Kaylen’s Five Year Old Interview

1. What is your favorite T.V. Show? Well, first I like Bugs (A Bug’s Life), Wild Krattz, and Wonder Pets

2. What did you have for breakfast? I don’t know

3. What is your middle name? Denna

4. Favorite Food? Dessert. ICE CREAM!

5. What food do you dislike? Well, your chicken.

6. What is your favorite color? Pink. Dark Pink and Plain pink.

7. Favorite lunch? Spaghetti.  (She likes plain spaghetti noodles)

8. What is your favorite thing to do? Helping you and daddy

9. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would it be? To Disneyland

10. Favorite sport? Games

11. When is your birthday? Oh, oh, oh… I Don’t know

12. Are you a morning person or a night person? I’m both

13. Pets? I love fairy pets

14. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share with us? I love sharing graham crackers with Ryan, but then he will squash them.

15. What do you want to be when you grow up? You. (Pointing to Mommy)

16. What is your favorite candy? Candy Canes. I want chocolate and candy canes.

17. Where is the farthest place you’ve ever been from home? (She didn’t understand this question)

18. What is your favorite book? My little ponies

19. What are you most proud of? When I am not making mess

20. What is your favorite movie? Little Ponies

21. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Chicken.



Priceless Moments 03/31

Today we had a RAWRing party for Ryan. As a part of his birthday party, we brought some inflatable dinosaurs for decor for his party. Jeff had blown them up the night before. When Jeff came down the stairs in the morning, there was Kaylen surrounding by all six dinos and started telling her daddy.. THIS IS THE BEST BIRTHDAY PARTY EVER! Never mind it wasn’t her party and that they party hadn’t even started. She did have a great a great time at party though!

A couple of days before I had painted Kaylen’s nail with polish that you can just rub off. In the morning, she said her nail was broken. Jeff told her that I would fix it after dinner. Her response was so funny. She said that she LOVES dinner and then ask if we could have dinner now… never mind we hadn’t had breakfast yet.

She has also requested a tuba.. make that pink tuba. We watch a lot of Veggie tales in the house so she wants a tuba like Larry. 🙂

Working through the emotions…

So the long time followers of my blog have probably notice a shift in my blog focusing  on NICU resources. I recently became a Parent Support Volunteer at the NICU where Ryan was born. Before Ryan had left the NICU, I always knew it was something that I wanted to do – to give back to other families in the NICU. I must say it was a whirlwind of emotions coming back to the NICU for the first. Just sitting in the training, hearing codes over the intercom system made my heart race. After the training was finished, they gave a us a tour of the NICU. It’s a rather large NICU with the capacity to fit 48 babies. They have 4 different pods – within each pod there are only single and double room with a nurse’s station in the middle. I only had seen two of the different pods while Ryan was in the NICU and certainly never wandered around any of the pods during Ryan’s stay. It was weird revisiting the rooms he had stayed it. They were empty. I just kinda got this eerie feeling and my breath caught in the back of my throat. I didn’t want to step foot in those rooms and I haven’t had to yet. Parents that experience a traumatic NICU stay often suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While, I don’t believe that I have full blown PTSD or even a moderate class of PTSD, I have realized that I do have certain triggers and I don’t know if it possible to fully recover from them. My brain tells me that I shouldn’t still have these feelings, but my heart and soul know that I have them. I just don’t think you can ever really just “get over” seeing your child lay helpless and suffer and know there was NOTHING you could do take away the pain. However, with all the said, I must say that I have experienced a lot of healing since becoming a volunteer. Going back to the training night, I cried big tears and heart broke again telling my story. I realize I still have a lot of emotions in my birth stories and Ryan’s NICU stay. I think that in telling my story to a group of other moms who completely understand what I went through was my first step in healing. After a few trips to the NICU, my heart began to feel lighter and no longer was the NICU of place of pain, but it has now become a place of hope, healing, and miracles. It has always been that, but I had only felt a lot of the pain that the NICU brings to a mother’s heart before. I love every minute of the being in the NICU. I feel like I am giving back. It’s one of the few times I am away from my family that I don’t feel the guilt that I may be missing out of something at home. As the director expressed to me so beautifully with empathy, “It fills your cup.” Being a parent support volunteer does fill my cup and overflows into a healing place in my heart hoping that by just listening to other families tell their own stories that I might be helping to heal their hearts as well.

