Posted (jooosh) in All Posts on September-5-2012

“I’ll take that as a rhetorical question.”

Yup, that’s what I asked and that’s what the doctor said. But before I go any further, let me share some details that led up to this conversation.

Some of you have asked if we wanted to have more kids. I think there has always been a desire to, but it has never come about in a positive way. We tried for five years before having Ella and after a rough time dealing with a miscarriage the motivation wasn’t real high.

Tina and I have talked about it off and on, but we hand’t really committed to it. We discussed it more seriously last Christmas thinking that, if we’re going to give it a go we need to soon as time is of the essence. We will both be turning 40 in 2012 so in our minds, this was our last hurrah.

Tina had discussed it with her doctor earlier this year and he had recommended we go to a fertility specialist if we really wanted to try again. This would be our best bet considering the challenges we’ve had in the past, plus the fact that Tina was not on any regular cycle.

We hadn’t really considered anything too invasive when it came to getting pregnant. We figured if it was meant to be, it would happen. Well, the new company that purchased my previous employer the first of the year offered great benefits for fertility assistance. With that in mind, maybe this was the “meant to be” that could make it happen.

Tina was planning on setting up an appointment with the clinic, but I was working from home that day so she didn’t get a chance to before we went to lunch together. We went out to grab a bite, and after she asked if we could stop by the store on the way home. So we ran into the store and I noticed she was going down the feminine product isle. Needless to say I started heading another direction when what I saw in her hand caught my eye…

A pregnancy test.

Uhhh…we hadn’t gone to the clinic yet and she was supposed to make her appointment that afternoon. What the freak? Where the tests on sale or something???

Tina then informed me that while her cycle hasn’t been regular, she’s never gone this long without having it. Wow…could it be!!??!! I was trying not to get too excited, which is why Tina originally wanted to take the test on the down low, but there was no getting around it now. I knew too much! HAH

After getting home, we booked it upstairs and I waited for Tina to perform the preverbal “peeing on a stick”.

We waited…longest 5 minutes ever.

It looked…positive?? This test was kinda defective, so we weren’t 100% sure, but we were pretty sure. The next morning Tina took another…and yes…it showed positive!!! Holy cramole!!!


So, we’re pregnant, but that’s also real scary for us considering our history. After losing the previous boy, Tina’s doctor had given us hope that the defects were random lighting strikes and were not likely to happen again. We were still hesitant, but it was the words he followed up with that really stuck in my mind, “It would be my honor to deliver your next baby”. Wow…what a statement.

Instead of calling the fertility clinic, Tina had scheduled a follow up appointment with her OBGYN. We wanted to verify the pregnancy and make sure things were ok, at least as far as we could tell.

We went to see her doctor and they did an ultrasound and performed some other initial tests (7 weeks along). The doctor came in to review things with us and the first words out of my mouth were, “How did this happen??!!”. “I’ll take that as a rhetorical question”, he replied with a smile.

Well…I knew HOW it happened, but it just seemed very unlikely considering how long we had tried AND the fact that Tina was not having a regular cycle. So it really was “meant to be”!

So far, all looked good with the pregnancy, but it was really too early to confirm any other potential defects. This would happen during the 12 and 20 week checkups. All we could do in between that time was trust and pray. Trust that God was fully in control, and pray that our child was whole.

The 12 week checkup came: All looked good and all tests that could be verified came back negative. So far…so good.

The 20 Week checkup came: This was very nerve-wracking as it was at Ella’s 20 week ultrasound where we found out she had CDH. The radiologist who had been with us thorugh all our previous scans was no longer at the pratice, so this made the process even more agonizing. Ultrasounds are supposed to be a happy exciting time for a mother and father, but it never has been for us. From the time we walked in the room, it was very emotional and the tech didn’t know all of our history.

She began the test, and SLOWLY gave us the news…all looked good…EXCEPT…she didn’t get a clear picture of the heart. The baby was turned and the spine was blocking the shot. Oye, we needed this info, but the baby was not cooperating. So we left the exam room, but once Tina’s doctor heard we couldn’t get the image, he pulled some strings and got us back in for another ultrasound within an hour.

How did the second ultrasound look? All looked good, heart, lungs, DIAPHRAGM!! And…IT’S A BOY!!!

So are you ready for the real curveball…

Tina is due in less than 7 weeks!!!!! October 23rd is her due date. We waited SO long to even tell family. Most didn’t know until we visited them in California when Tina was already 24 weeks along! The other side didn’t find out until the family reunion we hosted, when she was 28 weeks!

At this time, the boy continues to show all signs of being healthy. We’re very excited, shocked, blown away, thrilled, nervous…the list goes on.

So…that’s the “How did this happen??!!” news.

Speaking of visiting California, we took a two week trip to the West Coast during the 4th of July holiday. Our close friend “Aunt” Karen came along with us to both help with Ella and enjoy some vacation as well.

It was a fantastic trip which included Ella’s first time to Disneyland and the beach! Ella did so great at Disneyland and was more engaged that we could have hoped. Her first ride was the Jungle Cruise and she was just enamored! So cool as we had no idea how she would react or if she would even enjoy it. We even took her on Pirates of the Caribbean. Yeah…Dad pushed a little to get her on that one, but she still did good.

We also had a great time at the beach. At first, Ella was hesitant to even touch the sand, but after awhile she shoved her hands and toes right in!

On the way back to Colorado, we took a little detour in Las Vegas for a couple nights. We scored a two bedroom suite at Vdara and we all enjoyed the view.

