I'm thrilled to start your lodge for you, and to share this wonderful journey with you Congrats on coming this far!
Awe sweetie! Thank you so much for doing this for me. I am honored to have followed you and all the other Birthing Naturally mommies' journies. I have been inspired, educated, and motivated by you all and look forward to the last leg of this journey with your help and support!
Welcome to your lodge!
hooray for your lodge, Kelly!!!!! whoo hoo!
Gwen, Mommy to Andrew, Jordan, Natalie & Jack
My blog - all things family, photography and crafty
Congrats! Welcome to your lodge
Welcome to your lodge, Kelly!!
YAY! Welcome to your lodge, I expect lots of belly pics and twin pics and a VERY lengthy intro. CHOP CHOP!
Yippee! Congrats on your lodge.
DD - Nov/06, DS - Sept/08, DS - Mar/11
Okay, wow! I can’t believe I’m actually getting to do an intro! Before I start, I can’t tell you all how honored I am to have you women let me join you. Not only on my journey, but to be privileged enough to follow along with all of you. So I guess, here I go:
I should probably start back in 2001. That year I was attending The Ohio State University happily sewing my oat. Okay, that's a bit of an understatement. I had decided that my parents and my God and everyone else in the world were full of crap and that I was smarter than all of them combined. Who was I kidding? I hadn’t a clue. But I was sure having a good time finding that out. Luckily, my parents cared enough to stage a mini intervention. They loved me very much and didn’t want to see me wash away my life one shot at a time. So one Wednesday after class and work, I came back to my apartment to find my Mom and Dad sitting on my futon couch with the whole place empty. They had cleaned me out. I had to move back to Cleveland with them. I had no choice. Looking back, they saved my life and God put things in motion so that I could become the person I am today with the family I have. And I could never be happier. Day one back up at my parents house, I locked myself in my room and cried. I was once again a child and to say the least, I was pretty pissed off at them for doing what they did. Then Friday, my Mom called from work and told me that she was meeting a group of friends at a local sports bar after work for Happy Hour and she thought it would be nice for me to join them so I could meet new people. That was her way of saying, “meet new people who are older, more mature and have their lives together”. I went. Two hours later, I was board out of my mind. I was listening to stories about 401ks and parent teacher conferences gone wrong. It was my idea of a nightmare. There were 2 people considered “my age” there Kelly (23 at the time) and her friend Scott (24). They were considerably younger than my Mom and her friends, but were old enough to drink. I was 20 at the time. Kelly and Scott were wasted and hitting on each other while my Mom left for the night and told me to drive safe on the way home, but to enjoy talking to my new “friends”. Over in the corner, I saw a group of guys drinking beers, watching the Indian’s game and they looked like they were having a blast. I got up my nerve and walked over to their table…and then at the last minute veered off to the bathroom out of fear. I regained my composure and went back to the table of guys and said, “Hi, I’m Kelly. I’m new in town and ya’ll look like you’re having a heck of a lot more fun than the people I came with. Can I hang out with you for a while?” And Kevin pulled out a chair for me and introduced me to his friends. Pretty much, that’s how Kevin and I got together. It was a short courtship before strong feelings developed. Kevin was everything that my parents wanted for me. He was established with his job, responsible and a gentleman. And he was everything that I wanted. He was not too serious, had a great group of friends and understood the pressures that I was going through. In addition to his “day job”, Kevin was a professional paintball player. Yes. I said Pro Paintball player. I didn’t even know that that existed till I met Kevin. Yet only two months after we met, I was on a plane with him to World Cup in Orlando. It was the coolest thing ever to see him play so well and to have so much fun in the atmosphere. It was there that Kevin told me that he wanted to marry me someday. Little did I know that our lives were about to get very complicated before that would happen. Jump ahead a month later to my 21st birthday. That “Responsible” guy that my parents loved