Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend!

My man came home from the Dominican Republic about 1:00 a.m. on Saturday morning.  He had been gone on a business trip all week and I was so happy to have him back for the long weekend!  A post to come on his trip.

We did a lot of resting, reading, napping, walking, and enjoying being back together this weekend.  We have both decided our lives are not as cool without each other in them!

To finish out the weekend we were blessed with the most gorgeous Monday weather. Bright, sunny, about 70 degrees.  So we packed up for a hike!  There is a trail, Clear Creek, about 10 minutes from our house that is so stunning.  We decided to go there.

We packed some fresh veggies, apples, walnut brownies and stopped at King Sooper's to get a box of fried chicken.  I like to think we are pretty healthy, but King Sooper's has THE BEST fried chicken and we had no shame.

New life motto:  Eat more fried chicken.

Sometimes we can't believe we get to live in this gorgeous state!!  

We hiked for awhile and then found a spot to tie up the doodles, get them some water, and chow down next to the river!

The doodles were very photogenic...and also really mad we wouldn't let them in the huge rapids raging down the river.

It was the best morning!  Monday actually started out really hard with Ryan's ostomy-his skin flipped out yet again after an equipment change and left him really tired and in a lot of pain.  We finally got it to calm down and did make it on this hike.  So grateful for that.

I was so impressed with Ryan's ability to persevere and endure.  I'll have another post on his ostomy surgery updates but for now the best word is "endure".

Happy Memorial Day!  We are truly grateful for the lives of those who served out country to make a perfect day like this something we can enjoy.

Monday, May 25, 2015

2nd Trip to DR in 2015

I'm so excited to share a few pictures of Ryan's most recent trip to the Dominican Republic.  He was gone for a week and kept saying how this was his most productive and meaningful trip with work yet!

I am SO proud of the work that Healing Waters International (HWI) does and that Ryan gets to be a part of it.  It's his dream job :)

Meeting with the Olivero project performing a "site audit" or review of the project aka what's going well and what's not

Compassion project called Batey (bah-tay) 6 where HWI has a water project installed

The water filtration equipment at Batey 6 with some of the local leaders

Discussing the site audit with Batey 6 leaders

This is a really rural community called Sierra Prieta.  This is the building is where they house their water system

Ryan and the equipment at Sierra Prietya and two local project leaders

A classroom of kids praying at Villa Hermosa

Doing the site audit with Claire, one of HWI's best health and hygiene trainers in the Dominican Republic

Another classroom at Villa Hermosa.  These kids drink clean water from the water system.  The other water options are contaminated or more expensive

Meeting under a mango tree at Sierra Prietya.  

Its a cultural thing to "meet under a mango tree" because it's the coolest place with the shade.  But Ryan learned it's dangerous because those huge mangos fall and hit the ground HARD--hopefully you're not under one when it falls.

Check out healingwaters.org if you are curious about other work HWI's does.  It is the neatest organization that approaches serving the poor sustainably, holistically, and with Jesus at the center!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Pregnancy Weeks 25 & 26

Weeks 25 & 26 Pregnancy Questionnaire

Baby Size: Eggplant

My weight gain so far:  
When I recorded my last pregnancy post, my weigh in was 18  lbs and this week I consistently see the scale reading 18.5 lbs.  So a little less than normal but still feeling good and feeling like my tummy is growing bigger every single day!

Food loves: 
I'm sad that my only real true pregnancy craving has been for gummy worms but plenty of things do still sound good.  Grilled cheese and homemade tomato soup, a big bowl of fresh berries, golden cherry tomatoes, oranges, quinoa on salad, pasta tossed with olive oil, and sandwiches.  I've been air popping popcorn if I want something crunchy and have plans to whip up some peanut butter cookies tonight. 

Food hates: 
We will just say eggs and greasy things.  Both are just usually a no.

3 Pros of Week 23 & 24
1.  Getting closer to my baby shower!  My mom, MIL, sister, and SIL's are throwing us a shower in June and I can't wait!  It will be so much fun to have my favorite ladies together to celebrate.
2.  Knowing my little one's schedule.  I can always tell you when this peanut will be awake, kicking, and busy during the day.  It's so funny that he or she already operates in a certain way (I know a lot of it because of my movement and schedule) but I still love the predictability of it.
3.  Just being preggo.  It's like your a celebrity when you are pregnant ha!  Everyone in our life is so kind and thoughtful about this pregnancy and it's just a special place to be in

3 Cons of Week 23 & 24
1.  Not being able to tie my shoes without pain anymore.  I have to hike my whole leg up on our banister and then just lean forward a little to get these shoes tied.  It hurts my tummy to bend down to the floor so I do slip ons on just a little aerobic action to get them tied!
2.  Peeing again at night.  This got better for awhile but I'm up 4-5 times a night which I guess means I'm hydrated but it does make for a more tired day.
3.  Pelvic girdle pain-yikes!  Can't sit too long on hard chairs or with my legs crossed or that ligament right in the center of my pelvis flares so bad!

