Expect the unexpected: Our gastroschisis journey part 2

Once again, I’ve sat down a few times to write this post and wasn’t really sure how to get it all out. So here goes nothing!

As many women who have had healthy pregnancies I never expected anything to be wrong when I got pregnant again. I was definitely one of those woman who took my healthy pregnancy and easy labor and perfectly healthy baby for granted the first time around.

While we were given the diagnosis of gastroschisis early on at our 12 week ultrasound, we were always told that gastroschisis babies tend to do extremely well during pregnancy and even after delivery. Our baby was a rock star at every appoitment! Even practicing breathing early on, constant movement and great variability in his heartbeat.

Spending 2 days out of the week at doctors appointments became my new normal. Our visits always took less than half an hour, so when I went in for my routine BPP (bio physical profile) for the second time that week I didn’t expect anything different. 

This was the worst mistake I made. 

Never get too comfortable with the way things are going. Ever. 

Everything changed in the blink of an eye. The fetal dopplers showed that our baby had absent blood flow in his umbilical cord, which if goes unnoticed can cause decreased movement and a high risk for a stillbirth. 

I held it together when the doctor told us to pack our bags and head to Denver where I would be delivering but as soon as we walked out of the office I crumbled into a ball of tears. I was only 30 weeks pregnant and our little man had a LOT more growing he needed to do. 

I was numb the entire drive to the hospital, not really knowing what the next hours or days were going to look like. Was I going to have my baby? Was my baby going to be okay? 

I was admitted to the hospital and immediately taken for another ultrasound to check blood flow again. This time they got better results. Thanks be to God. 

I stayed in the hospital for a total of 10 days. Everyday things seemed to get a little better. Some nights, things were crazy. At one point they even though my water broke! But thankfully, here we are at 34 weeks along and the bun is still in the oven! 

There’s still a very rocky road ahead of us. If all goes well baby boy will have until 37 weeks to put on as much weight as possible before they induce me! We know there is a possibly very lengthy NICU stay in our future, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. 

I share all of this in hopes to reach other moms out there who may be looking for advice or a similar story to theirs. I don’t want to scare you when I say to not get too comfortable or to expect the unexpected, but with our babies this is how we have to think now. 

I have faith God chose me and my baby for a reason. We know our little boy is a fighter and God must think all of us who go through this are strong enough to carry them through this journey. So have faith that God truly never gives us more than we can handle. 

Subscribe to the blog for more updates on our gastroschisis baby, what it’s like being induced, and all about our time in the NICU. 

Please keep us in your prayers and wish us luck! 

LO 

Our 1% chance: Our gastroschisis journey part 1 

I’ve sat down many times to write this post and I never know where to start. I’ve decided it’s time for me to get it all out, so without further introduction, let’s just jump right in. 

As many of you may or may not know, we are expecting our second little one. Another boy! That’s right I’m going to be a mom to 2 boys under the age of 2! Yikes! I couldn’t be more excited though! Well, actually I probably could…

 Like any other pregnant woman we had an ultrasound at 13 weeks to check up on our little bundle of joy and going in I never expected it to show anything, but that our baby was perfectly healthy. You’re probably guessing now, that that is not what the ultrasound showed. 

I had an appointment with my OB right after my ultrasound appointment so he could go over it with me. I remember sitting in the chair blissfully unaware that anything was wrong with our little boy. When my doctor came in the room I remember the look on his face and his words “Now we found something, but don’t freak out.” Don’t freak out?! Now i love my doctor but, come on dude… don’t freak out?! Yeah… okay. 

As he sat down he pulled up my ultrasound on his computer to show me exactly what it was they had found. He pulled up the picture of the baby’s tiny little belly and if I looked hard enough I could see what he was talking about. A part of my baby’s intestines were outside of his stomach. 

For those of you that don’t know, because I didn’t until this day. During about 10-12 weeks of pregnancy the baby’s intestines develop outside of their stomach, rotate and then go back inside the abdomen and then the abdominal wall closes keeping everything inside where it should be. In our baby’s case his bowel didn’t make it back in in time before his abdomen closed. My doctor told me they would check again at my 16 week appointment to confirm their findings and to discuss what our baby’s future would look like. 

I went back at 16 weeks and it was confirmed our little man had gastroschisis. Immediately my heart dropped. What did this mean? Was is something I did? Something I could’ve done to prevent it? And that’s when we were told there was only a 1% chance this would happen to our baby. ONE PERCENT. I was a little angry after hearing that. Why? Why did God pick us and our baby to have to go through this? 

