Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Thomas Edward Pettit

I never thought I would ever lose one of my babies, when I saw other women miscarry I felt so awful for them and I knew God would never do that to me because I am simply not strong enough.
When I got pregnant with Thomas I was so miserable I was sure this was the last baby I would carry. I’m pretty sure I even announced it to my Relief Society that I was done.  Now, ironically, I would love to have ten more! I would take the misery and the discomfort. I would take being grouchy at my husband and having little patience with my kids. I would take the sleepless nights and the extreme exhaustion just so I could hold my teeny tiny boy.
Around 15 weeks I felt my sweet Thomas kick, after that I didn’t feel him stirring so much.  When we went in for my 20 week checkup Calvin (3yrs old) had wanted to come with us. I had mentioned that it was weird that I hadn’t felt him move very much but I wasn’t too worried. I have extreme anxiety when I’m pregnant so I figured I was just over thinking things.  When my doctor pulled the baby up on the ultrasound we couldn’t see a heartbeat and the baby had passed away over four weeks earlier. How could I not know?  How could I not feel like there was something devastatingly wrong?  He had a growth of the back of his neck and had a trisomy (when an extra chromosome attached itself to a pair of chromosomes). There wasn’t anything we could have done to keep him alive.   We went home completely heart broken and we explained to Calvin that Thomas had passed away and that he wasn’t going to end up coming to our home. 
When we got home I sat crying in the kitchen and Jesse urged Calvin to go give me a snuggle, and that mom will need a lot of snuggles for a while. Calvin put his little arms around me and said “Mom, sometimes when I’m sad I say a prayer and that helps.”  What a tender mercy to have my sweet Calvin there to help bring me comfort. We knelt down and Calvin volunteered to give a simple sweet prayer asking Heavenly Father to help me feel the spirit so I won’t be sad anymore and that Thomas would come home. I feel like it was such a tender mercy that Calvin came to the doctors with us. It gave us the opportunity to hear his sweet testimony and have my boy to snuggle and feel close to.
The next couple days were a blur. We had an outpouring of love and support from family and friends.  We felt taken care of, and I am so grateful for all of the texts, phone calls, flowers, dinners and donuts. We feel undeserving of so much kindness, but we are so grateful. I know this trial would have been paralyzing without so many prayers for us.
Grieving is a funny thing. I honestly didn’t know how to grieve or what to do.  So many people would tell me “take time to grieve” I wasn’t sure what that meant.  I’d be fine with everything one day thinking yep this is God’s plan and then the next I’d be a complete mess! There were times when I said I few choice words to my husband because he was grieving differently than I was (not my best moment). But I was angry. I was really really angry. So my sweet husband got the brunt of it. I was so angry that he wasn’t crying all of the time like I was. I was so angry that he could see this as a building experience that God was giving to us to help us grow and become like Him. I was angry that he wasn’t angry. We all grieve in different ways. Jesse’s way is to take care of his family and be strong and lift us up, so that I could have my time to be sad.  A month has passed and I’m still sad, I feel like being the mom it’s just different. I feel like I have a unique bond with that baby that there was no way Jesse could have.  I carried him for 16 weeks, I felt like I knew him, even just a little.
For a while I thought “wonderful! I’ve gotten fat for NOTHING! I have no baby to show for this and now no clothes fit, and people still ask me about when I’m due. LOVELY!”  I would get angry when I could see the good that was coming from me not having another baby right away. Now we don’t have to get a van right away. Now Lenny will probably be a little less attached when a new baby comes. Now we can potty train Lenny when we want and take away his binkie without having to worry about him waking up a new baby too. Now I can focus on homeschooling Calvin. Now I have enough energy to clean my house. Now I can wrestle with me boys. Now I can finally get decent night’s sleep. Now I eat without feeling like I’m going to throw up. Now I don’t HAVE to eat every two hours.  Now my face isn’t so blotchy red from being pregnant.   Now we can go on a vacation. But every time I found something good that came from not being pregnant or having a baby I felt guilty and awful. I felt like I was trading my baby for all of these other things. In my mind if I was going to be happy about all these other nice things then that meant I was happy about losing Thomas. It’s hard when you have these expectations to get a bigger house, to get a bigger car, you wrap your mind around having three kids and one of them is extremely needy still. It’s hard when you’ve gotten your hopes up to see your other boys as big brothers soon. It’s hard when even after I had the surgery I still felt like I had given birth. It’s just hard.
But with even with this hard trial the Lord always makes himself known. He’s shown His love for us not only through other people but through the scriptures as well.  The last big trial I feel like we had was when Calvin was 18 months, we went to Utah for Thanksgiving and he had three seizures all in one day. It was a really scary time and before we went on that trip we had prayed and decided to leave his stable job and move on to something else less stable, no insurance, a lot less pay. After the seizures we were a little freaking out. As we were staying the night at His Grandma’s house getting ready to come back home she had a scripture framed on her wall. Proverbs 3: 5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”  Being reminded of that was a bit of an eye opener so we decided to take the leap and continue with our plan as the Lord had directed before.
 The day after we found out we had lost our baby someone brought us dinner and with it they attached a scripture.  Proverbs 3: 5-6. Funny how this one scripture keeps showing up at seriously the HARDEST times of our lives.  I know that I can’t see the big picture. I know that I forget so often that the Lord is mindful of me. I know that Thomas is His child too.  I know that the Lord has and will direct me to what will make me happiest in this life and the life to come. It has been hard to come to grips with the fact that losing my baby is part of the Lords plan and will ultimately be the best thing for me.  Not because I will sleep better, or have more energy to play with my kids, or save more money, but because this is what the Lord wants, because He has better plans for me.

