Monday, January 20, 2014


It's kind of a long story, but I will try to briefly explain it. I am Rh-negative and Jim is Rh-positive.  So, if I get pregnant with a baby with a positive blood type, when our blood mixes my body will respond as if it is allergic to the baby and develop antibodies to fight the baby's blood.  The mother's antibodies break down the baby's red blood cells and produce anemia.  This is usually not a problem because the mom can get a shot around 28 weeks and then again after the baby is born.  We did this with Jack and everything was fine.  With Patrick, I didn't get the shot in time and became sensitized.  They monitored me the rest of that pregnancy, but I was so close to the end that there were no issues.  When I was pregnant with Charlie, they monitored me throughout the pregnancy, but the baby never became severely anemic and I was able to deliver a full term baby without any complications.  He did have to be on a bilibed for a while after birth. 

With this pregnancy, I have been monitored closely.  The risks increase with each pregnancy.  When I went in for my weekly appointment on Monday, December 30, the ultrasound showed that the baby was severely anemic.  In the past this carried a high rate of miscarriage, but luckily we are living in 2014!  They admitted me to the hospital and gave me steroids to develop the baby's lungs that day and the following day.  I got to go home Tuesday night and came back to the hospital Wednesday night.  Bright and early the following morning the doctors performed an intrauterine blood transfusion.  They took us into an operating room, in case they needed to do a C-section, and then paralyzed the baby.  They gave me something to calm me, as well as a local anesthetic.  Then, they put a needle in my belly, through the placenta, and into the umbilical cord to draw some blood.  They rushed the blood to hematology to find out how anemic the baby was.  Once they had the results they were able to transfuse enough blood into the baby's umbilical cord to bring it up to the level it needed.  After several hours in recovery, I was able to go home.  

I have had check-ups twice a week since then and things look good.  Because the baby is likely to become anemic again, the doctors want to deliver the baby around 36 weeks.  Once the mother reaches 35 weeks it is less risky to deliver the baby (and do a transfusion on the newborn if necessary) than to do another fetal transfusion.  I will be 36 weeks on Wednesday and we have scheduled the induction for this Saturday.  I am confident that everything will go well.  I assume the baby will need to spend a little time under the lights and there is a possibility that he/she will need another transfusion after birth.  We are really looking forward to welcoming our new son or daughter into the world.  The boys are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their new sibling!

This past Saturday night, my Dad took the 3 boys for the night and Jim and I got to go out one last time before we become a family of six. We went to a Winter Concert at the hospital, where Jim performed (picture below).  He played guitar and sang "Freight Train" by Elizabeth Cotten.  He did great!  Then, we went to see my cousin's paintings at an art show downtown.  Lastly, we went out to dinner.  It was a wonderful night.  The best part was we slept in until 8:30 because we didn't have any kids at home!!!  I am trying to store a bunch of sleep now since I probably won't be getting a lot of it in the coming months.

Pinewood Derby

Saturday was the Pinewood Derby.  This is Jack's first year in Scouts, so the entire process was new to us.  Jim was a Scout when he was younger, and participated in the Pinewood Derby, but that was a looooong time ago and he is now seeing things from the parent perspective. 
I forgot to bring my camera to the race, but we took some pictures of the proud Scout and his car and trophy when we got home.
This is the Scooby Doo car that he and his Dad made.  They spent a lot of time working on it together.
All the time and effort paid off with a 3rd Place finish!  Way to go!
Our proud Tiger Cub:

Friday, January 17, 2014


One of our first Christmas events was the Christmas concert at Patrick's preschool.  Both my mom and Jim's mom came to see it, which was really special for Patrick.  It was pretty cute.  After preschool, we all went out for a special lunch.
He got to ring bells!

He was so excited!
I took the boys to see Santa at the train station one night.  The line was so long it went out the door.  It was sooooo cold and after 15 minutes we had barely moved, so we decided to meet Daddy for dinner and then get a Christmas tree instead.

Since we hadn't seen Santa yet, we decided to join some friends for "Breakfast with Santa" at the Magic House.  Our "breakfast" was at 4 p.m.  The boys were more than happy to have pancakes for dinner, and I was more than happy not to cook!

