Josh. Cali. McKallister. Oakland. Quincy. Camden. Murphy.

The Blank Mind

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I have tried to write this post for exactly one week. Most of the time I just sit here. Other times I try to look up words that may describe how I have been feeling... but there aren't words. I may make one up.
Saturday morning I woke up on the other end of the phone. This time the phone call wasn't about me, but I wish it was because no one should ever have to lose a baby. The call I got was about a neighbor I grew up across the street from, Sonja. She was due with her fifth baby on the 9th of this month and last Saturday they were unable to locate the heartbeat of her sweet son Daniel. I went and saw her in the hospital, I visited her later in the week, I attended the funeral. 
I needed her to know that she wasn't alone, I wanted to help. I wanted to hold her kids. I therapeutically shopped for anything that may comfort her. My Mom held me up- literally- as I watched Sonja's heart break and mine all over again. I don't sleep at nights. It's all back. The memories, feelings, hurt in my chest. Not that it ever went away...but it's just back in the front of my heart.
Sonja's family is amazing. Her Sister is battling cancer, her son battled cancer, had his leg amputated and that boy still smiles and runs! Everytime I see him, I fall in love with my life. Her other kids are so sweet. They are kind and they have gone through things no one should have to. Her daughter is weeks younger than Mac and Sonja let me hold her in the hospital when she was born. Something that I will never forget and touched me more than she knew.
She is stronger than me. She spoke at Daniel's funeral, she has already blogged about what happened. This week has been full of emotions. But this I know. Everything that happens to us, good or bad, is a part of us. But it doesn't get to define who we are, we get to decide that.

My Sister-in-law came over the other night for a homework assignment but what she did for me, again, I don't know how to express. She let me talk, about my feelings, about all the repercussions, about Oakland. I'm not good at thanking people in person because I get choked up and stumble over words.

 I remember my parents, Josh and Oakland- at most every visit they came to in the hospital, after the first few days. Other visits are scattered but a memory I have a lot of is of this Sister and Brother-in-law. I don't remember details but I remember them there. My first major outing, they were there helping with Oakland and I. She texts me all the time to check in on me, and always follows up with how I'm doing- always at the right time. She does this with everyone in the family- she's great and I love her.
Josh and I are getting close to having our names published on lds family services site for adoption! So if you know anyone that is expecting, I would love to meet them.

On one last note. I attended my last scheduled doctors appointment on Monday. I have had one at least every week for the last 5 months. I'm off Coumadin, my blood thinner. They'll be running tests to see if I have any other clotting disorders to determine if I have to be on thinner the rest of my life. So... I have to wear a compression sock. :) I have chronic pain in my right leg and headaches because of the lacking blood flow. But I am here, alive, and enjoying every moment with Oakland and Josh. I am deciding how the good and bad will define me.

Original post by Me

Live all the days of your life...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tim McGraw sings a song... "Live like you were dying". I'm sure most of you have heard it, I heard it plenty before my accident. But today, it made me cry. Hard enough that I had to turn the radio off in order to drive. The situations in my life have taught me to love life no matter what the circumstances. And not only love life, but actually live all the days of your life. This song is me. I'm not living like I'm dying, but I'm living like I got that second chance. It made me realize all the things in life I wanted. Don't wait!

Be a better friend, a better son, a better worker, a better Mom. Quit your job if you hate it, go back to school if you want to. Be happy with your life and have no regrets. Do the next right thing, help a neighbor, think about someone else every day before you think of yourself. Write thank you or love notes, be spontaneous, kiss, create memories that you would be sad if you didn't have. Turn off your phone while talking to your kids, actually play with them.

My sister will love me for quoting Dumbledore so... he tells Harry, "It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices." It doesn't matter what has happened to you, it matters what you do with what has happened to you. Live your life like you got a second chance. Trust me, there is no other way to live...

