Monday, July 28, 2014

Placenta Accreta, Part I

So, imagine our surprise when a couple weeks before Christmas I'm "late".  Late as"late," like I've been "late" 4 times (now 5) and all have resulted in children.

Surprise!!!! and Merry Christmas!

In addition to this, Grady is (was) due for his Cholesteatoma surgery AND we found out we are moving.  

Happy December!

We went to Seattle for Christmas, then to Anchorage.  Told the family all of our news.  Mixed reactions, probably shock mostly.  (Don't worry fam, we were shocked too!)

Fast forward....its now January and I'm heading into the OB for my first check at 12 weeks.  To confirm the pregnancy.  They kindly let me skip the pregnancy test part since this was clearly not my first rodeo, as evident by the husband and 4 children taking up most of the room in the waiting room.  They came for morale support....that and I couldn't get a sitter for the 30 minutes my hubs had between meetings.  He, thankfully, met me at the Drs office so I didn't have to take all kids back with me.

So, we proceed with the normal pregnancy questions (this was a new OB for me) then move on to the ultrasound to confirm and for dating.  Baby looks good.  I can see the punkin squirming around.  Dr. prints out a few pictures (very poor pics).  Now we move on to the placenta.

Enter the topic which I will become extremely familiar with in the next few days/weeks/months. 

Placenta Accreta.

At this point, I have a very low lying anterior placenta.  No big deal.  Its not placenta previa, but it is in front....and now we see its over my previous C-Section scars.  Upon further look, the Dr. sees that my placenta has not adhered normally.  What it has gone too deep into my uterus.  I see what she is describing, clear as day.  Swiss cheese appearance, abnormal blood flow, what, I'm thinking.  Placenta is working, baby is growing, we have our due date.  We're good right???

Then the unfamiliar words the Dr. is saying start to register in my brain.

Placenta Accreta
Placenta Increta
Placenta Percreta

Um...wait...what was that???

I just smile and say OK, like I know what she's talking about and its all good!

She says she is going to refer me to a MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist) for my 20 week ultrasound and we will go from there. 

I check out, schedule my next appointment and head for the car, cell phone in hand, waiting to punch send on the call to my dad (a retired OB/GYN in Seattle) the second my car clears that parking garage.  

Thankfully he answers, even though he's on the golf course (I did mention he's retired??)  I probably didn't make a whole lot of sense, but he heard "Accreta" and after explaining what it is, tried to calm my fears.  Which was great.  Until I got home and started googling Placenta Accreta.


Blood transfusion
Pre-term baby

Thankfully, I weeded through the junk and got on OB/GYN sites that I recall my dad talking about growing up, with ACOG American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology being the first.  There was also Wikipedia and American Pregnancy Association, among a ton of others.  This research kind of consumed my life for the next few weeks as I educated myself with what to expect over the next 6 months.  I did my best to stay positive amongst the morning sickness and preparing to move, as I waiting for the big ultrasound and more information with the MFM in March....

To be continued....

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Grady's Cholesteatoma Surgery: Update 3

Email sent by Joe from the hospital

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Gallagher, Joseph P" <>
Date: December 22, 2013 11:44:58 PM CST

Family –
Grady is doing well – relatively speaking, of course.  He was elated to have the external bandages removed yesterday; however, the steri-strips over his incision and the internal packing within his ear will remain for another couple of weeks – the result of such an invasive surgery.  His ear is still leaking fluids (sorry if gross) and will do so for a while longer.  Grady is getting some good naps in during the day; he usually doesn't nap, but I think he is still a bit worn out from the procedure and all of the subsequent hullabaloo.
We've already noticed some hearing loss, but we're hopeful that he'll continue to gain some back – though we suspect the net hearing loss will likely be in the 40 to 60 decibel range (moderate to severe).  Additionally, he has noticed a slight loss of taste; there is a nerve in the ear that helps control taste and it had to be sacrificed as part of the procedure.  Ultimately, it is probable that he'll have a follow up surgery to further reconstruct the inner part of the ear, which should help to improve hearing even more.
As you can imagine, the first week of our vacation has been nothing close to what we had planned.  The surgery alone threw us a curve, but we now have to keep Grady protected from possible infection, which has caused us to cancel events and alter how we interact (e.g., Grady's cousin, who has a cough, came to visit today, so Grady wore a surgical mask the entire time – he is such a tough little boy to deal with all of this!).  As an example of the severity of infection risk associated with his procedure, just one of many possible consequences of infection is meningitis (this due to the proximity of the surgical location to his brain).
So, what does all of this mean in terms of our planned Alaska vacation?  Well, here are some possible plans – depending on what we hear from the doctor this week:
·         Plan A: Proceed according to our original plan (i.e., all of us head up there).  This plan is contingent upon a 'green light' from the doctor and we'd also have to implement some measures to protect Grady during the trip.
·         Plan B: Joe, Molly, Ellery, & Briley head to Alaska; Kelly & Grady remain in Seattle.
·         Plan C: Joe, Molly, & Ellery head to Alaska; Kelly, Grady, & Briley remain in Seattle.
We'll know more once we hear from the doctor – the earliest being tomorrow.  Grady also has a follow up appointment on the 24th.
We will keep you posted!
Joe G.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Grady's Cholesteatoma: Post OP Pics

