Sunday, December 29, 2013

"Baby Boy"

My last pregnancy picture EVER! Sunday, December 15th, 2013.

At midnight on Monday, December 16th, 2013 Alan & I were checking in at Summit Medical Center for our scheduled induction later that day.

We were assigned to room 202.

I was told to get settled and that the nurses would be in shortly to get me all set up.

I had to change into this lovely gown and Alan felt the need to take a picture and post it to Facebook.

My nurses returned and checked my cervix. I was already 4cm dilated, so they didn't have to administer the Prostaglandin E2 gel to ripen my cervix.

They hooked me up to a fetal heart rate monitor, a contraction monitor, a blood pressure band and started my iv. The iv to the hand has got to be one of the worst parts of labor & delivery -- at least for me.

By 2am, I was finally finished processing. Sandra told me to rest and that she'd be back in at 4am to start my Pitocin drip.

Rest and sleep seemed impossible for both Alan and me. I tried to unwind by watching movies on the iPad, while Alan played on his Nintendo ds.

At 4am, Sandra returned and started administering the Pitocin. She was back to check my progress about every 30 to 40 minutes.

My doctor had 4 inductions and a c-section scheduled for that day. The nurses were betting on me being the first to deliver.

Since my doctor had a c-section scheduled at 7:30am, my nurse suggested I go ahead and get my epidural before shift change happened at 7am since my contractions were picking up.

So around 6:30am the anaesthetic technician came in to administer the epidural. She advised me this "cocktail" of epidural was different from the one I had with Emily. Mainly, there would be more "feeling" of pressure so I would be able to push more effectively and that this epidural had a dose of narcotics mixed in.

A little after 7am, my doctor came in to break my water. He wasn't able to though... Something was at a weird angle preventing him access to my amniotic bag. - So he said he'd return to try again after his c-section.

This slowed my labor progress quiet a bit. Nurse Diane was concerned with increasing my Pitocin levels, so she inserted an inter-uterine contraction monitor to better gauge my progress.

A little after 9am, my doctor returned for his 2nd attempt at breaking my water. It took him a bit, but he was finally able to.

Now we had officially reached the "hurry up and wait" part of labor.

At some point around 10am, my in-laws arrived to keep us company. - And some time after that we heard cries of a newborn baby in another room which meant that I was NOT the first to deliver after all.

I was able to catch quick, short-lived naps but every time I woke I felt hot, feverish and nauseated from the narcotic in the epidural. I remember having to fan myself constantly and chew ice chips to keep from yacking in front of everyone.

Around lunchtime, I started feeling some pressure from the contractions and knew it wouldn't be too much longer.

About 12:30pm my in-laws decided to go grab some lunch from hospital cafeteria. Alan and I both tried to rest for a bit.

At 1pm, Nurse Diane returned to check my cervix again and said we were getting close.

Around 1:15pm, the nurses started bringing all the birthing "equipment" into the room. Nurse Diane said, "It's time!" -- Poor Alan had JUST fallen asleep too!

They started converting my bed -- with me still in it -- into the birthing table. My in-laws had finished lunch and were trying to return to our room but were told it was time.

I think by 1:30pm, Nurse Diane had started coaching me on what to do and when to do it, but before she could finish talking, I had already felt the need to bear down and push. And so it began.

I don't remember how many times I pushed, I just remember Diane trying to get me to refocus on something other than the pain in between contractions by having me tell her about a craft project for a baby ornament I saw on Pintrest.

I also remember during each push I was thinking to myself, "How many more pushes?" "How much longer?" "Surely it can't be too many more! -But oh my God, what if it takes forever?!"

At some point my doctor arrived on the scene and took Diane's place. I think I only pushed a few more times and with each push, in my head, I was praying that baby Xander would come quickly.

Finally, I saw in my peripheral vision a little head... Then had to bear down and push one final BIG push and he was out. "Thank God" was all I could say.

Dr. Hamilton placed him on my chest and I remember Alan saying that he looks like me and has Emmy's nose.

He was perfect. - Lots of dark hair. Super long, adorable fingers.

12/16/2013 @ 2:02pm - Xander Alan Fox-Smith, 7lbs 15oz, 20 inches long.

Around 4pm, thanks to Aunt Heather, Big Sister Emily who had been at school all day finally got to meet her new baby brother.

<3 So sweet. We are so blessed.

Location:Forrest Park Rd,Nashville,United States

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bear-Bear Needs Your Help.

So as most of you know it's been a doozie of a time for us and our beloved pets.

Over the last 2 months our fridge, our dryer and both of our cars have died. - 3 out of 4 have been revived, and I'm very thankful for my in-laws who have graciously lent us their vehicle until we can get our car situation rectified. - But, yes, when it rains, it definitely pours!

