Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, we sure did. about 2 weeks ago Tris lost her 2nd tooth, so all she wanted for Christmas was her "Two Front Teeth" :) It's so cute!! She loved opening her presents & opening Maddys for her, what a good big sister. This year she is into Thomas the Train & My Little Ponies. Maddy enjoyed playing with the bows & wrapping paper as you can see in the picture.
May God bless everyone with a happy & healthy new year to come.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


2 ambulance rides - $1,500 each; 3-4 EKG's - $2,150 each; 1 talented surgeon - $25,000; Total for a 12 day stay in the hospital NICU, PICU & IICU units - about $225,000; 1 smile from Maddy - PRICELESS.

I received a detailed summary of the past year from our insurance company and all I can say is that I'm thankful for insurance, they paid a large portion of this.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The worst birthday present

Happy 7 mo Birthday Maddy! Here is your present: Ear infection with a perforated eardrum, sinus infection, nasty wet cough, and to top if off a red, raw, sore throat.

Maddy & Tris both had colds about two weeks ago, and besides a cough that lingered for Maddy both recovered, or so I though. They both had a scheduled apt for a flu shot this morning, so when we got there I asked the Doc to give Maddy a once over because of her cough. The Doc says she has probably been fighting this since her cold two weeks ago. The little sinker NEVER complained, never had a fever, was not overly cranky, ate perfectly fine, and slept fine, she was even smiling & giggling as the doc was examining her. How am I supposed to know something is wrong unless you tell me, you little stinker! Talk about a tough girl! I enjoy having an easy going baby, but this is a little crazy. If I had all those things I'd be crying!!!

Well anyway, Tristyn got her flu shot, Maddy will have to wait about 3 weeks to get hers. We got Maddy started on an antibiotic, which she will have to be on for 10 days. Looks like the start of another great cold season!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Tristyn lost her 1st baby tooth today. The bottom front tooth. She's only 4 1/2, but I have heard that if they cut teeth early, they loose them early too, and Tristyn cut her teeth at 3 mo old. Maddy did too, so she will probably loose her baby teeth early also. I'm excited that Tris is growing up, but I'm also sad, I remember when that first little tooth poked through! I am glad she didn't loose it at school or daycare or swallow it. I have it in a little glass jar with a label & it will stay with her other keepsakes. The tooth next to it is also loose, so I bet that one will come out in the next week or two. Tris was so excited when the toothfairy came, she got a dollar to put in her piggy bank and some candy Dots.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm Thankful For . . .

Jesus Christ - my savior - dying on the cross for me!

My loving Husband, Tony, who has put up with all my quirks for over 8 years now!

My sweet daughters, who are both blessings!

My family & friends

My furry companions

Smart & skilled doctors & surgeons.

The sun, the snow, the rain, warm weather & cold weather

What are you thankful for?


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lighten Up & Laugh!!!

I heard this story on the radio this morning, it's so hilarious, I just had to share.

A woman let her dog outside to use the restroom. She checked on him a few minutes later and to her dismay he was playing with a rabbit. Upon further inspection she realized it was her neighbors rabbit and it was very DEAD! She and her neighbor have not always gotten along the best and she knew her neighbor would be furious, so she devised a plan!

She put the dead rabbit in the bath tub, cleaned him up, blow dried his hair, and gave him a thorough brushing. This rabbit looked GOOD! Then, before her neighbor came home, she propped him up in his cage in the back yard.

A few hours later the neighbor came home. She heard her neighbor start screaming and ran out of the house pretending to be surprised “What’s wrong!” She was sobbing and the color had drained from her face. “My rabbit died . . . . 2 WEEKS AGO . . . . we buried him, and now. . . . HE’S BACK!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Simple" TGA ???

I never knew there were several kinds of TGA. I had never even heard of TGA until 6 1/2 months ago when Maddy was born. There is "Simple" TGA, "Complex" TGA and "Congenitally Corrected" TGA. Who knows, there maybe more kinds that I am not aware of.

Maddy was born with "Simple" TGA, meaning TGA was the only heart defect. Although it may seem illogical, babies born with "Complex" TGA have a better chance of survival. This is because with they have other defects such as a ASD, VSD (holes in the heart) which allow for mixing of the blood. Maddy did not have this advantage, she had no mixing of the blood and her PDA was very small. Therefore she needed an emergency stent (hole) put in her heart, just to survive long enough to have the surgery to correct her TGA. She was about 10 hrs old when she had the stent put in, by this time she had already coded twice and we almost lost her. Luckily they didn't inform us of this until she was stabilized, or we would have been basket cases (like we weren't already)!