Original post by Me

Banner vs. The Hulk

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sometimes I can't write. The emotions I feel are too strong to share and I'm pretty sure I've shed more tears in the past 5 years than I have in all my life. Today is one of the "dates" I'll remember for the rest of my life. I would have been induced two weeks early with Quincy. Today. I told myself I wouldn't think about it and it wouldn't hurt but it does. My heart hurts... This month will be hard, Quincy's due date, pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, General Conference. That's when I'm glad for my 'seen and unsean rescuers'. Family, friends, acquantinces, books, talks, all of it has a huge impact on my life right now.
I consider myself the Hulk. (Yes, I will quote him later and yes, Oakland is in love with him). In the Avengers Banner talks about how he has control over his anger, his... transformation? Anyways, later on he says, "That's my secret Captain... I'm always angry". On days like this I feel my secret to not bawl my eyes out every second of the day is just that... I'm always on the verge of tears, I'm always sad. I've learned to contain it, hide it, but it's normally always there weighing on my mind. Right after Dr. Banner says that, he transforms into the hulk- it's a super awesome part! Well, you just watch out because on my "days" I can transform from Dr. Banner to the "crying, sobbing, hysterical Hulk" within a matter of seconds. So how do I make myself feel better?
With this sweet thang! See original post for pictures.
Marjorie Pay Hinckley said, "Everything you are learning now is preparing you for something else". I keep this quote on a journal that I carry everywhere with me. I know it to be true. I think the Lord has put different trials in my life to help me with those that seem larger than I can handle. I hope to be able to look forward with hope, rather than look backward with despair as Elder Bowen reminded me in Conference.
“The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again.” -Joseph Smith

11 week update

Friday, August 31, 2012

I realize that I have not done a very great job at updating on how life has been the past few weeks. Mostly because I have been enjoying every possible minute I can with Oakland! But here is a rundown of everything;

Oakland- Is still my little guardian. She makes sure I don't work too hard. Every morning Josh reminds her that she needs to take care of me and she does an exceptional job. She has taken over my jobs of doing the dishes and vacuuming and does quite well for a two year old! Her stutter is going away, she only does when she is overwhelmed (meeting someone new or around a lot of people), she still asks a lot of questions. Most of them are really hard for me to answer. Partially because she is two and I don't know what detail to go in to, other times because I don't know the answer for myself yet. She LOVES to tell people about the two brothers she has in heaven and we are working on explaining adoption to her. She went back to my Mom's this past week so that I could return to work and has ended up sleeping in my bed every night since then because neither of us want to part when I get home. :)

Josh- Honestly, I can never read this guy. :) He is just strong for me. I realize that he is in my life to keep me going. He's so positive and has such a great outlook on life. He's still working hard at Alder Construction and loves every minute of it. I think we are both just really glad to have each other at this point!

Me- Physically; I'm almost back to normal! I sneezed the other day and it didn't even hurt my stomach. :) I walked away with a few scars, but I kinda like em. They remind me of how lucky I am. I have the one on my stomach from the hysterectomy, one on my neck and leg from when they put in and took up the ivc filter, my arms are covered from various IV's, and I have a big one on my neck from the pick line. My heart, brain, other organs are undamaged as far as we can tell. I have had some trouble with short term memory loss so I write stuff down a lot. We are still working out my blood clots, I get my levels tested once a week to evaluate the blood thinner I am on. I'm hoping to only be on that for 3 more months and then we can run some more tests to determine if it will be a life long thing for me.

Emotionally; Let's just say it depends on the day, no hour, ok minute. Some nights it takes me a really long time to get to sleep so I only end up with a few hours before Oakland wakes up for the morning. Other times I have nightmares through the night but I can't recall them once I'm awake. And then there are the days when I am just so exhausted that I sleep like a champ. I've always been really great at crying so that happens frequently. Oakland stopped asking me what was wrong and instead just holds my hand or lets me cry to her. But then there are my happy moments. Happy to be alive, happy to have friends/family that I do, happy about who Oakland is, just really happy with my life!

