Monday, September 26, 2011

What's been going on? Ok, here goes. . .

I have been so overwhelmed by the changes in our lives that I just couldn't bear to face this blog and start the long process of explanation. I decided I'll just do a synopsis and hope it will satisfy anyone out there that is still checking every once in awhile.

--On Christmas Eve, my Mom was taken to the hospital because she was extremely disoriented and not communicating well. After speaking with our family, it was decided that I would go (with Jack--then 6 months old) to help her get to SLC to have brain surgery. Since I am pretty useless with a humongous baby always on my hip, we also decided John should come with us. We were able to go the next day (yes, Christmas) and get her out of the hospital and back home for a few nights before we took her to Salt Lake. Funny side story: Mom was really disoriented from her tumor and was constantly up and down during the first night at home. I slept on the couch so that I would hear her come into the kitchen, which she did every hour or so, puttering around looking for things, trying to wash the dishes, take her medicine, press random buttons on the microwave, etc. At one point I was awakened from my uneasy slumber by a VERY loud alarm, followed by a voice calling from the darkness: "Mrs. Rust, what is your emergency?" I spoke to the voice, "Let me check on her!" expecting the worst and I went in her room and she was putting on lipstick. At 3 am. I guess she was messing around with the things in her purse and she pushed her alert necklace that goes to the call center. I told them it was a mistake and took Mom's necklace away from her while she continued to get dressed and put on earrings and makeup. It was a very surreal experience. We got to see my Dad while we were there in St. George. His Alzheimer's had progressed a lot and he barely even looked up at all while we were there. He did, however, acknowledge baby Jack by wiggling his fingers and smiling at him once. I will forever be grateful for that tender mercy.

--We flew with Mom to SLC and met my sister there where she took over her care (including her insulin shots which I made John do while we were in charge, seriously I was useless). She had the surgery and we stayed one more day, seeing her before we left. She was still very disoriented, but also extremely agitated. She chanted things that made no sense, her voice rising in pitch and intensity so that it was heartbreaking. My sisters who took care of her after I left were wonderful, I don't think I could have borne it for long.

--A few days after we got home, my dad fell. They think he may have fainted. He broke his cheekbone and was pretty bruised. He had a great physical set back, and "lost" his ability to swallow. We kept him on iv fluids for several days, hoping he would rebound, but it soon became apparent that he would not. His advance directive clearly stated that he did NOT want to have his life prolonged in ANY way, including feeding tubes and iv's. So we unhooked the iv and he passed away a few days later. It was a very emotional time for me (obviously), and the kids took it pretty hard too. But with lots of encouragement and help from our wonderful friends, we got through the funeral and felt better after.

--After much debate and many hours of conference calls with my siblings, we moved my Mom to North Carolina to be closer to family, specifically my brother Dayle. She was doing a little better, and now understood that Dad was gone (she was not lucid at the time of his passing or his funeral). We went to visit her in April, and she was content, peppy, and quite lucid, almost her normal self. We went on long walks in the spring sunshine. She played with Jack and carried on (somewhat disjointed) conversations. We were sure she would last several more years in that state, and went home very happy. I will also forever be grateful for that wonderful week we were able to spend together.

--A few weeks later, she started acting strangely aggressive, and Dayle took her in to get an MRI and they found several small tumors. She had been quite clear that she did not want ANY more treatment--no radiation, definitely no surgery, and not even steroids. We prepared to watch her slowly deteriorate. She saved us that burden by slipping away quietly in her sleep just a week later. Only four months after my Dad. It really was a blessing, but I still haven't quite come to grips with the fact that I'm an orphan. All ten of us children without the guidance of a parent anymore. I will have to be content with the fact that they had a long, productive life and they taught us so much and now we all just have to lean on each other.

That's about all I want to say about that for now. I'll try to post again soon, giving the whole story about how we landed in Virginia.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Busy busy

Jack is growing older. He can now walk, crawl, wave, clap, yell, scream, give great hugs, find the tiniest scrap of trash and taste it, play in the basement with his siblings, and over all be a joy to the whole family. A friend of ours mentioned how much he looks like Kevin, and we agree.

