Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Special Baby Feet

 I've been meaning to write this blog post for about 2 months, but life has been a whirlwind so far this year and it just hasn't happened. It's been over 2 years since I posted and I can't say there won't be another two years between posts but I felt like this was something I wanted to share before our new little one arrives.

On Dec 16th we had a lot to look forward to, it was Brett's last day of work before his 3 weeks off for Christmas break, we had our ward Christmas party and the best part our 19 week anatomy ultrasound. Lucas and Avery were so excited to see their new little baby brother or sister and we all couldn't wait to find out if we would be adding another boy or girl to our gang of cuties.

Pretty quickly we were told, to Lucas' delight and Avery's temporary dismay that we would be having another little boy! Both Brett and I were a little surprised because we had started to feel that we would be having another girl, but we couldn't be happier to add another little man!

As with Avery the baby gave us a hard time showing us all the images we needed, they couldn't get all the images of the heart, face and feet and after quite some time they said we would just have to come back. No big, deal we did the same with Avery. We left, super excited and called to tell Grandparents that the boys would now be winning on the grandchild numbers!

We had a normal Steenblik weekend and woke Monday ready to rest and get some chores done around the house. That morning I missed a call from the ultrasound office but assumed they'd call back, they did, right before we were about to take Lucas to school. I answered assuming they wanted to schedule another appointment to get the missing images, instead the voice on the other end of the phone casually said "I'm calling to schedule a follow up ultrasound and consultation for your babies clubbed feet." And that's how we found out that our little man will be born with Bilateral Clubbed Feet (BCF).

A big miscommunication had happened in the office which led to us being told this pretty big news over the phone, by a receptionist who assumed we already knew. The specialist wasn't in office when we had our ultrasound so the technicians had the receptionist send the information over to my OB office, but they sent it to the wrong doctor, she assumed we had been talked to and put the order for the follow up ultrasound in. My Dr. didn't even find out about the clubbed feet until she was about to walk in to my next OB appointment two days later. She was mortified at the situation. Once we were told over the phone the specialist briefly talked to me and said we needed to do genetic testing and there could be any number of other issues with our little boy, but they couldn't get us in for another 10 days. So we had the long wait over Christmas to find out what else we might be facing. Luckily I did have that OB appointment scheduled and she was able to comfort me by looking over the results we did have and assure me there was no reason to think there would be any issues other than the clubbed feet.

So on our wedding anniversary we went for our follow up ultrasound, the specialist looked over our little one and couldn't see any physical markers to indicate any other issues. BCF also happens to run in Brett's family, with his Dad and brother both being born with BCF, this made the specialist confident that it would be an isolated incident for our baby too. We opted out of the genetic testing and while we cannot be certain there won't be other issues when he is born, we are confident that he will be born with no other issues beyond his special baby feet.

So what does this mean? It means casts and braces. Within the first week of being born the baby will have almost full leg casts applied weekly for approximately 5 weeks to re-position his feet. Once they are in the correct position he will have a small surgery to cut his achilles tendons, and then have another set of casts that will stay on for 3 weeks. If all goes to plan after those 8 weeks he will move on to boots and bars (BNB). He will have to wear them for 23 hours a day 7 days a week for approximately 3 months. After that we will transition to wearing the BNB only during sleeping hours, this will continue until he is about 4 years old. This is the ideal scenario and we are hopeful that it won't be anymore complicated than that. The method we will be using is called the Ponseti method, named after Dr. Ponseti, it is the same method that was used on Brett's Dad and brother, and while it has had a few tweaks here and there over the years, it worked just great for them and hopefully will for us too!

We feel very blessed to have family members who understand and have been through the same thing, we also have friends locally who have had babies with BCF who have been a great resource and support. Additionally we happen to live in the same town as the best clubbed feet doctor in the state, he was trained by Dr. Ponseti himself.