Now I feel like there was purpose in it all. Thomas was with me for as long as he needed to be, as long as he was supposed to be. I know it was and is part of Gods plan. I know Thomas is still part of our family and that will never change. Even before we had Calvin I wanted to name one of my sons Thomas but it just wasn’t right. I was waiting for this baby. I knew that this was my Thomas that I had been waiting for. He is special. I feel like I fulfilled my purpose as his mom on this earth, and I’m grateful for the little time I got to spend with him. Honestly I’d do it again just to spend those 16 weeks with him.  I know that I will see him again, but I miss him. My heart aches to hold him and rock my sweet boy. Someday I’ll see my sweet Tommy boy and I’ll hold him so tight. I am grateful for this experience because I know that God has a plan for me. I know He loves me and I am willing to be a mom to any little soul even if it’s for a very short time here on earth. I now know I am strong enough, only because God lifts me up. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013


When we found out that we were having a boy when I was pregnant with Calvin, his name came so easy.  The name just fit. This time when we got pregnant we were SURE that we were having a girl. We had an adorable name picked out and everything. I imagined painting her room and having a large peach armoire in her room. I imagined baby dolls, pink ruffles bows, and tutus.  When the doctor said that we were having another boy we were shocked. We made him check again and again, but sure enough we are having another boy.  We hadn't even thought about boy names. We thought about it for months. I had my favorite names Samuel, Thomas, or James, but none of them felt like it was this kid.  It just didn't fit his personality. Jesse made name suggestions, but all of them were terrible. :) One day he suggested the name Leonard.  I laughed at him, yeah right Leonard? Really? I really can't imagine naming our kid Leonard. He's already going to be a nerd. He'll be made fun of so much! So obviously the next day I was making fun of him to one of my friends. I'm like yeah right Jesse really wants to name our kid Leonard. And my friend says, that's not so bad, you can call him Lenny.  At that moment I got chills all over. I knew that his name is Leonard. Our little Lenny. Later we asked Calvin if his little brothers name should be Lenny, and he says clear as day, "Lenny!!" It made me tear up a bit. Finally we had a name. We wanted a little more old fashioned name. I can just imagine Calvin and little Lenny in their rocking chairs on the front porch, talking about the weather with their little bubble pipes.
Although we had our hearts set on having a little girl, we are so excited for out little Lenny boy! I'm grateful that we are having a boy so Calvin has a little brother to rough house with. I know that they will be good friends, some day.
My neighbor friend recently had a baby and we were at the park with the kids and I was holding her new teenie tiny. Calvin saw me from across the park and FREAKED out! He started screaming, and real live tears were streaming down his face. As soon as I gave my friend back her baby he was fine, no more tears, no more freaking out, but as soon as that new baby was in my arms the water works began again.
We are all in for a fun couple of weeks when our little Lenny graces us with his presence. We just scheduled our c-section date. March 29th 6 AM!! It finally feels real. Yes the sleepless nights and not being able to bend over and the excess weight gain have all been very real, but the idea of having a new baby in the house finally feels like reality.  We are excited for our new baby boy!

Christmas 2012

This was Calvin's first year going to see Santa, of course he was terrified, but he will give anyone and everyone a high five when asked.

I LOVED Christmas this year! It was such a perfect Christmas! Calvin is old enough to understand presents and toys and treats.  We had our Christmas here in Arizona.  It was relaxing and just personal. I love the time I have with this little family of mine.  We got him a bunch of cars and I made him an awesome car mat to play with. I took him Christmas shopping and he picked out more of his presents, but by the time Christmas came he had forgotten about them.  It was fun because I knew that he would love all of his presents!  Santa put a fun book and school bus in his stocking and after that he really didn't care about any other presents. He loved them so much! We got him a bubble machine that we tested out later that day.  Christmas is so much for enjoyable when there are little kids that feel that magic of Christmas.

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without going to the Mesa Temple lights.  Jesse and his little a capella boy group sang at the temple this year. Just their luck the night that they were scheduled to sing it was pouring outside! And it was freezing!! I bundled Calvin up with three layers of sweaters and coats and long johns with fleece pants and headed out prepared for a very cold hour. Cold being about 35 degrees and wet. We are from Arizona, so any colder than that would just be unbearable. :)  I told Jesse that no one is going to hear them sing. I felt bad for them, they practiced a ton and although that was half of the fun, it's always exciting to perform for an audience. When we got to the temple we found out that due to weather conditions it had been moved inside the visitors center. It was PACKED! I seriously couldn't even move. They did amazing and I'm so proud of my talented husband and his friends. They also performed at the Higley community Christmas concert. We were able to stay for the whole thing as we bribed Calvin with smarties to sit still. It was beautiful and it really brought the Christmas spirit!  I love the Christmas time of year to reflect on Christs life and everything that He did and continues to do for us.

18 Months

My sweet baby boy turned 18 months in December!  I still call him my teenie tiny baby boy, but he isn't so teenie tiny anymore. He's hilarious, and I love having a boy! I never thought I would rip my kid out of his high chair, run out the front door in the cold and get so excited to see the garbage truck.  I get excited every time I see an airplane, fork lift, or any type of truck because he LOVES them so much.  He makes his vroom vroom sounds as he plays with his toy cars. He has a peanut butter and honey sandwich everyday. He loves to rough house with his dad.  He loves our kitty cat and tackles and cuddles him every chance he gets.  He is getting a little less rough with other kids, I have hope that he'll be soft with his new baby brother when he comes.
We have been looking forward to nursery in church for months now.  The weeks leading up to his 18 month mark going to church seemed almost pointless. We spent most of the time out in the hall because Calvin refused to be with us in a classroom setting. So finally when he turned 18 months we were very eager to get him into nursery so we could start paying attention and getting things out of class again. As we dropped him off at nursery for the first time we were nervous, a lot of kids refuse to be dropped off and end up screaming the whole time.  Jesse dropped him off and the wonderful teachers got him distracted so Jesse could sneak out. He did great! There is a little stuffed puppy dog in nursery and whenever he started getting sad would hold that little puppy close and he would feel better. He has done great every day since then and we are so grateful! I have never been so thankful for our nursery leaders! I'm grateful for their sacrifice. Going to church every Sunday and not getting a ton out of it because you are finding snacks or trying to entertain your kid really wears on you after awhile. You need that spiritual uplift on Sundays! We are so happy that he loves nursery! I peek in on him and see him participating in the songs and activities. It makes me happy.

