Sunday, April 29, 2012


As a lot of you already know, it is a goal of mine to eventually learn professional photography.  One of my "adult dreams" is to learn enough about my camera and editing techniques to eventually be able to become a paid maternity/newborn/family photographer.  I would like to take some classes at our local community college ... and to have the opportunity to train with another individual who is already a true photographer by profession *hint, hint*.

In saying that, over the past two years since I purchased my Canon Rebel and Photoshop Elements (about which I only know the very, very basics), I have managed to take a few photographs that I am actually proud to call my own.  Now, I'm sure they are very amateur to the trained photographer's eye; nevertheless, I like them.  And, just for giggles, I like to refer to them as my growing, non-professional, "portfolio."

Here they are:

Friday, April 27, 2012

May Flowers

April showers ... bring May flowers ...
and they are lovely

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Risking sounding like a hog, I have to say: "Dear McDonalds, your new kids' french fry size is ridiculous. I know he's a good eater ... But my kid is not even two, and it's not enough for him to eat. Please bring back your old ones!"

I rest my case:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Look Who's (almost) Two

Look who's (almost) two!

Tonight we celebrated Jackson's second birthday ... two weeks early ... as a little "insurance policy" that Jax still got a birthday party before his baby brother arrived.  We had an amazing time celebrating with family and friends and truly feel blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives that love Jackson so much.  Thank you all!

This year, getting "perfect" birthday photographs of Jackson proved to be quite challenging; nevertheless, I hope you'll enjoy this little glimpse into our night.

Happy Second Birthday, Jackson!

We love you so much!

Friday, April 20, 2012


The bun is done.

Here I am.
But don't be confused ... I'm pretty darn uncomfortable.

Today I am officially "full tern" at 37 weeks pregnant with baby Oliver.  It is safe for him (and greatly desired for him) to make his big debut anytime now.

I guess now is also a good time to make the official announcement that my doctor will be inducing my labor on May 8th, 2012 should Oliver not decide to come on his own before that date (due to logistics with Jackson's 5th Mehta casting in Philly).  I certainly hope he arrives sooner, however!  At this point ... there is very little sleeping ... a lot of aches and pains ... and a great deal of anxiousness going on around the Heath household.  No ones tells you how difficult it is to lift/carry a toddler (especially one in a 3lb torso cast) around with an enormous belly!  More than anything; however, we are praying for a healthy last few weeks of pregnancy, a safe labor and delivery, and a happy, healthy baby to arrive any day now!  Please join us in our prayers!    

Monday, April 16, 2012


I have to admit it was a little surreal ... going to Roanoke on Easter weekend and having an old friend take a few maternity photographs for me.  An old friend ... younger than me ... who I took ballet with as a toddler ... taking maternity photos of me pregnant with my second child ... while her husband walked around carrying her newborn.  Yes.  Surreal.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I Mean Business

Hey Oliver! You faked me out ... No fair! I can't wait to meet you (or so I think). Come on! I mean business!

primum non nocere

I dedicate this blog post to my friend, Lauren B., who has dealt with more than her fair share of 'hospital idiots' and will truly appreciate my sentiments ... as well as to any other readers with similar experiences to mine.

Just to give you a brief background as to why I'm writing this -- I went to the hospital last night.  After having regular, intensifying contractions for 3.5 hours ... my obgyn thought it would be a good idea for me to go to L&D to "rule out labor."  My contractions continued the entire time I was in the hospital (from 10:30pm until 4am) and were 3 minutes apart ... lasting for 60 seconds each ... and moderately painful.  However, because my cervix wasn't changing ... it was deemed to be "false labor."  While I was there; however, my blood pressure began acting up (as it tends to during late pregnancy) so some tests were run to rule out preeclampsia.  So far -- so good -- all normal.  I think the basic plan at this time is to keep a close watch on my BP at my regular prenatal appointments and wait to see what happens.

While I was just sitting around ... contracting on the monitor ... I had awhile to take in my surroundings and reflect on the experience.  I quickly noticed that I was more afraid being IN the hospital than if I had just stayed home.

primum non nocere
a Latin phrase meaning, "first, do no harm"

A lot of you may have heard this expression before as it is both part of the Hippocratic Oath taken by all physicians as well as the nursing principle of "beneficence."

When I was initially admitted, I had a great nurse who made me feel safe and well informed.  Unfortunately, at 1am I was "traded" to a nurse working only a half shift (why hospitals allow this ... I do not know).  When my "new" nurse flitted into the room, she immediately began rattling off a million "care plans" for me that were completely different than what my previous nurse had discussed with me and didn't make any sense.  Ultimately, I do not think this new nurse had received a full report on me ... so she was doing some guess work ... and getting completely confused.  It also probably didn't help much that she was a young, beautiful, giggly blond ... not that I wanted her to look like Nurse Rached ... just that she didn't exactly command my confidence.

Basically, she entered the room solely focused on my blood pressure and ignoring the fact that was I was in the hospital to "rule out labor."  When I had last spoken to my first nurse, she was to return to check my cervix for "progress" in 30 minutes after noticing my regular contractions.  My elevated BP had just been noticed and a urine sample had been collected.  Hypertension was not the reason I was at the hospital.