While we are little sad that we won't be able to do things like regular baths, use footed jammies and will need a few unexpected items that we weren't planning on, as well as medical treatment, we feel very blessed that his feet can be corrected. He should be chasing after his big brother and sister on a regular schedule and we can't wait to see those little feet go! He is already a very active boy, so I do worry that the restrictions of movement caused by the casts and BNB will be hard for him, but we will do our best to make him comfortable and happy.

We love our little guy so so much and can't wait to meet him! I partly wanted to share this update because when he is born I don't want people to be too concerned with what is wrong with his feet, but rather focus on his inevitable adorable jowls and clone like look of his siblings. Because lets face it, Brett and I make cute kids! Haha!

Sorry for the long long post, but here are some pictures of out little one and his Papa as a baby with his casts for you to enjoy!

PS. We told Lucas his baby brother will be born with Ninja skills, so now he is watching Ninjago and perfecting his own Ninja skills to he can keep up with his brother's special feet! :)

Papa with one cast, apparently one foot took longer to correct than the other.
A 3D ultrasound showing our little guys turned in feet.
He had cheeks at 20 weeks! Haha!

Papa with his casts on!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Muffin Turns ONE

Our sweet Avery Mae turns ONE today! Oh how time flies!

I sadly didn't do the monthly blog posts on Avery like I did with Lucas, but here is a little update on our perfect Christmas angel on her first birthday!

  • She weighs 21lbs!
  • She has 4 teeth.
  • She is a thumb sucker which we love now, and I'm sure will have issues with in the future.
  • She isn't walking yet, but likes to use a walker or steady herself with furniture.
  • She is a BIG Daddy's girl, she would spend every waking moment with him if she could.
  • Big brother is the only one that can really make her belly laugh.
  • She LOVES food, the girl will eat anything you throw her way.
  • She hates to be thrown in the air, she gets a terrified look on her face if you do it.
  • She says "Hi" and "Dadda" all the time and "Mumma" when she is upset.
  • She sleeps through the night and loves to snuggle with a blanket just like Mummy and brother.
  • She loves sparkly clothes! 
  • We call her "Muffin" as a nickname.
  • More often than not we use her first and middle name when talking to her, this started when Lucas would introduce her to people as his sister "Avery Mae".
  • She loves to play chase with her brother, which is more Lucas running and her crawling at top speed after him.
  • I often find her and Lucas playing in her bedroom or our bedroom, and they usually get into some kind of trouble together. 
  • She has crazy hair that I don't know what to do with half the time, but I'm not ready to cut it just yet!
  • She loves baths!
We love out sweet princess and have enjoyed this past year with her so much! I'm so excited to watch her as she continues to grow and learn!

Photography copyright of Sweet Afton Studios

Monday, March 24, 2014

Avery Mae Steenblik

Avery Mae Steenblik entered the world on December 11th 2013 at 4:40pm, weighing 7lbs 14oz and 19 inches in height. Here is her birth story.

I had been having braxton hicks on and off for a couple of weeks and after a couple of times thinking I was in labor and them disappearing when I lay down I was pretty certain this birth would be a repeat of Lucas and end in an induction. I was a firm believer that my babies liked to bake for as long as possible. I was due to be induced on December 13th, but about 2 weeks before that date my Dr. told me they were over booked that day and I had been moved forward to the 12th. This meant Brett had to shuffle his work schedule around a little, but it was no big deal. As the 12th approached we really hoped she would hold off on being born until the 12th, mainly because we had everything planned out nicely with babysitting for Lucas and Brett being off.

The morning of Wednesday the 11th I woke up due to a contraction just as Brett was leaving for his last day of work. I told him about it, not thinking anything of it and he just said "well hold off until 5pm" and laughed.  I tried to go back to sleep, but the contractions kept coming. After about 3 hours my friend Sierra persuaded me to call my Doctor. She was busy and they didn't call me back for over an hour. At this point I had been having regular contractions for over 4 hours and they decided I should get checked out because we live so far from the hospital. I called my visiting teacher and awesome friend Katie and asked her if she could take Lucas and Sierra drove me to the hospital. I called Brett and he left to meet us there. By the time we arrived the contractions were pretty strong and it took them forever to get me checked in because their computer was being slow.

