Labor Day Weekend 2015

Labor Day Weekend 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The vaccine dilema

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate...that is the question.

Or so it seems. It's an ongoing debate in my head for Keller. I mean I was vaccinated and I seem to be doing fine, but then again, I have asthma, chronic sinus issues and obviously some issues with my immune system. But then on the other had, I was vaccinated with the schedule from 1984.

Here is what I mean by that. In 1984, children received ELEVEN shots of vaccines from birth until age 16. These vaccines covered Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, (DTP now DTaP), Oral attenuated Poliovirus (OPV now IPV), MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and then the Td (adult tetanus).

Now, children receive anywhere between THIRTY and FIFTY shots for a NORMAL CHILD! You have GOT to be kidding me. Were we doing THAT bad back in 1984? Seriously...think about it some and give the skeptics some credit. We can't honestly believe that tripling the number of times you stick an infant, child, adolescent with a needle containing...what? did YOU read the label? I really don't even know if our doctors read the labels considering the way they learn about the vaccine is thru the drug rep who sells it to their clinic....will improve our children's health?

I'm not saying there is a conspiracy, I really do think that most people in the medical field are working for our benefit and considering the limited education many of them received (limited not meaning stupid, limited as in, "western medicine is better than God, better than anything else ever" limited), they just don't know any better. Medicine does not make you healthy. Medicine allows you to live a normal life and work towards getting healthy while being sick. It also prevents you from getting more sick in some cases, allowing your body to heal and get better.

But back to vaccines. I realize that we needed them 100 years, even 50 years ago. But where was our public health 50 years ago? And better yet, where was our emergency care 50 years ago? The accessibility alone of basics such as antifungals, antibacterials, bandages, cortisone creams and other topicals is how many times better than 50 years ago? So how, in a society that has an obviously more advance medical system than we did in 1980, need THREE TIMES as many shots to create the same amount of immunity to diseases?

Another area I don't understand, is WHY CAN'T MY CHILD JUST GET THE DARNED CHICKEN POX?!!! What is wrong with the chicken pox??? Vaccinating your kids against chicken pox only INCREASES YOUR own risk of getting shingles! So why the dickens would we do this?
The only real answer I can come up with is money. The drug reps want money and how do they make money? By getting consumers (us) to use their products...well they created a new product to stop chicken pox, well lucky for them it creates ANOTHER problem (shingles) that they then get to make ANOTHER product for and make more money. Really this isn't that difficult to see.

Now earlier I wrote that I think the medical community really is looking out for us and trying to keep us healthy, the drug companies are a different story. They are just like news stations, t.v. shows, movies, restaurants, car dealerships, Wal-Mart, Target, any other store. THEY SELL THINGS TO MAKE MONEY. The more they sell; the more they make. Therefore, the more drugs they can sell and get us to ingest; the more money they make. We all know how attacked McDonald's has been recently, also thinking back a decade, the cigarette companies. Now why are drug companies any better? How have they really helped us? By creating an epidemic of sick people? By giving us a "slide" on being responsible for our own health and allowing people to be lazy, gain 100lbs, never eat a vegetable in their life and STILL have low blood pressure? Ugh..

So someone explain this situation to me? Why again am I entrusting my son to people whose aim is to make money? Because ultimately that is what it comes down to. Our species has survived disease (somehow...because apparently modern medicine is the only way we can survive beyond today) for thousands of years. I'll take my odds in listening to our ancestors and doing it their way...

But in the present, how do you judge whether its worth it to vaccinate? Please comment..

P.S. here is a statistic on Autism...
Since the 80's: In the late 1980's, 4 to 5 in every 10,000 children were thought to be afflicted...Now, for 2009, according to the CDC an average of 1 in 110 have a diagnosis on the autism scale. Now our genetics haven't changed that much in 2000 years, why would they change in 30? And a whole nations eating habits couldn't have changed that much either....but something almost every child received did...the number of vaccinations...think about it...just a little...

How we deal..

The idea of how to deal with hard situations or events has been a constant thought over the past year. I know I have my own ways, Broghan has his, but it's been interesting to look back and realize how many different ways people cope.

I guess, what I am really trying to get at, is I'd like to share my way in hopes that if someone else is going through something, even if it's completely different from what we've been through, maybe it will help. OR if someone is in a position to make a difficult decision, maybe this will give you an idea of where to start in order to make that decision if you feel lost.

I read. Simple, yes. But so incredibly important. Now don't go assuming I'm reading medical journals or even educational materials because really, those do NOT float my boat. What I mean is I read a lot of books, entertaining stories, I read blogs, I read websites (both from specific organizations and personal). I guess for me, knowing, even if I don't understand completely, helps.

