Christmas Cheer… and what to expect in the New Year

Posted by Andrew & Jessica on Wednesday Dec 28, 2011 Under Uncategorized


Christmas Came and Christmas went… it is always pretty hectic but very enjoyable seeing friends and family. We’re looking forward to ringing in the New Year! 2012 should be pretty exciting with lots of changes and so forth.

Speaking of….. ONE WEEK FROM TODAY we will be finding out the sex of the baby when we have our big ultrasound. Well, considering the baby cooperates and shows us the goods. This is exciting for us as we have never found out the sex of the baby prior to birth before… but we’ve had two surprises and are ready to do things a little differently!! After all, the fact that we even conceived on our own was surprise enough!!! 🙂

So with that said, you have a week to vote on our poll… whatcha thinking- this gonna be a girl or a boy? Are we having a Natalie Grace or a Benjamin Joseph as our last child??? Is ME getting a sister or is Drew getting a brother??? Either way we’ll be thrilled!!!

Are we having a BOY or a GIRL
GIRL free polls 

Lastly Mary Elizabeth had a follow up appointment with Dr. B who does her sclerotherapy. We all went down to the city yesterday to see him. There was some improvement from her last procedure which is good! He wants a few more MRI pictures (certain angles and views that he didnt get before). So she’ll have that done soon – no contrast or sedation needed so it should be easy for her. After that they will ask us to come down for one of the weekly conferences they do- all the big doctors in the team down in NYC meet and discuss cases. They will go over her MRI, take a look at her, decide and discuss the details of her case and make a game plan for what she needs for now/future. This is kind of exciting for us because we’ll get to sit in on that brainstorming session! We’ll keep everyone posted on what transpires and what they have to say. 🙂

Either way we’ll be back next week to see if the poll results match up with the ultrasound results!!!!!

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Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Posted by Andrew & Jessica on Thursday Nov 24, 2011 Under Uncategorized

Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends and family… and those that are reading 🙂

We always have so much to be thankful for… we are truly blessed. But this year we added just one more blessing by adding BABY RAIA #3

We announced on facebook (since we live on there) that we are pregnant with our 3rd child with these 2 photos:

That’s right- we are having a 3rd child. Things went a little differently this time, as many know we had to go through infertility treatments to conceive both Mary Elizabeth & Drew… we were just about to prepare to track things and get ready to go to the doctor in about 6 months or so…. but instead we got pregnant like right away without even really ‘trying’ – so WOW. A miracle in itself. And come to find out the exact day we conceived was the same day (just 7 years later) that we conceived Mary Elizabeth. This was definitely meant to be! Though the due date is in the beginning of June (as it was with ME) – we will be having this bundle of joy at the end of May. There were already two c-sections, so another c-section will be scheduled. We are looking at Friday, May 25th – however that could change and as we know the baby could change things too since my water broke with Drew almost 2 weeks early.  Either way it will definitely be close to ME’s birthday!
With both ME & Drew we didn’t find out the sex. But we wanted to change things up, and also prepare the bedrooms (one of them will be sharing a room) – so we will be finding out the sex. We are scheduled to find out on January 4th… as long as the baby cooperates!

In other news… Drew is now FOUR years old. Still adorable, still active but definitely growing up before our eyes. He is doing great in preschool and really maturing. But still- don’t get him going because he will never stop!! The good news is he is a great sleeper still! hahaha. And although he’s easily wound up, he does very well playing quietly by himself. He will be known to sit and play with his cars, puzzles and definitely building blocks and legos… he could do that for hours. As well as some of his new action figures in his Bat Cave that mommy & daddy got him for his birthday. He’s creative and imaginative.

Mary Elizabeth is doing well in 1st grade but boy is it an adjustment for her. She wants to know why there isn’t as much recess time hahah. But she got her 1st report card and did really well. She seems to excel in spelling, getting a 100 on every test so far (she gets a test every Friday). She does well in most of her subjects anyway but that’s her best! She’s reading more and learning things every day. She gets frustrated when her brother won’t understand the vowel rules – as she tries to teach him. Ya know every day when she comes home from school (after changing into comfy clothes) she has to play school and is always the teacher!!!