Working Out:
Two wonderful walks a day-that's my go-to exercise!  It's been SO rainy here and it's difficult somedays to get the motivation to get out in the cold, but I am proud to say not a day has gone by that myself and the doodles don't get our walks in.

Each walk is 25-45 minutes and about 1.5-2 miles in length, depending on on how fast we go.  These walks are so refreshing and will be worth it to be in shape in labor. 

Best Moment of the Week:
This week has been pretty low key but I'm really enjoying all the movement of this baby and just enjoying being pregnancy.  It's so fun to know I'm carrying around our precious little one snug and warm in my belly, knowing he or she is safe and well cared for.  That's always a highlight of the week.

Ryan was in the Dominican Republic all week but he texted and called as much as he could to check on me and baby.  He always wished us good morning and good night and made sure we knew he was praying for us.  Even from a distance he loved us well!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Happy Weekend & A Ryan Update

Important things first:  Ryan Decker.

If you don't like ostomies, or stomas, or inconvenient medical realities...then you should probably stop reading here. 

 Otherwise proceed:

So there is this...

(To clarify, this is what an ileostomy looks like without an appliance and bag, just the amazing intestine sewn to the skin!  How insane, right?!)

This, good readers, has been my husband's reality for the last 10 months.  

Red, burned, inflamed, eroding, rashy, itchy, miserable, raw skin.  THIS is why we are pursuing an ostomy reversal right now.

  We don't know why his skin has lost its mind lately.  You would be the 134th person so ask if we have switched appliances, rings, powders, sprays, products, tried new medical companies, used steroids, try antibiotics.  No, it's not a yeast infection, a pressure ulcer, a food allergy, or eczema.  Yes, we have tried everything from betamethasone cream to zinc oxide, cool water rinses to benadryl cream.  

Four ostomy nurses, 1 dermatologist, 1 GI surgeon have all looked at this and been stumped.

One nurse took even took Ryan's skin issues to a local conference and presented the problem to another room full of wound/ostomy nurses...and ultimately no one knows why his skin is flipping out and getting worse.  It's not systemic, it's just around his ostomy.

So, why show this private image that isn't all that pretty or pro-ostomy?

Because ostomy life is not convenient AT ALL sometimes.  It's highly inconvenient when it's acting up to be quite blunt.  The amount of time we have spent changing Ryan, he has spent itching and miserable, doctor's appointments, nurses appointments, Internet searches, and advice sought has been fruitless and seemingly endless.  

He puts on a brave face throughout the day and when we go somewhere, but this is utterly miserable for him.  He can't keep living with his ostomy running his life (our life!) so we are hot on the trail of a reversal because it is our last and best option.

And we are pumped!  No pity parties here, just hope and relief for at least a shot at something different.

So we met with our surgeon last week.  Ultimately he is encouraging and willing to proceed with ostomy reversal surgery BUT we have to get a few things done first.  Ryan needs to have a colonoscopy to stage his Crohn's even more completely and make absolute sure there are no strictures or areas of stenosis in his large bowel.

If you hook his intestines back up with poop trying to flow through his large intestine and there is a severe narrowing, well, he would just be back in the OR to get an ostomy put back up.  No good.

He also needs to get an MR Enteropgraphy, high resolution magnetic imaging of his entire GI system, to check for Crohn's else where and again, other unknown areas of stricture or inflammation.  
We are doing our very best to work with two physician schedules, two medical offices, a ton of assistants/receptionists, Ryan's work, my school, and so many more details to get these procedures scheduled in a timely manner so we can get Ryan to the OR pretty much as soon as possible.  

We are really hopeful for this surgery and really, really hopeful that he doesn't have to live with that ugly reality that is his skin anymore.  Pray with us!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight
Proverbs 3:5-6

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you
James 1:5

Well besides that big piece of news here are just a few pictures from our week:

I had an afternoon at home so I made a healthy snack, grabbed my new book, When Crickets Cry (HIGHLY recommend it!), and sat on the back porch.

The chickens roamed about while I read the the doodles watched them very intently and suspiciously

Speaking of doodles, these two crashed on the couch after their morning walk and stayed there for several hours.  Bums.

And I just thought this picture was funny :)  My sweet husband looking so good trying to help get my 24 week pregnancy picture right

We went to a cake tasting on Saturday morning for my baby shower. There is a fantastic cake shop in Arvada called Das Meyer that makes the most intricate, delicious cakes and pastries.  We all went to decide on a baby shower cake design and flavor.