We love our big baby boy. We love how much he is learning and growing. Sometimes I don't love how he is learning how to get up on the couch on his own or opening up doors and bottles on his own. He is experimenting on climbing on buckets and he makes me nervous on a daily basis. But he is learning. Even bump, bonk, and bruise he gets he's learning and we just adore him. The other day he was watching cookie monster on the I Pad and Cookie Monster was eating lots of cookies. Then I hear Calvin whisper "coookie" and then try to lick the I Pad.  He cracks me up.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Rezurrection Computer Repair

Back in November of 2012 Jesse and I had the strong impression that he needed to leave his reliable, steady job to start his own business. That's crazy right? What kind of irresponsible people are we anyways?! We went to the Temple a few times and had a special fast to make sure and the impression was there (and who are we to question matters of the Spirit?). We needed to leave his job and the Lord would provide a way for us to get by.  The original plan was give notice as soon as we get back from our Thanksgiving trip to Utah but considering how that fantastic trip  went we decided we pray and get some additional guidance. Our trepidation, although spiritually immature, was logically warranted:  our toddler recently had a major medical emergency that may or may not be a recurring thing, I'm pregnant and due in a few short months, and Jesse has had seizures in the past:  do we really want to leave a job that has insurance and a steady income?  As we drove home from our Thanksgiving trip to Utah, we stayed overnight with Jesse's grandma Bonnie. We had been talking about the decision quite a bit in the hours spent between Orem and Hurricane (where Jesse's grandmother lives).  Once we arrived and had a bite to eat, we unpacked a few things and put our toiletries in the bathroom.  Hung on the bathroom wall was a verse from Proverbs, chapter 3, verse 5:

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

We had felt this prompting again and again and it was a very appropriate reminder of just how many times we had been directed to this course. The Lord knew what was going to happen with our little boy before we did, so why would His counsel change at this point?  The event that had momentarily paralyzed our faith was already known to the Creator of all things - we just needed to remember with Whom we were dealing.  :)

 Jesse put in his two weeks the beginning of December and it really has been a miracle in our lives. Of course it would be, why would the Lord want anything different than the best for his children?

We feel so taken care of: all of our needs are being met, we have state insurance to cover us while we get established, and we have good friends who have sent business our way.

Jesse has more work coming in than we expected at this point and opportunities continue to present themselves.
Oh, on a related note, if you or anyone you know needs computer, webpage, project management, or business analytics help, I happen to live with a guy who does that sort of thing and has reasonable rates.  He'll even help you cut your cable and go Internet only if you want to save some money.

I am so grateful for the guidance of the Lord in our lives. I know He does not leave us alone in any circumstance, no matter how petty or small it may be when compared to everything else. He is there when we need Him and he will guide us as we seek Him.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thanksgiving 2012

I think it has taken me so long to sit down and write this post because I get a little emotional just thinking back on the whole experience.  I can blame the tears on the pregnancy, but this was the scariest, most traumatic experience in my life thus far.

Every other year we trade off between my family and Jesse's family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. 2012, we went up to Utah to visit Jesse's parents for Thanksgiving and we couldn't have been more excited!  We had such a strong feeling that we NEEDED to be there for some reason.  With Jesse's work schedule and available vacation time it wasn't the most convenient and we really didn't know how well our little 17 month old would do in the car for 12 hours either. He rarely falls asleep in his car seat so we were prepping mentally for a very long and potentially tear-filled road trip.

I had been talking to Jesse a few days earlier telling him how grateful I am for our life that we share; that everything is so perfect! Yes, we have our trials but nothing really big.  Life has been very good to us and I felt like we were past due for some hardship (call me a pessimist if you must!).
The trip started off so well: Calvin fell asleep in his car seat (thanks to some lullaby primary songs) and we were on our way to visit some of the most wonderful people on Earth. Since Jesse had to work on the Monday we left late in the afternoon and had previously reserved a cheap hotel room in Page, AZ so we could do the trip in two legs.  A few days earlier I had decided to upgrade our room because I found a better deal! Yay for bargains! Little did I know how this would save our bacon!  Calvin woke up crying about 20 minutes outside of Page but we really didn't think much of it since we all had been in the car for 5 hours and were all a bit cranky. I crawled into the backseat to see if I could comfort him a bit and not two minutes later a geyser of vomit came flying out of him!  It was nasty, acidy stuff and everything that he had eaten for earlier that day.  It was everywhere - filled up his car seat, all over me, the console of the car, and all over the back seat! Gross.  Jesse quickly pulled over and we stripped down the kid in the freezing cold and wrapped him up in a blanket and continued towards Page as quickly as we could while ignoring the fetid stench of our toddlers stomach contents strewn about the car.  We were both praying that we'd make it to Page without anymore throw up.  No such luck. For the next 20 minutes we went through every blanket, pillow case, bag, coat or other that could possibly catch vomit that we had available in the car.
We finally made it to the hotel and I was very grateful that we upgraded. This hotel had a little heater in the room and a large sink so Jesse got us settled and went to Walmart to pick up car air-freshener, baking soda, detergent, and Fabreeze.  Upon Jesse's return he spent the next two hours taking apart the car seat, washing it and several other things in the sink and tub, and setting them up to dry.  The heater was able to dry everything before we had to leave in the morning. It was a VERY long night with little to no sleep but we were so glad to have sufficient facilities available to take care of the issue. The boy was still vomiting every hour and couldn't keep even the smallest sip of liquid down. When we checked out of the hotel we decided to take him to Urgent Care to make sure that he wasn't going to get too dehydrated and get an IV if necessary.  They told us he was doing okay (so no IV needed) but they gave him a tiny piece of Zofran to stop the vomiting.
We were back on our way to Utah with a (finally!) sleeping toddler and a car that smelled like vanilla (thanks Walmart!) and barf.  We kept a prayer in our hearts that the rest of our trip would be less eventful.  I thought to myself, "Oh this must have been the terrible trial that I felt coming on."  Calvin had never been this sick and I think it's stressful on a husband and wife relationship when kids fall ill but I was so grateful for Jesse.  He helped so much and didn't even complain once through all of the cleaning and driving.  I really felt that this had strengthened our relationship and was glad for the opportunity but was happy to have this "huge" trial out of the way.

Ha!  I'm so funny.  I think Heavenly Father must look at us sometimes and think, "Oh honey, you just wait. I've got a few more things in store."  The rest of the trip Calvin slept a lot but was fussy. We made it to Orem safe and sound without the backseat full of vomit (although that smell took a long time to dissipate).