For example, before when I was pregnant with Madison, I received about 6 baby books. I actually read them. Like actually read through the "What to expect" books, and the ones about how drugs affect your babies and the ones about what you should eat and how to work out. I also read the books "The Shack" and "Wicked" in the last month of my pregnancy. And not to get too much into the religious aspects of my life, but I feel that God put those books into my hands to prepare me for losing Madison. I feel that way because it was the themes in those books that carried me through the grieving process. (therefore, I highly recommend either, although The Shack for me was much more helpful, Wicked helps understanding the whole concepts of good vs. evil and who are we to judge?) I also signed up for (thank Amber for pointing me to it!) (also, for those pregnant or with young ones, its a great resource!) and got weekly updates in my email about how my baby was developing and I ALWAYS looked ahead, I just couldn't wait...(i'm one of those people who almost always knows what I'm getting as a gift before I get it...I'm sure it drives Broghan crazy)

Another example, is after Keller was born, and granted we got a ton of information from the hospital staff and everything, I wanted to know "What to expect". So I got a copy of the American Pediatrics Association book, continued to read the information pages, asked A TON of mom's about their experiences, started reading other mom's posts on Facebook, and checked out books about vaccines, medications, how the baby's brain develops. I read through books about breastfeeding and all of the information posted at the hospital in their little "pumping" rooms. I read pamphlets and signs at the pediatricians office, and even those little inserts on medications I was taking to see how the study was done and the side effects for breastfeeding.

Now don't get mislead, I'm not constantly reading and I don't do it consistently, but I do enjoy knowing and not being ignorant to what is supposed to be happening or what my choices are. I used to be content with it. But after losing Madison, its almost like an obsession to want to know. And maybe that's because her dealth makes me feel like I didn't know. I didn't know how I was supposed to be feeling at 36 weeks and in a way it's a guilty feeling about that. If I had known, maybe? but probably not in reality ya know?

Recently, I was fortunate enough to get a book from a fabulous sorority sister entitled "An exact replica of a figment of my imagination". Its a memoir written by a woman who experienced a stillbirth at 41 weeks, then got pregnant again 3 months later. Very similar to my experience and reading it helped me to put into words and into a context that was understood the many feelings and thoughts I've had over the past year. So even a year later, still helpful to read that.

Side note: if you ever see a woman with a young baby or who is obviously pregnant, PLEASE do NOT ask "is this your first?" Ugh...horrible horrible question...if you want to know if she is a first-time mom, or if she has other kids, its much much much better to say "do you have any other little ones at home?" or even "is this your only one?". It may not really seem different but really, it is, answering "is this your first" is strange, it feels like a lie to say "Yes" and its too complicated to say "No" so just don't go there...

So to summarize: if you're having a hard time and don't know where to start, start with reading, even if its just googling it and reading the websites that come up, or going to the store and grabbing the Twillight series (AHH so good! :) ), reading helps, it helps you learn, it helps you grow and more than anything it allows you to escape for a moment and just enjoy something (if you're reading a fun book...another good one is "time travelers wife"'s kind of slow to get through, but good for if you have to pick it up-put it down-pick it up-put it down...etc..)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Keller's Story: Pregnancy, Labor/ Delivery & Hospital


It's been a long time! Sorry for such a gap between my first post and now. As I mentioned, we had our son Keller Resop on August 23rd, 7 weeks early.

But I guess I should start at the beginning. This pregnancy was confirmed for us on February 26th (yes Anna - my sister's birthday) with an ultrasound...which I deemed necessary even after an at home test AND blood work had said I was pregnant. But indeed the ultrasound showed a little thing in there and we were able to hear a strong heartbeat. The ultrasound showed a 7 week old fetus...and doing the math, that meant I had gotten pregnant just 6 weeks after delivering Madison. woah. Also, it meant that I would be 24 weeks pregnant at my wedding...also a woah.

The pregnancy itself was very unremarkable...literally, it was pretty flawless. I had a bout with my asthma but it was very much unrelated to being pregnant and the wedding was awesome! I actually am glad I was pregnant since it forced me to not drink and I love having such a clear memory of that entire weekend.

A few week later (and don't worry we did training--swimming, walking, biking -- all summer for this) we did a tri-atholon! It was a 400 Meter swim, a 12 mile bike ride, and a 2 mile run ( was a walk for me). I did finish though which I was proud of!