By the time they checked on me I was dialated to a 4 and they moved me straight up to a delivery room. Now I am not shy about the fact that I am all for epidurals. My pain tolerance is low so my biggest fear is not being able to get one. UMC is a teaching school which is no big deal to me, but the anesthesiologist could NOT get the epidural in, it took him about 45 minutes and my contractions were getting very strong. His teacher was called in to help him, but did not take over which really made me mad. By the time it was finally in I was dialated to a 9 and they had my Dr. come in for delivery. 3 sets of 3 pushes later Avery Mae entered the world.

Her birth weight and height were exactly the same as mine.

She is named after Brett's Grandma and Great-Grandma. Avery was his Great-grandma's maiden name, and her daughter's (Brett's Grandma's) middle name is Mae.

She was a newborn clone of her big brother other than she had more and much darker hair than him.

Also like Lucas she was very calm when she was born, just taking it all in. 

A perfect snap of my babies together.

Avery's delivery was much faster and easier than Lucas' which was a huge blessing. I only had to stay one night in the hospital which I was grateful for. We are so in love with our Christmas Angel!
Stay tuned for some professional hospital and newborn pictures taken by my amazing friend Christine at Sweet Afton Studios

Monday, November 11, 2013

I is for the Internet

I am grateful for the internet. It keeps us connect with family across the world and in different states. Every Sunday we have our weekly Skype dates with Nanna and Grandad and Grammy and Papa and Lucas gets so excited. He loves to give his virtual hugs and kisses too.

It is so great that we can see each other and our parents can watch our children grow even though we don't see them as often as we like. The internet really does help us stay connect with family and friends alike.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

H is for Hospitals

I am grateful for Hospitals. Not because I like them, but because I am going to NEED one in a few weeks. I can't imagine the days where people had their babies at home and power to the women that still do, they are stronger than I. I am grateful that there will be nurses and Doctors and epidurals to help me bring this baby girl into the world! Boy the thought of going through that without the service of a Hospital is terrifying. We live 30 minutes away from our hospital and have a planned induction so I sure hope she doesn't decide to come on her own before then, they say 2nd babies come faster and I would hate to not make it in time!

G is for Grocery Deals

It seems like a strange thing to be grateful for, but this week I have saved SOO much money and been able to stock up on quite a few things. All the items in the above picture plus 2 gallons of milk came to grand total of $22, my savings were $90! I am grateful that there are sites that do ad and coupon match-ups to make it easier for me. I am grateful that my friends let me know when they find a good deal and I am grateful that my husband waits patiently as I make my WalMart ad match list, print coupons and organize my cart according to things on sale vs. things not on sale.

I am also grateful for online deals. I am done shopping for Christmas gifts for Lucas and have not spent more than $10 on a single gift and they are all things he will LOVE! I love finding a good deal and saving our money. It's kind of a hobby for me now!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

F is for Friends

F could be for so many things like family or faith but I decided to go with friends. As I mentioned in my "C" post I was really worried about making friends when we moved here (dumb right?) and so I am extremely grateful that I have made so many wonderful friends. We were down with the stomach flu last week and I honestly had about 10 different people ask if they could bring food, or babysit or get anything we needed at the store. I find it hard to say yes to those things but just the fact that people asked and were concerned meant so much to me.

Not only am I grateful for new friends but I am grateful for old friends. Friends that I have known since I was 6 or 13, it is not often you are able to keep those friendships alive for so long especially when you live in a different state or in some cases a different country. I am so grateful to have friends that have known me for so long and love me regardless. There is nothing like sharing 20 year old memories with someone and still being able to make just as awesome new ones with our growing families!