We arrived on Tuesday evening and went to bed early to recover from the drive.  Calvin slept on and off and Wednesday and seemed to be doing a bit better; he was playing with his cousins a little and even wanted to help Jesse with yard work.
Thursday was a complete turn-around! Calvin woke up happy as can be! Aside from having a HUGE blow out, it seemed like his terrible sickness had passed and was OVER!  He didn't have much of an appetite for breakfast but after a shower he was playing with toys and giggling and running all over. Finally back to his normal self!  Calvin and I were playing on the piano together while Jesse and his parents were prepping for the Thanksgiving festivities when Calvin suddenly stopped playing and looked up at the ceiling.  I laughed and asked him what he was looking at - such a silly boy! It didn't take me more than a second to realize he wasn't being silly but something was wrong. Calvin went really stiff then his arms and legs started shaking.  His breathing was shallow and I started to freak out!  I screamed for Jesse and he came running in to the room.  Thankfully, Jesse was calm and knew exactly what to do. He laid Calvin down on his side and began to count so we could keep track of how long the seizure lasted. I, on the other hand, was an emotional wreck. Calvin wasn't responding to anyone while he was seizing and I was desperate to have him acknowledge me.  I even tried to bribe Calvin with some chocolate (his favorite treat) if he would just look at me. The seizure lasted a little over a minute, he got really disoriented and started thrashing around, and then he went limp.  I picked him up and just held my sweet baby boy, not knowing what was going on. Calvin's breathing still wasn't very strong and I no idea what to expect with seizures or even what kind of seizure this could be. My father-in-law called the paramedics as soon as the seizure began and they arrived within 2-3 minutes and began taking Calvin's vitals while he was passed out in my arms.  The paramedics were very calm and explained what was happening: apparently it's normal to immediately pass out after experiencing a seizure.  We decided to take him to the hospital ourselves as it was about two miles away and as we got into the car Calvin woke up screaming and once again gave me the privilege of catching all of his throw up.  A little even got in my mouth, it was gross.

We got to the Timpanogos emergency room and we waited to see the doctor for at least a half an hour.  Jesse's dad and brother-in-law, Mark, gave Calvin a priesthood blessing which gave us comfort and hope that everything would be okay.  The doctors ran A LOT of tests which was almost more scary than the seizure itself.  I think the worst one was a mucus test when they had us hold him down while they put saline solution up his nose and then sucked it back out again.  Calvin got crazy wild eyes -  I'm sure he thought he was drowning.  He was freaking out so badly that I just started bawling! Of course, Jesse leans over and asks if I am laughing or crying; of course I was crying! My sweet baby boy is going through this traumatic experience, it was terrible.

After being in the emergency room for a couple of hours running tests they decided to release us from the hospital.  All of the tests were showing that he was super healthy! They said that sometimes after kids get sick they will have a seizure. The only super weird thing was that he didn't have a fever, which is the normal trigger for seizures in little kids. So even though he was super sick a few days earlier the highest his fever was about 101 degrees. They let us go with the caution that about 33% of kids who have one seizure are prone to have another one within the next day or two so we should keep an eye on him.  If he ended up having another one we were to bring him back for more tests.  PROTIP:  If a seizure is less than 5-10 minutes, although not fun to go through, it shouldn't have any long-term effects.  Once a seizure gets into the 10+ minute range, brain damage is more and more likely the longer it lasts.

We went home completely exhausted and took a family nap.  After resting for a bit, we took a shower and as I was getting Calvin ready he started leaning over like he wanted to take a closer look at something near the bathroom door hinge. I stood him up but he leaned right back over and did the same thing. I realized that he was having another seizure.  It was happening all over again and my heart sank.  I rushed him out of the bathroom and yelled for help.  I started to count. 30 seconds passed, one minute passed, one minute 30 seconds, and it finally stopped. It was pretty much exactly like the first one and, once again, after the seizure he was super disoriented and wouldn't look at me but instead thrash around and fuss.  He was quickly exhausted and went limp again.  Jesse was still in a towel from getting out of the shower and I did not want to wait for him to get dressed so Mark took Calvin and I back to the hospital.  They did warn us that this might happen so it wasn't as scary as before but I was still so worried for my little one.

Jesse arrived a few minutes later, fully dressed, and full of questions.  The doctors ran more tests, some of the same blood tests over again, and sent us up to get a CT scan done (Calvin was a champ in the scanner, didn't even wiggle or fuss while Jesse held his hand and sang to him - the technician was a sweet lady that asked if she could hire Jesse to sing to all her patients while they got scanned).  All the tests came back perfectly normal again and no abnormalities were shown in the CT printout. Why in the world was this happening?  Jesse has had two seizures in the past but he is hypoglycemic so low blood sugar is his trigger. Calvin didn't appear to be hypoglycemic or even to have any sort of irregularity in his blood chemistry to even suppose that could be his issue as well.  They put an IV on him to ensure that he was getting enough fluids (since he wasn't eating or drinking much due to trauma of the tests) and we were there for the rest of the day and into the evening for observation.  The doctors advised since Calvin appeared to be in perfect health that we should take him home and keep an eye on him.  Just as Jesse was filling out the discharge papers Calvin started into a third seizure!  I felt cheated at this point: it's not supposed to happen more than twice!  Three seizures is DEFINITELY not normal: Calvin was getting food and water through the IV, he had no fever, he had been sleeping and seemed to be his normal self.  After about 45 seconds, a flurry of doctors and nurses, and some anti-seizure medication in his IV, Calvin's seizure stopped and he went to sleep.