Thankfully, as we have been told by multiple doctors, babies with gastroschisis tend to do extremely well. He will have to have surgery no later than 6hours after he is born to put his bowel back into his abdomen. Now this means he won’t be able to eat anything and will be receiving 100% of his nutrients from an IV till about 5-7 days old. He will have a NICU stay of about 2-6 weeks. But he should make a full recovery. 

I honestly didn’t know how to feel about any of it. This was good information right? Our baby would eventually be fine. While I am so grateful that in the end we will have a healthy baby it was hard for me not to be emotional. I won’t get to hold him after he is born, I won’t get to see him until after his surgery and even once that’s over we still wouldn’t be able to hold him for almost a week. A whole week without getting to hold my baby. 

As soon as I found out I was pregnant again I couldn’t help but think it was going to be just like when I was pregnant with Jaxon. Easy. I would give birth and he would never leave my side. 

Wrong. 

So wrong. 

I was now considered high risk and  it was serious enough that my doctor requested my husband stay back from a field training operation in California. That’s when I knew this was some serious shit.  I’m checked twice a week to make sure nothing is preventing our little man from growing normally aside from the gastroschisis. I will be induced at 37 weeks at a hospital in Denver where after he is born one of the best pediatric surgeons around will take him and perform his surgery. Then the real adventure begins! 

I will be writing future posts about delivery, our NICU stay and life after the NICU. Posts that will hopefully reach other moms out there who have a baby diagnosed with gastroschisis and are looking for answers. 

If you’re reading this I ask that you pray for us and our little man during our time in the NICU. This is something neither Avery or I have ever experienced and we know our baby boy will have to fight his first few days and weeks of life. 

In the end we know that this is God’s plan. Our baby will be okay, and our marriage and our family will come out stronger because of it. 

We only have 9 weeks till his arrival! So the countdown is on! 

Check back for updates and more as we navigate a wild 1 and 1/2 year old and a newborn in the NICU 2 hours from home (like I said, pray for us!). 

Thank you so much for reading, and if your a parent reading this because your baby has been diagnosed with gastroschisis know that we’ve been there and it may seem scary now, but everything will be okay! Have faith and know that your baby is a fighter too! 

LO 

5 Tips for traveling with baby 

If you’re anything like me and like to travel or your family lives half way across the country you find yourself taking trips with baby pretty often and need all the help you can get. Me and baby J have traveled back home to Florida a few times now and here is my list of 5 things I couldn’t live without when traveling.

1. Babywearing: I don’t know about your little one but Jaxon loves to be worn, but now that he’s older he also loves to be able to look around not staring at my chest. I’ve found that the easier the carrier the better when traveling. I loved wearing Jaxon in a wrap when he was tiny but all the fabric makes it’s a little difficult in the airport. My WildBird ring sling or ErgoBaby 360 are my favorite when at the airport. 

(Pictured above is my WildBird Ringsling in color Warbler!) 

2. Backpack diaper bag: I have never appreciated a backpack more than when I am in the airport. With all the extra stuff I have to pack the weight being distributed evenly while I wear baby and have to carry a bag is amazing. My favorite bag in my FawnDesign diaper bag. I get so many compliments and you can’t even tell it’s a diaper bag! It’s has 5 pockets inside and is nice and spacious. There are also two side pockets and 2 front pockets. Sadly I’ve never got a good picture of me wearing it but there’s a picture below of the FawnDesign brown bag and you can see more on their site!

3. Familiar place for baby to sleep: If your baby is anything like mine you don’t want to change ANYTHING when it comes to their sleep routine so whenever we travel we always take our life-saving Dockatot with us! This has helped my little man with just about every sleep problem we’ve had. It’s honestly the number 1 baby must have in my opinion. It’s breathable and keeps baby feeling snug and secure all night, which in turns help them sleep through the night no matter where you are!  

4. Hands free bottle: When my family and I go home we often have to travel between my parents and my in-laws. Baby J always seems to get hungry in the car and this hands free bottle has made my life so much easier! I found mine for $10 on Amazon for 2! They suck on it just like they would a pacifier while the bottle can sit in between their legs in the car seat. 

5. Distractions: My little man is getting to the age where he doesn’t really sleep much on a plane anymore. So we bring lots of toys and always he favorite lovie or paci. Anything to keep him happy and enjoying himself as much as possible! We bring small toys and tethers, like his play phone and banana shaped tether that he loves! 

Thank you so much for reading and feel free to share with all your mommy friends who made need some tips for traveling with baby! 

LO 

Baby O’Kane 3 month update! 