Due to Grady's size (small) they had to do and "old fashioned" type bandage.  Joe joked with him before the surgery that he was going to get a lobotomy....and with that bandage he kind of looks like he had one. ;)

Grady's Cholesteatoma Surgery: Update 2

Email sent from Joe at the hospital

Begin forwarded message:
From: Gallagher, Joseph P 
Sent: Thursday, December 19, 2013 7:20 PM
Subject: Grady Gallagher Update 2
All –
Well, the 2 hour procedure turned into 6 hours, but the surgeon is pleased with the results.  Grady is waking up now.  They did have to remove some of the little bones in his ear, but a prosthetic (i.e., synthetic) bone was implanted to replace what was lost.  As part of the procedure, his eardrum had to be removed; part of it was replaced during surgery, however, and the prognosis is that it will grow back eventually.  There are lots and lots of other details (much of which I do not understand!), but the good news is that the disease is gone and Grady is well.
Since the little guy was under anesthesia for so long, we may have to stay the night.  We'll see…
Thanks again for your thoughts & prayers!
Joe G.

Grady's Cholesteatoma Surgery: Update 1

This is the email Joe sent from the hospital....
From: "Gallagher, Joseph P" <>
Date: December 19, 2013 3:35:33 PM CST
Subject: Grady Gallagher Update 1

All –
Thank you for all your thoughts, prayers, phone calls, emails, & texts!  Grady just went back for surgery.  He is such a brave little guy.  I was able to be with him while they put him under.  The procedure should take about 2 hours, so Mom and I will be pacing the hospital for a while.  As soon as I get news on his condition, I will send a follow up.  For right now, it sounds like we'll be re-growing an eardrum after surgery – and possibly having follow-up procedures to put in artificial bones (the little bones that vibrate and conduct/interpret sound).
Some pictures attached.
Joe G.
From: Gallagher, Joseph P 
Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 6:39 PM
Subject: Grady Gallagher
Hi Family –
Grady is going in for surgery Thursday, so we would appreciate your prayers for our little man.
This all began with a regular check-up, at which point the pediatrician noticed an undefinable irregularity in his right ear, so Grady was referred to an ENT (Ear Nose & Throat) doctor for further examination.  The ENT concurred about there being an anomaly and ordered a CT scan of his head to get a three-dimensional view.  The scan revealed a mass (i.e., 'benign tumor') growing behind his ear drum.  Given that this was happening right before our Washington/Alaska vacation, we elected to schedule an appointment with an Otologist/Neurotologist while in Seattle. Thankfully, we were able to find one who could see Grady – there are only about 300 of them in the country.
We arrived in Seattle last night and took Grady to see the specialist today.  I was expecting to hear that he would require a "routine" procedure to clear the mass before it caused any damage; unfortunately, we learned that the mass behind his ear drum now fills every open space within his inner ear, abuts the ear drum, and surrounds some of the tiny bones inside the ear that enable hearing.  If the mass has permeated the ear drum and/or damaged the tiny bones, they may need to be removed, causing significant if not total hearing loss.  To date, his hearing has only been mildly affected, which is attributable to the fact that the mass is artificially conducting sound, but since this particular mass (aka, cholesteatoma) eats away at bone, it has to come out to prevent further damage. 
The area inside the ear is a tiny little place, but it is Grand Central Station in terms of physiological functions – the obvious being hearing, but there are also nerves controlling balance and facial muscles in there.  Not to mention the fact that the carotid artery borders the area – as does the dura matter (lining of the brain), which not only protects the brain, but is the area from which spinal fluid originates.  With all this going on in such a small space, there is very little margin for error.
We just found this out this afternoon, so we're still a bit uneasy (to put it mildly) – especially with surgery happening the day after tomorrow (note – they have to perform the surgery by entering through the external auditory canal and through an incision they'll make behind the ear.   Again, I would appreciate you lifting up our little guy in your prayers – and pray for the medical team performing the surgery.  …and maybe a quick one for Mom & Dad as well!  : - )
We'll keep you posted!
Joe G.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Briley says....