There was absolutely no reason why this would be happening.  I didn't know what to think.  A whole stream of terrible questions ran through my mind.  Is he going to have seizures for his whole life? Will he need to wear a helmet every time he gets the flu?  Is he going to be able to hold a job or live alone or go on a mission?  I looked at Jesse and saw an expression that I had never seen before: he looked scared.  Those of you who know my husband know that he keeps his emotions under control and is very deliberate in his actions.  The times I've seen him cry is when we're watching something about special needs kids or I accidentally punch him in the nose. He didn't cry at our wedding, he was even calm and collected when I had to have my C-section with Calvin, and even after Calvin was born the most I got out of his eyes were a little glisten.  Jesse excels at keeping his cool in stressful situations and I was relying on him to not freak out or break down but the look on his face terrified me.  I am an emotional person and tend to overreact in stressful situations but if Jesse, Mr. Stone Face, was scared then I knew we were up against something truly frightening.  I looked at him and told him he wasn't allowed to be scared because if he lost it I wouldn't be able to hold it together at all.  He smiled at me and said that he was scared but everything would be okay.  This made me feel a little better. A few minutes later Jesse's brothers and parents came to visit us. There is something about those three Pettit boys.  They have a funny relationship that I can't really explain. They are so ridiculous when they get together! They speak in circles and start to weave intricate jokes and make up voices and situations to describe whatever is happening.  Half of the time I have no idea what they are even talking about but their silliness was very much needed and lightened the mood immeasurably. We were all laughing in just a few minutes and the stress became bearable. I am so grateful for that little visit. It meant more to Jesse and I than words can explain and gave both of us strength to keep smiling.

I got really upset thinking about the whole situation at that emergency room.  They were going to release us right before that third seizure.  I understand it was Thanksgiving and they aren't a children's hospital and they couldn't even get a hold of the on-call pediatrician but seriously, toddler seizures aren't super common, especially in a completely health kid so why in the world would you release us?  Ugh.  Anyways, about 45 minutes after Calvin had his third seizure we decided to take him to a children's hospital.  Salt Lake City's Primary Children's Medical Center is one of the premier children's hospitals in the US. We also knew one of the doctors there and she suggested to transfer up. The on-call pediatrician for our current hospital finally showed up and it he said he had no idea what was going on and he would set up the transfer to Primary Childrens at U of U in Salt Lake. There was nothing more that they could do in Orem.

I rode in the ambulance with the EMTs and Calvin while Jesse followed in the car (his parents and brothers brought our luggage when they came to visit so at least we had toiletries and clothes).  Jesse was praying the whole time while driving and said he felt much better about the whole situation when we got to the hospital.  Hooray for prayer!  When we arrived at Primary Children's they had a room and a doctor waiting for us.  There was an army of doctors, nurses, and specialists waiting on us hand and foot - it was awesome. They were so kind, helpful, and understanding.  They worked so hard to answer our questions and had a few ideas as to what could be going on.  My favorite part was if they didn't know the answer they told us what they were doing to try and find out. We were up till 1 AM talking to doctors, doing the (long-winded) orientation of what the hospital offers and what we can expect from the doctors, and getting settled in.  Calvin woke up shortly after we arrived (had been asleep since his previous seizure) and seemed to be perfectly fine and was smiling at the nurses and giving out high-fives.

We requested a normal hospital bed so we could lay down with Calvin and comfort him in this strange place.  Jesse got the couch set up to sleep on and I didn't want to be even a couple feet away from my sweet baby boy so I decided to sleep next to Calvin in the bed. Unfortunately,  I had caught the same barfing virus that Calvin had on the car trip up so I was getting up to vomit every 20 minutes. Getting out of the bed was nearly impossible due to my pregnant belly (and baby weight) so I struggled to make it to the garbage can every time.  On top of that I couldn't even close my eyes without having traumatic flashbacks of Calvin's seizures so every wiggle or shift he made caused me to have a mild freak out. Did I mention Calvin wiggles like a worm on a hook when he sleeps? I decided that I needed sleep more than Calvin snuggles so I woke Jesse up (What the crap, Jesse?!? Can you sleep through ANYTHING?!?) and made him switch me places.  I guess his ability to sleep through most anything finally came in handy.

The next day I was still super sick and it was hard to focus on what the doctors were saying so I relied on Jesse a lot.  He took care of Calvin and I both. It's not like worrying about his infant son's medical condition wasn't enough but now he had to worry about his wife and his unborn child as well.  Can I just say how much I love my husband?  I couldn't imagine my life without him. He never complained or even made a face when I would ask for a drink of water or even help up to get up to go to the restroom. It was clear  he was exhausted too but he never complained or stopped helping.

After a number of other tests the doctors decided not to do an EEG brain scan because everything looked so normal and it had been about 10 hours since his last episode. If there was any indication on the CT that something was off then they would have done it but everything was coming back fine. Some of the test results would take 48 hours to process but unless Calvin had another seizure the doctors didn't want to keep us for another day. Calvin had gone the entire night and a full day without any seizures and was his usual happy, smiley, playful self. Although we were glad to see him being so normal in an strange environment, he was seemed totally fine before the other seizures too so we were still wary.  Late that evening, we signed discharge paperwork and made our way back to Orem.

We got back to Jesse's parents house around 8 PM and Calvin and I quarantined ourselves in our room for the rest of the evening. We didn't want to get everyone else sick. Yeah that didn't help very much. EVERYONE got sick.  Every man, woman, and child who came into contact with "patient 0" (Calvin) came down with that nasty vomiting virus. We termed it "Calvinitis" since none of the tests had given any definitive results.  It had reaped destruction everywhere.

The next day we relaxed and tried to recover from the events of the previous few days.   What a vacation so far!  We hadn't spent much time with family at all and that was the whole reason for the trip!  I was also really disappointed because I was supposed to take pictures for my brother-in-law Tommy and his cute family but they were about to embark on their 4.5 hour drive back to Idaho. About an hour before sunset they decided to come and see us before heading out. I was so giddy to see them and I convinced them that there was still time to take pictures! They got all ready and with about 15 minutes of daylight left we got some fun family pictures in. Check them out here.  The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful, which was a SO NICE.  Jesse had been in contact with his job and had extended his vacation by a day so we could split the drive home over two days and stay overnight at his Grandparents house in Hurricane, UT.

A couple days after we got home we called the hospital and they said the only thing that those long lab tests came back with was a strain of the norovirus. It is very common and most people call it the winter flu. One of the rare side effects of this particular virus can be seizures without a fever so that looked to be the culprit!  The doctor said that the combination of the viral infection, the stress of travel, altitude change, dehydration from vomiting and water poos, exhaustion form travel, and family history of seizures created the perfect storm for Calvin's Thanksgiving adventure. We were so grateful to get a clearer picture of why this happened.  We've been seizure free ever since but are now super paranoid about it.  Calvin scares us all the time! Most of these false alarms are due to Calvin zoning out looking into space or him dancing to upbeat songs which, with how he dances, look oddly similar to a seizure.