Notice how the corner of the paper is eaten. Jack loves eating paper and its a battle to ensure all paper is out of reach!

In the matter of a few months he got 7 teeth! This is a goofy fun face but it shows off his teeth, so I added it.

Our baby is eating real food! Wow how time goes by quickly...soon we'll have to stop calling him the "baby" and start calling him the "toddler"

Here is Jack and Kevin hanging out together, donning the cool pj's!

Here are each of our kids at 8 or 9 month old. Can you tell who is who? Who looks most alike?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I know I'm lazy. . .

But here are a few pictures instead of doing a real post. If anyone out there is still checking my blog every once in awhile.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Some quick pictures

Life is good. Jack is the perfect baby, no joke. Good sleeper, good eater, smiley and happy, healthy. We have had some visitors who all agree with me, or at least they were too afraid I would kick them out if they didn't agree. John's new job is interesting and not too stressful. He also got a new calling at church as an early-morning seminary teacher. The other kids are all having a fun summer with lots of swimming and other activities. Our niece Caitlin is staying with us to help out. We went to Six Flags on Saturday and had fun until we were ready to drop.

The only thing I can complain about is our basement flooded on Tuesday. Our sump pump failed and our battery backup pump worked its little heart out until the battery went dead. Luckily, the kids found out quickly that the basement was wet, and Caitlin called John who works only 15 minutes away and he got home fast and stopped the flood. We're still in the clean up process, but it's moving along just fine.

Here are some cute pictures. We take a picture on their month-birthday, so you can see Jack's growth.

Isn't Jack the cutest chubby-wubby baby that there ever was?

And doesn't Kevin look so grown up with his summer cut? It's the first time we've buzzed his hair. John did it right after the baby was born and it has been great to not have to worry about his hair. Now if only I could do the same to Hannah. . . .

Monday, June 14, 2010

Jack's Story

***ALERT*** This post is for my birthing buddies, who are interested in the minute details of birth. This post definitely contains TMI (too much info) for the casual reader, so if that is you, scroll down to the lovely pictures and don't worry about the gory details of Jack's birth.

Jack was due on May 28th, a Friday. On Thursday, I went for my 40 week check and she said I was about 2 cm, but 0% effaced. That was a little discouraging, but I wasn’t too surprised. I talked to a lot of people about what to do to encourage some softening and dilating, and one friend suggested (and provided!) evening primrose oil. I used it Friday morning, and by Friday afternoon, I lost my mucus plug and then later started having some bloody show. I also had several strong contractions. That night, I woke up with some pretty intense contractions that were about 10 minutes apart for 2 or 3 hours. I thought for sure this would be the night. But they never got closer, and eventually I fell asleep between contractions and didn’t time them any more, but I think they were about every 30 minutes. This continued Saturday night, Sunday night, Monday night and Tuesday night. I obviously was not getting much sleep. Every night I thought “This is it!” but then they would slow down and even almost stop by morning. They were pretty hard too—I didn’t sleep through them. I had to breathe and sometimes even moan during them. During the day I would have some, but not like those episodes at night.