As she is crossing her arms....

"I'm not pouting mama, I'm just cold."

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

Grady's Snow Removal

Uncle Jimmy had Grady clearing Aunt Dorrine's driveway with this excavator.  Grady wanted me to know that Uncle Jimmy was helping by directing....

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Grady's new operator notes...and some pics

{Grady and Uncle Jimmy}
{Grady at 7 Mile Lake}
{Grady and Aunt Karen}

1. Bottomless pit
2. Hasn't stopped yet
3. Volume increases with excitement
4. Never ending
5. Again hasn't stopped yet, except to refuel
6. Hydrated in snow bank
7. Good thing he went at Goggy's
8.Lots of fuel sources here have peanuts
9. Pictures coming to parental units
10. Will call soon

{Grady's sun break on Anna Lake}
{Grady on Jimmy's machine}

Grady's Instruction Manual

Joe and Grady are up in Alaska visiting family.  Silly Uncle Jimmy and Karen are taking Grady out to the cabin for the night.  Here are the instructions Joe sent with him...

1. Works best when fed and hydrated.
2. Unit becomes noticeably whiny (and prone to injury) if over-tired.
3. Volume is stuck on highest setting -- attempts to repair this have been unsuccessful.
4. Allow ample time for unstoppable talking.
5. Moves almost continuously, bu when not in motion, will rapidly go into sleep mode.
6. May require liberal application of lubrication on surface areas due to dryness.
7. Requires wiping and inspection upon completion of waste disposal operation. 
8. Fuel sources should exclude apple products and peanut products, which seem to have an adverse operational affect -- most notably on waste disposal operations and allergic reactions.
9. Recommend connecting with maternal parental unit for latest operating system updates and system health check before powering down for the night.
10. Press GO and have FUN!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Snow Day {a.k.a Slush Day}

THE worlds smallest snowman.  What?  Can't see it?  Its on the left in front of the munchkin in pink.  You might have to squint a little.  Its really small.

We've had a few snowy days here this February.  The first time the public schools were closed, we still had school.  The hubs came home during lunch and took them out to play for "recess" while mom stayed inside and prepped the hot chocolate.  

Since our Classical Conversations follows the public school system, when they closed today, so did we. I called it a real "snow day" and all the kids heard was NO SCHOOL and PLAY TIME.   I did take them out this morning, since the slush snow was really wet and melting quickly.

This is what they made...

All of our family in Alaska can stop giggling now.  We are aware that this isn't really snow! :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

NOT a great Starbucks Ad....

Joe took Grady into Tulsa so the guys could get haircuts.  They stopped at Starbucks on the way out of town, and went into the store.  Apparently they were training a new barista who had messed up a drink.  They offered it to Joe and Grady.  It was a coffee drink, so I'm surprised Joe accepted, but he did and gave it to Grady. 
YUM-E, says the 5 year old about the Iced-Frappachino, as they jump back into the car and head south.

Just give it a few minutes for the caffeine to kick in....








Friday, December 28, 2012

Radio Station Tour

Uncle Ben took us all on a radio station tour.  He does a radio show in the mornings and took some time to show us around.  We met his producer and saw the rooms where they record.

Molly was a little upset that they weren't putting her chatter on "live."  She kept asking if the "cars" could hear her talk.  (On the way to the station we put the radio on in the car as we were explaining what we were doing.)

