The verses that have REALLY spoken to me (Sarah) lately....
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock." Matthew 7:24-25
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. I Peter 5:8-9
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' Acts 17:26-28
May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14
So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess. Deuteronomy 5:32-33
God, our God, will take care of the hidden things but the revealed things are our business. It's up to us and our children to attend to all the terms in this Revelation. Deuteronomy 29:29 (The Message)
We are Marc, Sarah, Luke, and Kate Friesen. We were married June 5, 2004. We have one son, born July 21, 2008, named Luke Andrew -- now 4 years old. We also have a daughter named Kate Christine -- born June 6, 2012. Marc is working at Cessna as a Senior Accountant, and Sarah stays home full-time with Luke. Sarah also gets to work very part-time at home for Graber Backhoe -- an excavation company AND VERY part-time at our church. We LOVE being a part of Grace Community Church here in Newton, KS. We lead a Community Life Group of other wonderful couples. Marc thoroughly enjoys long-distance running and Taekwondo. Sarah thoroughly enjoys walking -- especially when the weather is nice to take Luke and/or out in the stroller. Thanks for reading our blog!
A couple of weeks ago, Marc, as he frequently does when I'm out exercising, was putting Luke to bed. He noticed that Luke had quite a few mosquito bites on his back. He mentioned it to me. I wondered where and why he had so many. Mosquitoes haven't been that "thick" this year. And, Luke typically doesn't get "attacked" by mosquitoes.
The next morning, I looked at them. I thought it was a bit odd, but I proceeded with putting some anti-itch gel on them. Luke was complaining that they itched.
The next evening, I was, once again, out exercising. Marc put Luke to bed. When I got back home, Marc told me that he didn't think they were mosquitoes. They were starting to look a bit different. Marc looked them up online. The ONLY thing that matched the description was chicken pox (or varicella).
My response: "Luke's been vaccinated. He shouldn't be getting chicken pox." Marc proceeded to tell me that he thought that if anymore appeared, we should call the doctor.
The next morning, I noticed that a few more "spots" had appeared on his shoulder. I was still in a bit of disbelief that it could be chicken pox because of the vaccination. That afternoon, I called my mom to ask her opinion. Without actually seeing them, she obviously couldn't make too much of a judgement, but she too laughingly said they sounded like chicken pox. She suggested I call the doctor's office simply to see if they knew if they happened to be going around. Later that afternoon, I had my trusty neighbor, J, look at them -- J happens to be a retired nurse. She too thought they looked like chicken pox. She suggested we take him to the immediate care just to see -- simply because he would already be and continue to be contagious.
So, that evening, Marc and I (with Kate in tow) took Luke to our local immediate care. The doctor working that evening (who happens to be our family physician) took one look at them, laughed, and said, "Those most certainly do look like chicken pox. I haven't seen this in roughly 10 years -- since vaccinations for varicella have started. Let me look up what the latest 'protocol' is on this."
Obviously, there's nothing that can really be done for chicken pox. The doctor did go on ahead and put Luke on an anti-viral medication since we have a small infant in the house. It took him a bit to figure out the correct dosage. He said (again, laughingly), "I've never prescribed this for a kid. I usually am prescribing this for somebody older who has shingles." Later on, we did call our friend, Allen, a pharmacist, with a couple of questions about the medication.
SO, SORRY to those of you we may have exposed. Luke was definitely contagious before we knew anything. AND, I have absolutely NO idea where he picked the chicken pox up. Luke normally doesn't get sick. How his body couldn't find this off WITH a vaccine but his body fights so much else off, I don't know.
Therefore, all last week, I pretty much had to keep Luke quarantined. So, I spent time thinking about local places/things to do where Luke (or Kate) would not be around other kids to expose -- all in or around our little town. I came up with nature walks -- one on the campus of Bethel College (Sand Creek Trail) and the other one at the Kauffman Museum. (Both of these are in North Newton, KS) I also took him to a local church with a playground where, sadly, I never see kids playing at. But, in this case, the fact that there are never any kids there was an advantage.
I can say that we made it through our week of being quarantined. We're reasonably certain all of Luke's chicken pox are on the recovery and he's no longer contagious. We honestly looked closely at them to make sure. They were to all be scabbed over.
Our other concern was Kate. The doctor told us to keep Luke away from his sister. Marc and I laughed. First, by the time he said that to us, Luke was already contagious and had already kissed Kate and was most definitely in her face (as usual). Second, they live in the same household, breathing the same air. So, we did nothing really to protect Kate from Luke.
Fortunately, most of what I read about chicken pox and infants is that typically, infants under one year often either don't get chicken pox or get a very mild case of it. They're still living with a lot of immunity from their mother. We never noticed any spots on Kate. So apparently, she didn't get them.
Fortunately, Luke had a very mild case of the chicken pox. He probably only had about 40 bumps on his body (compared to the possibility of 200 or so). He NEVER ran a fever. He acted fine -- NEVER acted sick at all. (And the last four pics were taken at a park the afternoon he was diagnosed -- before we knew. Sorry if your child was exposed). Whooo....we made it through a chicken pox ordeal pretty easy. The worst part -- having to miss our church's 25th anniversary celebration. Marc and I really wanted to be there! But, we had a nice evening together as a family instead :)
In true "Sarah" fashion, I'm just now posting about Luke's 4th birthday -- which was way back on July 21. I could use the fact that I have a new baby in the house as an excuse, but that would be just an excuse. After all, I'm certainly not the only blogger with a new baby.