This Thanksgiving, I have never been more thankful for my family. Although this was a hellish event that still gives me nightmares I couldn't be more grateful that the Lord has taken care of us over and over again. He has given us comfort in our time of need and guided us to where we need to be, when we needed to be there. I am grateful for good doctors and nurses who spend their time finding ways to help others.  I love my life. I love my family, scary events and all.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Peru 2012

 Seeing one of my favorite mission companions was priceless.  I absolutely LOVE this girl. She was my first trainee in the mission and is one of the most humble, meek, tender hearted people I have ever met.
I had to fly to LA then it was an 8 hour flight to Lima.  I researched in depth (ONLINE) to find the perfect apartment for us to stay while in Lima.  I found an awesome, clean, and comfortable apartment in Miraflores that was really close to everything (except, y'know, where wedding was - but that's a whole other story).  It had a full kitchen so I could cook without worrying about spending too much money or getting food poisoning.  Despite my amazing kitchen amenities I ended up surviving off bread and cheese and bottled water the whole time. Being pregnant while traveling isn't the best, I have decided.  Everyone says that the food in Peru is so delicious but it made me want to gag on sight.  I blamed it on pregnancy, not on pickiness or fear of food-borne illness, when explaining to the locals.
The original plan was for us to stay in Lima for the whole week but plans changed and my darling companion ended up getting married in Bagua.  We took advantage of the time that we had in Lima to visit some neat places. First we went to this ancient temple. It was built around 200 A.D.

 They shaped the stones in triangle blocks so the structure wouldn't fall when earthquakes hit.

 view from the top of the temple (I feel like a false Moroni)

When the important people were buried they were wrapped up in the fetal position, because they believed that they would be reborn. They often were buried with someone else or a whole family, the family was generally sacrificed so the important person wouldn't be alone when they got to the next life.  I'm looking at you, Jesse and Calvin.  Pray that you die first.

Workers still uncovering the other half of the temple. It's crazy that they are still mysterious pieces of history to discover.  The internet makes everything seem like old news but there are still lots of things to find out.

A break from walking to eat our Nutella sandwiches

This was at Lima center. We got to know this place well. We came back here for 3 days straight because of a mix up with the wedding rings and by mixup I mean the sales lady lied to us multiple times and wasted our time and what little energy I had for walking. From our apartment it was a 3 hour round trip including bus rides and copious amounts of walking for a preggo American girl.

There is 
about a 30 square block flea market at the center of Lima. It's crazy busy all of the time and smells like unwashed bodies, dead animals. You can't move without touching someone else and, while I'm not too much of a germophobe, it made me very uncomfortable. It was very overwhelming and very very easy to get lost.
 The drivers in Peru are crazy! All traffic laws are more like suggestions, really. You want to run a red light? Get any part of your car or body in front of another car you're good to go.  It was kind of scary sometimes but it's easy to get used to.
Maria and her new hubby Juve. This was at El Parque del Amor, or Park of Love. It was beautiful - overlooking the beach and surrounded by romantic quotes written on mosaic tiles. My favorite part was the huge statue of a couple making out.  Not just a little smooch but about to bring out the special "mom and dad" type of hugs *WINK, WINK*

There were dozens of para-gliders going on rides off the cliff near the park. 

 A lot of my time in Peru was spent waiting.  Let me preface by saying that I love structure. I love having plans. I love following through with those plans, especially when I'm in an unfamiliar place; I like to know what's going on and when and who will be there, and whether or not their parents will be home, and other such important things.  Peruvian culture runs counter to all of these things I love. "Yeah I'll be back in 30 minutes" most often means "I'll be back in 3 to 4 hours." Pretty much any plan (even the ones I didn't make) went out the window as soon as they were agreed upon. Most of the time I was waiting in the apartment but sometimes I even got to wait other places, which was nice for a change. For example, the first night I arrived she did get lost and was gone for 5 hours after saying she'd only be gone for 1-2! I was soooo worried! I had no phone or any way of getting a hold of her and I didn't want to go out at night to try to find her because, let's face it, I was a white girl in a country full of overly-affectionate brown men who would like to get to know me better. Also, I wasn't even sure I could find my way back after I found her.  I was soooo relieved when she got back.
Maria LOVES sweets! I swear if she had it her way she would live off chocolate and cookies. 

I brought my wedding dress for her to have, but what she didn't tell me was that her fiance had already purchased her one! So we took some pictures with my wedding dress and then for the wedding she used hers.

This is at Larcomar. It is a mall, with similar stores to the US, but it is cool because it is right on the cliffs .  That is the only cool thing about it.

These stairs were sooo daunting! It doesn't look like it in the picture but there are a billion steps and I'm sure they were covered in glue since it was such a pain to go up them. Especially after walking for a couple miles.

I needed a break
 After a few days in Lima I took a plane to Chiclayo (the big city nearest to Bagua) and then we took an eight hour bus ride to complete the trip. To be honest, I was not looking forward to the bus ride portion of the my little jaunt to Peru.  I get extremely sick even when riding in the car at home where the roads are mostly nice and traffic laws are followed by pretty much everyone. So I brought a couple extra plastic bags and some breath mints just to be prepared.
I got pretty nauseous but I never threw up! Yay! Juve's brother Rojellio was also travelling with us from Chiclayo to Bagua and Maria had told me that he was married. So I disregarded his lingering looks, his overt gestures of friendliness, and overly talkative ways.  I passed it off as him being nice. Yeah... he wasn't married...more to come on that later. So the bus ride wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and I survived the trip without losing my recent meal of bread and cheese.  Yay cheese!  

This was a beautiful green lagoon that we passed on our way

  I didn't catch a picture of this but the most eventful thing that happened on our way to Bagua was that one of the bridges was out of order so what did we do? Drive right through the river. Through the water. Over the rocks. I was a nervous wreck.

Rice fields?