and I went out with some friends and I did as most people do, I got so drunk I couldn’t see strait let alone put on a condom with any type of accuracy. Sure enough a few weeks later, I found out I was pregnant. I couldn’t bear to tell my parents after I had made some pretty great changes in my life. So I had Kevin meet my mom and I and we told her together. I will never forget the words he used. “Mrs. Wakefield, we’re pregnant.” I know that it doesn’t sound too special, but as a 21 year old girl to have it be a “we” thing instead of “Kelly’s knocked up.” or “Kelly’s pregnant.” meant the world to me. Kevin told my parents that he wanted to marry me so it was a non-issue. Or so we thought. The very next day I started to bleed. Badly. My mom and I went to the doctor and I was told that I would miscarry naturally. I didn’t. My parents and Kevin sat me down one night and told me I needed a d & c. I was horrified. How could these people that love me suggest such a thing. But I went along with it and the Saturday before Christmas in 01’ I had a d & c. I saw the ultrasound before hand. I saw a tiny sac but no heartbeat. What I didn’t know then was that it was a psudo sac. It was never a baby at all. How did I find out about the psudo sac? Easily! A few weeks later, I passed out. And when my Dad was able to get me to the hospital my blood pressure was 55/24. I was practically dead. They did some tests and discovered that I was still pregnant. Or at least the numbers said so. I had had a tubal pregnancy that was missed by the OB and it continued to grow even after the d & c. It ruptured my tube and I bled internally for 2 weeks, pooling most of my blood in my stomach where it fermented and damaged most of my organs. My OB was called to perform emergency surgery on me. She told us, “My lawyer urges me to stay out of it” so I was left to die. My parents and Kevin were pulled into a room and were told that I had a 10% chance of making it out alive and asked if my affairs were in order. Kevin had my engagement ring in his pocket that he had picked up the day before. He didn't think he'd have a chance to give it to me. Last minute, a doctor drove in that was able to do the surgery and I was saved. I had major scar damage to my uterus and other female organs and one of my tubes was removed, but I was doing well considering. June of 02' I became pregnant again. The doctors can only explain it as my body was SO messed up from what happened to it 6 months prior that it didn’t know how to regulate itself. Kevin and my parents sat me down and urged me to have an abortion. Saying my body was just not ready for all of this to be happening. I felt betrayed. I had had doctors messing with my life for a while now, but to have my loved ones want to interfere was ridiculous! I miscarried shortly afterwards from the stress. But I still harbored some anger towards my fiancé and my parents that would come back later. Fall of 02’ Kevin got an opportunity to try out for a paintball team in southern California. It was a great chance for us to get out of Ohio. We couldn’t afford California, but we sure as heck could afford Las Vegas and drive for practices every other weekend. So offer moved to Las Vegas only a week before Christmas. The following June, Kevin and I finally said “I DO” in front of a few friends and family.
We spend the next 2 years traveling and enjoying being young on the west coast. We went to places like Toronto, Miami, San Diego, Moab, Bryce Canyon; we went away for weekend trips as we wished.
Then in January of 05’ we bought our first house. Kevin sat me down and told me he was ready to start a family now. It was “time” he said. All of the sudden all those feeling of anger I had for him wanting an abortion came rushing back. How come it was okay to have a family on HIS terms? When did Kevin become the absolute planner in our relationship? I needed a break so I moved out. We had a hard 6 months or so of separation, but started seeing a counselor to talk through our differences. That was the best thing for us. We got to talk about our fears, communication issues, life and values. Soon enough we were back together and happier than ever. That’s when Kevin’s dad took a turn for the worse. He had been diagnosed with cancer shortly after the wedding. But in September of 05’ he passed away. He told Kevin before he died that his one regret was that we never had kids before he passed. The very next month we got pregnant. It was almost like his dad finally had some say up above.