I can’t believe how fast these last 3 months have gone. People always warned me that in the blink of an eye your little one has grown up, and it’s the truth! I still remember vividly feeling his tiny little feet kicking me when I was pregnant. I also remembering thinking he was NEVER going to get here! And now 3 months have passed and it’s hard to remember what life was like before this bundle of joy joined our family. 

It’s been the most magical 3 months of my life. Seeing life through a child’s eyes is something truly amazing. The way he lights up when he sees his Daddy melts my heart every time.

He is a BIG talker now! He loves to sit up, and loves to stand and jump! He is constantly on the move, from the second he opens his eyes in the morning his little arms and legs are moving like crazy! I know I’m going to be in trouble when he’s older! He hates tummy time but is a pro at it. He has started trying to roll over and I know he’ll get it soon! He drinks 6oz every 2 hours and is officially out of 0-3 month clothes. He’s growing so fast! He loves being outside and stays awake whenever we ride in the car now! He went swimming for the very first time and absolutely loved it! We definitely have a water baby on our hands and I love it! 

He is definitely a Mommas boy but loves to listen to his daddy talk. 

I can’t wait to see what the next month has in store for us. My little man has already grown and changed so much I can’t wait to see his little personality and character start to show! 

Check back next month for our 4 month baby O’Kane update! 

LO 

Copy-cat Olive Garden fettuccini Alfredo recipe

If you know me you know that I love food! And pasta is my favorite by far! I’m always looking for new pasta recipes, and most unfortunately just don’t do it for me. But this Alfredo recipe hits the spot every time and I find myself not wanting to go out to restraunts to pay for something I can make at home. My husband even prefers this recipe over Olive Gardens and says it’s better!

This recipe is super easy and only takes about 20 minutes to make. The recipe calls for shrimp, but you can easily make it with chicken or with no protein at all! Now, instead of writing about it anymore and making this a super long intro which your probably going to scroll past anyway here it is! I hope you all enjoy!

LO

INGRIDIENTS:

Salt

12 ounces fettuccine

Olive oil (for tossing)

3/4 pound large shrimp (about 16)

Black pepper

1 stick of butter (8tbl)

2 cups heavy cream

2 punches nutmeg

1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt generously. Add the pasta, and boil according to package directions until al dente, tender but still slightly firm. Strain, and toss with a splash of oil.

Meanwhile, arrange the shrimp in a single layer on a large pie pan or paper plate, and pat them with a paper towel until completely dry. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and add 2 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter melts, raise the heat to medium-high, and invert the plate of shrimp over the skillet so the shrimp fall into the pan all at once. Cook the shrimp, without moving them, until the underside is pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip the shrimp, and cook until fully pink and cooked through, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the shrimp to a bowl.

Reduce the heat to medium, and add the remaining 6 tablespoons butter. Scrape the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon to release any browned bits. When the butter has mostly melted, whisk in the cream and nutmeg and bring to a simmer, then cook for 2 minutes. Lower the heat to keep the sauce warm.

Whisk the Parmesan  into the sauce. Add the shrimp and cooked pasta, and toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Serve!
I hope your family loves this recipe as much as mine does! Enjoy

Xo

Copyright 2015 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved.

My birth story: Welcoming Jaxon Avery 

To start, I had two false alarms, one where I thought my water had broke but it turns out I just peed on myself! Yeah, that was fun. The baby was positioned face up and was digging his head into my back causing me to have back labor for 2 days before I was admitted to the hospital! Let me tell you, those last 2 days I cried.. A lot. 

March 27th the night finally came. My husband and I had just got home from one of our “false alarm” hospital runs. The doctor told me my contractions weren’t strong enough and sent us home. Little did he know we would be back just a few hours later. We returned home from the hospital around 9:30 at night. I was in so much pain in my back I decided to lay in our guest bedroom where the bed is very firm, hoping it would ease the pain. For a few hours the contractions came every 2-3 minutes and I could get through it by getting on all fours and swaying back and forth.

By 2 am the morning of the 28th I could NOT do it anymore. I tried to walk around my living room to ease the pain and every contraction would send me to the floor crying. I consider myself someone who has a pretty high pain tolerance but this was intense! I had heard back labor could be worse than regular labor but I had no idea it would feel like this! I could barely breathe right in between contractions so I knew this was it (and if it wasn’t I didn’t want to know what was.)

I finally woke my husband up and we headed back to the hospital around 2:30am. The nurse checked me once we got there and I had changed out of my clothes and was all hooked up to the monitors. I could barely lay in the triage bed it hurt so bad. The only way I could get through was to rock back and forth on my hands and knees.  The nurse checked me and I was 5cm FINALLY enough for them to admit me! The nurse asked me if I wanted an epidural and I couldn’t get the word yes out of my mouth fast enough. The next thing she said was the best thing I had ever heard in that moment, “When?” 

