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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Exciting Year So Far!

2016 has been a great year for the Parks family so far!

We finally sold our home and can start with the building process. We're currently working on getting blueprints designed. It's exciting getting to pick the layout of the house we want. There is definitely lots to think about. Which way do you want the door to open? Right handed or left handed? Where do you want windows, light switches, light fixtures, cabinets, stove, oven, sink??? All kinds of decisions to be made! It's a lot but it will absolutely be worth it and we're very excited! We'll keep you posted on the house as it progresses.

We both have had advancements in our careers this year. I don't talk a lot about our careers on here, because they are such a small part of our lives (in our opinions). Work is simply something you do so you can enjoy life with family! We have been blessed in our careers this year.

My health has been good. PFT's staying pretty steady despite the winter. I wasn't admitted through the winter and managed to make it through with only a couple minor bouts with colds. That's a huge plus! Thank you Lord!

I was asked to write an article for the AARC Times again. If you recall in one of my previous posts from a coupe years back, I was asked to write an article for the AARC Times (American Association of Respiratory Care) about my life with CF. It's a nationally published magazine. The link to that post is here. This time they asked me to write about the 2013 CFF Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines. I submitted the article last week. It's in the review process. I'll keep you posted and post pics of the article in the magazine when I get it. It's always exciting to be asked to write an article for a magazine of this caliber and I am honored!

The boys are all doing great!! Trevor has been crawling since about 6 months old. He is so desperate to catch up to his brothers and be able to run and play with them. The twins will be 3 in 5 days! So hard to believe they are this old already! It's been a very exciting year thus far and we can't wait to see what God has in store for the remainder of it!

Here's a few pics of the family for you to enjoy!

I finally made it back to Chicago for a respiratory conference and was able to go to Jake Melnics and get their Street Fries. They are AMAZING!! If you're ever in Chicago I highly recommend going there.

Ignore the booger nose and this is one handsome boy! The prettiest blue eyes I've ever seen!
My red-headed mini-me. We're still amazed that we had a red head! Love him!
Lately Jace wants to ride in daddy's car all the time.
Our awesome Easter picture! Keeping it real!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Yet Another Surgery

As you may have guessed from the title, I had yet another surgery. This past October, I had another hernia repair. To recap what led up to this surgery, here's a quick time line of events. Surgery as a baby led to scar tissue causing a bowel obstruction in 2005 requiring surgery. That surgery created more scar tissue that led to another bowel obstruction in March 2014 requiring surgery. That surgery caused a hernia that was repaired in August 2014. That hernia repair failed leading to this hernia repair in October 2015. 

Needless to say, I'm done having surgery for a loooong time. This time they used a plastic mesh to do the repair. I asked them to do that last time, but the surgeon was insistent on not using plastic and I know him and trust him. I work with him on a regular basis. After it failed he admitted that he severely underestimated how much and hard I cough with having CF. A point I tried to iterate before the hernia repair in August 2014. I need a strong incision not just because of all the intense coughing I do on a daily basis, but because I need to be able to exercise without the risk of causing another hernia. There's always a risk, but the risk is significantly smaller with plastic mesh. So I had surgery. 

This time the recovery went A WHOLE lot smoother. The incision was the same, only slightly smaller than before by an inch or so, from just below my sternum to right above my pubic bone. The amount of intervention required was the same with the addition of plastic mesh and a few more sutures. The one variable that changed: I got an epidural. Epidurals scare me. Monica has gotten two and was fine. I've taken care of hundreds of patients with epidurals all who were fine. BUT, I've seen what happens when they go bad first hand and it's not pretty. It's scary. I did not get one with the first three surgeries. This time I had a great anesthesiologist who convinced me to do it. One big kicker was that he gave me versed (a sedative with an amnesia effect) before doing the epidural. I don't remember a thing, lol. I think it truly made a HUGE difference in my recovery. 

With the prior surgeries I was up walking the day of or after surgery but with lots of pain. Lots. Doubled over and walking very stiff, and unable to take deep breaths which hugely affected my ability to cough up mucus and oxygen requirements. In fact in August 2014 I almost got sent home on oxygen but weasled my way out of it. Perks of being an RT. :) In fact I had probably the scariest moment of my life after my August surgery. Directly related to my inability to take deep breaths and needing to be on oxygen. That's for a different time though. This most recent surgery though I was up walking the day of surgery with virtually no pain. I could cough like I normally do and get mucus up. It hurt but nowhere near like it did the other times. My hospital stay was therefore shortened and my total recovery time was shortened by a couple weeks. It took about 8-10 weeks to really feel back to myself. This time I felt great after 6. The only thing I can pinpoint it to is that epidural. I'm a believer now! :)

