A Little History:
Our story begins in Pocatello, Idaho, circa 1972, when the lovely Debby Christensen agreed to a first, though fateful date with admirer, David Croshaw. Long story-short, he bade her follow him, and they went arm-in-arm to the Logan, Utah temple for establishment of an eternal family unit, Generation 1, on May 23 1973.
From their first blissful summer in Salt Lake City, educational pursuits took them to Provo/Orem, Utah, birthplace of Leslie and Rebecca, and to San Francisco/Oakland California, birthplace of Colin and Matt. Then, for establishment of livelihood, expansion of the tribe with Abby and Dana, and for raising/unifying of Generation 2, it was back to the roots in Pocatello for a rewarding sojourn.
In time, driven by a raging, but commonly shared sense of adventure and independence, one-by-one, Generation 2 escaped the homeland to distant regions of the country and the world, each ultimately developing their own tribal expansions by pairing with worthy mates and initiating Generation 3.
Now sensing fulfillment of their purpose in Pocatello, Generation 1 has also left those roots and transplanted to Cascade Idaho, from which base, they anticipate more abundant contact with The Posterity, Generations 2 and 3, in the future. That contact however, awaits fulfillment of a call to LDS missionary service in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, wherein they hope to help the state of the world by sharing the love of Jesus Christ.
So now, including Generation 0 (Grandma and Grandpa Christensen) home base includes Yuma, Arizona, Pocatello, Idaho, Cascade, Idaho, Vancouver, BC, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Spokane, Washington, Boise, Idaho, Los Angeles, California, back to Boise, Idaho, and on and on (Generation 3+) to infinity.
Our Mission Statement:
This is the blog of our eternal family unit. Initiated years ago, it served well as a journal, but even more so, as an archive of our personal interaction. It was a gathering place, a confabulation instrument, a unifying force for four generations of widely dispersed and progressively prolific posterity, and their valued associates. Though it served these purposes well for many years, it eventually took a back seat to new-kids-on-the-block, Facebook, and Instagram, and was sadly forgotten.
We now move to resurrect this blog with an added functional purpose of archiving the missionary experiences of Generation 1, of their movements and activities as they participate with The Gathering of Israel in the land northward. In so doing, we hope that via their own comments and posts, this blog will again serve to gather and unify the posterity and their friends.
As in the past, that the young and vibrant may know the old and tired, that enduring bonds may be fostered and maintained, that experience and encouragement may be openly shared, that posterity may embrace truth, and that hearts may be knit together, we must resist detachment despite our geographic divergence. We shall do so here.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
That's when the Elves came and fixed you
I am sorry it has been so long since I posted, as a couple of you know, Asher, indeed came early despite an October 17th scheduled c-section... hang onto your seats because I am going to detail our journey over the last 8 days, one of the most excitement and anticipation, then unimaginable fear of the unknown and terror, then cautious excitement to true joy... (PICTURES AT BOTTOM). I am likely to edit this in the next couple days...
I woke up feeling really oozy- dizzy, nauseous, and really heavy. I began collecting urine for my 24 hour collection in the big brown jug and I noticed a very interesting smell to it. I commented to Matt and Valerie "today may be it, I feel so weird." I never really went into labor with Valerie, so I was on high alert, but felt no labor would commence because Asher was pretty active... what I was worried about was pre-ecclampsia because of the urine results the previous day. I went to MBC with the intent of handing out my exams, then checking my blood pressure and depending on that- call my Dr. I decided to try CVS first thing however, on my drive, but it was not opened, so no checking the BP there.
I went to office hours at JMU, met with several students, then I went to MBC and copied a ba-zillion exams, made out 2 keys for my blessed TA's who wanted to grade them (what a blessing!), and left maybe 10 minutes before I would on a "normal" day. Off to JMU for Cell lab meeting... I started feeling more than a little migrane, but was like... finish the lab, call the dr, go to CVS to check the BP...