The pregnancy with the girls was a mess from the get go. I went in at 5 weeks to see what my chances were of another tubal. We had to avoid that pit fall again. Then we went back at 6 seeks to a heartbeat. And we did…one heartbeat. All by itself, but strong as could be! Then at 7 weeks I started to bleed again. Horribly. It was a full-blown period. My Mom (who had moved to Las Vegas) and Kevin met me at the ER. I was scared and just knew in my heart that I was loosing the baby. They took me back by myself and did an ultrasound. The tech ran out of the room and had the radiologist whith her when she returned. The doctor said, “Mrs. Lebanik, both heartbeats are just fine.” I assumed they were talking about the baby and me. She turned the screen around and there they were. Two perfect little sacs and two perfect strong little heartbeats and these teeny tiny babies. I was in total shock and disbelief, but over the moon happy. I got wheeled back to share the news with my husband and mother. We were on cloud 9. However, the next 27 weeks that followed were rocky. When I was in the ER they found that I had a 20% placental abruption and that needed to clear up. I was at risk of loosing the babies if the placenta did not re-attach itself. Once I was aloud off of bed rest, I took things easily at work, but started having issues being light headed around week 16 or so. I was passing out easily and no one could tell me why. Then on April 15th, I was getting ready for my baby shower. I thought I’d be nice and take my 1st baby, Bandit, to the dog park for an hour or so before I had to leave. While there, Bandit got attacked my 2 larger dogs and my initial instinct was to try to save him. I jumped in front of Bandit and the dogs scratched me up pretty bad. As awful as the experience was, it was a good thing cause I went to the hospital to get checked out and that’s when they found out that I had begun to dilate and efface. The L&D staff let me go home, but 2 days later, I was back in there with full blown labor. They put me on Magnesium Sulfate for 5 days with a back up of Procardia. Nothing killed off the contractions completely, but they slowed them down. I spent the next few weeks at home only to return to the hospital for the last time on May 21st. I had dilated to 4 and I was 90% effaced. Emma’s water bag was bulging thru my cervix, but there was a bigger problem. Her cord was between her head and my cervix making the chance for a prolapsed cord very high. I was put back on Mag for 13 days. It was hell. I have never been so helpless before. I had to have my blood drawn every 4 hours while on Mag. I was stuck in a bed the whole time and the whole time I just kept contracting away. On June 7th, my peri came to see me and told me that they wanted to do an amnio to check the girls’ lungs. Not having done my research, I consented and as soon as he was done, the contractions picked up pace and intensity. I was told later that amnios commonly put women into labor and even if the girls’ lungs came back inadequate, we still would have had to deliver that night. Sure enough, they were both okay and at 1 PM, I was told to get Kevin there cause we would be going to the OR at 5 PM. We got delayed a bit, but then at 7:51 and 7:52 pm, Hailey and Emma came screaming into the world.
I was finally released from the hospital the following Sunday. Before we left, we went to visit the girls in the NICU. We were told that Hailey had a slight murmur and would be going for testing in the next few hours. Once again, we trusted in doctors to inform us of what was going on and to act on our behalf. Not 5 minutes after we got home, we got the call from the hospital. Hailey didn’t have a murmur. It was something much worse. She had a condition called a Tetralogy of Fallot. The next 2 months were filled with tests and doctors’ appointments and frustration. Luckily, we had learned from prior mistakes and started to research things on our own this time around. We ended up seeking a second opinion in California. I had been told to see a particular doctor, but when we called for the appointment, he wasn't available, but someone else was. That again was God stepping in. We ended up with one of the world’s best pediatric cardiothorasic surgeons in our corner. Dr. Leonard Bailey. He’s the same doctor that did the 1st baboon heart transplant on Baby Fae back in 1984. On August 11th, Hailey had her heart surgery. I have never been that scared in my entire life. My 6 lbs. baby’s life was in someone else’s hands. But God was truly watching over all of us that day and we haven’t had any hear related issues since. The 6+ hour surgery took less than 4 hours, Hailey spent less than 5 hours on the vent and it was almost like a switch had been flipped on our little girl. She came home 3 days later a completely different baby.
Here are some pictures of the girls quick:
After we had found out about Hailey’s heart, it was an easy choice to have me be a SAHM. It was better for me to be responsible for all of her medications and needs than someone else. Let alone, the cost of day care. So we put out house on the market and started looking for some place we could live that was affordable and had good family values. We found Texas. We liked the home prices, Kevin had an opportunity to transfer with his job and they had a good pedi-heart clinic close by to where were looking at buying. So in September of 06’ we packed up the house and moved off to Texas!