It will be SO yummy!

Linny and Ryan enjoying every flavor imaginable

Ryan, myself, and my mom after we thoroughly enjoyed every flavor from Triple White to Lemon Poppyseed with fresh raspberry filling

More updates to come when we have them and please, please pray for Ryan, his skin, this potential surgery, and our decision making.  Gracias you wonderful people!

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Baby Bump!

Ryan did a fabulous job at grabbing a pregnancy shot of me and baby D this morning!  What a photographer!  For awhile I was in between regular and maternity clothes but now maternity fit just fine and they are SUPER comfy :)

 We had such a good Sunday morning.  We (meaning me and the doodles) woke up, I had coffee and read in bed next to my sleepy head husband and then we went on a 1.5 mile walk and headed to church. 

We ran errands the rest of the morning and then just relaxed and enjoyed the rain before a busy week.  
The verse on our hearts this evening is from Colossians and we hope you enjoy and find encouragement in it too.  Check back tomorrow for a Ryan Decker ostomy/surgery update post and other random tid bits!

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 

Colossians 3:1-2

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Pregnancy Weeks 23 & 24

Weeks 23 & 24 Pregnancy Questionnaire

Baby Size: Rutabaga

My weight gain os far:  
My midwives and I are divided on this.  My scale at home which I use at the same time each morning, wearing the same clothes tells me 18 lbs total.  At my last appointment almost two weeks ago one of the midwives told me I had gained 8 lbs in a month, totally over 21 lbs!!  Um....no.  One look at me and you know I haven't put on THAT much weight, especially so much in one month.  But alas, they gave me a talking to anyway and told me to eat more fruits and veggies :)

My pregnancy app I love is telling that at this point in my pregnancy I should ideally have gained between 13-19 lbs.  So I feel like as long as I'm keeping a close eye on it at home (which I do) and my weight seems to reflect what I'm eating and that I feel well, then I can't worry about scale discrepancies

Food loves: 
I'm always up for a big loaded turkey sandwich with lettuce and cheese, rice and beans usually sounds good, raspberry greek yogurt and chia seeds, pumpkin seed granola, chocolate chip cookies, salad with lots of good toppings, fresh fruit, anything grilled, or pancakes.  I love chocolate protein shakes and big bowls of mango and raspberries.  My ultimate love right now is the chipotle steak sandwich from ModMarket, oh yummy!!  The golden cherry tomatoes from the store are so yummy mixed with carrot sticks and snap peas.  And a big bowl of cinnamon Life cereal is always a great late night treat :)

Food hates: 
So many things STILL-sharp cheddar, grease, smelly fish, too much garlic, chili, red sauces, and eggs.  Oh the eggs-I tried to be brave and eat two hard boiled eggs with my breakfast.  Fail.  I literally had them in my belly for about 5 minutes before I was running to the bathroom puking.  I think I have a newfound sensitivity to eggs with this pregnancy.  If they are baked into something I'm a little better, but most egg preparations/dishes make my stomach hurt like a beast!

3 Pros of Week 23 & 24
1.  So much more movement!  More people have been feeling this little one kick and that is so much fun!  Rilyn was the first one besides Ryan to feel it and she was a very patient little lady waiting for her cousin to kick.
2.  Having people notice I'm pregnant!  Not that they didn't before but I've had so many fun, encouraging conversations with ladies at Target or in a restaurant that just want to know about this little peanut and they are so friendly
3.  Getting more excited about how close we are to meeting this little one!  The ladies of our families are throwing me a baby shower in a few weeks and it's so fun to think about getting the house and nursery totally set up for baby to come home

3 Cons of Week 23 & 24
1.  Carpal tunnel-STILL!   This is so so so so bad.  Most nights are ok but I notice a lot of pain if I ate more salt that day (more salt, more swelling).  The pain is exactly what I would imagine it would feel like to break your wrist.  And no, I am not exaggerating.  It's a cracking, burning, bone deep pain that shoots to your fingers and down your arm.  Wow, never had anything like it.
2.  Pelvic girdle pain.  This one is because my ligaments are just loosening up and preparing for birth but sometimes my pelvis just aches.  Heat helps though
3.  Heart burn!  Oh have mercy.  The worst is from peanut butter!!  How weird is that?!  I can usually kick it very quickly with some apple cider vinegar but pregnancy heart burn, well, burns!

Working Out:
It's a rare day that I don't get in two walks a day.  One in the morning with the doodles and one in the evening with Ryan.  We walk all over, to different parks and open spaces and I usually try to log 60 minutes a day.

My clinicals are pretty insane right now so I don't have time for much else, but the last two weeks have been great cardio workouts and I'm hoping to fit back in some biking and yoga once I'm done with capstone next Friday.