Other; I went back to work this past week, only on a part time basis. I miss Oakland SO much while I'm gone. We thought it would be good to save some money for... Adoption! We are hoping to be assigned a case worker really soon and then the process will begin. I'm really excited. A lot of people have asked if it's too early, but I am not trying to replace Quincy. Of course, I want a baby. I want Oakland to have siblings to play with, I want our family to grow and I want a ton of kids! Josh and I both feel really good about the timing, and everything has gone smoothly so far, so we are hopeful. So... If anyone knows an expecting Mommy out there, I would love to meet her. :) I know that is a huge sacrifice and when I think of birth parents, I cry every time. Having nephews that were adopted and meeting their birth Moms is such a humbling experience for me. They are the most selfless ladies I have ever met and I have such a great love and respect for them.

I'm so grateful and overly satisfied with life right now. The next post will be all pictures so that everyone doesn't just get tired of my blabbing and can see how stinking cute Oakland is!

Original post by Me

Get To

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A man by the name of Frank lives by two simple words. These words have been my past month and a half, even though I didn't realize it until I heard them. I know when you experience life changing moments, you live differently for a time. I hope I can always live my life around these two words as it has made me happier than I could realize- even being hospitalized, bed ridden, sore, sad, hurt, and scared.

Get to.

They remind us to be grateful for everything. "Instead of saying, 'I have to go to work today', Frank tells himself, 'I get to go to work'. Instead of saying, 'I have to get groceries,' he gets to. Instead of saying, 'I have to take the kids to baseball practice,' he gets to. It works for everything". I have done this most with small tasks that are harder for me than I think they should be. I get to. And aside from the smaller things- I get to watch Oak grow up. I get to be a mom and all that comes with it, cleaning, cooking, laundry, taking the kids to practice, shopping for them. I get to teach Oakland how to pray, serve, love. I get to have two perfect little boys...I get to adopt.

Every day I'm getting stronger. I don't sleep as much, I get to help Oakland with a few things throughout the day and even have done some laundry by myself. I know they seem so small but to me they are huge steps. Josh and I have "story time" each night because I am so curious about everything. When did people arrive at our house- police chief, paramedics, air med, our Bishop, his wife who took Oakland for us- what was Oakland's reaction, who did he call first after 911, how he made the decisions he did, who spent the most time with him at the hospital, was he scared... The more I learn, the more I realize how close I was to not coming back. A lot of people know more about the situation than I do, I simply don't remember. From being sedated, maybe. Maybe from being protected as most things you would not want to remember. My body went through a lot.

I got a miracle. And I'm not wasting a minute of it.

Original post by Me

My Life... Forever Changed

Friday, July 6, 2012

Josh turned to me the other day on the ride home from one of my hospital visits and just started laughing! I asked him what was so funny and he said, "You are not even supposed to be alive right now and here you are, holding my hand..."

I don't quite know how to put in to words what has been going on the last month. I feel a whole bunch of emotions that I don't know how to place, I'm still focused on my physical health, I'm worried about everyone around me, and I still don't have a great memory of the events that happened. I remember Saturday night at the lake with my family and then dinner that night with Josh and Oakland, after that I couldn't say what happened until around Thursday. And even then, it's foggy. Everyone says that is a good thing- that I don't remember- but it's frustrating. I have a hard time watching my family re-live it. I wish I could take those memories away from them.

I watch Josh talk about everything and wonder how I got so lucky as to have him and the respect I feel for him. He literally saved my life and then was there with me during every hard moment I had to face from there on out. My parents dropped everything they had going on to be with me at the hospital, to make sure I wasn't scared, to talk to me, to help me. I think of family that watched Oakland, checked in on Josh and I. Neighbors that made meals, everyone that helped out with the yard sale, cards we received, flowers, things to cheer me up and make my hospital stay so much better. Prayers, fasting, blessings, service... all I can do is cry. Out of thankfulness, out of loving admiration, how I will always cherish those people.

My past few weeks have been filled with words like; amniotic embolism, cardiac arrest, flat line, blood clots, loss, transfusions, surgeries, IV's, cat scans, x-rays, ultrasounds, ICU, oxygen, medication, blood work, healing, scared, seizures, unstable, needles, life flight, nurses, doctors, emergency, physical therapy, bruises, and hurt.

