Sunday, December 8, 2013

Kaden 5 months!

This month has brought a lot of milestones and changes for our little guy. Not only has he learned how to roll over, but he is rolling across the room. Not only is he learning to sit up on his own, but he can stand on his own for a few seconds. And he has learned that his favorite thing in the world is to JUMP! I'll hold him on my lap and he will just jump-jump-jump non stop. He also loves grabbing anything and everything with his hands. He especially loves playing with blankets, hair, fake flowers, wipes, and cups. Of course, he loves to play with toys and the sweetest thing is he loves to cuddle with his Teddy bear we got him from Build-a-Bear. He is the biggest flirt and gives his sly, dimpled smile to any stranger we pass by. His favorite person (besides Mom) is Dad and he will giggle uncontrollably when Dad tickles his tummy. Kaden also loves to flirt with his Pediatrician and she loves it (pretty strategic, eh?). He is also extremely ticklish on his thighs and will giggle so hard when Mommy plays peek-a-boo with him. Overall, he is a very happy baby. He doesn't cry often, only at bedtime it seems. Or in his carseat. Every time we go somewhere he fusses about it. It gives me a headache somedays just trying to go to the grocery store because he has a huge fit in the car…but as soon as I get him out he is all smiles and coos. Eating is going better…relatively. He is growing well in the sense that he is above the 60% now in height but is only like 5% in weight. He is just long and skinny. Our pediatrician was worried for awhile, but Kaden has grown steadily upwards, and he is just so dang active that she isn't worried anymore. Big relief to me because my whole life revolves around breastfeeding him and I dealt with a lot of feelings of failure because Kaden isn't as chubby as I hoped. All in all, he is a super healthy boy and is the joy of my life.

An update of goings-on with Ben:

Ben has been doing his Surgery rotation in Medical School. Surgery is notoriously the hardest/longest hours of any rotation so that has been rough on me but we're surviving! One of the coolest experiences he had was working at Texas Children's Cardiology. He worked right with Kaden's cardiologist and assisted with heart surgeries on babies and children with heart defects similar to Kaden's. Though it was really cool to physically touch a live human heart and help these kids so drastically, I think it wore on Ben a little bit…it was a little too close to home in the sense that he saw his son in every patient and if anything went wrong it hit him too personally. That being said, he loved his experience and excelled like he always does. Now he is on to Emergency Medicine…just a few more 12 hour night shifts and we're off to Oregon for Christmas Break!!!

As for me, I'm doing alright. I have good and bad days. I I'm still rocking the sweat pants and ponytail hair most of the time ha ha. Kaden is so wonderful, but he is all consuming and high maintenance and so I don't feel like I get much free time. Perhaps it is because I'm breastfeeding on demand but I feel like I am still confined to my house a lot. But, I know its not forever and I'm trying to cherish these quiet moments when I get to be so close to my baby.

I'm really looking forward to the Holidays and a chance to reconnect with Ben again and spend time with friends and family.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Kaden 4 Months

Kaden is 4 months OLD!!

WOW. Time really does fly by. At around 3.5 months things really started getting easier. I rolled my eyes every time people would say to me, “Just get past those first three months, everyt
hing gets better then.” I doubted but they were right! A few weeks ago things changed. Kaden is much more predictable, pleasant, and downright easier. I find myself getting out more and having way less anxiety. Now if Kaden would only learn to eat better…he is still nursing every 2 hours for 5-10 min. Its exhausting but its also such a tender time and I’m reminded that these precious moments nursing him won’t last forever.

Today at his cardiologist appointment they weighed him and Kaden is 13 lbs and 4 oz! We are so happy! Let’s just keep packing it on, buddy! He actually has some “grabbable” chub on him now…I wish he was bigger but I’ll take it for nowJ Hopefully he will get some more growth spurts in again soon.

Kaden has learned so many new tricks! He loves balancing on daddy’s hands and being tossed (slightly) in the air. It makes him giggle! He will be crying and fussy but will immediately smile and laugh when balancing. He also will stop fussing if you blow on his face, show him something shiny, or sing a funny song.  Ben and I made up a song and Kaden will coo and smile every time we sing it!

Kaden has also developed a fascination with toys. He loves to play with anything and everything and has started grabbing everything and putting it in his mouth. He refuses a binki but has discovered his fingers and is loving sucking on his thumb.

As parents we are growing more in love with our little Kades. Life is so much fuller and with so much more meaning now that we have him. Some nights I am tormented with nightmares of Kaden getting sick and I still have anxiety whenever I think about his heart and what it might mean for his future. BUT, we have hope and faith and are in the care of an incredible cardiologist and an all-knowing and loving Heavenly Father. So for right now, Kaden’s heart is stable and we are trying to just enjoy that peaceable knowledge and avoid worrying about the future.

Ben is on surgery right now and it has actually been amazing. He has been able to be home at really important times, like today when we had to unexpectedly take Kaden in to see his cardiologist.

I’m so grateful to be the mother of this incredible baby and wife of my amazing man!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Kaden 3 Months!!!

I can't believe we've made it this far!! We survived!!:) It has been such a wonderful, tiring, difficult, fulfilling, and inspiring last 3 months. Kaden has taught us so much already and I know its so cliche, but we really have grown to love each other more and we've learned more about what unconditional love is. Kaden is so much work, I'm exhausted, but those smiles and coos we share make every long day and night worth it.

Here are the updates on our little guy:

-Kaden loves to listen to music and will smile and coo at mommy and daddy if we sing to him
-still HATES the car seat, making it miserable to try to go anywhere!
-loves going on walks in the stroller
-loves loves LOVES being held; in fact, he screams unless he is being held at ALL TIMES
-starting to reach for things with his hands
-starting to sit up on his own (with the help of the bumbo!)
-gets distracted way too easily when eating--he is just so curious he is always wanting to look around
-Kaden is a big flirt; he will flash strangers his dimpled smile and coo at them
-He won't go poop for a few days and then will have several giant loads in one day--you never know when its coming!!
-He mostly sleeps through the night!!!
-The most difficult new development is that he has learned to launch himself out of his swing. He arches his back and kicks himself out of it. Same applies to all chairs we put him in. I don't like this particular trick since it scares me to death!
-Loves to be kissed on his cheeks
-Has ticklish armpits!
-Loves to be tickled on his face with mommy's hair
-A strong, stubborn personality is emerging...heaven help us!
-Loves to be cuddled and is such a good snuggler!

Some days are harder than others, but we are so grateful to be parents to this miracle boy! Our next big event is a trip to Utah!! Wish us luck on the plane!!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kaden 2 months!

Kaden has become so fun! Everyday Ben and I feel so blessed to have him as our son. He is such an easy, happy baby.  We couldn't be more grateful.

Here are the new developments at this milestone:
-Kaden can laugh, smile, and coo
-Kaden loves to have his diaper changed...he smiles and laughs EVERY time we change him!
-Blenders and vacuums don't faze him, but sneezing scares him!
-Still wears size newborn in clothes BUT they are getting more snug
-Can hold his head up
-Loves to look at colors and patterns
-Recognizes mom and dad--their voices and faces
-Sleeping mostly through the night
-Loves baths
-Has ticklish feet and is really ticklish on his "man boobies"
-Cries whenever he is in his car seat--he hates that thing!
-Hates being alone-he is a very cuddly baby
-Loves to be held upright against a chest

and finally...he has learned to breastfeed!!! Yay!!!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Kaden 4 weeks!!

I cannot believe that it has already been a month since Kaden came into the world. He has brought us so much joy and we are totally obsessed with him. Here are some unique things about our boy:

  • Kaden loves to look at lights! If he is fussy we can lay him down next to our lamp and he is mesmerized!
  • Kaden loves to cuddle. He is as happy as can be if he is being held
  • Kaden still makes his owl "ooh!" face...we learned that it is the face he makes when pooping!
  • We change at least 6 poopy diapers a day!
  • Kaden is really gassy
  • Kaden gets the hiccups several times a day
  • Kaden smiles and laughs in his sleep
  • Kaden sleeps with both arms above his head
  • He is still drowning in newborn size clothing but is definitely starting to fill out!
  • He really hates "tummy time"
  • He is starting to get really good head control
  • He has found his this boy can SCREAM!:)

Obviously there are ups and downs when life revolves around a newborn. One of the downs being that breastfeeding has been overwhelmingly difficult. First it was painful and now it is just frustrating. Since Kaden was fed a bottle in the NICU, he hasn't learned to truly eat from the breast. It is driving me crazy because he uses me as a pacifier--not a food source. It is a work in progress and I will keep trying! My days just become very long and draining as I breastfeed all day long since he never gets enough in one sitting. BUT, I AM DETERMINED! Hopefully we will figure it out soon!

Other than eating troubles, Kaden is a perfect baby. As I examine his  perfect little face, count his precious fingers and toes, I find myself overcome with gratitude. Throughout my pregnancy we faced so many fears--we were told first that there was a possibility Kaden wouldn't make it to term. Doctors also warned us about the potential for Kaden to have a deformity or some sort of genetic disorder. We also were counseled not to get our hopes up about the success of the surgery. So many warnings and so many tears were shed in fear.

But as I look down at my beautiful little boy I am astounded by the miracle we've received. However, the fear never leaves my mind that the future still holds some trials for little Kaden. We are still unsure about his heart and what exactly will need to happen in his life; but we are hopeful. We have faith that Kaden will continue to be strong.

Our cardiology appointment is friday...I'm scared to death that they will look at Kaden's heart and see a problem again. Or worse, I'm scared he'll have to get another surgery. 

The plus side of all of this is that I am not taking anything for granted. Each moment with him is a gift and I hope I never lose that perspective. 

Thanks for reading!!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Kaden is Two Weeks OLD!!!

Today marks Kaden's two week birthday:)

We went to the pediatrician and here are his 2 week stats:

Weight: 6 lbs, 11 oz (the 8th percentile for weight...we need to fatten him up!!)

 Height: 21 inches  (the 67th percentile for height...can you say tall and slim like daddy??!)

I cannot even express the relief that he has gained last week's check up he only weighed 6 lbs 5 oz...however I'm still overwhelmed by my mission to get this boy to grow!

Kaden has been such a joy...a perfect baby! He hardly ever cries and is content as long as he is being held...we are sure this won't last long and are wary of the day our luck runs out!

Here are some cute things about Kaden that we've recorded since bringing him home:

- Kaden LOVES to breast-feed. If he could he would be suckin all night long. Most the time he isn’t even eating, he just loves to be next to mommy.

- Kaden LOVEs to be held, he will squirm and wiggles for and hour and the minute you pick him up he will immediately fall asleep. At nighttime dad will take Kaden and sleep with him on the couch, with Kaden snuggled into his chest, and mom sometimes can’t resist and will bring him into bed to sleep next to her.

- Kaden is always pursing his lips and furrowing his brow, leading us to believe he will be a great thinker :)

- Kaden can only sleep with his arms above his head and loves to suck his fingers

- Kaden kicks like crazy when you change his diaper, as though he were trying to run away

- Kaden’s little giblets always find a way to peak out of the diaper where he manages to shoot a stream of pee straight out of the diaper, no matter what we do he finds a way to pee all over everyone without getting himself wet!

- Kaden has really skinny legs and super strong arms, just like his dad.

- Kaden is such a good baby. He only whimpers and that is only when he is hungry. When he got his heal pricked, he furrowed his brow and that was it.

-Kaden turns his head when he hears mommy and daddy’s voices---he is even recognizing Grandma Taylor’s voiceJ

-Kaden loves to snuggle in the fetal position on mommy’s chest

-Kaden makes  his “owl” face and it is the cutest thing in the world.

Thoughts about Parenthood: 
-I’ve never felt such overwhelming love or overwhelming fatigue

-I feel guilty for leaving to go to the store

-I can sit and stare at him for hours

-I’m a nervous wreck

-I cry if he cries 

-Never before have I been so content to just sit and stare at him all day—absorbing how beautiful each little piece of him is: eyes, nose, ears, and all fingers and toes. He is my miracle!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Kaden's Birth Story

Dear Friends and Family,

Here is a little summary of the last couple weeks and the wonderful miracle we’ve seen with Kaden.

Monday night, July 1st, Callista was getting ready for bed and she broke into tears. “I am so so tired of being pregnant, everything is uncomfortable and in pain, I want so bad to not be pregnant anymore.” Trying to comfort her, Ben said, “Wait a second honey, I think I hear something…” putting his head to her 9 month large tummy he nodded his head as if listening intently to instructions. “Yep … Oh really …. Oh she’ll be happy to hear that….” Pulling his head away from her stomach he said, “Sweet heart Kaden has just told me he is going to start coming tomorrow”. Laughing she responds, “Oh really, Kaden told you that did he? Well, if you are so sure, what are you willing to wager on this prediction?”

“A homemade apple pie” Ben responded

“Deal. If I go into labor tomorrow, I will bake you an apple pie, If it doesn’t start tomorrow, you owe me one” replied Callista and they both got into bed and fell asleep.

The next morning, Tuesday July 2nd, Callista went in for her last growth measurement (she wasn’t scheduled for induction for another week). During the ultrasound they found that her amniotic fluid levels were low, something called oligohydramnios. There wasn’t really an explanation for this; her water had not yet broke and previous ultrasounds showed normal levels. Regardless of the cause, low levels of amniotic fluid can cause umbilical cord problems, so the standard treatment is immediate induction. So at about noon on Tuesday they started Callista on Oxytocin.

At first, the contractions were mild. They felt more like stomach grumbles than pain. These soft contractions lasted a while, until 8 o clock. During these 8 hours Callista barely dilated, going from a 2 to a 4 despite the fact that on the monitor she was having consistent contractions every minute or two. At 8 o’clock her OB/GYN broke her water.

Almost immediately the contractions came hard and painful, each one harder and more painful than the previous. In an effort to prove herself strong, Callista wanted to see how long she could endure the contractions unmedicated. At 10:00 the pain was too much, and with the begging’s of her husband, she consented to an epidural. Unfortunately, it took the anesthesia team roughly a half hour to come.  Needless to say, those last 30 minutes of natural contractions were dramatic…

Once the epidural was placed Callista was in heaven. Completely relieved from pain she was talking and laughing, and eventually ready to get some sleep. The nurse came and measured her, but there had been no change, she was still at a four.  At this rate it was becoming more and more likely that the baby would come in the morning.

Tucked into bed, she tried to fall asleep. About 40 minutes later I called the nurse in, watching the monitor Kaden’s heart rate seemed to be dropping quite a bit with each contraction. Concerned about the same thing a resident physician came running in to measure Callista, she was at a 10. In 45 minutes or so, Callista went from being dilated to a 4 to being dilated to a 10 and completely effaced.

All the teams were immediately called, the newborn cardiology team, the neonatology team, the OB/GYN team. All in all there were roughly 25 people in the delivery room waiting for Kaden’s arrival. Were amazed at how fast everyone was able to get there.

Callista started pushing at about 11:45 pm.

After a few rounds of pushing, Kaden’s heart rate began to drop and we needed to act fast. Her OB/GYN expedited the delivery using forceps and we went through another couple rounds of pushing.

Kaden was delivered at 12:20 AM July 3rd.

He came out angry as heck. The neonatology team immediately did their evaluations. Given his heart condition, we half expected him to have trouble breathing or to be blue. However, Kaden looked incredible. He was breathing well; he had great color, and was responding appropriately.

The tension came down dramatically as the teams realized that there was no immediate emergency.

We got to hold him for about ten minutes and time seemed to hold still. He was beautiful. He had Callista’s button nose and cheek dimples and Ben’s chin and lips. We had been worried up until now that he may have some genetic cause for the hear t defect which could also cause mental delay. These genetic causes often manifest with dysmorphic facial features.  We can’t tell you how relieved we were to see his perfect little face. However he came out, we would have loved him forever, but we were very grateful to have avoided that struggle.

They bundled little Kaden up and they rolled him down to the NICU where they would perform an Echocardiogram on his heart. With Kaden gone, the attention shifted to Callista. Given the speed of the delivery, going from a 4 to a 10 in 45 minutes and the forceps, she was hurt pretty bad. We’ll spare the details and leave it at this; she experienced a 3rd degree perennial tear with many layers of stitching.  As the epidural wore off over the next few hours, this injury became incredibly painful and will take some months to bounce back from.

Up till this point the plan for Kaden had been to do a procedure within the first few days of life where they run a wire up into the heart, and blow up a balloon in the region of the severely narrowed pulmonary valve. This procedure is called a Balloon valvuloplasty. If this worked, it was likely Kaden could come home in 2 weeks or so. If that didn’t work, we move to the very traumatic open heart surgery, where they would open Kaden up and manually fix the valve. If this was the case, his NICU stay would be up to 3 months or more.

Down in the NICU Ben watched as they performed the ECHO. Shaking his head, the Cardiologist told Ben that the Pulmonary Valve was very dysmorphic. He doubted whether the balloon valvuloplasty would be enough.

“Tell me honestly, do you think he’ll need open heart surgery?” Ben asked

“Speaking honestly … Yes. I think you’re in for the long haul. We’ll try to balloon the thing open, but when it is this bad, usually they need to be opened up and fixed surgically. My advice, don’t tell your wife this, but prepare her for the worst.

Disregarding his advice, Ben went and told her everything in as optimistic terms as he could find. She was still pretty out of it and stayed hopeful. Ben however was devastated. The dreams of a quick procedure and being able to take him home in 2 weeks seemed to be dwindling.

A few hours later, at about 9:00 AM on Wednesday July 3rd, the cardiology team came to visit Kaden and delivered some good news. They would be able to fit Kaden in just a few hours for then to perform the Balloon valvuloplasty. They indicated that we would know immediately if it was a success and whether or not he would need an open heart surgery. 5 months of wondering about Kaden’s fate would be answered in just a few hours

At noon Ben kissed Kaden’s cheek as they rolled him into the Interventional Radiology surgical room.

At 3 o clock, our Surgeon walked to our room and told Callista and I that the procedure had been an incredible success. Everything went right. The valve open up beautifully and the pressures normalized rapidly. He indicated that as expected the valve was not perfect and may need surgery when Kaden is in his late teens, But from his standpoint, Kaden’s story was as happy and good as anyone could have hoped.

Over the next few days Kaden continued to amaze. Without any significant problems, Kaden breathed wonderfully, his heart beat well, and he ate like a champ. We were even able to get Kaden to begin breast feeding.

After a day or two, both the cardiology and neonatology team indicated that given his awesome performance, there was no need for him to stay any longer. Kaden was discharge on Saturday July 6th. Ironically, Kaden was discharged almost before Callista was.

Since then we have had some of the happiest days of our lives with Kaden. He eats and sleeps well. He loves to snuggle with mom and take naps with Dad. Callista’s mom Linda has been with us the last week and her help has been priceless.

We know that all of you have been directing your prayers and best wishes toward us. We truly believe that this made a difference. Sometimes, despite heart felt prayers and hopes, a miracle doesn’t happen. Sometimes we have to face the unthinkable, and mourn over a tragedy.

But …. Sometimes a miracle does happen. Sometimes, God takes the impossible and makes it reality. I don’t know why it happens sometimes and not other times. But I do believe there is something bigger than us, directing our lives and influencing events for our good.

Both Callista and I thank you for all your support. We are so grateful for all you have done for us. Lastly we are grateful to God for this beautiful blessing and miracle in our lives.

The Welling’s

P.S. Now for some pictures of Kaden (see below)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

37 weeks!

pardon the awkward pose...:)

So here is an update of Baby Kaden:

Every week I spend countless hours at the hospital so they can measure him via ultrasound and a stress test. I also get tested for contractions. This past week we also met with our Cardiologist, High-Risk Ob Gyn, Neonatalogist, and our NICU nurse. That is a lot of appointments! I swear I'm there every day but it is such a blessing we live so close! There is a shuttle that comes every hour to and from the medical center to our apartment complex. The convenience is incredibly nice. The hardest thing was when our nurse showed us the NICU where are baby will be rushed off to immediately after he is born. Seeing all those babies hooked up to tubes was really hard. I broke down right then and there, I had never felt so overwhelmed with sadness and fear. It is good that I know what to expect, but it is so hard looking at those sick babies and knowing that in just a few weeks my son will be right along with them.

The past three weeks I've been showing signs of pretty intense contractions. At first it scared me but then the doctor said I just have some uterine irritability...doesn't mean the baby is coming right then. Also, during the growth ultrasound they measure baby's head, stomach, length of major bones, etc. This week our sweet Kaden is estimated to weigh 6.5 pounds already! Jeez! All the doctors and nurses are pleased that he has grown so well....but I really hope I don't give birth to a 9 pounder!!! The one concerning thing is that my uterus has consistently measured smaller than normal...I guess he is just really squished in there!

This weekend Ben flew home to Oregon for his brother Tyson's wedding. It was a beautiful event with our whole family there. Needless to say I have never ever felt more left out in my life. I even begged my Dr. to let me go...she said absolutely not. Not only for the sake of the Kaden's emergency care right after birth, but because I was having contractions so often. It was very possible that I could go into labor. I understood and the last thing I wanted was to put myself and Kaden at risk, but Man! I was so bummed I couldn't go!!!

The biggest blessing and answer to prayer was that Kaden didn't come while Ben was gone and now HE IS HOME AND DONE WITH SCHOOL!!! Ben hasn't had time off from school in so long that it feels like a second honeymoon.

We have so many plans and a huge bucket list of things to maybe Kaden can keep cooking for a  little bit longer.

I'm going to be induced July 8th if Kaden hasn't come yet but we kinda want a July 4th baby. How cool would it be to have fireworks every night of his birthday for the rest of his life???!!! We will always tell him the fireworks are to celebrate him:)

Ben jokes that if he does come on the 4th we will have to change his name to Freedom...haha

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Maternity Photo Shoot

A big shout out and THANKS to the wonderful and talented Amber Dowdle who did these photos for us! We love them and are so SO happy with how they turned out!!!

Here is just a few of the favorites:

This photo shoot helped me so much. Throughout this whole pregnancy I've been either extremely sick or extremely large...and as a dancer/runner it is hard for me to see my body change in such a profound way. So it was wonderful to finally embrace the inevitable changes that pregnancy comes with and celebrate the fact that I'm growing a human LIFE inside of me!!! Thanks again to Amber (and Ben) for helping me feel better about my pregnant body:)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Security Guards, Receptionists, and Valets...a rant and a rage

I'm so grateful for people whose jobs really make my life easier. Their entire work day is focused on how to improve the function of the facility in which they are at. To illustrate, I will share my experiences the last two days:

First of all, as a pregnant woman I am extremely dangerous.

So dangerous in fact, that the security guard at my husband's med school won't let me walk through the building to escape the rain because I don't have an ID badge. I'm almost 8 months pregnant, in flip flops, its pouring rain outside...but like I said, I don't have an ID badge and so no access for me. Ben, a devoted student, was at my side with his badge, and tried to convince the guard that I was his wife and we were just trying to take a short cut to our car in the parking lot so I didn't have to waddle through the rain.

No sympathy from this guy. Must've been my shifty eyes.

No big deal. But like I said, its pouring rain! So we tried to be sneaky and enter the building through another door (ben has a key per being a student) BUT the guard chased us all the way there and stood at the door with his arms waving a frantic "No!" and blocking us from entering.

Jeez, that guy does his job well. He should get a promotion. No pregnant terrorists will ever get past him.

The next day I had some baby shower invitations for Ben's medical school friends that he forgot to take with him to school so I needed to drop them off. I go to the front desk and in answer to prayer it wasn't that security guard---just a nice-looking receptionist lady.

I proceed to explain that I have 3 baby shower invitations for my husband to give to his classmates and can I please leave them here at the front desk? I'm running late to a dr. appointment and my husband is still coming from another class. Is that ok? He'll be here in like ten minutes.

With a huff and puff the flustered receptionist shakes her head and says absolutely not. It is against the rules to hold anything at the desk for students...what if there is money in those envelopes? She could get in big trouble.

I choke back some frustration and open each of the envelopes, showing her the harmless sheets of paper with blue balloons and other happy-feely decor on them. There is no money in here, no illegal documents, no anthrax. Just a baby shower invitation. Please. Can I please just set these on the desk...I'm running late...he will be here so soon.

No. She'll get in trouble. She can't be accountable for this kind of thing.

So with a flash of brilliancy I ask if I can place them right NEXT to her desk on the newspaper rack. She agrees because it is not ON the desk and kindly assures me that she will make sure my husband can find them!!!

You've got to be kidding me.

Later that same day, I was dropped off at the front of my apartment building by a friend. My apartment has valets to park your car and open the door for you. I've actually made good friends with a lot of the valets, most of them are very shy and incredibly kind. Today they had a new he opened the door for me he exclaims, "Lady! You are supposed to eat the watermelon piece by piece, not swallow it WHOLE!"


 'Til next time, folks!

P.S. this blog entry entirely satire. In no way do I discriminate or endorse discrimination of individuals in these professions :-)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Update on Kaden's Heart

Well...things have been really hard in some ways lately. For example, I've been going to the doctor almost every week for various tests and appointments. I even met with a geneticist, who was wonderful, but had to discuss with me every possible disorder that my baby could potentially have. Needless to say, its been emotionally exhausting, but at the same time Ben and I have been able to push through it.

I owe all my strength to my amazing husband. Ben has been so supportive and loving through this whole thing. I know that with him by my side, holding my hand, that I can do anything. Yesterday we had another ultrasound on the heart with our Cardiologist. We were really nervous and anxious for the news but at the same time we were still able to joke and laugh and be happy--just because that is our default for when we are together. It makes me so grateful to know that even in our darkest hours, Ben is still my best friend and someone I can always count on to make me laugh and smile through the tears.

Well yesterday our doctor brought us some good news...and some bad news. The good news is that Kaden is growing really well (over 4 lbs!) and the blood and oxygen supply to his brain and other organs haven't been compromised. He doesn't seem to have any other malformations in other areas of his body, indicating that his heart is most likely an isolated incident and that he doesn't have an overlying syndrome (however, we won't know for sure until genetic testing is done at birth). His heart seems to be holding on, and the good news is that for now his heart isn't going into complete failure. The Bad News: last ultrasound he was able to pump blood through the very narrowed pulmonary valve pretty successfully. Now, there is significant back flow of blood from the pulmonary valve and also the tricuspid valves. What our doctor thinks may happen now is surgery on both the pulmonary valve and the tricuspid--although we are still hoping that fixing the pulmonary valve will be the solution for everything else to fall into place.

So...what does this mean in the interim before Kaden is born? Well, because his heart is now having back flow, there is a chance he may need to come early. However, we want him to be as strong as possible for the surgeries. At my next echocardiogram, in about 3 weeks, the doc will determine whether to induce me early or let me go the full 40. We are praying that his heart is stable enough for him to be born full term.

We are trying to stay positive through all of this. We have already seen so many tender mercies, such as living so close the medical center that I can walk to all my appointments. Ben has also been given time off to attend every echocardiogram I've had. We are even just grateful that we live in a time where technology can find problems like this so that our baby has a chance. All in all, our faith is getting us through and now we just have to play the waiting game.

On a lighter note, here are some updates on my pregnancy:

First, I LOVE food! I am so starving all the time but I can only eat little bits at a time. It must be my stomach is so smushed in there. It actually is really great for Ben because he always finishes my plate:)

Second, the baby is so so SO ACTIVE! He moves so much and Ben and I will watch my stomach contort into crazy shapes as Kaden squirms all around. He even gets the hiccups a few times a week! I think that through all the throwing up and discomfort, pregnancy is worth it--just feeling my baby move inside me is the most incredible life experience!

Thanks for reading! Please keep Kaden in your prayers!

Monday, May 13, 2013


Comparison of weeks! Just wish I would've kept my pose to the same side...oh well! It goes 27 weeks, 31 weeks, and bottom pic is 33 weeks!!!! 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Prayers for Kaden

Dear Friends and Family,

This blog update is actually one that has been over a month in the making. We have decided that instead of pretending that everything is ok, we are going to be open and share with you the hard news that has come into our lives recently. We hope that you will be understanding and will keep our family in your thoughts and prayers.

Everything had been going well with the baby until one of my routine ultrasounds. I noticed the ultrasound was taking a really really long time and the ultrasound tech had gotten very quiet. Immediately I felt a dark feeling come over me as he announced that he needed to go get the doctor. After another excruciating 30 minutes, the doctor sighed and turned towards me. He found some very concerning things in my baby's heart. Kindly, he drew a picture and explained to me that little Kaden's heart wasn't functioning very well, one of the main valves was very thin, almost closed off, and it was causing back flow of blood.

Not knowing what this meant or what to do, I sat there in shock as the nurse scheduled me to see a cardiac specialist at the fetal center. I would undergo a echocardiogram so the specialist could diagnose Kaden's heart more accurately. The appointment wouldn't be for a week agonizingly long time.

However, sometimes there are perks in life that you have to take advantage of. Since Ben is a medical student, he has access to all the personal emails of doctors in the med center and he sent out an email to the head cardiac specialist at Texas Children's. She was able to rearrange her schedule and get us in to see her the next day. We felt so blessed to receive answers right away.

After the echocardiogram, things were much clearer as to our baby's condition. He has been diagnosed with severe Pulmonary Stenosis and Tricuspid Valve Regurgitation. There was an accumulation of fluid surrounding his heart, indicating the start of heart failure. Though he had no other visible markers, this heart defect is often associated with genetic disorders, indicating potential for mental and physical disability. Since his heart was so severe, our doctor also cautioned us that there is a chance Kaden might not live to be born.

In just two short days our world came crashing down. We have to face the possibility of losing our little boy or the probability of him having severe problems for the rest of his life. Nothing could have prepared us for the shock and grief we've felt.

In response, I think we both went numb. We stopped all our baby preparations and felt our excitement come to a halt. We did our best to pretend everything was ok and so we apologize to those we lied to.
The specialist told us that all we could do was watch and wait and that a follow-up appointment would tell us even more.

After four weeks that seemed to last four years, we went to see the specialist again. I had been feeling our energetic baby kick me constantly and so I knew that he was still alive. Also, our family had done a lot of fasting and prayer and we know those prayers were answered. Miraculously, Kaden's heart has not gotten any worse, and the fluid around his heart is gone. Though the stenosis is still severe, his heart is pumping as efficiently as can be expected and we have high hopes that it won't digress. Though not out of the danger zone yet, our doctor is more confident that he will make it to term.

What we can expect after he is born isn't the ideal, but again, gives us high hopes. We know that Kaden will have to undergo surgery immediately after birth. We are looking at a NICU stay of anywhere between 2 weeks to 3 months, depending on the success of the surgeries. We are praying that the balloon valvuloplasty will successfully open up his pulmonary valve and that we won't have to go to the extreme of open heart surgery. We still do not know about any mental disabilities or disorders, but cannot know until he is born.

Until Kaden makes his debut, I am seeing my obgyn every week and the specialist every two weeks. They will monitor his growth and make sure that he continues to thrive. We ask all of you to keep Kaden's heart in your prayers, that he will continue to grow and that he will be able to lead a normal life.

This news is something that has devastated us, but through our faith, our family and friends, we feel supported and that we can get through. Thank you for reading! We love you!

Ben and Callista Welling

Monday, April 8, 2013

27 weeks! Start of my third trimester!

Well, my belly has really grown again. My innie belly button is almost an outie!!! I can't wait! An update on my pregnancy:

Morning sickness: FINALLY gone!!!! Thank heavens! But it has been immediately replaced by swollen feet, pounding headaches, and overwhelming fatigue.

Cravings: Cheese, yogurt, chocolate milk. Anything dairy sounds delicious! Also, chips and salsa. Can't get enough of it!

I can't believe that just under three weeks ago I ran a half marathon. I know I couldn't do it now! I've really slowed down my pace--I think the bump just got really heavy really fast! So for now I'm stuck to working out on the elliptical, and that has completely thrown out the window my motivation to work out. Am I the only one to get insanely bored on those machines?

I'm really grateful for Ben who always tells me I look beautiful but I am definitely getting to that stage where I'm really struggling to feel comfortable with my body. I feel like I get stared at whenever I go places and it really bothers me. I wish I could ignore it but I honestly hate going even to the store because someone will ALWAYS comment on my bump, and often the comments are not nice. For example, in the elevator of my apartment a lady addressed me saying, "Wow, you must be pretty close, huh?" AH! I KNOW I AM BIG BUT NOT THAT BIG AND YOU SHOULD NEVER SAY THAT TO A PREGNANT LADY! Needless to say, I am super irritated with people and I'll blame it as another pregnancy symptom :-)

On a positive note, General Conference this weekend was incredible. I was reminded of why I am going through all this, and it is because I know that the greatest happiness in life comes from family. I can't wait to meet my little boy!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Adventures in Austin

Well, Ben and I officially LOVE Austin, Texas. Sorry, Houston, but Austin just seems more our style. We love the rolling hills, the wildflowers, the restaurants, and the culture. Every time we go we have a really good time. It is only a 2 hour drive from our house so it's the perfect vacation spot for weekend get aways.

Two saturdays ago I ran my 1/2 marathon!!! I was 24 weeks pregnant (almost 25!) and ran it in 2:40. It was honestly the best experience. I took it easy and made friends along the way. I tried not to be too competitive, but at the last 3 miles I left my companions in the dust and pushed it to beat all the ladies that said they were determined not to be beaten by a pregnant lady. Too bad for them. I torched them all :-)

We also went camping and before you think I'm really crazy, we had a super nice air mattress and full restrooms. It wasn't all that rugged:) We went with our good friends Jeff and Rachel Whitlock. It was a BLAST! We had tinfoil dinners and smores for dinner and got in trouble with the other campers for being up too late and too loud...turns out those other campers were MORMON too! Oops...way to represent :(

On Saturday we went to Mckinney falls. We had a picnic lunch and hiked and played in the water. The water wasn't too cold...and I really enjoyed the secret cave behind one of the waterfalls. I wish we had gotten more pictures! Ben and Jeff spent all afternoon doing flips off the falls into the water. Everyone there was watching and we heard them mutter under their breath about "those two crazy guys" and warn their kids not to copy them.

I also took a painting class is a pic of my painting. I don't really like how it turned out. It looks sad. But hey, I actually learned a lot about the proper way to blend colors and hold a brush. I think I just might take it up as a hobby.

Regarding my pregnancy, I still feel sick but it is easing up. I'm REALLY starting to show and my neighbor in the elevator whom I see every morning said, "Hey, are you pregnant?!" to me today. It made me laugh and I wish I had the courage to say, "No, I'm just fat" to see his reaction. But that would be mean.

More belly pics coming soon!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

24 Weeks!!!

Well, here is an update of life at this point in my pregnant journey:

I'm STILL sick. I am nauseas every single morning and every night. I have to eat breakfast the minute I wake up or else I'm dry heaving. The ONLY thing that doesn't make me throw up is toast and peanut butter. So that is what I eat for breakfast...and I have eaten that every morning for the last couple of months. Sometimes I get bored and try to eat something else and then I throw it up. So I've learned to be happy that I found something that will stay down. Then, after my toast I usually go on a slow jog/walk. The weather is getting hotter (90 degrees on monday!!) so I'm not sure how long this will last but I am enjoying it while I can. Here is me today at a whopping 24 weeks! (just before a painful 6 mile run!)

Lets just say that before I got pregnant I could do 6 miles in well under an hour. Now with my bathroom breaks, walking for several stretches at a time, and just being slower in general, it takes me about two hours to get it done! But at least I am doing it! I'm really trying to stay fit and not gain too much weight while still gaining what is necessary for my baby. But I am STARVING all the time and I think its his fault :-) He is growing great, and actually is measuring "tall" for his age. I hope he is tall just like his daddy and grandpa. Also I noticed that I am all of a sudden carrying REALLY LOW and it makes me have to pee all the time! 

Some of the coolest things that have happened lately have been this little guy's movements. I've felt him move since before 20 weeks but now I CAN LITERALLY SEE HIM MOVE!! Its so crazy! Ben and I will watch these little limbs poke and slide around under my skin. If it wasn't so cool it would be a little an alien invasion of my body! Before, I could only feel the kicks from the inside, but now anyone can put their hand on my belly and feel him do a little football punt! He is a strong little boy!

Besides the morning sickness I can't really complain. I feel like I've finally settled into the happy phase of pregnancy. I'm not super uncomfortable yet and the pregnancy hormones have made my hair grow really thick and my skin looks better than ever. I guess its a trade off...I look "glowing" from what friends tell me, but the only glow I see is from the porcelain toilet when I 'm face down, puking my guts out. Well, I'll take what I can get. 

And finally...we have officially decided on a name!!! Mostly thanks to the craft store Hobby Lobby. You see, I found these cute wooden letters on sale for .30 a piece! I couldn't resist getting them...So right there, in Hobby Lobby, Ben and I chose the name for our son. And fate made it so because almost all the letters were gone EXCEPT the ones we needed to spell our baby's name. So here it is! And this is his little changing table:)

Maybe its bad form or etiquette to announce the name of your baby before he's born, but I don't care. I love this name and I don't think I'll change my mind... :-)  Anyway, til next time! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

warning: potty humor

I just need to write this down so I can remember it in desperate times. The last couple of days have been really bad depression days. I've felt so sad that I didn't want to leave the house. The reason why is that I felt so HUGE in all my clothes. I was cramping and I couldn't breathe my belly was so big. I felt like my stomach looked like I was already 9 months pregnant and I was so uncomfortable! I honestly couldn't bend over...I shouldn't feel like this yet! I didn't know what to do! I know that you seem to grow in pregnancy overnight but this was crazy!!

Then...I had a marvelous experience in the bathroom. And the huge belly was GONE! I was back to my tiny, barely there baby bump. Phew!

If any of you have ever experienced constipation and gas like that...well, then we are friends.

Just to be clear, I didn't use a laxative. That was my body all on its own. Pretty impressive.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Beautiful Houston

Now that I'm getting bigger and bigger every day, it has become harder to run. Luckily though I've been able to log in the miles a couple days per week and it helps me feel a tiny bit better about my voracious appetite. Which, by the way, is embarrassing. Like for example, Ben and I sat down to eat lunch on Sunday. I compared our plates. I had a huge ham and cheese sandwich...ben was having Kashi cereal with strawberries. Um, yeah. Something weird happened. In Ben's defense, we had bought that Kashi a while ago and it needed to be eaten...usually I would down that stuff but pregnancy has completely changed to my taste buds to that of a man's. Ugh. Will I be this way forever???

Anyway, we have had some of the most gorgeous days here in Houston. Here are so pics of the trails I well as the 20 weeks pic (well, almost 20 weeks:))