Now, from what I am told the tri-atholon is NOT RELATED to me going into labor early but on Friday August 21st, I traveled into the cities to visit with some Sigma ladies and work on a quilt for our good friend and sister Annie. I was also going to MN for my cousin Jenny's wedding that was Saturday. That night, I stayed at my real sister Anna's apartment and she jokingly asked if I needed a tarp put down in case my water broke...HAR HAR HAR very funny right? Well, the next morning I woke up with what I assumed to be a need to fart. I know, gross but really that's what it felt like! Then at around noon, as we were headed to my parents house for lunch, I realized as I drove that these "gas pains" were coming and going about every two minutes and lasting about 30-45 seconds. Seriously though, who would have thought it was labor?! I thought I had to fart! haha. Of course! I was having BrackstonHicks...the fake kind of labor had to be. So I continued on with my day not really worrying since I could feel the baby moving around/kicking I knew it wasn't like last time with Madison. Well, 8 hours later, after going to a wedding and the reception, these "gas pains" had turned into full blown contractions where I had to breathe thru I decided to pass on the dancing and head back to Eau Claire.

Side note to this story, Broghan is in Chicago for a seminar thru all of this and getting hourly updates over the phone...I can only imagine the stress he is feeling at this point..

I had a birthing assistant meet
me at our place and drive me to the local hospital. Once admitted and checked (it took about 2 hours) I was informed that no, it was definitely not Brackston Hicks..I was 3.5 cm dialated and fully ephased meaning this baby wants out and I was in labor.
It's now almost 2 AM and I have to make phone calls to both Broghan (to tell him to get his butt back) and my parents (to tell them I'm in labor, but don't panic). The hospital in the mean time informs me that they are not equipped to handle a 33 week old preemie, so I would need to be air lifted to Rochester, MN to deliver there. Broghan made
it back to Eau Claire and to the hospital about 20 minutes before I left in the helicopter for Rochester. So he said hello quickly and turned right around, checked on Marvin and headed to MN by car. The helicopter ride wasn't nearly as exciting as I had hoped my first time up in one would have been with all the wires attached and those annoying contractions every few minutes. But I did manage to get a little shut-eye in between them so that was nice since I was starting to get tired going on no sleep.

So I get to Rochester and Broghan gets there about 30 minutes after me...yes, he may have been speeding...but the labor progresses, my parents & family show up and after a few more hours we finally get to the pushing. No drugs, no epidurals and no extra help, just 10 minutes of pushing and he was out! It goes by so fast, but really, I hope anyone w
ho considers an epidural thinks twice...its totally worth it to feel everything and you feel SO INCREDIBLY GOOD afterwards! Seriously, its a better-than-sex feeling of's why we as women are lucky enough to get to be the ones to deliver our children!!

As for Keller, he came out screaming, probably pissed at us for having such a bright, cold room
to welcome him with but breathing on his own. He was struggling though and sounded like a little lamb 'bahhing' with each breath. He was breathing on his own for the first 24 hours, but as that day dwindled down, he had to work harder and harder to get his oxygen.

At the 24 hour ma
rk, we decided to intubate him and they topically administered a solution called Surfactant. This is a soapy substance that we all make naturally in our lungs to make breathing easier/smoother and I guess it's during this 33rd week of gestation that we really start pumping it out...therefore, Keller was missing that piece.

Also, he had a feeding tube inserted for obvious reasons. In the pictures, you can see lots of wires and tubes, but really its a breathing tube, a feeding tube and then general stat monitors for temperature, heartbeat, and breathing rate. He was allowed to be extubated once he was breathing beyond
the pumps created by the breathing tube and was on room level oxygen. This only took 4 days to accomplish. The bluish glow in one of the pictures is the biliruben light. It is to prevent Jaundice which often happens with preemies. It's kind of of a neat deal since it's just a blue light, that's all. Nothing fancy and no drugs which we were happy about. The rest of Keller's hospital story is one of constant progress and growth. He was able to gain weight every day and his breathing improved as well. After 2 weeks in the Level 3 NICU in Rochester, Keller was transferred back to Luther Hospital in Eau Claire, just 1 mile from our new house! We spent the next two weeks driving back and forth from home to hospital and I spent MANY hours in their Special Care Nursery working with Keller on breastfeeding. We were lucky in a lot of ways with have a preemie, I got a lot of help learning how to breastfeed and how to care for Keller once he was home. I think a lot of newborns, who are born full-term just get sent on their way without much instruction to the mom's and dad's. Keller never needed any medications beyond the little bits of morphine he was given while intubated those first few days of life and has not received anything since. He's been a happy and healthy baby and as I've been told many times, a very GOOD baby too.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Where we are now..

I'm not exactly sure why I picked now to start this blog. I mean, I'm sitting in Rochester, MN at the Ronald McDonald house, on the bed, attempting to pump breastmilk and type all at the same time. For mom's who have had to pump, you understand what I mean. For anyone else, pumps are these little devices that are used to be able to harness breastmilk for use later on in a bottle or whatnot, great idea right? The downfall is that you usually need to apply continuous pressure to the suction pieces just to get it to stay on! Otherwise you get drips..which is annoying and slightly gross.