"New Nurse" burst into the room carrying a 24-hour urine collection container and rattling on about "you are admitted for 24 hours for BP ... need to get labs ... unsure if you need IV fluids ... yadayadaya."  When I asked her about checking my cervix, she looked puzzled and said they weren't going to check me again since I was admitted.  Ummm ... that's what I came in for, lady, to "rule out labor" ... if you don't recheck me ... this was a waste of everyone's time.  But before I could speak ... in walked a "tech" with her IV cart.  She informed me that she is going to draw PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension) labs on me ... and also that she was supposed to be off tonight to drive her sister back to NYC in the morning ... so she's upset that she's at work.  "I'm sorry," I say.  How else to respond?  Then, a third nurse pokes her head in the room and hollers "did you know she had ketones in her urine?"  The nurse stops the tech from drawing my blood, and in she walks with IV fluids.

At this point I am extremely confused about several things:  1. why my new nurse seems to have no idea why I'm in the hospital ...  2. why I now have no idea why I am being "admitted" to the hospital ...  3. why I'm getting IV fluids if I have high blood pressure ... and 4. why there are 3 medical personnel in my room who have not introduced themselves and are not explaining anything to me.  

Again, I do not get a chance to ask any questions before the tech pokes my vein and begins to tell me (after Justin told her I am an RN) that "she graduated nursing school in 2009 ... but still has not passed her boards ... but 'her day will come, one day' ... and that the hospital isn't supposed to, but they let her do everything an RN does anyway."

Last time I checked, that is not something you should say aloud to a patient while you are working on them.

"New nurse" then hung the bag of IV fluids on the pole ... not using a pump ... and "wide open."  WHY would you do that for someone with high blood pressure?  She settled me in for the "night" (at this point I still haven't been told how long I'm staying) and left the room.  Once the door was shut, I was finally able to speak to my mom who was staying with me (Justin left to care for Jackson at home).  I had so many concerns ... like knowing that this nurse was going to let my IV run dry (she did) ... and knowing that neither my contractions nor my baby's heart rate was being picked up by the monitor now that I was on my side (it wasn't) ... and figuring that my "new nurse" wasn't going to reposition the monitor straps to obtain a reading (she didn't) ... and wondering how long I was going to be in the hospital in the care of these people.

Over an hour passed ... and "new nurse" finally came into the room to tell me my labs were normal.  It was then that she noticed my IV was dry, got a new one, then promptly forgot to start it (that bag of fluids never even entered my vein).  When I brought up the whole "rule out labor" issue again ... she responded "Oh, you're not in labor!  You're not even contracting anymore."  In saying this, she was staring at the monitor strip that wasn't showing my contractions since I had laid down ... but still ignoring the fact that it also wasn't monitoring the baby.  I simple responded "yes I am ... every three minutes," to which she chuckled.  I decided at this time to sit up and reposition the monitors on my own belly to help them begin tracing again once she left the room.  It worked.  My contractions and baby's heart rate were back on the display screen.  

Thankfully, my obgyn was in the hospital due to another laboring patient and was able to stop my by room.  He addressed both my labor and my BP concerns (giving me the opposite explanation that "new nurse" gave), explained what was going to happen, and cleared me for  discharge.

I suppose it was a good thing that I went to the hospital ... maybe ... to at very least make my physician aware to closely monitor my blood pressure in the coming weeks.  However, it certainly did not augment my confidence of the care I might receive when I am in "true labor."

Please, if you are a healthcare provider -- remember that your patients both want and need to feel included in their care plan -- that they deserve professionalism and a voice -- and, please:
primum non nocere.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Weekend

This year, we had a crazy busy Easter weekend that promised so much fun!

We kicked off the festivities on Thursday with Jackson's very first Easter egg hunt at our friend Tracy's house.  The egg hunt was for all the mommies and kids involved in Stroller Strides ... and we had a a.m.a.z.i.n.g time celebrating the holiday with everyone.  Jackson particularly enjoyed eating no less that 15 cherry tomatoes ... after he finished his plate of food ... and before lunch!

After gathering only a few eggs, Jax became a bit preoccupied with this "tractor" ... and Mommy spent the rest of the egg hunt pushing it from egg to egg so that he would follow.  In the end, Jackson collected 8 candy-filled eggs before retiring to play with his buddies.

Before the egg hunt party was complete, we even got to see an amazing swarm of honeybees that had temporarily made their home in one of Tracy's trees.  Mommy thought it was really neat!

Oh, how we love our Stroller Strides family!

Almost immediately after the egg hunt -- Mommy, Jackson, NeNe, and PawPaw hit the road for Roanoke, Virginia.  Daddy stayed behind to relax on his days off and get some much needed things done around our house.  Our Roanoke trip proved to be a little "National-Lampoons-esque" this time ... complete with one total toddler melt down in Abuelos (forcing us to actually leave the restaurant) and a brief trip to Roanoke Memorial Hospital.  Nevertheless, we made the best of it.  Certainly, the highlight of the weekend was our trip to the Transportation Museum.  I'm pretty sure the hour or so we spent there might have been the very best of Jackson's life to date.  He was able to run around and explore all of his favorite things -- cars, helicopters, and trains!

*     *     *

After an early departure from Roanoke, we enjoyed Easter Sunday at home with family.  Although Daddy had to go into work this afternoon, he was able to watch Jackson's reaction to what the Easter Bunny left him this morning.

Jackson spent the afternoon playing outside and helping Mommy and NeNe plant a few Spring flowers (we won't mention that as soon as the flower was put into the ground ... Jax hacked off the bloom with his 'digger').

Happy Easter, everyone!