In September, our cat, Marble, started having violent seizures. After several vet visits, and attempting every affordable option to try to make her seizures stop with no success, on October 8th we had to make the heart-wrenching decision to euthanize our beloved cat.

That same month we found a cancerous growth on our other dog, Chloe. We were told it was a fast-growing cancer and needed to be removed ASAP. The vet sent us home with a steroid ear drop and thankfully the drops have made the growth almost completely disappear, at least for now, thus buying us some time to budget and save for another eventual surgery.

This past Sunday, we noticed our adopted rescue dog, Bear, wasn't acting normally. He had stopped eating, was very lethargic and laying around more than usual.

On Wednesday evening I discovered a massive growth on the right side of his body. So I immediately called the vet.

From what I understood when we started the adoption process, since we haven't finished paying off Bear's expensive adoption fees, his medical care wouldn't be officially transferred over to our name until those fees were paid in full. So I called my contact at the rescue after the vet advised me to do so just to make sure they didn't want me to take him into the E.R. that night.

We took Bear in Thursday morning as the rescue advised. His mass had ruptured earlier that morning and was draining. I dropped him off and was told the doctor would touch base later that morning.

The vet never consulted with me on what needed to be done - or what would be done - in regards to Bear's care even after I called several times to check on him. - So I had to assume all procedures must have been cleared by a representative at the rescue.

I called Friday morning for an update and was only told that Bear was okay and that he could come home that day. When I arrived to pick him up that afternoon, I had no idea what they had done to him nor did I expect to see that he had been cut into 3 different times, for 3 completely unrelated things.

After requesting to speak directly to the doctor, I learned that the growth was an abscess -- probably from a snake bite -- a drainage tube was put in and would need to be removed next week. He also had a cyst on the left side of his neck that was removed and those stitches as well as the ones due to the abscess would need to be removed in 2 weeks. - Plus they sliced off a growth on the right side of his nose for aesthetic purposes.

So we now have a slashed up, zombie-looking dog, who's grumpy and in a lot of pain, laid up on our couch.

- Well, I had planned to call my contact at the rescue first thing on Monday to see what the official protocol was for this type of situation, however, tonight I received an email from another rescue representative stating that there clearly has been a major miscommunication regarding Bear's medical care and that we are in fact responsible for his medical expenses.

Under normal circumstances, I would be fine with this, but considering that we are still paying off $700 in vet bills from Marble's medical fiasco last month and that we weren't consulted at all about what was considered "necessary care" for Bear versus what we could currently afford, I'm having a really hard time wrapping my head around it all.

I've asked the rescue if we could make payments towards Bear's medical expenses - including the 2 upcoming follow-up visits he will have to have. I am waiting to hear back. If the rescue declines our offer to make payments, we will have no other choice than to surrender Bear back to them - and we really don't want to do that -- I think you all know how much we love this big ball of white fluffy fur.

So I'm starting a PartyLite fundraiser to benefit Bear's medical care. What kind of deadline the rescue gives me to have Bear's account paid-in-full will directly determine how long I can keep this fundraiser open. But for now, I'm looking to close it out on November 9th, roughly 2 weeks from now.

If you'd like to order, take a look at the fundraising brochure below:

Please feel free to email, call or text me directly with your orders:

If you'd rather order Mary Kay products, I will be submitting a benefit order around the 16th of November for those of you who need products. (No friends/family discounts will be applied to this order.)

Thank you so much for all your prayers and concern over sweet Bear. He's such a good dog and just can't get a break. 

***UPDATE - 10/28/2013***
I've had several people ask about just sending in donations since I've posted this. You may absolutely do this via PayPal. The email address associated with my PayPal account is:

Or you may mail a check directly to:
Sylvia Fox, 314 Forrest Park Rd, Madison, TN 37115

***UPDATE - 11/2/2013***
Bear is doing really well and is on the fast-track to recovery.  His drainage tube was removed on Wednesday and the doctors were very impressed with his progress.  He goes back this coming Wednesday to have all his stitches removed.

I spoke to the rescue and they have agreed to work with us on Bear's medical expenses.  They sent me a copy of Bear's adoption agreement and advised me to take those with us to Bear's next appointment to have his care officially transferred into our name so that we will always be included in the decision-making process in regards to future care he receives from there.

I will be submitting both PartyLite AND Mary Kay fundraising benefit orders this month.  I will plan to close out both orders around the 15th or 16th.

Thus far, we've raised about $250.  Thank you again to all who have shared our story, placed orders and/or donated via PayPal!  Every little bit helps!

Monday, June 10, 2013

"Baby, baby, baby - Ohhh!"

So my emotions have been all over the place lately and here's why:

- Yup, we are pregnant.

We had a bit of a scare last week.  I had some bleeding and cramping again...  and due to how our last pregnancy turned out, I was prematurely worried and heartbroken.

