Thursday, December 31, 2015

Update on Brandon

Since Brandon was born on the 14th, he has had to go through 2 surgeries.  He had the hole in his back closed up on December 15th and then he had to get a VP shunt on December 21st.  He did well with both surgeries.  After the surgeries he was having some problems with eating a full bottle of expressed breast milk.  A feeding tube was placed on the 22nd to help him get all his nutrition.  As of current, he is doing better and making progress with eating everyday.  We hope to get that feeding tube out soon!  Also Brandon wasn't emptying his bladder completely so he was having to be cathed every 2 hours at one point.  That was stressful!  Since then he is doing better at peeing in his diaper on his own and is only having to be cathed once a day.  Most likely the doctors will discontinue the cathing today.  Brandon is also moving his hips, legs and ankles so well despite his Spina Bifida!  Brandon has made so much progress since he was born.  We are are so blessed and so grateful!  He is a strong fighter!  With Brandon being in the NICU it has brought back memories of when Rachel and Haley were in there for so long.  Thankfully Brandon won't have to be in the NICU for that long.  We don't know for sure when he's coming home but it will be soon.  Here are some pictures since I last posted about Brandon.

Right before the shunt surgery (12/21/15)
His head after the shunt surgery.  They shaved off so much of his beautiful hair!
Me getting to hold him for the first time
Brandon eating
So awake and alert!
Sucking his thumb.  Sweet Boy!
Got a picture of him smiling!
Mommy holding Brandon

Christmas 2015

Well Christmas 2015 has come and gone.  It seemed to have just snuck up on me so quickly.  I was preoccupied with the pregnancy at the beginning of the month and then the arrival of Brandon on the 14th.  Now we are going to the NICU everyday to visit him.  It was so hard to not have had Brandon home on Christmas.  I will write more about Brandon on the next blog post.  Anyway the girls enjoyed Christmas morning and the toys that they got!  The girls got a Barbie house and it has been Kayla's favorite.  Rachel and Haley have enjoyed the Radio Flyer scooter they got.  It was so nice to see my girls so happy and excited for Christmas morning and seeing them unwrap the gifts that they got.  Christmas is not just about the gifts.  Its about the gift of our Savior and the celebration of his birth.  For that I am very grateful!  Also so very grateful for our family and the support they have given us during this time while Brandon is in the NICU.  Merry Christmas!!!

Kayla, Rachel and Haley opening gifts

Kayla all smiles for the Barbie house

Rachel opening a gift

Brandon on Christmas day in the NICU.  His first Christmas.
Brandon's foot prints - MistleTOES

Friday, December 18, 2015

Brandon has arrived!!!

Brandon Thomas Stansel was born December 14, 2015 at 1:05 pm.  He was 9 pounds, 7 oz and 20.5 inches long.  I was 36 weeks and 5 days.  I was exactly that when I had Kayla.  He had to follow his sister in her footsteps, but Brandon was much bigger and longer than Kayla.  So in the early morning hours of December 14th I was having more stronger contractions and I knew he was going to arrive that day.  We got Rachel and Haley off to school at 6:40 am and then we headed to the hospital.  After arriving to the hospital I thought I would be able to have my c section right away, but we had to wait for an OR to open.  I was in so much pain from those contractions.  I was so happy when they finally gave me a spinal and did the c section.  The doctors had to really work to get him out of me due to his large size.  Also when the doctors got Brandon out he peed on them!  We were all laughing!  We are so happy he is here safely!!!
We found out that the open lesion/hole in his back was located at L5 - S1.  It was much lower than the doctors first thought.  Which is great news!  He had surgery on his back to close up the open hole on December 15th which went well.  He's going to have a big scar on his back due to the neurosurgeon had to pull extra skin from around the hole to be able to close it up.  He will heal and it will be ok.  His head is large due to the enlarged ventricles in his brain.  The doctors are watching them carefully to decide if he will need a shunt or not.  So far his ventricles have not changed significantly.  We are hoping he won't need a shunt. He has moved his legs and ankles some.  I have even seen some toes wiggle a little.  Which is a great sign.  Also he doesn't have clubbed feet which can happen to baby's born with spina bifida.  We have been so blessed!!!  Brandon is such a cute, adorable baby.  We are so happy he has joined our family and that he is doing well despite his Spina Bifida.  He will have to stay in the NICU for about 2 weeks or more depending and we look forward to having him home.  I hated leaving the hospital with him still there, but I know that he will come home in due time.  We won't have to wait as long as we did with Rachel and Haley.  We love our children and have been so blessed!

Me waiting to go to the OR.  I was smiling, but I was in a lot of pain  
Last belly picture.  36 weeks, 5 days.  I was huge!

Brandon right after being born
You can see the open lesion low on his back.

Brandon after his back surgery
Me getting to feed him.  He has to stay on his belly for the wound on his back to heal
Love all his dark hair!
Close up of his cute little ear

Sorry I didn't get this post up right after he was born.  I didn't have a computer at the hospital.  