We even got to make a recording (I will try to figure out how to download and embed).  Grady has a great line at the end which they might use for a clip on the show!
Thanks Uncle Ben!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Our Polar Express

We have this great little spot downtown that we sometimes bring a picnic lunch and meet Joe.  Grady calls it the "Polar Express" because there is a train there that looks just like the one from the movie.  We all know hoe much he LOVES trains, so this is a favorite spot.  If you've come to visit us, most likely you have taken him (and the girls) there at one point...or on every visit!
This is his favorite thing to do.   It just so happens that my hair dresser is right around the corner.  You bet they just love when the kids are there! ;)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

Getting rid of Ellery....

Grady seems to think that he only needs two sisters; Briley first, then Molly.  He says we can get rid of Ellery.  His next thought is we keep them all, then have 2 more boys.  Twin.  We are going to name them Finn and Lightening.  (Lightening after Lightening McQueen, of course!) 

Honestly, if we could guarantee a boy, we'd probably have another.  Statistically though, the odds are not in our favor.  I'm not a betting girl, but historically we've proven a 25% chance of having a boy.  Not the best odds! :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Ellery stopped sucking her thumb!!!

We finally got Ellery to stop sucking her thumb.  HUGE accomplishment!!!  We put a glove on her hand each night before bed.  Surprisingly it stayed on.  She's been an avid thumb sucker since birth.  I didn't think it would be this she was obviously ready.  The first day I caught her during the day, and then a few days later I noticed that I hadn't seen her with her thumb in her mouth lately.  Then after a week or so, we took the glove off and she hasn't needed her thumb since!  YAY!!!  I hope its that easy with Briley when then time comes....

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

American Heritage Girls Joining Ceremony

Homeschooling Week 3

Molly was reading to the kids for "rest time."  Not much rest going on, but quiet happy kids = happy Mama!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Joe corrupting Briley

Daddy and Briley concentrating really hard on their lego XBOX "game."  Daddy is really playing.  Bri just thinks she's playing.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Any chance these two are related?

Any chance at all?

Just checking, because I wasn't quite sure.

OK.  I guess that answers it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How to put on your shoes (according to Briley)

Go find a shoe....any shoe will do.  Any size.  Any color.

Set the shoe in front of you.

Pick up your foot with your hands.  Take foot and insert foot into shoe.  (Note: Don't put the shoe on your foot, but put your foot into the shoe.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ellery's first tooth

It was quite traumatic.  She won't look in the mirror or at the tooth.  She wouldn't eat dinner and I had to brush her teeth.

But its done!  (The big tooth has been in behind for awhile....can we say braces? :)  

Daddy's little helper

(Photo and commentary by Joe)

We were installing one of those cabinet-mounted garbage cans. This was the frame and roller board.  Flawless execution with the phillips screwdriver!  Daddy is soooo proud. Poor little guy though... Now that Mommy knows he can use tools, I am sure he'll be put to work around the house!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another one from Grady

Its waaaay past bedtime and we are wrestling to get the kids in bed.  They have been playing with our foam alphabet set (a toy which I brought downstairs to take to donation months ago, but they have played more with this than almost any other toy we have in the it stayed!) and I've asked them to put them away and go upstairs.  

The girls have obliged, but Grady is dawdling.  Then he simply starts to walk towards the stairs.  I said "wait a minute buddy, what did I just ask you to do?"  

He slowly walks back with his head hung and starts to put the letters away.  

I asked where he was going.

He answered, "poop" and then starts to squirm.

"What" I asked?

"Mommy, I have to go poop," he answered.

"Well then go" I replied!  (Can't argue with that now can I???)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thoughts from E

The kids are happily (or so I thought) playing upstairs while B naps.  I walk out in the living room and hear E yelling at Molly:


Hmmm....think we've had a bit of a fibbing problem at our house lately???

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dinosaur poop

Grady's all to familiar call from the bathroom....."All done pooping Mama," was followed with this today "and it looks like a dinosaur poop."

