Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Happy 30th Birthday, Hubby :)

So this blog is dedicated to my hard working, intelligent, self-sacrificing hubby <3 He has done so much for us and continues to do so on a daily basis that I feel like I don't tell him enough just how much I appreciate him and love him. He is without a doubt my best friend!

But who is James Adam Panko? First of all, he is the oldest of 3 children, born on June 25, 1983 in Fayetteville, NC. He moved to Florida with his parents when he was 3 months old and has lived here ever since. We met when he was 15 years old at a drill meet for ROTC in Daytona Beach. I'm usually very shy but we talked all night. When it was time to leave I was hesitant because I had such a great time talking to Jim. From then on he was my best friend. My buddy. The one guy I was too afraid to date because "what if it didn't work out and I lost my best friend?"

After high school we tried dating but neither of us was mature enough to make it work. I never blamed him though. But he became 'the one that got away'. I thought of him often and hoped he had found happiness.

When we met up again some years later we were both going through a divorce and seeking friendship. As fate would have it we found much more in each other.

So if I were to sum Jim up I would tell you that he's the kind of guy who puts his family and friends' needs above his own. He's also Mr. Fixit. There's not a project out there that he hasn't done or at least attempted. He can't sit still! If he won the lottery tomorrow he'd still be working at his job or one like it just because he feels he has to be doing something and would go out of his mind sitting at home doing nothing. He can play video games for a couple hours but then he gets bored and works on Star Trek models, his work van, or works around the house. He's very artistic. He's a trekkie, loves Dr. Who, and Halo. His best friends are me and my cousin, Julius. He just celebrated his first Father's Day with our newest member: baby James. He is an amazing step-dad to my son, Kevin. He has such great patience and understanding with him. He recently completed classes and got certificates so that he could be in scouts with Kevin as well; and not too long ago he helped Kevin achieve his first badge, the bobcat. My hubby loves to help when and where he can. He fixed my mom's flat tire in her driveway shortly after noticing it and is often called upon by my family members, as well as his own family, concerning their vehicles. He is without a doubt the sweetest man I know, besides my dad. He has always been there for me... Through the divorce, concerning Kevin, when I was pregnant, when I flipped the SUV on I-4, offered friendship in the hospital after having my first seizure when I was 15, and supports my decision to go back to college... He's amazing. I am very lucky and blessed to have him in my life. He may not be perfect but he is perfect for me :)

I apologized to Kevin not too long ago about his dad and I getting divorced and Kevin's reply brought tears to my eyes. He said "It's ok, mom. I'm glad things worked out this way because now we have Jimbob in our lives".  I feel the same way, of course. I love you, Jim. I can't imagine my life without you. You have filled the void in my heart and I will forever be grateful. I just wanted you to know.

Happy Birthday, old man ;) Welcome to the big 3-0!!!! I know I'm not too far behind you but I hope we'll see many birthdays together and many anniversaries:) When we look back 30 will just be a number, a stepping stone. And I want you to know that I love you and the boys love you:) You are a great inspiration to the both of them and me :)

Ich liebe dich!  I hope you enjoy your day, hubby <3

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

In this blog I am going to talk about my two favorite dad's, my dad and my hubby.  Last year I posted this for my dad on Facebook "Things I have learned about dads from my number one dad: all their children are their favorite, a dads love is unconditional whether he agrees with his child's choices or not, a dad will spend numerous hours away from home working so that he can provide a better life for his family, a dad will take time from his day to spend it with his family, whether it be fishing, camping, or an ice cream run, ...dads have a keen sense and pick up when a child is hurt and somehow knows the right thing to say to help lessen the burden, a dads prayer is always effective in making a child's worries go away, dads will watch their children make a mistake because he knows how important it is that the child learn how to get back up but a dad is also ready to help pick up the pieces, lastly I have learned that a dad stands by his wife and supports her decisions. A dad doesn't leave his wife and children when things get chaotic or when a younger hotter model tries to step in. A dad knows that his wife is the genuine article, the one and only and no one can replace the mother of his children. They/we are all special to him. I love you dad. I may not say it enough or show it enough, especially when I was younger, but I love you Daddo. You have taught me a great many things. Thank you. I am so blessed and privileged to be your daughter. Happy Father's Day!"