Most of the info on TGA I have learned after the fact, by talking to her doctors and reading online, it's been 6 months now and I am still learning about TGA, and I think the doctors are too. They still can't say what the long term affects will be, the procedure she had is still relatively new, it was 1st performed in1975, so the first patients are only hitting there late twenties - early thirties

I am not complaining though, we have come along way. Up until the 1950's most parents were simply told that nothing could be done & to take their infant home and let nature take it's course. The 1st successful surgery was performed in 1958, but through the 1960's the mortality rate was very high simply because of lack of technology. I am so happy to live in this day and age, because now the doctors can tell me she has a 90% chance of reaching age 30 & that's as far as they can predict. I Pray that this age just keeps increasing with Gods Blessing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cover Girls & Kittens - Oh My!

I am so excited. I work in an office that publishes a local weekly buyers guide. Quarterly we puslish a coupon book. The last to coupon book covers have featured some of my co-workers grand babies, well this time it's Tristyn's & Maddy's turn. The cover is so cute, our production department does an excellent job! The book has a distribution of about 32,000 houses & businesses, so this will be their 15 minutes of fame. I'd post a picture of the cover, but it's copy righted & I don't want to get in trouble. Here is the original picture before they did their magic of editing to it. They enhanced the color, zoomed in, and added some wording.

Lucky, came home this weekend. Our older cats, Jasper & Spunky were not too happy, but they are warming up. He is such a cutie & very playful. He has made a great recovery, he has a slight limp in his back hip, but that's all. Here is a pic.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Teacher conference time! Yah!

We get to meet with Tristyn's teacher tomorrow. I am looking forward to discussing some praises & some concerns. The praises include: her becoming more independent, like feeding and dressing her self. She is also becoming a very good big sister. The concerns: she almost 4.5 and no where near potty trained. Although her speech has improved greatly she still struggles with comprehension. I want to talk with her teacher on how to improve this. I long for the day when I can have a conversation with her & find out thoughts and feelings. I want to ask her what she did in school and get a different answer than "played with the kids" or "sang a song" which are the answers I get everyday. Don't get me wrong I love those answers, and last year at this time her answer would have been yes or no. But I am looking forward to something more. And I know it is so frustrating for her when she can't communicate things to us. I was looking back at Tristyns baby book and comparing her milestones to Maddy's. I am relieved that Maddy is hitting her milestones 3-5 months ahead of when Tris hit them, its nice to know we have one less thing to worry about.

Ok done venting, I know the comprehension will come, its just everything comes slower for her.
It is hard on a parent when their 10 mo. old can't sit yet, 19 mo. old doesn't walk yet, their 2-3 year old only has a vocabulary of 10-15 words, and their 4.5 yr won't use the potty. I love both my girls just the way there are and I wouldn't change them for the world, but I just wish things would come easier for Tristyn.

Katie's at peace now

Sadly Katie passed away Sunday evening. Our Lord took her home and she is at peace now. I Pray for peace and comfort for her loving family. Please go to her blog and offer her family some support.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Please pray for Katie

She is having a very rough time after surgery. According to the last update she is really struggling and fighting for life. Click here to go to her family blog.

Lucky gets to come home

Lucky is doing great! Right now they are deworming him, getting rid of ear mites and just shining him up a little bit :) Looks like he'll be ready to come home sometime next week.

Monday, November 3, 2008

6 Month Doctors Appointment

Maddy had her 6 mo Doc appointment today with her Pediatrician. She now weighs 13 lbs, 14 oz, and is 26.5 inches long. Her doc. is not happy with Maddys weight gain, she only gained 14 oz. in 2 months and dropped from the 25th percentile to the 10th. She also noted that her heart murmur has gotten slightly louder. Maddy will always have a murmur because even though her heart is "fixed" its still not quite anatomically correct and therefore there is some turbulance in her blood flow. (In a normal heart the aorta straddles the pulmonary artery. In her heart in the pulmonary artery is in front of the aorta). The Doc is not real concerned, but please pray that this is not a sign of a more serious problem such as narrowing of the arteries, leaky valve, or a leak at the switch correction sites.