I got about 1/2 way through lab and the headache was worse, I was seeing in slow-motion, so I stepped into the lab prep room and called my Dr and left a message. An hour later, as everyone was finishing, I checked my phone... no return call from Dr Maerski... I drove to CVS and waited for a couple to check their BP, discuss it for ages, then hover over the station as they complained about the cost of their prescriptions... I sat down and it was 140/90. That is WAY over my normal 100/60. I went to the car, called the Dr again, no answer... called the emergency number, no answer, then got a return call from Dr Maerski who told me to go to the hospital.
I called Matt and told him to meet me where we could get dinner for Valerie and I would head to the hospital and he to work. Valerie refused to get out of bed and threw her phone at him, breaking it against the door. When I heard this, my blood boiled and i set off for the 20 minute drive home, by the time I got there, I was livid, but feeling so gross, I could not even argue, I told her "fine, I can not argue with you, I am going to bed." I told Matt I would go in to the hospital in the morning when I dropped off the urine for testing.
I took a bath- felt a little better, then went to bed. Suddenly I woke up with the strange call of a bird outside. I had left the patio door open. I got up and considered going to the local Rite Aid to check my BP and felt very swimmy-headed and decided to pack a bag just in case, when I bent over to pick up a bag, I got overwhelmed with sickness and the headache and vomited 3 times. I knew that was "it" and got Valerie up and said, "this is real, Valerie, I may die if I am sick." She got up.
I tried to keep the conversation light as we drove the hour to the AMC hospital with a stop at CVS to re-check blood pressure at the same machine... it was now 143/94... I got to ride a wheel chair up to labor and delivery where Asher was hooked up to a monitor- he looked great, and my urine was tested- still showing protein... blood pressure was down a little, but not much and I called Matt and told him to "GET OFF WORK!" and he did...
I texted many of m friends/family of the situation and Eve apparently got in her car and came from DC, calling Bria to get there first. Matt and Bria watched me as MAgnesium and some other thing were administered. The Mg++ really HURT and made me feel awful. Eve came at 3 am and she, Bria and Valerie slept in the hotel next door, giving Matt a sofa and Valerie comfort. Asher was strong through the night.
The next morning I completed the 24 hour urine and Dr McMillan came in. I felt really weird. Dr McMillan came back in and said "your labs suck you are in severe pre-ecclampsia" and then we talked about that- well, I said "let's go." I do remember asking about giving me steroids because I was 4 weeks early and he said I was past the need for it. We were in surgery in 15 minutes but only after I first passed out.
The c-section was interesting. With Valerie I had an epidural, which was no problem, with the spinal (which did not hurt as much as getting an epi), I felt terrible. I think I even cried. It felt like fire in my body, when Matt came in, I began vomiting. Thank goodness there was nothing in my stomach. Then the surgery bagan and I could not breathe with all the pressure.
As Asher was brought out of my body, I saw him for a moment. He was perfect and I immeadiately began balling- what a special moment. Then... I heard a big cry- a loud yell, but that was it- no more crying and I said "why is he not crying?!" And no one responded- then I told Matt- "DONT YOU LET THEM LEAVE WITHOUT ME SEEING HIM!" and the anesthesiologist said "oh, dont worry, they will bring him by after he is cleaned up.
The next moment, Matt said "they are leaving" so the anesthesiologist said "are you not bringing him by?"and the Dr yelled "NO!" I said- "they are going to take him to the UVA NICU." You see, this was my biggest fear. He was gone, Matt left to be with him, I left for recovery and my nurse cleaned me up and spoke about what might happen. The anesthesiologist said "oh he is probably having problems because of the magnesium in his system." So I asked how long it takes to clear and he said "it is pretty fast..." I was optimistic but knew I wanted him to have a blessing.
The Pediatrician came in and told me "he is having trouble breathing and he forgets to breathe, the UVa NICU is on the way, he will be brought to you the moment before they take him." I asked if Matt could go with them and was told "no" because there is a NICU team that takes up all the room.
I texted some friends about that and knew in my heart he needed a blessing before that trip. My friend Geneva is very intuitive because she sent her brother-in-law from the same town before I even asked. Asher was brought to us and I saw him for the first time. He was looking right at me with bright eyes and his breaths were accompanied with his little voice--- huhhh huhhh huhhhh... and I was told that is called "singing" and I was beside myself. Matt and Jake gave Asher a blessing that was inspired and Asher was off... I was scared, but I had high hopes the Mg++ would wear off soon.
As luck (my fate) would have it, the same ped who was with Asher worked a 24 hour shift the next day in the UVA NICU. Matt came by after visiting the baby and did not tell me much, we fell asleep after excitedly talking about the beautiful boy who was ours holding hands through the rails of the hospital bed, and he awoke at 3 am to drive home. Matt and my friend Ryan gave Asher a blessing as well.
I called Sunday morning and the nurse was "busy" I just knew it was with my baby...and Dr Aronzon actually called me back and I was told "he is still having real problems breathing" and that he had cried enough to give himself a pneumo thorax (a hole) in his delicate lungs and he had gotten surfactant... a CPAP to keep pressure in his lungs... and a CHEST TUBE to let out excess air from his thorax. I cried and cried, and prayed for my baby so far away. Clearly, there was more going on than Magnesium.
Sunday was crazy- MAtt slept till noon with his phone off (i was peeved), Abby drove in from DC and I finally realized I could add her to his visting list (she was one of 2 people we added) and she sat with him till Matt arrived. Between her arrival and Matt's I was sitting in my bed drinking water and I realized... my stomach was visibly swelling. I watched it for 10 minutes and the nurse came in and told me it was time to take out the catheter. I told her... um.... I think you need to leave it- look at this. I lowered my bed and exposed my visibly swollen belly just under my ribs on the right side. She left and came back with 5 more nurses and Dr McMillan who ordered 2 new lines started, a myriad of tests- mostly liver enzyme and blood counts, PT, PTT... and a type and cross match for 4 units of blood. I cried and said "I dont want surgery!" (surgery hurts!) and he said "you have to have it." so matt called while the test results were coming back and I vaguely told him I was in trouble and would he please call someone to come sit with me. Geneva was already on her way. She and I distracted eachother with baby and nursing talk. Dreama from my class came and then I was instructed to drink 3 20 oz drinks for a contrast CT. I was given dye in the CT room and told to pump and dump the precious drops I had been collecting for the last day... (I love the hospital medela pumps!) I was asked to lay on my side for the CT and I was in absolute agony, but knew they could not get a good view unless I lay on my side. I was crying and started praying and as the CT moved me inside, I had a profound answer to my prayer that I will never forget.
I got back to the room, Candice came and Geneva left after Dr McMillan said we would wait to see what to do next. I was supposed to get a shower, but I just felt so awful, I asked her to let me sleep. I was in so much pain. While there in the dark, the Dean's wife (my friend) came and prayed for me. She said at one point "we are thankful for the increase in testimony Crystal will have..." and I remember that. Later, I barely remember Eve coming in, but I do not remember much except I excused myself and went to sleep. She wrote about it though in her blog.
Matt left Asher and came to give me a blessing with Bishop Herrick and I slept. I woke up the next morning, and my abdomen was normal, I got up, went to the bathroom and waited for Matt. Dr Mc Millan came in and said "I didn't get any emergency calls about you!" and I told him, " I went to sleep and woke up this morning fine" and he said "That was when the elves came and fixed you." And I laughed. It was God, angels, and people who love me on the other side, but Elves will be my code for that now.
Matt came and got me (by the way, he brough the most ridiculous pajamas for me to wear to UVa...) and we went to UVA.
I took a wheelchair up to the NICU and walked in bent-over to the NICU. I could not take the community wheel chair in with the babies.
Asher was breathing 110 times per minute with his chest collapsing with each breath and he was unclothed with a heat lamp to warm him. He had a CPAP in and a chest tube and he looked awful. I burst into tears and cried and cried. I wondered if he would come home, if he was in pain, if he knew his mommy loves him... It was truly awful. The nurse said day three was the worst, so in my heart I was thinking "maybe he will just get better now?"
We sat for a few hours and I pumped in the special room, then we got Valerie (loaded with crafts she made) and went home. It was after 6 when we got home. I fell asleep and woke at 8 and had Matt call the NICU to check on Asher- where we were told he had been put on a ventilator. I burst out in tears, clearly he was not better, he was worse. Again I wondered if he would live and Matt said that he really thought he would. I just kept wondering if he was going to get through this... and Matt left to give him another blessing with our friend, Devin.
The next day, we got there and had Valerie with us. Asher's chest tube was on and he was only on oxygen, and I got to hold him. It was fairly quikly apparent he needed the CPAP again, so that was replaced. My friend Hannah sent her pastor and he prayed with us, leaving a sweet spirit. Previously, I could not and he really grimaced to be touched, so all I could do was talk to him and hold his hand. We spent the day talking to and reading to Asher and staring at monitors, praying, and wishing our baby was well. I cried periodically through the day and the nurse came by and I said "what is the magic factor!?" and she gave me a book and told me to look up Respiratory Distress Syndrome... RDS and since then, I have felt much more informed and aware. Bless Emma the nurse.
Wednesday, we got to the hospital and I commented that he had not opened his eyes. He did not Wednesday either, though he raised his eyebrows throughout the day like he wanted to wake. He was still on CPAP but the respiration rate was better. I did not know it, but he was on his way. I felt better, for sure, when we left, but cautiously so. Hannah came to visit and we three sat and watched and prayed for Asher, he began 5 mls of my milk (colostrum) every 3 hours from a feeding tube. Prior to that, we was just on IV nourishment because he was so sick.
Thursday. I got to hold Asher and was doing so when it was our turn during rounds. Dr Katwinkle ordered him off CPAP and they took it off while I held him. That moment was so scary, in a way, he was stable and I did not want to mess with that. In another, I wanted him off because it meant he was better... he remained with his eyes closed for the day. Well, we came back in the evening because I was told they might want to try to give him a bottle- or if i was there, the breast. We came back so I could try to nurse him. That night... WE MOVED TO A TRANSITIONAL UNIT! As I held him, he peeked at me and we nursed. Me doing all the work and he fell asleep with a belly full. We all left feeling great.
Friday, Matt and I left early to feed the baby. We got there to an oxygen free baby without a feeding tube with reports of wakefulness and good eating! YAY! During rounds, Dr Katwinkle told us he would go home over the weekend! REally?! We had so many things (mostly cleaning-related) we had wanted to do. We had been invited to stay at Julie's for the night, so during my Stiches-removal appointment, Matt got Valerie and we met in Fishersville where I got his car (still at AMC hospital) and Matt went back to Asher and I took Valerie to her Dad's. I went back and nursed, and it seemed like some thought we would go home Saturday, others Sunday. Asher was doing great and even woke up a few times to be nursed and we got to provide his care.
Saturday- no IV (YAY! I really pulled it the day before, making him cry) and Dr Katwinkle told us we were set to leave. The whole day was crazy, but we decided together we weren't in a hurry, so it was a joy to spend the day in transition with Asher and I got the nursing help I needed (involving static cling things I get to wear during nursing and lovely shells when I am not. But let me tell you, it makes my job so much easier. We were released after 8 pm...
Long trip home with stops at Julies for the milk I had pumped and to get Valerie and we were home.
FIRST NIGHT- we got home exhausted, but Asher was really excited about this colorful, new, quiet and dark place, so I was up with him from 11-4. After the 4 am feeding though, he fell asleep and slept till 9, 4 solid hours. What a relief. At one point, Matt gave him a bottle (After I asked, but he wanted to nurse, so we did that, and he threw up on me. Good lesson for me there, eh?)
Sunday- today- it is midnight and Asher lies asleep in his clearly favorite blankie waiting to be moved to his cradle in our room. We are getting to understand each other so well. He is an easy nurser, so sweet after he lets me know "I AM HUNGRY!" He loves being read to (especially books with cadence), he loves talking to his sister, he loves Daddy reciting poetry to him, and he loves me singing to him. What a joy. I am so glad this little soul is ours, that he is home, and that he got through the trials of such a nasty bout with lung disease. Dr Katwinkle called him "our little star." He is OUR little star and I am so glad that the Elves came to fix him too. Our prayers- and those of many who love us were answered, his blessings were inspired, and my testimony of families and the power of prayer and of Jesus Christ are strengthened. He is perfect and sweet and ours and we all adore him. He has made our family better.