I love these kids! I was teaching them some English words and they kept asking me to dance with them at the wedding. I told them that people with white skin like mine don't know how to dance ;) I made a deal that if they would teach me how to dance I would teach them more English. We had a fun dance party that night where I showcased my booty-shaking skills. We were dancing Reggaeton and, sadly, I really have no rhythm. Most of the adults came in and started laughing and recording my stupendous dance moves. All of the laughing and pointing meant they were just jealous :)
 All the time, every day, for what seemed like forever (1.5 days),  Rojelio (who will now be referred to as "The Creeper") and I were left alone while everyone else was doing wedding stuff.  I didn't want to be alone with him because there was something in that look that he would give me that was just... creepy! He would ask me why I got married so young and that he was sure I missed my kid but probably not my husband so much... right? What? Jesse and Calvin were all that I talked about! It was weird. Then at night we were staying at the same hotel so we headed back and on the way back to the hotel there is a little park. He asked me if I wanted to sit at the park for a while so we could talk. YEAH RIGHT. I politely told him I was too tired and was anxious to talk to my husband, who was muy sexy.  You think the guy could take a hint but no!!  The next morning he knocked on my door and asked if I wanted to go get breakfast. Maria had gone out of town somewhere and wouldn't be back for another hour (remember, that means anywhere from 3-8 hours in Peru time!).  I again declined and said I was fine eating my bread and cheese alone. I saw him later that day and he was just as amorously inclined as he had been before.

Jesse told me to place him firmly in the "friend zone" by doing gross things like farting and belching in front of him.  I had accidentally passed gas in front of him earlier (which I fully blame on pregnancy-there's just not enough room for toots and a fetus at the same time) but it didn't seem to have any effect and I didn't have the social grace to recover from any more public displays of my bodily functions.
Morning of my birthday! 
The hotel room in Bagua was...not lovely.  It was about 6x8 ft with a bed and nightstand and a fan.  No air conditioning and about as hot as Arizona too - like I said, lovely. Then the bathroom...ooooohh the bathroom.  Boasting a generous 15 sq. feet of real estate, its spaciousness was rivaled only by it's convenience.  Let me paint a picture for you:  if you are pregnant, recently took an 8 hour bus ride through bumpy countryside and a RIVER, and have been subsisting solely on bread and cheese for 4 days, you are going to throw up and also have to go to the bathroom at the same time. "Oh drat" you may think, "if only the sink was right next to your mouth when you are sitting on the toilet."  Well, this hotel bathroom got it right (see pictures below).  I was very relieved by my sudden change in fortune.

Really, the only downside was the caulk in the bathroom: black from bacteria and when you shower it doesn't drain much at all, so it's kind of like standing in a septic tank comprised of all the impurities your body collected earlier that day.  If left on too long, the shower would overflow and dampen the sleeping area so you had to wash quickly.

Oh also because it was very hot I slept with the window open, which had a lovely view into another room which, by chance, their window was open all the time. What a good way to get to know the neighbors! Which I did. He was another one of those persistent fellows whom, after I informed him I was in fact married with a kid and pregnant, still wanted to get my number and hang out later.  I guess he didn't know about the whole "sink+toilet" incident.

Oh, I can't forget about my little friends, the spiders. I'm grateful I wasn't alone at night and that even though they probably wanted to suck my blood, at least their intentions were pure and weren't based on my skin color or cup size.

view outside from my hotel

It was time to get ready for the wedding! We were on a tight schedule.  There I was thinking that everything was going to go according to plan. LoL at me and my plans.

 We just got done doing her hair at the beauty parlor. I did her make up and was going to do some minor changes on her hair after we got the dress on.

 She was so beautiful! I am soo happy I was able to be there to celebrate this wonderful day with her!

In Bagua there aren't a lot of cars but everyone rides around in these buggy/motorcycles.  They were everywhere! I want one.

 The wedding was supposed to start at 7 PM (that means anywhere from 8-10 PM FYI, but I kept forgetting).  Around 7 PM, her parents went into town to go shopping for their clothes that they wanted to wear for the wedding.  That was said to start at 7 PM.  THAT SAME NIGHT. They got back around 8 PM (Only one hour?  Maybe this plan will work!) and Maria changed into her wedding dress and so we were ready for the wedding.  Or so I thought. In Peruvian tradition (at least in Bagua), the bride, maid of honor, and flower girl will be paraded around the city in a decorated car until everyone gets to the church. In Maria's case, we were driving around for about an hour and a half. I got extremely car sick and wasn't having much fun but Maria and I got to talk and she told me how much of an honor it was for me to come and how she hopes to come visit me here in the States sometime. I think that was one of my favorite moments of the whole trip. Just having that sweet moment with her made everything worth it. 

 When we got to the reception hall the bishop informed me that I was to give a speech. Wonderful. Normally I would not think twice about it but when I am sick it's really hard for me to speak and understand English let alone Spanish! 

Rojelio and Juve

The wedding finally got started at 9:30 PM. My bus was scheduled to leave at 10 PM. It was the last bus of the night so I couldn't push it back any longer. Usually the maid of honor would give her speech after the ceremony but because I had to leave "early" (which I previously and foolishly thought would be plenty of time if the wedding had started at 7) the bishop had me go first. 
It was a bit awkward because the bishop gave me like a five minute introduction and was gushing about how I had come from so far and how I had sacrificed so much to be here for Maria. So after being sufficiently embarrassed by my introduction I gave a very short and (presumably) sweet speech and then they continued with the ceremony. 

 The Creeper and I were scheduled to catch the last bus of the night at 10 PM. Everyone told me that the buses were very punctual and they wouldn't wait for their passengers, even if they had sacrified soooo much to come soooo far (I kind of like that bishop).  So, according to everything I had learned up to this point we needed to be at the bus station on time. So, 9:50 PM rolls around and I advise The Creeper that we need to leave.  He doesn't even move, not even to touch my arm in a weird way or stare at me without blinking.

Okay, I can deal with this - I start gathering my things to get ready to go and Maria's mom comes over and gives me the biggest hug ever and starts crying!  She is such a sweetheart.  We both start crying as she tells me how grateful she was that I was able to come.  So nice!