On a good note Maddy is hitting all of her milestones on time and some of them ahead of schedule. She is a very alert and happy baby, with good muscle tone, and she doesn't seem to get tired easily. She really likes baby food, we have progressed from just rice cereal, to oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and applesauce.

Monday, October 27, 2008

May 1st 2008 - Mayday

A few days ago I was watching the video tape of Maddy birthday. My mind was kind of fuzzy right after she was born and I didn't know exactly what happened in the minutes after birth until I watched the video. The video starts right after she was born. She is laying on my chest and the nurses are rubbing her vigorously trying to get her to cry. After about a minute they take her over to the incubator and are working on her. I hear little tiny cries coming from her, and one of the nurses repeating "come on baby, breath! Stay with us baby! Come on! Come on!" When Tony goes over to get a picture of her the nurse sternly says "You will need to stop taking pictures NOW" the video goes instantly blank. I felt my own heart skip a few beats while watching this. I though to myself that it was like watching a sad movie because that is how the nurses talk in the movies when a baby is in trouble. Thankfully I know this movie has a happy ending!

The video picks up again the next day at Childrens hospital in the NICU. We did alot of taping in the hospital, I wanted to have a good record of everything so Maddy would know her birth story, and with everything happening so fast I didn't trust my memory. We have done alot of video and pictures since we got home, every first has been recorded, just as it was for Tristyn when she was born.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Visiting Lucky

We were able to go & see Lucky today. He is walking a little better, there might be some nerve damage to his back end. His tummy is still bloated on one side, but they don't think it's internal bleeding because he wouldn't have survived this long. They said he has been eating & drinking just fine. He will see the vet again next week to rule out worms in his tummy. We were able to hold him for almost a half hour & he loved all the attention. Tristyn loved petting him, she was so gentle. We pray that he keeps improving so he can come home with us. Even if he ends up with a bum leg or hip, we'll love him anyway.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Lucky" Update

The humane society doesn't open until noon, in the mornings they take care of all the animal needs. So I called them as soon as they opened. Lucky survived the night! He had an x-ray and there are no broken bones, but his rear legs are still very weak, and his stomach is bloated which may be from worms, malnourishment or internal injuries. I will keep checking up on him.

Poor Kitten

My husband brought home a surprise last night. On his was home he noticed a kitten sitting in the ditch. He stopped the car, this poor little kitten had obviously been hit by a car. So, he gently scooped him up and brought him home. If he had left him, he would have certainly died, the nights have been getting colder, in the low 30's, and we've gotten some thick frost. He's cute little orange and white kitten about 3-4 months old. First thing we did was get him some food and water, boy was he hungry, I filled the food bowl 3 times. Then we warmed him up, all he wanted to do was snuggle! He has a good gash on the side of his face, and he's having a hard time walking, his back legs keep giving out, as far as internal injuries, we don't know. He used the litter box right after eating and there was blood in the urine. We can't afford emergency vet bills right now, so we got a hold of the humane society and they sent someone out to get him. 1st they had to get permission from the chairman of our township, stupid red tape! So they didn't get here until around 11pm. The girl who picked him up was very nice and I know they will take good care of him. She made it clear that if his internal injuries were bad they would have to put him to sleep. We told her that if he pulls through we would like to adopt him, she said she would keep us posted. If your an animal lover please pray for little "Lucky" that's what we named him. We have 2 female cats now, and would love to add to the family. Besides, right now Tony is the only male in a house with 5 females (Me, Maddy, Tris, 2 cats: Jasper & Spunky) So I think he would love to finally have a boy in the house. :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pumpkin Patch Trip

Tristyn got to go to the Pumpkin Patch yesterday with her pre-k class. She was very excited. The place is really cool! It has a large pumpkin patch, a large corn maze that takes about an hour to go through, a small kiddie corn maze, and goats that the kids can feed & pet. Closer to Halloween they have a haunted maze. This place is only 2.5 miles down the road from our house, I pass it everyday on my way to work and it's always busy this time of year. Tris got to pick out her own pumpkin to bring home, and we are going to carve it this weekend.

Maddy has been eating infant cereal for about 2 weeks now. The fist couple times she only ate a few bites and was like "what is this goofy stuff" Well, last night she decided that she loves the stuff. I couldn't shovel it in fast enough. By the time I reloaded the spoon she had her mouth open waiting. :) She's learned how to blow bubbles now, and she tried to do it a few times with her mouth full. So, instead of blowing cute bubbles, she blew cereal all over mommy. Oh well, it was so cute that it was worth it!!