On Wednesday, I went to a baby shower lunch for two friends who are due soon. I ate A LOT. I was pretty uncomfortable, feeling huge, having some contractions, but nothing to be alarmed about. About an hour after I got home (about 3 pm), I went to try and take a nap, but the contractions started up again super strong, about 9-10 minutes apart. I timed them, but they didn’t get closer together or stronger. At almost 5 pm, I called John and told him to not dilly-dally on his way home, just in case this was it. It felt a little different, but I still wasn’t sure. They stayed steadily at 8-9 minutes apart, so I thought it would be a long time still. Suddenly at about 6:30 as John, Denise and the kids were eating dinner (I couldn’t even think about food at that point), they started being about 5 minutes apart. But some of them weren’t very strong or long at all. Easily bearable. So I still wasn’t convinced this was actual labor. By about 7:15, I said we should probably start getting ready to go over to the hospital because I was pretty sure it was labor, even with the mini-contractions I was having. We got everything set, got the kids ready for bed and had prayer with them, then headed out at about 8:15. The hospital is pretty far away, and by the time they got me checked in, dressed in a gown and checked my cervix, it was about 9:15. The nurse said I was at 5 cm, with a bag of waters bulging out! I couldn’t believe it. I think I had been in the early stages of labor for 5 days. With all my babies, it takes me hours and hours to get to 5, then from 5 to 10 takes about an hour. I told the nurse that, and she took me seriously and called my midwife immediately. We called Denise to tell her to come over quickly, and my doula Sarah too. The nurse wanted me to do antibiotics because I was GBS positive. I told her it wouldn’t do much good since I was pretty sure to have a baby in an hour, with no time for the antibiotics to work. My midwife Deb got there very quickly, then Sarah soon followed. Deb talked me into the antibiotics, though I wish now I had stuck to my original plan. Getting the I.V. in while I was having these super-intense contractions was just a nightmare. I was tense and the vein blew, they had to really hold my arm down to get it in. I was crying from emotion, pain, and overwhelming feelings. It was pretty hard and fast now, Deb and Sarah helped create a calm environment with low lights, no nurse interventions like blood pressure or temp, and suggesting different positions. I was totally out of it, they would suggest standing up and I did what they suggested, but it hurt. So I’d try something else for the next one, and THAT would hurt. Yeah, that’s because I was dilating 1 cm per contraction by then, it didn’t matter what position I was in, they were all bad.

We were all expecting my water to break any second, but it never did. I laid on the bed for one contraction, and afterward said “I think I’m going to need . . .” and Deb knew right away I needed something to throw up into. I heaved a few times, and was happy to realize transition was here. One more contraction, then felt like I needed to pee. I had to swear to Deb I would not try to push out the baby while I was on the toilet. But after I peed, I had a contraction there, and at the very end, felt the need to push. Deb heard me and said “Are you pushing?!” and ushered me back to the bed. I lay on my side and she had me push a few times. Up to this point, Deb had never checked me, but only watched me and listened to my moans to gauge where I was. Those few pushes were pretty tentative on my part (at least compared to the later ones), and I don’t think they did much.

Deb checked me and said I was almost complete when not having a contraction, and that she was sure I was complete during them. She asked if I wanted her to break the water so the baby’s head would put more pressure on the cervix. I said yes. Immediately as she broke the water, I had the most intense contraction ever and I said “No, no, don’t!” thinking, I don’t know, maybe she could put the water back in or something. Obviously THAT wasn’t going to happen and I pushed a lot stronger than I had been. At least it felt like it to me. Up to now, the baby had been tolerating the pushing fairly well—having decelerations, but the heart rate would come back up in between contractions. Now, the decels were going lower and staying very low. Deb told me very seriously to use all my force to push him out quickly. This is when Denise finally got to us. That was the first thing she heard, and she grew immediately concerned about the baby. The next three or so pushes, I worked harder than I ever have in my life, using every ounce of strength I had to push that boy out. During the pushes, I remember thinking “WHY does this hurt SO MUCH more than when Kevin was born???” Now I know it’s because he was almost 3 pounds bigger than Kevin. In between pushes, Deb continued to quietly and seriously tell me I REALLY needed to push with all my strength and not hold back because he was not doing well. I remember crying and saying “I’m trying!” and thinking I could not work any harder than I was. John said he could see the baby crowning during those pushes, but that his head seemed enormous and never-ending. Deb said she was going to cut a little episiotomy during the next push so he would come out. At that point, I was ready to agree to anything to help him along. She only cuts in 1-2% of her mothers, so I trusted her judgment completely. So the next push, she cut, and he practically flew out. Everyone said “WOW!” when he came out because he looked so big, but I couldn’t tell what the big deal was. She put him right up on my chest and I held him and he looked normal to me. The nurse rubbed him gently (not all rough) and he gave a little cry, but didn’t seem too traumatized. The nurse said “I should take him and check him out” but Deb hadn’t cut the umbilical cord and she said “Look at him, he’s fine, he’s strong, he can stay right there!” and I was just crying in happiness being able to hold him and keep him with me.