Best Moment of the Week:
My sweet husband took amazing care of me just a few days ago.  I was up with really bad carpal tunnel pain for a good chunk of the night so he promptly got me a ton of pillows to prop my (already braced) arms up and help the wrist swelling.  He rubbed my head and neck to put me back to sleep and was so kind and patient.  Then he woke up to me barfing up boiled eggs the next morning and without missing a beat brought me a warm washcloth for my face and fresh water to gargle.  Those were actually pretty sucky moments, BUT my incredibly servant-hearted, gentle husband kicked into action to take wonderful care of me and made me feel so loved.

This guy is still trying to convince me to love his favorite girl name :)  We can't decide on girl names!!  Anyone have suggestions?   We like Biblical names or at least names with a neat meaning--send them our way!  He is so wonderful at taking care of me and feeding myself and baby every two hours when we are together.  He walks with me every evening and just compliments and affirms me as my body changes and experiences some uncomfortable times.  So grateful for this man.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Random Things Per Usual

I feel like my posts lately are a big random combination but that's kind of our life right now.  Pregnancy, school, different social events, ostomy stuff, etc...

Oh well! 

We had a great Mother's Day weekend with our families.  On Saturday we enjoyed brunch with my family-baked french toast, fruit salad, bacon and sausage, and blackberry sage lemonade (thank you Pinterest and Linny)!

My mom and Linny both felt Baby Decker kicking around a bit but the little one has been quieter lately so maybe it's going through a growth spurt and sleeping more.

Linny feeling her first niece or nephew in the womb!

After my parents house, Ryan and I ran some errands and this was our incredible view!  

Those are the Flatirons of Boulder in the background but it looks like Ireland to me :)  The rain finally let up today which made my sad but also my floors are cleaner without two muddy doodles running in and out.

Colorado truly is the most gorgeous state

Sunday we woke up to SNOW on Mother's Day!  4 inches to be exact!  It was cold and slushy but we still headed down to Ryan's parent's house for a lunch celebration.  We had homemade quiche, fruit salad, a yummy Italian salad, and monkey bread.

We ate well this weekend!

Ryan started his Mother's Day off with some doodle snuggles on the bed...

Poppy curled up in his arms and Grumples looked dejected at the end of the bed.

There are always a lot of babies at any Decker get together but I did manage to get a picture with the current littlest, Aebrynn.  She was born so tiny at just under 6 lbs but has chunked up so nicely over the past few weeks!

I snuggle her to pieces and have fight over her with Rilyn (who is 4, ha)!

Anna, Rilyn, Aebrynn, and myself.  We are all rooting for our Baby Decker to be a girl to add some more femininity to this wild bunch of Decker boy babies!

This is George, my FIL, with some homemade cookies I brought for him.  He clearly was enjoying them.

This last quarter of school I have to take 3 big exit exams to practice for the NCLEX and they count for all my grade in my Capstone class.  The first one went well a few weeks ago but today...not so much.


I was bumming but then this was my walk green, sunny walk out the door and I got over it pretty quickly.

Denver is pretty rad in springtime

Ryan had Remicade today which my mom always takes him to.  They got breakfast at Chick-Fil-A per tradition and then he read Harry Potter the whole time while his IV pumped away.  We love his Russian nurse, Fena, who has the best accent and always takes such good care of him.

He is usually wiped out after the three hour infusion but he did well today and even worked a bit in the afternoon.  

On the ostomy front:  we meet with his surgeon tomorrow morning to discuss the results of the skin biopsies from the surgery two weeks ago and also keep the discussion up about the ostomy reversal.

Ryan's skin is pretty much telling us NO MORE ostomy appliances!  At least that's how it seems.  NO matter what product, spray, powder, ring, appliance, cream, ointment, prescription drug, or anything else we do to his skin...he is red and burned and itchy and absolutely miserable.  A lot of people, it turns out, pursue an ostomy reversal because their skin finally gives out and simply can't handle something on it constantly.

So the discussion continues tomorrow and we will see what happens.  We would like to see the process of a reversal happening very quickly because we do have a kiddo due in about 15 weeks.  We have waited over 10 months to make this decision with a lot of deliberation and prayers and professional advice so while we don't rush the decision overall...we are anxious now to get going and solve his medical issues!

Updates to come!

Oh you're healthy living advice for the day: sometimes when you are pregnant you just need a cup of decaf coffee and a sprinkle donut.  


If you think about, would you please pray for our decision with the ostomy reversal? That we would be wise and the potential surgery would be well timed and carried out.  That our surgeon would be divinely helped through the process and that we would be brave throughout everything in Christ's strength to do what seems very scary and very inconvenient with a baby on the way.

We need wisdom and guidance and lots of it!

Thank you :)

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

1 John 5:15


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