Monday, October 13, 2008


For all who see her
faded line,

I look to them and smile.

You see, my child is
loved so much,
I would face ANY trial.

That scar I trace with
my finger,
It's the door to her

beautiful HEART!

God must have known how
much we'd love her,
Just as He loved her from
the start!

Do you have a favorite poem? Please share!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

More Photos

Just wanted to share a few favorite photos of my girls:

Here is Tris feeding her baby - just like Mommy feeds Maddy.

Here is Maddy - deep in thought? 8 weeks old

Sisters forever!!

Look how nice my boo-boo is healing - 16 weeks old

Yep - that hair is RED

Monday, October 6, 2008

All about Madilyn

Madilyn Ann Carpenter was born at 10:40pm on Thursday, May 1st, 2008. Within a few minutes we knew something was wrong. She was very blue and her breathing & cries were very shallow. I remember the nurse asking my husband to stop taking pictures. I watched the nurses working on her, and over heard one say “Come on baby, stay with us”, it was like watching a bad movie. She was taken to the nursery to have a bunch of tests and we were given the preliminary diagnosis of a congenital heart defect. She would need further tests to find out the extent of her heart defect. At this point we were very scared and all we could do was pray. I had an ultrasound around the 20th week of pregnancy and was told everything looked fine, so all of this came as a sudden shock to us.

Maddy was taken by the Spirit of Marshfield ambulance to St. Joseph’s in Marshfield, she arrived here around 4:00am. Tony left and met Maddy in Marshfield, I wasn’t able to leave the hospital yet, so I had wait. Before she left, the nurses gave us some Polaroid pictures they had taken. I later learned that these are called “just in-case pictures”. In Marshfield she saw Dr. Dyke, he did several tests, ultrasound, echo, etc. and she was officially diagnosed with Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA).

In a normal heart, oxygen-depleted "blue" blood is pumped from the right side of the heart, through the pulmonary artery, to the lungs where it is oxygenated. The oxygen-rich "red" blood then returns to the left heart, via the pulmonary veins, and is pumped through the aorta to the rest of the body. With TGA, blue blood from the right heart is pumped immediately through the aorta and circulated to the body and the heart itself, bypassing the lungs altogether, while the left heart pumps red blood continuously back into the lungs through the pulmonary artery. In effect, two separate circulatory systems are created. Maddy was born with "Simple" TGA, meaning TGA was the only heart defect. Although it may seem illogical, babies born with "Complex" TGA have a better chance of survival. This is because with they have other defects such as a ASD, VSD (holes in the heart) which allow for mixing of the blood. Maddy did not have this advantage, she had no mixing of the blood and her PDA was very small. Therefore she needed an emergency stent (hole) put in her heart, just to survive long enough to have the surgery to correct her TGA.

A few hours later she was then taken to Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee. The doctors really wanted to air lift her there, but the weather was just too foggy. She arrived in Milwaukee around 9:30am on May 2nd. She immediately had a Balloon Atrial Septostomy, and Dr. Berger put a stent in her heart, she was about 11 hours old at this point. A stent is a man-made hole between the chambers, this allowed her blood to mix. This stabilized her and we were able to wait a few days and let her gain some strength before surgery. This is where I was finally able to catch up with her again. I was discharged from the hospital and we made the 3.5 hr. drive to Milwaukee, not very comfortable only 10 hrs after giving birth! We arrived shortly after her stent was put in. We were later told that the ambulance ride was very tough on her, she coded twice and the attendants were afraid she wasn’t going to make it. The stent made a world of difference, the next time we saw her she was nice and pink. The day after the stent was put in she had an episode of apnea, where she stopped breathing. I have never heard so many alarms and seen so many nurses come running. They determined that this was a side effect of one of the drugs she was on. To keep this from happening again she needed to be put on a CPAP machine. This stands for continuous positive airway pressure. This is a small device that fits over her nose & was held in place by a fabric, helmet like, harness.

On Monday May 5th Dr. Tweddell preformed the Arterial Switch Surgery (Jatene procedure) and put the arteries back where they should be, she was 4 days old. It was a long surgery, almost 7 hours, but she came through with flying colors. She recovered very quickly and on May 13, at 12 days old, Maddy was able to come home.