We were finally settled into the house, the girls were thriving (Emma ended up needing a helmet to correct some pretty bad plagio due to the cramped quarters in utero) and my family came to visit for Christmas when we got some startling news. We were pregnant AGAIN!!! Well, all those issues with the 1 tube and scar damage sure didn’t have much effect on our fertility, now did it?!?! Again, we went right away to double check two things. First that there was only 1 baby and second, to make sure that it was in the correct spot. It wasn’t. I had another tubal pregnancy. This time, shots of metheltrexate were administered and I had to loose the baby that way. Of course after wards, I was informed that the shots I was given was actually a form of chemotherapy used to shrink tumors. So in theory, the shots shrunk my baby and I had to expel it naturally. The pain that I went through and the nightmares over the situation followed me for months. I had to endure the pain of chemo while loosing my baby slowly. Even knowing that the baby would never had made it didn't help the feelings of regret I felt. That’s when Kevin made the choice to vet a vasectomy. We both agreed that it was for the best. I had been thru too much pain, too much emotionally to try to have more children. After all, we had 2 healthy little girls so we should be happy with that. In August of last year Kevin went to see a urologist and it was done. Like a breeze! As a matter of fact, he was out playing golf 3 days later. I should have known then that it was too good to be true. We were good patients. Kevin went back twice to provide samples to make sure he was “clear”. They told us that yup, we were good to go! Once again listening to what doctors had to say we listened and threw away all of our condoms and enjoyed not having to wonder any more if we were “safe”. I had started running a few months earlier for many reasons. Most of the reason was to get rid of stress and the depression that I had been carrying on to after the most recent loss. I had my sights set on a marathon in December. I was training my butt off and it was showing. Maybe a little too much. I had lost all of the pregnancy weight in addition to 20+ extra lbs. By the time I realized how small I was I hadn’t had a period regularly for months. I went to see my doctor in November about maybe having knocked my hormones off balance or something. She took a bunch of blood and had my body fat measured. It was 11%. I remember feeling almost relieved that it was something that I could fix easily. I just needed to adjust my body fat and my periods would come back normal. A few days later I got the call. “Mrs. Lebanik, all your hormones came back normal, but your pregnancy test came back ‘unable to determine’.” WHAT?!?!?! Um, they HAD to have the wrong test results. I mean, come on. I have one good tube, scar damage, I’m not ovulating cause of my low body fat and my husband got cut!!! There had to be a mistake. Nope. Here I am 36 pregnant with a little boy. Come to find out, we found out about the conception literally days after it happened. We had had sex on Thursday and I had blood taken the following Wednesday. So it was literally just enough time to fertilize and egg and for it to barely implant. Talk about crazy, huh? We had a .02% change of conception, and yet here we are. The one thing we’ve learned over the past 7 years is that it’s not what we want or when we want things. God has a bigger plan and really, who are we to mess with it? I have been pregnant 5 times now and I will have 3 children. God’s design is fine so why should we mess with it. So instead of relying on doctors to choose what’s best for us, we’re letting nature take its course. Obviously, we have some hurtles to overcome sine I had to have a section with the girls, but none the less, this time around we are more informed, more secure in ourselves and more determined to end things on a peaceful, happy, loving note. No more medical interventions. As many times as I was poked and prodded last time around that is the last thing I wanted for Matthew. This pregnancy started off pretty much the same as the last, doctors telling me how and what to do for their benefit. So I switched practices at 14 weeks. I am so happy I did so. I managed to find out that I am hypoglycemic and with diet I have been able to control it. Other than the issue of continual contractions, I’ve been able to have a great pregnancy. I ran a half marathon in February with no real injury. Okay, I had some stress fractures, but nothing to the baby. And I have had minimal morning sickness or pain. So I can’t really complain too much. Just look to the finish line, stay focused, and hope and pray for the outcome I want. Oh and btw, I do plan on wearing my marathon medal while pushing. I deserve that much.
Gosh, what a novel! I’m sorry that I made a book out of everything, but to those that read it all, you are truly saints. Thank you again for letting me share my journey with you. I feel truly honored.
Here are some bonus pics:
5 weeks along with Matthew:
36 weeks today:
And a recent picture of the girls:
Last edited by klebanik; 06-23-2008 at 12:45 PM.