Luke had been saying for quite awhile that he wanted a "plane party." So, after only a short time of searching, I was able to purchase an "airplane party kit" from Celebrate Express. (Some of you may just be CRINGING at the fact that I purchased party supplies instead of making them. BUT, I'm just not the crafty, "Pinterest" type....SO, I purchase things for a party). Included in this kit were invitations. Unfortunately, with being busy with a new baby and all, I didn't realize the invitations were there until the day of the party. But, I filled one out to keep in Luke's scrapbook
I had the fabulous cake decorator, Julie, decorate a cake for Luke -- like the napkins that came in the "kit."
Our wonderful neighbor, V, gave us these VERY CUTE wooden airplanes to use. I used them as table decorations, and then, Luke and his cousins got to keep one each.
Also, to avoid cooking, especially in the heat (it was roughly 108 degrees the day of Luke's birthday), we ordered sub sandwiches for everybody at Wal-Mart.
And, the eating table and decorations....
Some things Luke received included a backpack (with an airplane on it), a water gun (the ultimate prize from his uncle, aunt, and cousins), a "Memory" game, and some snacks.
I keep mentioning kids and people in this post....We kept Luke's party small again. We have intentionally chosen not to have a "friend" party yet. That will come soon enough (probably next year). Luke's SO content with family around. So, Luke's guests were both sets of grandparents, his aunt and uncle, his cousins, and of course, us.
Lastly, since it was so hot, we did the same thing as the previous two birthdays -- went to the sprinkler park. Actually, I can't say "we" because I stayed home with Kate (it was MUCH TOO hot). Marc's parents stayed home with Kate and me since they're elderly and really shouldn't be out in the heat either. It gave Marc's mom a quiet time to sit and hold Kate. Since I wasn't there, I didn't get any pics. But, if you check out my PREVIOUS POST, there is a pic of Luke at the sprinkler park this summer.
Happy 4th Birthday Luke! We LOVE YOU A LOT! We look forward to what this next year brings. While 4 has proven to be a whole lot of fun....4 has also proven to have some challenges. BUT, I guess that's parenting any stage, right?
So, before Kate gets to be a year old, I figured I better post about her birth. Some of you have been asking so politely, and finally, I'm obliging! (Sorry it's taken so long, Melissa).
Kate Christine Friesen
June 6, 2012
6 lb. 4 oz.
Here's the interesting (and somewhat dramatic story)....
If you read my previous post, you know that I was having a few "issues" with my blood pressure. Per my doctor's orders, I was monitoring my blood pressure at home.
The weekend before what was ultimately Kate's birth (unbeknownst to us at the time), I was, as usual, monitoring my blood pressure. Throughout that weekend, I was noticing that my blood pressure was slowly creeping up even more than what it had been -- which was concerning. What REALLY was bugging me about it was that we truly took it easy that weekend. I pretty much sat or layed around ALL weekend. We even skipped church as a result of my rising blood pressure.
Finally, that Sunday evening, I called my doctor. Unfortunately, my doctor was out of town that weekend, but I was connected to a different doctor (whom I know is good). She had me go into the hospital for observation. So, after my mom arrived to watch Luke, Marc and I went into the hospital. Of course, at the hospital, my blood pressure went down to normal, and my blood work came back normal. I was sent home after a couple of hours with a nice jug to collect ALL of my urine for 24 hours. (TMI, I'm sorry)....They were ultimately checking for pre-eclampsia. If you don't know about pre-eclampsia, click on the link....it's weird and SCARY.
The next day, Monday, June 4, I went into Wichita for an appointment with a maternal-fetal specialist while my friend Karen stayed home with Luke (thanks SO MUCH, Karen). My doctor sent me to this specialist because he wanted a second opinion as to whether or not I should be on hypertension medication. I spent an hour with this specialist. He spent a whopping 5 minutes telling me that "No," I didn't need to be on medication. He only medicates hypertension during pregnancy if a) I had high blood pressure when I got pregnant (I did not) or b) I'm only like 28 weeks along with an official diagnosis of pre-eclampsia. And then, I'd be monitored in the hospital until the baby is born.
WHOO-HOO -- No medication!!!!
The rest of the appointment was spent with a high-definition ultra-sound to check very closely on Kate. Fortunately, Kate was good (this is KEY 48 hours later).