On a side note, I discovered that I'm very allergic to mastisol. A liquid adhesive used to adhere steri-strips. I broke out in a horrible poison ivy looking rash with huge weeping blisters. It spread all across my abdomen, back and down my groin. Super fun! I was out of it for about a week. I was taking the maximum amount of Benadryl allowed in a 24 hour period combined with pain pills and a couple tubes of various anti-itch medicine. That was the worst part of the whole recovery. So the moral of the story is: get the epidural. In all reality the odds are pretty rare that anything should go bad. I was just being a worry wart. And a little macho too I guess. Which I may add the anesthesiologist called me on, lol. 

On a final side note, I no longer have a belly button. After 4 surgeries they said it was time for it to go. It created a weak point in the incision. The boys were very confused by it. Maybe I'll have to get a tattoo of a button in its place! Haha!

Update on Baby Trevor

Trevor is now 4 months old!! Hard to believe it has gone by so quickly. He's such a strong little booger. He's consistently in the 50th percentile for height and between 75-90th percentile for height. The doctor carries on about how strong and advanced he his every time he sees Trevor. He's a big boy! He's in 6 month clothes and will be out of them soon. 

He is without a doubt the smiliest baby I've ever seen!! He smiles non-stop! At everyone too. If you talk to him or look at him he'll smile. He smiles at his brothers and mommy and daddy all the time even we we aren't looking at him. His laugh is adorable and contagious as most baby laughs are. So far it looks as though he may actually be a redhead. In my previous post about him I mentioned it looked like it may be changing. Not anymore. It has stayed very red. His baby hair is falling out and new hair is growing in. As of yet it's too short and fine to tell what color it is. He's such a good baby! We had a few problems getting him to take a bottle when Monica went back to work. He wanted mommy and nothing else, lol. Can't blame him. 😊 He finally started taking a MAM bottle after trying several. We figured out he likes the milk very, very warm. Almost hot. If it's room temp, or even warm he won't touch it. It's gotta be over 100 degrees. We checked it with an infrared thermometer, lol. He's an awesome baby though! So content and happy, happy, happy!

I guess that's all for now. If I think of more to add I'll post another update. Here's some pics!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Wedding Weekend Recap

This weekend one of Monica's cousins got married! It was an outdoor wedding. It rained most of the day. The wedding was pushed back some in hopes it would clear up and it did. Right after the ceremony. :) As soon as the vows finished the rain let up and the sun came out! It turned out to be a beautiful evening! It was a great wedding! The boys had a blast! They loved dancing (well, Jeriah did) and playing in the rain! 

Here's a quick photo recap of the weekend! 

He loved the rain!
Jace "dancing" with his cousin with one hand in his pocket. 
Crazy hair after the rain!
Jeriah was all over the place and much harder to get pictures of. 
Monica's immediate family. Us with Jace and baby Trevor, her youngest sister, her parents and Jeriah, her younger sister and her husband and two adorable little girls, and her older brother and his wife (both doctors). The family gets bigger all the time!! If you didn't think that was big enough, here's a picture of Monica's dads side of the family. Her grandmother, with her uncles and their wives, children and grandchildren. There are 7 kids under the age of 3, counting our 3. It's always fun down there! Never a dull (or quiet) moment!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Newest Addition to the Parks Family

Well, Trevor James made his arrival July 20th, 2015 at 1:22pm. He was 20 3/4 inches long and weighed 7lbs 13oz. At first he looked like he was going to be a red head! Every day since, it has changed a bit and is looking like it could go either blonde or brown. Monica and Trevor are both doing GREAT! His arrival was quite unexpected. Not in the normal, spontaneous "My wife went into labor" way you might think. I might add as well, that July 20th is Monica's birthday! For her 26th birthday she got a son! Best birthday gift ever!!

Sunday, Monica noticed her belly had become pretty hard. Almost as if she was having a constant contraction. She could feel very little movement from our little fella, which was very unusual. He normally was a very spunky little guy. He moved almost constantly. We kept calling him our little wild man. We half expected him to come flying out doing some sort of kung fu move! We didn't think too much into it, because she was still feeling him move. We thought it may be the beginning of labor. Sunday came and went. Sunday night, Monica was awakened by intense contractions around 2am. They came about every 30 minutes and lasted until around 6am. I got up and went to work Monday morning, thinking the baby was going to be coming within the next couple days. Little did I know he would make his arrival in less than 12 hours.