It's now 9:55 PM I'm like "Hey, The Creeper, we seriously need to leave."  Two minutes later (9:57 PM for you mathletes) I'm really nervous!  I like to think that I used to be more adventurous but I most definitely did not want to stay in that hotel one more night (despite the bathroom amenities). I wanted to get home or at least back to Miraflores where I was more comfortable.

Well, The Creeper was finally ready to go we tried to just quietly slip out the back. The ceremony was still going and I didn't want to interrupt but as I was leaving the bishop, in the middle of the ceremony, says "Oh look! The maid of honor is leaving! Everyone stand up and give her a round of applause!!!" There goes trying to be invisible. Ugh.

So after all of the warnings about the punctuality of the buses and the need to be at the station NO LATER than 10 PM I find that we didn't need to go to the bus station but we could go instead to a travel agency place and the bus would stop for us there.  I was confused and very hesitant at this point; I would have rather just left five minutes earlier and gone to the bus station so I had more control of what was happening but that wasn't an option now so we went to the travel agency.

We arrived at 10:05PM and it was closed.  I was a bundle of nerves. We asked around and everyone said that the bus hadn't come yet. Then at 10:10PM my heart lifted! The bus! It came! It stopped! And we got on! And it was the wrong bus. :( They wouldn't let us on. I was about to cry.  I don't know when the last time was I prayed for something so hard over and over again as I did in that stupid bus to come.  Okay - you may be thinking that I'm a huge whiner and such but I know I  have a really good life if this is what I was praying hardest for.  I prayed, maybe without a ton of hope or faith, but sure enough at 10:15 PM another bus came! It was late (Peru gets me again!!  When will I learn?) and I couldn't have been more grateful!

It was supposed to be a nice bus (at least nicer than the others I had seen/ridden on) so it cost a bit more. It was a fancy two story bus and we got lucky and were on the top deck. Yeah, lucky...that's it.  Also lucky, The Creeper was not assigned a seat next to me (he was across the aisle and one row ahead) but instead there was a man who took all my leg room and some of my seat as well.  I then realized I should have prayed for the bus to come AND lots of leg room earlier.  I'll remember for next time.  It's not that I can't share or just mind my own business - I just don't like to touch strangers. It's not that I think that they are dirty or anything I just would rather have my own space. That was not a luxury I was not afforded on the bus ride.

Because we were on the top deck the bus seemed to sway a whole lot more than the one before and the bus driver was going super fast! It only took us 6 hours to get back to Chiclayo when it took us 8 hours to get to Bagua.  There were so many twists and turns and dips and going throw river beds and I was feeling it.

Despite our seating arrangements, The Creeper hadn't let up and was still staring at me like I stare at a fresh piece of homemade bread with some Philadelphia cream cheese on it.   Unfortunately, or fortunately I'm still not sure, I started getting really sick.  I knew that my dinner was going to make another appearance soon, but I didn't pack any bags with me because I did just fine on the bus ride there.  So I tapped The Creeper on the shoulder and I asked him if he could find me a bag because I was going to throw up. He quickly found me a bag and I proceeded to fill it. He was very gentlemanly he stood in front of me to block me so no one would see that I was throwing up. He handed me a tissue when I was finished and asked if he could take the bag full of vomit and dispose of it. I looked up at him and asked if he was joking. He wasn't so I handed it to him and watched him try to open the window to try to throw it out. The windows wouldn't open so he had to walk my half digested bread and cheese up to the front where there was a garbage. Lovely.

That pretty much did the trick. No more longing lingering looks.  No more requests to sit and chat alone, in the dark. No more awkward questions.  If I knew this trick when I was single I could have had a lot more free weekends! After the whole vomit incident I started to feel a good amount better but, I still couldn't sleep because every time we went through a dip I felt like I was falling and a would grab onto the seat in front of me. That was about every 10 minutes, so I was pretty exhausted after the trip. The Creeper and I parted ways quickly at the bus station in Chiclayo and I still have not received a friend request via facebook.

 My flight to Lima wasn't for three more hours and the airport didn't even open for another hour. I just hung out in the bus station in Chiclayo passing the time. This lady sat down next to me and we started talking. The culture is so different over there.  People we just start up conversations with whoever they are sitting next to. I found that refreshing a lot of times, but sometimes I just wanted to be left alone with my thoughts and not try to make small talk.  This time it was really nice, the lady was really sweet and when it was time for me to leave she went and caught a cab for me and as I was getting into the cab she calls out, "now you give me a call as soon as you get to the airport!" then gives me a wink.  I love how people over there have a concern for others. This lady didn't know me but she wanted the driver to know that someone was expecting me somewhere so hopefully nothing would happen to me. It was sweet.

I got to the airport just fine and I was happy that I made my flight to go back to Lima.

 I had just enough time on Saturday to catch a session at the temple. I had been looking forward to going to the temple in Lima for the whole trip! I couldn't imagine a better way to end a vacation. I knew exactly where it was because I looked it up on Google maps, and Google maps NEVER lies. Right? Right? Wrong!? I took two buses and got off where I thought the temple should be, but I looked at the address and it seemed like it should be just a little ways down the road so I started walking. I walked and walked and walked and the numbers were inching toward where logically I thought the temple should be. After walking a few miles I got too tired and hopped on another bus until I saw the temple. It was beautiful and completely worth the trek to get there!
The sessions were very small and I was so grateful that I had time to go to the temple. The spirit was so sweet and peaceful. No matter where you go in the world, the feeling at the temple is the same. I'm so grateful that we have the restored gospel on the earth, that we have a place where all of the cares of the world just melt away.
My trip really wasn't how I imagined it would be, but going to the temple made it worth it.

Goodbye Lima! 
When I got home my husband asked if it was worth it.  I would say it was, but I'll never, ever go on another vacation without Jesse again.  I thought I would miss Jesse and Calvin equally, maybe Calvin even more because I spend so much time with him and he is my world. I think about Calvin in almost every decision I make! But spending time away from Jesse was almost unbearable.  I missed him so much and even though we were able to talk and see each other through Skype, it wasn't the same.

I couldn't be happier to be home.  The entire day after I got home I kept thinking "oh I missed you soft bed, I missed you clean water, I missed you soft clean carpet that I don't have to wear shoes with, oh and I missed you Calvin and Jesse too."