Anyway all in all things are well. Mary Elizabeth’s last surgery went well, which was her sclerotherapy procedure back in October. We go back for a follow up after Christmas… but no major complaints or anything from that surgery- seemed to be very smooth. Things are slowing down for her in that department which is nice and good since she’s got a busy life now with school and dance class etc.

Anyway – may everyone have a very Happy Thanksgiving – be blessed!!!

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School is in!!

Posted by Andrew & Jessica on Wednesday Sep 7, 2011 Under Andrew, Mary Elizabeth

Both of our kiddies started school this week. Mary Elizabeth’s 1st day of FIRST GRADE (can you believe it???) started rough because the bus never came (although we found out after we waited 45 minutes for it, it came 3-4 minutes after we left) and mommy had to drive her to school. Only a mile from the school a utility truck was on the side of the road where there was a lot of branches and debris – and we went around the truck and as we came back into the lane there was a huge rock that we proceeded to hit as we didn’t have a clear view of it ahead of time. This nice big rock dented the rim and thus – a flat tire. We spent some time on the side of the road but thankfully we had a lot of help from the people at her school. She made it to school and eventually mommy and Drew made it back home (but a little longer than we planned because the car decided to become possessed or something and wouldn’t start yet the windshield wipers wouldn’t turn off – even with the key not in the ignition). Grandpa helped us out when we got home and we were able to have a company fix the dent in the rim. We were also helped out by a client of Daddy’s with tires! So everything turned out fine and ME had a GREAT first day after all! She is in uniform now, but it’s a flexible one, she can wear any color polo or button up shirt with a collar, and dresses, skirts or slacks that are black, navy, khaki or grey. She looks super cute in anything as we’ve learned.

Drew had a great first day at Preschool as well. He was excited to have quite a few buddies in his class that he’s been friends with for a while at church now. He has a nice new teacher and we are really partial to his teacher’s assistant…. Grandma Ray! 🙂 He is very excited about going to school and very into it this year! He was adorable looking on his first day dontcha think??? Because of his sister’s fiasco the day before he missed his orientation- but that’s ok, we’re not new to the school so we know how it goes. And we’re just grateful that he didn’t have the same first day as she did, because he certainly would’ve missed it. The poor lil guy was stuck with mommy on the side of the road most of the morning with his pjs on, no shoes and no food in his belly as we didn’t get a chance to eat breakfast. But he did so well considering. What a good little guy!

In other news, the previous update we told everyone that ME was going to have a steroid injection on September 19th. That was cancelled. The area that was worked on in August was pretty aggravated and Dr. Waner suggested we do some sclerotherapy. While we thought we were nearing the end, we realized we have more steps. Such is life- right? So we’re moving on to that and Dr. Berenstein who does her Sclero is ordering an MRI for her. We have that set for September 29th. Unlike previous MRIs, she will not be having anesthesia. She is older now and very good with handling her doctor visits and things she needs to get done- so they suggested we give it a go. And we showed her pictures of the MRI machines and explained it all to her so we found her practicing laying still on the couch a few times. She’s funny! She will need contrast so they are going to stick her with an IV, I think that’ll be the only part she’s gonna put up a fight about. But, we know- she’ll do it. After the MRI is done we will meet with Dr. B and then schedule sclerotherapy. So we’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime the kids are well, and we are back in routine for the year!

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Winding down the summer…

Posted by Andrew & Jessica on Wednesday Aug 17, 2011 Under Mary Elizabeth

July came and went, and it went fast. We had so much fun! From swimming, to being with family, hanging out with friends to vacation time!