They have now turned in to; miracles, blessing, prayers, love, affection, unforgettable, appreciation, fondness, respect, friendship, tenderness, family, memories, caring, help, support, cherish, adore, eternity, consideration, unselfishness, service, trust, the spirit, sacrifice, and commitment.

I still have such a long way to go, both physical recovery and emotionally. I miss Quincy, Mac, not being able to have anymore children. I want them both so bad. I want to have a baby to hold and love. I'm scared of what the future will bring. But then I think of all my friends and family and know I can do it. If Josh and Oakland can be as strong as they have been through all of this, I can pull through. I'm not saying it won't be tough. But I have the greatest little family. I'm so in love with Josh. I think the world of Oakland. I'm crazy about my two little boys. So... somehow I know we'll get through. While Josh was in awe over me being alive, able to hold his hand- I'm just grateful that I have the privilege to live another day, watch Oakland grow up, be able to kiss Josh anytime I want. My outlook on life has forever been changed. I hope I can make it for the good.

Original post by Me

...and again...and one more time!!!

Cali must really like the emergency room because she's been back, again!  This time for bleeding issues.  She has had this trouble on and off throughout her long hospital stay and started bleeding again the day after getting home from the hospital with the blood clot.  The next day she started passing clots, some as big as my thumb.  By the next day the clots were so big you could hear them splash in the toilet (sorry for the graphic details, but they were huge!!)  so off to the ER again she went.  They found a hole / tear in her vaginal wall that at first they talked about cauterizing closed, but then after getting some more opinions they decided to let it heal itself.  So 6 hours later she was home. 

It's a good thing, too because the 4th of July is my kids' favorite holiday!  Yeah... even before Christmas.  We do the same thing year after year, and if I try to change it up I get an earful.  We relax throughout the day, then have a BBQ for dinner and I'm expected to make a potato salad.  Then off to JHS to watch the city's fireworks where we meet up with the neighbors and more extended family.  Then we come back home, do our own fireworks in the street while eating homemade ice cream.  That's it.  But the relaxing day, the family, the fun and tradition have made this day special for all of my kids. 

But not before we had to get Cali to Instacare!  She woke up with a really bad lower back pain.  Sure enough, she has a urinary tract infection!  Pop her some pills, give her a heating pad and prop her up in the jeep to watch the fireworks and she was good to go.  It made her really tired but since then she's doing a bit better everyday!!

When Cali went to the ER for bleeding, the gentleman that came in to start an IV looked her up and down and said, "You look like you've been in a battle!"  It took 4 pokes before he finally was able to get a line in.  He left, but came back in a minute later.  "I know who you are!  You're Jo Nolast!  I sat with you during your CT scan the first time you came in.  Do you mind if we talk about it?"  He then told her how he had been eating lunch on that Sunday when the charge nurse came in telling everyone they had a trauma coming.  He said he really gets excited for traumas because it gets his adrenaline going and helps the time fly.  The charge nurse knows this and said, "Don't get excited this time.  This is a 24 year old pregnant woman that is 20 weeks pregnant and isn't going to make it."  "And now here I am sitting here talking to you!!!"  She truly has baffled the medical world, and we are so grateful.

We had all our kids with us, a few extra dogs, good food and our 4th of July was awesome!

Original post by Natalie

Oops! She did it again!!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Cali ended up in the hospital again!!  Thank goodness it was only for 24 hours, but it was still very scary!  She may be smiling in this picture, but she was hurting and VERY scared!

Cali was pulling her hair up to go to get her INR levels tested (how thick or thin her blood is) and came in to me and asked, "Is it weird that when I move my arm or breathe in real deep it hurts right here?"  She was rubbing the left side of her neck and when she moved her hand I noticed the swelling.  So, back to the ER!  The cool / interesting / funny thing about this trip was she ended up in the same trauma room with the same ER staff from her first time when she was life flighted.  None of the staff realized it at first, since they were just making sure she was stable and safe, and she looked completely different from the first time.  Once the commotion settled down, someone put 2 and 2 together and then all of a sudden Cali was famous!  They all came in to touch her, talk to her, cry with her, tell her how much they worried about her.  Some just stood at the end of her bed and shook their heads in disbelief that she had survived.  I guess in the ER the staff has to sign a paper saying they won't seek out any of the patients once they leave the ER so the staff had assumed that with as bad as Cali was when she left them, that she had passed away since they couldn't check to find out.  They were all very much in awe to see her not only alive, but looking so good.  One of the docs that worked with Cali in one of the ICU's was in the ER and her nurse asked her if she remembered Cali.  I happened to walk by just then, and when the doc said, "That name sounds familiar...?" I touched her shoulder and said, "Jo Nolast."  She got all excited, so glad she would get to see her again!