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The girls visited with Santa!

So we were able to work in a quick visit with Santa and these are the pictures I got.  Rachel loved sitting on his lap.  Haley was a little apprehensive, but did great and Kayla was scared.  Somehow we got a forced smile from her verses a scared look on her face.  So glad we were able to get these pictures with Santa before baby boy arrives.  I really try every Christmas season to get the girls pictures with Santa.  Another thing crossed off my check list!


Friday, December 11, 2015

36 Weeks and Kayla's Birthday

On Wednesday December 9th, I hit the 36 week mark!  I am so surprised that I have made it this far with baby boy.  I'm so big that I thought for sure my body would have said enough is enough a week or so ago, but I'm still going just not sure how much longer.  I'm also so glad that I made it past Kayla's birthday and that her and her brother won't share a birthday.

36 weeks

On Wednesday December 9th (Kayla's Birthday), she went to preschool where they sang "Happy Birthday" to her and had treats with her friends/classmates.  Kayla got embarrassed when they sang to her and she didn't want everyone looking at her.  This is a new fear of hers because she hasn't really had this fear before.  She sure did enjoy the cupcake and cookie she had though.

While her preschool class was singing to her

Some updates about Kayla as a now 4 year old:
- She is finally potty trained!  She finally got the hang of it in September.  She still has some accidents here and there, but so glad she is using the potty like a big girl!
- She is a talker and talks a lot.
- She is making lots of new friends at preschool and church.  She loves having friends.
- She loves "My little pony".
- She is all girl and loves to try on several different outfits a day.
- She is really liking ballet and tries to do ballet dancing in our living room regularly.  We need to get her into a ballet class soon.  She also loves to wear tutu's.
- She's excited to become a BIG sister!

I will be taking Kayla's 4 year old pictures within the next couple of months.  I'm going to have to work around her upcoming new baby brother and finding the time to do it.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Kayla's 4th Birthday Party!

Ever since the Summertime, Kayla has been talking about and looking forward to her birthday and party.  So we planned her party for December 5th and hoped that baby brother Brandon wouldn't show up until after her party (which he didn't!) and still hoping he won't arrive until after her actual birthday (December 9th).  To make it easier on me, we had her party at Kayla's favorite place to eat - Chick-Fil-A.  Kayla wanted a pink ballerina party and that is what we did at Chick-fil-a.  We invited her best friends and her cousins.  Kayla had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed herself.  She was happy!! 

Rachel and Haley were at the party I just didn't get any pictures of them!!  I don't know how that happened, but they had fun playing in the play area at Chick-fil-a.

Kayla enjoying her chicken nuggets
Some of the kids at the party
Kayla's cake
Another view of the cake
Kayla blowing out the candles

Kids eating cake
Kayla eating her cake
Opening gifts!

Friday, December 4, 2015

35 weeks!

Well I have made it to 35 weeks and still going strong.  Just taking it day by day and week by week.  Nothing new to report with the baby.  He is still growing and getting bigger.  We look forward to meeting him when the time comes.  My biggest hope right now is that he WON'T come on December 9th which is Kayla's birthday.

35 weeks

Silhouette picture in front of our Christmas Tree

Friday, November 27, 2015

34 Week Maternity pictures

On Wednesday November 25, I had my husband take some maternity pictures of me at a local park.  My husband is definitely not a photographer, but he did a good job taking these.  With all the pregnancies I have had, I never got professional pictures taken of me while pregnant.  So we tried to do as professional as possible.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Baby Shower and pregnancy update

My wonderful church friends gave a baby shower for me on November 14.  One of the ladies made an awesome Italian creme cake with a Texas Longhorns theme.  She did an awesome job and it tasted so yummy.  I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends in my church who have supported Thomas and I with our girls and now Brandon.

Yummy Italian Creme cake

Yummy food for the shower

Picture of me at 32 weeks and on the day of my baby shower:

32 weeks (11/14/15)

Below is a picture of me at 33 weeks.  I sure am getting big!!!

33 weeks (11/20/15)

I haven't taken the 34 week picture yet, but I am finally 34 weeks!!!  I'm so glad to be at 34 weeks and knowing that Brandon will be ok if he were to be born soon.  In fact my doctor doesn't think I will go much longer since Brandon is already 7 pounds!  He is going to be a big boy!  I had an ultrasound done a couple of days ago and he is looking good despite the spina bifida.  He is definitely growing and moving.  We even saw him move his ankles which is a very good sign.  The sonographer said the spina bifida defect was at L5.  We were told it was at L3-4 in past ultrasounds from a different doctor so hopefully it is at L5 which is lower and better.  We will just have to wait and see when he is born to find out exactly where it is at.  So we are just waiting for Brandon to be born.  I hope to go one more week and make it to 35 weeks....