Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Baby Bliss...first pic

This is Alani Scott's first pic taken in the hospital after he was born!  I thought he was the most beautiful baby ever!  I really saw him as perfect and he was all I ever wanted!

After Alani's first month, life went on pretty good, as good as it can be living in Hawaii.  One would think that everything was just grand living in paradise but it was pretty challenging.  I survived okay and we had food and a place to live.  But, something was missing from my life.  I didn't know what it was but I wasn't finding "it" in Hawaii at that time.  When my baby was 9 months old, I decided there wasn't anything keeping us in paradise and I decided we needed a change of scenery.  So, we packed up and headed to Washington State.  We didn't last there very long. I found work, day care and an apartment, but my boy started to get quite sickly.  He developed croup and had several bouts of it.  I was torn because I wanted to be with him, work wanted me to be at work AND babysitters didn't like tending a baby who appeared to have difficulty breathing.  One day, a friend was over and he noted that Alani looked worse by the minute.  So, we dashed him to the ER.  They gave him breathing treatments and he responded well, but he would need them sooner and sooner each time.  They felt Alani needed to be in the Oregon Health Sciences Hospital and we were transported there by ambulance.  I thought for sure when Alani started dancing in my lap to the sirens they'd end up sending us home!  But, they didn't.  We got there and he was admitted to be monitored.  Later that night he was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit and they intubated my baby because he was pooping out and he just couldn't breathe on his own anymore.  It was probably the saddest and most horrific experience ever!  I felt so alone and scared that I called his bio father.  It was the last time I would call him as he didn't really want to hear about it.

After a few days, they took my baby to the OR to remove his tubes to see if he could breathe on his own.  He couldn't, and so they reinserted them.  He was barely 1.5 years of age and he was tubes in his nose and breathing tents over his head and his hands tied to the bed.  He was so angry!  I felt so bad for him.  I know he wanted me to rescue him and I wanted to, but they had to do what they needed to so he could breathe.  They began prepping me for a possible tracheotomy...ugh!  Fortunately, he was blessed and after 10 days in the hospital, tubes were removed and we got to return home.

My employer was less excited about me staying in Oregon with my baby for those 10 days and I lost my job.  I was okay with that because I just wanted to be with my baby.

Life happened and stuff happened and I wasn't happy in Washington anymore.  Soon thereafter I decided I wanted to return to Alaska and be near family.  So, we left.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Beginning Bliss...the Early Years

Before time blesses me with forgetfulness, I thought I would document the events of my life that have brought me my greatest joys, or bliss.  For the most part, those times are when a child came into my life.  Over the years I've been blessed, humbled and brought to tears from joy, sorrow and probably some of the most comical events one could imagine.

When I was a little girl I saw the movie, Cheaper by the Dozen with David Niven.  I LOVED that movie and all I can remember now are the scenes from around the dinner table with 12 kids and all that chaos.  I wanted it!  Of course over the years I've learned that reality is much different than it is on the big screen or flat screen...I think it's better!  But, it can be filled with some of that same chaos!

It was 1980 when I learned I would become a new mom for the first time.  Being a mother was something that I had dreamed about for years and I couldn't wait to have a baby of my own.  I was so excited but I would soon learn that the daddy wasn't as excited as I was.  I would become a mom all on my own.  I was determined and not afraid, that I can remember, and was eager as ever to be a mommy.

When I found out I was expecting, my doctor, Dr. Spangler, told me that my baby would come in February 1981.  I asked, "Well...when in February?" To which he relied, "when he or she is ready".  That didn't set too well with me so I prodded for something more definitive.  "Okay, sometime in the middle of February," he said.  Fine!

Around Thanksgiving 1980 I went into labor...pre-mature obviously, given that I wasn't due until sometime in February.  I was admitted to the hospital and put on meds to try to stop the contractions.  Fortunately, I responded to the meds rather quickly, but there was this other girl in a bed nearby who was screaming out of control.  The nurse told me that she wasn't as lucky as I was with stopping the labor...sad.  I was sent home on complete bed rest to take meds for the remainder of time that I was pregnant.  I also got these two injections that would rapidly progress the maturation of my son's lungs.  No, I didn't know at the time he was going to be a boy...but, I kind of felt like it was a boy.

Life on bed rest and being single and without a car was rather unfun to say the least.  But, when one lives in Hawaii, it can only be so bad!  I sat outside when I left like I needed some sunlight, but longed for the beach.  I had also been sleeping on the floor on a pile of blankets and to my surprise a mattress was donated by some sweet souls who felt bad for me.  It was like heaven to have that extra padding!!  I hope they've been blessed by their goodness!

I made it to January 2, 1981 when I awoke thinking I had wet myself.  Being my first time to have a baby I initially didn't think anything other than I dreamed I was in the bathroom and just went!  By that time I was getting up multiple times a night so it didn't surprise me that I could have an accident.  Anyway, after I got up and relieved myself, I realized liquid was still coming out even when I wasn't trying.  Ah hah!  My water broke!  I called the Dr. and he said to head to the hospital to which I asked, "you mean I'm going to have a baby??"

