Monday, April 23, 2012

911, a little bird and the scariest day of my life

You probably remember my quick post a while back saying that I had my baby. Now with a few minutes to spare, I wanted to share her story...well her story so far, that is.

This is our newest little one. She was 7 pounds 6 ounces at birth, and 19 inches long. We call her Birdie because she has stick-up feathery hair and she makes little bird claws with her hands. :)
On March 31st, my water broke at 5 in the morning. I was 37 weeks 5 days. I went to the hospital right away, though I wasn't really having bad contractions. They said I had to go in because my water was already broken. In admitting, I explained that I wanted to vbac. I already vbac'ed once before with my surrogate pregnancy, so I knew the drill. But this time, they said I had to stay in the bed because there was a risk of a prolapsed cord. I was worried I wouldn't progress in bed, but there was no reason to worry. I arrived at the hospital at 8, and she was born around 2 pm that same day. I'm proud to say, she was my 3rd birth without pain meds of any kind. Natural birth is so empowering; but it is so intense as well.

Birdie appeared healthy after she was born. The nurses did monitor her oxygen saturation in the hours after her birth because in their opinion her lips seemed somewhat blue. But it was normal and they stopped monitoring it after just a few minutes. In our post partum room, Birdie kept spitting up some junk, and the nurses said it was amniotic fluid, and nothing to worry about. We took her home the next day.

On April 2nd, I sent my husband to the grocery store, my kids to the pool with their grandparents, and I stayed home with our foster baby (8 months) and Birdie. I put our foster baby down for a nap, and fed Birdie. Then I laid her on my bed to change and swaddle her. As I swaddled her, she spit up some. So I stopped to wipe it off and then resumed swaddling her. She spit up again and then instead of choking the spit up out, she just stopped moving, her mouth wide open, but no sound coming out. At first, I didn't even notice, but she became very still and I turned her and panicking, I said, "Are you breathing???".

In that moment I realized she was not. The area around her mouth was turning blue. I flipped her onto her tummy, over top my arm and I started firmly patting her back and crying, screaming, "Someone help me!". She became even more blue. I laid her on the bed and started using the bulb syrnge to clear her throat, alternating patting with sucking out her mouth. By now, her whole face was blue and she became stiff in my arms. I grabbed my phone, and dialed 911. Screaming and crying I gave them my address and they promised to send people to help.

After being on the phone for a little bit and continuing to pat her and suck out her mouth, she recovered and began breathing again. By the time the paramedics came, she was breathing normally.

Still, we went to the hospital. We stayed for 4 or 5 days (it's all a blur now). My husband needed to be with my older kids, so I was on my own most of the time there. We had a wonderful team of doctors and nurses caring for her. They felt, based on my story that she needed to be tested for apnea and reflux. So she underwent both a ph (reflux) study, and a sleep study on the same night.

The ph study involves taking a tube and inserting it through the nose and into the stomach to measure stomach acidity. The tube was connected to a box which had buttons on it for eating and not eating, lying flat and sitting up. Each time I moved her or fed her, I was to record it on the machine. She was not allowed to eat more than once in a three hour time period, and not for more than 30 minutes at a time. This study would last 24 hours.

The sleep study was more involved. I thank God I had my husband with me that night or I may have had a breakdown. This is what she looked like during the sleep study. Actually, this was only the half of it. I don't have a picture of the full amount of cords she had glued to her body. It was 6 hours long (through the night).

The sleep study involves connecting her to wires which allow the doctors to monitor all kinds of information regarding her sleep. Birdie had 30 wires connected her to head, and 13 connected to her chest, legs and feet. Her head was wrapped in gauze to prevent the wires from moving. Another wire was strung underneath her nose and abover her mouth. The sleep people needed 6 hours of recording time, 4 of which needed to be of her, sleeping in a crib, untouched by me (as I could disturb the monitors). This was extremely challenging, both logistically and emotionally.