“NOW!? Can I have one now??” I walked for 15 minutes and then was taken to my room at 3:30 where the anesthesiologist met me in my room with the epidural. 


The last contraction I felt was so intense it made me throw up. I was so over it. I thought when I she administered the epidural I would feel a lot of pressure in my back but I think because the pain was already so intense I didn’t feel a thing! I remember when the doctor said “Oh I think you just had a contraction.” And I didn’t feel a THING. I was so happy.
Since all my family lives in Florida I was on FaceTime with my mom the whole time. Even though she was physically there it was nice to have her voice to listen to. 

(See the two phones propped up on the table? That’s my mom and sister phoning in for some moral support. You can also see my extremely happy face since I was no longer in pain) 

By 8am I was 7cm and my water still hadn’t broke on its own. So my doctor finally got to the hospital and broke my water. It was a huge relief once it broke but I felt like I was peeing myself for the next few hours which was kind of a weird feeling. 

After she broke my water I was expecting it to be a few more hours before I would start pushing. I was wrong. 

At around 9am my doctor came back in the room and I was 10cm and ready to push! We had to wake my husband up who had been sleeping in the corner. My doctor initially said to try some “practice pushes” well 8 “practice pushes” and 15 minutes later we had a baby! 

May 28th at 9:13am we welcomed Jaxon Avery into the world! 6lbs 6oz of pure angel baby perfection! 


I never knew I could love someone SO much it almost makes my heart hurt. We were able to leave the hospital the next day. I couldn’t wait to get my baby home. My mom joined us a few days later to help us settle into being new parents. 

It’s been three months now since bring baby home now and he gets more perfect everyday. 
Thanks for reading about my birth story and going on the crazy ride with me. 

Wish my luck and keep coming back for updates on how baby J is growing! 

LO 

Stop feeling sorry for the young moms

“You’re so young, poor thing” 

“Don’t you wish you could’ve had the college experience?” 

The typical questions I’m sure all young moms have heard probably about as much as a little kid hears “what do you want to be when you grow up?” 

Me? My answer was always that I wanted to be a mom. Probably because my mom is truly one of the best out there if not THE best, but it didn’t matter how old I was my answer never changed. Being a mom is literally all I had ever wanted. 

So stop judging me. Stop feeling bad that I “missed out” on the college experience. I can’t say I don’t picture what my life would look like when I scroll passed my friends posts on Facebook getting all dressed up to go out to some club on a random Wednesday night, or when they tell me stories about the 3 different dates they’ve been on in the past month. I don’t think they’re wrong in the life they’ve chosen to live. I’m not here to judge them for their choices, I love watching their snapchat stories and their weekly phone calls to me telling me all about the frat party they got invited to or the new fundraiser their sorority is doing or the mission trip they get to go on. But not for one second do I wish I was in their shoes. I don’t think I should be judged or pitied for that. 

When I found out I was pregnant I couldn’t wait to start walking through the baby aisle with a purpose instead of seeing all the baby clothes and having no reason to buy them. When you see me standing in the baby aisle of the grocery store with my little boy trying to figure out which sunscreen I should buy him don’t look so confused or concerned. I see you as you try to sneak a peek at my left hand to see if I’m married. God forbid I got out without my ring on; so young and not married!? Say it isn’t so! Well, it isn’t so. I have the most perfect and cutest baby in the world, and an amazing husband who makes me laugh so hard I cry on a daily basis. But how could you know that just by looking at me from the 10 second walk passed me in the grocery store? You can’t. So don’t try and judge me based off the brief moment of my life you witness when I happen to be out with my son. 

I thank God everyday for the beautiful family he has given me and I look at being married so young and starting a family so young as more time to enjoy the two loves of my life. I wouldn’t take any of it back. Not being barely 19 when I got married and not being barely 20 when I had a baby. Now let me say that I don’t think if you wait till you’re 35 to get married and start a family that you’re wrong. Because you’re not! Waiting to have children or not having children at all is up to you. It’s your life! If having a career is your goal instead of a family I certainly won’t judge you for it. As I should not be judged for achieving my goal of being a wife and mom at such a young age. Again, I believe as women we all need to support one another in reaching goals no matter how they differ from the goals we have set for ourselves. How else are we going to get through life without other women out there to support us. 

So, the next time you see a young mom out at the grocery store, or out at the park, or in school, or wherever you may see her don’t feel sorry for her. Standing in the grocery store trying to pick a baby sunscreen, or chasing her toddler around the playground could be all she’s ever wanted.