I called my good friend, Nancy, for a ride to Kapiolani Children's Hospital.  The labor set in pretty fast on the way there and I wasn't prepared for such pain!  I already knew that I would most likely have a C-section, because my boy was breach and, because he was so early they didn't want to risk his head getting stuck.  My poor friend was so patient and tried so hard to comfort me while I was prepped for took forever!  At one point she tried to tell me to take deep breaths and I looked at her and screamed, "It's too late!  It's too far gone!!"  I have no idea what I meant, but it was hurting and I just wanted the pain to stop!  I can still remember it all very well!

Eventually, that baby was born and he was beautiful!  He weighted 4 lbs 13oz...not much of him.  Back then it was standard procedure for all C-section babies to be incubated for 24, I slept and waited for him.  The next morning after I delivered I was awakened by two nurses aids who came in to give me a sponge bath.  They spoke no English and I spoke no Filipino so I laid there while they tossed me back and forth sponging me.  It was probably the strangest thing I'd ever experienced!  It was like I wasn't there, or at least I wasn't a human being laying there and it would've been no different had they just changed the bed linens...which they also did while I lay there!  Amazing!

Finally, after 24 long hours my baby was brought to me!  He was every way!  I knew I wanted to nurse him so when the nurse handed him to me I asked what to do.  She looked at me like I had asked something in a foreign language.  Then, she said, "you just hook him up!".  Oh!  Yah...that's right...just hook him up!  We eventually figured it out.

When we were released to return home my boy had gone down to 4.7, he was scrawny!  As a matter of fact he was so tiny, he couldn't be circumcised.  So, that procedure was delayed until the doctors had something to work with.

My mom flew from Alaska to be with me and help me out and it was so nice to have her with me!  Everything was pretty new but she helped me out a lot!  I learned later on, when I went through nursing school, that some of those helpful hints weren't really suggested in the medical world.  I also learned in nursing school that it was completely normal for a baby to nurse every 2-3 hours in the beginning.  My mom was convinced I was starving my baby and he wasn't getting enough to eat.  She was sure I just needed to drink a few beers to relax me so my milk would come in.  Also, she recommended cereal because he was obviously not getting enough milk.  I'm so grateful that my son survived!  When she left, I quit feeding him cereal and drinking.  It was only for two weeks so I'm sure it didn't effect him...right?

When my boy was a month old, he had doubled his weight!  I'm sure it was from that two weeks of cereal and wheat and barley milk!  I think he developed a lot of gas because he cried a lot!  He cried so much!  One day I discovered an extra lump of something near one of his testicles.  It turned out he had a hernia.  Until they could get him in for surgery I had to push it back up where it belonged every time it popped out.  Gross!!  He still cried a lot.  I was told that if it ever got to the point that I couldn't push it in, I'd have to take him in immediately and they would do an emergency surgery.  Eventually that happened.  Handing over your 8 lb little baby to a nurse isn't easy!

My boy survived and he was probably the luckiest boy alive because while he was under, they also performed that circumcision that they couldn't do right after birth.  So, he had no pain with that!  He recovered well and that crying stopped.  My poor baby was finally feeling better!  I was told how to care for the surgical sites and his circ.  I was told that the gauze on his little weenie would eventually come off and there wasn't anything else for me to do.  But, after awhile I started to think I let that gauze stay on that weenie too long.  So, I bathed him and gently pulled it off.  Only to my surprise I saw what appeared to be little pieces of gauze stuff around the top of that weenie.  I gently pulled on them but the wouldn't come off.  It made my baby cry!  I thought, "Oh my heck!  I left that gauze on so long that it grew into his weenie!"  So, I immediately took him into the doctor only to give the doctor the laugh of the day, or perhaps his career!  It turns out that what I was trying to pull out were his little sutures!  Thank heavens I wasn't successful at removing them!

My boy survived his first month of life with his new mother.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bliss in opportunities...

Many years ago, in Hawaii after I gave birth to my first child, I attempted to realize a high school dream of becoming a Registered Nurse.  It failed because of finances and life went on.  A few years later, after the birth of my second child in Alaska, I tried again.  At that time I was living in low income housing (the nicest apt I had ever had!!) and receiving State aid because of pregnancy issues and being on bed rest and having to quit my job.  I was extremely grateful that I got the assistance at that time!!  When my daughter was a few months old I started looking into school and everything was falling into place.  However, the issue of money came up again and I wasn't going to put schooling on hold again!  So, I applied for financial aid through the University and a loan to get me going.  I called the State offices to see what I would still qualify for with getting any aid or loans from the University...I was mainly concerned about food and medical.  To my surprise they told me I wouldn't qualify for anything at all if I went to school and received ANY aid.  NOTHING!  I was totally blown away and I remember saying to the lady on the phone, "you mean if I do nothing to better myself and just sit home and do nothing you will continue to help us?"  To which she replied, "I know it doesn't seem right but that's how it is."  So, I dropped from the system, because I wanted more.