The next day, Tuesday, June 5, I went to a routine doctor's appointment with my doctor. At that appointment, I heard the official lab results from the 24-hour urine test I had started while being observed in the hospital Sunday evening. Unfortunately, the urine was very high in protein. Therefore, I was officialy diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and put on complete bed rest until Kate's birth. This was EXTREMELY devastating to me. I cried uncontrollably in the doctor's office. The nurse practitioner who works with my doctor actually knows my mom professionally (my mom is a nurse), and she called my mom (with my permission). I couldn't get it together enough to even call my mom myself. I was scared for my health as well as Kate's. And, ultimately, I was sick and tired of this pregnancy. Further, I was extremely concerned about what we'd do with Luke for the remainder of this pregnancy. On the phone, my mom told the nurse practitioner that she'd come and get Luke and my parents would take care of him (arranging their busy schedules to do so). You know when you want a break from your child and you gladly hand him or her over to somebody else for a break? Yep, we all know that feeling. It's O.K. to hand over the child. BUT, when you're forced to SUDDENLY hand over your child (even to your trustworthy parents) because you can't physically take care of him, it's AWFUL! So, when my parents showed up about an hour later to take Luke, I bawled again (even though I knew he'd be fine). I remember Luke walking to my parents' car, not having a CLUE that something was wrong with me and his baby sister. BUT, he was a happy camper to get to go to Papa and Grandma's house. My little boy, who doesn't always handle transition well, handled it well -- being suddenly told he had to leave to night with no warning.
Also, did I mention that this day (June 5) was our 8th anniversary? Happy Anniversary to us!
So, after Luke left. I hit the couch and didn't move much the rest of the day -- in between my sobbing.
To top it all off, Marc was working a new position at work. He was supposed to work late that night. I called and asked him if he'd come home earlier than planned. He was able to work it out to come home earlier than planned.
Also, to top it all off, my phone suddenly quit working properly -- which isn't good because we don't have a landline. So, here I was, diagnosed with a dangerous condition with no reliable phone. When Marc did come home early from work, he quickly went and got me a new phone -- a reliable phone.
The next day, June 6 (ultimately Kate's birthday though we didn't know it yet), I got up from my bedrest to go to another doctor's appointment. At that appointment, they hooked me up to the monitors for a fetal non-stress test. Kate's heartbeat was good, but she wasn't moving much. They had me drink some orange juice to see if it would get her going. Nope...she still wasn't moving much. SO, I was wheelchaired to the hospital for another sonogram (specifically, a bio-physical profile).
Still in partial tears, I remember sitting in the waiting room, waiting on the sonogram tech to come and get me. I texted Marc just how awful this whole thing was...I was sitting in a wheelchair in a room with a bunch of elderly people -- NOT in wheelchairs. I felt helpless.
The tech came and got me, and the sonogram was started.
I could tell a few things without the tech saying much (I knew just enough information). Kate wasn't exactly doing well -- keep in mind the same sonogram was done at the specialist's office 48 hours before, and Kate did GREAT! It's amazing how fast things can progress in the wrong direction.
SO, when the sonogram was over, instead of going out to my car to go home and proceed with bedrest, I asked the tech to call my doctor's nurse. The nurse then came and got me and took me back up to the doctor's office. I wasn't in the exam room two minutes when the doctor came and said, "You're not going home. You're going straight back down to the hospital to be admitted. I'm not sure what we're going to do yet. We'll let them know you're coming so you can get situated."
At that point, I called Marc to tell him he needed to head over. I also called my mom to tell her what was happening (and yes, she was concerned at this point). We got down to the hospital and into a room. The nice nurses had me get changed into a gown -- though, at that point, nobody was sure what was going to happen.
Marc arrived around 12:30 P.M. (I think)....Suddenly, a nurse came in and told me to stop drinking or eating (and collecting information about what all and when I had eaten that morning). Then, another nurse came into start an IV. At that point, Marc and I suspected that Kate was going to be born soon.
Around 1:00 P.M. (I think), my doctor walked in. He said Kate was stressed -- as a result of the pre-eclampsia. She needed to come out. He'd do the C-Section at 3:00 P.M. (2 hours from then)....Marc called my mom to let her know, and we immediately started texting various friends about this VERY fast and unplanned birth that was going to occur.
After all of the 10 billion admissions questions, IV hook-up, and signatures, at 2:47 P.M. (according to Marc), I was taken back for the C-Section.
Even though I was only at 35 weeks gestation and a month (to the date) from the due date, I was ELATED! Finally, this whole mess would end. I was absolutely DONE being pregnant. Pregnancy and my body clearly don't get along.
After the spinal was in and I could no longer feel my legs, the C-Section was started. I remember when the doctor said it was time to take Kate out -- I just closed my eyes and prayed, "God -- please let her be O.K." As I felt all of the tugging and pulling of the C-Section, I heard the nurse practitioner (who was assisting my doctor) say, "Oh, she's pottying on me." Then, I heard the faint cry of Kate....YES!!!! Even at only 35 weeks, she took off breathing immediately and fortunately needed no assistance in that arena.
SO, that's her birth in a nutshell...I'll continue more about Kate, Kate and Luke, and our family in future posts!
But, in the meantime, my blood pressure returned to normal roughly 24 hours later. At one week, three weeks, and six weeks postpartum, my blood pressure remained normal. I think I'm all good now. Clearly, my body was not created for a normal pregnany. While it's very frustrating, I'm simply choosing to be very grateful for the two children we have. AND, pregnancy will NOT happen again from this body. While that's slightly sad to say, it's O.K. I'm at peace with that decision.