When they finally did take him to weigh him, and they said 10 pounds, 14 ounces it was totally surreal. “WHAT??” They measured again, same results. We couldn’t believe it. Then, 22 ½ inches. Well, at least he’s proportioned. His head is huge, all the nurses commented on it. They couldn’t believe there was no molding. His head was perfectly round and gorgeous. During the second to last push, I felt something pop and had a lot of pain in my tailbone. I don’t know exactly what injury it is, but it is extremely painful. His big head has just about killed me.

A lot of people have said they are amazed I did it naturally, but I think if I had had an epidural, I wouldn’t have been able to push him out. I probably would have ended up with a c-section. So I’m so glad I chose not to. I don’t know why or how this kid got so big, since my others were all 8 pounds, and I didn’t have gestational diabetes. I wonder if he is going to kind of even out, or if he’ll always be big for his age. He is so far a very mellow and content baby. He sleeps pretty well and is gaining back the weight he had lost after delivery. And of course, he’s the cutest baby ever.

One thing I learned from Jack’s birth is that a woman’s body is incredibly strong. I’m not a very strong person ordinarily, but during his birth, I probably could have lifted a car if someone told me that was what I had to do to get him out. The feeling of power and strength was amazing. If I can do it, ANYONE can.

Here are some pictures of our newest Sapp. The first two are the professional pictures they take at the hospital.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Jack is here

Just a few pictures to announce the arrival of Jack born on June 2 weighing a whopping 10 lbs 14 oz and 22.5 inches long. Both Jack and Lajuana are doing well and are due to come home Saturday morning. Jack is a very mild baby so far and it has been nothing but a treat to have him join our family. Lajuana is amazing having delivered Jack all natural. His hair is light brown almost reddish, exactly how Garrett's hair was when he was born. So we are expecting Jack will have nice blond hair like Garrett or maybe a little darker.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

At Last

I'm very pleased to say that I (John) found a great job! After interviewing around the country I ended up finding a great fit with a company called Nalco. I'm in the global headquarters which happens to be of all places right here in our town! So no moving any time soon for us. My position is Product Manager, basically managing the marketing and strategy of industrial products that are used in water systems. Without getting too detailed I'll be able to combine my heating and cooling, engineering, and MBA experience for this position...exactly what I was hoping for.

I started the job on Monday of this week but something else very important happened Saturday May 15, my graduation! After a stressful 18 months with no breaks, I finished my MBA at the University of Notre Dame. When I began the program I asked our Heavenly Father to help me out so that I can do well and take the most from this opportunity to learn. The experiences and friendships I have gained have truly been a blessing to me. My class was cohort style so I took all my classes with the same group of people who became a close group of friends and teammates. I'm on the right side of the group picture with my head above the others.

I never would have thought it but I guess the windows of heaven were opened because I was blessed to do well in my classes and ended up graduating Magna Cum Laude and inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society.

I have to say that none of this would have been even remotely possible without the amazing support and constant sacrifice that Lajuana and the kids have made. Lajuana never ever made me feel that I was less of a father or husband because of the extreme time devotion I had to spend getting that project done, prepare for a presentation, or get ready for that impossible exam. She is an amazing woman and I truly believe I am who I am because of her. The business school sanctioned the use of an honorary certificate called the "Master of Patience", she earned it with Summa Cum Laude honors.

To celebrate my graduation we had my entire family come in from across the country. It was a blast seeing my family and having them stay with us. My younger brother Jason was in Iraq when I graduated with my bachelors degree and so this is the first time we could all be together in 8 years! Below is a picture of my brothers and my sister. The one below that is of the entire family. We sure did have a great time.