As grateful as I was to receive State aid at that time I remember feeling awful every time I went to their offices.  I met and spoke with people there who were also getting aid but many had no intentions of doing anything else.  People actually told me they had the system worked out and knew they'd only qualify until their kid reached a certain age.  Their have another baby at just the right time so they could live indefinitely on Welfare. Kid after kid to just get the government aid.

I think the idea of helping people in need, as I was for those few months, is great.  But, I think that the system is broken, as is, and people unfortunately aren't honest and abuse the system.  I was fortunate. After dropping from the system, I survived on very minimal, as I went to college for the first time in my life, as a single parent with two young children.  In some countries your early choices determine just how much success or opportunity you'll have in your adult life.  My choices were as they were and I realized that it was up to me to turn things around if I didn't want to be idle for the rest of my life.  Thank heavens I  live in a country where I can still progress and change the direction I was headed so early on!!

The government was there to help me when I needed it, and I'm thankful.  But, when I wanted more to better myself, I felt at that time, the government bailed on me.  But, I didn't give up.  I realized my dreams eventually, and I worked hard to get where I am.  I know I'm blessed and I know a lot of what I have is because of a loving Father in heaven who has watched over me and allowed me more opportunity to improve myself.  I'm not anti-government.  I just think the way some "aid" programs are set up don't allow people who want to progress, to do so.

I'm grateful I live in America where each of us can still realize our childhood dreams for opportunity and growth.  It really is smarter to teach a man to fish rather than to just give him fish.  I find my bliss in opportunity to grow and prosper.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Such Good Bliss

I have been so bad at keeping up with all the exciting new things that have been happening!!
IAN IS HOME!!  That was very exciting!  This pic is of al those who came out to greet Ian home after being gone for two long years!  He's adjusting to life back in the Banks and waiting on work to start saving up for college in the Fall!  BYU Idaho here he comes!

Fresh from Dominican Republic and on our way to the temple!  That was one of the first things Ian wanted to do once he got home.
Miss Abigail graduated from Chinook Montessori Charter School after attending there for 9 years!!

My Mallory has graduated from West Valley High School.  She graduated with Honors and Magna Cum Laude.  I couldn't be more proud!  She too will be off to BYU Idaho with Ian!  Oh, Mallory also graduated from early morning Seminary.  That is four years of getting up extra early every morning to make it to Seminary at 6:30AM before high school classes!  WOW!

Monday, April 9, 2012

This blissful life

Wow...I read in our Sunday paper's Parade this weekend about a family who really really suffered.  They've endured though and they keep going.  So, I've thinking that one just never knows what the future holds.  We get very comfortable in our lives and are blessed with family, good health and more than we could ever want for.  And, while we may be thankful, I want to be even more thankful and not take what I have for granted at all.  It gets all too easy to just enjoy everything we have and the thought of losing much of what we have just doesn't even cross our minds.  I don't think we need to  live in fear that we could possibly lose everything at any minute.  But, I want to truly be grateful each and every day and express my gratitude more often.  The excuse of living on auto pilot, which is really easy to do, isn't a good enough excuse.  I drive a lot, back and forth, taking kids here and there.  I shop for food, I make the lunches and dinners...I clean the house and do the laundry...and sometimes I find myself growing tired.  Well...I need to snap out of it because heaven forbid is something ever happened...I would find myself wishing I could just drive a kid somewhere, or make their lunch and dinner.  I don't always enjoy what I'm doing at the moment, but I love doing what I'm doing.  I love being a mom.  I love knowing that I'm a daughter of God.  I love that God has been forgiving and patient and I can do the same.  I really do love my family and they do bring me my greatest bliss.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My missionary son!

Here's the latest of my boy!
In less than a month we'll be able to hug him!  Cannot wait!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Changes coming...

This is a big year with lots of changes.  For missionary boy, who's no longer a boy, will be coming home a man in just 43 days.  I am so grateful that he humbled himself and decided to give of himself for two years.  I've seen his growth and the blessings have come to not only those he's serving in Dominican Republic, but to all of us here at home.  Can't wait to squeeze him!!

Mallory turned!  She registered to vote right away and got to take part in the Republican Presidential Preference Poll.  Very exciting!  After much prayerful consideration she decided to go to BYU-Idaho.  It was hard because BYU Provo accepted her application to begin in the Fall.  Idaho didn't accept her to start until January.  She decided the smaller campus, and being close to two brothers was more important.  She still plans on leaving in the Fall with Ian, and will take evening classes until her track begins in Jan.

Abigail turned 14!  Big changes with this birthday!  She took her written drivers test and passed on the first try.  She's been out driving several times and so far, she's doing pretty good.  I'll feel better, as a teacher, when the roads are clear of snow and ice.  Also, she gets to go to church dances!  Her first one is this Saturday and she's pretty excited!!