Maddy is now a happy and healthy 8 month old who just celebrated her first Thanksgiving and Christmas. She will need life long cardiac care to watch for leaky valves, narrowing arteries at the re-connection sites, and irregular heart beats, but her outlook is great thanks to the wonderful care she received. Tristyn is 4 years old & loves her little sister, the first thing she said was “Mad-o-lin is shiny and new”. Poor Tristyn was a trooper during all of this. She had no idea why she was suddenly abandoned at her grandparents house for almost 2 weeks. She was able to come & visit us once and that was wonderful, because I really missed her. Maddy and her sister Tristyn are both precious blessings from our Lord Jesus. Our family has been blessed with two beautiful daughters and we treasure each day.


Friday, October 3, 2008

All about Tristyn

The next few posts will just be a catchup on the last 4 years since Tris was born. How do you summarize 4 yrs? I'll try!

I'll start with Tristyn since she is the eldest. She was a very easy baby, and it started with a very easy labor & birth (only about 3 hours). She was always very content and slept through the night starting at 8 weeks. We became concerned about her gross motor skills when we noticed she was way behind other babies her age. She didn't roll until 5 months, sit up - 9 months, crawl 13+ months, walk 18+ months, etc. She was enrolled in the birth to 3 program and they helped her out alot. One of the problems they found was that her joints were hyper flexible. At 2 1/2 years old she was still only using simple words - mom, dad, ball. So we also started speech therapy for her. She graduated from the program at age 3 and we started her in a early education program. This was the best thing we could have done, in 1 years time from age 3-4 she has progressed so much. Last year she went three 1/2 days a week, and this year its five 1/2 days. Since we live in the country she gets to ride the school bus and she is so excited for it every morning.

When Maddy was born Tris was a little traumatized. I believe it was mostly because all of a sudden Mom & Dad disappeared for 2 weeks and she was sent to Grandmas house. Tris was able to make the 4 hr trip to Milwaukee to visit us 2 times, which was nice. It amazed me how much I missed her, and it seemed like she grew a whole lot in those few days I didn't see her. Maddy was 7 days old when Tris got to meet her. The first thing she said was "baby Maddy is shiny and new" it almost made me cry. Since bringing Maddy home Tristyn has adjusted, she is learning how to be gentle, but still needs to be reminded often. She is very good at making Maddy giggle, it is so neat to watch the two interact.

Take care & God bless!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Here are some photos of Maddy's Journey: The photos pretty much say it all.

These first 2 are the 1st pictures we have of Maddy. They were taken by the nurses and we were given polorids when she left so we would have something to hang on to,

This picture was taken after the stent was put in, you can really see the differance in her color, she is much pinker!

A few minutes after this was taken to get ready for surgery.

Here are some post surgery pictures

Tristyn meeting Maddy for the 1st time

May 12, getting ready to come home

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Let me introduce my family

My name is Jamie, my husband is Tony. We were married in June 2000.

We have two beautiful daughters: Tristyn born 7/22/04 and Madilyn born 5/1/08.

Tristyn is a sweet girl who is very into Thomas the Train! Since she was born she has had trouble with gross motor skills (sitting up, crawling & walking very late) surprisingly her fine motor skills have always been above average. She was a part of our birth-3 program, and they were very helpful. She is now in a Head Start Pre-K program, and has been since she was 3. This program is wonderful, she loves her teachers. They have discontinued her gross motor therapy and now she just receives speech therapy and is growing in leaps & bounds.

Madilyn has been a trouble maker since day 1 (but we love her anyway!!) She was born with a congenital heart defect (CHD), Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA) Iinn short, with TGA the 2 main arteries are switched, causing the body to be starved of oxygen. To learn more about TGA click here. She had surgery at Milwaukee Children's Hospital to correct this at 4 days old. During our 2 week stay there we met several wonderful families who had children going through similar & worse things than Maddy. (We are still praying for you all).

Maddy is now 5 mo old and doing wonderful. She is checked regularly for leaky valves & narrowing of the arteries, but has shown no signs of these. She's a little slow to gain weight, but her doc says that's normal.

Everything happens for a reason and we have been blessed by our Lord Jesus with 2 beautiful daughters. We give thanks everyday for our blessings.


1 in every 125 babies is born with a heart defect?
What if that one was yours?

1 in every 166 children is diagnosed with some form of Autism? Help us put the puzzle back together!