However, I have been thinking about one of these for a very long time. My family has an interesting story to share. I will do my best to keep this up-to-date so all those interested can keep following our little boy's progress, but I also want to do both of my babies justice so I'm also going to do my best to tell the story of our little girl too. I never thought I'd be the person with the advice or know-how for such a big part of life, but here I am and this is a snap-shot of what I've experienced in the last two years.

At 23 and still filing taxes as single, getting pregnant wasn't exactly in my plan for life. I was hoping for the wedding and house first. However, in May of 2008 two little pink lines in the shape of a "+" drastically changed that. I was pregnant. Honest first thought? "Holy shit, this can not be real". But it was and for the most part the pregnancy only brought joy and happiness into my life. My relationship with my now husband (then boyfriend) did almost a 180 degree turn around and we became the best friends we are now, my body was handling the weight gain great and the worst pregnancy woe I can really attest to is that I had morning sickness maybe three times. And as I quickly found out it was because of me not keeping enough food in my tummy.

The first trimester flew by since we didn't even have a doctors appointment until around 10 weeks, the second trimester brought about an engagement ring and many baby showers and into the third and final part we forged, trying our best to get prepared for a baby, expected sometime around the turn of the new year. However, as God often does, his path was not what we expected and on December 1st, 2008 I delivered our amazingly perfect, yet still, little girl, Madison Elizabeth. It breaks my heart now to just type that. She was 36 weeks gestational age, 5 lbs. 3 oz. and 19 inches long. In another situation, she would have been born a healthy, fully developed newborn as no known cause for her death was discovered. We laid her to rest on my husband's parents land in east-central Wisconsin on December 20th, 2008.

Just three short weeks later, after setting a wedding date for six months out and already ordering the Save-the-Dates, God's plan twisted unexpectedly again. Those darn pink lines were back in the shape of a very faint but very distinct "+" sign. Pregnant again. Just six weeks after delivery. Honest first thought "Holy shit, this can not be real. Is this the universe's form of a joke?" It took a blood test and then a subsequent ultrasound for me to believe it all. But yes, indeed we were pregnant...again, due sometime in early October 2009. Two deliveries in 10 months...and the wedding was set for June 20th. Yikes. My now husband (then fiance) and I decided it best to keep it hush, hush since even though we heard a heartbeat with the ultrasound, we both still felt that an early pregnancy loss was a possibility since it happened so close to the delivery. But as our wedding approached and my belly started to grow, and I moved into the second trimester that situation was looking less and less likely. We really needed to start planning for this little guy or gal.

We told everyone the night before the wedding (even though I know a lot of them already had figured it out), I was 24 weeks pregnant. Everyone was shocked but excited and finally I was starting to feel the excitement around being pregnant again, but never really letting that joy sink in. If stillbirth can happen to me once, I did not doubt it could happen again, even though the statistics are low. If I had learned anything, it was that you can't really bank on those statistics.

But just 9 weeks later, God's plan AGAIN turned! You'd think we be too dizzy from all these twists and turns to even know whats going on. But at 33 weeks along, I went into pre-term labor. Nervous the cramping I was feeling was a repeat of events, I was extremely stressed and anxious about the situation. But upon admission into the hospital, they strapped a heart-rate monitor onto my belly and a very strong beat of around 140 was registered. That noise was the most comforting sound I think I could have heard and I was soothed through contraction by that "thump, thump, thump" noise. The baby was alive, early, but alive and that was all that mattered. It could have an arm coming out of it's forehead and I wouldn't have cared. After 25 hours of feeling contractions and only 10 minutes of pushing, our son, Keller Resop Reilly was born at 2:30PM on August 23, 2009...screaming his tiny little head off. There had been a chance he wouldn't be able to breathe on his own right away and almost a 100% chance that he'd be struggling with it even if on his own. We got the best situation with that cry, his lungs could handle air. He was 4 lbs. 5 oz. and 17 1/2 inches long. Almost the same size as his sister.

So here I am, after 69 weeks of pregnant life and 6 days after delivering again, down in Rochester at St. Mary's hospital, watching my little man get stronger by the day and just waiting for the day we get to bring him home. He is breathing room air on his own (and has been for a few days) and really just working on increasing his food intake and gaining weight. I'm hoping breast feeding can be established soon and the pumping can start to slow down and eventually not be needed!!

We also closed on our first house yesterday, so even though it is out of order, I did get my wedding, house and baby! And although it feels like huge stressing parts of life have been checked off of life's list, I know that when Keller comes home, it's a whole new ballgame and I'm sure the turns and twists are no where near over.