Jachin’s Story part 4

So what does failure to thrive feel like? For Jachin, being tired, being hungry, scared when separated from mommy and daddy (no toddler room at church for him for a longgggg time), frustrated with the lack of ability to communicate and with others for not understanding him. For Kaya, middle child syndrome, feels unimportant and ignored. For Torin, being the oldest, feels unfair. Still needs mommy but is pushed to do more and more alone, to “figure” it out himself because mommy has to try and get Jachin to eat right now. For mommy, guilt as she considers what she did wrong or didn’t do right, when pregnant, that could have contributed to her child’s lack of growth, guilt that she didn’t notice the problem earlier, frustration that she can’t spend more time and attention on her other kids, sadness that when her husband comes home she can barely smile at him because she is so tired, and fear that it will happen again with her next child. For Jason, the weight of the world, as head of the family, is on his shoulders. Thankful for a God that loves and upholds us through our emotional struggles, that speaks truth through His word and others, and that cares about the day to day needs of our lives, that has a purpose for our lives and circumstances.

Jachin’s Story part 3

So once your child has been diagnosed failure to thrive, what do you do? Well again, for our child, the most important thing we did was immediately get bloodwork done “the life is in the blood” according to the Bible. Jachin’s bloodwork showed that he was severely iron, vitamin d, and protein deficient. He had multiple other levels that were off, either high or low. So began the “protein” push. I made a high protein, with meat, meal/puree for Jachin every 3 hours and made him eat something. Smaller meals more frequently. Then began the supplements iron, cod liver oil, vitamin d drops, probiotics, liquid multi-vitamin, etc. I can’t even remember at this point everything we did. Thankful for the fact that Jason and I had already spent several years learning about health and how the body works so our level of research was a much lower burden then it would have otherwise been.

Jachin’s Story part 2

What does failure to thrive look like? Well for our son, it was low weight gain or weight loss, lost ability to speak and regressed back to only speaking his first word “dada”, stopped napping and wouldn’t sleep through the night which led to being too tired to eat, which led to not sleeping, stopped teething so harder to eat more dense and hardy foods, separation anxiety, constant neediness and a myriad of other things. Of course looking back, we can now see how all of those were symptoms but when you are so tired, and constantly in the situation, it is difficult to see outside and look in to see the connection. This is one of the reasons community is so important. Thankful for Christy ‘Robbins’ Geaslen who was my ‘bouncing ideas off of” buddy and was able to give me an outside perspective and see that things were off because she saw Jachin on a routine basis at play date.

Jachin’s Story part 1

This last year has been a very rough season for my family. November 2015 we realized that Jachin (our 3rd) wasn’t gaining weight very well. In January, we took him to the pediatrician. She had us bring him back in February. At that time, he was diagnosed “failure to thrive”. He had actually lost 2 pounds in that month between January and February. This last year has been filled with doctor’s visits, supplements, bloodwork, trying all sorts of new schedules for him, frustration, worry, and exhaustion. I (Anne) was also pregnant and then had a newborn through this journey. He is doing so much better now but we are still working on his health and every day I never know what kind of child will wake up. The one who is feeling off, which is usually accompanied by a day full of him screaming, or a child who feels well which is usually a day full of giggles, laughter, dancing, singing, hugs and kisses. To top it all off, he is now 2 years old so it is sometimes hard to figure out if the behavior is typical 2 year old stubbornness or a 2 year old who doesn’t feel well. It has been a long journey, which isn’t over yet, but the road looks a little less bumpy in the future. We will be doing more bloodwork at the beginning of March. So thankful for Healthy Kids Pediatrics, Dr. Rebecca Martin and Agape Clinic, and Vaughn Lawrence of Spirit of Health who have helped us, and are still helping us, take care of our precious little boy. Thankful for the women of our church, Calvary Chapel Rock Harvest, as they prayed with me and hugged me during these rough days and nights.

After the Storm

I live in Texas. We can get some fierce storms. A couple of weeks ago we had a storm complete with thunder, lightning, a chance of tornadoes, and the power going out. The next morning the sky was blue and the sun was shining. The temperature was perfect.

We are amateur gardeners. I like the idea of growing my own food but with 4 children under the age of 6, the garden ends up taking more time then I can often give it. We did plant a few things like peas, spinach, and beets.

The garden takes care and attention. If we leave it alone to long, it will wither from thirst. If we don’t know what we planted, then it is more difficult to weed or we chance pulling up the good stuff and not the bad.

I find it fascinating that when I water the garden or it rains, the plants will stay alive and sometimes grow and sometimes produce fruit but it takes time. However, when there is a storm, I can go out the next day and the plants will have literally growing several inches over night. The rain helps it but something about a storm makes the plants stronger, taller, and more vibrant.