As you can see I love my dad immensely and have learned a great deal about dad's through him.  My mom asked me before what my ideal husband would be and I told her "a mix of Jim Carrey and my dad".  That's exactly what I have found in my hubby.  He respects me, he loves my son, he works hard for my son and I, he loves us unconditionally, he's there for us, and as God would have it, this year we welcomed our own little Panko into the world.  There's not enough words or time in the day to say just how much I love my hubby.  He is without a doubt my best friend.  I am so glad I have him in my life and so glad that we are sharing our lives together.  He supports me, our children, and our dreams.  He tells me I'm beautiful and he still kisses me goodnight and wakes me up with a kiss good morning.  We still slow dance in the kitchen, read each other's thoughts, and can finish each other's sentences. Before him I thought soul mates were fiction and were just kitchen utensils...  Now I know they're real for I have found mine in him.  Each day that passes I only love him more. Seriously, who would have thought that possible?

I remember being a little girl who wanted to marry her daddy because he was handsome, strong, brave, he loved his family,  took care of his family, spent time with his family, and was always there for me.  Now that I'm older I realize that I married someone like my daddy.  He's patient, kind, honest, and faithful, Daddo.  Just like you.  And who would've thought a good work ethic would be important? ;)  lol  I love you, dad.  Thank you, for being you and for being a great example to your children; and a great man of God.

Jim, again I'm so grateful to have you in my life.  I appreciate your kindness, your understanding, your unconditional love, and your unique sense of humor that makes you Jim.  I love you for your quirkiness, uniqueness, geekiness, nerdiness, but most of all for being my sanity and loving my son as your own.  Not many men would be willing to do that or handle "my baggage" but when I start being pessimistic that's when you say "We'll get through it" and I always believe you...  And we always do get through it.  You are an amazing example to our boys!  I couldn't have found a better husband than you to spend the rest of my life with!  I love you for now, for always, forever!  Thanks for being you.  I pray that we have many years, anniversaries, and holidays in our future together!  I love you!  Thanks for being my best friend, the father of our children, and future children.  Most of all thanks for being you!  I love you! Kevin loves you! and James loves you!

I love you both very much!  Happy Father's Day!

My parents going on a jerky ride with their grandkids;
(if that doesn't say love I don't know what does)

My dad blessed Baby James
Jim helps take care of our baby...
Spends time with Kevo...
(and volunteered to be the Scout Master)
Takes naps with our baby...
And when I'm too tired he finds a way to include me
The men in my life are truly amazing!

Friday, June 7, 2013

My C-Section Experience

First of all let me tell you in my opinion natural is the way to go.  Baby James was a scheduled cesarean. My high risk doctor measured baby James at 38 weeks to see if having him naturally was an option. The ultrasound tech guessed baby James' weight to be 10 pounds and 4 ounces.  We were all very concerned as Kevin had shoulder dystocia at 38 weeks and weighed 8 pounds, 12 ounces... My doctor said I was lucky but I may not be so lucky this time. Especially since Kevin's brother was even bigger! My hubby and I listened to the doctor and took his advice. We didn't want to chance something going wrong with a natural delivery so we opted for a scheduled cesarean.

I was very nervous, of course, as this was my first surgery EVER. I refused to read about it as I was afraid to read the horror stories of C-sections gone wrong. Instead I turned to my father: a member of the Priesthood in the LDS church, and had him give me a Father's Blessing. I have strong faith in the power of prayer so after I heard the words I was calm and had faith that my baby and I would be okay.

We let Kevin stay home from school so he could see his baby brother after he was born. Then Jim and I went home. I had to shower with antibacterial soap the night before and the day of. My c-section was scheduled for 7:30am but we had to arrive an hour early. Neither Jim nor I slept well in anticipation of meeting Little James.

When we got to the hospital I was prepped with an IV, a gown, a hairnet, some antibiotic via the IV, and I asked for some anti nausea medication as I was feeling nauseous. My doctor was running late so Kevin and my dad arrived in time to see me off to the O.R. Kevin was nervous for me but I reassured him it would be okay.

In the O.R. I sat on the operating table and an Anesthesiologist inserted in a needle in my back while I hugged a pillow. I was given a spinal block. I then preceded to lie down with my arms open, palm side up. I felt helpless and felt hot and cold flashes. The doctors put up a blue sheet barrier so I couldn't see the incision. The Anesthesiologist poked me with a pin several times to see if I had feeling in my side and my chest. When I told him no they got Jim (who was patiently waiting in the hallway) and then the surgery began. I could feel pressure but no pain as they took baby James out. He began crying immediately and the staff all couldn't believe how big he was. Jim immediately began crying as he was a proud daddy, which made me cry as well. The doctor cut the umbilical chord and cleaned baby James before handing him to Jim. I was only allowed to see my beautiful boy briefly before he was taken to the nursery while the doctors put me back together. They closed me up with derma-bond, surgery glue, and tape. No stitches. No staples.