But then August came, and pretty much right away (August 4th) we had some down time with the surgery. The surgery itself went super well. There’s an area under her jawline on HER right side that we liked to call the “ball” – basically a small clump of cysts there. This area would swell up or get hard when she got sick, had surgery etc. And in order for it not to cause problems in the future, it needed to be removed. So… that was removed, plus there was a channel from there that went up to the tongue, and so that didn’t cause any problems he did an injection there (with a sclerosing agent- as she had done in the past). Then she also had a little lasering done under her tongue and in her mouth as needed. Well with all that being done, they only gave her a small dosage of pain medication while she was under anesthesia. So the anesthesiologists said “when she wakes up she will probably be pretty cranky- as she may be uncomfortable and should start to feel some pain in about 30 minutes”. She slept right through for a couple hours and woke up saying nothing hurt. She acted fine, only tired/groggy from the anesthesia. We were SO glad for that. And she came home just fine as well, not a drop of tylenol or anything. Tough kiddo huh!

After a day or two Mary Elizabeth swelled up a bit in the area, most people did not notice because it wasn’t any worse than it looked before, but it’s supposed to look better not the same, so it was swollen. And as always she is on steroids post-op, but this is the nature of her condition and what we are used to seeing. 7 days after surgery she saw Dr. Waner at the office and he removed her stitches, but her drain (that was put in at surgery) still remains. He did note the swelling and to take care of that and any scar tissue build up he will follow up with a steroid injection in 6 weeks. (September 19th she is set to go in the OR). She often gets a steroid injection 6-8 weeks post surgery and that has always helped so we were on board with that.

Right now we wait… wait for this drain to slow down and be ready to come out. At first we thought it was starting to slow down, then the drainage amount went a bit up, then back down and now up again. Unsure why, but either way we can’t wait til it calms down and comes out. Mary Elizabeth is eager herself. She cannot swim with it in and we have to tell her to be careful as she doesn’t want to have anything tug on it or whatever. The actual drain site has bled a little from tugging. So that isn’t really fun. And well, the risk of infection is always there. So we just can’t wait to see it go. Especially since it put a damper on the end of the summer for her. But we’re still trying to have as much fun as possible anyway.

So as you can see we have a few more trips to NYC in the near future…. and in addition to that….

Tomorrow we go down as well!! But not for a medical appointment, you see- Dr. Waner’s foundation contacted us to have Mary Elizabeth sent to a photographer to take pictures of her. If we agreed they’d do a photo shoot of her so they can use it for a calendar he may put out or any flyers/brochures etc he does in the future. We had no problem agreeing to that and we are looking forward to doing this.

Soon we’ll be getting ready for the kids to go back to school. Can’t believe the summer is coming to an end. Well, keep everything in prayer if you can and thanks for reading. We shall update soon!

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In the News… and a lil more…

Posted by Andrew & Jessica on Sunday Jul 17, 2011 Under Uncategorized

So what prompted me to write this update was the fact that Mary Elizabeth was in the newspaper today! My cousin, a wonderful person and friend, Michele Andersen is a freelance writer and felt compelled to write a story on our journey. She submitted it to the local newspaper (Poughkeepsie Journal) to see if they would pick it up and they sure did!!

Here is a link to the article:

What a great way to spread the word/bring awareness to her condition!

In other (smaller) news…  after Mary Elizabeth’s kindergarten graduation which was a beautiful little ceremony…. we kicked off summer and since then – we’ve been having a GREAT time!! LOTS of swimming since Mary Elizabeth is now trach-free. We are just pool-hopping all over the place and loving every minute of it. Other than that we’re enjoying time with friends and family – the people that are closest to us!

The kids also enjoyed going to VBS (Vacation Bible School) at our church for a week of fun activities, songs, and fellowship with their friends! And we have a nice small vacation planned coming up- Sesame Place for 2 days with friends and then our yearly family vacation to the beach!

After that though, she is due to have surgery on August 4th. We will be sure to update all of you with what goes on. But it’s not a small procedure by any means so definitely keep her in your prayers and thoughts!

Thanks! 🙂

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