We were realeased a couple days after Little Bean's 7th birthday. Yes, I missed my son's birthday.
:( Birdie came home on a home cardiac and respiratory monitor that she wears 24 hours a day. It's a little box that is connected to wires (yes, more wires) that are connected to her chest. If she stops breathing for more than 20 seconds it sounds an alarm. If her heart rate is too high, it sounds, too low, it sounds. So far, it has only gone off once, for apnea.

We took her to her two week check up a week ago. The doctor told us the sleep study was normal for her age. The ph study had not sent her any results yet. So we are still waiting on that. But, the doctor heard a murmur when listening to Birdie's heart. So tomorrow, we go back. Hopefully to hear the results of the ph study, but also to have an echocardiogram done on her. She may have a hole in her heart.

The doctor said that 30 percent of babies have holes and many grow out of them. But some don't. And given that she has had an ALTE (Apparantly Life Threatening Event) we are walking on the safe side and will see what the echo reveals.

So that's my story. We'll see where it leads from here.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bible Program

When I think about what I want my kids to know about our faith, two things come to mind: 1) I want them to have a good understanding of reformed theology, and 2) I want them to know the Bible, through and through. When planning our Bible curriculum for the coming years, these two goals are always in the forefront of my mind. I chose a really great catechism program to give my kids a sound education in reformed theology, a three part series we are in the process of finishing now. And I chose Classical Academic Press' God's Great Covenant to use after our other program to take them through the Bible step by step.
SO, when Classical Academic Press sent me a copy of New Testament 1, I was thrilled. In the past we have used their Latin program and thoroughly enjoyed it, and having looked at the books in person at the teacher supply store, I knew this was a program we would be using for years to come. Classical Academic Press sells all kinds of programs, from logic programs to Bible and language programs. God's Great Covenant, is a newer program, consisting of a two part series on the Old Testament and (I believe) a two part series on the New Testament. From what I can tell on the website, the second part of the New Testament has not yet been made available.

Each set comes with a student workbook and a teacher's guide. The guide has a copy of the workbook, but also, much more--notes and teaching helps fill the margins to help you give your student a deeper understanding of what is happening in the text. The student book has a range of activities for the students to comeplete that aid in memorizing and understanding the materials. Also available are audio files of the Bible stories and map and timeline sets to compliment what you are studying. Overall, this is a very thorough Bible program.

Here's an example of the student workbook. As you can see, the workbook contains different activities such as muliple choice, true and false and matching. The questions are directly related to the lesson you have just taught.


Below is an example of the teachers manual. The smaller section is a copy of what is in the student book, and then the margins contain areas for personal notes and also teaching tips and explanations of the material in the lesson. These helps are really great for helping the student really dive into the material.

The NT bundle is $56.95 and includes both the teacher and student books and the audio files. The teacher and student books range from 22 to 29 dollars depending on the one you order. See more about their pricing here.
Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.
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Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month, didja know? We received an Autism diagnosis for Little Bean about a year and a half ago. This month, I'm over at Confessions of A Non-Domestic Housewife talking about my road to accepting Little Bean's Autism diagnosis.
Autism is Beautiful

Last year, shortly after learning that Little Bean had autism, I wrote a post about grief. I wrote about how I had met a friend for coffee whose daughter also has autism, and about the stark contrast between her and I, between her child and mine. No, her child wasn't necessarily more high functioning, and no this friend didn't have access to better services than Little Bean did at the time.

What she had that I didn't have was something else altogether.




And much more.

She was okay.

A year and a half ago, I never thought I'd be okay again.

Hop on over to Angela's blog to read the rest of my story.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Christian Kids Explore Earth And Space


I'm always looking for a good science curriculum for my kids. I know I want something that covers all the areas of science: biology, physics, chemistry and earth and space, and I know want something engaging and hands-on. But I can never quite find the right curriculum for the job. So when I was given the chance to review one of Bright Ideas Press' science books, I was super excited.

