking Him for leading you through it.

"It won't last forever."

Cambree's birth story is next....YAYAYAY!!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Our Family of Three - Happy Anniversary Matthew!

It would be ridiculous to not post my unwavering affection for the amazing man that chose me as his wife four short years ago. He is the supporter of our family, not only financially, but emotionally. Anyone who knows me, knows that is not an easy task! I'm so thankful for his reassuring words, tender acts of romance, and for his ability to lead our family with a Christian spirit.

Thank you Matthew for allowing my dreams to come true. Being a mother and wife are truly the best gifts you have given me. Cheers to many more years together! 

Our Family of Three
May 2014

We got married to each other in 2010,
At that point our story was just to begin.
We bought a house, got a dog, and took some trips,
Then a few years later we wanted to have kids.
13 months of trying and having faith until we saw,
The little lines that meant “pregnant”, and knowing it wasn't a flaw.

The lucky number 13 was sure to be our fate.
Cambree came that night in August at 8:28.
Long and skinny, sure to be daddy's little girl,
What a special little gift God placed in our world.

From the moment we saw her it was love at first sight,
And I knew that my mother had always been right.
When you have your own child then you'll know,
How a parent’s love continues to grow.

Unmatched by no other thing I’ve felt,
When she looks into my eyes my heart just melts.
But then to see her with her daddy and how she just beams,
She's got him wrapped around her finger, and tied at the seams.
Seeing them talk and play is surely quite a sight,
She adores her daddy's kisses and snuggles at night.

Cambree is special in each and every way,
As her parents we will raise her to pray and have faith.
She’s got the spunk of a teen and perseverance of a fighter,
With that she's also got family, friends, and physicians beside her.

Cambree has opened up our hearts to a new kind of love.
She's our heart and soul, a true blessing from Him above.
Being a parent isn't easy as most would agree,
We will push through the tough, our family of three.

Lots of laughter and joys, with just a few tears,
Who would have thought how lucky we'd be in four short years?
We've got plenty of great memories to make,
And I try to thank God each morning when I wake.

I know we're unsure what the future might bring,
But with you by my side, we can do anything.
I'm so thankful for you Matt, because you're the love of my life.
I feel so fortunate to stand next to you as your loving, adoring wife!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

"You'll never know how much I love you until you have a child of your own."

Mom - "The Real MVP"

Tracy Lynn Whinery Day. Mom. We've always been close and shared most things with each other. She's not just a mom, but one of my best and most trustworthy sidekicks.

Now, I know most children feel the same way about their mothers as I do. (And rightly so!) We'd all line up to put our mom's in the running for "BEST MOM EVER". We'd also do whatever it took to be sure they won the award. We'd brag about how they were there for all of the most important parts of our life. How they shaped and molded us into the people we are today. We'd love to continuously thank our moms and show them how grateful we are for their selfless acts of love and sacrifices they made for our happiness. And our mother's would say they don't deserve any type of award. It's just part of the territory and they were happy to do it.

Truth - there is not a trophy, title, money, or probably even the right amount of words to thank mom's for their love and support. But - this blog will try to explain just one of the many moments in my life when my mom was "the real MVP" in my life. (Ah thank you - Kevin Durant!)


I'm sure I've thanked you for this but sometimes I sit around and wonder if you truly know how thankful I am to have you and for your strength during the most difficult time in my life thus far. You always said that I'd never know how much you loved me until I became a mom, and on August 13, 2013, I got my opportunity to experience that feeling.

I knew how special it would be for you to witness the birth of your first granddaughter so I asked you to be in the hospital room with me, but the reality is that I needed my mom then too. Little did I know how much Matt and I would need you in the following weeks.

We all know that things didn't quite go as planned when Cambree made her arrival at 8:28 on August 13th. From being taken out of my arms within seconds due to breathing issues, to the doctor mentioning the area on her leg being a potential form of cancer, I'd say overwhelmed is the best describing word that would hit the nail on the head.

When all Matt and I wanted to do was to take in the first few moments and days of being parents, I am so thankful that you were there to do the "other stuff". Not only did you cook, clean, swaddle, bathe, cheer lead, and shed tears with us, but you encouraged us to continue along our path to diagnose our sweet little Cambree Lynn. Doctors and nurses at the hospital kept giving us different opinions on Cambree's leg and while I heard what they were saying, I didn't want to hear it. You were there to really listen. Allowing Matt and I to focus on being so incredibly in love with our daughter.