Up until now, Monica had her doctor appointment on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. It just so happened that they were booked full and she had to have her appointment on Monday this week. She texted me when she was on her way there. We were both thinking she was probably dilated since she was having contractions the night before (she hadn't been up until now). If she were dilated, her doctor was going to see about trying to help her go into labor. She couldn't be induced because she had a c-section with the boys. She texted me around 10:30 saying she was on her way to the hospital. She said her doctor told her to have me head there as well, as she was probably going to have him today. I immediately called my supervisor and told them I had to go. While I was waiting on someone to come relieve me from the ICU where I was working, I called Monica to get the scoop. She answered crying. I knew something wasn't right. Her first words were "Don't freak out, but the doctor said things aren't bad but they're not great and that I'll probably have the baby today." Don't freak out.... When your wife answers in tears saying her doctor doesn't like the way things look, it's hard not to get a little concerned. I left work and booked it to the hospital.

I got to the hospital just in time for the nurse to walk and tell us Monica's doctor wanted to take the baby by C-section (Monica wasn't dilated). I asked if she knew a timeline of events. She responded by telling us the doctor had already left and was on her way there now. She had Monica get into a wheelchair and took us up to the pre-op room. Her doctor got there very quickly and seemed very impatient. She wanted the baby out quickly. We were getting more concerned by the minute. She kept reassuring us, everything didn't look bad, but it didn't look good either. That is why she was rushing to get things moving before they turned bad. Up until her appointment Monday morning, her pregnancy had been going "perfect" in her doctor's words. Within the hour she had her epidural in and was being wheeled back to the OR.

They took us back to the OR and called for NICU nurses to be at the bedside. I understood the precaution, but it made Monica even more anxious. It wasn't long and we were hearing the squealing of our precious little boy! We had no idea how blessed we were to be hearing that squeal, and just how much God had His hands in our situation.

When the doctor opened her uterus, I heard her say there was a lot of blood in her uterus and there shouldn't be any. Obviously anytime you cut someone open they bleed, but there shouldn't be blood inside the uterus. The boys were born via c-section and they had a little blood on them, which is to be expected. Little Trevor had a lot of blood all over him. There was blood dripping off him. At first I freaked out a little, thinking he may be bleeding, but the nurse quickly wiped him off and checked to make sure he wasn't. Turns out he had been swimming in blood and swallowing it. Monica's uterus was full of blood. When he first came out he wasn't doing the best. Monica's doctor told the nurse she thought Trevor had been swallowing the blood. They had to put a tube into his little tummy and sucked out around 70cc of blood. After that he seemed to be doing better. They gave him some oxygen and he pinked up and was doing great. Before I knew it he was in my arms and they were closing Monica up. Afterwards her doctor told us she had a closed placental abruption. She said placental abruptions are normally extremely painful. The only few symptoms are extreme pain, and a contraction that never ends. However, these are also symptoms for many other aspects of labor. Placental abruptions are hard to diagnose and are pretty rare. The contractions Monica had Sunday night, were likely not contractions, but her placenta tearing away from her uterus. Her doctor kept telling the staff how much of a rock star Monica was. She said Monica has a ridiculously high pain tolerance and never complains about anything. She kept giving Monica praise throughout the rest of the surgery. Along with Monica's doctor praising her, everyone repeatedly told us, God was watching out for us that day.

A placental abruption is a condition where the placenta tears away from the uterus. When this happens it ruptures the arteries and veins in the placenta and blood begins pouring into the uterus, hence Monica's uterus was full of blood. When the placental abruption is closed, it means there are virtually no symptoms and it's extremely difficult to detect. Usually until it's too late. Placental abruptions when not caught often cause the baby to pass away and can be fatal to the mother too. Since the blood is pouring into the uterus, that means none of it is going to baby. This means the baby is not getting any nutrition, but more importantly, is not getting oxygen. I talked to my brother-in-law who is doing his second OB rotation during his residency while taking a break from typing this. He told me they just had a patient who came in for a check-up, and was sent home (not by him)because everything looked OK. She came back the next day because the baby had stopped moving. She had a closed placental abruption and her baby died. She was 38 weeks pregnant. If Monica had not had a her doctor appointment on Monday (a day she normally does not have appointments), it is highly likely, almost certain, that we would have lost baby Trevor and possibly Monica too. I would be writing a very different post today. It was by God's grace that she had her appointment, that her doctor was a great doctor to realize something was unusual and to make the wise decision to take him asap. All the hospital staff have told us repeatedly that God was looking out for us and how incredibly lucky we are. I say we are incredibly blessed and serve an amazing God! We can't say it enough, God is soooooo good!!!!!

And now for some awesome pics of Trevor James Parks, his adorable big brothers, super woman mom, and goofy dad: