Monday, December 23, 2013

Dear Friends and Family, 
Merry Christmas!  We didn't send cards for the first time in 12 years!  But that doesn't mean we don't think of you.  I haven't updated this blog since March, so are we surprised there aren't Christmas cards?!  Here is a little about us in 2013.

 We took family pictures in October and got hailed on.  Seriously!  We were so stinkin' cold in this picture, just having it is a miracle.  Of course, this whole year was a miracle-keep reading.
 This is Orlando, the 4th grader and oldest brother.  He wrestled his brother below (Ivan) and ended up with a broken elbow in January.  Thankfully, no surgery needed.  He is a good student, and a loyal friend.  He is sensitive and very hard on himself.
 Ivan's broken bone was his collar bone.  He got that from his brother below (Ammon) while playing tackle football in the backyard.  He doesn't see the point of doing school work if he can still pass on to fourth grade without it, he is doing basketball this year, and was baptized at church.

 Ammon's broken bone was his-just kidding, but he did get three stitches after falling off the monkey bars at school.  Dad stitched him up, so that was nice.  Learning comes easy for Ammon, as does making friends.  This year he is a "cool dude" and is so not a baby anymore.  He is a first grader.
 Vinny's stitches were on his eyebrow, after wrestling Ivan into a couch.  Dad took care of those too.  He loves monster trucks, and chocolate milk.  He still takes naps, and still has golden curls to melt your heart.
Another life changing event was giving birth to Elmer Fudd. LOL (Maybe it's the plaid shirt, but oh me oh my, we laugh at that!)   Our little Bo hasn't had a broken bone or stitches, but the pregnancy landed me in the hospital for 7 weeks-and I got several stitches after my first C Section.  He is healthy, and a sweet baby.  What a miracle!  We also give thanks for Josh's brother, who spent a month taking care of our kids-so here is a shout out to Uncle John-David!
Boaz, goes by Bo almost always, but just to clear the air:  Boaz (for me) is a great example of someone who loved someone else regardless of race or religious background.  That is what I want for my children too.  So, when the family tree ran out of names we wanted to use, I found this one.  Occasionally, I regret the name choice, since others find it weird, or hard to pronounce, but I never regret the meaning behind it.  Our little Boaz Owen (after a cousin) is just perfect, and will hopefully have a loving heart, just as the Boaz in the old testament.  
As for me, I've had a rough year, I'll be honest.  I had really bad baby blues/depression that has taken months to overcome.  My mom came for a visit in the summer, and it was obvious something was really wrong.  She has been diagnosed with Parkinson's and that is hard news.  She has moved a few houses down from my sister which is wonderful! Josh continues to put in 80 hour weeks and always needs to be studying when he is "off".  That said, the last few months have been much better!  Currently (knock on wood) no one has stitches or a broken bone or is in the hospital! My depression has faded greatly, and I've solidified some great friendships in WI and I no longer feel so alone in this winter wonderland.
As for my husband, Josh, he is at work where he spends most of his time as a senior resident.  We took the family out to UT in November and saw some friends and family.  He also interviewed for a job!  He also has an interview in AR soon with Mercy Health to discuss jobs in Ft. Smith and Rogers, AR.  He will be going to Milwaukee for 10 weeks beginning mid February.  He will be a chief resident starting in July, and then in July 2015 hopefully we will have a good job.  This has been a long road, but we are better people for having come through so much together.  Our blessings far outweigh our trials.
We celebrate Christmas and the love of the season!  We feel God's love in the beauty of the world, the relationships we share, and the goodness of others.  May 2014 bring us all-
With love, The McElderrys 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Last Day!

Today is my last day before the C-Section!  I am so very glad nothing has happened up until this point.  I will be ever so glad when this is over and baby is here safe and sound.  We just had him on the monitor and he entertained me with a case of the hiccups!
Surgery is scheduled for about 9:40 AM.  I'm sure they will be prepping me before then and it will take some time before I am back in my room.  I will update when I feel good enough to do so!
Josh and I are still struggling with a name for this lil' guy.
Well, as you can see, I finished the quilt top I've been working on since getting here.  The robots took some time as I had to draw them and create them like paper dolls, then with fabric.  They were fun, but as I ran out of ideas (even with the use of the internet) I made a few rockets which I like.  I'm happy with how it looks and it was good to have something to do.  Although, I am learning that having something to do doesn't mean you aren't bored.  I've been bored several times though I've had my quilt, scrap-booking,  movies, and books.  I have read The Magic or Ordinary Days,  These Is My Words, and Call the Midwife.  These were all worth reading-the first just a quick escape and love story-WWII .  The second was a beautiful love story about a pioneer woman in AZ in the late 1800s.  Sad, and sweet and worth reading for sure.  It is roughly based on the author's grandmother.  The third, Call the Midwife, is amazing!  An amazing memoir of a 1950s midwife in London.  (If you are a sensitive reader skip the chapters on prostitution).  Still, an amazing read!  Let's just say I'm glad to be in 2013 in the US, and to have birth control!  Read it!!
 I finally got Ivan's hospital book together.  I've been saving a pile of stuff since 2007,when he had his brain tumor removed, to put together in a small book for him.  I want to have it for when he asks about his scar.  I've showed him the pictures before, but now they are finally organized!  It was fun to see how much him and Vinny look alike.  Also crazy to think that Ivan was only two when he went through that.  This hospital stay has felt like a cake-walk compared to the stress and worry I had for Ivan at that time.
Not that this has been fun.  I've had some night-mares and anxiety.  Too much free time to think.  But, overall I'm healthy and so is baby so what more can we ask for?
John-David is doing well, although I'm sure he will be glad when he gets to go home.  Some of my favorite phone calls from him included these questions:
When do you shower?
How do you get vomit out of a mattress?
How much milk do you buy each week?
My boys have enjoyed having him.  John made a putt-putt golf course in the basement complete with obstacles!  Overall, the boys are doing ok, though probably a bit moody.  I hope to get back to normal soon, although we will have a new normal now that there will soon be another boy in the house.
Josh is hanging in there-trying to be super dad, a good resident, and still give me some attention.  He's a great guy, and I love him so much.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Day 19

The hospital is getting old.  I crave fresh air.  I had the nurse bring me a fan to at least stir the air and that helped my spirits some.  They boys seem to be handling things well, though Ivan still asks to stay with me.  Uncle John has been a big help, and Josh is doing well.
I've been spending time working on a quilt-a robot quilt.  I get ideas off line, but basically these little guys (some more than others) are creatures of my imagination.

Baby seems to be doing well.  The last ultrasound showed him growing well and he will be at least 5 if not 6 lbs by the 11th.  Only problem is the huge vein near my cervix.   Doctor says she isn't comfortable waiting past the 11th.  It's just not worth the risk.  My anxiety level fluctuates between feeling fine, and just not sure how this is going to go. An imagination can be a blessing or a curse. 

C-Section should be just fine and routine-unless of course they nick the vein.  But, doctor says don't worry, they act quickly and the resuscitation team will be there.  Gee, sure...not worried at all.
All I can say, is I will be glad when this is over.  Physically, this hasn't been bad, but emotionally I am starting to feel worn down.  I just want him here with no craziness involved.  
We continue to be blessed by friends and family. 

Robots can easily start to look like Aliens.  But, that's okay, because I will be using outer space fabric anyway for sashing.

I talked Josh into designing the last one today.  Here is how I interpreted his sketch.  Hope he likes it, I still need to sew it down.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Two Weeks

Well, I've made it two weeks!  Every day baby is stronger!  Today we had an ultrasound and he is a good five pounds now, maybe a little more.  He looks great, and seeing him, hearing him, and counting movements has me falling in love with him more and more.
We are going to have the baby during week 36.  Which will probably mean on the 11th or 12th of March.  That means, just two more weeks here in the hospital!  Most babies do well when born at 36 weeks, especially with the steroid shots.  I am so thankful we have made it this far.  I also continue to be grateful for finding this condition.  Without ultrasound, and the color contrast (that is only sometimes done now) this would have been overlooked.
John and Josh and the four boys are holding strong at the house.  Tonight they called and asked me to look out my window-they were stopped and waving from the van on the side of the road.  Today is one of the few days I haven't seen them.  They miss me, and I miss them.
Hoping the days pass quickly.  Still working on a quilt, and will be starting a new book.  I also have the Harry Potter movies and am thinking of doing a marathon with those while I quilt or scrapbook.  Vinny's first year book is complete!  I was thinking though, that I should start new baby's book while I am here, since I already have ultrasound pictures, cards, etc.
If you are reading this you probably have prayed, sent something,visited, made a meal, watched my boys, or just care.  Thanks to all of you!  Our family needs and appreciates your support.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekend Troubles and Blessings

The weekend was a bit of a mess for awhile.  All I can say, is thank goodness for friends.  There are amazing people in this world.
Josh was on call Friday.  What this means is he goes to work at 6:30 AM and doesn't come home until after rounds on Saturday-usually around 1pm.  He often hasn't slept, or slept very little.  Work has been very kind this last week, but you can't mess with the surgery call schedule-it is a complicated matrix and short of me having the baby, there isn't a way out.
Orlando started throwing up early Friday morning and continued to do so until Sat. morning.  My friend Jill, had agreed to take Vinny on Friday and then all the boys Friday night.  She came over early Friday morning, heard Josh on the phone with me, knew Orlando was barfing-and took him along with Vinny!  She has two small girls, and obviously I didn't want them to get sick, but I really didn't know what we would do.  She simply stated, "oh, my girls could get sick from a grocery cart.  Send him with me."
The next obstacle came Saturday.  Josh's brother, John-David, is coming to stay with Josh and the boys for awhile to get us through this.  His flight went from 1:30 to after 10pm.  Of course, the airport is 45 minutes away, and the boys needed to be in bed-especially Vinny and Orlando-since he was sick.  Again, a friend saved the day.  She came over late, and stayed until the boys could get home-it was after midnight when they finally made it back.
A friend from college, who now lives in Utah with his family ordered us Chinese food on Saturday.  I couldn't believe they ordered food across the country for us.
Too often we hear of the evils of man, the crimes, and horrible things.
I was reminded in many ways of the goodness of other people.  Sure, I have been quite frustrated not being able to take care of my family, but I am also appreciating the wonderful people in my life.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Days 8 and 9

Day 8:  Friend brought by cupcakes.  My boys came for a visit and ate the cupcakes.  Vinny threw a HUGE massive tantrum over not being in charge of his own cupcake and frosting.  He is getting so independent and was mad we took the paper off of it and tried to feed it to him.  Plus he was tired.  He calmed down...later.
Worked on robot quilt with a friend, listened to Call the Midwife  book on CD.
Rough night trying to sleep.
Day 9: Took a morning nap because I was tired, and well, I can do that.  Strange.  So.much.down.time.
Had some visitors :)  I'm feeling loved with the number of people willing to stop by.  Also, Orlando vomited this morning and couldn't go to school.  That made child care more complicated this morning.  Thank goodness for Jill.  She took Vinny as planned AND Orlando.  I owe her big-time.  (Of course, Josh was on call and couldn't be there).
I have no idea where I would be without friends.
Also, a great package today from my sister-in-laws!!!  Yay!  Full of things for the kids to do when they come to my room.  I now have a special "boy-toy-drawer" in my room.  Hopefully, visits will be easier.
P.S. exciting announcement!  The LDS Church announced 58 new missions today!!  One of which divided the mission I served in: Curitiba, Brazil!  So wonderful to see the growth of the Church and the message of the restoration.  So glad I served a small part in that growth.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

One Week

Today marks a week that I was incarcerated-I mean, hospitalized.   I thought I'd share seven things that make this easier.

1. My husband works here.  He can stop by once or twice a day for a few minutes in addition to when he brings the kids at night.  How wonderful to see him and discuss whatever we want!

2. We live close, really close.  So, if I do need something, Josh or a friend can bring it over to me easily.

3. Visitors.  I like people, so visits are nice.

4. It is winter in WI.  We've had more snow and it's been many degrees below freezing.  Despite the good windows, Jack frost was still inside my window pane this morning.  Because of the weather, I'm not missing too much outside.  I'm so glad it is not spring, summer, or fall all of which are quite nice here in Marshfield.

5. I don't have an IV, and I'm not trapped to my bed.  I can walk down the hall, do some limited stretching, and at least move some.

6. Projects:  taxes, Vinny's First Year Book, and a quilt.  I lost my quilt mojo over a year ago, but I'm getting inspired again.  My oldest three have quilts I made them, Vinny doesn't, so I might make Vinny one, and then baby if I get to it.  At least get them cut out and designed.

7.  WIFI.  I can keep in touch with others via this blog and Facebook   Not to mention pay bills, surf the web, and Netflix!  I'm getting hooked on Alias and Lost, never watched either before now.

Okay,there they are: 7 things that help a bad situation be better.  But, without saying the help of friends has been most valuable.  I didn't realize how many friends I had in Marshfield until this happened, so that is also a silver lining.  Josh's brother comes in Saturday and will relieve some pressure from Josh and friends. :)

Finally, this scripture I read this morning touched my heart, "The Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."
Mosiah 24:15

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Day 6

Feb. 19, 2013

Today was very slow at times, but still had some great things.  A friend came by at lunchtime and brought some fun movies, treats, etc.  Another family stopped in, and I got to see my own boys for an hour.  Vinny and I played with an etch-a-sketch-I drew and he erased and said, "bye bye" or "all gone". We did that for several minutes.  The boys are all doing well.  Josh runs a tighter ship than I do, and it is probably good for them to get a strong dose of dad, instead of just push-over mom!
I am working on finishing Vinny's scrapbook.  I only scrapbook their fist year of life, and though Vinny is almost 2, his isn't done.  It will be though!  Probably by the end of tomorrow!  I find watching TV or a movie while scrap-booking to be far less boring than just TV alone.
Finally, my book group called in so I participated via speaker phone.  That was nice to be included!
I will admit though, today was the hardest day yet as far as big stretches of time that seemed to drag.  From am until my friend showed at lunch took forever.  Then, it was another long stretch before my family came.  This evening was full though, and that helps!  I also started crying at random today a few times.  Hormones?  Stress?  Situation?  Yes, I guess so.  I don't feel depressed, but I did feel melancholy for a bit.  Feeling better tonight though, and I continue to be amazed at the help our family is receiving from near and far.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Day Four

Day Four: Sunday February 17, 2013

Well, Sunday was certainly a day of rest!  It was a very slow day.  My highlights were having the sacrament brought by, and my family in the evening.
I go to church every week and take bread and water to remember Jesus.  I have never had it blessed and given to just me, always a congregation.  It was special.  I don't have all the answers, but I do trust in a loving God, and try to be a good person, though I know I fall short.
The boys came last night, and there is a small lounge area here that I can walk to (still on the OB floor).  It had a few toys, a couch, and a table so we turned it into "home" for the evening.  I sure am missing those boys of mine!
I also deleted thousands of emails from all the way back to 2008!  My inbox has never felt so clean!

Today is Day Five and it too is proving slow.  It's 10:40 and my taxes are done!  That was one goal for the day.  I actually filed them incorrectly (left out some income) and had to do an amendment.  It's been a pain, but I believe they are ready to mail in (you can't efile an amendment).  Two states and a rental property, plus Josh did some independent contract stuff made things messy.  Next year should be more straight forward.  Honestly, I'm just glad they are done.

Talked with my high-risk doctor.  She reassured me this is where I need to be, and that baby should be taken at 36 weeks max.  We have an ultrasound on the 27th to determine if the date needs moved up sooner (but it will not be pushed back).  Hopefully, he grows to 36 weeks, then chances of him coming home obviously increase.  He does look so strong and healthy, and despite the circumstances is getting what he needs from the placenta, cord.  I feel like I'm bonding with him more and more.  I get to often hear his heart beat, concentrate on his movements, and ponder what his name will be.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Day 3

My neighbor had the kids while Josh was on call and they came for picnic lunch!

Today I had a visit from my kids!  Vinny loves the taxi cabs here at the hospital and wouldn't get out the entire visit! Mia (neighbor) Ammon, Orlando, Zach, myself, and Ivan enjoying some treats on the couch.
How wonderful for visitors, especially my boys!
Also, a friend brought dinner which was great.
I finished a book, but it is going to be a long month.  However, still enjoying long hot showers without interruption!
Trying to stay positive, today did feel longer than yesterday.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Day 2 Feb. 15

Day 2
Same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse....

No, it hasn't been a bad day at all.  I actually am quite spoiled at the moment.  I have goodies to eat, books to read, and no where to go.  I have had visitors today, and others loving on my kids for me.

Vinny came by for a visit this morning and lit right up to see me.  He cried when he left, and I wish I could hold him and read to him.  I spoke with the other boys on the phone tonight-they are excited for a sleepover since Josh is on call all night.  The school nurse let me know Ivan fell and bumped his head-during Math.  Who needs Math?  He got a black eye last week while sledding at recess and a different bump 2 or 3 weeks ago.  The nurse and I are becoming friends.  I think he is just fine, but it is slightly swollen, we (I mean my friend who has him) will keep an eye on him.  Ivan also asked if he could stay the night with me.  It is good to feel love from my boys who usually just wrestle and complain about chores, and avoid my affection as if I could really spread cooties.  These sweet questions (and Vinny's tears) melt my heart.

Speaking of hearts, I thought I would explain my condition in a little more detail.  My placenta is in the shape of an upside down heart, more rounded than pointy.  The umbilical cord has three main vessels go from the belly button to the placenta and then branch out like spider webs or tree roots.  They go along the surface of the placenta and then dive deep down.  One of these vessels, travels along the top, comes off the placenta all together and hangs like a necklace between the divots (butt cheeks) of this heart shape, it then connects again to the top of the placenta and dives down.  So, baby is getting his needed nutrients through this vein and the other "roots" and is growing well.  The scary thing is that it is so fragile and if it were to have any strain put on it or changes it could rupture.  It carries babies blood, not mine.  Babies this small have about a 5 minute survival window and then sadly, they just don't make it due to blood loss.  Additionally, the placenta planted at the bottom of the uterus vs. the top or side, putting this vessel right above the cervix.  Bad geography!  If there are to be changes it will be an effacing or dilating cervix.  The uterus also will grow, and so is baby, and things can move, so for all these reasons I must sit just outside of an OR.  Just in case.  And I will deliver at 36 weeks because baby will be essentially term and should do okay, and the risk of an early labor too scary.

If Josh has free time, he will come by tonight and sleep on the pull-out in here.  I guess this is his new "on-call" room.  I hope to see him.

Thanks for every one's concern.  I've also been asked to make sure this website is being passed around, and so far we are getting plenty and it is so wonderful to know my family is being taken care of, so thanks to all of you:  It's called and username is McElderry  password is Lara


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Day One: Valentine's Day

I am going to try and blog regularly while here in the hospital.  Perhaps I will even due some catching up?
Anyway, my first day here has gone well.  I got exactly what a mom would want for Valentine's Day:  A break from the kids, no little ones joining me in the bathroom, control of the remote, no cleaning or cooking, and flowers and chocolate!  But, my favorite was this poem from Josh: (we got 6 inches of snow last night, and it was his first night to be solo with the boys).

Happy Valentine's Day today.
How terrible, a half foot of snow!
It is only a flurry compared to the fury
of your childs' and my last night's row.

Tears and screams and crying heard
at increased decibels!
Those sweet little children, I'm sure come
straight from hell!

The basement is clean. The children are too.
I didn't go too berserk.
But still I inquire with little to no ire,
When are you returning to work?

Another sweet moment was my card to Ammon.  It said that I loved him more than chocolate.  Josh asked Ammon about it, stating how much mom LOVES chocolate.  Ammon responded with, "I understand dad because I love Vinny more than chocolate!"
I guess sweet moments like that can make up for Ivan breaking Orlando's elbow last week?!

No changes here at the hospital.  Had the second of two steroid shots for baby lungs and learned a few bed rest exercises from the physical therapist.  Many people helping us with meals and child care, and we are looking forward to John-Davids visit that will calm the schedules and shuffling down.

Love to all,

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Room 244, St. Joseph's Hospital

Well, I've got good news and bad news.   The bad news is that I am hospitalized for what will likely be a month.  In two weeks, we do another ultrasound, chances of things changing are small, and we set a due date for around March 11th (should be April 8).  So I'm here for a month, then a C-section and pray for a strong baby.
The good news is Josh is on a lighter rotation for February.  We may get some family coming in about 10 days (Josh's brother followed by his mom-I think, I hope).  Until then, phone calls are already starting for friends and church family willing to help. 

The bad news is there is vasculature directly over my cervix that is holding baby blood.  If anything happens to disturb this we have only a matter of minutes to keep baby alive.  It is a condition called Vasa  Previa.

The good news is I have a history of four births, none of which were early, so it is unlikely my water will suddenly break, or labor will start.   It is also unlikely that the vein would just rupture on its own.

The bad news is I'm stuck here because the "what if" is just too great of a risk, and the good news is he is around 4.5 lbs already.

I had a steroid shot for his lungs, and will get another tomorrow.  We monitor the baby on occasion, and I take it easy. I'm allowed to walk to the shower, but not leave the floor.  I also worry about my kids and my husband-his work and schedule.