One of things that I was also scared to do was look at the pictures of Ryan’s CD that we mailed to us after we left. These were pictures that Parent Support Volunteers took along with Ryan’s nurses. I was afraid to see some of the pictures on the desk fearing they would bring back some terrible emotions. I often held a lot of my fears about Ryan inside. I was also too afraid if I said my feelings outloud that somehow they would become reality. After going around one night in the NICU to take pictures of the babies for the first time, it gave me courage to look back at our disc of picture. Before that night, I had only looked at it briefly once when it arrived. This first picture is of Ryan when he battled NEC (infection in his bowels) which was the hardest part of his NICU stay. I was holding Ryan in this picture, his nurse thought his little hands under his chin were so cute. That is an anderson tube in his mouth. It was sucking everything out of his belly.

Here a picture a nurse took while we were away. He looks so sweet holding onto his soothie pacifier. This was probably a few days before he was released.

Here is one I believe a Parent Support Volunteer took very shortly after his birth. I love this photo and his tiny little feet.

While some people will never understand my emotions and the pain I have associated with the NICU and probably would just tell me I should be over it by now, I’m okay with where I am. I am thankful to be a part of such a wonderful program that has also allowed me to heal more by serving.

My Story…

Becoming a Parent Support Volunteer for the IMC NICU, I was asked to write a short summary to be posted in the Parent’s Lounge NICU to give them an opportunity to get to know the Parent Support Volunteers better. Here is my “short” story:

On August 22, 2008 our lives were changed forever by the early arrival of our precious baby girl, Kaylen. She was born at 34 weeks via c-section due to preeclampsia. The pregnancy started off as high risk due to an autoimmune condition that I have. I was monitored very closely throughout my whole pregnancy. We were overjoyed when we found out we were pregnant. I had been told previously that I might not ever be able have children, so Kaylen was an unexpected but most welcome surprise. About 11 weeks into my pregnancy, I awoke around 3 am to kiss my husband goodbye as he was getting ready for work, when I laid back into bed, I started hemorrhaging blood. We quickly went to the ER to discover that our baby was okay, but my placenta had separated about 50%. A most insensitive doctor sent me home with a prescription of Lortab and told me that I had a 50% chance of miscarrying my child. Praise God, my placenta healed completely. After 32 weeks of pregnancy, I began exhibiting my first signs of preeclampsia: I gained 10 lbs in two weeks, my blood pressure was up, and swelling of my body. I started NST (non-stress tests) twice a week to make sure my daughter was doing well. At my last NST, I had some protein in my urine. They called me back the next day to come pick up supplies 24 hour urine test. Unfortunately, by the time I went in, I was feeling horrible and was a crying mess. My perinatologist ran more urine and blood tests, examined me, and recommended that I be delivered that day. He called my OB and sent me over to a hospital. That hospital’s NICU was full so they sent me over to another hospital. I must add through all of this, I was complete denial about even the possibility of giving birth that night. I just couldn’t comprehend and was not prepared mentally to have a premature baby. My OB didn’t come to hospital until 8 pm that night (which also led me to think that I wouldn’t be delivered that day) but at 8:56 pm, my daughter was born to us at via an emergency c-section. I remember watching from the table as they cleaned her off and the NICU nurse letting me give her lots of kisses before she was rushed off to the NICU. Little did I know at that time I wouldn’t be able to even see her, let alone hold her, until 3 days later. It was pure heaven when I got to hold my baby girl for the first time. Luckily, her complications were few. She was severely jaundice due to our ABO blood incompatibility, but her bilirubin stabilized, she learned to eat quickly, and she was home after 10 days in the NICU.

Fast forward, 19 months later, I was pregnant again with my second child, Ryan. I was 33 weeks along in my pregnancy when my water broke. Not even two months before, I had made a major move from Las Vegas to the Salt Lake area due to a job offer. I had given my two weeks’ notice to my job in Las Vegas and headed up to Salt Lake, pregnant, with no family in the area, and pretty much being a single mom to my 17 month old toddler while my husband took care of our affairs back in Las Vegas. Again, this was a high risk pregnancy due to my autoimmune condition. I really didn’t have any issues with this pregnancy. In the back of my mind, I did fear getting preeclampsia again, but I never exhibited any sign of preeclampsia. Because of my issues with my first pregnancy, I continued with the NSTs twice a week until my water broke unexpectedly. I was scared and nervous. I knew what it meant to have my water break at 33 weeks and I knew I was in for another NICU stay. I was able to hold off labor for another 3 days giving the chance for the steroid shots to help improve Ryan’s lung function (and giving my husband time to drive here from Las Vegas). Ryan was born to us at 11:00 am on March 30, 2010 via c-section. He was also severely jaundiced. He was on the CPAP for just one day and on oxygen for 3 days. After about 10 days in the NICU, Ryan came down with an infection in his bowels (NEC – which is rare for someone born after 33 weeks) that was caught early enough that he only had to endure seven days of no eating, a PICC line, and antibiotics before he was better again. He quickly learned how to eat and nurse well after that episode, so in another week, after 29 days in the NICU, he was finally released.