Most of the group:
One of our favorite traditions is going to the train show at the Botanical Gardens with Grandma and Grandpa.
All the boys love trains!

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa!
Christmas morning was fun!  The boys were excited.  After opening their stockings (and eating some Pez they found in them), they opened their presents.
Santa brought this tool bench for all the boys.
Patrick is still wearing the light up necklaces he got the night before at his cousins' house.
Patrick is showing off some of his new gifts before we went to Grandma and Grandpa's for brunch and then to my Aunt Sue and Uncle Matt's in the afternoon.  Despite bringing my camera to each place, I took zero pictures.  Maybe I'll be better about taking pictures in 2014!

Thursday, January 16, 2014


We have had a couple of good snow days this season, and it is far from over.  In mid-December, we got several inches of good, wet, snowman-making snow.  Jack and Patrick are lucky to have a Dad who plays in the snow with them!  In addition to pulling them around our backyard on a sled and having snowball fights with them, he helped them build this snowman.  The snowman has a carrot nose and red pepper mouth.  The eyes?  They are solar lights.  It was kind of creepy looking at night!

In early January, we got about a foot of snow!  Jim shoveled the driveway and walkways while Jack and Patrick played.  I didn't let Charlie out in it because it was so cold (wind chills close to -30).

Jack in his snow-covered Batman ski mask.
Patrick in his snow-covered Spiderman ski mask.  It was hard to see how much snow had accumulated on the fence, so I outlined it below.
Once it was warmer outside, and most of the snow was melted, I let Charlie play in what remained.

Charlie had fun playing with his sand toy dump truck in the snow.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


I took very few pictures over Thanksgiving weekend.  I think I have been worried about how far behind I am at blogging that I didn't want to have a bunch of pictures to post.  We were able to spend quite a bit of time with both sides of the family.  My brother and his family came in town from Wisconsin, and Jim's sister and her family came in town from Wisconsin.  On Saturday night, we hosted a retirement party for my mom.  Somehow the only pictures from the weekend are from Thursday (Thanksgiving) night at my parents' house.  My brother and sister-in-law were installing solar panels on my parents' roof that weekend so we were able to ride on the lift they rented.  Jack went up with Papa first.
It was soooo high!

Then Jim and I had a turn.
The view from the top.
After Lauren and I made pj pants for the kids on our glamping weekend, my mom bought the same material and made matching pairs for my nephews (and for her and Papa).  Clearly Charlie just doesn't like being photographed in snowman pjs!
They all looked so cute!

Monday, January 13, 2014


We have a wonderful tradition of going to some cabins with 3 other families each year.  The moms call it "Glamping."  We share two cabins between the four families and have a lot of fun.  Usually, our family stays two nights, but it didn't work out for us to do that this year.  We made sure to arrive early so we could do a hike in the woods by the nearby lake.  It was very cold this year and so we cut our hike short and met up with two of the other families at a diner in town.
Daddy reading a sign to his sons:
Mom making us take another family picture.
I really didn't get my camera out at the cabins, except to take a pj picture.  We usually get matching holiday pajamas for the kids.  This year, Lauren and I decided to make all the kids flannel pj pants.  They were so cute!  Charlie was not at all happy about getting his picture taken (nor was one other kid not in the picture).
Ahhhh...much better.  He has been a momma's boy lately.  I do love all the sweet hugs and kisses!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Fall Randoms

I have lots of random Fall pictures to share.  These first few are from playing in our backyard one day.

Look at that face:
Charlie put the helmet on all by himself!  Next time maybe he'll put it on frontwards. 
My mom and dad:

My brother and his gorgeous wife:

One Sunday, we went to Jim's high school for Mass.  It was fun to show his alma mater to the boys.  Maybe one day they will go there!
After Mass, we went to Forest Park and took some family pictures.

I LOVE this picture and have a canvas of it in the boys' bedroom.
Jack played soccer this fall. 

One night we watched Christmas movies and ate homemade caramel-chocolate popcorn.  I put a sheet over the couch first, just in case any popcorn fell.
These next few pictures are from when the boys were "helping" Daddy rake leaves.

I took Patrick and Charlie to the zoo one morning while Jack was at school.

On the carousel, Patrick chose to ride the Somali Wild Ass.