At the hospital our pediatrician mentioned Cook Children's in Forth Worth as a good source for getting a correct diagnosis, and you knew just what to do. You began calling people who could possibly get us in to Cook's. When OU Children's gave an incorrect diagnosis and showed us frightening pictures, I walked out of the building literally feeling like my heart was ripped in half. On the drive home, I sobbed uncontrollably and while I knew you shared in the sadness, you tried to keep positive. The pain and grief I had for my daughter and her unfortunate case of events, was surely being mirrored in your eyes. You were set on doing anything you could to help me out and come to some sort of conclusion in order to find the path our life would now take.

You came to every single doctor's appointments with us. It didn't matter one bit how small the room was they gave us, we were going to fit 3 adults and a baby in, because neither of us were leaving our children to endure on their own! You prayed, cried, and helped me cope. You were my right hand man when Matt had to go back to Oklahoma for work. A surrogate husband! :)  I remember being at the geneticists office and telling you that I just could not physically or emotionally take it any more. I wanted to leave, go home to Oklahoma, and just be left to be a new mommy. You shared in my tears but held my hand. I know your heart was broken, too.

Thankfully we found a doctor and diagnosis that we can begin to cope with and understand. Each of the tests Cambree has had to endure have been positive and for that we can surely celebrate. Heck, you may know more about KTS than we do! It's so nice to have a person as invested in this as Matt and I are because I'm sure we will need to lean on you for support again.

We've always been especially close, but in this time of my life, I could not have felt more thankful and superbly proud to call you my mom. Cliche as it may sound: You were my eyes when I refused to see, my ears when I could not hear another medical term, and my brain when thinking clearly was not an option. I'm sure the tears will continue to fall, and I'm also sure you're going to be there through thick and thin. For that, I'm so very, very grateful.

I know you were not intending to teach me a lesson on the depths a mother will go for her child, but I want you to know that I soaked it all up. I hope that some day I can provide the same love, patience, and understanding for my children as you have for me.

I love you to the moon and back Mom!


*Note: I do not blame any of the doctors who incorrectly diagnosed Cambree. Klippel Trenaunay Syndrome is incredibly rare. 1 in 100,000 cases world wide. To put that in perspective, there are about 300,000 births in world each day. Obviously doctors do not see this very often and I'm confident they all did the very best they could to give us the greatest care and consideration.

However, I'm confident that had it not been for my mother's steadfastness to keep seeking more answers, we may not have been correctly diagnosed so quickly. Our current doctor confirmed that most of these cases are incorrectly diagnosed until much later in life, and told us that we are ahead of the game in keeping Cambree's health in check.

**Information on KTS from Genetics Home Reference**

What is Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome?

Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome is a condition that affects the development of blood vessels, soft tissues, and bones. The disorder has three characteristic features: a red birthmark called a port-wine stain, abnormal overgrowth of soft tissues and bones, and vein malformations.
Most people with Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome are born with a port-wine stain. This type of birthmark is caused by swelling of small blood vessels near the surface of the skin. Port-wine stains are typically flat and can vary from pale pink to deep maroon in color. In people with Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome, the port-wine stain usually covers part of one limb. The affected area may become lighter or darker with age. Occasionally, port-wine stains develop small red blisters that break open and bleed easily.
Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome is also associated with overgrowth of bones and soft tissues beginning in infancy. Usually this abnormal growth is limited to one limb, most often one leg. However, overgrowth can also affect the arms or, rarely, the trunk. The abnormal growth can cause pain, a feeling of heaviness, and reduced movement in the affected area. If the overgrowth causes one leg to be longer than the other, it can also lead to problems with walking.
Malformations of veins are the third major feature of Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome. These abnormalities include varicose veins, which are swollen and twisted veins near the surface of the skin that often cause pain. Varicose veins usually occur on the sides of the upper legs and calves. Veins deep in the limbs can also be abnormal in people with Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome. Malformations of deep veins increase the risk of a type of clot called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). If a DVT travels through the bloodstream and lodges in the lungs, it can cause a life-threatening clot known as a pulmonary embolism (PE).
Complications of Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome can include a type of skin infection called cellulitis, swelling caused by a buildup of fluid (lymphedema), and internal bleeding from abnormal blood vessels. Less commonly, this condition is also associated with fusion of certain fingers or toes (syndactyly) or the presence of extra digits (polydactyly).