What are you planting in your life that needs care and attention? Are you going to be able to tell the difference between the good plants and the bad when it is time to weed out your life? What storm are you going through right now? Are you going to allow it to make you stronger and produce fruit or are you going to bend and break?

After the storm, comes the most beautiful of days!

Update on husband’s snake bite

Hi everyone

We wanted to give an update on Jason’s rattlesnake account so here it is.

It has almost been a year since Jason, got bit by a rattlesnake on his foot and spent 3 days in the hospital (2 in ICU) with another ER trip 3 weeks after . I thought it would be a good time, while I have the time, to give a brief update on how he is doing and on the financial impact on our family caused by the medical bills.

First, a great big thank you to everyone for praying. There were literally hundreds of people, spread out all over the world, praying for Jason. “let your requests be made known unto the Lord” and “pray without ceasing” were definitely invoked on our behalf.

Secondly, a great big thank you to all those who donated financially. We had so many people drop off money from amounts of $50 to $1,000 to help pay medical bills. During this time, we also had to finish paying a midwife and a dentist for Jason’s root canal (that he had 2 days before the snake bite, yes, he had a bad weekend).

One of the amazing things about the medical bills is that we told very few people how much the actual bill was. We weren’t trying to hid the amount but we also didn’t want to advertise it so we figured if people wanted to know they would ask. I will try and give a brief description of how those medical bills were taken care of by the Lord.

We didn’t have insurance. The doctors charge separately from the hospital. Therefore, we had bills from the individual doctors, the bloodwork bill from the hospital, all the follow up bloodwork, the ultrasound bill, and the bill from the hospital as well as the ER bill from the second hospital. (8-9 bills total) Before any discount for being uninsured, the bills came to a total of about $190,000. The hospital bill from where Jason was treated was the bulk of the bill at $182,000. Through all the donations we received as well as the discounts from the individual doctors and the discount for the after care bloodwork through the clinic at Jason’s work, and a little bit of savings, we were able to pay all but 3 of the bills. The last three bills were the 2 individual hospital bills and one of the doctors. We decided to negotiate all three of those bills. Thankfully, Jason had a resource with which to help him. He had bought a book titled, How to Survive Hospital Costs Without Insurance. The premise of the book is basically (1) Hospitals never tell us in advance how much something is going to cost. In essence they are asking us to sign a blank check. (2) Insurance companies negotiate with hospitals in advance, to get reduced prices. This means hospitals might have dozens of different rates they regularly charge for the same service. The author’s  research indicates Blue Cross Blue Shield, for example, often pays only 12 cents for every dollar billed by the hospital! (3)Holding hospitals to an objective third party standard is perfectly lawful and reasonable, and,  with the knowledge of how to lawfully contract/negotiate in good faith, it is possible to get the same price breaks that insurance companies get.

It was now time for Jason to put what he had read into practice. Many nights of research, reading, letter writing and often staying up until 4 a.m. to get a certified letter out on time while keeping meticulous records and copies of all correspondence, led to the small ER bill being settled for 1/4 of the price (which we were able to pay for through donations) and the other two bills (the doctor and the main hospital bill which had been reduced to 109,000) being dropped by the hospital/doctor, rather than negotiating/settling with us. We never had to pay on either of them. It is a little involved to explain the process of how all that happened but here is a very basic summary: Over a period of 6-8 months we sent many certified letters asserting the Hospital  provide simple things like  a breakdown of the charges, and evidence of a third party standard to base their charges( in one letter we made a binding offer to agree to cover any extra administrative cost they might incur in providing evidence of the third party standard). Our letters also included  asserting a reasonable time limit to respond to our inquiries, and asserting that they only communicate with us in writing to avoid possible misunderstandings, and asserting that if they had any objections to what we were asking for and stating, they needed to let us know in a timely manner and not harbor objections which to surprise us later.. We also sent several generous  conditional payment offers (checks/payment plans that would eventually expire if they didn’t cash/accept them) that they could settle for in lieu of their not providing the the third party standard, and they had several months to consider or accept  these or re-negotiate OR provide us  with evidence of a third party standard for their charges. We were very prompt and timely in communication with them, however one stopped communicating with us, while another had a law firm send us a letter. When we responded to the law firm with a letter quoting several things from a law dictionary and asking some pertinent questions, and included a certified copy of all the correspondence between us and the hospital, the law firm  subsequently disappeared never to be heard from again.   Eventually, we sent an official notice of default on the bill, inviting the hospital to dispute  the default, which they did not do. I do want to make it clear that our intent the whole time was to pay the bill, but, we wanted to know the prices they were charging for the service.

We learned a lot in the process about how messed up the business side of hospital care really is. and discovered some doctors who truly  call things as they are, including Dr. Keith Smith of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma. See several of his following video commentaries for some interesting commentary. Episode 3: “The Story of the $100 hospital aspirin” , Episode 3 (Part 2): “The higher the hospital charge, the more the PPO makes“, Episode 3 (Part 3): “Understanding the lies hospitals tell to make money .