Everything went well, however. I was informed that I was to lie down for 6 hours to prevent a spinal headache, a common side effect of having a spinal block. As you might have read I didn't get to see nor hold my baby due to his unusually high respiration. So much of the time I was lying in bed crying wanting to see, hold, touch, kiss my newly born child. Jim was awesome and downloaded a video chat application so he could show me baby James in the nursery. He even preceded to record some videos of baby James lying in his bassinet.  My dad was amazing as well.  The nurses let my dad into the nursery to give baby James a blessing. I was able to hear it through the video chat application my dear hubby had downloaded on my phone. When the nurses finally brought baby James to me it had been 12 hours since he was born. Kevin recorded it on my phone and commented how cute his little brother was and how he loved his new baby brother and I.

The reunion was short lived as the doctors took baby James back to the nursery to be monitored. Mine and Jim's family went home shortly after and we fell asleep. During the night nurses came to check my blood pressure, which was unusually high, my pain level, and to check my bleeding. (Yes, you still bleed just like you would if you had a baby naturally). I bled the same amount as I did when I had had Kevin. And thank goodness for good pain meds because when the nurses pushed on my stomach to contract my uterus I did not feel a thing. In the morning the nurse removed the catheter and I was allowed to get up and use the bathroom... I nearly passed out from the pain... She gave me a percocet and a half hour later I was feeling a lot better. 

Once I felt ok and after having a little chocolate pudding for breakfast Jim and I walked to the nursery to see Baby James. I was able to change his dirty diaper and witness his tube feedings. They wouldn't feed him much because they were unsure of how much his tummy could tolerate. It broke my heart to see him on so many machines, with an IV hooked up to him, and a tube in his nose that went to his stomach... It's really hard to see your newborn like that and know that there is nothing you can do for him. But we were thankful that he was still alive and prayed for him to make a quick recovery.

When it became clear that baby James was going to be transferred to another hospital I told the nursing staff that I wanted to be discharged as well.  I wanted to be with my newborn son.  My nurse then preceded to call my OB so I could be discharged.  She checked my incision and told me how to take care of it before I left. It was an hour after baby James was transferred that I was finally released from the Sanford hospital. 

Once my mom and I got to Orlando South it was really hard because I had to do a lot of walking! My mom teased me for I walked as fast as my Granny who walks with a walker. The C-section incision is at your bikini line so every step you take is agonizing. When we came across a wheelchair I soon discovered that sitting was painful as well, and so was any bump you hit along the way.  Getting up out of the wheelchair to sit in a chair or stand was worse... And if you had to cough... That was the absolute worst! I tried not to complain because I wanted to be with my baby as much as possible! My hubby did his best to remind me to take my medicine because if I forgot... Oh it was a pain I wouldn't wish on anybody!

Once we got home my hubby helped out when and where he could. We registered on a site called mealtrain.com which is a free website in which family and friends sign up to bring you meals. You can list your favorite meal, any allergies, and foods you dislike and your family and friends can see it, see what other people are bringing, see what days are available, and what times work for you. I highly recommend this site. Our family had delivered meals for a week and a half via our friends/family using this website. We didn't have any duplicate meals and didn't have to worry about cooking or wonder who was bringing us food for that day. (Thank you to our friends and family who participated).

So what no one tells you about c-sections: your extremities swell, your back swells, sitting up hurts like heck! And take the meds exactly when it's time for the next dose! Don't wait to see if you have pain or to see if you can be a super woman! I hate depending on medicines but I had a nurse tell me, "It's ridiculous to stay in pain when you don't have to". She encouraged me to take the meds the doctor prescribed me and I encourage you to do the same. Take the meds.  There's no shame because a C-section IS surgery.  Also, have stool softeners, bring comfortable pants to wear.  Preferably something like what you'd wear to bed. Least of all you can't drive for at least 2 weeks. My hubby was with me for the first week then my mom took time off the second week. Of course, other people came when they could to help with chores and the baby.  Let people help.  Your family and friends will want to do as much as they can so you can rest and believe me you'll want to rest!

If I had to do it all over again, of course I would. The point of this is don't think this surgery is a walk in the park because it's not! The pain was horrible, the swelling was annoying, and the pain meds knocked me out. Thank goodness my hubby and Kevin love me unconditionally. :) how I got so blessed I will never know but I will forever be thankful for my boys... All 3 of them :)

Kevin seeing me off to the O.R.
My three Loves