I chose their Earth and Space book because the topics (think rocks, Little Bean's favorite) were those that I thought would interest my littles. They like all science, but I thought the topics in this book were an especially good fit for my kids.

Each of the four Christian Kid's books is a full year's worth of curriculum, designed to be used twice a week, and is a mix of reading and hands-on activities. The materials needed for the activities are those you would usually have on hand. For instance, in the first unit, you need things like scissors, markers, dental floss, a globe, modeling clay or dough and a camera. Each lesson has a similar format, beginning with a teaching time and then followed by one or more activities to comeplete with the student and cement learning. The sidebars are space for additional notes and also feature definitions of the main terms. Review is built in as well as ideas for activities for younger students.

Earth and Space costs $34.95. Please check out their other materials on the website!

Please note: I was given this product free of charge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine and I am not obligated to give a positive review.

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Fabulous Fractions

AIMS Educational Foundation is a company dedicated to providing quality educational products for students of all ages. I love their motto: I Hear and I Forget, I See and I Remember, I Do and I Understand. Isn't it true? When our students are actively engaged in their learning, that's when true understanding takes place. And with that goal in mind, AIMS has created educational materials that are appropriate for both in home and in school use.

I was sent a lesson book called Fabulous Fractions. Given a choice between several titles, I chose Fabulous Fractions because Little Bean, my 3rd grader has shown great interest in fractions of late. I thought I'd capitalize on that interest with a great resource such as this one. I was NOT disappointed!

Fabulous Fractions has over 180 pages of lessons and activities related to fractions, developing an understanding in the student of what fractions are and how they are used and represented in mathematics. This book is geared toward 3rd grade and up, OR those who are ready to learn about fractions. Little Bean is on the young side, but he is very bright and would enjoy most of the activities in this book.

I have reviewed for AIMS before, and what I like so much about their materials is that they aren't just lessons and worksheets, but hands-on activites that the student can actively participate in and draw conclusions for himself about the concepts being presented. Some worksheets are included, but the majority of what you find in this book are engaging activities that enhance the learning for the student. Fabulous Fractions also includes games, which I love. The purpose of having so many hand-on activities and games is to bring this completely abstract concept into the concrete so the child can better understand the material. A physical copy of Fabulous Fractions costs $21.95. A pdf version is $19.95. Either one would work great depending on your needs and desires in terms of printing and storage.

AIMS sells a wide variety of educational materials, both books and sets of manipulatives, etc. So be sure to check them out here.

Please note: I received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine, and I am not obligated to give a positive review

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Had my baby, need advice!

I'm going to try to make this quick! Some of you may remember, I was pregnant with a little baby girl. She was born on March 31st! She was 7 pounds 6 ounces, and appeared to be very healthy. We took her home on April 1st. On April 2nd, she stopped breathing and turned blue. It Was the scariest day of my life. I called 911, and she was admitted to the children's hospital here. Long story short, we don't have any results yet, but she was sent home on a cardiac and respiratory monitor. It's a little machine that plugs into the wall and has cords attached to her to monitor periods of apnea. It's not real portable, so basically when I am tending to her, I have to be in one place, I can't just carry her around or use a sling or what not.

You may also remember that I have my two olders, ages 5 and 7 and our foster baby (who is most likely going to adoption) who is 7 months old. Our foster baby is not mobile, and is developmentally delayed, so she still needs a lot of attention. And of course, we homeschool. We are on break right now, of course, but we can't be on break forever...

So, I'm breastfeeding. I was not sure I wanted to at first because I knew it was so much more work than bottle feeding (that's my opinion, especially when you have another infant already bottle-feeding, what's one more?!). But I am, and I'm finding it hard to continue because it's so time consuming and because she pretty much has to stay in one place. I have a hard time occupying my 7 month old when breastfeeding for so long. On the other hand, I don't want to feel guilty for quitting either.

What do you all think? Is it realistic to continue? Can I homeschool, take care of a 7 month old, and breastfeed a child on an apnea monitor? And if so, how do I do it all?? Help!

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