Currently, Kaylen is a healthy, happy, constantly talking 3 ½ year old. Ryan is a healthy, active twenty-two month old who loves dinosaurs and spends a lot of his day “roaring” with his toys. We discovered that Kaylen has food allergies to eggs and dairy and Ryan is allergic to nuts and is sensitive to milk. He was diagnosed with asthma but treated with daily medication, he is does great.

I very blessed and lucky to have had Ryan at IMC with the Common Bonds program. We literally had no family here and I found strength from the volunteers from Common Bonds in dealing with Ryan’s NICU stay. That is why I have a heart to serve other NICU families through the Common Bonds program to offer hope and encouragement to other families with an understanding heart and empathy for their situation.

Kaylen, 3 days old

Ryan, 3 days old

Priceless Moments

One of my co-worker is getting married soon and another co-worker is making a hand-sewn quilt for her. It is beautiful. I was excited to do a little hand quilting. I brought Kaylen along because it was right after her ballet class. While I was quilting the layers of fabric (mind you not doing such a great job), my needle got stuck when I was trying to pull through four stitches at once. I started grunting trying to get the needle pulled when Kaylen comes up me and very loudly says “Mommy, you making yuckies?” My face starts turning red and my co-workers look at me. I tell Kayeln, “No, I am not.” Afterward, I confirm to my co-workers that is she is indeed asking me if I am going #2. Now, it’s an ongoing joke at my work. What a priceless moments with my cute daughter….

Pretty in Pink

This past weekend was another first for my daughter and I. I had the joy of painting her fingernails for the first time. Since she was a baby, she has always sat pretty still for me while I trimmed her finger and toe nails. I figured she was probably ready for nail polish. I picked out a cute set from Wal-mart that had a light pink, darker pink, and glitter nail polish. It also came with with some fake rhinestones and a little nail file. I put Kaylen in her highchair seat and started painting her nails with the darker pink. She did pretty well – there were only a couple of times she moved her hands around and messed up some of the polish. For the most part, she kept her hand laying down flat. I applied two coats of the darker pink and one coat of the glitter. I couldn’t resist and had to put a rhinestone on each pinky. Those were shortlived though. I did use a blowdryer to help speed the drying process. At any rate, I enjoyed painting Kaylen’s fingernails for the first time. I do wonder if when she grows older if she was be a girly girl wanting to have manipedis. Now..if I could just paint my nails. 🙂

Eggless Cupcakes

We discovered around 17 months of age that Kaylen was allergic to dairy and eggs. It has been quite the adventure since then figuring out what she can and can’t eat. Thankfully, her allergy isn’t life threatening and only requires one dose of Benadryl when she has a reaction. She is more allergic to eggs than milk so I wanted to find a recipe for her birthday that didn’t have eggs so she could enjoy her birthday cake without having to be force-fed Benadryl afterward. I found a few recipes and while Jeff’s parents were here we hoped that they would be able to test drive making the cupcakes with her, but unfortunately Kaylen got sick and we had to cut out some of the planned activities. A few days after they left, I was able to make the cupcakes with her. She really enjoys all the stirring! I think she had fun making the cupcakes with me. She didn’t mind so much this time if I stirred in the same bowl with her so that was good too. It was fun getting to bake with her again and I hope we will be able to bond as mother and daughter in the future with more baking!

The cupcakes turned out pretty well and if no one had told me that eggs were not in, I would not have guess it. They are a little more crumbly than a normal cake – but overall not bad! I would definitely recommend this recipe for someone who is allergic to eggs! This recipe made 12 cupcakes.

Chocolate Cake



1-1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cold water (or ice coffee)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp vinegar


Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Use a small brownie-size pan (no greasing required). Mix all the dry ingredients right in pan. Mix all the wet ingredients in separate bowl except the vinegar (important!). Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until all dry ingredients are mixed. Add the vinegar quickly and stir in — immediately put the pan in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 min. Cool thoroughly.

Optional: after you add the vinegar, you can put some frozen cherries, raspberries or cranberries on top of the batter (or you can mix them in beforehand)