I took these pictures when Cali was getting a CT scan. As you can see there are a lot of machines and equipment and from what they tell us they used every bit of it with a whole bunch of people trying to figure out what was wrong with Cali. (We got a little taste of it; while we were there another trauma came in and we were only separated by a curtain.  It obviously wasn't as severe as Cali's was but it was still pretty organized chaos.)

Cali ended up having a few blood clots, the biggest one being behind her collarbone.  Again she was the talk of the ER because she was stumping the doctors.  Two days before this her INR levels were perfect (2.5) and this day they were 1.3; very thick so she was clotting even when they put the IV in her arm.  And her platelets were at 1100 - a far cry from the 400 when she left the hospital a week ago.  Not sure why her levels changed so drastically so quickly, but they are running tests for some different autoimmune diseases to see if she has any of them.  The doctors who didn't know what Cali had been through recently were all ready to send her home because the clot is in a safe place (for a clot) and they knew they could manage it with meds at home.  But the trauma docs once again went up to bat for us and insisted that if they didn't admit her, they would just put her in an ER observation room overnight so all of us - including them - would feel better about things.  So Cali and I spent the night up on the 4th floor.  She was released this afternoon - after a 24 hour stint in the hospital and is very grateful to be home... again!!
Original post by Natalie

Happy 4th Birthday McKallister!

The day was a rough one for Cali (and probably Josh, but he had work to take his mind a bit away from reality).  We first took Oak to a friend's party out by their house.  It's amazing how just driving in the car can wipe Cali out, so when we got home at lunch time she slept the rest of the afternoon away!  But her honey Josh had planned a birthday party for Mac; he had invited family and friends on the down-low to meet at Mac's park at 8 pm. 
 So when Cali and Josh pulled up...

...this is what she saw!...


There was a very bitter-sweet singing of Happy Birthday...
...then the releasing of balloons so McKallister and Quincy had something to play with in heaven. 

and with a beautiful sunset to end the day...

...we got to be reminded again of our angel baby on his special day, and now he has his little brother with him forever!!

Original post by Natalie

Yard Sale

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I apologize for the delay in posting about the yard sale as I know many have been anxious to hear about it. All I can say is that it was a very humbling event. The yard sale was packed with people all day long who were so generous with their payments and donations. Through the payments and donations received at the yard sale and through the donation funds, we've been able to reach our goal of raising enough money to cover Josh & Cali's medical expenses and we couldn't be more grateful. Many people from Josh & Cali's ward came to help throughout the day and what makes it so amazing is that they weren't even asked. They just showed up because of the love they have for Josh & Cali and because they wanted to do whatever they could to help. The yard sale was only meant to run until noon but because the crowds kept coming and coming, it remained open several hours longer. As a family we want to thank each and every one of you for your very generous donations and support. I know the amount raised for Josh and Cali will mean so much to them and we can't wait to present it to them.

UPDATE ON CALI: Cali was rushed to the ER again today because she was having a hard time swallowing and had a severe pain in her neck. It turned out to be a blood clot under her collar bone. She will be spending another night in the hospital and should be able to return home tomorrow. We ask for your continued prayers for Cali's physical recovery as well as Josh & Cali's emotional/mental recovery. This experience has really taken a toll on each of them, as you can imagine, and I know your continued prayers will help so much. To continue to follow Cali's recovery, you can visit Cali's mom's blog here:


Friday, June 22, 2012

Cali is out of the hospital...wahoo! She headed home last night and couldn't have been more excited. Josh & Cali will be staying with her parents until she's a little further along in her recovery so she has someone to help her with things during the day while Josh is at work. Again, we cannot thank you enough for your faith, prayers and support on Cali & Josh's behalf. It has been incredible!