On top of Ella having a lot of firsts on the vacation, Karen did too. It was her first time to Disneyland, the California beach, and Las Vegas! This made the trip that much more fun and extra special.

Life was pretty bananas once we got back from vacation. Ella’s nanny of the last year was moving back to Kansas so we had to find a replacement. We were hosting Tina’s family reunion, on her dad’s side, in early August which we had to get ready for. We had a rental property that we had to turn for a new tenant. PLUS we celebrated a major milestone.

What is that milestone I speak of: Ella Renae West turned 5 years old on July 24th! What day to celebrate a miracle girl and the 5 amazing years she’s been with us. Praise God for all the blessing and challenges we’ve gone through. As it just so happens, Ella’s nanny shared the same birthday so we all celebrated with a trip to the zoo, balloons and a birthday cake.

We also got Ella a little swimming pool which was a first for her. Very fun.

Knowing that the nanny was leaving us, we’d been looking for a replacement for weeks. Tina had screened dozens of nanny’s and after that we interviewed quite a few in person as well. It was so challenging. We could not find the right fit for Ella. Some didn’t have the desired skills and others had either accepted another offer or even flaked out on the interview! It was so disappointing, and it was all coming down to the wire.

Side note: God works in funny ways in these kind of circumstances. Just when we think things are not going to work out, HE works them out better than we could have imagined.

With that said and long story short, Tina’s mom has agreed to move out to Colorado and take care of Ella! What a deal! Right now she’s staying with us, but come October, Tina’s mom and stepdad will be moving out to Colorado. Ella’s grandma has been taking care of her the last few weeks and she’s doing FANTASTIC! It’s SO great having family here to help out. What a blessing!

Right before Tina’s mom arrived, we had the Snyder family reunion. What a wonderful time to catch up and enjoy family. Most of the time was just spent in the kitchen or on the patio talking. The weather TOTALLY cooperated too as we had 75 degree days during the time everyone was here.

We even took out the whole family in the RV to enjoy the sites around Denver.

After the reunion it was time to start getting the house ready for the new bundle. Tina has really been in a nesting mood and I’m doing what I can to get things swapped around for her.

Our main guest room is going to be the baby room so we had to shuffle a few things around. A bunch of furniture was moved out of Ella’s room. We moved Tina’s office downstairs, and we turned her old office into a guest room. The biggest change came for Ella as she has graduated from her crib right into a queen size bed! Heck of a move up for the kiddo. We did add side rails to keep her from rolling off but she’s not even shown signs that she would.

Either way, she’s taken right to having a big-girl-bed! So that segway leads right into this question…

How’s the BUN doing??!!!

Overall she’s doing great. She had a GI appointment in the third week of July. They wanted us to increase her caloric intake so we added more prescription juice to her diet. The juice/water combo will give her another 250 calories per day. We’ve seen the weight gain over the weeks so it is working.

Ella is also making good progress with new foods being introduced. Previously, it was just a couple items like Cheetoes and such being rubbed around her mouth. Now she is actually eating some small quantity of food! Very small amounts, like an ounce or so, but still she is letting the therapist take a spoon and put it in her mouth! Right now, the items she’s eating includes:

  • Graham crackers dipped in melted ice cream
  • Pureed chicken noodle soup
  • Cheddar cheese soup
  • Brown gravy with extra salt!
  • Ranch dressing
  • Mushed bananas blended with maple syrup

While she doesn’t actually eat the following, she still likes cheetos, triscuits, wheat thins and veggie sticks run across her bottom teeth, including the french fries from In-N-Out.

School has also started up again, which Ella doesn’t go to in person, but some of her therapies have now increased. She now has:

  • OT is now up to 2x per week
  • Speech is 2x per week
  • Physical therapy is 1x per week
  • School District is 2x per week

Something we’re also very excited about is a dedicated communication device for Ella. It has now been funded and we have received it! There were some challenges around the software that was delivered with it, but hopefully we’ll get that resolved soon. This way the therapist to get it set up and we can start moving forward.

Ella has also recently figured out how to open doors! While this is great progress for her, it is now posing a challenge as she gets into the pantry and could take a tumble down the basement stairs! I guess I had to baby proof the place at some point, it was just delayed for her, but out just right for the new bundle on the way =).

One other thing to call out about our 5 year old is that she has acquired quite a shoe fetish. She constantly wants to keep trying on shoes, and if you don’t get the right ones, she’ll make you keep trying till you do. Heck, she even wanted to try on cousin Pete’s shoe’s during the reunion!

One bit of not so good news is that Ella has started having a dry cough over the last 2 weeks. It’s becoming more frequent and is now paired with some retching. We’ve also increased her O2 as she hasn’t been saturating as well. We’re guessing that the increase in her fluid intake could be to blame but we’re not 100% sure just yet. We’re trying a couple things, like going back to her old regiment, to try and rule things out, but we’ll just have to see. We’re hopeful that it’s just that and nothing else major. Please pray that it is nothing more and we can find the right balance to have it resolve on its own.

It’s been a heck of a journey the last 5 years with Ella. A new journey begins soon and we’re not sure how Ella is going to take it. She doesn’t understand or even recognize that mommy is pregnant. I think Ella will only realize that she has a brother once he is taking mommy and daddy’s attention away from her. Hopefully she’ll behave no different than any other 5 year old, which could be a good or bad thing. =)

Thanks for letting us share our journey with you. Blessings to you and yours as we approach the fall season and the anticipation of our new arrival!

P.S. On September 3rd, Tina and I celebrated 22 years of being together. =)