Really?  And what, exactly, does that look like I wonder?  Want to know?  I'll spare you the details.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Briley is in her own room

I just took down the crib in our room *sniff* and she has now spent 2 nights in a row *sniff* in her own room upstairs *sniff, sniff.*  Why am I having such a hard time with this?  Because it's our last???  I have been purging the baby stuff.  All the big battery operated and plastic toys.  Swing.  Bassinet.  Johnny Jump-up.  I even have our double stroller and double jogger listed!  I just need to clean the exer-saucer and that goes.  When Briley and Grady have grown out of their clothes, I consign, give and donate them.  The first load was the worst, but now its very freeing.  I'm seeing space emerge in my house, garage and attic.  Maternity clothes are long gone.  I'm even starting to get rid of the things that Briley has yet to play with.  Amazing how the more kids I have, the less stuff I'm wanting to keep.....well, the brightly colored plastic stuff that is! :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Another Ellery-ism

Molly is studying for her "Patriot Test" in school and we're talking about the Declaration of Independence. Among other questions, the study questions ask about some of the men who were involved in writing it, one of which was an ancestor of mine.  Well, I then had to explain what an ancestor is.

Later, on the way to school, Ellery asks, "who else is our Aunt's Sister?"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thoughts from E

Poppy walked Ellery to the bathroom (why does he always get potty duty???).  When she came out, they headed back to the pool.  Ellery says, "that's weird.  We wash and dry our hands....then we get right back in the water."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Auto flush toilets

Still on vaca in Mexico.....

Poppy took Grady "potty" and Grady finished first.  He was telling Poppy how he beat him and then asked how to flush the toilet.  Poppy said, "hang on a minute and I'll show you" but as Grady walked away the toilet flushed.  He was so excited and says, 'WOW....I just walked away and it flushed all by itself!" (Picture a wondrous hand gesture.) "We don't have those at home!"

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thoughts from E

We are vacationing in Cabo with my parents.  The girls are playing "Mermaid" in the water with Poppy (grandpa) supervising (in his bathing suit).  Ellery says to him, "you can be the daddy mermaid.  You are just perfect because daddy mermaids don't have to wear shirts."

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My nephew...Mac

Look at those eye!  Luv.  Him!

Its weird seeing my little sister with a baby.  I keep thinking she's nannying and will return this kid to his rightful parents soon.  But he looks too much like his mom and dad to be someone else's child. :)

She's had a rough go at it, with a colicky kiddo, but he's rounded the 4 mo mark and is growing out of it.  If only he'd sleep for her now!  But she's been a trooper and is still willing to have one more.

But he sure is cute, so Paige....if you're missing him one day. 

It was me.  I have him.  (He fits right in at our house with that blond hair and those big blue eyes.  No one would even notice.  The best part...I didn't have to gain all that pregnancy weight....or I could still say...."oh, I just had a'll come off and have an excuse for not losing the weight from B...and the weight from G....and E and M for that matter!  But I digress...

Happy Mommy-ing Paige!  You're doing a great job!  Thanks for sharing him with me.  
Now I can wait a few more month before I have to go out and have another one.

I am kidding people.  We are done.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


He is 4 months and all I've seen are pictures.  I am so sad about that.  I haven't been able to kiss him, to hold him, to babysit so my sis can get a break.  ( I do field phone calls and emails and respond with all of my wonderful advice! :)

Here he is!


 Sweet boy,  that'll have to do until I finally get to love on you next week!  Can't wait!!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

And now Hot

Its 80 degrees outside.  In one week, we've gone from -25 to 80.  I wonder what next week is going to be like...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Can you say C.O.L.D???

Instead of getting up at the crack of dawn (who am I kidding...I was up before 6:30 with Briley) to go workout today, I thought I'd skip the early morning (kidding again...I've been skipping for 3 weeks since Joe's been out of town!) and shovel the driveway.  For all of you not aware of what's going on down here, our weather is Cra-Zee!  Blizzards, feet of snow, cold, cold, cold.  Anyway...right before I put Briley down for her nap, I checked the temps.  -25 degrees.  25 degrees BELOW ZERO.  Negative.  Huh???  Its warmer in Alaska!  I checked again.  Seriously?  That's not with wind chill.  That's the actual temperature outside!!!

I think I'll wait until her afternoon nap.

Friday, February 4, 2011

My sweet boy...

Throwing a bit of a tantrum


And then laughing when I played it for him.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New weatherstripping???

I'm just sayin'

Cuz that's snow.
(The door was closed and locked all night.)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

While the cats away.....

At least he chose blue.... 

Thoughts from E

We are watching "The Chronicles of Narnia" and there is a scene where the fireplace is on.  E and G are commenting on the fire and Ellery says...

"And it stays on.  All the time.  You see Grady, some people don't have switches for their fireplaces to turn them on and off."