Original post by Erin

The good...

Cali is home!!!  She got home late Thursday night.  (They came to our house so Cali had someone to help her while Josh was at work) It took so long to check her out of the hospital because she had so many doctors and nurses that had to come give her a hug and say good-bye.  She made a big impression on a lot of people.  There were a many people who felt the spirit while with Josh and Cali, but some of them didn't know that's what they were feeling. They just knew they felt good when they were with them.

Oak didn't want to let her mommy out of her site.  This is a picture of her playing with a toy and singing a song right next to Cali, but as you can see the meds had kicked in and Cali really could have cared less.  But the important part is they were together.
Tomorrow is the big yard sale that the Hinckley family has put together and we have 1/2 of a garage FULL of items for the sale.  So many people have been amazingly generous; even people that don't know us, the Hinckley's or Cali and Josh.  A young woman in our stake made these tutu's for the sale.  They didn't make it to the garage!  The girls wore them all morning!!
Original post by Natalie

More updates

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cali looks and feels like she has been beaten!  These pictures don't do her bruises justice.  The one on her upper arm is just from the blood pressure cuff. 

Here's another comic relief story;  this sweet woman is Margaret.  She is the surgical ICU's social worker and is the one who helped us get the hand and feet casts of Quincy.  But she also was the butt of a joke between all of us.  She is about 8 feet tall (as you can tell from the picture of her walking away from me) and walks kind of like a vulture, very hunched over.  She dresses VERY elegantly.  When Cali was still coming in and out of consciousness, she made this very scared face and asked, "Do I know that creepy stalker woman?"  She was referring to Margaret, who kept peeking in the windows to her room to see if some papers she had given Josh had been signed.  But all Cali saw was this fancily dressed, extremely tall vulture peeking in on her.  Josh called her the Grand High Witch.  We saw her again after Cali had been moved to the Women's Center with her dog which is a therapy dog.  Guess what?  The dog looks just like her!!!

Here's a pic of Al and George hanging out at the hospital for a few hours.  Alex playing the ipad and George zonked out.  We all can't seem to catch up on our sleep.  I'm sure it's as much emotional as it is physical.

Here are Oak and Mo playing doctor on one of Oak's stuffed animals.  Oak was telling Mo everything to do; "Now you hold his head and I will cut his tummy.  He will be fine, but you need to hold him still."  It was pretty cute.  Oak is handling things as well as could be expected after waking up from a nap and having her dad doing CPR on her mom and then a bunch of strangers coming into their home and then mom and dad gone for a few days and having to stay at everyone else's house.  She is very clingy to Josh, and it takes her a few minutes to warm up to Cali each time they go to the hospital.  But all in all I would say she is doing well.

The latest on Cali;  no fever for 24 + hours.  Bleeding has slowed way down.  She is up and about mostly by herself now, even though her dad and I want to still help her.  She is still only on a liquid diet mostly because her bowels aren't working yet like they should.  The plan for right now is to take out the umbrella (filter) on Thursday (if things continue to improve) and then home on Friday.  A lot of IFs have to happen between now and then, but we already have seen such an improvement in this week that I think we can be fairly realistic with hoping for it.  

The reason for the fever and bleeding is because she had a small clot in an ovarian vein.  It's not an infection, but her body was reacting like it was.  They did put her on an antibiotic just to cover their bases, but her body really just needed time to heal itself.  When you consider all that she's been through - cardiac arrest, multiple times she stopped breathing, 2 major surgeries in the belly area in a few hour time period and a blood loss of about 21 liters, plus the loss of a child - she's healing quite well.  We all know it's because of the power of prayer.  Please continue to pray for her mental and spiritual strength as well as her physical.  We worry about how this will all effect her when she has time to actually think about it.  But she is strong, and miracles happen! 

Original post by Natalie
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