But we had an ultrasound the next day and the baby is doing just fine.  -And from what we witnessed on the ultrasound, we have a very active, bouncing baby bean in my belly.

I still have a subcorneal hemorrhage - which I had with the previous baby - but my doctor said the bleeding was the hemorrhage trying to flush itself from my system.  - So it's still there, but smaller and should resolve itself as the baby grows.  The doctor doesn't seem too concerned about it, but I am a creature of worry so please continue to keep us in your prayers as we venture through this pregnancy. 

We're excited.  - Especially Emmy.

- Oh, and Em and I are really, really hoping for a baby BOY.  :)

(All photos courtesy of Brooke Kelly Photography)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"I don't quite know how to say what I feel."

Life is full of ups and downs -- so many highs and so many lows.

I don't even know where to begin.

Recently, I've had to recollect a lot on my past. - Not only personally & privately, but in front of my physicians and with my spouse. - If that thought doesn't make you cringe, then you probably don't have a past quite as colorful as mine.

That being said, I am one to cling to a Christian belief system where if you confess your "sins" and ask God for forgiveness then you are ultimately forgiven & given a clean slate.

But despite my beliefs, I still struggle with self-forgiveness. There's still a great deal of shame and embarrassment when it comes to discussing the crummy decisions I made in my past. - And I can't help but feel that those decisions made so long ago are still affecting my life presently.

I half-jokingly say that God's finally punishing me for the awful things I did. - But even though I don't truly feel that way, I still sometimes wonder if there's any truth to that.

This week we should have been welcoming the arrival of that precious baby we lost back in November. We should have been massively sleep deprived and completely in love with a new bundle of baby-joy in our lives but God had other plans for us.

- Instead of being overwhelmed with love, we've spent the last couple of weeks dealing with a large serving of loss. We re-homed 2 sweet dogs and had to bury 2 other beloved dogs.

Needless to say, it's been a craptastic couple of weeks!

I feel so empty on the inside.

- And truthfully, I feel a little jealous (and admittedly, even a little angry) about all of my friends who have recently welcomed - or who are expecting to welcome their healthy, full-term bundles of joy any day now -- and feeling that way makes me feel even more wretched. It's a vicious cycle!

Dumpy donuts, right?

There's not much I can do at this point in time except wait... for answers, clarity, peace, forgiveness & healing.

Please pray your sincerest prayers of healing & protection over our family -- I just don't think I can handle anymore loss in my life right now.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone5

Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Words don't come easily..."

I've been struggling to find words to describe how I've been feeling as of late.

I've never been one to be very open about my problems, emotions or feelings -- especially to my girlfriends.

I guess that all spawned from my mom constantly telling me that people just don't care when your life isn't "good" -- no one wants to be brought down by your bad news/mood/circumstance - whatever the case may be.

- Through the years and the MANY changes to my friend circle my life has undergone; for the most part, I found this to be true more often than not.

So instead of openly complaining or reaching out to my "friends" for comfort, I try, instead, to seem as positive as possible on the outside despite the inner turmoil happening on the inside and just keep my personal battles to myself.

Lately though, I've felt pretty alone. Aside from my daughter and my husband, I've truly felt like I don't have any friends anymore. - Maybe "friends" isn't the right word... It's more like "meaningful connections" with my friends.

I feel so completely out of the loop these days.

My friends from back home (Florida) rarely ever call - and honestly, home doesn't feel like "home" anymore. Nashville is definitely where I've made home.

- But even here, lately, I've felt so disconnected and so lonely. I feel like I have 2, maybe 3, solid friendships these days -- and even those seem pretty non-existent right now due to everyone dealing with their own personal struggles. - And then the rest of my friends are only "friends" by proxy -- meaning they're all friends with my 2 friends or my husband, so I'm just sort of included in their email exchanges, invited to gatherings and so on and so forth - but I still don't feel like I really fit in.

- I don't know, maybe it's all in my head.

All I know is I've been super introverted and have isolated myself from every possible social situation I've been faced with for the past several weeks simply to avoid having to talk about personal stuff.

- Crazy, I know.

I don't really know exactly what the point of this entry is, but I feel like I should make some goals for myself to try to remedy how I'm feeling in hopes that it doesn't escalate to anything more serious.

• I want to make friends with children close to Emily's age. - Maybe find a mom's group to be a part of.

• I want to find a church home where I feel comfortable. I get overwhelmed by big, stuffy churches.

• I want to cut back on working so much so I can spend more time with friends and family.

• I want to start doing dinner and movie nights with my friends at our home again.

Maybe I'll figure it all out soon enough or just snap out of this self-induced funk I'm in. - Either way is fine by me. Say a prayer for me if you will, please & thank you.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone5