JD was in London the week I found out I was pregnant. I had some random heavy-ish spotting so I called our family physician (who just happens to also be one of my closest friends - we'll call her AK for privacy purposes) and she told me to go ahead and take a pregnancy test. JD and I had been trying for a second child so I was thrilled when the test revealed those two dainty pink lines. However, because of the random spotting, AK suggested that I get some bloodwork done to check hormone levels, etc. I waited until JD returned from his trip before getting my bloodwork taken because I wanted him to be there for whatever the results held. But something in me still felt uneasy about the pregnancy. 

It doesn’t seem like a long time to be pregnant but, in the one week I knew a precious life was forming inside my womb, the Lord told me to celebrate that sweet little life. JD and I were both hesitant to get excited right away but God kept telling me, “Celebrate this baby. If there comes a time to mourn, I will be with you.” Even with Mia Kai, we were hesitant to truly believe I was pregnant until twelve weeks; yet, the Holy Spirit continued to whisper those words to me: "Celebrate the life. Celebrate the life." Because denial is an unfortunate strong suit of mine, I'm afraid I wouldn't have believed I was truly pregnant if we hadn't take that week to celebrate. It's just another area where Jesus knows my heart better than I know my own.

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Favorite Baby Travel Essentials // Airplane Edition

As of today, we've flown a total of 20+ times with our baby, which certainly does not qualify us as experts but we wanted to share our experiences with you nonetheless! Each flight has been different, ranging from near perfect to pretty awful. Most of them have been fairly decent though. We first flew with Mia Kai when she was around four months old. The following list of baby travel essentials has helped us to maintain our sanity.

Necessary things such as diapers, wipes, bibs, burp cloths, bottles, baby food, etc. are not mentioned in the list.

Please keep in mind that what works for us may not work for you, and vice versa, so please share your favorite travel essentials and suggestions below in the comment section as well!

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Mia Kai // One Year Old!

Happiest of birthdays to our little pineapple, Mia Kai!! A few of our friends and family gathered this past weekend to celebrate - and, oh, what a sweet celebration it was! As we stood around together before blessing the food, I looked around and felt a bit emotional. What a year this has been! It's been a fantastic year - watching our little Mia Kai grow and learn but it's also been a bit challenging. Between her surgery and well, everything that else that the first year of life entails for a baby and first-time parents, we've had our ups and downs. We're deeply grateful for our community, the people who have walked so closely with us this past year and the sweet ways God has carried us through it all. To see everyone gathered together at one time... it was comforting and a wave of overwhelming amount of peace flooded over us. But I digress. :)

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Craniosynostosis // Post-Op

Well, the doctor said to leave her steri strips on for another five days (unless they fall off by themselves, which a few already have). It made this momma and daddy cringe a little, knowing we'll have to take themselves off by ourselves.  Fortunately he gave us some tips for removal.  The exciting news?! Mia Kai looks great and we got the okay for going back out into public and for travel! We love our sweet Mia Kai and we praise God for His healing, strength and guidance through all of this!

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Craniosynostosis // Day Four

We are rejoicing this morning!!! Mia Kai's swelling has decreased dramatically and she even tried to smile at JD! She started wiggling when she tried to smile because she got so excited but then started crying because she realized she is still in pain. Sweet girl! She's trying so hard! She had a pretty great night. The nurses had to draw her bloodwork which she got pretty upset about but who wouldn't?? We cannot contain our excitement as we see our little one progress with healing so quickly! It's been a long three days but it also feels like it's flown by because of how quickly she's healing when we look at the long scheme of things. We praise God for healing our Little Pineapple so swiftly! She still has a ways to go with the swelling (particularly in the back of her head and the rest of her body) but she's doing so great! 

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Craniosynostosis // Day Three

MK had a fairly decent night. They had to draw blood from her arm because, once again, none of her IV lines would draw enough. It was awful. Besides that, she slept well. Her pain level still seems intolerable but the nurses are giving her a steady stream of meds and that's helping tremendously. Her temp is normal, heart beat is steady and her blood work came back okay. Her hematocrit level dropped again - not low enough to get another transfusion yet but it's at 24... If it drops any lower, they'll most likely need to give her more blood. Her sodium is a little low but nothing to be concerned about yet. Today we're celebrating the drain removal and her little left eye peeking out every so often, just to let us know she see us!!

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Craniosynostosis // Day Two

Last night was pretty awful. She's been in so much pain. Nurses have been taking exceptional care of her and she's been on a steady rotation of pain medicine. Her fever and heart rate got up pretty high. She is so over the nurses checking her all of the time. Haha! She ate well throughout the night but she's not eating great today. They started fluids again to help with hydration. They took her head dressing off this morning and have been able to take off two of her no-no's (little cast-like things to keep her from pulling on the lines). Her head is so round and bulbous now. We're astounded that we can already tell a difference in shape.

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Craniosynostosis // Day One

Surgery Day. We went in around 5:00 that morning, signed her in and waited. We were taken to the holding room around 7:00 am and the nurses and doctors came by to say good morning. They took her basic med info (blood pressure, temp, etc) then left us alone to love on Mia Kai before the nurses took her back to surgery. I cried a little but I think I got it all out the night before. It seems to be that this is the part that most parents have the toughest time with though. It's funny because we never thought her head was that misshapen until we saw how tall her head looks in the photos below.

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Craniosynostosis // Blood Transfusion + Leading Up to Surgery

The main risk for the traditional surgery is blood loss. The hospital staff informed us that we would be able to directly donate our blood just in case Mia Kai needed a blood transfusion. Countless people offered to donate directly but they set a maximum limit of four donors, preferably blood relatives. The directed blood donations are performed via American Red Cross. According to the information they gave us from the American Red Cross: "Parents are given the option to do directed donations for blood for their child's craniofacial surgery. It is highly recommended that mom and/or dad should be the only donors for children under 1 year of age." All donors are required to know their blood types before donating. Be sure to know your baby's blood type as well, so that you can make sure everyone has a match that will be donating. Everyone in our family wanted to donate but several family members had things that prevented them from being able to do so (previous illnesses, anemia, pregnancy, etc.). Two weeks prior to surgery, JD donated plasma then Chase (my brother), Sonya (my aunt) and myself donated blood. Somehow they are able to separate the plasma from the blood they would be transfusing. We are so grateful for the ones who offered to donate blood and to those who were able to!

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