We are so thankful for the guidance of the above mentioned  book as well as the access we had to ask questions of the author via a forum once we had bought the book, as well as all the money that people donated through the leading of the Lord. It started to become a little bit of a joke because every time we received a donation, within a day or two, we would receive a bill.

Our savings are basically gone but my husband is here, we are still out of debt, and our credit record is preserved What a blessing!!

How is Jason physically? Well, he still has random pain. Sometimes his foot will have an ache in it for 30 minutes or so and he says the pain travels. It is usually in his heel or at the location of the bite. We haven’t found a reason for the pain. He hasn’t started running on it yet but he is planning on starting soon. We had a follow up blood test about a month ago and everything looked good. We will plan on doing another blood test in 6 months. If that one is fine, it will probably be the last one.

Blessings

Jason

10 Annoying Things About Being A Parent

1. NEVER QUIET

2. NEVER ALONE

3. When finally alone, you miss your children

4. Getting a shower with 3 other people in the bathroom with you.

5. Only getting to take a 5 minute shower

6. Not getting a shower

7. Going to the bathroom with 3 other people in the bathroom with you

8. Cleaning the food crumbs up from under the table and repeating and repeating and repeating…………

9. Screaming (them not me)

10. Cutting fingernails for years

My favorite baby things

Tis the season!

To be pregnant!

I have a number of friends who are currently pregnant. Several of them are first time mom’s so I decided to write a post about my favourite baby things. Therefore, they can all come here to look at the list instead of me repeatedly sending it out.

There are two lists. The first is the quick mini list of my “must” haves. The list following contains various links, more information and comments about some of the various items.

1st list:
Aden and Anais Muslim Swaddle Blankets
Graco pack n play with bassinet
Dresser with changing table conversion piece
Diapers 🙂
Pampers Sensitive wipes (softest and work well)
Fisher Price booster high chair
Oxo baby spoons
Bright Starts lots of links
Stacking cups toy
Bright Starts take’n shake toy
Moby wrap (over the K’tan only because you can use it for heavier children)
Britax car seat
Safe Sippy 2
Boudreaux’s Butt Paste in the green box.
2nd list:

 

Toys:

(Now normally we don’t give our kids anything will flashing lights as I believe the lights are to fast for their brain to process, however, this toy is sooo fun and they love it so we waited until they were at least a year old to give it to them)http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Einstein-Take-Along-Tunes/dp/B000YDDF6O/ref=pd_sim_t_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=0WYH97P5RFZ8VZTMNEVX

http://www.amazon.com/Bright-Starts-Taken-Shake-Bear/dp/B00KH6OYB8/ref=sr_1_18?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1420726496&sr=1-18&keywords=bright+starts+pull+toy

 

Gear:
Now in this category you just have to look and see what you like best but for car seats I love Britax (wonderful reviews, we love ours), for pack n play’s I really like Graco, swings or bouncy seats it is just a matter of reading reviews and finding the one you like.
For a baby carrier, again there is a huge variety out there. Look around and find the one you like best. In general, especially when they are little, you want one that keeps the babies knees up above their bum, instead of hanging down straight. It is better for their pelvis. Try out all your friends carriers with kids in them and see which one you like best.
 
I like the Baby K’tan for when they are little. I haven’t really found “the one” for when they are older but I have a Moby, which I like, and am going to try and learn how to use it for heavier children.
For a stroller, nothing beats the ease of a bike stroller:
http://www.amazon.com/InStep-Quick-Double-Bicycle-Trailer/dp/B002QAZ8ZY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420725443&sr=8-1&keywords=bike+stroller
This is similar to the one we have. It doesn’t work well in crowds due to the arm sticking straight out or for running errands but for going on walks it is wonderful. So smooth.
 
Feeding:
I like the Medela hand pump.
 
Dr. Brown’s glass bottles are wonderful. We prefer to use as little as plastic as possible, especially for something that will be holding warm liquids.
 
I make all of our own baby food. I loved the mash and serve bowl.
 http://www.amazon.com/NUK-Mash-and-Serve-Bowl/dp/B006Z6E8AG/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420572220&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=nuk+baby+food+maker
I was using a knock off version of the Magic Bullet to make baby food. It worked okay. It was free. This time around I was given the NUK smoothie and baby food maker. I haven’t used it yet but am excited to try it. If I am making a large batch of food to freeze, I just use the Vitamix.
http://www.amazon.com/NUK-Smoothie-Baby-Food-Maker/dp/B00GEF7JEU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1420572569&sr=8-2&keywords=nuk+baby+food+maker
Oxo spoons are great. They are my husband’s favorite. They are deep so the food stays in it better when the children are learning to feed themselves. They are also silicone not plastic.
http://www.amazon.com/OXO-Feeding-Spoon-Soft-Silicone/dp/B0038JDV0Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1420572650&sr=1-1&keywords=oxo+spoons
Burpy bibs are awesome! They cover the shoulder which keeps more of the baby clean.
http://www.amazon.com/Anais-Muslin-Burpy-Jungle-count/dp/B002SW3CAS/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1420572728&sr=1-1&keywords=aden+and+anais+burpy+bib
For self-feeding a bib with a pocket is ideal. I haven’t found the “perfect” brand. I do know that it is nice to sometimes put the burpy bib under the pocket bib for even more coverage.
Sippy cup for water. LOVE this. Stainless steel and silicone. We skipped the sippy part and taught our kids straight to the straw so I can’t tell you how it works for the sippy part.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Safe-Sippy-Straw-Bottle/dp/B002DND57M/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1420726153&sr=1-1&keywords=safe+sippy+2
 Sleeping:
 
Absolute best things ever: Aden and Anais Muslim Swaddle blankets. I use these for nursing covers, swaddle blankets, blankets, for burping, car seat cover. Everything! Love them!!!!
 
Depending on your child, some children need to be very tightly swaddled to sleep. For that I use the Summer Infant Swaddles. I have heard that the miracle swaddle is great but I already had the Summer Infant brand.
 
If your child doesn’t need to be swaddled and you are concerned about them kicking off their blanket, Halo Sleepsacks are awesome.
 
Read the book, Babywise. People seem to either hate this book or love it. If you take it to strictly, you will hate it. However, read it and take out the parts that will work well for you. It was perfect for our oldest son and not that applicable for our 2nd child. We found a lot of helpful information in the book.
Furniture:
The trick here is to buy versatile things. A crib that converts into a toddler bed or a dresser that has the ability to convert to a changing table are a better use of your space and money.
 
For a high chair, we use and love this booster seat from fisher price. It is portable and doesn’t take up much space. Easy to clean and can be used for a long time.
http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Healthy-Care-Deluxe-Booster/dp/B00KA8I58G/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1420726044&sr=1-1&keywords=booster+seat+fisher+price
Well, that’s all folks. I hope this list is helpful.

 

 

 

 

Self Control-Way underrated

I must give credit where credit is due, as my sister began talking about self-control which got me thinking about this topic in more depth.

Don’t get me wrong, I have often thought about self-control but will be the first to admit that I have erroneously applied self-control in my life. My parents are not known for their self-control. The lack in this area created quite a bit of havoc in my life growing up. I came out of that with the belief that a lack of self-control equaled weakness. Unfortunately, not the right kind of weakness. I didn’t see it as an opportunity for God to be strong in our weakness but instead as a personality and character flaw that one chooses. It was a choice to not have self-control and as such I would never be that weak and I would chose to be strong enough to have self-control.

This is what largely drove me through my college years. This is what drove me to literally have no food or only 1 box of dry Cherrios to eat from for 3 days because I would have the self-control over my hunger to wait until pay day to buy food. I would also have the pride to not ask anyone for help but that is a different post. I would be in severe pain from a headache but I would have the self-control to handle the pain and would refuse to take medicine as that would have demonstrate a weakness in my character as well as a propensity to be like my parents. I could go on.

Here is the catch! We ARE to have self-control. It is a fruit of the Spirit. However, as with all things of the Spirit, the heart and it’s motivations are of paramount importance. I didn’t have the right motivation for my “self-control”. It wasn’t motivated out of giving God glory and learning more about Him. It was motivated out of fear and a reliance on self.

Self-control in America seems to be a thing of the past. Commercials, credit cards, media, fast food, etc. all push us towards the idea that whatever we want, we “deserve” and therefore, we should get it immediately.

Here is what my sister brought up that I thought was a wonderful insight. If we don’t teach people to have self control over the simple things like what they eat, whether they take pain medication immediately for a headache, or how to not spend money they don’t have via credit cards, then how can we expect them to have self control over their sexual life, their thought life, their motivations, and their sin?

This thought reminds me Luke 16:10 where God says that if you aren’t faithful in the little things, you won’t be faithful in the big things. If you don’t have self-control in the little things, how can you have self-control in the big things? It is a learned behavior/skill that has to be practiced and grow with usage.

I have seen how this process of NOT learning self-control can have a detrimental effect on someone and the lives of their family. My father is currently in jail because he didn’t chose to learn self-control. Looking back, I see all the little things he never required himself to have control over i.e. the food he ate, the things he bought, his words, etc. and he was therefore never able to cultivate an attitude of self- control and he and his whole family are paying for that.

My prayer is that I would cultivate an attitude of self-control. Not for the sake of self-righteousness, not to show up my father, but with the desire to honor God and be able to support my husband, and give my children a good example.